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Latin America bets on access to COVID-19 vaccines

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Photo by Juancho Torres
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Jul 22, 2020 - 04:11 AM

BOGOTA, Colombia (AA) – Although the Latin America region has become the latest epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic, countries in the region are struggling to compete for equitable access to treatment against the virus.

Brazil and Mexico are already making efforts to acquire a COVID-19 vaccine once it exists.

Brazil

The South American nation is taking the lead on clinical trials of two coronavirus vaccines. Both are in the third and final phase before being approved.

It is testing a vaccine produced in partnership between Oxford University and pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca.

The British vaccine has already been tested on more than 1,300 Brazilians, although it is expected to be tested on 5,000 nationals in coming months.

At the same time, health authorities began a three-month test of a vaccine produced by Chinese pharmaceutical company Sinovac.

Sinovac is partnering with a Brazilian public health research center, Butantan Institute, on trials. Dimas Covas, president of the Butantan Institute co-ordinating the study, said at a news conference if the vaccine proves safe and effective, Brazil would receive 120 million doses.

“Today is a historic moment for Brazilian science,” the governor of the state of Sao Paulo, Joao Doria, said at a news conference.

Under the study, 9,000 health workers across six Brazilian states will receive the vaccine in two doses in the next three months.

Brazil has recorded more than 2 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 81,487 deaths.

Mexico

Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said the government is ensuring regional access to COVID-19 treatments or vaccines.

Following Mexican President Andrés Manuel Lopez Obrador´s visit to Washington earlier in this month, the foreign relations ministry presented the Senate a report that said the US assured Mexico it would provide vaccines and treatments for COVID-19.

“There will probably be a vaccine this year. Mexico is already on the way to obtaining vaccines,” said Ebrard. “Mexico is going to be on time.”

Ebrard also announced that Mexico is participating in various projects to accelerate the development, production and access to vaccines.

Mexico has reported more than 356,000 cases and 40,000 deaths. (Laura Gamba)

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