More Publication By Press Release, This Time From Sinovac On A Covid Vaccine

Spreading almost as fast as Covid-19 itself are “publications by press release”. The latest comes from Sinovac, the same company that previously withheld comment on animal studies of its candidate Covid vaccine until the supporting data was available for review.

Not so this time, for what they describe as phase I/II safety trials for their whole killed SARS-CoV-2 candidate called CoronaVax. The company says it expects “to share the data through academic publications.” Until then, we must rely on their credibility for evaluation of the data—an unfortunate state of affairs in the face of a crisis of such magnitude as the one now affecting many millions of people and entire economies. Sinovac does not tell us why they chose to comment on their results before the data can be viewed. Data transparency should be the rule, not the exception, for public announcements.

The vaccine was administered in two doses two weeks apart and blood samples examined 14 days after the second dose. Sinovac claims that in studies of more than 700 hundred people, the vaccine was safe. This claim is made without supporting data regarding adverse events. It would be surprising if there were none. They also claim that more than 90% of those vaccinated as part of the phase II trial made neutralizing antibodies to SARS-CoV-2. They do not report the range of antibody response not discuss the antibody status of those who did not make neutralizing antibodies.

Sinovac also announced that it is building new manufacturing facilities and has reached agreements to test the vaccine in Brazil, a seemingly good choice as infection in that country is high and accelerating.

The most we can conclude from this report is that Sinovac is fully engaged in human trials of its Covid-19 vaccine. We must await the data which underlies any specific claim.

This article originally appeared on Forbes.

© William A. Haseltine, PhD. All Rights Reserved.