Béla Merkely, the dean of Semmelweis University, said a second round of tests of people inoculated against coronavirus has shown that 88 percent have sufficient antibodies to protect them against the virus. However, focusing on the level of antibodies as a marker for immunity was beside the point, he added. “Clinical efficacy is the point in vaccination — the extent to which the jab can protect patients from getting seriously ill,” he said. “By that measure, all vaccines applied in Hungary have shown good results.”
Merkely said a total of 1,195 people whose initial tests had indicated zero or a low level of antibodies were tested for a second time. Positivity in the second round was 97 percent for the Sputnik and AstraZeneca vaccines, 94-97 percent for Pfizer and Moderna, and 82 percent for Sinopharm. He added that 93 percent of Sinopharm recipients below the age of 60 whose first antibody test was negative showed antibodies second time round, while this was true of 82 percent for those above that age.
The dean said the sensitivity of tests vary greatly across laboratories, adding that the US Food and Drug Administration did not recommend that method, either, preferring the measure of clinical efficacy. Merkely said that a third shot of the vaccine could be necessary for patients with certain chronic conditions, but added that no clinical tests had been conducted yet; neither was there a uniform position within the medical profession.