Turkey says COVID-19 vaccine from China's Sinovac 91.25% effective
ANKARA (Reuters) - A COVID-19 vaccine developed by China's Sinovac Biotech is 91.25% effective according to preliminary data from a late-stage study in Turkey. This is possibly a much better result than from a separate study with the vaccine in Brazil.
Researchers in Brazil, who are also conducting a final Phase III study of the vaccine, said the shot was more than 50% effective on Wednesday but withheld the full results at the company's request and asked questions about transparency.
Turkish researchers said Thursday that no major side effects were noted during their study, apart from one person who had an allergic reaction.
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The Turkish trial began on September 14, and researchers said 1,322 people participated.
Sinovac is the first Chinese vaccine company to release details from late-stage clinical trials after positive results from competing products from Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca last month.
The Turkish researchers, who spoke with Health Minister Fahrettin Koca, said 26 of the 29 people infected during the study were given placebos. The study would continue until 40 people were infected.
"We are now sure that the vaccine is effective and safe (to use) in Turks," said Koca, adding that Ankara would use the data to license the vaccine.
Turkey had agreed to buy 50 million cans of Sinovacs shot and receive delivery by December 11, but shipping was delayed.
Koca said the doses would arrive on Monday, adding that Turkey would vaccinate about nine million people in the first group, starting with health workers.
Sinovac also has supply contracts for its vaccine called CoronaVac with countries like Indonesia, Brazil, Chile and Singapore, and is negotiating with the Philippines and Malaysia.
Koca also said Turkey will sign an agreement with Pfizer and its partner BioNTech to supply 4.5 million doses of their vaccine by the end of March, with the option to purchase an additional 30 million doses later.
(Reporting by Tuvan Gumrukcu and Ali Kucukgocmen; Additional reporting by Roxanne Liu; Editing by Alex Richardson and Mark Potter)
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