Mexico and Argentina Plan to Make AstraZeneca Oxford Vaccine
(Bloomberg) -- Mexico and Argentina have reached agreements to produce the U.K. drugmaker AstraZeneca Plc’s promising Covid-19 vaccine for Latin America, the nations’ governments said.
The countries will make 150 million to 250 million initial doses of the potential Covid-19 vaccine designed by scientists at the University of Oxford after the required trials, Argentine President Alberto Fernandez and Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said in messages on Twitter on Wednesday night. Billionaire Carlos Slim’s foundation is helping finance the plan, Ebrard said.
The goal is to produce the vaccine as of the first half of next year, and there will be no profits from it during the pandemic, Fernandez said in his statement following a meeting with representatives of AstraZeneca. His health minister said Argentina will prioritize getting the vaccine to the elderly, medical professionals and people with pre-existing conditions.
Read about the pandemic impact in Latin America
The vaccine’s phase 3 results are due as early as November, and Mexicans will have universal access to the vaccine, which will be free, Ebrard said at President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s news conference on Thursday morning. Lopez Obrador said the cost to Mexico will be less than 25 billion pesos, ($1.12 bilion).
“This is a deal for production in Mexico of the vaccine that today is considered the most advanced in the world,” Ebrard said. Manufacturing is scheduled for the first quarter of 2021, according to AstraZeneca’s Mexico country chief, Sylvia Varela.
Mexico is third in the world in confirmed Covid-19 deaths with more than 53,000, trailing only Brazil and the U.S., and Latin America accounts for half of the 10 countries with the most cases globally.
Slim’s son, America Movil chairman Carlos Slim Domit, also joining the news conference, said that the collaboration will allow Mexico to obtain the vaccine one year early. Biotechnology company mAbxience will produce the active substance in Argentina and Mexican laboratory Liomont will complete the process of formulation, Fernandez said Wednesday. The finished vaccine will then be exported to the rest of Latin America.
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