China is reportedly considering using a foreign vaccine as a booster shot for people who have been fully vaccinated with Chinese vaccines such as Sinovac and Sinoform.
According to CaixinDrug regulators in China, a respected Chinese financial journal, have completed an expert panel review of a booster vaccine jointly developed by China’s Shanghai Fosan Pharmaceutical (Fosan Pharma) and German company BioNTech. The booster shot, Fosun-BioNTech COVID-19, is now in the administrative review stage.
The report comes days after Thailand and Indonesia announced that they would switch from doses made in China to Western vaccines.
For Beijing, which has been touting the effectiveness of its vaccines for months and is eager for safety in an effort to try and sell doses to low- and middle-income countries that are often called “vaccine diplomacy,” the boosters. There could be a possibility of a shot. Seen as a blow.
“It’s clearly an admission that they’re not doing well with their own vaccines,” Steve Morrison told VOA Mandarin. Morrison is senior vice president and director of the Global Health Policy Center at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), a Washington think tank.
VOA Mandarin contacted the Chinese embassy in Washington, DC and the foreign ministry in Beijing for further comment on the possibility of boosters for Chinese-made vaccines. Embassy staff referred the VOA to both companies as well as “competent authorities in China”. VOA did as suggested but did not get any response.
Dr. Amesh Adalja, a virologist and an assistant professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, told VOA Mandarin in a virtual online interview that although data on Chinese vaccines is not widely available and China has yet to complete its Phase 3 The data is not published. In a peer-reviewed journal, “we have observed low efficacy with Chinese-made vaccines, and this may prompt the need for boosters.”
Professor Shin-Ru Shih, director and director of the Center for Research on Emerging Viral Infections in the Department of Medical Biotechnology and Laboratory Sciences at Chang Gung University in Taiwan, said that a “good” vaccine should be safe and immunogenic (capable of producing sufficient neutralizing antibodies). ) and protect against actual infection. He said that at the beginning of developing any vaccine, scientists may not know “how well” the vaccine might be in development. But recently, as more studies have been done, scientists have been able to correlate immunity rates to protection rates, Shih said.
“Therefore, I think the scientists in China have also realized the fact of the low antibody [levels] In the serum of Sinovac or SinoPharma vaccines. Therefore, they may suggest that the Chinese government has another shot as a booster,” Shih told VOA Mandarin in an email.
according to a The World Health Organization study published early last month, In a large Phase 3 trial in Brazil, two doses of a vaccine developed by Sinovac/China National Pharmaceutical Group, administered 14 days apart, showed an efficacy of 51% against symptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infection, 100% against severe COVID-19 was the rate. Against -19 and 100% hospitalization, with protection 14 days after the second dose.
Earlier this month, US news outlet CNBC reported Six countries worldwide have the highest vaccination rates, adjusted for population, with five countries relying on vaccines from China increasing the weekly number of COVID-19 cases.
In contrast, real-world data collected by Israel’s Ministry of Health showed that the effectiveness of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was at least 97% in preventing symptomatic disease, severe-to-severe illness, and death. According to an article on Pfizer’s website in March.
Moderna COVID-19 vaccine had an efficacy rate of 94.1% after two doses, According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Research published January 1st.
Earlier this month, however, the delta variant caused an increase in Israel’s number of COVID-19 cases, the Health Ministry announced The effectiveness of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine against all coronavirus infections declined to 64% from about 95% in May. Israel has more than 852,940 confirmed cases, and 6,450 deaths as of Tuesday, according to the Johns Hopkins University of Medicine Coronavirus Resource Center.
Professor Jin Dong-yan of Hong Kong University’s School of Biomedical Sciences said in a phone interview with VOA Mandarin that the Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine’s declining effectiveness in the face of variants means that Chinese vaccine efficacy could be as low as 50. % in preventing infection by new forms. This, he said, would make booster shots “mandatory.”
Jason Lee, a research associate in the East Asia Program at the Stimson Center in Washington, told VOA Mandarin in an email that “China’s move [to consider a Pfizer booster] Unproductive ‘vaccine diplomacy’ could be a positive sign against the worst fears of competition – at least from the Chinese side” and could indicate that “Chinese officials may put public health above politics, for now.” ”
Before COVID Vaccines, China Used Pandas to Aid Diplomatic Efforts
The furry bear has been used by China to generate goodwill with other countries for over 1,000 years.
On June 2, Wang Wenbin, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman said during a press conference China “provided more than 350 million doses of vaccine to the international community, including vaccine assistance to more than 80 countries and vaccine exports to more than 40 countries.”
China provided vaccines through donations or sales to 102 countries in Africa, the Asia-Pacific region, Europe and Latin America. According to a vaccine tracker published by BridgeBeijing.com, a global health advocacy group affiliated with the New York-based Global Health Strategy Group. In the Asia-Pacific region, 38 countries have received Chinese vaccines, and in Latin America, 19 countries. In Africa, 35 countries received vaccines from China, but had the lowest number of doses.
China expert Ian Chong The National University of Singapore told the BBC that Beijing’s push to sell or donate vaccines around the world was “an attempt to turn the narrative away from the fact that the infection was first detected in Wuhan, and to show that [China is] A scientific powerhouse.”
Health experts expect those countries to need booster shots if China’s plan goes ahead.
Thailand, which has used the Sinovac vaccines, is now experiencing new highs in cases and deaths. In Indonesia, where cases are rising, less than 7% of its population of 271 million have been vaccinated, according to Johns Hopkins. Indonesia had purchased 125 million doses of one of the world’s largest orders for Sinovac vaccines.
Indonesian doctors’ deaths rising amid COVID-19
As of July 17, 114 doctors have died in the Southeast Asian nation since the beginning of the month of COVID-19, more than double the death toll in June.
After the supply runs out, both Asian countries will stop using Sinovac vaccines, Malaysia will also take a step, According to diplomat. The Philippines and Chile are researching the possibility of using Fosun-BioNTech boosters and vaccines that are not Chinese.
In Thailand, public anger over the government’s handling of the pandemic and the use of Chinese vaccines led to street protests in Bangkok on 18 July, with people demanding that the government import Western vaccines.
The Thai government’s embroiled vaccine rollout adds to the anger of a historically divided public
Resurgent COVID-19 caseloads revive political challenge for Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-o-cha
Chong told the BBC that nations stopping the use of Chinese vaccines “really question China’s technical prowess.”
However, analysts don’t see the gains from China’s vaccine diplomacy ending.
“At a time of shortage and slow delivery of vaccines in the global South, diplomatic relations between vaccine recipients and China will remain mostly laudable,” said Li of the Stimson Center. “Front and center was the emphasis on south-to-south ‘fraternity’ in China’s initial vaccine diplomacy efforts.”
CSIS’s Morrison said: “It certainly starts to erode the benefits that were made diplomatically. I don’t know if it completely hurts the benefits, because, you know, the Chinese use of these vaccines.” Be very generous with you.”