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Packaging for the Sinopharm COVID 19 vaccines administered at the Couva health Centre, Couva.

China Sinopharm International Corporation has joined in condemning an investigative report published in the Sunday Express which implied its COVID-19 vaccine was not able to generate enough antibodies to prevent severe disease.

A statement to Guardian Media from the corporation’s Caribbean arm said the report was false and called the media house “irresponsible.”
“This report are based on the level of antibody detection on 4 individuals and concluded that the effectiveness of the Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine is not as good as other vaccines. It is really lack of scientificity and objectivity somehow shows the amateur and irresponsible of this media,” it said

Sinopharm also said it was happy that the St Augustine Medical Laboratory (STAML), whose tests were used for the report, issued a disclaimer on Sunday emphasising that “scientific analysis and opinions should be left for professionals and those qualified to do so and must be based on facts”.

Sinopharm clarified that the vaccine has been proven safe and effective through trials and backed by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
“The efficacy of Chinese vaccines has been proved by the World Health Organization and many other professional institutions. More than 100 countries worldwide have approved and administered Sinopharm vaccines and further testify its efficacy with solid research data.

According to the WHO, a large multi-country Phase 3 trial has shown that 2 doses of COVID-19 vaccine BIBP produced by Sinopharm have an efficacy of 79% against symptomatic infection and an efficacy of 79% against hospitalization.

European Union (EU) officially issued the GMP certificate for the Sinopharm vaccine,” it said. It also cited a real-world effectiveness study done in Peru which showed that “Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine reduced 98% mortality.” “Real-world research in Argentina shows that the protection rate of Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine against deaths of people over 60 years old is 84%,” it added.

It admits that Sinopharm, much like all other vaccine platforms, is subject to waning antibody levels over time which weakens the protective efficacy. However, it said trials show a significant enhancement following a third Sinopharm dose.

“The results of Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine Phase III clinical study for booster immunization exhibited good safety and immunogenicity after the third dose. The third dose shot at different intervals (6/8/12 months) after the second dose induced the antibody levels to enhance significantly.

The strongest growth appeared at the interval of 6 months, the neutralizing antibody increasing 10 times compared with that after the second dose. The cross-neutralization experiments proved that the third dose induces considerable protect effect against the Delta variant.

According to the safety data, local adverse reactions after the third dose are not significantly different from those after the first two doses and the incidence of systemic adverse reactions were lower than that after the first two doses,” it said.
The statement said, “Sinopharm is willing to continuously contribute to the global anti-epidemic fight and will stand with governments of all countries to build a protective shield to safeguard people’s lives and health.”

Following the article’s publication, the Prime Minister, STAML and the Chinese Embassy have all condemned it, pointing out the scientific inaccuracies leading to its conclusion. The Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) also issued a release reaffirming the vaccine’s efficacy.

Reporter: Rishard Khan