Representatives from Oxford University and pharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca will meet with Brazil’s Health Ministry and health regulators Anvisa today to request permission to distribute its potential coronavirus vaccine in Brazil as early as January 2021.
The Oxford/AstraZeneca partnership will also use the meeting to submit its preliminary clinical trial results, which showed the vaccine reaching efficacy levels of up to 90 percent among study volunteers. So far, the vaccine is the only one to have a purchase and distribution agreement already signed with the Brazilian government and is expected to be rolled out to the population early next year.
There are certain characteristics of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine which may make it more suitable for the Brazilian population. Firstly, the 90 percent efficacy results were obtained by applying a half dose to volunteers, followed by a full dose. In theory, this would mean that the 30 million doses purchased by Brazil could reach 30 percent more individuals, without the need for two full injections.
Furthermore, the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine can be stored at between 2 to 8 degrees Celsius, meaning that deep freezers will not be necessary. The vaccine being produced by Pfizer — which has also obtained high efficacy rates in clinical trials — would require specialized storage equipment, which Brazil lacks.