Does the Sinovac booster dose really offer 94% protection against the Omicron variant?
Let’s take a look at their claim, and find out what the facts really are!
Sinovac : Booster Dose 94% Protective Against Omicron!
On 15 December 2021, Sinovac claimed that three doses of their CoronaVac vaccine had a 94% neutralising antibody rate against the Omicron variant.
This was not an official announcement posted on their website, but announced through Global Times, a Chinese state media outlet.
The latest study shows three shots of Chinese biotech firm Sinovac’s inactivated vaccine can lead to a 94 percent neutralizing antibody rate against the Omicron variant, while the rate after two shots is 35 percent, the Global Times learned from the company on Wednesday.
The study was conducted by the company on 20 people who received two shots and another 48 who received three shots. Seven in the first group and 45 in the second tested positive in neutralizing antibodies against the Omicron variant, the company said in a statement to the Global Times.
Sinovac said that the data demonstrated that the administration of a booster shot of its vaccine can effectively enhance the vaccine’s neutralizing capacity to the Omicron variant, read the statement.
Does Sinovac Booster Offer 94% Protection Against Omicron?
Unfortunately, it does not appear that the Sinovac booster shot actually offers 94% protection against the Omicron variant.
And here are the reasons why…
Fact #1 : Sinovac Did Not Post Official Statement / Study
Most of the press blindly posted Sinovac’s claims, without bothering to fact check.
I refrained from commenting earlier, because I was waiting for Sinovac to actually post their study details, or at least an official statement.
However, it is now 1 January 2022, and Sinovac has posted neither the study results, nor an official press statement.
In case you are wondering if Sinovac actually posts such press releases, yes, they do. On 9 September 2021, they posted a press release announcing that a third dose of their vaccine is able to “effectively neutralise the SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern“.
Fact #2 : Sinovac Results Were Misleadingly Worded
If you read the Global Times report very carefully, you will notice that it was carefully worded to say one thing, but imply something else altogether.
In that report, Sinovac claimed a 94% neutralising antibody rate against the Omicron variant, suggesting that their booster dose offers 94% protection against Omicron. That is not what it actually means.
Sinovac stated that they detected neutralising antibodies against Omicron in 45 out of 48 people (93.75%) who received three doses of their vaccine, but cleverly avoided mentioning :
- how much neutralising antibodies were present (the Geometric Mean Titre),
- whether the quantity of neutralising antibodies was high enough to protect against Omicron, and
- whether the 45 individuals with neutralising antibodies were able to avoid getting infected by the Omicron variant.
So while they may have detected neutralising antibodies against the Omicron variant, that does not mean that the antibodies were present in high enough quantities to deliver adequate protection.
The results certainly do NOT mean that the Sinovac booster dose is capable of offering 94% protection against the Omicron variant.
Fact #3 : Sinovac Booster Dose Proven To Be Ineffective Against Omicron
The University of Hong Kong and the Chinese University of Hong Kong recently conducted a study of the Pfizer and Sinovac booster dose.
In that study, they found that three doses of the Sinovac vaccine boosted neutralising antibodies against Omicron, compared to just two doses.
However, the amount of neutralising antibodies produced by three Sinovac doses was much TOO LOW to protect against the Omicron variant.
In fact, the three Sinovac doses were only able to deliver the equivalent antibody titre of two Pfizer doses against the Omicron variant.
Fact #4 : Sinovac Did Not Prove Booster Dose Protects Against Omicron
Sinovac is technically correct in claiming that the booster dose enhances protection. That’s what ALL booster doses do – they enhance protection.
However, unless they share their actual study data (particularly the antibody titre), they cannot claim their booster dose effectively protects against the Omicron variant. They offered NO EVIDENCE to prove that.
On the other hand, the recent HKU and CU study has shown that the increased antibody levels from the Sinovac booster dose is not enough to protect against the Omicron variant.
It is past time to stop using the Sinovac vaccine. It was the least efficacious COVID-19 vaccine to be approved, and it does not get much better with a third dose.
The Omicron variant is proving to be highly infectious, and those who were received the Sinovac vaccine will need to get a Pfizer booster dose to obtain sufficient protection.
If you were fully-vaccinated with the Sinovac vaccine, please opt for a Pfizer booster dose. Don’t waste your time with a third dose of the Sinovac vaccine.
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Dr. Adrian Wong has been writing about tech and science since 1997, even publishing a book with Prentice Hall called Breaking Through The BIOS Barrier (ISBN 978-0131455368) while in medical school.
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