• By The Financial District


Brazil’s health regulator has suspended a clinical trial for China’s Sinovac coronavirus vaccine citing a severe adverse event, surprising the trial organizers who countered there had been a death but it was unrelated to the vaccine.

The health regulator, Anvisa, said the event took place on Oct. 29 but did not specify if the incident took place in Brazil or in another country. It also did not give an indication of how long the suspension of the large late-stage trial might last, Reuters reported.  

Dimas Covas, the head of Sao Paulo’s medical research institute Butantan which is conducting the trial said the decision was related to a death but added he found the regulator’s announcement strange, telling broadcaster TV Cultura “it’s a death unrelated to the vaccine. As there are more than 10,000 volunteers at this moment, deaths can occur... It’s a death that has no relation with the vaccine and as such it is not the moment to interrupt the trials.”

The Sinovac vaccine has been criticized by Brazil’s president, Jair Bolsonaro, who has dismissed it as lacking credibility. Bolsonaro, who regularly expresses anti-Chinese sentiment, has previously said the federal government will not buy the vaccine. Earlier on Monday he appeared to row back on those comments, saying the government would buy any vaccines that were approved by the Health Ministry and regulator Anvisa.