RIO DE JANEIRO - Brazil will begin to produce a COVID-19 vaccine in the first half of 2021, a state-run biological sciences institution said Monday.
With a technology transfer agreement with British pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca, Oswaldo Cruz Foundation based in Rio de Janeiro will be able to start making the vaccine in Brazil in April, said Marco Aurelio Krieger, the vice president of production and innovation in health with the foundation, in an interview with the UOL internet portal.
"That has always been our goal. By incorporating production technology to the maximum, we hope to have 100 percent national production in the first half (of this year). We are very confident," Krieger said.
He stressed the importance to Brazil of producing its own COVID-19 vaccine to reduce dependence on other manufacturers amid a high global demand for vaccines.
"If today we wanted to buy more vaccines, we would not be able to ... It is time to think about the strategic production of some products, because we have seen global competition throughout the pandemic," he said.
Brazil is set to receive more than 2 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine on Tuesday, according to Krieger.
The AstraZeneca vaccine and the CoronaVac vaccine developed by Chinese pharma company Sinovac are the two vaccines being applied in the country.
"I am convinced that in April, May or June, we will be very close to having distributed 100 million doses," he added.