SAO PAULO (AP) – A candidate for a vaccine made by China’s Sinovac is 78% effective in protecting against the coronavirus, according to a study announced Thursday by Brazilian government health officials seeking federal approval for the shot.
More than 12,000 health workers participated in the study, which found 218 cases of COVID-19 – about 160 of those who received a placebo instead of the actual vaccine.
Turkish authorities said last month that a smaller concomitant study in the same country of the same vaccine candidate found a degree of efficacy of over 90%.
The government of the state of Sao Paulo, which has signed a contract for the vaccine, said it would ask Brazil̵
The Bhutan Institute in Sao Paulo, a partner of Sinovac in Brazil, did not disclose data such as age and sex scores or the number of asymptomatic volunteers in the sample, which many epidemiologists require to assess whether a shot meets safety standards.
Officials said details would be released once Brazil’s health regulatory agency approves the vaccine. They did not give a date for disclosure in scientific publications.
Gonzalo Vecina, one of the founders of the health agency in Brazil, said the data revealed so far was reassuring enough to approve the emergency shot.
“In the overall picture, we have enough information to continue to register and use,” Vechina told the Associated Press. “We need 320 million vaccines for 160 million Brazilians, this is our population over the age of 18. If the federal government doesn’t do it, the state governments will do it, but we have to do it quickly. We are already behind many nations. “
The health agency said in a statement that it had not yet received full data for the study.
The researchers did not report any serious side effects in the study.
The United States requires vaccine applicants to be tested in at least 30,000 people to determine safety and effectiveness.
The Sinovac candidate was ready for testing at a late stage at a time when China had such a low prevalence of coronavirus that the company was forced to look for multiple locations abroad to gather the necessary data.
“Today is the day of hope, the day of life,” Doria told a news conference. Brazil has close to 200,000 deaths caused by the virus.
The governor of Sao Paulo is an opponent of President Jair Bolsonaro, who from the beginning downplayed the risks of the pandemic and repeatedly questioned the quality of the Chinese vaccine.
Following Doria’s announcement, Brazilian Health Minister Eduardo Pasuelo told a news conference in Brazil that the Bolsonaro administration would buy up to 100 million doses of Sinovac’s shot. The state government of Sao Paulo confirmed the deal with an initial supply of 46 million doses.
“These shots will be distributed equally and proportionally among all countries, as will those of AstraZeneca,” Pasuelo said.
The Brazilian federal government already has a deal to provide up to 100 million doses of the vaccine created by AstraZeneca, 70 million of which are produced in native soil.
Pazuelo said the photos taken by pharmaceutical companies Pfizer and Moderna, which have already been shown to be effective, were expensive and caused many legal problems. He also said the Brazilian government is willing to buy disposable vaccines under development from Jansen if they work.
In the evening, shortly after Brazil exceeded 200,000 COVID-19 deaths in its official total, the state government of Sao Paulo said it had reached a deal with the Brazilian Ministry of Health to provide 46 million doses of its vaccine. He did not say whether he would keep the start of his vaccination campaign on January 25.
Earlier Thursday, Bolsonaro told supporters in the Brazilian capital that vaccines approved for emergency use should not be mandatory without naming Sinovac’s shot. So far, his administration has no national vaccination plan.
“No one can force a person to do something whose consequences are still unknown,” Bolsonaro said. The president, who had previously suffered an attack of COVID-19, reiterated that he would not receive any vaccine.
Another Chinese company, SinoPharm, announced last week that its vaccine was about 79% effective. Both vaccines rely on inactivated viruses.