Brazil could launch Chinese COVID-19 vaccine this year: governor
In this file picture taken on March 26, 2020 a researcher works on the development of a vaccine against the new coronavirus COVID-19, in Belo Horizonte, state of Minas Gerais, Brazil. Clinical trials in Brazil of a Chinese-made vaccine against COVID-19 have shown "promising" results, and a widespread vaccination campaign could begin as early as December, the governor of Sao Paulo state said on September 9, 2020.
AFP/Doulas Magno
Brazil could launch Chinese COVID-19 vaccine this year: governor
(Agence France-Presse) - September 10, 2020 - 7:37am

SAO PAULO, Brazil — Clinical trials in Brazil of a Chinese-made vaccine against Covid-19 have shown "extremely positive" results, and a widespread vaccination campaign could begin as early as December, the governor of Sao Paulo state said Wednesday.

Sao Paulo, the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic in hard-hit Brazil, is one of six states helping to test the so-called CoronaVac vaccine developed by Chinese pharmaceutical firm Sinovac Biotech.

The vaccine produced an immune response in 98 percent of recipients over 60 years old, with no adverse side-effects reported so far, said Governor Joao Doria.

"The results have been extremely positive," he told a news conference.

"We will soon be able to immunize Brazilians in Sao Paulo and across the country with the CoronaVac vaccine.... The projected delivery date is in December this year."

Sinovac has partnered with a Brazilian public health research center, the Butantan Institute, to conduct Phase 3 clinical trials of the vaccine -- the last step before regulatory approval.

The deal gives the institute the right to produce 120 million doses of the vaccine, according to officials.

CoronaVac has gotten caught up in a political battle in Brazil, however.

President Jair Bolsonaro, whose administration has tense relations with China, has criticized the vaccine, and lashed out at Doria, a leading opponent, for supposedly backing it.

The far-right president has instead allocated 1.9 billion reals ($360 million) to purchase another vaccine candidate, developed by Oxford University and pharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca.

Trials of that vaccine, which is also being tested partly in Brazil, were suspended Tuesday after a volunteer recipient developed an unexplained illness -- a move the company described as "routine."

Brazil has the second-highest death toll in the pandemic after the United States, with more than 127,000 people killed and 4.1 million infections.

The South American country has emerged as a leading testing ground for vaccines.

In the latest development, Brazilian medical diagnostics company Dasa and US vaccine-maker COVAXX announced a deal Wednesday to conduct Phase 2 and 3 trials of the latter's Covid-19 vaccine in Brazil.

COVAXX, a subsidiary of US firm United Biomedical, plans to test the vaccine on at least 3,000 volunteers in Brazil.

BRAZIL COVID-19 VACCINE NOVEL CORONAVIRUS
As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: September 16, 2020 - 10:40am

Pharma giants Sanofi and GSK said on July 29, 2020, that they have agreed to supply Britain with up to 60 million doses of a potential COVID-19 vaccine. The agreement covers a vaccine candidate developed by France's Sanofi in partnership with the UK's GSK and is subject to a "final contract."

This thread collects some of the major developments in the search for a vaccine to ease the new coronavirus pandemic. (Main photo by AFP/Joel Saget)

September 16, 2020 - 10:40am

President Donald Trump says that a coronavirus vaccine may be available within a month -- an acceleration of even his own surprisingly optimistic predictions -- but added that the pandemic could go away by itself.

"We're very close to having a vaccine," he tells a town hall question-and-answer session with voters in Pennsylvania aired on ABC News.

"We're within weeks of getting it you know -- could be three weeks, four weeks," he says. — AFP

September 15, 2020 - 7:11pm

A China-developed coronavirus vaccine could be ready for the public as early as November, a Chinese official has told state television, as the global race to clear the final round of trials heats up.

Chinese manufacturers have been bullish about development, with companies Sinovac Biotech and Sinopharm even putting their vaccine candidates on display at a trade fair in Beijing this month.

Representatives of the firms told AFP that they hope their vaccines will be approved after phase 3 trials as early as year-end.

And on late Monday, the chief biosafety expert at the Chinese Centre for Disease Control told state broadcaster CCTV that a vaccine would be available to the general public "around November or December."

Wu Guizhen did not specify which vaccine she was referring to, but said "based on the phase 3 clinical results, the current progress is very smooth." — AFP

September 10, 2020 - 7:59pm

Drugs giant AstraZeneca says a COVID-19 vaccine could still be available by as early as the end of this year, despite a randomized clinical trial in the UK being paused.

"We could still have a vaccine by the end of this year, early next year," the company's chief executive Pascal Soriot says, adding it depended on how fast regulators moved. — AFP

September 9, 2020 - 6:17pm

EU reserves 200 million more coronavirus vaccines from Pfizer.

September 9, 2020 - 7:44am

Pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca says it has "voluntarily paused" a randomized clinical trial of its coronavirus vaccine in what it called a routine action after a volunteer developed an unexplained illness.

"As part of the ongoing randomized, controlled global trials of the Oxford coronavirus vaccine, our standard review process was triggered and we voluntarily paused vaccination to allow review of safety data by an independent committee," a spokesperson says in a statement. — AFP

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