A recent Hong Kong study reports that people who are inoculated with the BioNTech vaccines have 10 times more antibodies than those who receive the Sinovac vaccine. While antibody numbers is not the only factor in a successful vaccine, the lower levels of neutralising antibodies in the Sinovac Vaccine may substantially lower its effectiveness.
The study was published yesterday and conducted by the University of Hong Kong which tested 1,442 vaccinated healthcare workers. The disappointing results for Sinovac saw that people who had recovered from a Covid-19 infection had similar or higher neutralising antibodies in their systems than those with the Sinovac vaccine. With 10 times more antibodies, the BioNTech vaccine offered much better protection against Covid-19. As more data is gathered about how traditional vaccines compare to those that use newer mRNA technology, a clearer picture is emerging of mRNA’s superiority in terms of battling the Coronavirus and all the variants as they mutate.
Still, epidemiologist Ben Cowling who co-authored the study made the case for the usefulness of the Sinovac vaccine and other traditional shots. Essentially something is better than nothing in the fight against Covid-19, and while it may not be effective in warding off infection, studies have found Sinovac is able to reduce the chance of death or severe illness if someone does catch the virus.
“It is clearly better to go and get vaccinated with an inactivated vaccine than to wait and not get vaccinated. Many, many lives have been saved by the inactivated vaccine.”
Also importantly, traditional vaccines are far easier to store and transport allowing poorer countries access to vaccines when they may lack freezer facilities to stockpile mRNA vaccines. Alternative options to mRNA vaccines have been gaining traction, with the suggestion of supplementing 2 Sinovac shots with an additional AstraZeneca booster shot. The study will next turn their focus to the most effective time and method to administer booster vaccines.
Of interest for the location of this study, Hong Kong offers both Sinovac and BioNTech vaccines to its citizens, and with its close ties to China, the government pushed for Sinovac and initially shunned those who suggested the BioNTech vaccine was superior, though many top epidemiologists still publicly supported BioNTech. Nearly 50% more people in Hong Kong have opted for the BioNTech shot over Sinovac, but even with plentiful supplies, only 28% of citizens have opted to get vaccinated.
SOURCE: Bangkok Post
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