President Alberto Fernández, announced on Wednesday that Argentina together with Mexico, will produce for Latin America the coronavirus vaccine developed by the AstraZeneca laboratory in collaboration with the British University of Oxford.
“We hope as soon as possible to start the production process” Fernández said at a press conference, who minutes later contacted his Mexican counterpart, Andrés Manuel López Obrador.
The Argentine president stressed that ”this step will allow Latin American countries to access the vaccine at affordable prices, at a cost of between US$ 3 and US$ 4 per dose.
“It is great news that Mexico and Argentina are the benchmarks for the production of the vaccine and that we can thus bring a solution to the continent,” stressed the Argentine president.
Fernández, who met with representatives of AstraZeneca this Wednesday, reported that the AstraZeneca laboratory signed an agreement with the Mexican Slim Foundation – which will finance part of the production – to produce between 150 and 250 million doses destined for all Latin American countries, with the exception of Brazil.
The vaccine, which is currently in phase 3 of development, will be available in the first half of 2021 and will be distributed “equitably” among Latin American countries whose governments demand it.
“Latin American production will be in charge of Argentina and Mexico and that will allow timely and sufficient access to potential vaccine for all countries in the region”, highlighted Fernández.
In Argentina, the mAbxience laboratory, of the Insud Group, will be responsible for the production of the active substance of the vaccine, while the Mexican laboratory Liomont will complete the formulation and packaging process.
Production will begin before the end of the experimental phase studies, so the production will be “at risk”, since if the vaccine is not finally approved, the entire investment will be lost.
“This agreement highlights the high level of professionals, the quality of science and the manufacturing capabilities that our country has,” said Agustín Lamas, president of AstraZeneca for the American Southern Cone.
For his part, Hugo Sigman, executive director of mAbxience, highlighted AstraZeneca’s decision to choose the Argentine firm “for the technology transfer for the manufacture of the active substance of the vaccine.”
The Argentine Minister of Health, Ginés González García, said that that of Oxford “is not the only alternative” and that Argentina is holding conversations with other potential suppliers.
Brazil, South Africa and recently the United States participate in the later phases of evaluating the effectiveness of the Oxford vaccine in patients, after an initial positive result with 1,000 people in the United Kingdom in the previous one.
Argentina, for its part, is part, along with the United States, Germany and Brazil, of the clinical trials of the vaccine against covid-19 produced by the American pharmaceutical company Pfizer and the German BioNTech.
The one from AstraZeneca and Oxford is in the lot of the most advanced vaccines in its development, along with that of Pfizer-BioNTech, that of the American pharmaceutical company Moderna and three others developed in China.
The three Chinese are based on the inactivated virus, the two of American origin use RNA techniques and the Astrazeneca one focuses on a viral vector.