Brazilian health regulator Anvisa on Friday approved clinical trials of a potential coronavirus vaccine developed by China’s Sinovac, according to an official gazette publication.
The study – first announced on June 11 – is led by Instituto Butantan, a research center funded by the state of Sao Paulo. The agreement with Sinovac includes not only trials but also the transference of technology to produce the potential vaccine locally.
On June 29, Sao Paulo state Governor Joao Doria said 9,000 volunteers have already been registered to test the vaccine against COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus.
Trials will be conducted by 12 research centers in six Brazilian states: Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Minas Gerais, Brasilia, Rio Grande do Sul and Parana, according to Doria.
Anvisa’s approval comes after Brazil surpassed 1.5 million confirmed cases of COVID-19, according to Health Ministry data, the second worst outbreak after the United States. The number of deaths rose by 1,290 in the past 24 hours, bringing the total tally to 63,174, the data showed.
Last week, Brazil said it had reached a deal to produce up to 100 million doses of the coronavirus vaccine being developed by Oxford University, which the country is helping to test.
The vaccine, which Oxford is working on with pharmaceuticals group AstraZeneca, is one of the most promising of the dozens that researchers worldwide are racing to test and bring to market.
Under the $127-million deal, the Brazilian government’s public-health institute, the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (Fiocruz), will acquire the technology and supplies to produce the vaccine, which is being tested in Britain and South Africa, as well as Brazil.