Argentina has sent Mexico the first active ingredient necessary for the development of around one million doses of the coronavirus vaccine produced by pharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca in conjunction with Oxford University.
Mexico's Undersecurity for Prevention and the Promotion of Health Hugo López-Gatell announced at a press conference that Mexico would take delivery of material that would enable the creation of around one million doses of the vaccine. That was a significantly lower figure that first trailed by Mexico's Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard, who previously said around six million shots would be produced using the Argentine-produced ingredient.
Argentina’s shipment comes after Mexico’s national health regulator, Cofepris, authorised the emergency use of the AstraZeneca vaccine on January 4. The vaccine will reportedly be available to individuals in March, depending on the production capacities of the developers.
The “active ingredient” of the vaccine is being produced in Argentina by bio-pharmacy firm mAbxience at its laboratory in Garín, Buenos Aires Province. It is then shipped to Mexico where the vaccine will be produced by the Liomont laboratory.
The Mexican government originally stated that the two laboratories will produce around 250 million doses to meet demand in Latin America, but López-Gatell later said that the estimated goal was around 200 million doses. The shots are for use in Latin America.
Preparations to develop the AstraZeneca Oxford vaccine come after the Mexican government announced they would cut their supply of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, a step it agreed to in response to a UN request in order to give poorer nations greater access to it.
Mexico also agreed to purchase 35 million doses of the Chinese-Canadian CanSinoBio vaccine, and plans to acquire 24 million doses of the Russian Sputnik V after Cofepris authorised its emergency use.
It is also authorised to purchase a further 51.6 million doses of the CanSinoBio type since it forms part of the COVAX global collaboration for vaccines.
The country, with a population of 128 million, has reached 140,704 deaths from Covid-19 according to the AFP database based on official figures.
While it has the fourth-highest death toll in the world, it ranks eighteenth in terms of deaths per 100,000 inhabitants.