Sinopharm and Sinovac Vaccine Candidates for Omicron Variant Obtain Clinical Trial Clearance

A COVID-19 vaccine developed specifically for the Omicron variant was approved for clinical trials on Saturday April 16.

A subsidiary of Sinopharm and Sinovac called China National Biotec Group (CNBG) developed the vaccine.

During the trial, the researchers found that the efficacy of the third dose of the SARS-CoV-2-mRNA vaccine declines rapidly during the period when Omicron is predominant.

The fourth dose of the existing Sinopharm vaccine did not increase antibody levels against Omicron. It was given six months after a third booster dose on a regular two-dose regimen.

After the third dose, the fourth dose restored antibody levels to around peaks.

CNBG will conduct further trials on candidates as boosters in those who have already received two doses of the vaccine.

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The researchers believe that the new vaccines will offer a better alternative as future alternatives. Several studies are underway to combat the “stealth” Omicron which has become dominant across the world.

Antibodies produced by vaccines based on older variants show weaker activity in neutralizing the highly transmissible variant.

Scientists are also improving injections against emerging variants.

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“We are past the point where you can eradicate SARS-CoV-2,” said International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations (IFPMA) chief executive Thomas Cueni.

Meanwhile, Pfizer said it was working to manufacture a COVID-19 vaccine for all variants before the end of 2022.

“I hope, clearly by the fall… that we can have a vaccine,” said company president Albert Bourla.

“It’s a possibility that we have it by then. It’s not a certainty,” he added.

The American pharmaceutical giant is also working on the production of a vaccine offering strong protection against the coronavirus for a whole year.

(With agency contributions)

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