Last Saturday (10), the head of the China Disease Control and Prevention Center (CDC) George Gao Fu made a controversial statement during a conversation with journalists, saying that Chinese covid-19 vaccines have low efficacy.
According to Gao, the authorities are thinking about ways to improve the performance of immunizers against the new coronavirus developed in the country. One possibility would be to increase the number of doses, instead of the two applied at the moment. The mix of technologies and a longer interval between the two injections would also be part of the plans.
The comments made by the director of the Chinese CDC at an event in the city of Chengdu soon resonated. On social media, the government of China, which claims otherwise, valuing the efficiency of local vaccines, would have censored countless comments from Internet users, according to the The Washington Post.
George Gao Fu.Source: Global Times / Reproduction
The international repercussion was also negative and may make some countries that were skeptical about Chinese vaccines more suspicious, according to the publication. In Singapore, for example, the doses acquired from Sinovac would not have been used, while the United Arab Emirates would already be experimenting with three doses of the Sinopharm immunizer, in search of greater protection.
On Sunday (11), Gao ended up changing his speech the day before. In an interview with the state newspaper Global Times, he stated that it was all a “misunderstanding”, after people had misinterpreted his speech.
To the vehicle, the head of the Chinese agency argued that he was talking about the effectiveness of all vaccines, in general, not just referring to those produced in the country. He added by saying that scientists involved in the development of immunizers, internationally, need to improve the work.
Chinese vaccines have already been approved by more than 60 countries.Source: Unsplash
China Foreign Affairs Council member Yanzhong Huang criticized Gao’s comments, saying he is “deviating from the official narrative about the effectiveness of Chinese and Western vaccines” and suggesting other interests behind the speech.
“I think he was trying to push for the approval of the use of Pfizer / BioNTech vaccines in China and / or for accelerating the development of vaccines with the country’s own mRNA technology,” hinted Huang.
Improvements were already discussed by pharmaceutical companies
Even before the head of the CDC of China raised the possibility of a not-so-high efficacy of immunizers leaving the country, some local pharmacists were already discussing ways to increase the protection offered by their formulas.
Executives at Sinopharm, responsible for developing an immunizer with an efficacy of 79.4% reported in preliminary studies, have been evaluating since March the inclusion of an extra dose in the standard administration of the product, and should start the tests with the application of three injections soon.
The country may develop new formulas later this year.Source: Unsplash
The production of immunizers with the mRNA technique in China, used by Pfizer / BioNTech and Moderna, among other manufacturers, which have better efficacy rates, is also not ruled out, and it may happen in 2021, as well as the mixture of vaccines from in an attempt to increase protection.
The main formula used in vaccination in Brazil so far, CoronaVac, by Sinovac, showed an overall effectiveness of 50.38% in the first studies. But a new trial showed an increase in the index to 62.3% when the second dose is applied at an interval equal to or greater than 21 days after the initial one.