Suspension of Chinese Covid-19 vaccine trial in Brazil caused by suicide

This is not the first vaccine to have its trial in Brazil suspended however.

Matthias Ang | November 11, 2020, 12:04 PM

The suspension of a Chinese pharmaceutical firm's Covid-19 vaccine trial in Brazil was caused by the suicide of a trial volunteer, Reuters reported.

According to the state government of Sao Paulo, the suicide is currently under investigation.

Meanwhile, Brazil's health regulator, Anvisa, has stated that it will maintain the suspension of the trial

Anvisa had previously stated on November 9 that an incident involving Sinovac Biotech Ltd's vaccine, CoronaVac, had occurred on October 29.

However, no further details were given at that time.

Chinese firm voices confidence in vaccine's safety

Reuters further reported that the health secretary for Sao Paulo state, Jean Gorinchteyn, has stressed that the death had nothing to do with the vaccine and that it is safe.

A statement on Sinovac's website claimed it was confident of the vaccine's safety after finding out about the the matter from Butantan Institute, which is conducting the trial.

"After communicating with the Brazilian partner Butantan Institute, we learned the head of Butantan Institute believed that this serious adverse event (SAE) is not related to the vaccine.

Sinovac will continue to communicate with Brazil on this matter. The clinical study in Brazil is strictly carried out in accordance with GCP (Good Clinical Practices) requirements and we are confident in the safety of the vaccine."

Not the first vaccine in Brazil to have its trial suspended

The South China Morning Post (SCMP) further reported that Sinovac's vaccine is currently being tested in Indonesia and Turkey as well, without interruption.

In addition, the suspension of the Chinese vaccine is not the only instance to have occurred in Brazil.

Previously in September, a vaccine developed jointly by pharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca and Oxford University had its trial suspended around the world, including in Brazil, after a volunteer in the UK developed a spinal cord injury, NBC News reported.

The trials eventually resumed in October.

Suspension for Sinovac's vaccine contrasted with another vaccine announcement

The setback for Sinovac came on the same day that Pfizer and BioNTech announced it had a vaccine candidate which is "more than 90 per cent effective", in preventing Covid-19 in participants without evidence of prior SARS-CoV-2 infection.

The Pfizer vaccine is also being tested in Brazil, with more than 3,100 volunteers involved in the states of Sao Paulo and Bahia.

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