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Brazilian team pledges more data on Sinovac jab

2021-01-12 HKT 00:57
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  • A worker at a plant in Beijing checks vials of the Sinovac vaccine. File photo: Reuters
    A worker at a plant in Beijing checks vials of the Sinovac vaccine. File photo: Reuters
Brazilian researchers will announce more efficacy data on Tuesday for the coronavirus vaccine made by China's Sinovac, officials said, after medical experts and regulators criticised what they called an incomplete disclosure last week.

Dimas Covas, director of the Butantan biomedical centre, which is running a late-stage trial of the vaccine in Brazil, said ongoing analysis had yielded a new "general efficacy" rate in addition to the "clinical efficacy" announced last week.

On Thursday, Brazilian researchers said the vaccine was shown to be 78 percent effective against mild cases of Covid-19 and entirely prevented severe cases. But independent specialists called for more transparency on the findings from the Phase III trial of the Sinovac vaccine, known as CoronaVac.

Indonesia gave the vaccine emergency use approval on Monday based on interim data showing it is 65 percent effective.

Both the Chinese vaccine and a shot developed by Oxford University and British-Swedish firm AstraZeneca have requests for emergency use authorisation pending with regulators in Brazil, which has lost more than 200,000 lives to the coronavirus pandemic – the worst death toll outside the United States.

Piecemeal disclosure of results from global CoronaVac studies have contributed to concerns that vaccines developed by Chinese producers are not subject to the same public scrutiny as US and European alternatives.

In an interview with news website UOL on Monday, Covas said Butantan, which is funded by Sao Paulo state, had prioritised getting its data to Brazilian health regulator Anvisa and was still analysing the results in parallel.

Covas said the institute would eventually provide its full data to a scientific conference to be announced this week.

Anvisa said on Saturday that a filing from Butantan seeking emergency use authorization for CoronaVac lacked some relevant information for analysis of the study, such as the age, gender and comorbidities of volunteers. (Reuters)