China’s Sinovac to test Omicron-targeting vaccines in Chile
- Trial in South American country will test the safety and immunity-triggering ability of two Covid-19 jabs
- Chinese pharmaceutical company’s booster candidate is also being studied in Hong Kong
Sinovac said it would be the first trial of an inactivated Covid-19 vaccine targeting multiple variants.
Another group will include people who have received four doses of the current inactivated vaccines by Sinovac. They will receive either a booster dose of the Omicron-targeting vaccine or the trivalent vaccine.
Three inactivated vaccines targeting the Omicron variant are currently being tested in Hong Kong, with a total of 1,800 participants taking part in the trials. They include Sinovac’s Omicron-targeting vaccine and two candidates from subsidiaries of Sinopharm. The Sinovac vaccine is based on strains obtained in December, including one isolated by the University of Hong Kong.
China has been reluctant to use imported vaccines. The country is trying to accelerate vaccine development to target the new variants as it faces increasing pressure to let go of its costly zero-Covid policy.
The United States and the United Kingdom have rolled out bivalent booster shots by Pfizer and Moderna that target both the original strain and Omicron’s BA.5 subvariant.
While more real-world data is required to determine their effectiveness, a recent preprint study by Australian scientists suggests that updated boosters offer much the same level of protection as an extra dose of existing vaccines – particularly in reducing hospitalisation and severe disease.