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Real-world data shows domestic vaccines effective against new variants

By Wang Xiaoyu | | Updated: 2022-02-19 20:14
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People receive COVID-19 vaccines at a temporary vaccination site in Nan'an district of Chongqing, Southwest China, March 27, 2021. [Photo/Xinhua]

Real-world studies in China have shown domestic COVID-19 vaccines are effective in reducing severe cases and deaths against the Delta and Omicron variants, a leading health expert said on Saturday.

Shao Yiming, a member of the country's vaccine development expert panel, said getting a booster shot can induce stronger immunity to prevent breakthrough infections and spread of the novel coronavirus, citing research conducted in regions that had dealt with local outbreaks including Shaanxi province and Tianjin municipality.

As the Omicron variant has become the dominant strain circulating the globe and triggering several domestic outbreaks since January, he said China has launched research into new vaccines tailored to the variant as a precautionary measure.

The country's top drug regulator is reviewing clinical trial applications filed by researchers of inactivated vaccines targeting Omicron, he said.

Some research teams that focus on broad-spectrum or multivalent vaccines have also handed in human trial applications, according to Shao.

He added research into viral vector and nucleic acid vaccines designed to tackle Omicron is also underway, with some researchers having completed animal trials.

"Authorities have also formulated research and appraisal guidelines for such variant-specific vaccines to advance the process," he said. "Even though a new variant can evade immunity triggered by existing vaccines entirely, we can scale up production of new vaccines swiftly," he said.

Several domestic outbreaks have emerged recently in China. The State Council's Joint Prevention and Control Mechanism has dispatched working groups to Liaoning and Guangdong provinces, as well as the Inner Mongolia autonomous region to guide local virus control work.

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