COVID-19 was first detected in China, which became the first country to release a vaccine. Sinovac and Sinopharm are the leading vaccine manufacturers in China and both produce World Health Organization-approved COVID-19 vaccines.
What is the difference between the two companies?
Sinovac is a private company and Sinopharm is a state owned company. Scientists from both companies use the same method to make both vaccines.
How are vaccines made?
Dr. Andrea Cox, a professor of immunization at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, has provided expert advice on COVID-19 vaccines to the VOA. Cox told Voice of America that scientists take a type of bacteria – or in this case, a virus – and inactivate or kill it. Then they inject it to people. Since the virus is dead, it cannot infect anyone. Then, if a vaccinated person is exposed to a live virus, that person’s body recognizes it and fights it off.
Are these vaccines effective?
Chinese vaccines are not as effective as Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech, AstraZeneca, and Johnson & Johnson’s vaccines, Cox said, so they are not the vaccines of choice in countries that have access to other vaccines. According to WHO estimates, Sinovac vaccine is about 50% effective, while Sinopharm is 78% more effective. Both vaccines require two doses.
Vaccines are often mixed with an adjuvant, a harmless ingredient like aluminum salts or a bubble of fat, to make them more effective. On its website, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that “aluminum is one of the most abundant metals found in nature and is found in air, food, and water,” so it is not a foreign or hazardous ingredient, although anti-vax groups say that it is. For example, Sinovac uses aluminum hydroxide, an ingredient that’s also used to treat indigestion. Sinopharm also uses an adjuvant in its vaccine.
Does the vaccine have any benefits?
Sinovac and Sinopharm vaccines have a major advantage over other COVID-19 vaccines: they are easy to store and only require normal refrigeration. This is a huge plus for COVID-19 vaccination for people living in regions where there are few or no refrigerators.
“In a perfect world,” Cox said, “we won’t need them. But at the moment we need a way to vaccinate the whole world as quickly and efficiently as possible, and this may require the use of vaccines that we know are not so good, but better than vaccination without vaccination. ”
What will end the pandemic?
The WHO says safe and effective vaccines are a game-changing tool, but for now and for the foreseeable future, it recommends continuing to wear masks, frequent hand washing, good indoor ventilation, physical distancing, crowding out and above all get vaccinated when you can with any vaccine available.
“It’s very important that the world’s best scientists — and I really mean the world’s best scientists — think about how to create effective vaccines and deliver them to the world’s population,” Cox said. “And the more data we get about these vaccines, the more we can choose the vaccines that truly protect the largest proportion of the world’s population.”
As the WHO says: “It is not vaccines that will stop the pandemic, but vaccination.”