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Health News

Mexico exploring phase 3 trials of Russian coronavirus vaccine

FILE PHOTO: Mexico's Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard delivers a message to the media after taking on the Pro Tempore Presidency (PTP) of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), in Mexico City, Mexico, January 8, 2020. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexico told Moscow on Wednesday it would like to carry out phase 3 testing of Russia’s coronavirus vaccine, as part of the Latin American country’s intensifying efforts to secure early supplies of an effective medicine to control the pandemic.

After a meeting with Russia’s ambassador to Mexico, Viktor Koronelli, Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said on Twitter he had expressed interest in carrying out large scale human trials “to have the vaccine as soon as possible in Mexico.”

Russia has already produced the first batch of its new vaccine, giving approval before trials that would normally involve thousands of participants. Such phase 3 trials are usually considered essential precursors for a vaccine to secure regulatory approval.

The race to produce a vaccine has become a contest for influence and prestige among major powers, while developing economies are trying to ensure a fair distribution of the medicines.

Russia’s vaccine, named ‘Sputnik V’ in homage to the world’s first satellite launched by the Soviet Union during the Cold War, is the first to go into production and is to be rolled out by the end of this month.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has assured the public that it is safe.

His Mexican counterpart Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said earlier this week he would volunteer to be among the first to try the Russian vaccine if it proved effective.

Mexico has already agreed to help manufacture a vaccine candidate being developed by Britain’s AstraZeneca and Oxford University to supply the Latin American market.

It is also preparing to carry out late-stage trials for U.S. company Johnson & Johnson and two Chinese companies.

Reporting by Miguel Gutierrez; Additional reporting by Frank Jack Daniel; Editing by Dave Graham, Lisa Shumaker and Richard Pullin

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