Trials in Brazil have suggested that China’s Covid vaccine has a lower efficacy rate than expected. The reports suggest that the coronavirus vaccine developed by Chinese pharmaceutical company Sinovac Biotech has a general efficacy of less than 60%.
As per a Reuters report, Sao Paulo’s Butantan Biomedical Centre, which has patterned with Sinovac for the trial and production of the Chinese vaccine, called the ‘60%’ efficacy reports purely speculative. The organisation, which is running a later stage trial, had earlier stated that the vaccine has shown a 78% efficacy rate against mild cases and entirely prevented severe cases. However, independent experts have demanded more transparency and called it an ‘incomplete disclosure’. Sinovac’s vaccine candidate is named as ‘CoronaVac’.
Butantan claims report is ‘speculative’
Butantan Biomedical Centre had partnered with Sinovac to test and produce the vaccine in Brazil. The centre said that the report of lower efficacy rate is “purely speculative” and it will release a complete set of results on Tuesday 15:45 GMT (21:45 IST). Director of the Butantan biomedical centre, Dimas Covas said that ongoing analysis had shown a new general efficacy rate in addition to the clinical efficacy announced in the first week of January.
Complete set of data to be revealed this week
Along with Sinovac, AstraZeneca Plc and Oxford University have applied for emergency use authorization for their Brazil vaccine. News website UOL talked to Covas on Monday who said that Butantan prioritized getting the data to Anvisa, health regulator of Brazil while analyzing the results in parallel. He further added that the complete data would be released to a scientific conference this week.
On Saturday, Anvisa had said that CoronaVac lacked some relevant information for analysis of the study including age, gender and comorbidities of the volunteers. The federal agency that is managing the trial had raised questions about its independence that has added the tensions between Sao Paulo officials and the government of President Jair Bolsonaro. Further, there are concerns over the vaccines developed by Chinese producers as they are not subject to the same public scrutiny compared to European and US alternatives.
Turkey and Indonesia have chosen CoronaVac
As per the reports, Turkey and Indonesia have also chosen CoronaVac. Indonesia has already given approval for the vaccine emergency use on Monday based on interim data that showed the vaccine is 65% effective. On the other hand, Turkey had ordered 50 million doses of the vaccine and so far received 3 million shots. Prof. Vedat Bulut, Turkish Medical Association (TTB) Secretary-General said in a statement that the World Health Organization states that a Covid vaccine should be minimum 50 percent effective to be eligible for the mass use.
Germany-based neuroscientist Çağhan Kızıl, said on Twitter that the efficacy rate of the Chinese vaccine is even lesser than what it is being said. He said, the actual efficacy rate of the vaccine stands at 50.38 percent. He further added that the efficacy rate of 78 percent is for the mild cases and it is not possible to comment properly without checking the fully explained data.
Covid-19 in Brazil
Brazil has so far reported 81,31,612 Covid-19 cases. 79,28,032 people have recovered so far and 2,03, 580 people have lost their lives to the infection.