US Pharmaceutical to Undergo COVID Treatment in Brazil

RÍO DE JANEIRO (EFE) .- A medicine developed by the US pharmaceutical company Sorrento Tehrapeutics to treat people who contracted COVID-19 will be tested with patients in Rio de Janeiro, the mayor of this Brazilian city announced on Wednesday.

The clinical trials of the hopeful treatment with patients hospitalized in Rio de Janeiro, whose first tests were successful, will be possible thanks to a cooperation agreement that the Rio de Janeiro mayor’s office signed with Sorrento, according to a statement from the municipality.

The medicine, a cocktail of antibodies, has already been experimented with in patients from other countries “with a good prospect of results in the treatment of patients with COVID,” the Rio de Janeiro mayor’s office reported.

According to the municipality, the agreement does not imply any cost for the mayor’s office, but the beginning of the experiments still depends on the National Health Surveillance Agency (Anvisa, regulator) approving the use of the medicine in Brazil, as well as the approval of the Committee of Ethics in Studies of the Municipal Secretary of Health.

Once the authorizations are received, the mayor’s office will select patients with COVID-19 who accept the treatment voluntarily, for which they will have to sign a consent term.

“Those selected for the clinical study will be patients already diagnosed with the disease. The number of people who will participate in the medicine experiments, which is a cocktail of antibodies that can neutralize the coronavirus, has not yet been defined,” according to the statement from the town hall.

According to the Municipal Secretary of Health of Rio de Janeiro, Beatriz Busch, the agreement generates hope for people who have already contracted COVID. “I think it is something revolutionary. It is a hope,” she said.

The results of laboratory tests with the medicine were released last May and demonstrated the effectiveness of the product to neutralize the disease in patients who already contracted it, according to Sorrento Therapeutics.

According to the laboratory, the antibody cocktail inhibits infection by the virus within four days.

The announcement of the Rio de Janeiro mayor’s office comes a day after Anvisa, a body linked to the Ministry of Health, approved the start of clinical trials in Brazil of a new vaccine against COVID-19, the fourth to be experienced in the country against the virus.

The multinational Johnson & Johnson received authorization to test its vaccine in phase three clinical studies (with thousands of people), which is already being carried out in Brazil with vaccines developed by the United Kingdom (AstraZeneca and University of Oxford), China (Sinovac Biotech ) and by the BioNTech (Germany) and Wyeth / Pfizer (United States) consortium.

Brazil, where the coronavirus already leaves about 110 thousand dead and 3.4 million infected, which makes it the second country most affected by the pandemic in the world after the United States, has become a benchmark for clinical trials of vaccines and medicines against the disease.

With some 210 million inhabitants and a high number of cases, the South American giant is the ideal laboratory for testing various potential vaccines, which are now seeking to verify their efficacy and safety.

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