Brazil’s Butantan reports efficacy rates for Sinovac’s CoronaVac

Brazil’s Butantan Institute this week released interim efficacy results from the Phase III clinical study it conducted for China-based Sinovac’s SARS-CoV-2 vaccine CoronaVac, which were originally expected last month. According to the institution, the jab caused an allergic reaction such as pain at site of administration in only 0.3% of participants, and has a general efficacy rate of 50.38% against any type of COVID-19 case including very mild symptoms, 77.96% for mild to severe cases, and 100% for preventing severe cases and hospitalizations, although the latter figure is not considered statistically significant.

The inactivated vaccine’s 50.38% efficacy is lower than that announced for RNA- and DNA-based alternatives that are near 90%, and even differs from the 65.3% and 91.25% values reported for CoronaVac in studies in Indonesia and Turkey respectively. However, Butantan notes that the over 12,000 participants were all healthcare personnel in direct contact with COVID-19 patients or SARS-CoV-2, which together with the application of a more thorough definition of a COVID-19 case is likely to have pushed the efficacy rate downwards. The data reported by Butantan therefore may not be directly comparable to the efficacy rates released by other developers. In addition, CoronaVac’s figure meets the minimum 50% efficacy requirement set by the Wold Health Organization (WHO) and Brazil’s National Health Surveillance Agency (ANVISA), which last week received an emergency use authorization (EUA) filing for the vaccine from Butantan.

Butantan director Dimas Covas commented that the institution will continue developing Sinovac’s product, with plans to conduct separate trials in elderly and people with comorbidities, expectant women, as well as children and adolescents. Butantan will also study the vaccine’s impact in stemming the epidemic.


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