A day after Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro cancelled plans to buy a potential Covid-19 coronavirus vaccine from China, Beijing’s foreign ministry on Thursday defended its research and development facilities.

Addressing a media briefing, China’s Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian claimed that research and development of the country’s vaccines are spoken of highly by various countries. He said four Chinese vaccines are currently in the phase three clinical trial stage.
He also said that the China is also part of the COVAX, the World Health Organisation’s alliance to equitably distribute Covid-19 vaccines around the world.

On Wednesday, Bolsonaro rejected plans to buy China’s Sinovac vaccine, saying in a tweet, “The Brazilian people will not be anyone’s guinea pig.”

Earlier this month, Bolsonaro’s Health Minister Eduardo Pazuello had said that Brazil wants to buy 4.6 crore doses of Sinovac vaccine for its immunisation programme. The vaccine was being tested by Brazil’s research centre Butantan Institute and still needs to be approved by the health regulator to be used in the population.

Over 100 vaccines are being developed around the world to tackle the coronavirus pandemic. However, some vaccine trials have been temporarily halted.

Earlier this month, British-Swedish pharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca halted its global trials after a participant who had received its experimental vaccine fell sick with an unexplained illness . But within days, AstraZeneca had resumed its trials in the United Kingdom, concluding there was not enough evidence to link the event to their product. American study sites, however, have yet to restart the trials.

Johnson and Johnson also paused its trials because of an illness in one of its volunteers. The Phase 3 trial of its vaccine began last month, with a goal of enrolling up to 60,000 volunteers across more than 200 sites in the United States and around the world. The company has so far not disclosed any details of the illness.

The global coronavirus count has crossed 4.13 crore by Thursday and the toll has risen to 11,33,032, according to Johns Hopkins University. The number of recoveries is over 2.81 crore.