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Brazil Suspends Vaccine Trial

Brazil has halted a late-stage clinical trial of a coronavirus vaccine due to a report of an adverse reaction, the Financial Times reports.

According to the New York Times, SinoVac began phase 3 trials of its vaccine, dubbed CoronaVac, in Brazil and Indonesia in August and in Turkey in September. In Brazil, the trial is being conducted in coordination with the Butantan Institute in São Paulo, and has enrolled about 9,000 people, FT adds.

Dimas Covas, the head of the Butantan Institute, tells FT he finds the decision by Anvisa, the Brazilian health regulator, to suspend the trial perplexing. As FT reports, the trial was paused due to a death among trial participants, though the institute says it was unrelated to the vaccine. "There are more than 10,000 volunteers at this time, deaths can happen," Covas adds.

The Times notes that Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has both downplayed the severity of the COVID-19 pandemic and criticized the vaccine trials. A vaccine expert from Shanghai, Tao Lina, tells the Times he believes the suspension of the trial is because of politics. 

The suspension came as Pfizer and BioNTech reported that an early analysis of their trial indicated their vaccine was highly effective, it adds.