Sinopharm's Covid-19 shot induces weaker antibody responses to Delta variant: Study

People receiving Sinopharm's Covid-19 vaccine had a 1.38-fold reduction in antibody levels against the Delta variant.
People receiving Sinopharm's Covid-19 vaccine had a 1.38-fold reduction in antibody levels against the Delta variant.PHOTO: AFP

BEIJING (REUTERS) - Sinopharm's Covid-19 vaccine elicits weaker antibody responses against the Delta variant, based on the first published study of its effect against the more contagious version.

Antibody levels in people receiving Sinopharm's vaccine showed a 1.38-fold reduction against the Delta variant versus an older version of the coronavirus first identified in Wuhan, a laboratory study based on samples from people in Sri Lanka showed.

The study was conducted by scientists from the University of Sri Jayewardenepura and the Colombo Municipal Council in Sri Lanka, as well as the University of Oxford in Britain. It was published on Monday (July 19) ahead of peer review.

The Delta variant, first found in India late last year, has since become the dominant version of the virus worldwide and is behind a recent surge in infections reported in many countries, including Britain, Indonesia, the United States and South Korea.

It has been detected in more than 90 nations worldwide.

The vaccine from Sinopharm, formally China National Pharmaceutical Group, also showed a more pronounced tenfold decrease in antibody levels against the Beta variant, first found in South Africa, the study showed.

Researchers said they found no significant difference in levels of antibodies to the two variants from blood serum of vaccinated people compared with the serum of those who had been naturally infected.

This suggested that Sinopharm's vaccine may be able to induce antibody-based responses against the two variants similar to the levels seen following natural infection, the paper said.

The two-dose vaccine is one of the most widely used Covid-19 shots in China, and Sinopharm agreed to provide up to 170 million doses for global vaccine-sharing scheme Covax until the middle of 2022.