Brazil rates China’s COVID-19 vaccine 50% effective

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BRAZILIAN researchers today said the coronavirus vaccine developed by Chinese drug maker Sinovac Biotech was found to be more than 50 per cent effective in a late-stage clinical trial. 

   But officials at the state-run research institute Butantan say they are withholding the results of the trial at Sinovac’s request, raising issues once again about the lack of transparency involving the vaccine’s development. 

The test was conducted after the Latin American country  received its first doses of COVID-19 vaccine with a shipment landing in Mexico City in which Mexico Foreign Secretary, Marcelo Ebrard, was on hand when the flight carrying the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine landed from Belgium.

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An excited Ebrard said “Today is the beginning of the end of that pandemic,” in a forum with newsmen.

While Mexico is scheduled to receive 1.4 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, other Latin American countries are expecting vaccine shipments or, as Argentina did, approving vaccines for use in their countries.

According to U.S. Operation Warp Speed chief adviser, Dr. Moncef Slaoui, it would take longer to administer the doses.

“The commitment that we can make is to make vaccine doses available. How fast the ramp-up of immunisations, the shots in arms, is happening is slower than we thought it would be,” Slaoui said during a press call.

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He was speaking in confirmation of Trump administration’s deal worth $2 billion to secure an additional 100 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer-BioNTech, which would boost the nation’s vaccine supply to 200 million doses by mid-July 2021.

It will be recalled that Sinovac is one of many drug makers around the world who have been racing to develop a safe and effective vaccine against COVID-19, which has killed more than 1.7 million people out of more than 78.7 million total confirmed infections, according to Johns Hopkins University’s Coronavirus Resource Centre. 

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