Despite the fact that the race for a vaccine againstThe coronavirus is in full swing, in early November, Brazil stopped testing the Chinese drug against Covid-19, Coronavac, at a late stage. Presumably, the death of one of the participants in the clinical trials was the cause, but a police report obtained by The New York Times states that the death of a participant, which occurred on October 29, is being investigated as a suicide. It is noteworthy that before the incident, the Sinovac Biotech vaccine was considered the world leader in the race to develop a vaccine against coronavirus. Thus, according to the results of testing the drug, "Koronavac" was found to be effective in 95% of cases, and only 35% of the study participants had mild side effects. So what actually happened and how the Chinese vaccine works?
What is known about the drug "Koronavac"?
Covid-19 drug manufacturer,the Chinese company Sinovac Biotech is one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world. In 2009, she was the first to produce the H1N1 swine flu vaccine. According to Time, the Koronavac drug works using an inactivated version of a new coronavirus known as SARS-CoV-2. The drug has been in development since January in partnership with leading academic research institutes across China.
The vaccine, like its Russian and American counterparts, requires two injections. But Sinovac is an inactivated vaccine, that is made from the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus that has been either weakened or killed by chemicals.
The cost of vaccination against coronavirus in the veryChina today equals 300 dollars (2,000 yuan). Even before the end of the third phase of testing, "Koronavak" was offered to the public on a first come, first served basis in the capital's hospitals in the Middle Kingdom. Anyone can come, pay money and get vaccinated. However, the informal introduction of the vaccine is gaining momentum, despite warnings from international public health experts.
According to Adam Kamradt-Scott, professor,specializing in global health safety at the University of Sydney, such an unofficial introduction of the Chinese vaccine is sheer madness. “This is just unhealthy public health practice. We have already cited examples where vaccines that have not undergone sufficient clinical trials have shown adverse reactions with long-term health effects, ”Kamradt-Scott told British Time.
At the same time, according to company representativesSinovac, the vaccine did not show any serious side effects among the volunteers in the first and second phases of the trials. The company said in a statement that the suspension of clinical trials "is a serious non-vaccine event."
I note that the third phase of the Koronavac testswas held in collaboration with the Bhutantan Institute in Brazil. Indonesian state-owned pharmaceutical company Bio Farma, also conducting trials for Sinovac, said it had no plans to cancel trials. So what happened?
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What happened in Brazil?
Oddly enough, the Brazilian governmentexplained almost nothing about the reasons why the third phase of trials of the promising vaccine was discontinued. At the same time, the institute that participated in the test stated that death of the participant is not related to the injection of the drug "Koronavac", and the American The New York Times, as mentioned above, reported that the death of a clinical trial participant is being investigated as a suicide.
In turn, the Butantan Institute in Brazil,assisting in trials of a Chinese drug, said the suspension was unfounded, arguing that it was caused by the death of a test participant, but that death was not vaccine-related. However, Gustavo Mendez, director of pharmaceutical company Anvisa, the Brazilian health regulatory agency, said in an interview that regulators have yet to conclude that the volunteer's death has nothing to do with the vaccine.
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Meanwhile, side effects are not uncommon in phase 3 clinical trials. Thus, the companies AstraZeneca and Johnson & JohnsonThe trial had previously been suspended after several volunteers became seriously ill, resuming six weeks later, in October, after concluding that the diseases were not related to vaccinations.
With regard to the cancellation situation itselfclinical trials of the drug "Coronavac" in Brazil, then, I'm afraid, the reasons for what happened are mainly political. At least this is openly said by Governor João Doria, a political rival of Jair Bolsonaro, who has repeatedly criticized the president's unceremonious approach to the pandemic. The head of Brazil himself reacted angrily in October when he learned that the Ministry of Health intends to purchase 46 million doses of the Chinese vaccine.
On the same day that Brazil suspended testing of Sinovac, the American company Pfizer announced that preliminary research results showed 90% effectiveness of the drug developed against Covid-19.
Let me remind you that the Chinese "Koronavak" is one of the11 experimental vaccines, produced by some of the world's leading pharmaceutical companies, currently in phase three trials. As the world grapples with yet another major wave of coronavirus infection, the vaccine race has intensified and become even more competitive due to capricious geopolitics. Well, it will be hoped that in this situation, the desire to overcome the pandemic will prevail, and not its political rival.