Early research shows that the inactivated COVID-19 vaccines produced by Sinopharm can provide protection against 10 mutated variants of SARS-CoV-2, including strains from the United Kingdom and South Africa, said Yu Qingming, Sinopharm's board chairman and a deputy to the National People's Congress.
Many employees of the company received the vaccines last March, and after a year of monitoring, their antibody level still remained relatively high, Yu told People's Daily on Thursday.
On Feb 25, the inactivated vaccine made by the Wuhan Institute of Biological Products, a Sinopharm affiliate, was granted conditional market approval. It is Sinopharm's second inactivated vaccine to be approved for market use, after the one developed by its subsidiary in Beijing.
"Over 5,000 deputies and members at this year's two sessions have been inoculated with Sinopharm's vaccines. This goes to show the strong trust people have in our vaccines," he said.
However, Yu stressed that as COVID-19 vaccines are a relatively new product, scientists still need more research to definitively determine their efficacy. An inactivated vaccine is an established technique that uses dead viruses to induce an immune response. Some notable examples include the polio, whooping cough, rabies and hepatitis A virus vaccines.
Based on interim analysis of data from phase-3 clinical trials, the United Arab Emirates Ministry of Health and Prevention said in December that Sinopharm's Beijing-developed vaccine offers an 86 percent protection rate against COVID-19. It also has 100 percent effectiveness in preventing moderate and severe cases of the disease.
Recent experiments show that Sinopharm's vaccine can provide "broad spectrum protection" against mutated strains of COVID-19 viruses, "and can effectively protect against these new variants", said Yu.
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