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Monday, 12 April 2021

Questions about Sinovac, Sinopharm protection rates

Sinopharm and Sinovac — two vaccines Egypt is relying on in its inoculation drive — “don’t have very high protection rates” against the virus the causes covid-19, director of the China Centers for Disease Control Gao Fu said at a presser, according to the Associated Press reports. The country’s top disease control body is now considering the use of different vaccines with different “technical lines” and is also mulling mixing its existing jabs to make them more effective, Gao added.

The Sinovac shot, of which Egypt plans to produce 80 mn doses each year through state-owned Vacsera, is well below the Sinopharm jab's efficacy rate: Sinovac was reportedly found to be just 50.4% effective at preventing symptomatic infections in a Brazilian trial earlier this year — barely meeting the threshold for regulatory approval and much lower than the initially reported efficacy rate. Egypt has so far received 680k doses of Sinopharm and is expected to get its hands on an additional 900k-1 mn doses of the jab in the coming days. Sinopharm has claimed a 79% efficacy rate.

Next in line for jabs here at home: MPs, who are expected to get vaccinated this week after Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly signed off on their eligibility, along with their immediate families, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Alaa Fouad said during a plenary session yesterday, Masrawy reports. Rep. Mostafa Bakry had previously proposed that the entire House of Representatives go on recess until members are inoculated, after 15 MPs were infected.

The Health Ministry reported 812 new covid-19 infections yesterday, up from 801 the day before. Egypt has now disclosed a total of 210,489 confirmed cases of covid-19. The ministry also reported 40 new deaths, bringing the country’s total death toll to 12,445.

Saudi Arabia will allow (limited) Ramadan-evening Taraweeh prayers in the two Grand Mosques in Mecca and Medina, according to a statement. The Taraweeh prayers in the two mosques will be capped to five Tasleemat, with strict precautionary measures in place to curb the spread of covid-19, the statement said.

Pfizer and BioNTech’s covid-19 vaccine could be less effective against the South Africa variant than previously thought, according to the real-world study in Israel that allowed the country to roll out its vaccination program at record speed. The study — the results of which may not be properly indicative because of the small sample size and other limitations — found the prevalence of the variant to be eight times higher in vaccinated than unvaccinated people, Reuters reports. “This means that the South African variant is able, to some extent, to break through the vaccine’s protection,” Tel Aviv University professor Adi Stern said.

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