According to a study published in a medical journal, two vaccines made by China’s Sinopharm appear to be safe and effective against COVID-19.
Scientists were waiting for more details about the two vaccines, even though they were already in use in many countries, and one recently secured World Health Organization support for emergency use.
The report, published online in the Journal of the American Medical Association, concluded that the two vaccines are approximately 73% and 78% effective, as Sinopharm has previously claimed.
Researchers at Sinopharm and its local partners in the Middle East say the trial involved about 40,380 participants with two of the company’s vaccines – one developed by the Wuhan Institute of Biological Products and the other by the Beijing Institute of Biological Products – and a placebo. The test was carried out in four countries – Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Jordan. However, the study provided data only for Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates.
“Not too surprising. It is consistent with what they have previously claimed, but it does not completely eliminate skepticism about Sinopharm,” said Jin Dong-yan, a medical professor at the University of Hong Kong, Those who were not included in the study.
He doubted how protective the vaccine was based on an increase in recent cases in the island nation of Seychelles, which vaccinated a large portion of its population with the Sinoform vaccine.
The study conducted in most young men had little information about the vaccine’s effectiveness against critical illness. Some experts also expressed concern over the lack of female participants, of which around 85% were male.
“It’s important to make sure you’ve tested it in enough women to be able to see any potential safety concerns,” said Ashley St. John, an associate professor at Duke-NUS Medical School in Singapore.
A company spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Vaccines, which are both made from inactivated viruses, have already been given to millions of people worldwide.
The World Health Organization approved the Beijing Institute of Biological Products’ shot for emergency use in early May, making it the first Chinese vaccine to receive certification.
China’s foreign minister Wang Yi said in April that China has provided vaccines to more than 100 countries, although it has not identified them. While China has six vaccines in use, most of its exports come from two companies: Sinopharma and Synovac.
Wu reported from Taipei, Taiwan.
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