Argentina and Mexico on Thursday said they would co-produce millions of doses of a coronavirus vaccine being developed by Britain’s University of Oxford with pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca for Latin America.
According to the Argentinian President, Alberto Fernandez, Argentina and Mexico will be in charge of the Latin American production of the vaccine developed by the university and the Swedish-British pharmaceutical group once it receives regulatory approval.
“This will allow timely and sufficient access to the potential vaccine for all countries in the region,” Fernandez said.
He said AstraZeneca signed a deal to produce between 150 to 250 million doses for all Latin America, with the exception of Brazil, to be available in the first half of 2021.
Fernandez said that the deal puts Argentina in a position of ease since the country would be able to get the vaccine when accessible and at a reasonable price.
“I expect the drug to cost between 3-4 dollars per dose.”
Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said his government would announce the deal on Thursday, adding that President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador and his Argentinian counterpart supported the deal.
Both Fernandez and Ebrard said that Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim’s foundation was helping finance the plan.
Mexico has so far confirmed almost 56,600 deaths from COVID-19, the disease caused by the new virus, the third-largest number after the U.S. and Brazil. More than 500,000 people have so far tested positive for the disease.
Meanwhile, Argentina had so far reported 268,574 infections and over 5,200 deaths.
Trials involving more than 1,000 people have found the vaccine to be safe and produce immunity, and Britain has already reserved 100,000 doses of the vaccine. It is currently undergoing the phase 3 trial.
Vaccines can take years to develop and test but many countries have accelerated efforts in a bid to slow the coronavirus pandemic.