Some countries of the world may have to depend on Chinese vaccines for Covid-19 to try and end the pandemic as the richer countries have been gobbling up supplies of Covid-19 vaccines.
However the question is whether the Chinese vaccine will be effective to inoculate people?
While there is no apparent reason to believe that the Chinese Covid-19 vaccine will not be effective, but there are concerns because of a history of vaccine scandals in China. Also, the vaccine developers have revealed little data about the final human trials undertaken for the vaccines and about the more than 1 million emergency-use inoculations that the Chinese claim have been carried out inside the country already.
About 9 billion of the 12 billion does of Covid-19 vaccines that have been developed mostly by Western pharma companies and expected to be produced next year have been reserved by the wealthy nations. On the other hand, the global effort to ensure equal access to Covid-19 vaccines called COVAX has not been able to live up to its promise of securing 2 billion vaccine doses.
China may be the only solution for those countries that have not yet secured a vaccine.
There are six vaccine candidates being developed in China that are in their last stage of clinical trials and is also among the very few countries that have the capacity to manufacture vaccine at a large scale. A production capacity of 1 billion doses next year has been announced by Chinese government officials.
China has an opportunity to repair the damage to its reputation because of accusations of it not being able to control the pandemic that emerged in the country and had allegedly lied to the world by not informing the rest of the world of the pandemic. It can also show that it is a major scientific player in the world.
However the trust on Chinese vaccines of its own citizens has been damaged because of past scandals. Additionally, there are issues in the manufacturing and supply chain whch cast a doubt about mass production of the vaccines.
“A question mark remains over how China can ensure the delivery of reliable vaccines,” said Joy Zhang, a professor who studies the ethics of emerging science at the University of Kent in Britain. She cited China’s “non-transparency over scientific data and a troubled history with vaccine delivery.”
After the United Arab Emirates, the second country to approve a Chinese Covid-19 vaccine was Bahrain which approved the usage last week. Chinese vaccines are also planned to be used in a mass immunization campaign by Morocco that is slated to start this month. Turkey, Indonesia and Brazil are awaiting approval of the use of Chinese vaccines while more than a dozen countries, including Russia, Egypt and Mexico are currently conducting clinical trials of Chinese vaccines.
“The studies look to be well done,” said Jamie Triccas, head of immunology and infectious diseases at the University of Sydney’s medical school, referring to clinical trial results published in scientific journals. “I wouldn’t be overly concerned about that.”
“There are no major outbreaks in China for any of these diseases,” said Jin Dong-yan, a medical professor at the University of Hong Kong. “That means the vaccines are safe and effective.”
Experts are waiting to see the results of clinical trials of Chinese vaccines now after the release of data on the effectiveness of the Western-made vaccines developed by Pfizer and Moderna.
(Adapted from CNBC.com)