Researchers in Brazil began administering an experimental coronavirus vaccine developed by the University of Oxford to volunteers, the Federal University of Sao Paulo said on Wednesday.
The vaccine, developed in conjunction with the pharmaceutical group AstraZeneca, is one of the most promising dozens that researchers around the world compete to test and market.
Known as ChAdOx1 nCoV-19, it is already being tested on volunteers in Britain, and will also begin administration this week in South Africa.
The Federal University of Sao Paulo (UNIFESP), which coordinates the study in Brazil, said in a statement that its researchers began issuing the first doses on Tuesday to health workers with a high probability of coming into contact with the new coronavirus. , including doctors, nurses, and ambulance drivers.
The researchers “began selecting volunteers on Saturday … following established study protocols. Participants should test negative for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19,” the university said in a statement.
“Starting Tuesday, volunteers with a negative blood test were given the vaccine.”
Volunteers must be between the ages of 18 and 55 and work “on the front line” of the pandemic at the Sao Paulo-UNIFESP Hospital, he said.
Brazil’s acting health minister Eduardo Pazuello said Tuesday that the country was close to signing a contract to be able to produce the vaccine in the country.
The vaccine will be administered to 2,000 volunteers across Brazil.
According to Oxford, more than 4,000 participants are enrolled in the clinical trial in Britain, and another 10,000 must be recruited.
Brazil was selected because it is one of the countries where the virus is spreading the fastest. It has the second-highest number of cases and deaths worldwide after the United States, with more than 1.1 million people infected and 52,000 killed so far.
Experts say the lack of evidence in the country of 212 million people means the actual numbers are likely much higher.
© 2020 AFP
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