The first 120,000 doses of CoronaVac, a COVID-19 vaccine developed by the Butantan Institute in partnership with the Chinese pharmaceutical company Sinovac Life Science, arrived today at São Paulo’s international airport. Governor João Doria personally participated in receiving the shipment. The cargo, from China, landed at Guarulhos International Airport this morning, in a historic moment given the seriousness of the health crisis faced worldwide. The immunizer, which is in its last phase of testing, is considered one of the hopes in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic, which has already killed more than 167,000 Brazilians and 1.3 million people worldwide.
“The vaccine saves, protects and gives us an opportunity to have a new life, a new situation with the protection of the entire population. We have now received 120,000 doses of Coronavac to protect lives. Over the next 40 days we will receive 46 million doses. And I want to highlight here that we are not in a race for the vaccine, we are in a race for life”, the Governor declared.
The doses were shipped in the early hours of Monday on a commercial Turkish Airlines flight and landed in Brazil at 7:45 am. The arrival took place after approval by the Brazilian National Health Surveillance Agency (Anvisa) to import the material on October. The location where the vaccines will be stored remains confidential for security reasons.
This is the first shipment to arrive in the country. Altogether there will be 46 million doses, 6 million of which are ready for application and other 40 million in the form of raw material for formulation and packaging at the Butantan Institute’s own factory.
The remaining shipments are expected to arrive over the next few weeks. The availability to the population, on the other hand, will only occur after proof of effectiveness, which should happen after the conclusion of the third phase of clinical studies and subsequent approval by the regulatory agency, Anvisa.
Last Tuesday the results of Coronavac clinical studies were published by the scientific journal The Lancet. The publication showed that the vaccine is safe and has the capacity to produce an immune response in the body 28 days after its application in 97% of cases.
The results, which have been reviewed by several scientists, were another important step in the development of the vaccine, which has been undergoing Phase 3 testing in several regions of Brazil since July this year. Details of the publication can be found on the Lancet website: http://www.thelancet-press.com/embargo/covidvaccinetlid.pdf
Phases 1 and 2 brought together 744 volunteers in China, aged between 18 and 59 years. The data show that the adverse reactions were mild and no serious adverse effects related to the vaccine were identified. The most common reaction was pain at the application region. The rate of seroconversion among volunteers who received the vaccine, that is, production of antibodies, was above 90%.
Approval by the regulatory agency
If the immunizing agent reaches the necessary levels of efficacy and safety, it can be submitted to Anvisa (National Health Surveillance Agency) for evaluation and later use in immunization campaigns against the coronavirus.
In the final phase of studies in Brazil, Coronavac is considered one of the most promising vaccines in the world, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), and has been tested in seven Brazilian states, in addition to the Federal District.
Coordinated by the Butantan Institute, the tests involve 13,000 health professionals in 16 research centers in São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Minas Gerais, Rio Grande do Sul, Paraná, Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso do Sul and the Federal District. To date, more than 10,000 people have received at least one of the two doses of the vaccine or placebo.
About Guarulhos International Airport
São Paulo International Airport, in Guarulhos, is the largest hub in Brazil for imports of pharmaceutical products. In recent years, it has received important investments in infrastructure, technology and process improvements, aiming to offer the highest quality and reliability to the pharmaceutical industries. The Cargo Terminal has the Center of Excellence for Independent Validators (CEIV Pharma) certification from the International Air Transport Association (IATA), which validates the quality, safety and standardization of the warehouse structure for receiving perishable cargo, medicines and supplies destined for Health area.
Currently, GRU Airport is the largest airport complex in South America and also the main entrance and exit door for cargo in Brazil. With a usable area of 99,000 m², the Cargo Terminal handles products from different segments, including pharmaceutical, electronic, textile, food, machinery, aeronautics, automotive parts and accessories. In 2019, the cargo sector handled approximately 42% of exports and imports and 50% of the volume of pharmaceutical imports by air in the country.