Butantan suspends Coronavac production due to lack of inputs

Butantan suspends Coronavac production due to lack of inputs
Butantan suspends Coronavac production due to lack of inputs
Production of the Coronavac vaccine, used against Covid-19, is temporarily halted by the Butantan Institute due to a lack of raw materials, they said. CNN three sources with knowledge of the subject.

Butantan will still continue with the delivery of vaccines next week, because it has 2.5 million doses already ready waiting for the quality control deadline.

The institute also informs that it will comply with the deadlines established in the contracts with the Ministry of Health, despite the delay in the arrival of inputs. Butantan has pledged to deliver 46 million doses by the end of April.

Box with doses of Coronavac, vaccine distributed by the Butantan Institute against coronavirus
Photo: Marlon Costa / Futura Press / Estadão Contents

A new shipment of raw materials – the so-called IFA (Active Pharmaceutical Input) – was scheduled to arrive from China next Friday, April 9, but was postponed. The delay was admitted by the governor of São Paulo, João Doria (PSDB), at a press conference this Wednesday (7).

The input is supplied by Butantan’s partner in Coronavac, the Chinese Sinovac. The delay in shipping was caused by the intensification of the vaccination campaign in China itself. Until now, the Chinese have been exporting a good part of their vaccines because they have the contagion of Covid-19 controlled.

Doria said at the news conference that she even called the Chinese ambassador in Brasilia, Yang Wanming. Two days ago, the ambassador published a message on his Twitter account about a meeting with the Minister of Health, Marcelo Queiroga, and guaranteed that China would continue to send inputs to Brazil.

Now, the forecast for the arrival of 6 thousand liters of IFA in São Paulo is on April 15th, enough to produce 10 million doses. Butantan tries to anticipate that date to resume production. A source heard by the report reinforced that “every day vaccine production counts” in the midst of a pandemic that is killing 4,000 Brazilians a day.

Coronavac vaccine vials at the Butantan Institute
Coronavac vaccine vials at the Butantan Institute
Photo: Amanda Perobelli / Reuters (22.jan.2021)

Wanted by CNN, Butantan did not deny the stoppage of the factory, but stressed that, despite the delay in the delivery of the input, it will fulfill its commitments established in a contract with the Ministry of Health.

“The Butantan Institute informs that a new shipment of 6,000 liters of IFA (Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient) is expected next week, corresponding to about 10 million doses of the vaccine against the new coronavirus.

With this, it will be possible to fully comply with the first contract with the Ministry of Health, totaling the delivery of 46 million doses to the National Immunization Program (PNI) by April 30 ”, he informed.

According to data from the Unified Health System (SUS), eight out of 10 doses against the new coronavirus in Brazil so far are from Coronavac. Since January, the institute has delivered 38.2 million doses – 22.7 million in March alone.

The AstraZeneca vaccine has also been applied in Brazil in partnership with Fiocruz. The Rio laboratory, however, had difficulties in gearing up production, but announced this week that it managed to reach 900 thousand doses per day.

For April, the expectation of the Ministry of Health is that most of the vaccines to be used in the country come from AstraZeneca / Fiocruz. Delivery is estimated at 18.9 million doses by Fiocruz and about 10 million by Butantan.

It is important to note, however, that the IFA of the vaccine packaged in Fiocruz also comes from China. For now there is no information on delays in these deliveries. According to Fiocruz, the entity already has enough IFA in the country to maintain production until mid-May and is awaiting a new shipment later this month.

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