Vaccination center in Hong Kong: China has so far approved four Covid-19 vaccines
Photo: Paul Yeung / EPA-EFE
It was considered the first admission by a senior Chinese official that the vaccines produced in the country were less effective.
But now Gao Fu vehemently contradicts.
The director of the Chinese Center for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) said at a conference in Chengdu on Saturday, according to state media reports, authorities should "think about ways of solving the problem that the effectiveness of existing vaccines is not high." .
Accordingly, the combination of several preparations would have to be considered.
Now Gao Fu made it clear in the "Global Times": "It was a complete misunderstanding."
The proposal was "a scientific vision"
Rather, he presented a “scientific vision” that an adaptation of the vaccination sequence or the allocation of different vaccines one after the other could also be options for increasing protection.
"How their effectiveness can be improved must be considered by all scientists in the world," emphasized Gao Fu in the paper published by the communist party organ "People's Daily".
Critics complain about a lack of transparency in Chinese vaccines that are not yet approved in Germany.
In particular, more data from the third phase of clinical trials is required.
Since China itself hardly records any local infections, so far only studies from other countries where the vaccines are used have mostly been published.
So far, four corona vaccines have received conditional marketing authorization in China: three so-called dead vaccines from Sinovac and Sinopharm, which are administered in two doses, and the vector vaccine from CanSino, which is given in one dose.
With the dead vaccines, China has largely relied on a different strategy for vaccine production than companies in the USA or Europe.
The technology is tried and tested, the funds can be produced very quickly in large quantities.
The disadvantage, however, is that the immune response is often lower than with other vaccine technologies.
Chinese vaccines - initial study data suggest that they are less effective
Sinovac's vaccine achieved a protective effect of around 50 percent against symptomatic diseases with the coronavirus in clinical studies in Brazil.
According to the company, the vaccine prevents about 80 percent of the severity of the disease that requires medical treatment.
The two corona vaccines from Sinopharm have an effectiveness of around 79.3 and 72.5 percent, respectively.
CanSino's vaccine protects about 75 percent against Covid-19.
For comparison: The Covid-19 vaccines approved in the European Union all offer almost one hundred percent protection against serious illnesses with the new Sars-CoV-2 coronavirus.
According to initial analyzes, the mRNA-based agents from Biontech / Pfizer and Moderna also protect against symptomatic Covid-19 courses by around 95 percent.
The vector vaccines from AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson achieve similar values as the vaccines from China.
However, the idea of combining vaccine supplements to achieve better effectiveness is not new.
Researchers in Great Britain are already investigating the effectiveness of a vaccination in which one dose is administered by AstraZeneca and the other by Biontech / Pfizer.
The hope is that the immune system will be stimulated in slightly different ways by the various agents and that an even more stable immune response will result.
With vector vaccines like the one from AstraZeneca, the risk of the immune system attacking the harmless transport virus required for these vaccines during the second vaccination and thus impairing the effectiveness of the vaccination would also be eliminated (read more here).
Since the vaccination campaign started last year, 161 million vaccine doses have been administered in China.
The country has shipped hundreds of millions more cans around the world.
Beijing's goal is to fully immunize 40 percent of China's 1.4 billion people by June.
Foreign vaccines have not yet been approved for this and have been viewed critically, including by Gao Fu.
koe / dpa / AFP