Argentine health authorities Tuesday approved a booster Covid-19 vaccine fully developed in the South American country, it was announced Wednesday in Buenos Aires. The ARVAC Cecilia Grierson drug is said to be effective against the latest versions of the disease for patients over 18 years of age.
The vaccine was developed by the National University of San Martin, the National Council for Scientific and Technical Research (CONICET), and the Cassará Laboratory, with the support of the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation and the National Agency for the Promotion of Research, Technological Development and Innovation (Agencia I+D+i). It is currently manufactured at the Cassará facility in the city of Buenos Aires.
The vaccine is a public-private venture involving more than 600 scientists, 25 institutions and 2,094 volunteers.
President Alberto Fernández said on social media from China that the announcement represented another step towards sovereignty.
The [National Administration of Medicines, Food and Medical Technology] ANMAT approved it yesterday, and we are filled with immense pride: it is another step towards the sovereignty of our homeland, Fernández wrote on X.
It is an example of the capacity of our people and the collaboration between the public and private sectors. We will always bet on knowledge, investing in education, health and science. The ARVAC Cecilia Grierson is approved. It was built by Argentines. It is ours, he stressed.
The President also stressed that with this development, Argentina will not have to knock on the doors of the powerful to get vaccines and save people.
The new bivalent drug is based on recombinant proteins, a safe technology that has been used in vaccines against hepatitis B and HPV. It can be stored between 2°C and 8°C, making it easier to produce and distribute.
Science Minister Daniel Filmus pointed out that at a time when the importance of science in Argentina and the role of the state are being discussed, this development shows that sustained investment over the years in research, science and technology leads to results like this.
It is the decision of a state and a government to invest in science and technology and to have health sovereignty. We want to tell the researchers that we recognize their efforts and their work and that we are very proud of all of them, he added.
Health Minister Carla Vizzotti said it was a historic day because the vaccine represents the possibility of having a safe, effective and quality tool.”