Home World In the face of the coveted Omicron virus, can China’s vaccine withstand it? – ABC News

In the face of the coveted Omicron virus, can China’s vaccine withstand it? – ABC News

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Omicron mutated venom quickly became the predominant strain of Covid-19 in much of North America, Europe and Australia, but the world‘s most populous regions still pretty much keep the virus out.

But Asia is bracing for the almost inevitable possibility of a surge in Omicron cases in the coming weeks.

Governments across Asia know that even further border controls and tighter restrictions cannot keep this highly contagious strain out of their borders forever.

The governments of these countries are doing everything they can to protect the lives of their citizens with the resources they have.

But some parts of Asia are relying on vaccines that may not provide enough protection against the newly mutated strain.

China’s Vaccine Takes the Test of Omicron Virus

Two vaccines, Sinovac and Sinopharm, were initially popular in Asia as China actively used domestically produced vaccines as bargaining chips in diplomatic negotiations, with China selling or donating both to more than 30 countries.

Sinopharm and Sinovac vaccines produced in China are used in many parts of Asia and South America.(Reuters: Jose Cabezas)

But some studies have raised concerns about how well Chinese-made vaccines protect against the Omicron strain.

Some Hong Kong scientists believe that the three doses of the Sinovac vaccine did not produce enough levels of antibodies to protect against the Omicron variant.

Another study by Yale University in the United States also found that even Pfizer’s booster dose did not provide sufficient protection for people who received two doses of the Sinovac vaccine.

Experts at Yale University recommend giving people who have received two doses of Sinovac two more doses of the Pfizer vaccine to make up for the lack of protection.

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Beijing Kexing Holding Biotechnology Co., Ltd. insists that laboratory studies have shown that the three-dose vaccine can effectively improve the neutralization ability of serum against the Omicron strain.

Three Western-developed vaccines, Moderna, AstraZeneca and Pfizer, were also less effective against the Omicron variant. But one expert said people who received Sinovac and Sinopharm vaccines appeared to be the most vulnerable.

“If you just look at the level of this neutralizing antibody,[中国疫苗]It seems to be on the low side from the outset and should have been boosted even before Omicron appeared,” said Dr Jerome Kim, director general of the International Vaccine Institute.

Some Asian countries began to switch Sinopharm and Sinopharm’s vaccines before the Omikron virus raged.

At present, Thailand is vaccinating people who have already received two doses of Sinovac vaccines for the fourth dose, or mixing Sinovac and AstraZeneca vaccines.

However, other countries are still insisting on using the Chinese vaccine.

Indonesia launches work to promote children’s vaccination with Sinovac vaccine

Despite concerns, the Indonesian government is still vaccinating children aged 6 to 11 with Sinovac. The vaccine is the only Covid-19 vaccine approved for children in Indonesia so far.

A little girl in a Hello Kitty face mask leans against a woman as a nurse in scrubs prepares a needle
Some studies have shown that Sinopharm and Sinovac vaccines have little protection against Omicron without a booster shot.(ABC News )

“We are doing more research, including on Pfizer’s vaccine,” said Siti Nadia Tarmizi, a spokeswoman for Indonesia’s health ministry.

“[研究]As soon as the results are in, we can vaccinate our kids with the Pfizer vaccine. “

The number of cases in Indonesia appears to have stabilized since last year, when a delta virus stoked Asia’s most devastating outbreak.

Indonesia has officially reported only a handful of Omikron cases so far, but experts know that the new variant of the virus will see a much higher number of confirmed cases than it currently is when it begins to spread in the community.

Indonesians pay to be tested for the new coronavirus.

The cost of doing a nucleic acid test (PCR) is about $30. In Indonesia, where the average monthly salary in the capital Jakarta area is A$440, this price is very expensive.

Currently, the number of infected people in Indonesia exceeds 4 million, but due to low testing rates, the actual number may be much higher.

Dr Kim expects that many Indonesians will be hit again by the coronavirus after the Omikron virus begins to spread in the community.

“The virus has the potential to infect those who have been infected,” he said.

“It looks like there’s at least some data suggesting that the virus might be less virulent, and everyone[在被传染后]symptoms will be milder. “

Where will the “next Omicron” come from?

Right now, large quantities of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are needed around the world to fight Omicron. When it comes to vaccine manufacturing, we’re at a “tipping point”, Dr. King said.

“Globally, humans produce 1.5 to 2 billion doses of vaccine each month,” he said.

“Supply should definitely not be an issue”.

A woman in scrubs touches vials in a big metal drum
By mid-2022, the world could be producing 2.5 billion doses of Covid-19 vaccine per month, Dr. King said.(Reuters: Ramzi Boudina)

The Asian region, with a population of about 4.5 billion, will consume these large quantities of imported vaccines.

Even if the populations of these countries are adequately vaccinated in the coming months, many do not have the technical capacity to test and monitor the spread of the new coronavirus among the population.

He also warned that the situation leaves those countries at high risk of being the birthplace of another dangerous mutated strain of the coronavirus.

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