Brazil lab DASA to do tests for COVID-19 vaccine being developed by COVAXX

BRASILIA (Reuters) - Brazilian lab and hospital group DASA S.A. said on Wednesday it has agreed to conduct clinical Phase 2 and 3 trials in Brazil for a COVID-19 vaccine developed by COVAXX, a unit of U.S. privately-owned United Biomedical Inc.

COVAXX co-founder Peter Diamandis said in a remote press conference the UB-612 multitope peptide-based vaccine is currently undergoing Phase 1 tests in Taiwan.

Brazil has the third worst coronavirus outbreak after the United States and India, and has become a testing ground for COVID-19 vaccines under development in Britain, China and Russia.

DASA medical director Gustavo Campana said a protocol for the large scale efficacy and immune response tests will be submitted to Brazil’s health regulator ANVISA in December after the Taiwan results are available.

Using a proprietary methodology, the COVAXX vaccine aims to trigger a longer lasting immunity by stimulating the body to produce antibodies. Because it is totally synthetic, using no viruses, the vaccine has a low biological risk, Campana said.

Diamandis said with the partnership, DASA would secure the first 10 million doses of the potential vaccine for the private market in Brazil and COVAXX will make available an additional 50 million doses for the Brazilian public health market.

COVAXX Chief Executive Mei Mei Hu said the company is already producing millions and millions of doses of the vaccine.

COVAXX estimates it can produce 100 million doses in the first four months of next year and 500 million in total in 2021, DASA said in a statement.

DASA said it donated 15 million reais ($2.8 million) towards development of the vaccine with three other partners, Brazilian homebuilder MRV Engenharia SA, Brazil’s largest car rental company Localiza SA and Banco Inter that will together donate another 15 million reais.

Reporting by Anthony Boadle; Editing by Chris Reese and Marguerita Choy