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Weekly Roundups

A Sector Moving Forward With High Expectations

By Miriam Bello | Thu, 08/20/2020 - 14:43

Mexico exceeded half a million accumulated cases of COVID-19, with 537,031 confirmed cases. Five months into the pandemic, the government starts to feel more comfortable about resuming reforms in the sector. This time, it was COFEPRIS’ turn.

Despite this uncertain environment, Mexico is successfully acting to participate in different vaccine developments to guarantee access to the treatment when it is ready to be distributed.

Here is the Week in Health!

NATIONAL

-Campeche is the first state in Mexico to move to yellow in the epidemiological traffic light. The states of Hidalgo, Aguascalientes, Colima, Nayarit, Zacatecas and Baja California Sur remain in red, while the rest of the country is in orange.

-The Congress of Tabasco approved a reform to prohibit the sale and distribution of junk food and beverages with high sugar content to minors. In Mexico City, authorities are analyzing the initiative, too.

-COFEPRIS is now under the jurisdiction of the Deputy Ministry of Prevention and Health Promotion, headed by Hugo López-Gatell. Leaders of the industry have shown their concern about this decision. Patrick Devlyn, President of the Health Commission of the Business Coordinating Council (CCE), has already requested a meeting with Deputy Minister of Health Hugo López-Gatell to ensure that COFEPRIS’ regulatory measures are to be respected to keep guaranteeing safety of products. “If autonomy is lost, there is a risk that the Commission is no longer a benchmark international regulator,” said Devlyn. Gustavo de Hoyos, President of COPARMEX, also showed his concern on the subject as COFEPRIS’ attachment to the Deputy Ministry follows that of other 12 instances. The president of the medical industry at CANACINTRA also spoke on the subject asking authorities for further clarification and explanation about this change.

-Deputy Minister of Health, Hugo López-Gatell ensured that this decision does not mean, by any circumstances, that sanitary regulations will disappear “This was an instruction from the president and it simply corresponds to a change in assignment.” López-Gatell explained that this targets to improve sanitary verification and eradicate corruption.

-Russia will soon undertake clinical trials of its “Sputnik V” vaccine development against COVID-19 on 40,000 people. The vaccine has gone under previous trials over the past two months and has been said to be safe and effective. Mexico has actively reacted to the announcement as Minister of Foreign Affairs, Marcelo Ebrard hosted a meeting with Russian Ambassador in Mexico Victor Koronelli to learn about the development. According to Ebrard, he shared Mexico’s interest of joining Phase III of Sputnik V’s clinical trials.

-Médica Sur will debut on the Mexican Stock Exchange (BMV) with a stock certificate offering of MX$1 billion (US$45.1 million). This will be the first step for a total goal of MX$3 billion (US$135.3 million). According to the hospital’s statement, the company's papers will offer a fixed interest rate with a five-year maturation term. The funds will be used mainly to refinance its debt.

Hospitales MAC made a similar move by the end of last month. Through BIVA, the company expects to raise funds to expand in the north and Bajio region of Mexico.

INTERNATIONAL

-Roche laboratories and Regeneron have joined efforts to manufacture and distribute their COVID-19 vaccine development. The vaccine called REGN-COV2 is currently in Phase II/III of the clinical trials. This agreement was made hoping to triplicate Roche’s manufacturing and distribution capacity. Regeneron expects to cover the US market while Roche will tackle global distribution.

-Johnson & Johnson expects trials of its COVID-19 vaccine development to reach 60,000 people. These trials are expected to cover many countries, including Mexico. According to the statement, the process will begin when results from Phase I/II ae approved by regulators.

-Chinese pharmaceutical Sinopharm Group has announced its COVID-19 vaccine development will be available by December. According to the company, they expect to tackle a 2 million doses production per year and the vaccine will consist of two takes. This development has already shown positive results during Phase I and II of clinical trials and their results have been published on the internationally known magazine JAMA.

-In France, Germany, Spain, the Netherlands and Belgium, people between the ages of 20 and 39 represent up to 40 percent of new cases of COVID-19.

-Wuhan, the Chinese city that was the first epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic, held a massive party at a water park over the weekend, with no social distancing or masks required. Wuhan has reported no new cases of contagion since mid-May. Chinese authorities have defended the action saying that this “demonstrates that Wuhan has obtained a strategic victory in its fight against COVID-19.”

Miriam Bello Miriam Bello Journalist and Industry Analyst