Indonesian clerics declare Sinovac's Covid-19 vaccine halal

Outbreak of the coronavirus disease, in Sao Paulo

Outbreak of the coronavirus disease, in Sao Paulo

Butantan announced earlier on Thursday that late-stage trial results in Brazil showed the Chinese vaccine had a 78% efficacy rate and entirely prevented severe COVID-19 cases, as the center seeks emergency use authorization.

The CoronaVac and Oxford vaccines have been caught up in a political battle in Brazil between Doria and far-right President Jair Bolsonaro, likely opponents in presidential elections next year.

Turkey, which also helped carry out Phase 3 tests of CoronaVac, said last month the vaccine had shown effectiveness of 91.25 per cent in its trials.

Philippine officials met with Sinovac representatives on December 11, said Carlito Galvez, the country's vaccine chief.

Elsewhere, the Indian Ocean island nation of the Seychelles will begin administering COVID-19 vaccinations on Sunday with the 50,000 doses it has of the Chinese-developed Sinopharm vaccine. The trial saw about 220 participants infected - 160 in the placebo group while nearly 60 received the vaccine, Covas said.

Sinovac's CoronaVac vaccine was 78% effective in preventing mild cases of Covid-19 and 100% effective against severe and moderate infections, said Dimas Covas, director of the Butantan Institute that partnered with Sinovac to produce the shot locally.

Dr Cristina Bonorino, who is on the Brazilian Immunology Society's scientific committee, said a presentation at a news conference is one thing, but "it's something else to get the data and analyse it, which is what Anvisa will do".

In Brazil's trials, half of the volunteers took the vaccine, while the other half took a placebo, Mr. Covas said.

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Separately, the Fatwa Commission at Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) said on Friday Sinovac's vaccine is halal and untainted in its production process, giving the green light for its use among Indonesian Muslims.

Piecemeal disclosure of results from global CoronaVac studies have led to concerns about transparency of the trials, adding to skepticism about the Chinese vaccine in Brazil. Both of those vaccines rely on inactivated viruses.

Miguel Cendoroglo Neto, chief medical officer of the Israelita Albert Einstein health-care group, said Brazil would have to rely on several vaccines to immunize its vast population as quickly as possible.

Vaccines offered by Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna use a novel synthetic messenger RNA (mRNA) technology, requiring far colder temperatures for shipping and storage.

The CEO of SII, Adar Poonawala raised anxieties when he said last week that the government of India could restrict exports.

According to the health minister, Brazil also expects to receive 254 million doses of the vaccine developed by AstraZeneca/Oxford University.

The country plans to vaccinate about 67 percent of its population - about 181.5 million people, to achieve herd immunity.

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