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Tardy Covid Vaccine Makers Under Fire for Trials in Developing Nations

  • Japan’s Shionogi says Vietnam placebo trial is ‘last chance’
  • Chinese firms also seeking sites for the controversial trials
Updated on

Japanese drugmaker Shionogi & Co. sealed a deal to conduct a placebo-controlled trial of its Covid-19 vaccine in Vietnam and will be expanding it in the Philippines and other Southeast Asian countries, even as criticism of such tests mounts in the scientific community. 

The Osaka-based company began testing the efficacy of its shot in Vietnam from Dec. 25, a spokesman at Shionogi said Monday. Participants of the trial, which will eventually total 50,000 volunteers, need to be unvaccinated, the spokesman said, with two-thirds of them receiving the inoculation and others getting a placebo. The company is also planning to analyze whether it’s effective against the omicon strain, the spokesman added.