Sinopharm data on Covid-19 vaccines shows efficacy above 70% but little data on elderly or vulnerable

A study published in an American medical journal has shown that Sinopharm’s two jabs are 72.8% and 78.1% effective at preventing symptomatic Covid-19, but says there is insufficient trial data from elderly and vulnerable groups.

The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association on Wednesday, shows the two Chinese-made shots to be more effective than the World Health Organization (WHO) minimum requirement of 50% efficacy. The study references interim data from phase-3 trials involving 40,832 volunteers from across the UAE, Bahrain, Egypt and Jordan.

The published data answers scientists’ calls for greater transparency about the shots that have been administered more than 200 million times around the world.

The trial data show the vaccine made by Sinopharm’s Beijing subsidiary, which has already been approved by the WHO, to be 78.1% effective in preventing symptomatic Covid-19.

The efficacy drops to 73.5% when asymptomatic cases are taken into account. The shot made by Sinopharm’s Wuhan subsidiary is seemingly less effective, demonstrating 72.8% efficacy against symptomatic cases and 64% when asymptomatic infections are included. 

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However, there are concerns that the vaccine has not been properly trialed on elderly and vulnerable groups. Approximately 600 people over 60 were recruited for the trial with some receiving a placebo. The study notes: “No incident cases of Covid-19 occurred in either group, thus efficacy was not calculated.”

The authors note further limitations to the study, including that the jabs weren’t tested on pregnant women or those younger than 18 years and that “the trial was mainly conducted in generally healthy, young men in the Middle East.” They add that the trial is ongoing, and that further study is needed to “refine long-term efficacy estimates.”

The publication comes amid concern about the effectiveness of Chinese vaccines despite the WHO’s decision to grant emergency approval to Sinopharm shot from its Beijing subsidiary.

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