Thu. Feb 25th, 2021
(Photo Courtesy: http://www.globaltimes.cn)

A Chinese drugmaker said on Wednesday its coronavirus vaccine was found to be 79.3-percent effective at preventing infection based on preliminary data from the final round of testing, moving Beijing closer to possibly being able to fulfill its pledge to supply other developing countries.

The announcement by a unit of state-owned Sinopharm gave the first official data from a Chinese vaccine’s late-stage trial. Its reported effectiveness rate is behind Pfizer Inc.‘s vaccine at 95 percent and Moderna Inc.’s at 94 percent.

It was Sinopharm that provided the coronavirus vaccines that were used on some members of the military and government officials, which is currently creating controversy in the Philippines.

Scientists have cautioned coronavirus vaccines may only be about as effective as flu vaccines, which generally are 50-percent effective.

Sinopharm is one of at least five Chinese developers that are in a global race to create vaccines for the disease that has killed more than 1.7 million people. More than 1 million health care workers and others in China have received vaccines being developed by Sinopharm and another supplier, Sinovac, under emergency approval while testing was underway.

The two-sentence statement by the Sinopharm unit that developed the vaccine, the Beijing Biological Products Institute Ltd., gave no additional details. Final proof of its effectiveness will depend on publication of more data.

“That’s useful, and at least it is showing that it is probably effective,” said Jin Dong-yan, a medical professor at the University of Hong Kong.

Jin said “it would be helpful” to know how many people were vaccinated, how large the control group was and other details.

“They should release more information,” Jin said. SOVEREIGNPH

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