Brazil Suspends Clinical Trials of Vaccines in China

  • This vaccine, named “CoronaVac,” was developed by Sinovac
  • Since China Vaccine launched its vaccine experiment in Brazil, there has been controversy in that country
  • Brazilian health authority Anvisa said that an incident that occurred on October 29 prompted them to make a decision to stop vaccine clinical trials

Brazilian health authority Anvisas suddenly suspended clinical trials on a new Chinese-made coronavirus vaccine on Monday, citing “serious adverse reactions.” After the agency issued relevant notices on its official website, all parties involved in the vaccine clinical trial expressed surprise.

A Sinovac statement said:

“We have communicated with our Brazilian partner, the Butantan Institute, and the head of the institute believes the incident has nothing to do with the vaccine. Sinovac will continue to communicate with the Brazilian side on this matter. Work related to our clinical research in Brazil will continue to be carried out in strict accordance with GCP (Good Clinical Practice) requirements.”

SinoVac vaccine

This vaccine, named “CoronaVac,” was developed by Sinovac. For several months, Sinovac has been working with the Butantan Institute in Sao Paulo, in Brazil, on clinical trials and production of this vaccine.

The Sao Paulo state government said in a statement, “it is regrettable to learn from the media that the clinical trial was suspended, instead of obtaining information directly from the Brazilian Health Agency as usual.”

Since China Vaccine launched its vaccine experiment in Brazil, there has been controversy in that country. Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro did not deny that he doubted the effectiveness of this Chinese vaccine.

Last month, he even publicly stated that Brazilians should not be regarded as experimental mice. Later, Brazil’s Minister of Health, Eduardo Pazuello, also announced that Brazil will only purchase the new coronavirus vaccine produced by the Butantan Institute in Brazil.

In the 2018 presidential election, the current President Bolsonaro has publicly expressed his extreme distrust of China on many occasions. However, after taking office, Bolsonaro’s words toward China eased slightly.

Brazilian health authority Anvisa said that an incident that occurred on October 29 prompted them to make a decision to stop vaccine clinical trials, but did not specify what happened, nor did it explain what happened in October why the call was made now.  Anvisa’s statement said, “after the suspension of clinical trials, no new volunteers will be vaccinated.”

Dimas Covas, the head of Sao Paulo’s medical research institute Butantan, which is conducting the Sinovac trial, told local broadcaster TV Cultura late on Monday that a volunteer had died, but the cause of death had nothing to do with the vaccine.

He said, “Anvisa’s decision is difficult for us to understand, because it has nothing to do with the vaccine. As there are more than 10,000 volunteers at this moment, deaths can occur.”

A Brazilian volunteer receives a coronavirus vaccine produced by Chinese company Sinovac Biotech at the Sao Lucas Hospital in Porto Alegre, southern Brazil on August 8.

It is not uncommon to temporarily stop drug or vaccine trials. If one of the tens of thousands of volunteers is sick or has other abnormalities, then by calling a stop, researchers can investigate whether the cause of these problems is the side effect of the drug or vaccine or just an accident.

Not long ago, two pharmaceutical companies also stopped a clinical trial of a new coronavirus vaccine in the United States, and the clinical trial has been resumed.

Brazil currently has six federal states participating in this vaccine clinical trial in cooperation with China, including the Brazilian capital Brasilia. Last month, after the Brazilian politicians disputed the CoronaVac vaccine, the health authority Anvisa approved a plan to import six million doses of vaccine from China.

However, the agency also stated at the time that these vaccines must be certified in Brazil before they can be used for vaccination.

Last Monday, Sao Paulo State Health Minister Jean Gorinchteyn stated that the first batch of 120,000 doses of vaccines will arrive at Sao Paulo International Airport on the 20th of this month. Gringchting said, “we will strictly abide by the anti-epidemic regulations and will not provide vaccines to the public until we have obtained permission.”

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Doris Mkwaya

I am a journalist, with more than 12 years of experience as a reporter, author, editor, and journalism lecturer." I've worked as a reporter, editor and journalism lecturer, and am very enthusiastic about bringing what I've learned to this site.  

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