Sinopharm's candidate vaccine is already being tested in the United Arab Emirates with 15,000 volunteers.

A Sinopharm staff member holds up a potential Covid-19 vaccine in Beijing on April 10, 2020
A Sinopharm staff member holds up a potential Covid-19 vaccine in Beijing on April 10, 2020 (AP via Xinhua News Agency)

Chinese drug company Sinopharm and Brazil's Parana state agree to launch the fourth major Covid-19 vaccine trial, with regulatory approval to be sought in the next two weeks.

A trial by Sinopharm would join Phase III trials already announced in Brazil by AstraZeneca, Sinovac Biotech and a Pfizer partnership with BioNTech.

Jorge Callado, head of the Parana Technology Institute (Tecpar), said on Wednesday they would soon finalise their proposal and submit it for approval with federal health regulator Anvisa.

Brazil's Covid-19 outbreak, the world's worst outside the United States, has made it global testing ground for potential vaccines.

Sinopharm's candidate vaccine is already being tested in the United Arab Emirates with 15,000 volunteers.

Parana is also in talks with Russian researchers about producing their potential vaccine, the state government said in a statement, adding that Governor Ratinho Junior would soon meet with Russia's ambassador to Brazil.

Russians have also contacted Sao Paulo's Butantan Institute to discuss testing their vaccine, the institute's director told reporters on Wednesday.