One of the Chinese laboratories that is developing a vaccine against CCP (Chinese Communist Party) Virus (COVID-19), bribed authorities to approve other vaccines in the past, according to court records cited by The Washington Post on Dec. 4.
The executive director and founder of Sinovac Biotech, one of two pioneering companies in China in the race to bring to market a vaccine against the CCP Virus, bribed China’s drug regulator years ago to approve vaccines for SARS, the avian flu, and the swine flu.
Between 2002 and 2011, Yin Weidong handed over $83,000 in bribes to Yin Hongzhang, a vaccine regulatory official to “accelerate the approval process” for Sinovac’s vaccine certifications.
According to the Chinese lab, Weidong cooperated with the investigation and was not charged with bribery.
Meanwhile, Hongzhang was sentenced to 10 years in prison for accepting bribes from eight companies, including Sinovac.
Court rulings show that at least 20 other government officials and hospital administrators confessed to accepting bribes from Sinovac between 2008 and 2016.
In response to the scandal, in 2017 the company said it launched an internal investigation into the bribery, but to date it has not announced any results. Moreover, a Sinovac spokesman told the Post that the bribery case did not affect Weidong’s ability to run the company.
The CCP Virus vaccine being developed by Sinovac is expected to be approved in Brazil—and also in Indonesia—in a few weeks.
In fact, 1 million doses of the Chinese vaccine arrived in the South American country on Dec. 3. At the airport in São Paulo, Gov. João Doria, an opponent of President Jair Bolsonaro, received the doses in person. This is the second shipment after another 120,000 units received previously. Six million more are expected to arrive in the coming weeks.
Sinovac’s vaccine is in the last phase, pending only the green light from the regulatory agency to start inoculating the population.
Although the laboratory itself reported that the vaccine would be 97% effective, a series of irregularities and counterproductive effects put it in the middle of criticism.
On Nov. 9, Brazilian health authorities were forced to suspend the Phase 3 clinical trial of the vaccine called CoronaVac, arguing a “serious adverse event.”
According to reports, the suspension came after the death of one of the trial’s volunteers was confirmed.
Bolsonaro criticized the credibility of the vaccine and said that the national government will not buy it.
Bolsonaro, who follows the same anti-communist ideological line of President Donald Trump, had refused from the beginning to develop the CoronaVac, precisely because of its Chinese origin.