A Hong Kong study suggests that people who received the BioNTech coronavirus vaccine had ten times more antibodies than those who received Sinovac. – © AFP
A Hong Kong study has shown that people who received the BioNTech coronavirus vaccine had ten times the amount of antibodies than those who received China’s Sinovac, which adds to growing data on the effectiveness of different spikes.
The University of Hong Kong (HKU) research, based on a study of 1,442 health workers, was published Thursday in the Lancet Microbe.
The researchers said antibodies are not the only measure of a vaccine’s success in fighting a particular disease.
But they warned that “the difference in concentrations of neutralizing antibodies identified in our study could translate into substantial differences in vaccine efficacy.”
Those who received Sinovac had antibody levels “similar or lower” than those observed in patients who successfully captured and fought the disease.
The study adds to the growing evidence that vaccines that use pioneering mRNA technology, such as BioNTech and Moderna, offer better protection against coronavirus and its variants than those developed by more traditional methods, such as the use of of inactivated virus parts.
Traditional vaccines are cheaper to produce and less complicated to transport and store, making them a vital tool in fighting the pandemic in less rich countries.
– “Many lives still saved” –
Epidemiologist Ben Cowling, one of the report’s authors, said people should still be vaccinated with Sinovac if there was no other option, because there was always better protection than none.
“Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good,” he told AFP.
“Clearly, it’s better to go vaccinated with an inactivated vaccine than to wait and not get vaccinated,” he added.
“The inactivated vaccine has saved many, many lives.”
The researchers said their data suggested “alternative strategies,” such as previous booster shots, that might be needed to increase the protection of people who have received Sinovac.
Cowling said that when a booster shot would be given it would be the next phase of his ongoing studies.
“The priority would be the drivers for the people who received Sinovac, while the drivers for the people who received BioNTech initially might not be as urgent,” he said.
– Politics –
Hong Kong has been a world leader in the study of coronaviruses since a SARS outbreak that began in southern China swept the city in 2003.
The city currently offers photos of German-made BioNTech and Sinovac.
Despite the supply scope, adoption has been slow, with only 28% of the city’s 7.5 million residents fully vaccinated with two shots.
So far about 2.6 million doses of BioNTech have been administered compared to 1.8 million shots of Sinovac.
The deployment has been caught in Hong Kong’s feverish politics, as China represses dissent in the city in response to the huge and often violent democratic protests of two years ago.
At the start of the vaccination campaign, Hong Kong’s pro-Beijing leaders very visibly and almost unanimously opted for Sinovac.
A medical clinic that recommended BioNTech on Sinovac was expelled from the city’s vaccination program.
Many of the city’s top epidemiologists have gone with BioNTech and have publicly said it’s the preferred feature.