Brazil, testing ground for vaccines against Covid-19

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A wing of the National Vaccination Center, on the huge campus of the Oswaldo-Cruz Foundation (Fiocruz) in Rio de Janeiro, was released to install a new production line, still surrounded by cellophane. “This is where the future vaccines against Covid-19 will be manufactured”, assures the press officer of Fiocruz, the largest Brazilian public medical research center. In its pharmaceutical laboratories, Bio-Manguinhos and Far-Manguinhos, are already produced many vaccines administered in Brazil.

As part of its partnership with the University of Oxford and the British pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca, Fiocruz hopes to one day produce those against Covid-19, while the British announced the resumption of their trial on Saturday, September 12, suspended for a week after a patient’s bad reaction.

“Our partnership is not limited to testing the vaccine, Explain Mauricio Zuma, director of the Bio-Manguinhos medical laboratory. We are of course happy to help in this global fight. But what motivates us above all is to have obtained a transfer of technology with the British. Otherwise the Ministry of Health could have simply made a trade negotiation and bought the future vaccines. “

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It was in June that Fiocruz became the local partner of the two British entities to organize phase III clinical trials of their vaccine. These tests do not take place in these buildings, but in the hospital network of the States of Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro.

The task is not that simple: it is a question of finding 5,000 health professionals, all volunteers, and who are in frequent contact with SARS-CoV-2. “There is no point in testing the vaccine on a person who will remain in confinement at home, they will only be exposed to the virus very little. On the other hand, a doctor, a nurse, a physiotherapist are all in contact with the virus ”, adds the director of Bio-Manguinhos.

“Do something concrete”

In Brazil, the staff is rather voluntary, like Denise Abranches, a dental surgeon at the University Hospital of Sao Paulo, who was the first to test this vaccine in June. “As soon as I heard about this recruitment, I introduced myself. I have been responsible for the oral hygiene of patients intubated for seven months in the intensive care unit. I am on the front line and I am the first interested in a vaccine. “

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