São Paulo government makes billionaire request to double vaccine production

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Produced by the São Paulo-based Butantan Biological Institute in partnership with Chinese firm Sinovac, the Coronavac vaccine is one of the many prospective inoculations against the coronavirus being tested in Brazil. The initial agreement with Sinovac was to produce 60 million doses by the end of the first quarter of 2021, but the São Paulo state government has requested BRL 1.9 billion (USD 340 million) in funding from the Health Ministry to double this planned output by the end of next year.

Phase three trials on the vaccine began in São Paulo on June 11, and the plan is to test the serum on 9,000 volunteers from around Brazil. Antibody responses from these trials have been positive.

On a national level, President Jair Bolsonaro has been dismissive of the Coronavac initiative, fearing that its success may raise the stock of São Paulo Governor João Doria — one of his leading political rivals.

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