Peru says China's Sinopharm may resume coronavirus vaccine trial after volunteer's illness

FILE PHOTO: A Sinopharm sign is seen at the 2020 China International Fair for Trade in Services (CIFTIS) in Beijing, China, September 5, 2020. REUTERS/Tingshu Wang

LIMA (Reuters) - The Peruvian health minister said on Wednesday that China’s Sinopharm could resume a trial for its coronavirus vaccine in the hard-hit Andean nation, just days after authorities suspended the tests to better understand why a volunteer had fallen ill.

Health authorities announced over the weekend that the Sinopharm trial would be temporarily halted as a safety measure after a volunteer experienced decreased strength in his legs, among other symptoms.

“We have had several meetings with Sinopharm and ... the suspension has been lifted today (Wednesday),” Health Minister Pilar Mazzetti said.

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, and had plans to administer a second dose of its vaccine in the coming weeks.

Peru’s government said on Tuesday negotiations with Sinopharm to purchase COVID-19 vaccines are “well advanced.”

Health officials in Peru have reported 987,675 cases of coronavirus as of Tuesday, and 36,817 deaths.

Reporting by Marco Aquino, writing by Dave Sherwood; editing by Grant McCool