Béla Merkely, the rector of Budapest’s Semmelweis University, said the Sinopharm vaccine produces many hundred times the number of antibodies after two jabs than that after someone is infected by the virus. His comment, in effect, rejected news reports that a third dose might be needed in certain cases.
Merkely told Magyar Nemzet that according to tests conducted at the university, Sinopharm has generally produced a much stronger immune response than that detected in recovered patients. Even the lowest levels of antibodies measured after the Chinese jab were on par with the immune response after recovery, he said.
At the same time, Merkely noted that the six vaccines used in Hungary were made using diverse methods, “so no single vaccine can produce all the advantageous effects”. The use of messenger RNA to induce an immune response against the virus’s distinctive spike protein, as in the case of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, is a unique method, used for the first time in the world last year, he noted.
Meanwhile, AstraZeneca, Sputnik V and Janssen are vector vaccines, using non-infectious adenoviruses to forward information on spike proteins into the body. The body then produces antibodies against that protein, he said. Those vaccines “cannot be compared” to Sinopharm, which contains inactive Covid-19 viruses, and with it multiple proteins rather than just the spike protein, Merkely said. The vaccine works by eliciting a response to all proteins, he added.