The Sinovac and Sinopharm vaccines have been approved

Sinovac and Sinopharm vaccines against Omicron coronavirus variant approved for clinical trials.

Two vaccines against the Omicron variant of coronavirus, developed by the Chinese companies Sinovac and Sinopharm, have been approved for clinical trials for possible use as booster doses in Hong Kong, Reuters reported, citing a statement from Sinofram.

Scientists around the world are vying to develop improved vaccines against Omicron amid evidence that antibodies from older coronavirus-based vaccines show little activity to neutralize the highly contagious variant.

Vaccines approved today for clinical trials contain inactivated or “killed” Omicron virus. They are similar to Sinopharm’s two vaccines used in China and will be tested in adults who have already received two or three doses of the vaccine, according to China National Biotech Group, the parent company of Sinovac and Sinofram.

The company did not disclose details of exactly which vaccines were included in the tests and how many participants they would include.

A Chinese study showed that the fourth dose of Sinopharm BBIBP-CorV vaccine did not significantly increase the level of antibodies against Omicron after being given six months after the third booster dose with the usual two-dose vaccine.

Because the fourth dose does not restore antibody levels to a level close to peak levels after the third dose, the researchers believe that developing and administering new vaccines would be a better alternative for future booster vaccinations.

China sends troops and doctors to Shanghai to test its 26 million inhabitants for COVID-19

China has sent troops and thousands of health workers to Shanghai to help test all 26 million people in the city for COVID-19 in one of the largest health reactions, Reuters reported.

The Chinese military yesterday sent more than 2,000 medical personnel from the army, navy, and joint support forces to Shanghai, the military said. According to media reports, many provinces, including Jiangsu, Zhejiang, and Beijing, have sent health workers to Shanghai, and some estimate more than 10,000.

This is China’s largest health response since late 2019 when the new coronavirus was first discovered in Wuhan. The State Council said the army had then sent more than 4,000 health workers to Hubei Province, where Wuhan is located.

In Shanghai, where a two-stage lockdown was introduced last Monday and virtually all residents are barred from leaving their homes, 8,581 cases of asymptomatic COVID-19 infection and 425 symptomatic cases were reported yesterday.

City officials yesterday called on all residents to be tested with antigenic tests for COVID-19.

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