On Tuesday, Brazilian health regulators said they had authorized Johnson & Johnson’s experimental vaccine against the new coronavirus for the final stage of clinical trials, the fourth vaccine to receive expansive testing in the country.
Health regulator Anvisa said Janssen, the US pharmaceutical company’s subsidiary will test the vaccine on 7,000 volunteers across seven states in Brazil, part of a group of up to 60,000 worldwide in a statement released.
“Another vaccine study has been approved in Brazil, which is a very important development,” Anvisa official Gustavo Mendes said in a video on the regulator’s website.
Brazil has become an important testing ground in the quest for a vaccine against COVID-19 as the virus is still spreads fast across the country.
The nation has the second-highest number of infections and deaths in the pandemic, after the United States: almost 3.5 million and 110,000, respectively.
Brazil has also approved three other Phase 3 trials of vaccine candidates, developed by Oxford University in partnership with pharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca, Chinese pharmaceutical firm Sinovac Biotech, and US firm Pfizer in partnership with Germany’s BioNTech.
The Brazilian state, Parana, also signed a deal last week to test and produce Russia’s “Sputnik V” vaccine, which surprisingly became the first in the world to receive regulatory approval.