In recent pharma news from around Latin America, countries are beginning to manufacture their own tests and equipment for dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic so as to reduce dependence on outside sources. Moreover, as vaccines begin being developed globally, pharma firms are looking to Latin America to test their efficacy.


Mexico beginning to manufacture its own ventilators

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, Mexico is launching its own manufacturing of ventilators that have been developed by the National Institute of Medical Sciences. The new model of ventilator, called the VSZ-20, is pending official authorization before it can start large-scale manufacturing. The ventilators are being developed in order to reduce dependence on units being shipped from abroad, such as the 2,000 that arrived from the US.


Brazil to recruit 2,000 volunteers for COVID-19 vaccine

A vaccine against COVID-19 that is being developed by the University of Oxford will be tested in Brazil, where  2,000 volunteers will be recruited. The study aims to recruit people from ages 18 to 55, particularly health professionals, people at risk of infection, those who work caring for COVID-19 patients, and professionals in the cleaning and hygiene sector.


Only 4.5% of Hepatitis C patients in Argentina Access Treatment

The National Viral Hepatitis Program of the National Ministry of Health recently released a study demonstrating that only a small fraction of hepatitis C virus (HCV) patients in Argentina are accessing a very simple cure. The main reason, according to the report, is that most people with HCV do not realize they have the virus or do not consider its treatment a priority, as HCV tends to be symptomless. Local organisation Buena Vida Asociación has emphasized the importance of treatment, highlighting that HCV is very easy to diagnose via a blood test and that it can be cured easily in under 12 weeks of treatment.


Mexican university researchers looking at hepatitis C drug to stop SARS-CoV-2 reproduction

Researchers from the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México have been studying the genomic sequence of SARS-CoV-2 and have discovered the possibility that the virus could be treated with hepatitis C drug sofosbuvir. Using computer programs to analyse the genetic material of the virus, the research team looked closely at the proteins that help the virus to reproduce and determined the possibility of using already-existing antiretroviral drugs can prevent the proteins to continue to function.


Argentina develops its first serological test for COVID-19 

In just 45 days, a new serological test has been developed thanks to a collaboration between scientists from the Fundación Instituto Leloir (FIL) and national organisation Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (CONICET). The test, which scientists have named “COVIDAR IgG”, is based on analysing blood or serum samples and yields results in just 2 hours. The test can also be used to evaluate the evolution of the COVID-19 pandemic in populations. Researchers are also developing a centralised database to analyse the test results in the entire country. COVIDAR IgG is projected to cost significantly less than test kits imported from abroad and will result in quicker access for Argentinians. Furthermore, the researchers are developing a centralized database for the analysis of serological results for the entire country.