The chief scientist of the Sinovac COVID vaccine in Indonesia has passed away, according to local media reports. 

Novilia Sjafri Bachtiar is suspected to have died due to COVID-19. Prior to her death, she was working for the state-owned pharmaceuticals company BioFarma, which is a manufacturer of COVID vaccines in the country. 

Sinovac Vaccine Chief Scientist's Death May be COVID-related

The Sinovac Vaccine Chief Scientist's cause of death has been revealed to be COVID-19 by local news media in Indonesia such as Kumparan, according to a report by Reuters. 

The report likewise cited an official from BioFarma who said that the scientist has already been buried. The burial is said to have followed COVID-19 protocols in the country. 

In an Instagram post, State Enterprises Minister Erick Trohir said that Novilia was "was lead scientist and head of dozens of clinical trials done by BioFarma, including COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials in cooperation with Sinovac."

COVID Cases and Deaths in Indonesia Continue to Soar

The news of possible COVID-related death of Novilia Sjafri Bachtiar adds to the growing number of cases and deaths in the Asian country. 

Per the article by Reuters, the country "reported more than 1,000 coronavirus deaths in a day for the first time on Wednesday and a record 34,379 infections."

The article also cited a report by independent data group Lapor COVID-19, which stated that 131 healthcare workers in Indonesia have died since June. 50 of these healthcare workers died in July. According to the Lapor COVID-19 group, most of the fatalities have been inoculated with the Sinovac vaccine. 

Related Article: WHO Claims COVID-19 Delta Strain Could Be the Most Dominant! What Vaccine Can Prevent It?

Sinovac COVID Vaccine Effectivity in Question

Vaccine
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The rising number of cases and deaths of people who have already been inoculated with the Sinovac vaccine has raised concerns about the vaccine's effectivity. 

According to The Guardian, health experts in the country have considered "whether medics should receive alternative doses to boost immunity." The report also said that concerns regarding the efficacy of Sinovac vaccines have contributed to vaccine hesitancy. 

Singapore recently announced that it will be omitting those who received Sinovac COVID shots from its official tally of persons who have been vaccinated against the virus.

Per Reuters, Sinovac spokesman Liu Peicheng said last month that "preliminary results showed the vaccine produced a three-fold reduction in neutralizing effect against the Delta variant."

Experts have also said that Sinovac vaccines may not be able to provide protection that can last beyond six months. 

Sinovac Vaccine: What You Need to Know

COVID-19 Vaccine
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The China-made Sinovac vaccine received an approval for emergency use from the World Health Organization (WHO) last month. According to The Guardian, the approval stated that "efficacy results showed it prevented symptomatic disease in 51% of those vaccinated, and prevented severe Covid-19 and hospitalisation in 100% of the studied population."

According to the WHO website, the Sinovac vaccine can be given to persons with comorbidities, those who previously had COVID-19, and lactating women. On the other hand, available data that can assess the efficacy of Sinovac for pregnant women are insufficient. 

Persons with living with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) were likewise not included in the clinical trials. 

Early results of the Sinovac vaccine showed that 90% of the participants of a trial produced antibodies that can help the body fight COVID-19.

Also Read: CDC Says New COVID-19 Delta Variant Increases Transmission Rate By 10%

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Written by Isabella James

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