Fri. Jun 25th, 2021

The preliminary results made public on Monday on an experiment conducted in a locality in Brazil using the jab of China’s Sinovac suggest the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic can be controlled if three-quarters of the population is fully vaccinated, said Ricardo Palacios, a director at Sao Paulo state’s Butantan Institute and coordinator of the study, which was not peer-reviewed.

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“The most important result was understanding that we can control the pandemic even without vaccinating the entire population,” Palacios said.

The results offer hope to hundreds of millions of people, especially in developing nations. Egypt, Pakistan, Indonesia, Zimbabwe and others are likewise reliant on the Chinese shot, which is cheaper than vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna.

The city’s population was split into four geographic areas regardless of age and gender, and most adults received two shots by the end of April. Results released Monday showed that the pandemic was controlled after three of the areas had been vaccinated. It was not clear if vaccine uptake was the same in each area.

Serrana saw vast improvements: Deaths fell by 95 percent, hospitalizations by 86 percent, and symptomatic cases by 80 percent.

The project “shows the protection exists and that the vaccine is effective. No doubt,” Gonzalo Vecina, one of the founders of Brazil’s health regulator and a medical school professor, said.

Likewise, Denise Garrett, vice president of the Sabin Vaccine Institute, which advocates for expanding global vaccine access, called the results “good and very encouraging.”

Both Vecina and Garrett said unanswered questions remain and that more data is needed to properly analyze the results, including information about people who got shots but did not develop immunity.

The spread of the virus in Serrana slowed while neighboring communities like Ribeirao Preto, just 12 miles west, saw a Covid-19 surge. The upswing was largely blamed on more contagious variants.

Hospitals in Ribeirao Preto are so full of Covid-19 patients that the mayor imposed strict shutdown measures last week, including halting public transportation and limiting hours for the city’s 700,000 residents to buy groceries. Some will wait months for their vaccines. Almost all shops are closed, and 95-percent of intensive-care unit beds are occupied by virus patients. SOVEREIGNPH

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