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FDA chief: Scientific publication on Sinovac's efficacy yet to be released

An official and published scientific report on the efficacy rate of the COVID-19 vaccine developed by Chinese biopharmaceutical company Sinovac is yet to be released, Food and Drug Administration (FDA) director general Eric Domingo said Monday amid misgivings about the brand.

In an interview on CNN Philippines, Domingo explained that Sinovac's clinical trial has several arms in different countries and that the efficacy rate varies.

The efficacy rate of Sinovac's COVID-19 vaccine in Brazil is at least 50%, while it was over 90% in Turkey, according to the FDA chief.

"We really have to wait for the actual interim scientific report on the clinical trial Phase 3. I haven't seen any," Domingo said, noting that the firm is expected to come up with a consolidated report on results.

"So far, all we hear are like press releases or substatements but we haven't seen the scientific output and we can only base our assessment and our evaluation on published scientific reports," he added.

Vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. earlier said the Philippines is in talks with China for the first vaccine against COVID-19 that is expected to be administered in the country in March 2021.

The 50% efficacy of Sinovac's vaccine in a late-stage trial in Brazil was "acceptable" for  DOST-Philippine Council for Health Research Development executive director Jaime Montoya, as he explained that it meets the minimum requirement set by the World Health Organization for a vaccine to be used by a country.

On the other hand, Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri said it is "totally unacceptable and a total waste of our funds and resources."

Domingo said that while efficacy rate is an important factor, other considerations are being weighed too by the government such as the availability, ease of transport, storage and administering the product, as well as the price.

"Secretary Charlie Galvez is really looking at several possible sources. maybe four or five different vaccines so that we will be able to get enough vaccines to cover the whole population," he said.

The Department of Health likewise dismissed speculations that the government is favoring one product over the others, and said the government is eyeing to purchase six to seven COVID-19 vaccines.—AOL, GMA News