SinoPharm: Starts clinical trials of two vaccines against Omicron mutation
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Two COVID-19 vaccines developed by units of the China National Biotec Group (CNBG) to specifically target the Omicron variant have been approved for clinical trials as booster doses in Hong Kong, Sinopharm said on Saturday, according to Reuters.
Scientists around the world are trying to develop upgraded vaccines against the new Omicron strain of the coronavirus, as data show that antibodies to vaccines based on older strains of the virus have a weaker activity in counteracting the highly contagious variant.
The two vaccines, which contain the inactivated Omicron strain virus, are similar to the two Sinopharm vaccines already used in China and will be tested on adults who have already received two or three doses of the vaccine, the CNBG said in a statement.
The announcement did not specify which vaccines the participants in the clinical trial would have received before receiving the booster dose against the micron or how many people will be treated.
A Chinese study showed that a fourth dose of BBIBP-CorV, an existing Sinopharm vaccine, did not significantly increase Omicron strain antibody levels when given six months after the third booster dose in a first two-dose vaccine.
While the fourth dose restored antibody levels to approximately the maximum levels following the third dose, the researchers said the new vaccines would offer a better alternative as future boosters.