In a desperate race to get back to normal, billions of dollars have been invested in the search for immunity against the new coronavirus, whose impact has caused the death of more than 700,000 people worldwide.
From Russia to Argentina, the promise of a vaccine is the only thing that maintains some stability in the markets, and the patience of millions still condemned to stay at home.
Last Thursday, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador confirmed at a press conference that laboratories in his country and Argentina are in the midst of an accelerated process to obtain a vaccine for the region, according to the BBC.
“It is really something exceptional that is going to help us a lot to keep hope that the uncertainty will end and have the possibility of a healthy life,” Lopez Obrador said.
The president stressed that it is “excellent news for the people of Mexico, they will be informed that this project already exists to have the vaccine against COVID, against the pandemic, which means peace of mind and health.”
According to an agreement between the multinational pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca PLC and the Foundation of Mexican billionaire businessman Carlos Slim, some 200 million vaccines are expected to be available in Latin America by the first half of 2021, Argentine President Alberto Fernández explained.
“Latin American production is going to be in charge of Argentina and Mexico, and will allow timely and efficient access for all countries in the region,” he said.
According to the president, the future vaccine “will be distributed equally among the countries at the governments’ request.”
According to Fernández, in Argentina, AstraZeneca chose the mAbxience laboratory, which will be the producer of the vaccine’s active substance.
“It is a recognition of the quality of Argentine laboratories,” he said.
Mexico, he explained, will be responsible for packaging the vaccine and completing the production process.
For its part, the governments of the region and the Caribbean celebrated the announcement of Mexico and Argentina on Monday in a virtual meeting, where the Mexican Foreign Ministry reported the details of the collaboration, which is expected to yield results “between six months and a year earlier than expected,” according to DW.
“Latin America and the Caribbean are distinguished by their historical brotherhood, solidarity, and mutual friendship. This pandemic affects everyone, regardless of political stance or ideology. It is a challenge that requires the region to put aside differences and work for a common interest,” said Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard.
The announcement has been a temporary relief for a region with more than 5 million cases and countless deaths, and where economies have begun to collapse one by one without a short-term solution.