SAO PAULO (Reuters) – Brazil has gathered enough infection data from the final-stage trial of the experimental COVID-19 vaccine developed by China’s Sinovac Biotech and expects interim results on its efficiency in early December, trial organizers said on Monday.
Dimas Covas, director of the Butantan biomedical research institute which is running the final-stage trial of the Sinovac vaccine in Brazil, said it now has 74 confirmed cases among the trial participants, above the 61 initial milestones set for an interim efficiency analysis.
He said the independent committee is likely to release efficiency results in the first week of December based on its data analysis.
The news comes as Britain’s AstraZeneca Plc on Monday joined US rivals Pfizer and Moderna and Russia in announcing positive results in a landmark trial, raising hopes that the world will soon have a successful vaccine to end the pandemic.
Covas said Brazil’s health ministry now had all the information needed to include Coronavac in the national program, while São Paulo’s Health Secretary Jean Gorinchteyn expected on Monday Brazilian regulators to approve the use of Sinovac’s vaccine, CoronaVac, in January.
João Gabbardo, head of Sao Paulo’s COVID-19 contingency committee, said at the same event that he expected China’s health regulators to approve Sinovac’s CoronaVac in December, which could speed up approval in Brazil.
The Sinovac vaccine has been promoted by Sao Paulo’s governor João Doria, a move that has put him at odds with President Jair Bolsonaro who is deeply skeptical of China.
Bolsonaro has attacked the Chinese vaccine for lacking credibility and it remains unclear whether the federal government will include it in its national inoculation program.
The ministry said on Sunday that it plans to sign a non-binding letter of intent to purchase vaccines from Pfizer Inc, Bharat Biotech India, Russia’s Direct Investment Fund, Moderna Inc and Janssen, a Johnson & Johnson unit, but did not mention Sinovac’s. candidate.
Reporting by Eduardo Simoes and Anthony Boadle, written by Stephen Eisenhammer; Edited by Bernadette Baum, Miyoung Kim & Shri Navaratnam