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News Article

Mexico Moves Forward With “Patria” Vaccine

By Miriam Bello | Wed, 04/14/2021 - 17:53

A couple of weeks ago, President López Obrador announced that CONACYT’s scientists working alongside pharmaceutical company Avimex on a COVID-19 vaccine development are now moving to Phase 1 clinical trials. Prior to this stage, clinical research for this vaccine called Patria began in March 2020 using IMSS and INER’s data regarding COVID-19 cases.

According to CONACYT, in vitro molecular designs and tests, as well as pre-clinical safety and efficacy tests were carried out on mice and pigs, together with the development’s construction and GMP certification. This vaccine is based on a recombinant Newcastle disease paramyxovirus (rNDV), an infection that usually affects birds. Avimex’s specialization on the development and commercialization of veterinary drugs made the company a perfect partner for this work, as all researches saw potential on this recombinant.

This has been globally recognized as a potentially effective virus to be used on vaccines against COVID-19. The Ministry of Health shared that the Newcastle’s recombinant stood out because of its high efficiency and low costs. According to Deputy Minister of Health Hugo López-Gatell, if clinical trials are concluded with no anomalies, Patria’s emergency use could arrive in December of this year. López-Gatell said that with this achievement, Mexico could even support Lain American countries that still have no access to any vaccine development. He also shared that it is still unknown if Patria would be a single shot vaccine.

New reports on the subject revealed, however, that Patria’s research was not Mexican and that it was originally developed in New York by researchers Weina Sun, Florian Krammer, Adolfo García-Sastre and Peter Palese. Avimex’s participation started with clinical trials. The original research report and primary findings were posted by The Lancet.

For this vaccine, the public sector invested MX$150 million (US$7,468,650). One hundred adults under 55 years of age are expected to participate and volunteer in the Phase 1 clinical trials, which have just been announced. According to CONACYT, the vaccine is ready to be distributed for these volunteers.

This national vaccine development is not an isolated effort, UNAM scholars are working on a development of their own. According to El Universal, these scientists have also been developing a vaccine since March 2020 and hope to begin clinical trials in May of this year. “Our vaccine is harmless, according to results from animal testing. It awakens a quite strong immune response, similar to Avimex’s reported response,” said Juan Pedro Laclette, member of UNAM’s developing team. Laclette said that while financing was significantly limited, they expect to have an approval almost at the same time as Avimex. He shared that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Education of Mexico City have supported the development and that the final cost of the vaccine is still unknown.

Miriam Bello Miriam Bello Journalist and Industry Analyst