SAO PAULO (Reuters) – A potential coronavirus vaccine developed by China’s Sinovac will be tested in Brazil by 12 research centers in six Brazilian states, the governor of Sao Paulo state, Joao Doria, said on Wednesday, adding the trials still need to be approved by local health vigilance agency Anvisa.
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 coronavirus vaccine locally.
“The 12 research centers that will carry out the trials for the coronavirus vaccine have already been chosen here in Brazil,” Doria said in a news conference.
Besides Sao Paulo, the tests with a total of 9,000 volunteers will also be conducted in Brasilia, Rio de Janeiro, Minas Gerais, Rio Grande do Sul and Parana, he added.
For Dimas Covas, director at Instituto Butantan, Sinovac’s potential vaccine is one of the most promising studies to fight COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, and results of clinical trials are expected later this year.
Brazil’s health vigilance agency Anvisa said in a statement that its technical team is in contact with Butantan and Sinovac, adding its analysis is at an advanced stage and is expected to be concluded soon.
“The matter is receiving top priority, as well as all studies and products related to fighting COVID-19,” Anvisa said.
Besides Sinovac, Brazil is also testing a potential vaccine developed by pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca with researchers at Oxford University, which the World Health Organization (WHO) says is the world’s leading candidate and most advanced in terms of development.
(Reporting by Eduardo Simoes; Writing by Gabriela Mello; Editing by Bernadette Baum and Jonathan Oatis)