SAO PAULO (Reuters) – Brazilian biomedical institute Butantan plans to vaccinate a city’s entire adult population of about 30,000 people against COVID-19 to test whether it lowers the infection rate, institute and government officials said on Monday.
Butantan, which is overseen by the Sao Paulo state government, will carry out the mass vaccination study in Serrana, a city in the interior of the state that has a high infection rate, according to a statement and news briefing.
The institute will use the CoronaVac shot developed by China’s Sinovac Biotech that is already being used nationally in a campaign to vaccinate front-line healthcare workers and the most vulnerable groups.
According to the statement, Sao Paulo Governor Joao Doria said that beyond showing the safety and efficacy of the CoronaVac vaccine, which prevents all severe cases and about half of milder cases, the study will demonstrate whether it also reduces transmission of the virus.
“This is another important step that will yield new answers about the vaccine,” Butantan Director Dimas Covas said.
In the news briefing, Covas added that the study would start vaccinations on Wednesday, with the first results available in about three months.
Pregnant and breastfeeding women, children under 18 and those with a fever in the last 72 hours will be excluded from the study.
(Reporting by Eduardo Simões; Writing by Jake Spring; Editing by Paul Simao)