President Alberto Fernández confirms Argentina and Mexico will co-produce millions of doses of a coronavirus vaccine developed by scientists at the University of Oxford and Swedish-British pharma firm AstraZeneca.
Alberto Fernández has announced that Argentina and Mexico will co-produce millions of doses of a coronavirus vaccine developed by the AstraZeneca pharmaceutical firm and scientists at the University of Oxford, with it potentially reaching citizens across Latin America in the first quarter of next year.
The Peronist leader, speaking at a press conference at the Olivos presidential residence on Wednesday, said that the two countries would be in charge of the “Latin American production” and distribution of a vaccine created by the prestigious British university and Swedish-British pharmaceutical group.
Argentina will be in charge of producing "the active substance," said Fernández, with Mexico finishing "production and packaging."
He said that the country "could be in a position to vaccinate" by the first quarter of 2021.
An agreement signed between AstraZeneca and the mAbxience biotechnology company of Argentina’s Grupo Insud includes transfer of technology to initially produce 150 million doses, officials said. Fernández said AstraZeneca’s choice of mAbxience was “a recognition of quality” of Argentine laboratories.
"AstraZeneca has signed an agreement with the [Mexican NGO, the Carlos] Slim Foundation” for the financing to produce “between 150 and 250 million vaccines destined for all of Latin America, with the exception of Brazil," said Fernández, who said the doses would be “distributed equitably among the countries that demand it.”
"It's beautiful news, a hopeful piece of information and a source of great pride that we can work together with Mexico to provide an answer for our beloved continent," he added, while cautioning that the vaccine was still in phase three trials and not yet fully proven to be effective.
Fernández said the deal “gives Argentina the peace of mind of being able to have the vaccine when required and at a reasonable price. He stressed that it was a “non-profit” project and praised those involved.
"It is a non-profit project, we must celebrate the decision of the company and the University of Oxford, which are guaranteeing a vaccine without profit and without the economic benefits for that vaccine. We celebrate that," he said, adding that the vaccine would cost between US$3 to US$4 a dose, an “accessible” price for Argentina.