Explaining Brazil #146: A Brazilian vaccine on the way?

President Jair Bolsonaro and São Paulo Governor João Doria are in a race toward the first coronavirus vaccine fully produced in Brazil

From the beginning of the pandemic, the race for a coronavirus vaccine has served as backdrop to the 2022 election — with President Jair Bolsonaro and São Paulo Governor João Doria fighting for prominence on Brazil’s right wing.

In the latest round of their feud, the president and the governor of Brazil’s richest state are engaged in a new race: to see who’ll be able to deliver the first Brazilian-made coronavirus vaccine. For all intents and purposes, such a race can only be beneficial for the Brazilian population, which has been battered by the uncontrolled spread of the virus.

On April 6, Brazil’s Health Ministry reported yet another grim pandemic milestone in the country, with 4,195 new coronavirus-related deaths in just 24 hours. Brazil’s total death toll now sits at close to 337,000.

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  • Flávio da Fonseca is a professor at the microbiology department of the Federal University of Minas Gerais, a member of that university’s Center for Vaccine technology, and the current president of the Brazilian Virology Society..

Background reading:

  • Follow our Covid-19 live blog to keep up to date with the most important news related to the pandemic in Brazil and Latin America.
  • Congress is set to allow private companies to purchase coronavirus vaccines and immunize their employees. Health experts are against it.
  • Major Brazilian cemeteries have suspended funerals and burials, running out of space to dig more graves as the coronavirus crisis worsens.
  • Opposition senators want to investigate the government’s failed Covid-19 response. Several state governors have faced similar probes.
  • Created 120 years ago, the Butantan Biological Institute has a proud history of scientific developments and immunization campaigns. It now seeks the title of producing Brazil’s first coronavirus vaccine.
  • Indigenous people were included among Brazil’s vaccine priority groups, but they are receiving immunization at a much slower pace. A positive vaccine story in Brazil, however, is São Paulo.
  • A genomic survey spotted 11 SARS-CoV-2 sequences from five different Brazilian states (Amazonas, Bahia, Maranhao, Parana, and Rondonia) that harbor a variable combination of mutations.
  • A new study with 62,000 health workers in São Paulo suggests the Chinese-made CoronaVac is efficient against the Amazon variant, reports newspaper Folha de S.Paulo.

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