2020-12-25 06:48:09

A Chinese vaccine trial in Turkey has found to be 91.25% effective at preventing COVID-19 in a small pool of participants from a large-scale trial, Reuters reported Friday, citing Turkish health authorities.

The announcement is a boost of confidence for the Beijing-based vaccine manufacturer Sinovac after holding off on announcing the results from its trial in Brazil on Wednesday.

Serhat Unal from the Turkish government’s COVID-19 advisory board said the efficacy was based on preliminary analysis of a small pool including 1,322 of the more than 7,000 participants from the local trial that began in September. Unal added the efficacy is “likely to increase” as the trial continues to gather data.

“We are now certain that the vaccine is effective and safe (to use) on Turkish people,” Turkish health minister Fahrettin Koca said. 

On Wednesday, Brazillian researchers said Sinovac’s vaccine, dubbed CoronaVac, is more than 50% effective, citing a trial involving some 13,000 people. But the Chinese company has asked its Brazillian partner for an additional two weeks before announcing the exact number, so they can analyze data from other trials, including the one in Turkey, together.

The Turkish announcement came five months after the Chinese government greenlighted the product for emergency use among high-risk groups such as frontline medical workers.

Sinovac is the second Chinese vaccine that has been reported to be effective at preventing COVID-19 in trials abroad.

Earlier this month, authorities in the United Arab Emirates said a vaccine made by Beijing-based Sinopharm is 86% effective in preventing COVID-19. The governments of the UAE and Bahrain have since approved the product.

Both Sinopharm and Sinovac have not released detailed data from the trials.

Editor: Bibek Bhandari.

(Header image: A container carrying doses of CoronaVac vaccine is unloaded from a cargo plane at Guarulhos International Airport in Guarulhos, Brazil, Nov. 19, 2020. Nelson Almeida/AFP via People Visual)