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Brazil announces agreement to produce experimental vaccine against COVID-19.

On June 27, 2020, the Brazil’s Ministry of Health announced an agreement with the University of Oxford and the drugmaker AstraZeneca to start producing locally the experimental vaccine ChAdOx1 against COVID-19.

According to the partnership announced, the Brazilian Government will receive the active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) developed by Oxford, in addition to the technology transfer of the vaccine’s manufacturing process, which will be carried out by Bio-Manguinhos (Fiocruz Immunobiological Technology Institute). In the first stage of the agreement, the country will assume the costs of part of the research (even though the final clinical trials have not fisished), and will produce 30.4 million doses divided into 2 lots, half available by December/2020, half by January of the next year, in the total amount of US$ 127 million. In a second stage, if the vaccine proves to be effective and safe, the purchase will be extended to produce an additional 70 million doses, in the estimated value of US$ 2.30 per dose.

The ChAdOx1 vaccine is in phase 3 of development – the last phase before regulatory approval and distribution – and began to be tested last week in Brazilian volunteers, in a study led in the country by the Federal University of São Paulo (UNIFESP).

Said vaccine is considered the world’s leading candidate and most advanced in terms of development to obtain licensure and become an official vaccine against the disease, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

According to official data, Brazil is currently the world’s second most affected country by the coronavirus pandemic, with more than 1.2 million confirmed cases and more than 56,000 deaths.

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