China's capital city Beijing and North China's Tianjin Municipality have started to provide aerosolized adenovirus vector vaccine as booster shots starting from Thursday following a couple of cities including Shanghai, as COVID-19 flare-ups caused by highly transmissible Omicron variants have been reported across the country, with number of new infections in Beijing particularly rising lately.
Beijing registered 34 local confirmed cases and 61 asymptomatic carriers on Wednesday. Among these infections, seven were discovered at community level, according to Beijing Daily.
The flare-up in Beijing started on October 27 was caused by infections from other places and has caused a number of related cluster infections in the city. The gene sequencing on the virus showed that it belongs to the Omicron variant BF.7, a subvariant of BA.5.
Beijing authorities had warned of the risk of hidden spreading at community level and Beijing is faced with a grim situation with multiple origins from other provinces and regions and multiple transmission chains, according to China Youth Daily.
The epidemic prevention and control headquarters of Beijing's neighboring city Tianjin decided on Wednesday evening to provide a domestically developed aerosolized adenovirus type-5 vector-based COVID-19 vaccine (Ad5-nCoV) for booster shots starting from Thursday while reservations for the aerosolized vaccine through mobile application also opened in Beijing the same day, according to Beijing Daily.
Apart from Beijing and Tianjin, multiple places across the country including Shanghai, and Suzhou, Wuxi, Yangzhou cities in East China's Jiangsu Province and Urumqi City in Northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, have already started the inoculation of the aerosolized vaccine developed by CanSino Biologics (CanSinoBIO).
The aerosolized Ad5-nCoV vaccine was jointly developed by CanSinoBIO and researchers from the Institute of Military Medicine under the Academy of Military Sciences led by Chen Wei.
It is the world's first aerosolized COVID-19 vaccine and it was approved by Chinese national authorities for emergency use as a booster in September, according to the company.
The inoculation process of the vaccine is through atomizing the vaccine into tiny particles with an atomizer and sipping at the vaccine through mouth. Without injection, this inoculation process can obtain efficient immune protection through breaths and inhalation.
Some people who have been vaccinated described the process like sipping a cup of bubble tea and it even tastes a bit sweet, according to Beijing Daily.
A latest research by CanSinoBIO shows that heterologous booster with inhaled adenovirus vector vaccine can generate more neutralizing antibodies against different COVID-19 variants, which is expected to be an effective strategy in preventing the spread of Omicron variant BA.5, one of the major variants that have caused the recent flare-ups in China.
Worth noting is that aerosolized vaccine will not cause fake positive nucleic acid testing results since the vaccine does not contain the viral content of COVID-19, which is different from other types of vaccines, according to a statement obtained by the Global Times from CanSinoBIO.
Moreover, the aerosolized Ad5-nCoV has the advantages of stable storage and transportation under temperatures of 2-8C, which can facilitate vaccination of large-scale risk groups more efficiently and improve vaccine accessibility and affordability in developing countries, the company noted.
The launch of the aerosolized vaccine in multiple cities comes as China keeps exploring new and better strategies of mass vaccination in the face of the rapidly mutating virus while upholding a dynamic-zero COVID-19 policy to protect the lives and safety of the Chinese people to the utmost amid nationwide sporadic cases.