Thursday September 23, 2021

Chinese ZF2001, Moderna mRNA vaccines show promise against Delta variant: UHS VC

Preliminary results of the trials are expected to be announced today by the vaccine developer Anhui Zhifei Longcom
August 02, 2021
File photo.
File photo.

ISLAMABAD: Principal investigator of the vaccine trials in Pakistan and University of Health Sciences (UHS) Vice-Chancellor Prof Javed Akram has said preliminary results from phase-III clinical trials of triple-dose Chinese vaccine ZF2001 show promise against the Delta variant of the SARS-Cov-2, which has wreaked havoc in the entire world, including Pakistan.

Preliminary results of the trials are expected to be announced on Monday (today) by the vaccine developer Anhui Zhifei Longcom, Prof Javed Akram stated this in his presidential lecture at an international conference that concluded here on Sunday.

“Findings from the data released by the Institute of Microbiology at the Chinese Academy of Sciences on July 16, 2021, showed that ZF-2001 retains its neutralising effect against the Delta (variant). Preliminary efficacy results from the phase-III clinical trials are expected on Monday but samples from those who received their third dose at longer intervals between the second shot showed a greater activity against variants,” he added.

The triple-dose Chinese vaccine ZF2001 has already been granted emergency use authorisation (EUA) in China and Uzbekistan and so far over 100 of its doses have been administered in both the countries.

The three-day Second International Conference of Pakistan Society of Internal Medicine (PSIM) was inaugurated by President Arif Alvi on Friday and it was attended by leading experts, academicians, researchers, students and officials from Pakistan.

Prof Javed Akram, who is also the President of PSIM, maintained that data from Israel showed that Pfizer-BioNTech’s mRNA vaccine Comirnaty was 64 percent effective in preventing infection by the Delta variant down from 94 percent but added that Moderna’s mRNA vaccine was still showing promise against the Delta variant, which appears to be 225 per cent more transmissible than the original SARS-Cov-2 strains.

He maintained that they were going to start the Cansino’s nasal vaccine trials in the country, saying the nasal vaccine administration would not require any syringe and added that Cansino’s vaccine had also proved effective against the Delta variant and now they were going to administer its booster doses to those who received its initial jabs.

According to him, they were also going to launch the phase-III clinical trials of another triple-dose recombinant sf9 cells vaccine in the country, which could be stored at 4-8 degrees Celsius and proved to be highly effective against the new variants, adding that protocols were being prepared to get the phase-III clinical trials approved from the National Bioethics Committee (NBC) and the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP).

Commenting on the effectiveness of mix and match of different Covid-19 vaccines, he claimed that many people had managed to get more than one vaccine in Pakistan but added that so far there was no conclusive evidence available if the mix and match of different conventional and genetic vaccines was effective against preventing new variants of the coronavirus.

“We have launched a polyvac study in which we are collecting the data of those who have got more than one vaccines. We are providing a link where people can share their data, which would help us analyze if the mix and match of different vaccines is useful or not,” he added.

The PSIM president deplored that the rate of vaccination was not very heartening in Pakistan where at least 160 million needed to be vaccinated to achieve herd immunity but added that so far less than 30 million had been vaccinated, of which those who were fully vaccinated was less than six million.

“The target of vaccinating 70 per cent of the population of Pakistan by the end of this year seems impossible at the current rate of vaccination,” he added. Regarding the vaccination of pregnant women, he observed that pregnant women must get themselves vaccinated, preferably with mRNA vaccines as both Pfizer Morderna’s vaccines were now available in Pakistan and added that pregnant women are advised to get inoculated in the second or third trimester of the pregnancy.