China's Sinovac Biotech vaccine, Coronavac, is found to be 78% effective against mild cases of COVID-19, based on the results of Brazil's late-stage trials.
On Thursday, Jan. 7, Sinovac's Brazilian partner Butantan Institute said that more than 12,000 healthcare workers participated in the Phase 3 trials which started last July. None of the volunteers tested positive afterwards nor were there any reported serious side effects. Bloomberg also reported that Coronavac is found to be "100% effective against severe and moderate infections."
“The result means that the vaccine has a high degree of efficiency to protect the lives of Brazilians,” said João Doria, governor of São Paulo. “It is a historic moment.”
Luis Carlos Diaz, a member of the research task force at the University of Campinas, also said that “It’s a great result.” He added, “If it can prevent severe cases, hospitalizations, deaths, it will help get us out of this pandemic.”
However, reports say that Butantan Institute have yet to disclose the variables and other data—such as age, gender, or number of asympotomatic volunteers—in the sample. Brazil's officials said that complete details will be provided once the vaccine is approved by Anvisa, their health regulatory agency.
Gonzalo Vecina, one of the founders of Anvisa, told The Associated Press, “In a general picture, we do have sufficient information to move on to register and use it.”
Despite the lack of data, São Paulo's state government has already set a date for their first inoculation, which is on Jan. 25 as reported by Financial Times.
While it's still far away from the vaccines developed by Moderna and BioNtech-Pfizer, which were both found to be around 95% effective, Sinovac is said to be easier to transport and stored, as with China National Biotec Group Co.'s. The two make "potentially better choices for distribution and use" as they can be stored at refrigerator temperatures.
"Sinovac only requires 2 to 8-degree C storage and so is easier to handle for resource-limited countries," wrote Edsel Maurice Salvana, director of the Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology at the National Institutes of Health at the University of the Philippines Manila, in a Facebook post. "It may be one of the earliest vaccines that can be realistically supplied to the Philippines."
Meanwhile, in the Philippines, the government is targeting to receive 25 million doses of vaccine developed by Sinovac by March 2021.
Sinovac and Sinopharm, another Chinese pharmaceutical firm, also plan to send their application to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for their COVID-19 vaccine's emergency use authorization in the Philippines.
To date, Pfizer is the only pharmaceutical organization that sent their application for emergency use in the Philippines.