The World Health Organization gave the green light to the first anticovid vaccine made in Latin America: a version of the immunizer from the Anglo-Swedish laboratory AstraZeneca manufactured jointly by Argentina and Mexico, PAHO, WHO’s office for the Americas, said on Thursday.
The vaccine, in whose preparation the Argentine company mAbxience and the Mexican company Liomont Laboratories participate, was included in the so-called list for use in emergencies of the WHO, according to the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), which celebrated the decision.
“This is an important milestone for Latin America and highlights the importance of technology transfer to increase the availability of quality covid-19 vaccines in the region,” said PAHO Director Carissa Etienne, quoted in a statement.
This locally manufactured AstraZeneca vaccine is already used in some Latin American and Caribbean countries.
But inclusion in the WHO list paves the way for its approval and commercialization in other countries, and allows its acquisition and distribution through the global Covax mechanism and the PAHO Revolving Fund.
Etienne highlighted that this international support shows that Latin America and the Caribbean can contribute to the global supply of vaccines, something key to overcoming the current gaps in access to immunizations.
PAHO launched a regional platform in August with the goal of reducing dependence on medicines, vaccines, and medical supplies produced outside the region.
In making AstraZeneca’s immunizer, mAbxience reproduces the active pharmaceutical ingredient, and Liomont Laboratories formulates, fills and packages the product for distribution, PAHO explained.
The AstraZeneca vaccine is based on a recombinant adenoviral vector ChAdOx1 that encodes the spike protein antigen of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Other versions, produced in Europe, South Korea, India, Australia and Japan, have already been authorized for use in emergencies by the WHO.
The WHO list for emergency use has 11 vaccines to date.
PAHO recommends that countries choose one of these, noting that they were evaluated based on international standards of quality, safety, and efficacy.