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Brazil's COVID death toll surpasses 400,000

Brazils COVID death toll surpasses 400,000

As Brazil reels from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic and a slow vaccination rollout, the health ministry on Thursday released figures that put Brazil at 401,186 deaths, second only to the United States.

The health ministry reported 3,001 COVID-19 deaths in the past 24 hours.

Meanwhile, only 13% (roughly 28 million) Brazilians have received either AstraZeneca or Sinovac vaccines, with just 12.7 million having received the second dose. Vaccine shortages have caused 14 states to suspend doses, according to TV Globo.

Sao Paulo-based Butantan Institute, a state-run medical research facility, on Wednesday has begun to manufacture ButanVac, the first Brazilian vaccine against the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), state governor Joao Doria announced.

Brazil's Anvisa regulatory had also rejected the use of Russia's Sputnik V vaccine claiming an "inherent defect", namely that the vaccine was using a live adenovirus that could potentially cause illness. The makers of the vaccine have denied all claims, citing that Anvisa had not even tested for the presence of replicants in the virus.

"Anvisa made incorrect and misleading statements without having tested the actual Sputnik V vaccine," the official Sputnik V tweeted. "And [they disregarded] the official letter from Gamaleya Inst. that no RCA is present, and only non-replicating vectors are used with E1 deleted. Our legal team will be in touch."

An investigation by the Senate is underway to find whether President Jair Bolsonaro's government has exacerbated the crisis.

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