SAO PAULO (Reuters) - The Butantan Institute, one of Brazil's leading biomedical research centers, on Thursday announced an agreement with China's Sinovac Biotech Ltd to potentially produce a vaccine against the new coronavirus.
Butantan president Dimas Covas and Sao Paulo Governor João Doria said the vaccine being developed by the Chinese laboratory was entering the third phase of clinical testing and could be ready to vaccinate millions of Brazilians by June next year.
Covas said phase three clinical testing would be conducted in Brazil with 9,000 volunteers. Once it has been proven to be effective, Butantan will own the technology to eventually produce the vaccine in Brazil on a large scale.
Last week, the federal university of Sao Paulo, Unifesp, announced that Brazil will take part in clinical trials for the vaccine being developed by Oxford University and drugmaker AstraZeneca, with some 2,000 volunteers.
Brazil has become an epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic, with at least 39,680 deaths and 772,416 confirmed cases of infection as of Wednesday, the world's worst outbreak after the United States.
(Reporting by Luciano Costa; Editing by Bill Berkrot)