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Data from Brazil show that China's vaccine is 50.4% effective

Data from Brazil show that China's vaccine is 50.4% effective

A coronavirus vaccine developed by China's Sinovac has been found to be 50.4% effective in Brazilian clinical trials, according to the latest results published by researchers.

It shows that the vaccine is significantly less effective than previous data suggested, just over 50% needed for regulatory approval.

The Chinese vaccine is one of two that the Brazilian government has prepared.

Brazil has been one of the countries most affected by the coronavirus.

Sinovac, a Beijing-based biopharmaceutical company, is behind CoronaVac, an inactivated vaccine. It works by using dead viral particles to expose the body's immune system to the virus without risking a severe disease response.

Several countries, including Indonesia, Turkey and Singapore, have placed orders for the vaccine.

Last week, researchers from the Butantan Institute, which has been conducting the trials in Brazil, announced that the vaccine was 78% effective against "mild to severe" Covid-19 cases.

But on Tuesday they revealed that calculations for this figure did not include data for a group of "very mild infections" among those who received the vaccine who did not require clinical care.

With the inclusion of this data, the efficacy rate is now 50.4%, the researchers said.

But Butantan emphasized that the vaccine is 78% effective in preventing mild cases that need treatment and 100% effective in preventing moderate to severe cases.

Sinovac's trials have yielded different results in different countries.

Last month, Turkish researchers said the Sinovac vaccine was 91.25% effective, while data from Indonesia said it was 65.3% effective. Both were interim results of late stage trials.

There has been concern and criticism that Chinese vaccine trials are not subject to the same scrutiny and levels of transparency as their Western counterparts.

Both the Sinovac vaccine and the vaccine developed by the University of Oxford and pharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca have pending emergency use authorization requests with regulators in Brazil.

The latest news comes as Brazil is grappling with a major spike in cases. Currently, the country has the third highest number of Covid-19 cases in the world with more than 8.1 million, behind only the United States and India.

Candace Piette, Americas editor for the BBC World Service, says the country is experiencing one of the world's deadliest outbreaks, but so far she has not announced when her vaccination program will begin.

The delay has been largely caused by the government's disorderly and divided approach to vaccination, our correspondent says.

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