The Borneo Post (Sabah)

China mulls mixing vaccines to improve efficacy


BEIJING: China is considerin­g the mixing of different Covid19 vaccines to improve the relatively low efficacy of its existing options, a top health expert has told a conference.

Authoritie­s have to “consider ways to solve the issue that efficacy rates of existing vaccines are not high”, Chinese media outlet The Paper reported, citing Gao Fu, the head of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

His comments mark the first time a top Chinese expert has publicly alluded to the relatively low efficacy of the country’s vaccines, as China forges ahead in its mass vaccinatio­n campaign and exports its jabs around the world.

China has administer­ed around 161 million doses since vaccinatio­ns began last year “– most people will require two shots – and aims to fully inoculate 40 per cent of its 1.4 billion population by June.

But many have been slow to sign up for jabs, with life largely back to normal within China’s borders and domestic outbreaks under control.

Gao has previously stressed the best way to prevent the spread of Covid-19 is vaccinatio­n, and said in a recent state media interview that China aims to vaccinate 70 per cent to 80 per cent of its population between the end of this year and mid-2022.

At the conference in Chengdu on Saturday, Gao added that an option to overcome the efficacy problem is to alternate the use of vaccine doses that tap different technologi­es.

This is an option that health experts outside China are studying as well.

Gao said experts should not ignore mRNA vaccines just because there are already several coronaviru­s jabs in the country, urging for further developmen­t, The Paper reported.

Currently, none of China’s jabs conditiona­lly approved for the market are mRNA vaccines, but products that use the technology include those by US pharma giant Pfizer and German startup BioNTech, as well as by Moderna.

China has four conditiona­lly approved vaccines, whose published efficacy rates remain behind rival jabs by PfizerBioN­Tech and Moderna, which have 95 per cent and 94 per cent rates respective­ly.

China’s Sinovac previously said trials in Brazil showed around 50 per cent efficacy in preventing infection and 80 per cent efficacy in preventing cases requiring medical interventi­on.

Sinopharm’s vaccines have efficacy rates of 79.34 per cent and 72.51 per cent respective­ly, while the overall efficacy for CanSino’s stands at 65.28 per cent after 28 days.

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