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Sinovac’s COVID-19 vaccine elicits a rapid immune response – a study

SINGAPORE / BEIJING (Reuters) – Sinovac Biotech’s СВА.О The experimental COVID-19 CoronaVac vaccine elicited a rapid immune response, but the level of antibodies produced was lower than in people who had recovered from the disease, preliminary results from Wednesday’s study showed.

PHOTO: A man works at the packaging plant of Chinese vaccine manufacturer Sinovac Biotech, developing an experimental vaccine against coronavirus disease (COVID-1
9), during a government-organized media tour in Beijing, China, September 24, 2020. REUTERS / Thomas Peter

Although early to intermediate studies are not intended to evaluate the efficacy of CoronaVac, the researchers say it may provide adequate protection based on their experience with other vaccines and data from preclinical studies in macaques.

The survey comes hot after optimistic news this month from US drugmaker Pfizer PFE.N and Modern MRNA.O as well as Russia, which showed that their experimental vaccines were over 90% effective based on intermediate data from large trials at a late stage.

CoronaVac and four other experimental vaccines developed in China are currently undergoing late-stage testing to determine their effectiveness in preventing COVID-19.

Sinovac’s findings, published in a peer-reviewed article in the medical journal The Lancet Infectious Diseases, are the result of phase I and phase II clinical trials in China involving more than 700 participants.

“Our findings show that CoronaVac is able to elicit a rapid response to antibodies within four weeks of immunization, giving two doses of the vaccine at 14-day intervals,” said Zhu Fengkai, one of the authors of the article.

“We believe this makes the vaccine suitable for emergency use during a pandemic,” Zhu said in a statement published with the newspaper.

Researchers say the findings of large late-stage studies or phase III trials will be crucial in determining whether the immune response generated by CoronaVac is sufficient to protect people from coronavirus infection.

Sinovac is currently conducting three Phase III trials in Indonesia, Brazil and Turkey.

Naor Bar-Zeev of Johns Hopkins University, who was not involved in the study, said the results should be interpreted carefully until the results of phase III are published.

“But even after that, after completing the Phase III test and after licensing, we need to be prudent,” he said.


CoronaVac is one of three experimental vaccines against COVID-19 that China is using to inoculate hundreds of thousands of people under an emergency program.

The other two vaccines in China’s emergency program, both developed by Sinopharm-related institutes, and another vaccine by CanSino Biologics 6185. HK, have also been shown to be safe and elicit immune responses in the early and middle stages of studies, according to peer – reviewed articles.

Gang Zeng, a Sinovac researcher involved in the CoronaVac study, said the vaccine could be an attractive option because it could be stored at normal refrigerated temperatures of 2 to 8 degrees Celsius (36 ° -46 ° F) and could to remain stable for up to three years.

“(This) would offer some advantages for distribution in regions where access to refrigeration is a challenge,” the author said.

In contrast, vaccines developed by Pfizer / BioNTech BNTX.O and Moderna use a new technology called synthetic sent RNA (mRNA) to activate the immune system against the virus and require far colder storage.

The Pfizer vaccine should be stored and transported at -70 ° C, although it can be stored in a normal refrigerator for up to five days or up to 15 days in a thermal delivery box. Moderna is expected to be stable at normal temperatures in the refrigerator for 30 days, but should be kept at -20 ° C for up to six months.

CoronaVac is also being considered by Brazil and Indonesia for inoculations in the coming months.

Indonesia has requested urgent permission to launch a mass vaccination campaign by the end of the year, and vaccines produced by Sinovac and China’s Sinopharm are expected to be used in the early stages of the campaign.

Brazilian Sao Paulo also plans to launch CoronaVac in January and has agreed a supply deal with Sinovac.

Report by Miyoung Kim in Singapore and Roxanne Liu in Beijing; Edited by David Clark

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