By Our Reporter
Chances of Chinese scientists discovering a vaccine for Coronavirus (COVID-19) have been thwarted after a Brazilian clinical trial for a high-profile vaccine has been suspended following reports of a “severe adverse” incident by health authorities.
Brazilian health regulator Anvisa said the incident took place on 29 October, although they did not give further details. The Sinovac vaccine is one of several vaccines in final-stage testing.
But China has already been using it to immunise thousands of people in an emergency use programme.
There was no immediate response from Sinovac, the pharmaceutical company that discovered the vaccine.
On Monday Anvisa said it had “ruled to interrupt the clinical trial of the CoronaVac vaccine after a serious adverse incident”.
It did not reveal what happened, nor where it took place. Late-stage trials for the Sinovac vaccine are also being conducted in Indonesia and Turkey, but neither of these countries have announced a suspension.
Dimas Covas, the head of Butantan, the medical research institute conducting the Brazilian trial, told local media that the trial’s suspension was related to a death. But he insisted that the death was not related to the vaccine, reported Reuters news agency.
The Race For COVID-19 Vaccine
However, the news of the suspension came shortly after a rival vaccine developer, the US pharmaceutical company Pfizer, said its own vaccine candidate had shown 90% effectiveness.
CoronaVac, developed by Chinese pharmaceutical firm Sinovac Biotech, is one of the leading contenders in the global race to develop and deploy an effective Covid-19 vaccine.
It is among the three experimental Coronavirus vaccines that China has been using to inoculate hundreds of thousands of people under an emergency use programme. Sinovac has said almost all of its employees and their families have received its vaccine.
A Chinese health official previously said that serious side effects have not been observed in clinical trials.
It should be noted that Brazil is one of the countries worst affected by Coronavirus, reason why they need the virus badly.
It has had over 5.6 million confirmed cases – the third highest tally in the world after the US and India – and is second only to the US in terms of deaths, with nearly 163,000 registered so far, according to data collated by Johns Hopkins University.