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Covid-19: Peru suspends clinical trials of a Chinese vaccine

The Peruvian Ministry of Health confirmed on Saturday that it had temporarily suspended, as a precaution, clinical trials of a Chinese vaccine against Covid-19 after the detection of complications in one of the volunteers of these tests.

This decision was made for “Protect the health of volunteers during sentence three of vaccine trials”, after “The identification of a serious adverse event in one of the research subjects”, explained the ministry in a press release.

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Guillain-Barré syndrome

The National Institute of Health decided on Friday to stop after a volunteer tested had difficulty moving his legs due to weakness, according to local media.

“A few days ago we reported, as it should, to the regulatory authorities that one of our participants (in the trials) had neurological symptoms which could correspond to a complication known as Guillain-Barré”, explained German Malaga, chief researcher for clinical trials for the vaccine developed by the Chinese laboratory Sinopharm, quoted by the press.

Guillain-Barré syndrome is a rare, non-contagious condition in which the patient’s immune system attacks part of the peripheral nervous system. This can lead to muscle weakness and loss of sensation in the legs and arms, for example.

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Tests on around 12,000 people

Peru had declared in mid-2019 a temporary health emergency in several regions of the country due to several cases of this syndrome.

Trials for this vaccine were due to conclude this week, after testing about 12,000 people. In the event of positive results, which were not to be known until mid-2021, the Peruvian government had planned to purchase some 20 million doses to vaccinate two-thirds of the Peruvian population.

Peru said Friday it had recorded 979,111 cases and 36,499 deaths from the coronavirus.

Among the hardest hit countries (excluding micro-states), it is the second to deplore the highest number of deaths in relation to its population, with 111 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants.

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