COVID-19: Brazil invests in the development of the experimental vaccine

(Rio de Janeiro) Brazil announced on Saturday that it had reached an agreement to produce up to 100 million doses of a possible vaccine against coronavirus that is trying to develop the British University of Oxford.

France Media Agency

This experimental vaccine, on which the university is working with the pharmaceutical group AstraZeneca, is one of the most promising among the dozens of vaccines under development in the world.

Under the terms of the agreement, amounting to 127 million US dollars, the Brazilian government's institute of public health, the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (Fiocruz), will acquire the technology and equipment necessary to produce the vaccine, which is being tested in the United Kingdom and South Africa as well as in Brazil itself.

According to the Secretary General of the Brazilian Ministry of Health, Elcio Franco, this agreement will give Brazil a decisive advantage if the vaccine proves to be effective and safe.

“This transfer of technology will give us production autonomy,” he explained at a press conference. “Brazil is trying to avoid being in a situation like that of the beginning of the pandemic, where high demand has prevented us from accessing certain equipment and medicines. And so we avoid having to pay the exorbitant profit margins that apply during a pandemic, “he added.

The agreement gives Brazil the right to produce an initial quantity of 30, 4 million doses in December and January, when the vaccine will still be in the experimentation phase.

The 127 millions of dollars include 30 millions for access rights to vaccine technology and the manufacturing process, the Brazilian authorities said.

If the vaccine passes clinical tests, Brazil will have the right to produce 70 million additional doses at a cost estimated at 2, 30 dollars a dose.

“Even if clinical experimentation is not successful, our (vaccine production) technology will make progress,” said an official at the Ministry of Health, Arnaldo Correia de Medeiros.

The potential vaccine, called ChAdOx1 nCoV – 19, began to be administered to volunteers this week in Brazil.

The first volunteers are healthcare professionals, highly exposed to the virus, in particular doctors, nurses or paramedics, all aged 18 at 55 years.

In total, almost 2000 Brazilian volunteers are expected to participate in the tests.

Brazil was chosen because it is one of the countries where the virus is spreading the fastest. It has the second highest number of cases and deaths in the world after the United States (more than 1.2 million people infected and 55 00 0 deaths, according to the last official report).

Experts estimate that these figures are underestimated in a country of 212 million inhabitants due to relatively limited screening.