Brazil’s drug regulator has criticized Beijing for not providing enough information about allowing the emergency use of the Chinese-made CoronaVac vaccine, currently undergoing trials in Brazil.

“The Chinese criteria applied to grant the authorization of emergency use in China are not transparent, and there is no available information on the criteria currently in use by the Chinese decision-making bodies,” Brazil’s National Health Regulatory Agency (Anvisa) said in a statement.

The agency said that allowing the emergency use of the vaccine without the relevant data would pose “risks to the Brazilian population.”

Anvisa warned that “geopolitical issues” could potentially affect “national discussions and eventual decisions by foreign authorities in relation to the Covid-19 vaccine.”  

The vaccine, developed by the Chinese firm Sinovac Biotech, is currently undergoing Phase III trials in Sao Paulo in collaboration with the city’s Butantan Institute.

The trial was briefly suspended in November following the death of one of the volunteers. The institute’s director, Dimas Covas, told reporters the incident was not related to the vaccine. Reuters said, citing a police report, that the volunteer had committed suicide.

President Jair Bolsonaro, who has long been accused of downplaying the dangers of the coronavirus, often argues over the government’s response and vaccination strategy with Sao Paulo Governor Joao Doria, his political rival.

Last month, Bolsonaro wrote on social media that the suspension of CoronaVac’s trial was “another victory”. Doria, in turn, blasted the president for “choosing a vaccine at the expense of other vaccines and turning his back on the Butantan Institute.”

According to Brazilian media, state authorities in Sao Paulo plan to ask Anvisa to authorize the use of CoronaVac later this month.

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