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Brazil signs agreement to produce AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine candidate

The country will initially produce some 30 million doses of the vaccine

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Brazil has signed a $127 million agreement to start producing locally an experimental vaccine developed by AstraZeneca that has shown promise to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

The AstraZeneca vaccine is considered the world’s leading candidate and most advanced in terms of development to obtain licensure and become an official vaccine against the disease, according to the World Health Organization.

The British drugmaker is already carrying out large-scale, mid-stage human trials of the vaccine, which was developed by researchers at Oxford University.

Elcio Franco, Brazil’s No.2 public health official, said in a press conference that the country will initially produce some 30 million doses of the vaccine, half by December and half by January of next year.

Franco said Brazil is paying for the vaccine but is aware of the risk, in case the vaccine does not pass all necessary licensure requirements or another vaccine obtains approval faster.

The vaccine will be produced by Brazil’s Fundação Osvaldo Cruz, also known as Fiocruz, the country’s leading public health organisation, Franco said.

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