Chinese vaccine 78% effective in Brazil tests

Grant Boone
January 9, 2021

The trial results, closely watched by developing countries counting on the vaccine to begin mass inoculations to help end a raging pandemic, came in below preliminary findings from Turkish researchers and lacked detailed data provided on U.S. and European vaccines.

The National Health Surveillance Agency (Anvisa) announced this Friday morning (8) that it received the first request for the emergency use of a vaccine against covid-19 in Brazil: Coronavac, produced by the Chinese laboratory Sinovac in partnership with the Butantan Institute, São Paulo.

Although CoronaVac's efficacy trails the more than 90 per cent success rate of vaccines from Moderna Inc or Pfizer Inc and its partner BioNTech SE, it is easier to transport and can be stored at normal refrigerator temperatures. The company has orders from countries where it is undertaking vaccine trials, including Brazil, Turkey and Indonesia, and will also supply Singapore and Hong Kong in addition to the Chinese mainland.

The 78% efficacy rate is also well above the 50% to 60% benchmark set by global health authorities for vaccines in development early in the pandemic, given the urgent need.

Brazil's government has signed a deal with Sao Paulo's Butantan Institute to buy the full output this year of a Chinese COVID-19 vaccine it is producing, the institute said, after announcing strong efficacy trial data.

Almost half of Brazilians said they would not take a Covid-19 vaccine developed by China, according to a poll last month.

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Sinovac has also trod a hard path in Brazil: One of its tests in the country was stopped amid a safety scare back in November, with the country's president Jair Bolsonaro praising the stoppage.

No detailed data on either vaccine trial has been released to the public.

Butantan, which is funded by the Sao Paulo state government, has already begun filling and finishing doses of the vaccine known as CoronaVac with ingredients from China.

Thailand, which is aiming to inoculate at least half of its 70 million population, should receive a delivery of 200,000 doses of the Sinovac vaccine by February, Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha said on Monday.

Brazil faces a second wave of the world's second-deadliest coronavirus outbreak after the United States.

Doria, a political rival of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, plans to obtain swift approval and begin vaccinating the state's some 45 million people on January 25.

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