Mexico’s COVID-19 vaccine could be ready by mid-2021

The vaccine is being developed by the UNAM's Institute of Biotechnology and other institutions

Mexico’s COVID-19 vaccine could be ready by mid-2021
The vaccine candidate has shown promising results - Photo: File photo/EFE/EPA
English 04/09/2020 17:59 Alexis Ortiz Mexico City Actualizada 17:59
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The vaccine against COVID-19 that is being developed by the Institute of Biomedical Research of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), along with other institutions, could be ready by mid-2021, as informed by Dr. Edda Sciutto.

During the panel discussion “Mexican Science in Front of the COVID-19 Pandemic” that was held by the Miguel Alemán A. C. Foundation, Dr. Sciutto said that the vaccine produced by a team of experts she coordinates could be ready by mid-2021 after performing the pre-clinical and clinical trials.

“We have shown this vaccine, this vaccine candidate, induces a highly effective response in animals and we’re already organizing things to start pre-clinical trials in order to begin clinical trial son January and having a Mexican vaccine by next year,” said the expert.

She argued that, although there are hundreds of vaccines being developed in the world, it is important for Mexico to produce its own vaccine so that the whole population can prevent COVID-19 infections.

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Regarding the project, Sciutto added: “In the team, we have made we already have a vaccine candidate. This vaccine candidate, which is a small molecule, a small molecule, is a protein that is part of the virus and that could interact with the host cell and infect. Hence, by inducing a response against this molecule, we can inhibit the viral infection.”

By presenting this progress, the UNAM researcher and the rest of the panel discussion participant insisted on the need for Mexico to invest more money in the development of science and technology to face future epidemics.

“It's very important for us to make national developments not only of vaccines but also of drugs for all kinds of diagnostics that allow having technological independence from countries who usually generate this information,” said Dr. Carlos Federico Arias, a researcher from the UNAM’s Biotechnology Institute.

The expert believes Mexico requires a strong science and technology system but the country only has 30,000 researchers from the 200,000 or 300,000 that would be needed to have the same amount as other nations with the same development level.

For his part, Gerardo Gamboa, director of research at the National Institute of Medical Sciences and Nutrition Salvador Zubirán, asserted that the coronavirus pandemic “came to stay” and established that the risk of infection will not be eliminated in the close future.

“It will take us at least two to three years to really reduce considerably the risk of infections and that assuming that there are useful vaccines developed next year, and it will take a couple of years to innoculate the whole population,” said the expert.

He also presented figures on the number of people who have contracted COVID-19 and said that little by little, the Salvador Zubirán Institute is in process of returning to its previous hospital status to start taking care of other diseases.

The discussion panel that was broadcasted by EL UNIVERSAL was coordinated by Dr. Juan Pedro Laclette, a UNAM emeritus researcher who also acknowledged the importance of the Mexican government investing more resources in science and technology.

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