RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) – The head of Pfizer Inc in Brazil said on Thursday the drugmaker is negotiating with the South American nation to supply its potential COVID-19 vaccine in the first quarter of 2021.
“We are working strongly with the Brazilian government to try to fast-track the availability (of the vaccine) in Brazil as fast as possible,” Carlos Murillo said during an online event.
In Brazil, some 3,100 people are participating in a late-stage clinical trial of the experimental vaccine Pfizer is developing with German partner BioNTech.
Pfizer earlier this week said initial data from its late-stage trials showed the vaccine to be more that 90 percent effective, putting it in the lead among major pharmaceutical companies racing to develop a COVID-19 vaccine to help stop the pandemic that has claimed over 1.2 million lives globally.
The vaccine, however, needs to be stored at minus 70 degrees Celsius, a potential barrier in developing countries where finding the necessary storage chain could be an obstacle.
Murillo said Pfizer has developed a way to keep the vaccine in good condition using only dry ice.
“It’s not a simple issue and it does not resolve the logistics, but it changes the paradigm that a country would need an ultrafreezer in each vaccination center, that’s not the case,” Murillo said.
The vaccine will be sold with three different price tags, one for affluent countries, one for middle-income countries like Brazil and another for low-income nations, he said.
So far, Brazil’s federal government’s main bet for a potential coronavirus vaccine is with AstraZeneca Plc, with which it has already signed a supply contract.