Brazil is a poor student to fight against the coronavirus, but it is paradoxically at the forefront of the vaccinations, with tests of large-scale and the production of millions of doses in order.
Unlike Europe or China, the virus is still growing, the right conditions to test the effectiveness of a vaccine, the second is the most affected country in the world, after the United States.
First, a global producer of vaccines against yellow fever, Brazil is also recognized for its expertise in vaccines, that it produces on a large scale in public institutions for reference.
This is why the leaders of two of the projects that are most advanced, that of the University of Oxford, with the laboratory, AstraZeneca, and the Chinese Sinovac, will perform with several thousands of brazilian volunteers of the tests of phase 3, the last before the registration. Only three projects in the world have reached this phase.
And Brazil don’t lose at the currency exchange, with the agreements of transfer of technology that will allow him, if the tests prove conclusive, to produce these vaccines to immunize quickly its population and even export of doses among their neighbors.
With a containment little strict application of chaotic depending on the region, this country of 212 million people the size of a continent is not able to stem the pandemic, which won the interior of the land.
100 million doses
“Brazil is a fertile field for the tests because the virus is still very present, with a great diversity of epidemiological characteristics,” according to the regions, explains to the AFP Margareth Dalcomo, researcher of Fiocruz, a public body of reference that will produce the vaccine developed by Oxford.
“The more the volunteers are exposed to the virus, the more likely it is to quickly prove the effectiveness of the vaccine,” says Sue Ann Costa Clemens, a researcher of Unifesp, the university responsible for conducting the tests of this project with 5000 brazilian volunteers.
“If we are able to recruit these volunteers, while the curve remains upward, we hope to get the result quickly, as early as November,” adds the expert, who is also the director of the Institute of Global Health, university of Siena, Italy.
The phase 3 testing of the vaccine began last month in Brazil, but also in the United Kingdom and South Africa.
“If the tests are conclusive, it could be registered in the United Kingdom by the end of the year and in other countries, including Brazil, beginning 2021 “, provides for Mrs. Clemens, noting that the approval in Brazil should be more easy and rapid, thanks to the tests carried out on the spot.
In the framework of the agreement with Oxford and AstraZeneca, the brazilian federal government must invest $ 127 million to allow Fiocruz to acquire the technology and equipment necessary to produce an initial amount of 30.4 million doses during the experimental phase.
If the vaccine passes clinical tests, Brazil will have the right to produce 70 million additional doses at an estimated cost of 2.3 dollars.
In parallel, the government of the State of Sao Paulo is scheduled to start on July 20, the tests of the vaccine’s chinese Sinovac with 9000 volunteers.
The partnership includes a technology transfer to a “production scale” in the case of the tests are conclusive, but the number of doses provided, has not yet been unveiled.
“This is a technology that we know, we have already made with other vaccines in a similar way,” says Dimas Covas, director of the Institute Butantan, responsible for the production of the doses.
“We will have the necessary autonomy to respond to the request of Brazil, but also other countries in Latin America “, he says.
With these two tests, the large-scale on its territory, “Brazil is the custodian of the hopes of a good part of the world” to find a vaccine, insists Dimas Covas.
But the announcement three weeks ago of this partnership with Sinovac has attracted criticism, with conspiracy theories that are suspicious in a context of political rivalry between Joao Doria, the governor of Sao Paulo, and the president Jair Bolsonaro, corona skeptical.
“A chinese laboratory who made a vaccine against a virus chinese and a research funded by a governor who is a great partner of China. I do not want this vaccine, and you? “, has tweeted recently Roberto Jefferson, the former congressman rallied recently at camp Bolsonaro.