Argentine President Alberto Fernández announced this Wednesday that his country and Mexico will be in charge of the production and distribution in Latin America, except in Brazil, of the future vaccine against Covid-19 developed by the alliance of the University of Oxford with the AstraZeneca laboratory.
“The AstraZeneca laboratory has signed an agreement with the Slim Foundation to produce between 150 and 250 million vaccines destined for all of Latin America with the exception of Brazil, which will be available for the first half of 2021 and will be distributed equitably among the countries at the request of the governments, “Alberto Fernández declared at a press conference.
“Latin American production will be in charge of Argentina and Mexico and that will allow timely and efficient access for all countries in the region,” he added at the official residence of Olivos. Brazil is not included because it has a separate agreement.
The announcement was made after a meeting between President Fernández and representatives in Buenos Aires of AstraZeneca and the biotechnology company mAbxience, chosen for production in Argentina.
“In Argentina, AstraZeneca chose the mAbxience laboratory, which will be the producer of the active substance in the vaccine. It is a recognition of the quality of Argentine laboratories. Mexico will be in charge of packaging the vaccine and completing the production process,” he said. the mandatary.
The intention is to supply Argentina and other Latin American countries as of the first half of 2021, according to the results of phase III studies and regulatory approvals. The possibility of producing millions of additional doses to this initial agreement is being evaluated.
Fernández explained that the agreement of the Anglo-Swedish laboratory AstraZeneca with the Slim Foundation, which will finance the production, “allows access to more reasonable prices”, and estimated that it will cost between 3 and 4 dollars a dose. “This is very significant for Latin America because it allows all our countries to access it.”
The Argentine president communicated with his Mexican counterpart, Andrés López Obrador, with whom he shared “the enthusiasm of jointly undertaking the development and manufacture of the vaccine,” the government reported in a statement.
“A great relief for the future”
The president warned that the production of the vaccine “is a great relief for the future, it is not a solution for the present.” Argentina registers 268,561 infections of the new coronavirus, of which 5,213 died and 187,283 recovered, out of 44 million inhabitants.
The first clinical trials of the AstraZeneca vaccine produced a strong immune response and were shown to be safe for patients. Its efficacy must be established in a phase 3 trial, with a much larger number of participants, before considering its commercialization on a large scale.
The Minister of Health, Ginés González García, clarified that this agreement is not the only one that Argentina contemplates: “It is neither the only negotiation nor the only alternative. Our country is doing another clinical experience with another provider and we are talking with others”, he claimed.
Alberto Fernández sent a letter to his Russian colleague, Vladimir Putin, on Tuesday to congratulate him on having registered a vaccine against the coronavirus, considering it “an achievement that will remain among the indelible pages of the history of world medicine.” About 200 projects are being developed, including 23 in the clinical phase (tested in humans).