China defended its vaccine research and development capability on Thursday, a day after Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro scrapped plans to procure a potential COVID-19 vaccine with a jibe that the Brazilian population would not be a guinea pig for anybody. Brazil’s population will not be guinea pigs, Bolsonaro said on Wednesday, the day after Health Minister Eduardo Pazuello said Brazil needs to purchase 46 million doses of Chinese Sinovac vaccine for the immunization program.
China’s Sinovac vaccine has been evaluated by the Butantan Institute Research Center in Brazil and also needs to be licensed by the health regulator to be used in the population.
Asked for his response to Bolsonaro ‘s remarks, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian told the media that R&D vaccines in China are leading the world. He said four vaccines in China are currently in phase three clinical trials.
Indeed, Chinese R&D vaccines have been widely spoken by different nations, he added, adding that China is now part of COVAX, the World Health Organization’s partnership to deliver COVID-19 vaccines equitably around the world. Bolsonaro said that the Chinese vaccine has not yet begun testing, which is the case for other potential vaccines for the virus. My choice is not to buy such a vaccine. Brazil has been one of the countries most affected by a coronavirus.
Almost 5.3 million confirmed cases-the third-highest in the world after the US and India-and is second only to the US in terms of deaths, with almost 155,000 reported so far, according to data gathered by Johns Hopkins University. Bolsonaro’s decision came as a dampener to China’s move to use its vaccines as a political instrument to improve its global reputation by offering coronavirus vaccines to developing countries in particular. “China will contribute to the accessibility and availability of vaccines in developing countries,” Zhao said, adding that China and Brazil have enjoyed sound cooperation in the field of COVID-19 regulation. “We are committed to ensuring that our vaccines are deployed and used for the benefit of the global public.”
“We hope that this collaboration will lead to our final and absolute triumph over the virus in China, Brazil, and around the world,” he said. Brazil’s decision on Sinovac followed Bangladesh’s decision to suspend the phase 3 trial after the Chinese company asked the Bangladeshi government to co-finance it.