Argentina started clinical trials of the COVID-19 vaccine prepared by the American pharmaceutical company Pfizer and the German BioNTech on Monday, tests that the South American country will carry out together with the United States, Germany and Brazil, confirmed official sources to Efe.
According to the Ministry of Defense, the first volunteers attended this morning at the Hospital Militar Central, the only center qualified to carry out these tests in Argentina.
The director of the center, Colonel Sergio Maldonado, assured in statements to Radio Rivadavia that he has already completed the stage of preparation and training of professionals, in order to be ready for the vaccination that begins this week.
In this sense, so far there are “more than 25 thousand volunteers” registered to test this vaccine, a number that far exceeds the places called for these trials.
Those who finally participate will be invited by the researchers themselves and will go through a circuit that includes interviews, clinical studies and explanation of the procedures, a series of preliminary steps that “necessarily have to be completed” and that are already ready, said Maldonado.
“As a Military Hospital, we are making available the infrastructure, part of the equipment and part of the specialized team, which are about 60, who participate as researchers. Now, the volunteers who get vaccinated sign up at a place that puts Pfizer itself, which does not depend on us. We supply professionals, vaccinators, doctors … ”, said Maldonado.
On the same website, it is clear that half of the study participants will receive the vaccine in development, while the other half will receive a placebo in the form of a physiological injection.
Thus, scientists will be able to evaluate the results of the two groups by comparing them with each other, in order to verify whether the vaccine is effective or not against the coronavirus.
Thus, Argentina starts the third phase of testing this vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech, after being chosen for it in mid-July.
This vaccine is one of the six most advanced in the world, along with Modern American, British AstraZeneca and three others developed in China.
The three Chinese are based on the inactivated virus, the two of American origin use RNA techniques and the Astrazeneca’s focuses on a viral vector.
In the case of Pfizer, ‘messenger RNA’ is used, a copy of the genetic information the virus has, from which it makes the key (protein) it uses to enter the human cell and cause infection.
In a recent interview, the Argentine Minister of Health stated that there may be news at the beginning of next year about the commercialization of the first vaccines against COVID-19 in the country.