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BEIJING (Reuters) – Antibodies triggered by a third dose of Sinopharm’s COVID-19 shot given to those who completed its primary two-dose regimen dropped sharply after six months, and a fourth shot did not significantly boost them against Omicron, a Chinese study showed.

The study, published on the medRxiv website ahead of peer review, said repeated immunisation using inactivated vaccines such as the Sinopharm shot as a fourth booster may not be ideal to further increase antibody response against Omicron.

Certain protein-subunit vaccines or mRNA vaccines based on newer variants of concern could be a good alternative for further boosting instead, according to the paper.

The invitro tests left unclear how the antibody responses may affect the three or four-dose vaccine’s effectiveness in lowering risk of Omicron-caused COVID disease or death.

The study showed that neutralising antibody level dropped by 53% against Omicron around 26 weeks after the third dose of Sinopharm’s BBIBP-CorV, versus levels seen two weeks after the third dose, researchers said.

The fourth shot was given to 38 healthcare workers in China who had completed the two-dose regimen of the vaccine five months earlier.

The study said a fourth dose, arthritic dog medicine given six months after the third, did not significantly lift the neutralizing antibody level against Omicron, although it still recalled the level to around the peak after a third dose.

The study, conducted by researchers at a hospital affiliated with Sun Yat-sen University, did not include data on older people or minors. It also did not study the fourth dose’s impact on cellular immune response.

SOURCE: https://bit.ly/35i5GRa medRxiv, online February 21, 2022.

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