Brazilian health authorities on Tuesday were starting a three-month test of a coronavirus vaccine produced by Chinese pharmaceutical company Sinovac.
Sinovac is partnering with a Brazilian public health research center, the Butantan Institute, on the trials.
If the vaccine proves safe and effective, the institute will have the right to produce 120 million doses under the deal, according to officials. Brazil is the second-hardest-hit country in the coronavirus pandemic, after the United States. Its death toll surpassed 80,000 Monday, and it has registered 2.1 million infections.
Because the virus is still spreading quickly in the South American country, it is seen as an ideal testing ground for vaccine candidates. Brazil is also helping carry out Phase 3 testing of another experimental vaccine, developed by Oxford University and pharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca.
Dimas Covas, president of the Butantan Institute coordinating the study, said at a press conference that if the vaccine proves safe and effective, Brazil would receive 120 million doses from China at the beginning of next year, which will allow 30 million Brazilians to be vaccinated.
It’s one of nearly two dozen potential vaccines that are in various stages of human testing worldwide. The Sinovac tests on 9,000 volunteers, all health professionals, in six Brazilian states, are being coordinated by Butantan, a Sao Paulo state scientific institute that has been producing vaccines for over a century.
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