China takes unorthodox route to test vaccine : Last month, the Beijing Institute of Biological Products, which is developing one of Sinopharm's vaccines, published its preclinical data in a peer-reviewed journal, Cell, saying :

The vaccine induced high-levels of anti-bodies in macques and protected against Sars-CoV-2, the virus that caused Covid-19.

The Wuhan Institute, which Sinopharm owns, and its vaccines had caused no adverse reactions among volunteers, according to Xinhua, China's official news agency. Volunteers achieved full antibodies after two doses in 28-day program.

While the early results in those small groups are promising, Chinese companies must strike deals in  other countries to ultimately pass regulatory muster in China and the rest of the world.

In June, Sinopharm began the third phase of clinical trials in Beijing, Wuhan and Abu Dhabi, becoming the first company to enter the final regulatory stage. China's Sinovac Biotech is teaming up with Instituto Butantan in Brazil, which has the world's second-highest case count, after the United States.

The process has been politically fraught in Brazil, where Mr. Bolosonnaro has played down the threat, though he later contracted Covid-19. His blamed China for the pandemic.

Shortly after the vaccine deal, a fake meme started spreading that  said the vaccine had been tested  only on monkeys and never on humans. ''If this vaccine is so promising, then why not test it in China, where this damned virus appeared, instead of testing it on the citizens of Sao Paulo?'' it said.

Dimas Taden Covas, the director of Butantan, said that he was impressed with Sinovac's preliminary results and that the vaccine ''has the greatest potential for success.''

He cited results from Sinovac's Phase-1 trials that showed no adverse effects and Phase 2 trials that showed 90 percent against Sars-Cov2.

''I know vaccines and I am betting a lot on this one,'' Dr. Covas said.
Despite the political backlash, about 600,000 people signed up for the trials just 24 hours after the recruiting process went live this month.

Joao Doria, the governor of Sao Paulo, the state were testing is being conducted, said, ''In the middle of the pandemic, you can't prioritize ideology or political factors over life.''

Ralcyon Teixeira, the infectious disease specialist and director of the medical division at the hospital Emillio Ribas in Sao Paulo, said he was worried that the ''politicization'' of the Sinovac vaccine could hinder the introduction of what he believed could be an effective treatment.

''It's been four months of just Covid,'' he said. ''We are tired of seeing so many deaths, so many bad and tragic situations, so I think that we are seeking out hope that this vaccine will work.''

The World Students Society thanks authors Sui-Lee Wee and Mariana Simoes, and Amber Wang and Liu Yi for contributing research.


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