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Trials with Oxford COVID-19 vaccine start in Brazil

SAO PAULO: Oxford University this weekend started human clinical trials for a potential coronavirus vaccine in Brazil, sponsor Lemann Foundation said in a statement late on Monday.

Trials will count on 2,000 health workers volunteers in Sao Paulo and 1,000 people in Rio de Janeiro.

Brazil’s health regulator Anvisa approved human clinical trials for this potential vaccine, developed by Oxford and supported by AstraZeneca, earlier in June.

Brazil, where the disease is still rife, is the first country outside the United Kingdom to start testing the Oxford vaccine.

Researchers expect to launch the vaccine by year-end.

With thousands dying from COVID-19 every day and attempts to contain the virus plunging the world into recession, drugmakers and healthcare groups including Pfizer, AstraZeneca and the GAVI vaccines alliance are pushing to mass-produce vaccines even before they are shown to work in trials.

AstraZeneca’s vaccine, a type known as a recombinant viral vector vaccine, uses a weakened version of the common-cold virus spiked with proteins from the novel coronavirus to generate a response from the body’s immune system.

The drugmaker in May partnered with Oxford Biomedica, spun off from the University of Oxford in 1995, for its experimental COVID-19 vaccine.

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