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  • A researcher works on a vaccine against the new coronavirus COVID-19 at the University of Copenhagen Research Laboratory in Copenhagen, Denmark, March 23, 2020.

    A researcher works on a vaccine against the new coronavirus COVID-19 at the University of Copenhagen Research Laboratory in Copenhagen, Denmark, March 23, 2020. | Photo: AFP/Thibault Savary

Published 10 August 2020
Opinion

There are more than 25,000 volunteers that went to the Central Military Hospital, the only center authorized to carry out these tests in Argentina.

Argentina began clinical trials on Monday of a COVID-19 vaccine developed by the United States pharmaceutical company Pfizer and Germany's BioNTech. The vaccine is also being tested in Brazil, the U.S., and Germany.

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The Central Military Hospital is the only center authorized to carry out these tests in Argentina. Its director, Sergio Maldonado, confirmed that the vaccination of volunteers participating in the last stage of testing the coronavirus vaccine began on Monday.

Maldonado explained that "there are more than 25,000 volunteers" registered for the testing of 4,500 people in the Latam country.

The volunteers to be vaccinated are part of a database provided by Pfizer. The researchers themselves call those selected, and as they arrive, they are subjected to a circuit that includes interviews, informed consent, and some studies. "There is a whole series of previous steps that necessarily have to be completed," said Maldonado.

He also stated that "as a military hospital, we are providing the infrastructure, some of the equipment and some of the specialist staff, which is about 60 or so, who participate as researchers."

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. Scientists will then be able to evaluate the results of both groups by comparing them to each other, to see whether or not the vaccine is effective against the coronavirus.

At the end of July, Pfizer said it plans to have the coronavirus vaccine ready by the end of the year. Although it warned, in agreement with other companies that are entering the final phase of testing their products, that availability will depend on the regulatory bodies and logistics capacity of each country.

The vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech is one of the six most advanced in the world, along with the U.S. Moderna, the British AstraZeneca, and three others developed in China.

Also, another 20 are in various stages of clinical trials, and some 139 are in pre-clinical studies. They have not yet been tested in humans.

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