China has approved its fifth Covid-19 vaccine and is made from the ovary cells of hamsters.
The vaccine was developed by Anhui Zhifei Longcom Biopharmaceutical Co. and the Chinese Academy of Sciences. It was developed by a team led by George Gao, the head of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
The Chinese Academy of Sciences said in a statement on Tuesday that the Chinese government had given the shooting authorization for emergency use on March 10. It is the fourth vaccine approved by China for emergency use after two vaccines made by Sinopharm, a state vaccine. manufacturer, and one developed by Sinovac, a private company in Beijing. It also approved a fifth vaccine made by the Chinese company CanSino Biologics in partnership with the military, for general use.
Neither the company nor the institute behind the latest vaccine approved has published the efficacy data of its Phase 3 trials taking place in China, Ecuador, Indonesia, Pakistan and Uzbekistan.
Uzbekistan has approved the vaccine. The Chinese Academy of Sciences said phase 3 clinical trials involving 29,000 volunteers were “going smoothly”.
In Phase 1 and 2 trials in China, the Chinese Academy of Sciences said there were no serious adverse reactions among the volunteers, and the vaccine produced neutralizing antibodies at levels similar to those of other coronavirus shots. These results were not evaluated by peers.
The manufacturing process of the vaccine begins when the genetic code for the coronavirus protein is placed in the ovary cells of hamsters, usually the subjects of medical research.
The cells begin to make the protein and as soon as they reach a considerable volume, it is harvested and purified. The vaccine is supplemented with an adjuvant, an ingredient that boosts the immune system.
The Chinese Academy of Sciences said that the production of the vaccine can be easily increased in China and elsewhere, and that it is convenient for storage and transportation.
But the vaccine has several disadvantages. One is that it does not produce many T cells, which helps to clean infected cells and prevent them from spreading.
Without these cells, a person’s antibody levels may not be high enough to resolve the infection, said Ooi Eng Eong, a professor of microbiology and immunology at the National University of Singapore. “You are more likely to get a breakthrough infection,” he said.
Elsie Chen contributed research.