China’s Sinovac vaccine has shown to be 78% effective against Covid-19 in Brazilian late-stage trials and offers total protection against severe cases of the disease, raising hopes it can be used to immunize much of the developing world.
Brazil’s Butantan Institute, the São Paulo-based research center that tested CoronaVac in Phase 3 trials, said Thursday that none of the volunteers who took the vaccine developed severe cases of Covid-19. More than 12,000 health workers took part in Phase 3 trials in Brazil, the first country to complete tests of Sinovac’s vaccine.
“It’s a great result,” said Luiz Carlos Dias, part of a Covid-19 task force of researchers at the University of Campinas in São Paulo state. “If it can prevent severe cases, hospitalizations, deaths, it will help get us out of this pandemic.”
CoronaVac’s vaccine is less effective then those being developed by Moderna Inc. and jointly by Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE that have shown to have efficacy rates of 94.5% and 95% in testing, respectively. But CoronaVac can be kept in a standard refrigerator between about 36 and 46 degrees Fahrenheit, making it easier and cheaper to transport and store in less developed countries, infectious disease specialists said.
Prashant Yadav, a global health specialist at Washington-based think tank Center for Global Development, said 78% is a high enough rate for many developing countries to consider using the vaccine and potentially good enough for the World Health Organization to consider incorporating CoronaVac into its global distribution system.