Peru Suspends Trial For Chinese COVID-19 Vaccine After A Volunteer Develops Neurological Problems 

Swarajya Staff

Dec 13, 2020, 03:31 PM | Updated 03:31 PM IST


Peru has suspended the ongoing clinical trials of a Covid-19 vaccine made by Chinese drug giant Sinopharm after detecting neurological problems in one of its test volunteers. AFP reported.

The National Institute of Health said Friday that it had decided to interrupt the trial after a volunteer had difficulty moving their arms, according to local media.

"Several days ago we signaled, as we are required, to the regulatory authorities that one of our participants (in trials) presented neurological symptoms which could correspond to a condition called Guillain-Barre syndrome," said chief researcher German Malaga in comments to the press.

German Malaga, chief researcher at the local Cayetano Heredia University, which is involved with the study, said one volunteer had experienced decreased strength in his legs among other symptoms, and the condition could be related to Guillain-Barré syndrome.

Guillain-Barre syndrome is a rare and non-contagious disorder which affects the movement of the arms and legs. Peru declared a temporary health emergency in five regions in June last year following multiple cases. In the 1970s a campaign to innoculate Americans against a supposedly devastating strain of swine flu ground to a halt after some 450 of those vaccinated developed the syndrome, which can also cause paralysis.

Sinopharm Group Co Ltd, which is conducting its trials in Peru with some 12,000 volunteers, was about to complete the first stage of the trials in the next few days.

Peruvian government was expected to buy up to 20 million doses to inoculate two-thirds of its population.

Peru has one of the world’s highest per capita death rate from the virus, which as of Friday had caused 36,499 fatalities and 979,111 infections. The country’s GDP plunged more than 30 per cent in the second quarter.

Sinopharm is testing its vaccines in Argentina, Bahrain, Egypt, Indonesia, Jordan, Morocco and Russia. Egypt and Indonesia have already received early batches of the vaccines. In China, nearly one million people have received vaccines from Sinopharm, including Chinese workers going abroad, government officials and students.

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