Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Mexico says Patria COVID-19 vaccine is ready for use as a booster

Mexican scientists reported on Wednesday that the Patria COVID-19 vaccine is ready to be used as a booster. 

María Elena Álvarez-Buylla, director of the National Council of Science and Technology (Conacyt), reported during President López Obrador’s Wednesday morning press conference that the final testing phase showed that the Patria vaccine is effective as a booster against COVID-19. It has been in development for two years. 

Mexican child vaccinated
A child getting vaccinated in Oaxaca in July. Previously, Mexico has had to rely on foreign-made vaccines purchased from or donated by other countries. (Cuartoscuro)

“We take this opportunity to give you excellent news, Álvarez-Buylla said. “We already have the Patria vaccine as a booster, with data from the final phase demonstrating its success,” she said. 

“This paves the way for us to regain vaccine sovereignty, which is so important for disease prevention.” 

Conacyt developed the vaccine in partnership with Avimex, a veterinary pharmaceutical firm. Álvarez-Buylla stated that the vaccine meets the safety and effectiveness criteria established by the World Health Organization (WHO). The next step is to request authorization for its emergency use by Mexican health authority Cofepris. 

The injectable vaccine underwent three stages of clinical trials, and a nasal vaccine is currently under development. 

Álvarez-Buylla predicts that the infrastructure necessary to produce up to 4 million vaccines will be installed in Mexico between September and December of this year. 

The Conacyt director said that the production cost of the Patria vaccine is 88% lower than other vaccines thanks to the public-private model “being able to do much more with a smaller budget.” She added that public agencies like IMSS and Cofepris collaborated with a Mexican private biotech company.

Patria cost 973 million pesos (US $54.3 million) to develop, according to government sources. 

According to the most recent data by the New York Times vaccination tracker, over 65% of Mexico’s population has been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, mostly using foreign-made vaccines. While the vaccine was developed and will be produced in Mexico, it it relies on  technology from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, a leading medical school in New York. 

Per WHO data, Mexico suffered the fifth-highest coronavirus death toll in the world after the United States, Brazil, India and Russia, and figures are likely far higher than the official count. 

With reports from El Universal and Excelsior

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