People who received BioNTech’s coronavirus vaccine had ten times more antibodies than those from Chinese Sinovac, a Hong Kong study showed, adding to growing data on the effectiveness of different jabs.
Research from the University of Hong Kong (HKU), based on a study of 1,442 healthcare workers, was published Thursday in Lancet Microbe.
The researchers said that antibodies are not the only measure of a vaccine’s success in fighting a particular disease.
But they warned that “the difference in neutralizing antibody concentrations identified in our study could result in substantial differences in vaccine effectiveness.”
Those who received Sinovac had “similar or lower” antibody levels than those seen in patients who successfully caught and fought the disease.
The study adds to the growing body of evidence that vaccines using pioneering mRNA technology – such as BioNTech and Moderna – offer better protection against the coronavirus and its variants than those developed by more traditional methods such as use of inactivated virus parts.
Traditional vaccines are cheaper to produce and less complicated to transport and store, making them an essential tool in the fight against the pandemic in less wealthy countries.
– ‘Many lives still saved’ –
Epidemiologist Ben Cowling, one of the report’s authors, said people should still get vaccinated with Sinovac if there was no other option, because some protection was always better than nothing.
# photo1 “Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good,” he told AFP.
“It is clearly better to get vaccinated with an inactivated vaccine than to wait and not get vaccinated,” he added.
“Many, many lives have been saved by the inactivated vaccine. “
The researchers said their data suggested “alternative strategies” such as earlier booster shots might be needed to increase protection for those who received Sinovac.
Cowling said timing for booster shots would be the next phase in their ongoing studies.
“The priority would be the recalls for people who received Sinovac, while the reminders for people who initially received BioNTech might not be that urgent,” he said.
– Politics –
Hong Kong has been a world leader in the study of coronaviruses since a SARS epidemic that began in southern China swept through the city in 2003.
The city currently offers both German-made BioNTech and Sinovac shots.
Despite plentiful supplies, care has been slow, with just 28% of the city’s 7.5 million people fully vaccinated with two injections.
So far, some 2.6 million doses of BioNTech have been administered compared to 1.8 million injections of Sinovac.
The deployment has been caught up in feverish Hong Kong politics, as China clamps down on dissent in the city in response to huge and often violent protests for democracy two years ago.
# photo2 At the start of the vaccination campaign, Hong Kong’s pro-Beijing leaders very visibly and almost unanimously opted for Sinovac.
The clinic of a doctor who recommended BioNTech over Sinovac was excluded from the city’s vaccination program.
Many of the city’s leading epidemiologists have chosen BioNTech and have publicly said it is their favorite move.
© 2021 AFP