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CoronaVac, the Chinese vaccine that will compete with Moderna and Pfizer

It seems that the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines will not be the only ones to consider in the fight against the pandemic in 2021. China is already working on its own vaccine, developed by the Sinovac Biotech laboratory. It has already received the name CoronaVac and in its most recent studies it has demonstrated a rapid immune response to the coronavirus. However, the number of antibodies it produces in those who carry it is less than that produced by those who have recovered from COVID-19.

The studies correspond to the first two phases of the clinical trials of this vaccine, published in The Lancet magazine, and that they have already been injected into more than 700 volunteers in research. The doses have already been distributed by the Chinese population and they have even been sold in Jiaxing City for a price of $ 60 in an emergency program. CoronaVac is one of five vaccines that China is developing to compete with those of Pfizer and Moderna, which are 90% effective.

“Our findings show that CoronaVac is capable of inducing a rapid antibody response within four weeks of immunization, administering two doses of the vaccine with an interval of 14 days. We believe that this makes the vaccine suitable for emergency use during the pandemic, “said Zhu Fengcai about the vaccine, although he warns that the data obtained in the third phase of the studies will be” crucial “in determining the response that is taken against the virus and if it is enough to protect against COVID-19.

Conservation between 2 and 8 degrees

One of the great problems that the Pfizer vaccine has presented is its conservation at temperatures of -70ºC. But nevertheless, Modern’s is more accessible and it could even last around 30 days at the temperature of a domestic refrigerator, which makes its distribution easier. The same would happen with the CoronaVac since “it can be stored in a standard refrigerator between 2 and 8 degrees”, which, According to one of the authors of the research, Gang Zeng, it makes it “a very attractive option.”

“The vaccine could also remain stable for up to three years in storage, which would offer advantages for its distribution to regions where access to refrigeration is difficult. The data from the studies done in phase III will be crucial before recommendations can be made on the potential uses of CoronaVac, ”he adds.

Pending more studies to know its effectiveness

Although the first results are encouraging, more studies are needed to verify its effectiveness. So far, 700 people have participated in the studies, all healthy adults, with ages between 18 and 59 years. Therefore, it is essential to continue conducting research in other groups of different ages and thus know their immune response to coronavirus. Even people with previous illnesses. Further, It is a vaccine developed in a SARS-CoV-2 viral strain originally isolated from a Chinese patient.

“In the long term, when the risk of COVID-19 is lowest, our findings suggest that administering two doses with a one-month interval, rather than a two-week interval, it could be more appropriate to induce stronger and potentially longer-lasting immune responses, “explained Fengcai about the doses required for this vaccine. He also warned that they are still necessary “More studies to see how long antibody responses last after vaccination.”

Brazil and Indonesia have already reached agreements

Despite the many studies left for this vaccine, CoronaVac is already the best placed in Brazil and Indonesia for distribution if it ends up being approved. It would be the best option to vaccinate the population against the coronavirus and even Indonesia would have already requested emergency authorization to start a massive vaccination campaign among its citizens at the end of this year.

In Sao Paulo, Brazil, the intention is to start vaccinating from January 2021, reaching an agreement with Sinovac, the company responsible for the manufacture of these doses. “The excellent safety of CoronaVac, compared to other vaccines in development, generates greater acceptance by the population “, said Ricardo Palacios, manager of trials of the biomedical center of the Butantan Institute of Brazil