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China is considering blending COVID-19 vaccines

China is officially considering blending COVID-19 vaccines as a way to further improve their effectiveness, Reuters reports.

Evidence shows that Chinese vaccines lag behind other vaccines, including Pfizer and Moderna, in terms of efficacy but require less stringent temperature control during storage.

Currently available vaccines “do not have a very high level of protection,” said Gao Fu, director of the Chinese Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at a conference in Chengdu, China.

“Injections with vaccines of different technical directions are being considered,” he said.

Gao added that taking steps to streamline the vaccination process, including changing the number of doses and the time interval between doses, was a “definite” solution to efficiency problems.

China has developed four of its own vaccines approved for public use, and an official said the country is likely to produce 3 billion doses by the end of the year.

The COVID-19 vaccine, developed by China's Sinovac, showed efficacy just above 50% in Brazilian clinical trials. A separate study in Turkey found it to be 83.5% effective.

No detailed data on the effectiveness of vaccines produced by China's Sinopharm have been published. According to interim results, the effectiveness of the two vaccines developed by its divisions is 79.4% and 72.5%, respectively.

Both vaccine manufacturers submitted data on their COVID-19 vaccines with efficacy levels consistent with World Health Organization requirements, a WHO expert panel reported in March.

China has shipped millions of doses of its vaccines overseas, and officials and state media have vehemently defended the vaccines, questioning the safety and logistical capacity of other vaccines.

“How to improve the effectiveness of vaccines is a problem that scientists around the world should consider,” Gao said, adding that blending vaccines and adjusting immunization methods are solutions he suggested.

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