Covid-19 vaccine updates: Brazil to conduct Sputnik V’s Phase III trials

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The race to find a vaccine to coronavirus continues but it has been a mixed week so far in that pursuit. AstraZeneca had to pause their vaccine trials as a woman developed severe neurological symptoms, the drugmaker told news agencies on Thursday.

The Drug Controller General of India asked Serum Institute of India to cite reasons on why they had failed to inform of the casualty analysis of the “reported serious adverse events”. The latter said that the trials were ongoing and they were adhering to the DCGI’s safety concerns.

Coronavirus has affected more than 28 million people worldwide. More than 900,000 people have died.

India has reported more than 90,000 cases and currently is close to reporting at least 100,000 cases per day.

Here are the latest developments on the coronavirus vaccine:

• The US Food and Drug Administration’s office has said on Thursday that the emergency authorization of a Covid-19 vaccine will have to meet a higher standard of efficacy than what would normally be required for such clearance.

• The Bolsonaro-led Brazil government is yet to decide whether to join the COVAX Facility – the worldwide vaccine allocation plan led by the World Health Organisation (WHO). COVAX aims to procure and deliver 2 million doses of coronavirus vaccines by the end of 2021. The deadline for Brazil to join the WHO-led initiative ends on September 18.

• WHO has called the recent halting of the coronavirus vaccine tests of Astrazeneca a ‘wake-up call’. World Health Organization’s chief scientist Dr. Soumya Swaminathan said that the global community needs to realize that “there are ups and downs in research.”

• Turkey’s health minister Fahrettin Koca said that the nation’s health ministry will decide next week whether to conduct the Phase III testing of Russia’s coronavirus vaccine Sputnik V. “Our vaccine science team will have made its evaluation on the issue in the coming days. We may probably allow Phase III work for the vaccine in Russia next week,” he said while speaking to Reuters.

• The Brazilian state of Bahia has signed a confidentiality agreement on Tuesday to undertake the trials of the Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine and shall receive 500 doses as soon as Anvisa, Brazil’s health regulator, approves the testing protocols. Governor Rui Costa told Reuters that Brazil will also buy 50 million doses of the vaccine and plans to commit to that decision within Friday.