News about Brazilian regulators’ decision to halt a Phase 3 Sinovac trial amid rumors that a patient had died under questionable circumstances heaped more humiliation on Beijing this month, adding insult to injury after Pfizer unveiled the first “extremely promising” headline immunity data for its mRNA vaccine, snagging a “win” in the race for the West.
Just weeks ago, Beijing may have indulged in some schadenfraude as AstraZeneca’s partnership with Oxford finally got its trial in the US back up and running after a month-plus delay. But now the shoe was on the other foot.
Though the Brazil trial was reinstated within two days, it allowed Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro to declare “victory” by appearing to validate his persistent questioning of the Chinese vaccination effort. His comments have no doubt become a problem for Beijing, which must secure the trust of partner nations in the developing world to develop markets for the vaccines its producing for the virus it helped to unleash.
“As China continues to push its own vaccines through the final stage of clinical trial in the midst of Pfizer’s announcement, the need for Beijing to address public perception about its vaccine safety issues is more pressing now than ever,” said Xiaoqing Lu Boynton, a consultant at Albright Stonebridge Group who focuses on health care and life sciences.
Reporters for Reuters have detailed a “http://www.zerohedge.com/”vaccine web” illustrating various markets where Chinese vaccine makers have agreements to test, and market, their vaccines, provided they’re approved by domestic regulators.
There’s little question, according to other experts who spoke with Reuters, that the US’s wins on the vaccine front threaten China’s “vaccine diplomacy” plans, since Beijing has now transformed the race for a vaccine into an opportunity to exhibit China’s technological superiority to the world.
The “problem for me is global public good or China public good — it’s two different notions,” said Nicolas Chapuis, the European Union’s ambassador to China. While he praised China’s decision to join the WHO-backed vaccine program,