Experts Question Efficacy of Chinese Vaccine Ahead of Rollout

The Chinese COVID-19 vaccine has gone through several trials over the past months, with results ranging between 51% and 91%.

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Rabat – Millions of people around the world are about to be vaccinated with the Chinese Sinovac vaccine while some uncertainty remains about its efficacy. All trials that have tested the Chinese vaccine’s efficacy have met the 50% efficacy rate required by the WHO, yet results have varied. 

The Chinese government has already vaccinated over a million of its citizens and Morocco is preparing to roll out its own vaccination campaign using the Sinovac vaccine. The vaccine has gone through several trials over the past months, with results ranging between 51% and 91%.

Trials of 1,650 people in Indonesia concluded that the Chinese vaccine has a 65% efficacy rate. However, similar trials in Turkey of only 50 test subjects resulted in an efficacy of  91%.  The largest international trials of 13,000 Brazilians appear to have been downgraded in recent weeks.

The Brazilian Butantan Institute had announced that the Brazilian trials had revealed a 78% efficacy rate for mild cases of COVID-19, while the Chinese vaccine was deemed to be 100% effective for severe cases. Those results were brought into question last week, when Butantan Institute revised its findings, revealing an average 50,38% efficacy rate for all cases.

Read also: Covid-19: WHO Denounces Global Unequal Distribution Of Vaccines

Those results still meet the WHO’s required 50% efficacy rate, and the vaccine has met all safety standards. Still, the varying results have raised questions about the true efficacy rate of the Chinese vaccine.Sinovac and the Chinese government have expressed full confidence in their vaccine, pointing to the use of the vaccine among the country’s diplomatic corps.

The Chinese vaccine that is to be used in Morocco alongside the Astrazeneca vaccine is being used in vaccination campaigns in Brazil, Chile, Turkey, Indonesia with many countries lining up to sign deals with Sinovac. The vaccine appears to be significantly cheaper than its western competitors, and China is expected to be able to rapidly manufacture the vaccines on an as-needed basis.

Ricardo Palacios, medical director of Brazil’s Butantan Institute, remains confident in the efficacy of the Chinese vaccine. He estimated that the Sinovac jab is more effective for patients with worse symptoms, which would help relieve intensive care units in hospitals. “The more intense the disease, the more effective the vaccine,” Palacios told the South China Morning Post.