Argentina: First National Booster Vaccine Against COVID-19

The vaccine proved in clinical trials “to be safe and effective as a booster against SARS-CoV-2 virus in people over 18 years of age.”

19 October 2023

Argentina’s Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation of Argentina presented, on Wednesday, the first vaccine of entirely national production to be used as a booster against the COVID-19.

The use of The “ARVAC Cecilia Grierson” vaccine was authorized by the National Administration of Medicines, Food and Medical Technology for its use as a booster against COVID-19.

Daniel Filmus, the country’s Minister of Science, in statements to the press highlighted the results obtained from “sustained investment over the years in research, science and technology.”

The minister said that “the importance of science in Argentina and the role of the State are being discussed” noting that “it is the decision of a State and a government to invest in science and technology and to have health sovereignty.”

“We want to tell the researchers that we recognize their effort and their work, and that we are very proud,” he added.

The tweet reads, “NATIONAL: ARGENTINA DEVELOPED ITS OWN VACCINE AGAINST COVID-19. Oscar Atienza, a medical doctor, explained the importance of the Argentine vaccine, since “the pandemic is active” and also “it means an important saving of dollars”. There are already 1 million vaccines in stock.”

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The National Council for Scientific and Technological Research (Conicet) which depends on the Ministry of Science said that the vaccine proved in clinical trials “to be safe and effective as a booster against the SARS-CoV-2 virus in people over 18 years of age.”

The vials, produced in a laboratory in the Argentine capital, offer the possibility of adapting in only four months to new variants of SARS-CoV-2 circulating in the region.

“It will be able to be used against the current need for booster doses in elderly people and risk groups, as well as to be easily updated in the face of the appearance of a new variant of concern that escapes the immune response of current vaccines. This development would also allow the country not only to substitute imports but also to export to the region,” Conicet said.

The vaccine was submitted for regulatory approval after the completion of phase 2/3 clinical trials, a stage in which 2,014 volunteers participated.

“The results of the clinical trials indicate that the vaccine is safe in humans, since during the development of the study and to date, no serious adverse events were reported. But in addition, the studies demonstrated that the administration of this booster vaccine increases the titers of neutralizing antibodies to the Ancestral, Gamma, Delta and Omicron variants of SARS-CoV-2 and the T-cell immune response in previously vaccinated individuals,” noted the Conicet.

The new vaccine is bivalent and based on recombinant proteins, a technology that has already been applied in vaccines against Hepatitis B for more than 20 years and, more recently, HPV.

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The preclinical studies were financed by the National Agency for Scientific Promotion, which depends on the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation. For its part, the development and industrial scale-up of the biotechnological process under GMP (good manufacturing practices) quality standards and Phase I clinical trials were financed by the Cassar√° Laboratory.

The process of developing the vaccine and conducting the clinical trials involved a public-private network with more than 600 scientists and professionals belonging to 25 institutions in the country. According to the Ministry of Science, it was funded with about 4.85 million dollars of their own.

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