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COVID-19 and its effects in Latin America

Follow the main news about coronavirus and its impacts in Latin America

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  • January 21, 21 - 5:10 pm - LABS

    Brazilian pharmaceutical defends Sputnik V emergency use approval before phase 3 trials

    Representatives of the União Química laboratory had a meeting scheduled for the afternoon of Thursday (21) with the country’s health regulator Anvisa to defend the Sputnik V vaccine’s emergency use in Brazil before phase 3 in the country. The information is from the journalist Julia Dualibi‘s blog on G1.

    The Russian vaccine against coronavirus, Sputnik V.
    Photo: Courtesy/ Gamaleya Center, RDIF

    The so-called phase 3 trials are mandatory for Anvisa to evaluate requests for emergency use of vaccines in Brazil. So far, only CoronaVac and the Oxford vaccine have achieved emergency clearance in the country. Two other laboratories carry out tests in Brazil, Pfizer, and Janssen.

  • January 21, 21 - 4:20 pm - LABS

    Alberto Fernández receives his first Sputnik V dose

    Only hours after Argentina’s health regulator ANMAT approved the Russian vaccine Sputnik V’s emergency use for people over 60, president Alberto Fernández received his first shot.

    Argentina's president Alberto Fernández
    Alberto Fernández receives his first Sputnik V dose. Photo: @alferdez/Twitter

    The president was vaccinated at the Posadas Hospital after stressing that his priority is to reach most Argentines in the shortest possible time.

    According to Página 12, 7.3 million people over 60 can access the vaccine voluntarily and free of charge. Among them, the priority will be adults over 70 years old (age group in which the disease’s fatality rate in Argentina increases from an average of 2.7% to 18.3%).

    People who live in geriatric establishments (94,000, according to the INDEC) and seniors between 60 and 69 years old will be in a second priority tier.

  • January 21, 21 - 2:37 pm - LABS

    India’s government to send vaccines batch to Brazil on Friday

    India’s government has released commercial exports of COVID-19 vaccines, and the first shipments will be sent to Brazil and Morocco on Friday, as first reported by Reuters, according to the country’s foreign secretary, Harsh Vardhan Shringla, and confirmed by TV Globo.

    The country’s Consulate in São Paulo told G1 that a plane would leave India on Friday and land at Guarulhos airport on Saturday (22). From there, the shipment will be sent to the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (Fiocruz), in Rio de Janeiro, to be labeled and stored.

    Brazil was struggling to release a load of 2 million doses of vaccine it bought from the Serum Institute. The Indian government suspended the export of doses until it started its own domestic immunization program last week, delaying Brazil’s plans to start vaccination against the disease.

    Fiocruz also expects ingredients to start producing the immunizer locally. But there is no official information on when these inputs will arrive.

  • January 21, 21 - 10:52 am - LABS

    Massive fire broke out India’s Serum Institute, the one Brazil has deals to acquire AstraZeneca’s vaccine

    A massive fire broke out today at India’s Serum Institute, reported NDTV. Five people were found dead. According to the media outlet, it is unlikely that the fire will hit the production of the Oxford/AstraZeneca‘s COVID-19 vaccine that is being produced by the India’s laboratory.

    On Twitter, Adar PoonawallaSerum Institute‘s CEO, said he is deeply saddened and offered his deepest condolences to the families of those who died in the fire tragedy.

    Poonwalla also assured that there would be no loss of the vaccine production due to multiple production buildings that Serum’s had kept in reserve to deal with such contingencies.

    Brazil, that failed to import the vaccine from Serum Institute, has been discussing the release of a public statement with authorities in India. Brazil wants India to guarantee that the immunizer will be sent to the in the short term to the Latin America’s largest country.

  • January 20, 21 - 6:40 pm - LABS

    Argentina’s health regulator approves Sputnik V for elderly

    On Wednesday, Argentina’s health regulator ANMAT approved Russia’s coronavirus vaccine, Sputnik V, for people over 60. According to Reuters, a clinical report on the vaccine among the 60-plus age group was added to ANMAT and showed a 91.8% efficacy in people over 60.

    Also, on Wednesday, Argentina’s president Alberto Fernández received the first dose of the Sputnik V vaccine. The president was vaccinated at the Posadas Hospital after stressing that his priority is to reach the majority of Argentines in the shortest possible time.

    Last week, the neighbor Paraguay became the eighth country outside Russia to approve the Sputnik V vaccine, developed by Gamaleya Institute. Other countries to approve the emergency use of the vaccine include Bolivia, Venezuela, Algeria, and Serbia, according to Reuters.

  • January 20, 21 - 4:59 pm - LABS

    Venezuela’s oxygen arrives in Amazonas to supply shortage in hospitals

    Trucks sent by Venezuelan government arrived on Tuesday in Amazonas’ capital Manaus in Brazil to fuel hospitals with oxygen amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Without oxygen in hospitals, health professionals have been trying to prevent patients with COVID-19 from dying asphyxiated by manual ventilation.

    The tractor trailer trucks took two days to cover the 1,500 kilometers (900 miles) between Ciudad Guayana and Manaus, reported Reuters. Brazil’s government said nothing of the Venezuelan shipment, which was allowed to cross into the country on Monday.

  • January 20, 21 - 8:59 am - LABS

    Brazil’s inputs bottleneck for vaccines production: AstraZeneca first doses postponed to March

    Brazil’s laboratory Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (Fiocruz) postponed to March the delivery of the first doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine to be produced in the country. Even if it receives the supplies expected to arrive on the 23rd, the institution will need tests and quality control that will require more time, reported O Estado de São Paulo.

    The one-month delay should further complicate the implementation of the national immunization plan. For now, states are vaccinating the population with the only one that Brazil can rely on: Coronavac, Sao Paulo’s Butantan Institute vaccine in partnership with China’s Sinovac.

    According to the blog of Brazilian journalist Júlia Dualibi, Butantan expects to receive next week a shipment of inputs that was held in China. The batch consists of 5,400 liters of the active ingredient, enough to make another 5.5 million doses of Coronavac.

    Meanwhile, North of Brazil is still getting a tough time suffering from a lack of oxygen in hospitals amid the pandemic. After Manaus (Amazonas’ capital), there are oxygen shortages in other cities in Amazonas and Pará. At least 24 deaths have been recorded in these locations, which have difficulties transferring patients, reported O Estado de São Paulo.

  • January 19, 21 - 5:57 pm - LABS

    Venezuela can not join the COVAX vaccine program and now depends only on the Russian vaccine

    An official with the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), the regional arm of the World Health Organization (WHO), said on Tuesday (19) that the Venezuela lost the timeline to join the COVAX facility for COVID-19 vaccines, reported Reuters.

    According the news, Venezuela expressed interest in joining COVAX, but it would not be possible due to lack of resources and timely payments. Lawyers for Venezuela’s central bank say the country has been unable to make payments required to participate in COVAX because sanctions have left funds frozen in foreign bank accounts.

    Meanwhile, Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro announced that country will receive 10 million doses of russian Sputnik V vaccine. However, this means that the country will be dependent on only one vaccine.

  • January 18, 21 - 5:47 pm - LABS

    Continuity vaccination against COVID-19 in Brazil depends on the arrival of new inputs

    Brazil started a nationwide COVID-19 immunization program on Monday (17) by distributing Coronavac vaccine doses produced by Butantan Institute in partnership with Chinese laboratory Sinovac. Still, the continuation of vaccination depends on the import of Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (API).

    Butantan Institute needs another shipment of API to produce more doses of Coronavac. The organization has 4,8 million doses of Coronavac in stock, besides the 6 million doses delivered to the federal government. The Chinese Coronavac’s active ingredient that the institute already has will only allow the formulation of new doses until the end of January. According to Valor Econômico, there is no date set for the arrival of new inputs.

    Fiocruz, the partner of AstraZeneca in Brazil, also expects the first batch of ingredients from the laboratory’s partner in India to start producing Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccines locally. The foundation has a contract for the acquisition of 100,4 million doses of the vaccine. The first load of inputs for 1 million doses from the manufacturer WuXi was first expected in December; later, on January 12. But nothing arrived. The responsibility for the order rests with AstraZeneca. The company said it is “working to release the planned batches of IPA as soon as possible”.

    Delay in arrival of doses – The Brazilian Ministry of Health changed the delivery of Coronvac vaccines to Brazilian states, which were waiting for the doses to start the immunization after 5 pm, as announced by the federal government itself. The information is from Folha de S.Paulo.

    At least six states that should receive the vaccines will receive at night, delaying vaccination. Besides, there are still three states without estimated arrival of the doses: Paraná, Rio Grande do Norte e Alagoas.

  • January 18, 21 - 10:52 am - LABS

    Peru’s government suspends flights from Europe up to the end of the month

    Amid a surge of COVID-19 cases and deaths in Peru, the government once again extended the suspension of flights from Europe for two more weeks due to a new variant that first appeared in the United Kingdom.

    Travellers from Europe (or flights with eight hours or more of duration) are banned until January 31.

    Also, according to La República, Peruvian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Elizabeth Astete, reported that a preliminary vaccine agreement was signed with the pharmaceutical company Johnson & Johnson, which would allow its vaccines against COVID-19 to arrive next May or within the first half of 2021.

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