Brazil, one of the countries of the world most affected by the pandemic, received this Thursday the first batch of the “Coronavac“, the vaccine against covid-19 developed by the Chinese laboratory Sinovac and whose clinical studies are already in the final phase.
The first 120,000 doses of “Coronavac”, which are still cannot begin to be applied, arrived this morning in Sao Paulo, whose government closed a contract with Sinovac to receive a total of 46 million vaccines, equivalent to the entire population of that region, the most affected in the country by the pandemic.
The cargo plane of the Turkish airline Turkish that transported the vaccines and had left China on Monday landed shortly before 8 a.m. (11 a.m. GMT) at Guarulhos International Airport, which operates for the city of Sao Paulo.
“We are here to receive the cargo that helps save the lives of thousands of Brazilians,” declared the governor of Sao Paulo, Joao Doria, who along with other local authorities received the vaccines at the airport and accompanied their transport in a strong security device.
In addition to importing doses of the vaccine, the agreement between the São Paulo government and the Chinese laboratory also provides for the transfer of vaccine technology to the Butantan Institute, a public entity that coordinates clinical trials in Brazil with the Asian firm.
The trials are being carried out on a total of 13,000 volunteers in the country and, according to the results published this week in the scientific journal Lancet, the vaccine has the capacity to produce an immune response in the body 28 days after its application in 97% of cases.
If the vaccine reaches the necessary efficacy and safety rates once the trials have concluded, the antigen must be submitted to the health authorities for evaluation for registration and subsequent use in immunization campaigns against the coronavirus.
However, the possible antidote has already become the center of a political battle between Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and Governor Doria, who is sponsoring the experiment.
The rope between the two leaders tightened Even more so last week, when Bolsonaro, the leader of a far-right denier, celebrated the momentary halt of the trials after the death of a volunteer for reasons unrelated to the vaccine.
The decision of the suspension was received almost with indignation by the Butantan Institute and, after a harsh crossing of accusations, the National Sanitary Surveillance Agency (Anvisa, regulator) authorized to resume the tests and release the import of six million doses.
Likewise, Doria and the Minister of Health, General Eduardo Pazuello, had reported on the purchase of the 46 million doses, but a day later the announcement was disavowed by Bolsonaro, who maintains a firm commitment to the vaccine developed by the British University of Oxford.
The 120,000 vaccines are part of that batch of six million doses ready for application when authorized by the health surveillance, while the other forty million will finish being processed and packaged in Brazil, as planned by the Government of Sao Paul.
Brazil has become one of the great centers of experimentation of vaccines in the world, both due to the genetic diversity of its population and the capacity of some of its laboratories, as well as the intensity of the pandemic in the country.
With its 210 million inhabitants, Brazil now has almost 167,455. deaths and close to 6 million infections, figures that make it one of the most affected countries in the world in absolute numbers along with the United States and India.