Oxford vaccine best option so far, gov’t argues

Brazil’s health minister said the Russian vaccine is still incipient

Published in 13/08/2020 - 14:57 By Karine Melo - Brasília

Brazil’s Interim Health Minister Eduardo Pazuello said Thursday (Aug. 13) that the best vaccine option thus far is Oxford. “I can tell you that AstraZeneca, with Oxford, is still our best option. We’re included in it,” he told representatives and senators during a public hearing of the bicameral commission inspecting government efforts to tackle COVID-19.

Brazil inked a $100 million agreement with AstraZeneca-Oxford, which also includes the transfer of technology for the production of vaccine in Brazil. Other Brazilian institutions are collaborating with major international pharmaceutical firms in researching into and developing a vaccine for COVID-19. “The contract will be finalized by Friday, I believe, with the use of resources for AstraZeneca, with Fiocruz. This is the most promising one, but it doesn’t mean we don’t have our eyes on the other ones as well,” Pezuello said.

Russian vaccine

On the Russian vaccine, the minister said its effectiveness is not clear yeast. “It’s very incipient. Views are still shallow, answers are still not in-depth, and we don’t have figures being tracked.” The conclusion, he added, was drawn after a meeting held Wednesday (12), attended by Paraná Governor Ratinho Júnior, representatives from Brazilian national sanitary watchdog Anvisa, and representatives from the Russian firm and the embassy of the country.

The Russian vaccine may be viable, Pazuello argued, but, until then, the matter should hinge on much negotiation before it is considered by Anvisa and has its purchase debated. “I received yesterday US company Convax, with a manufacturing unit based in Thailand, which also brought the possibility of manufacturing, but with slightly less tight deadlines,” he reported. In this last case, production would take place in April 2021. “We’re also holding talks to see if this can grow, speed up, and whether we can participate. All initiatives are valid. I think this will amount to a great victory at the end,” he argued.

Translation: Fabrício Ferreira -  Edition: Graça Adjuto / Nira Foster

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