Coronavirus: China’s race to find a vaccine gathers pace after pause in Brazil trial
- CoronaVac phase 3 testing allowed to restart in Latin American country after it was suspended earlier this week
- Chinese regulator is meanwhile assessing Fosun Pharma’s application for human trials of promising BioNTech candidate
Brazilian health authority Anvisa on Wednesday said the suspension – triggered by a “severe adverse event” on October 29 – was lifted after further information was provided by Sinovac’s local partner, the Butantan Institute. Local media reported that the incident was the suicide of a trial participant.
Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Wang Haibin on Thursday said Beijing was “pleased” about the development, emphasising the “good cooperation” between China and Brazil in the coronavirus fight.
Brazilian state of Sao Paulo builds plant to make China’s coronavirus vaccine candidate, CoronaVac
Meanwhile, Shanghai-based Fosun Pharma said the Chinese drug regulator was assessing its application for human trials of its candidate, which had promising results in a recent evaluation in the United States.
It now needs to go through the early stages of human trials in China, and if they are successful Fosun will seek approval, with phase 3 data from the US, for the vaccine to be used in the country.
In the US, Pfizer is expected to apply for the same candidate to have emergency use authorisation from the US Food and Drug Administration as early as next week.
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China has been pulling out all the stops in the global race to find a vaccine. Chinese drug makers have 11 candidates using different technologies – from the conventional inactivated type to the more novel mRNA vaccines – in human trials.
Of the nine candidates that are in final-stage phase 3 trials around the world, four were developed by Chinese companies: two from China National Biotec Group, the Sinovac one, and another from CanSino Biologics. In addition to these large-scale trials, hundreds of thousands of people in China have been given the China National Biotec and Sinovac candidates under an emergency use programme.
Separately, Tibet Rhodiola Pharmaceutical announced that its subsidiary TopRidge Pharma had obtained the commercial rights to Sputnik V – a vaccine candidate developed by the Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology in Russia – for mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan.
The experimental vaccine was found to be 92 per cent effective against Covid-19 in an interim evaluation of a phase 3 trial with 16,000 participants, the Russian Direct Investment Fund, which has backed its development, said on Wednesday.