CHINESE COVID-19 VACCINE FAR LESS EFFECTIVE THAN CLAIMED IN BRAZIL
A leading Chinese COVID-19 vaccine developed by Sinovac Biotech was just 50.38% effective in late-stage trials in Brazil, significantly lower than earlier results showed, according to a statement published by the government of Sao Paulo.
While the number exceeds the threshold required for regulatory approval, it falls far below the 78% previously announced, raising questions as to the veracity of the data and fueling skepticism over the apparent lack of transparency, Nectar Gan and Tatiana Arias reported for CNN.
Analysts said the efficacy rate of Sinovac's Coronavac vaccine in Brazil -- the lowest among its global competitors -- could affect international confidence in China-made vaccines and hamper Beijing's effort to repair its image from its early mishandling of the initial outbreak by providing COVID-19 vaccines to developing countries.
"The Butantan Institute and the Government of Sao Paulo report that the coronavirus vaccine achieved a 50.38% overall efficacy rate in the clinical study conducted in Brazil, in addition to (an efficacy rate of) 78% for mild cases and 100% for moderate and severe cases of COVID-19.
All rates are higher than the 50% level required by the World Health Organization (WHO)," the statement released Tuesday said.
However, high-ranking members of the Brazilian Health Ministry told CNN affiliate CNN Brasil that "the effectiveness is borderline," and that because "It is at the limit. We have to wait for ANVISA (Brazilian Health Regulatory Agency) to evaluate."
The results suggest Coronavac is less effective than alternative vaccines developed by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, which have an efficacy rate of about 95%.
Russia says its Sputnik V vaccine is 91% effective, while the UK's vaccine, developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca, has an average efficacy of 70%.
The Sinovac vaccine is also less effective than its domestic Chinese competitor, developed by the state-owned Sinopharm, which claims it is 79.34% effective.
WEEKLY FEATURE : JOSE MARI CHAN AND THE CHRISTMAS ANTHEM