The director of the prestigious Butantan Institute, Dimas Covas, regrets that the “denialist movement” is gaining strength in Brazil, hard hit by the pandemic and approaching half a million deaths from coronavirus.
And may that trend be spearheaded by none other than the president of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro,
“There has never been such a high mortality in Brazil and it seems that people are playing with that reality,” said Covas.
The expert has been in charge, since 2017, of this laboratory in São Paulo, which has become a reference in Latin America and which is responsible for the local production of the Coronavac vaccine, developed by China Sinovac.
The manager recalled that, unlike other countries, the transmission rate in the Latin American giant continues at high levels and warned that this is not the time to lower our guard, despite the fact that Bolsonaro came to propose the end of the use of chinstraps for those who have already been vaccinated or were infected by the virus.
The director of the Butantan Institute in São Paulo, Dimas Covas. Photo: EFE
“The pandemic is accelerating and therefore at this moment we have to reinforce the restriction measures, the use of masks, social distancing. It cannot be compared with any other country that has relaxed,” he declared.
Brazil already accumulates 17.7 million infections and 496,000 deaths by coronavirus since the start of the pandemic, according to data from John Hopkins University, which keeps the world tally.
Delay in vaccination
The control of the health crisis in Brazil, he said, it will now depend on the acceleration of the vaccination process.
But the campaign progresses slowly, and Covas accuses the Bolsonaro government, for the lack of definition when it comes to closing contracts with the pharmaceutical companies, and the regulatory entity Anvisa, for the delay in approving emergency use of Coronavac.
“If these aspects had been addressed as a priority, Brazil could have been one of the first countries in the world to initiate vaccination,” he said.
A line to receive the coronavirus vaccine in front of a stadium in São Paulo, this Friday. Photo: BLOOMBERG
“The lack of vaccines has an impact on the progression of deaths and hospital admissions. The longer it takes to vaccinate the adult population, which is the priority, the longer it will take to control the most dire aspect of the pandemic: deaths and demand of the hospital system, “he added.
Delay in dose production
The delay in vaccine production On the part of Butantan and the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (Fiocruz), responsible for the local manufacture of the AstraZeneca antigen, it also responds to the shortage of IFA, an essential raw material for immunizers that is imported from China.
In that sense, Covas also pointed the finger at Bolsonaro, who launched a barrage of criticism against the Asian country, and stressed that his statements “harm” the supply of the component, because “it creates confusion, creates difficulties.”
So far, 28% of the population received a dose of the vaccine, while just over 11% received the full regimen in Brazil, the second country with the most deaths from coronavirus, after the United States, and the third in number. cases, after the US and India.
However, the main executive of Butantan, an institution associated with the government of São Paulo, He relied on an acceleration of the immunization process from next month, Since between July and September the Brazilian Executive expects to receive 180 million vaccines, including new batches from Coronavac.
In total, Butantan will deliver 100 million doses to the federal government and another 30 million to the government of São Paulo.
From there, he said, the institute “will have freedom” to serve other countries, such as Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay and Bolivia, with those who have already started contacts.
In addition to Coronavac, the institute is developing Butanvac, the first vaccine against covid-19 produced one hundred percent in the South American country and whose human tests are scheduled to begin this month.