Chinese vaccines effective against Covid variant detected in India: Expert
China’s current Covid-19 vaccines are effective against the coronavirus variant first detected in India, a leading Chinese disease control expert said on Thursday.
Based on preliminary studies, the vaccines in use in China can provide protection against coronavirus infection “to a certain extent”, Shao Yiming, an expert with the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), said in Beijing on Thursday.
Shao did not share specific details of which vaccines are effective.
Chinese experts had said last week that at least 18 cases of the Covid-19 variant first detected in India had been detected in China.
China has been paying close attention to the variant of the coronavirus detected in India, and is conducting research and accumulating data on it, Shao said.
The virus will continue mutating, therefore more changes will appear, Shao, was quoted as saying by the official news agency, Xinhua.
He said that China is capable of putting new, effective vaccines into use if new variants render current vaccines ineffective.
Shao added that if an emerging mutated variant reaches beyond the protection efficacy of the existing vaccines, China has the capability to respond to it quickly “…because the production process is mature enough and does not require much change to produce a new vaccine against the mutation”.
India until last week had not approached Chinese companies to import vaccines to tackle the current surge in Covid-19 cases, the Chinese foreign ministry told HT on May 14.
China, according to agency reports, has five vaccines in use in its mass immunization campaign: Three inactivated-virus vaccines from Sinovac and Sinopharm, a one-shot vaccine from CanSino, and the last one from CDC in partnership with Anhui Zhifei Longcom.
More than 449.5 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines had been administered in China as of Wednesday, the National Health Commission said in an update on Thursday.
Earlier this month, the World Health Organisation gave the green light to China’s Sinopharm Covid-19 vaccine for emergency use, approving the vaccine to be rolled out globally.
It is the first vaccine developed by a non-Western country to get the UN health agency’s backing though China has already vaccinated millions of people at home, since last year, and in dozens of other countries with it.
“On the basis of all available evidence, WHO recommends the vaccine for adults 18 years and older, in a two-dose schedule with a spacing of three to four weeks. Vaccine efficacy for symptomatic and hospitalised disease was estimated to be 79%, all age groups combined,” the WHO said.
China had provided vaccine assistance to over 80 countries, three international organisations and exported jabs to over 50 countries, the Chinese foreign ministry said earlier this week.
“We are also working with over 10 developing countries including Egypt and the UAE on technological transfer and cooperative production to quickly advance large-scale production of vaccines,” ministry spokesperson, Zhao Lijian said.
China has also promised to supply 10 million vaccines to Covax, a global vaccine distribution campaign backed by the WHO.
India recorded 276,110 new Covid-19 cases in the last 24 hours, Indian health ministry data showed on Thursday.
The total tally now stands at 25,772,440. The country also recorded 3,874 deaths, pushing the overall death toll to 287,122.