Antonio Barra Torres, head of the country’s health regulatory agency Anvisa, said on Thursday that Brazil expects a vaccine against COVID-19 to be approved and ready for use in a national vaccination program by June.
With the world’s worst coronavirus outbreak after the United States and India, Brazil has become a key testing site and has approved late-stage clinical trials for four vaccines in development.
Torres told Reuters that Anvisa did not decide on the required minimum effectiveness, but the agency had approved vaccines with less than 50% effectiveness in the past.
Health officials in Europe are discussing whether to accept a so-called efficacy rate of less than 50% in order to deliver a vaccine sooner, the Wall Street Journal reported this week.
European Commission Health and Food Safety Director-General Sandra Gallina told EU lawmakers at a hearing that the article was speculation, but later added that it is not uncommon to have vaccines that only work with 50% effectiveness.
Last week, Brazil’s right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro rejected the health minister’s decision to purchase 46 million doses of vaccine from China’s Sinovac Biotech, named CoronaVac, and said, “We will not buy a Chinese vaccine.”
However, Torres said Anvisa could register more than one of the four candidates currently being tested in Brazil – Oxford University / AstraZeneca, China’s Sinovac Biotech, Pfizer Inc and BioNTech and Johnson & Johnson’s pharmaceutical subsidiary Janssen – regardless of their country of origin. .
“The origin of the vaccine has nothing to do with us, there is no prejudice,” he said.
Two days after Bolsonaro’s comments, Anvisa authorized São Paulo’s Bhutantan Institute to import 6 million doses of CoronaVac, and on Wednesday authorized the biomedical center to import raw materials to make another 40 million doses in Brazil.
Russia has agreed to supply the Sputnik V vaccine to the Brazilian states of Parana and Bahia, but this must first be tested and approved by Anvisa. Torres said the agency has so far not received any data or consent requests for the Sputnik V trial protocols.
Torres said the Bhutantan Institute and the federal FioCruz biomedical center in Rio de Janeiro have the capacity to produce millions of doses of vaccine for Brazil and possibly other Latin American countries.
Anvisa said he has been in talks with some Latin American countries to accept registration of vaccines to be made in Brazil. -retuers-