Tuesday’s release of the results of a study by scientists in the microbiology department of the University of Hong Kong was the first published preliminary data on the impact of Sinovac’s vaccine against the Omicron variant of coronavirus.
None of the serum of the 25 Coronavac vaccine recipients contained sufficient antibodies to neutralise the new variant, according to the study, accepted for publication in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases, the researchers said.
Just five of 25 BioNTech vaccine recipients had neutralising ability against Omicron, and vaccine efficiency was reduced significantly to 20% to 24%, the study found.
“The public is advised to get a third dose of the vaccine as soon as possible while waiting for the next generation of a more matched vaccine,” the researchers said in a news release.
The fast-spreading Delta variant remains dominant worldwide, and it is unclear if Omicron is inherently more contagious, the World Health Organization (WHO) said in a brief on Sunday.
Scientists say it is still too early to know if Omicron causes more or less severe COVID-19 than previous variants.
A study of real-world data published on Tuesday showed Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine was less effective in South Africa at keeping out of hospital those infected with the virus since the Omicron variant emerged last month.
Last week, the two firms said a three-dose course of their vaccine had neutralised Omicron in a laboratory test, an early sign that booster shots could be key for protection against it.
(Reporting by Greg Torode and Hong Kong bureau; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)