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The makers of two COVID-19 vaccines developed by the Chinese pharmaceutical company Sinovac and Oxford-AstraZeneca filed the first applications for approval in Brazil on Friday.

The federal health authority Anvisa now has 10 days to respond to the applications. However, this could also mean that the sponsors will be asked for more information.

An application was submitted by the Butantan Institute, a public health center in Sao Paulo that is working with Sinovac to test and manufacture its CoronaVac vaccine.

The other was from the Fiocruz Foundation, based in Rio de Janeiro, which works in a similar partnership with Oxford University and its partner, the Anglo-Swedish pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca.

The filings came a day after officials announced that CoronaVac had shown 78 percent effectiveness in clinical trials in Brazil, news that Sao Paulo Governor Joao Doria described as “historic”.

Sinovac has not yet published any global results from the final phase of clinical trials, which are also being carried out in Chile, Indonesia and Turkey.

The Oxford vaccine results published in December found it was 62 percent effective in volunteers given two full doses and 90 percent effective in volunteers given half a dose followed by a full dose.

Neither vaccine, however, appear to be achieving the 90 percent or more efficacy reported for vaccines from US pharmaceutical companies Pfizer and Moderna.

The CoronaVac and Oxford vaccines were embroiled in a political battle in Brazil between Doria and far-right President Jair Bolsonaro, who is likely to oppose next year’s presidential election.

The federal government initially passed on CoronaVac, which Bolsonaro ridiculed as “Joao Doria’s Chinese vaccine”.

However, after the Ministry of Health struggled to secure enough doses for Brazil’s 212 million residents, it announced Thursday that it had signed a contract with the Butantane Institute for 100 million doses of the vaccine for nationwide use.

For its part, Fiocruz plans to import two million doses of the AstraZeneca batch made by the Indian Serum Institute, the world’s largest manufacturer of vaccines by volume.

On Friday, Bolsonaro sent a letter to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi urging “the delivery of the two million cans” of the AstraZeneca batch.

The early delivery would enable the vaccination program to be implemented immediately, Bolsonaro said.

Brazil has the second highest death toll from the pandemic after the US. More than 200,000 people were killed by COVID-19.

The government has not yet set a start date for its vaccination campaign, a delay that has been heavily criticized by Bolsonaro opponents.

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© 2021 AFP

Quote: Sinovac, AstraZeneca applies for vaccine approval in Brazil (2021, January 9), accessed on January 10, 2021 from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2021-01-sinovac-astrazeneca-vaccine-brazil.html

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