Brazil’s health regulator Anvisa has suspended clinical trials of China’s Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine in the country following a “severe incident”.
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 had happened, nor where it had taken place.
It also did not give an indication of how long the suspension of the large late-stage trial of China’s Sinovac coronavirus vaccine might last in Brazil.
President Jair Bolsonaro hailed the suspension as a “victory” and said that their government would buy whatever coronavirus vaccine is certified by Anvisa.
Writing on Facebook, the president said the halt of the CoronaVac trial was “another victory for Jair Bolsonaro”.
The vaccine, developed by Chinese firm Sinovac Biotech, is one of several in final-stage testing globally. Sinovac says it is “confident in the safety of the vaccine”.
Brazil’s move to suspend the clinical trials of the Chinese vaccine comes amid a rising number of coronavirus cases. On Monday, the country registered 10,917 new cases, taking the country’s tally to 5,590,025, while deaths rose to 161,106.
The setback for China’s CoronaVac vaccine came in the backdrop of US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer’s announcement that said its own vaccine candidate had shown 90 per cent effectiveness.
“I would say it is a historical moment. Something like this has never happened before. First of all, the world was faced with such a terrible situation, the pandemic, and being able in such a short time to go through what usually takes many years,” said Kathrin Jansen, head of vaccine research and development at Pfizer.