UNAM to start animal testing on COVID-19 vaccine

29/05/2020
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18:13
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EFE
UNAM to start animal testing on COVID-19 vaccine
UNAM's COVID-19 vaccine is on the first stage pf animal testing - Photo: Taken from UNAM's Facebook account

UNAM to start animal testing on COVID-19 vaccine

29/05/2020
18:13
EFE
Mexico City
-A +A
UNAM experts plan to run clinical trials in 2021

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The vaccine developed by the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) against SARS-CoV-2 is currently in the first phase of animal testing and clinical trials are expected to take place in 2021.

The base used by UNAM scientists to develop the new vaccine against the novel coronavirus was a vaccine platform that was being already developed in the university and that had made progress regarding other viruses.

“There is always the risk of this kind of development not to achieve a positive result, however, the control points have been overcome in a good way,” asserted Laura Alicia Palomares Aguilera, a researcher of the Biotechnology Institute in a statement published by the education institution on Thursday.

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“We hope to be able to produce the material for human testing in 2021; that is, we would begin clinical trials until that moment,” the expert stressed.

UNAM experts, along with different institutions and Mexico City’s government, are working on the development of the vaccine, as explained by Rosaura Ruiz Gutiérrez, Mexico City’s Minister of Education, Science, Technology, and Innovation (SECTEI).

“We have a mature scientific community at an international level, with the best facilities to develop this vaccine. The UNAM has the ideal technology to make progress in this project,” she asserted.

The public officer said that other countries “could have a vaccine before, but Mexico must have its own; despite investing more time, we would have more efficiency.”

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The UNAM recently launched a new laboratory for COVID-19 vaccine research at the School of Veterinary Medicine since the facilities comply with the requirements needed to perform animal testing.

The SECTEI minister said that the Institute of Biotechnology, the School of Medicine, the School of Veterinary Medicine, and other UNAM schools would partake in the installation of the laboratory. The SECTEI would provide some resources for the timely construction of the facilities.

With 16 investigation protocols in the country, companies in Mexico have joined the global search for a COVID-19 vaccine, as explained recently by Cristóbal Thompson, executive director of the Mexican Association of Pharmaceutical Investigation Industries (AMIIF).

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In an interview with EFE, Thompson explained that the general processes to develop a vaccine “usually take over 15 years” and now with the opportunity to share all this information “it is believed that there could be one ore more vaccine within a year or a year and a half.”

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there are 121 vaccines in the world in pre-clinical evaluation stages and three on the first clinical stage.

During the first week of May, Mexico’s Foreign Affairs minister Marcelo Ebrard informed that the Mexican government will invest €1 million in the global project for the vaccine led by the European Union (EU).

As of May 28, Mexican authorities reported 81,400 COVID-19 cases and 9,044 fatalities in the country.

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