Covid-19 roundup: Sinovac pulls back from a promised PhIII data reveal, raising questions about efficacy
After promising to reveal the data on a pivotal trial for Sinovac’s Covid-19 vaccine in Brazil, the authorities involved hit the pause button on the results in order to give the Chinese company more time to analyze the numbers.
All they will say at this point is that the vaccine is more than 50% effective, the minimum level that’s been set for an approval. Officials at Brazil’s Butantan Institute said, though, that Sinovac wants to run the numbers out of Turkey and Indonesia as well.
But with the unexpected delay on the data, there’s rising concern over just how competitive this new jab can be, and just how transparent Sinovac will be with the outcome.
Covid task force member Luiz Carlos Dias told the Wall Street Journal:
I’m worried that perhaps the efficacy rate is not so high after all.
These data are likely to fuel a furious debate in Brazil over which vaccine the country — and all of Latin America — should turn to. São Paulo officials had planned to use the Sinovac vaccine in a campaign that would have covered 1 in 5 Brazilians, and then start exporting it through Latin America. Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, meanwhile, has questioned the vaccine’s Chinese origins.
The US, meanwhile, is pushing through widespread distribution of the 2 mRNA vaccines from Pfizer/BioNtech and Moderna, which have demonstrated around 95% efficacy. But the most affluent countries have gobbled up the bulk of the available supply. If less effective vaccines from Sinovac and elsewhere are all that’s available in developing nations, it’s more and more likely we’ll see a 2-tier system develop, with widely varying results.