Hungarian doctors have shared their thoughts on the Chinese Sinopharm vaccine’s potential licensing Hungary. Some warn that it could be very dangerous, while others assure us that it is not as bad as some think.
The Hungarian government is currently awaiting the decision of the National Institute of Pharmacy and Nutrition (OGYÉI) regarding the licensing of the Sinopharm vaccine.
While it has been interesting to follow the heated debate between politicians regarding the controversial vaccine, it is also important to consider what experts have to say.
Virologist Duda Says the Sinopharm Vaccine is Dangerous
In an interview with Szeged Television, Ernő Duda explained the issues he has with the Chinese vaccines “ancient technology.”
The Szeged-based virologist said the use of the inactive virus in the vaccine can potentially cause autoimmune problems in the future, causing the body to attack itself.
While the Sinopharm vaccine remains in the body, Duda says, the active agent of RNA-based vaccines such as those of Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna decomposes and disappears six hours after being administered into the body.
The virologist related the vaccines to airplanes, saying the difference between the technology of Sinopharm and Pfizer-BioNTech-type vaccines is like comparing a propelled biplane to a stealth fighter.
Duda also emphasized in the interview that while all the information on the testing phases of Western vaccines is available, information on the Chinese vaccines is only reaching the Hungarian authorities now.
When, in an interview with Duda, conservative weekly Válasz Online brought up the effectiveness of inactive vaccine technology in treating influenza, Duda responded that the coronavirus is not influenza, but rather an autoimmune attacker much more akin to the Zika virus.
He believes that the Chinese vaccines are being prepared for what he calls the “Third World”. When asked why, Duda said that China has in its possession modern vaccine technology, such as that of CanSino and Csifei Longkom. He says Sinopharm and Sinovac’s inactive vaccines, however, are much cheaper and easier to produce, and can thus facilitate China to spread its influence globally.
Duda believes the targets destinations for the Chinese vaccines are South-East Asia, Africa, and Latin America, “Europe is not the target group.”
Other Virologists Not Worried about Sinopharm Vaccine
In an interview with independent news portal Telex, immunologist András Falus said that although its technology is old, and there are risks associated with its use, it is not a problem if a vaccine is made according to this traditional method.
Falus said that an inactive virus cannot infect or cause disease, however it can cause long-term inflammation which can negatively affect the autoimmune system’s ability to function properly.
Falus said that Duda is completely right in saying that the RNA-based vaccines such as Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna are much more technologically advanced, and contain the method of the future.
Gábor Kemenesi, a virologist from the University of Pécs, made a similar statement, saying that there is no problem with the Sinopharm vaccine.
He told Telex that in the past there may have been complications due to the virus not being inactivated properly, but with the supervising technology of today’s production, we cannot say that inactivated vaccines are bad. Still, Kemenesi said that “they don’t have as good of a reaction time than those of modern generations, and in future epidemics they will likely fall out of play”.
Kemenesi also told leftist daily Népszava that the AstraZeneca, Pfizer-BioNTech, and Moderna vaccines will take care of the large part of global needs for vaccination. He seems to have more faith in these vaccines, saying that it’s a strong guarantee of safety that they have passed the tests of large international licensing authorities, and are proving effective.
With regards to the length of effectiveness, there is no clear answer for any vaccine. János Szlávik, chief infectologist at the Centre Hospital of South-Pest, told the public media on Saturday that so far we are unsure of how long the vaccines remain effective. He said that based off current results, a safe estimate would be around 8-10 months.
Featured photo illustration by MTI/AP/Darko Vojinovic