Covid-19 roundup: Brazil holds Sinovac doses after manufacturing mix up; Takeda to produce Novavax vaccine
The use of more than 12.1 million doses of the Chinese Sinovac vaccine will be halted in Brazil, after regulators learned that the manufacturing site was not approved for emergency use by Anvisa, the national health agency.
Anvisa announced the 90-day suspension in a statement Saturday. Another 17 batches, or 9 million doses, are also en route to Brazil, and will be held due to being bottled at a site that was not inspected.
The Butantan Institute notified the agency of the slip-up, the statement says.
Sinovac’s vaccine was granted emergency use authorization in Brazil on Jan. 17. The company has blamed shipment delays on production bottlenecks and export restrictions. The hiccup could hinder the rollout: while nearly 66% of Brazilians have received at least one shot, just 31% are fully vaccinated.
There have also been concerns about Sinovac’s efficacy against the Delta variant, which has led some health officials in Brazil to give a third dose to older citizens, while much of the population awaits that second dose, the Associated Press reports.
Brazil has canceled vaccine deals from Russia and India, totaling 30 million doses, causing concern for the timing of the 90-day quarantine of the affected doses.
After the US, Brazil has had the worst reaction to the pandemic, with 20 million infections and 580,000 deaths. From March to June, 500,000 Brazilians were infected each week, The Washington Post reported.
Takeda to produce Novavax vaccine
With an eye toward 2022 distribution, the Japanese government will purchase 150 million Novavax vaccine doses that Takeda will produce, the company said.
Novavax is licensing the vaccine and transferring the manufacturing tech to Takeda. Previously, the two companies had already agreed to produce 250 million of the shot in a similar manner for other countries. Japan has donated many of the home-manufactured AstraZeneca vaccines while it has inoculated its own people with mRNA vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech.
While Japan started the month of May with about 1% of its population fully vaccinated, it’s made up ground in recent months. By Monday, 48% of the population was fully vaccinated.
TAK-019 is still in clinical trials in Japan, and the financial terms of the deal were not yet disclosed.