In a news release on Thursday, the university announced that the Brazilian Health Regulatory Agency (ANVISA) approved the country to be a part of the clinical trials conducted by Oxford University and supported by AstraZeneca, which makes the vaccine. Some 2,000 people will be recruited to participate.
Brazil has become an epicenter for the coronavirus pandemic, with the country reporting yet another record number of deaths on Thursday – 1,473 – raising its toll to over 34,000. Brazil has now surpassed Italy for the world’s third-deadliest outbreak, even though it’s still considered by experts a significant undercount due to insufficient testing.
Indeed, “Brazil is a priority for the study because of the ascendant curve of the COVID-19,” officials said in the news release.
“The most important thing is to carry out this stage of the study now when the epidemiological curve is still rising and the results may be more assertive,” said Lily Yin Weckx, coordinator of the Reference Center for Special Immunobiologicals (CRIE) at the Federal University of Sao Paulo, in a statement.
More than 6.6 million people have been infected with the virus and more than 389,000 have died from COVID-19, according to the Johns Hopkins count. The true toll is likely much higher, due to limits on testing and many asymptomatic cases.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.