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China offers 5m doses of Sinovac Biotech vaccine to SA

Chinese coronavirus vaccine manufacturer Sinovac Biotech has offered to supply the government with 5m doses of its CoronaVac shot, which could be provided within weeks, BusinessLIVE reports its local partner Numolux said.

Last week, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said the government might miss its target of vaccinating 40m people by the end of the year because of tight supplies, putting the country, which has the worst recorded COVID-19 caseload in Africa, at a greater risk of new waves of infections that lead to economically damaging lockdowns.

BusinessLIVE reports that Sinovac’s promise of swift delivery comes as the government faces delays in obtaining the vaccines committed by Johnson & Johnson (J&J) and Pfizer, most of which are only expected in the second half of the year.

Sinovac’s vaccine has yet to be given the green light by South Africa’s medicines regulator, but once that hurdle is cleared a shipment could land in South Africa within "two to three weeks", according to Numolux CEO Hilton Klein.

Numolux licensee Curanto Pharma applied to the SA Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA) last week for full registration, as well as emergency-use section 21 authorisation, which enables doctors to administer unregistered medicines approved by other regulators. Klein declined to disclose the price of the vaccines offered.

BusinessLIVE reports that Sinovac’s vaccine requires two doses, administered two weeks apart, and uses inactivated Sars-CoV-2 to prompt the body’s immune system to make antibodies to the virus.

Separate phase 3 trials in Brazil and Turkey reported that it offers protection against COVID-19, but the results are difficult to compare because the trials were designed differently. The trial in Brazil found it had an efficacy of about 50%, while the one in Turkey showed 83% efficacy.

 

[link url="https://www.businesslive.co.za/bd/national/health/2021-03-17-sinovac-offers-5-million-coronavirus-vaccines-to-sa/"]Full BusinessLIVE report (Open access)[/link]

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