British-Swedish multinational pharma firm AstraZeneca which has made significant strides towards a viable COVID-19 vaccine has signed a $127 million agreement with Brazil to start producing the experimental vaccines developed by it in the country.
According to the World Health Organization, the AstraZeneca vaccine has the most viable and leading candidate in terms of development to obtain licensure and become an official vaccine against the disease.
The British drugmaker – Oxford University collaboration is already carrying out large-scale, mid-stage human trials of the vaccine.
Elcio Franco, Executive Secretary at Health Ministry in Brazil stated that the country will initially produce close to 30 million doses of the vaccine with half of them produced by December and the other half by January of next year.
The Executive Secretary noted that Brazil is paying for the vaccine but is aware of the risk of the vaccine not passing all necessary licensure requirements or another vaccine taking over and obtaining the approval faster.
The vaccine will be produced by the country’s leading public health organization Fundação Osvaldo Cruz which is also known as Fiocruz.
AstraZeneca already has several takers for its vaccine which still needs to acquire a license. In late May, the United States had informed it has committed up to $1.2 billion to the effort while at least 300 million doses of the Oxford shot are expected to be supplied as per agreement.
The firm has also agreed to supply up to 400 million doses of the experimental vaccine to European Union nations with further negotiations ongoing with Japan and Russia among other countries