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Brazil begins to make own vaccine, ButanVac to combat COVID-19

Brazil begins to make own vaccine, ButanVac to combat COVID-19

Sao Paulo: Brazil's Sao Paulo-based Butantan Institute, a state-run medical research facility, on Wednesday began to manufacture ButanVac, the first Brazilian vaccine against the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), state governor Joao Doria announced.

Funded by the state government, ButanVac will be the first vaccine manufactured entirely in Brazil without the need to import raw materials, Doria said during a press conference at the institute

Production began on the first of an expected 18 million doses by mid-July, though Brazil's Health Regulatory Agency (Anvisa) has yet to authorise the vaccine, the Xinhua news agency reported on Thursday.

The institute also makes and packages the CoronaVac vaccine developed by Chinese pharmaceutical firm Sinovac Life Sciences. CoronaVac has been applied since January 17 as part of Brazil's vaccination campaign against the coronavirus.

"In the first half of July, it will be ready for use as soon as Anvisa authorizes it. Production of ButanVac can reach 100 million or 150 million doses by the end of the year," said Doria.

Anvisa on Tuesday requested more documentation from the institute before authorizing the start of human trials of ButanVac.

"We hope for a sense of urgency from Anvisa," said Doria, whose state is the hardest hit by the pandemic.

Butantan, the main manufacturer of influenza vaccines in the Southern Hemisphere and the leading supplier of the Brazilian Ministry of Health, represents 85 per cent of the international consortium involved in researching the new vaccine.

The Sao Paulo government said that 1,800 volunteers will take part in the first and second phases of human trials, once authorised.

(with inputs from IANS)

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