With more than 120 thousand deaths and almost 4 million cases of Covid 19, Brazil is unfortunately one of the epicenters of the pandemic in the world. However, that same tragedy makes it a favorable environment for testing vaccine.
The widely spread of the Covid 19 virus in combination with the high level of experience of the national science in this area, put the country on the route of clinical studies for vaccines. A common problem when testing a vaccine in phase 3, is that the disease is not circulating in sufficiently high volume, resulting in difficulties to find the sufficient number of people in contact with the virus to participate in the study. This is what makes Brazil so important in the testing of vaccines.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there are 160 initiatives worldwide to develop Coronavirus vaccine, 21 of which are at an advanced stage. In Brazil, four of the most promising vaccines are being tested, which are already in phase 3 of clinical studies. At this stage, vaccines are tested in a larger group, to see if their effectiveness and safety are confirmed in different patients.
Currently, the National Health Surveillance Agency (Anvisa) in Brazil has approved the testing of the following vaccines: Astrazeneca, developed by the University of Oxford, the Chinese CoronaVac, of Sinovac Biotech, and the German-American BNT162b1 and BNT162b2, tested by the same study by BioNTech and Pfizer. Soon, the Russian Sputinik-V vaccine will also be tested in Brazil, but it still needs authorization. Two of the tests are carried out in collaboration with two large research institutes in Brazil (Fiocruz and Butantan)
The first candidate for vaccine against covid-19 in clinical phase 3 is AZD1222, developed by the University of Oxford in cooperation with the pharmaceutical company Astrazeneca. Since June 23, doses have been administered on 5.000 Brazilian volunteers, in an agreement led by the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (Fiocruz).
Fiocruz, which will receive technology and supplies for the production of Astrazeneca’s vaccine, is an institution with more than a century of history. It was responsible for the health reform that eradicated bubonic plague and yellow fever in Rio de Janeiro and also deciphered the BCG genome, the bacterium used in the tuberculosis vaccine.
The second candidate for vaccine is produced by the Chinese pharmaceutical Sinovac Biotech. The vaccine developed by the company, called CoronaVac, began to be applied to 9.000 participants in the country on July 20, in a study coordinated by the Butantan Institute, in São Paulo.
Butantan, founded in 1899, works on the development of the vaccine against dengue and produces the vaccine against HPV and influenza.
Ana Carolina Bussacos & Jacob Paulsen
Source: Correio Braziliense, Metropoles, BBC, DWBrasil and Veja.