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Thursday, 27 May 2021

Things are looking up today in the global battle against covid

Your statutorily required covid read is actually good news for Egypt: Sinopharm has finally publicly published results of a large late-stage study on two of its vaccines. One of the vaccines manufactured by the Chinese pharma firm showed a 72.8% efficacy while the other vaccine’s effectiveness was recorded at 78.1%. The results do not break down how much protection the jabs provide against severe vs. asymptomatic cases. The data is from trials with a total of 40k participants in Egypt, the UAE, Bahrain, and Jordan, researchers said.

Sinopharm is on a roll: Earlier this month, the World Health Organization gave emergency approval to the company’s jab, boosting its credibility as it remains an essential component in the Gavi / Covax program. Egypt is purchasing doses of Sinopharm’s vaccine, but will be manufacturing a competing jab from Sinovac. Reuters and Bloomberg have the story.

Meanwhile, German scientists may have found the cause behind the rare blood clots linked to covid-19 vaccines. Goethe University in Frankfurt researchers found that the problem is associated with adenovirus vectors which vaccines use to deliver the genetic instructions for the spike protein into the cell nucleus. The AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson (J&J) vaccines use these adenovirus vectors, while mRNA-based vaccines, such as the jabs developed by BioNTech/Pfizer and Moderna, deliver the spike’s genetic material to the cell fluid without ever entering the cell nucleus.

The findings mean that there is a straightforward “way out” to prevent blood clots, Rolf Marschalek, who has been leading the studies, told the Financial Times. He believes that vaccine developers can modify the gene sequence in a way where spike proteins don’t split apart, which causes the clotting. J&J has already contacted Marschalek’s lab to ask for guidance on how to adapt the jab.

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