China’s medical products regulator has approved another Covid-19 vaccine for general public use, said Beijing-based medical firm, Sinovac Biotech.
The medical research firm’s two-jab vaccine received approval from China’s Medical Products Association after two-month late-stage clinical international trials concluded.
Positive immune responses to the firm’s vaccine were observed in phase one and in two trials for older participants. The vaccine is currently being tested on participants aged three to 17.
Sinovac cautioned against use for those over 60 years old saying its candidate showed a ”limited” protection rate for that age group.
Laos, Indonesia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, and Uruguay have granted emergency authorisation for the life-saving drug, Sinovac said.
Sinovac can manufacture nearly a billion doses a year at current production rates and is planning on expanding its production line to maximise output. The firm said it was outsourcing filling and finishing procedures overseas.
Results from Brazil showed an efficacy rate of 50.65% in its late-stage trials which included more than 12 000 Brazilian medical workers. Brazilian trials showed the Sinovac vaccine was effective 83.7% of the time in instances when medical treatment was required and 100% effective in instances when hospitalisation was necessary.
Turkish results for the Sinovac candidate came back positive as well. Researchers from the Western Asian nation said the efficacy rate in its 29-man preliminary study was 92.25%. Indonesia recorded an efficacy rate of 63.3% in its late-stage trials.
A Reuters source in Brazil said Sinovac had speculated that the relatively low efficacy rate observed in Brazil was because medical workers were chosen as the sample pool for testing.
The Sinovac vaccine’s efficacy against the variants discovered in Brazil, South Africa, and England is still unknown. In early February, American medical firm, AstraZeneca, said its candidate was far less efficacious against the variant discovered in South Africa. South Africa has subsequently suspended any AstraZeneca trials citing a lack of data for extreme cases.
South Africa is looking at procuring vaccines from China (Sinopharm), Russia (Sputnik) and the United States (Moderna), according to South African Health Minister, Zweli Mkhize.