Phase 3 trials of a Chinese coronavirus vaccine will begin in five Mexican states this week after having already started in Guerrero and Oaxaca, Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said Tuesday.
Ebrard told President López Obrador’s regular news conference that trials of the CanSino Biologics vaccine will start this week in Aguascalientes, Mexico City, Michoacán, Nuevo León and Coahuila.
He said that the trials of the vaccine – which has already been approved by the Chinese military – started in Guerrero and Oaxaca because López Obrador asked for people all over Mexico, not just those in large cities, to have the opportunity to participate.
Ebrard said that between 12,000 and 15,000 volunteers in 10 to 14 states will participate. He said that a shipment from the Chinese company of 7,000 vaccine doses and 7,000 placebos is expected to arrive in Mexico this week.
Cansino is investing more than US $140 million in its Mexican trials, the foreign minister said.
Ebrard noted that the federal government has an agreement with the companies Pfizer and BioNTech to purchase up to 17.2 million doses of its vaccine should it pass phase 3 trials.
The companies announced Monday that preliminary results suggested that their vaccine was more than 90% effective in preventing coronavirus infections.
Ebrard also noted that Mexico has agreements to purchase vaccines from the companies Moderna and AstraZeneca if they are shown to be safe and effective.
Results of Moderna’s phase 3 trials are expected this month, he said.
Developed at Oxford University, the AstraZeneca vaccine is slated to be manufactured in Mexico thanks to the financial support of the charitable foundation of billionaire telecommunications mogul Carlos Slim.
Ebrard also said the government is in discussions with Russia about holding phase 3 trials of its Sputnik V vaccine in Mexico in the coming months. He noted that Russian authorities have said the vaccine is highly effective and doesn’t cause serious side effects.
Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen unit has already received authorization to carry out phase 3 trials of its vaccine in Mexico, the foreign minister said, while the United States company Novavax has lodged an application with health authorities to do the same.
“Today we can be optimistic because the results that some of these possible vaccines are showing are very good,” Ebrard said.
He claimed late last month that a coronavirus vaccine will be available by the end of March in a worst-case scenario.
Mexico ranks 11th in the world for confirmed coronavirus cases and fourth for Covid-19 deaths, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
The accumulated case tally rose to 972,785 on Monday with 4,960 new cases reported by the federal Health Ministry. Mexico’s official Covid-19 death toll rose to 95,225 with 198 additional fatalities registered.
Source: Reforma (sp)