China’s Sinopharm jab induces weaker antibody responses to Delta; Study

By Amirtha P S, Desk Reporter
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COVID-19 vaccine manufactured by the Chinese state-owned company Sinopharm induces weaker antibody responses against the Delta variant, based on the first published study of its effect against the more contagious version.

A study conducted by scientists from the University of Sri Jayewardenepura as well as Colombo Municipal Council in Sri Lanka, and the University of Oxford in the UK, found that antibody levels in people receiving Sinopharm’s BBIBP-CorV vaccine had a 1.38-fold reduction to the Delta variant versus an older version of the coronavirus first identified in Wuhan. 

“This vaccine was found very effective for the Delta variant as well. The antibody responses to delta variant and neutralizing antibodies were similar to levels seen following natural infection,” as per the University of Sri Jayewardenepura.

This suggested that Sinopharm’s vaccine may be able to induce antibody-based responses against the two variants similar to the levels seen following natural infection, the research said.

The Delta variant, first found in India late last year, has since become the dominant version of the virus worldwide and is behind a recent surge in infections reported in many countries including Britain, Indonesia, the US and South Korea. It has been detected in more than 90 nations.

The vaccine from Sinopharm, formally China National Pharmaceutical Group, also showed a more pronounced 10-fold decrease in antibody levels to the Beta variant, first found in South Africa, the study revealed.

The study showed that two doses of Sinopharm vaccine produced neutralizing antibodies in 81.25 percent of recipients and that these antibody levels were similar to what would occur after surviving a natural infection of COVID-19.

The two-dose vaccine is one of the most widely used COVID-19 shots in China, and Sinopharm agreed to provide up to 170 million doses to the global vaccine sharing scheme COVAX through to the middle of 2022.

Related: WHO supports mRNA COVID-19 shots despite rare heart risks