The Brazilian scientists hunting 20 million eggs to produce Covid shots

By Alba Santandreu

Sao Paulo, Jun 21 (EFE).- As if designing Covid-19 vaccines wasn’t already a challenge, these Brazilian scientists are taking it up a notch.

Experts at Butantan laboratory — currently responsible for producing the Chinese vaccine Sinovac in Brazil — are working around the clock to gather 20 million eggs to produce 40 million doses of their very own Brazilian-made Covid-19 vaccine, Butanvac.

Every day, half a million chicken eggs arrive at the lab in Sao Paulo before scientists carefully inspect the quality of the eggs’ embryos.

The ‘healthy’ ones are passed onto the next stage of the process, where scientists inject the SARS-Cov-2 virus into the eggs. They are then incubated for 2-3 days at a controlled temperature and humidity.

Once ‘cooked’ in the incubators, the eggs are chilled and cut for the scientists to extract the liquid concentrated with the Covid-19 virus.

Some 11 days later, once the virus has been inactivated, the raw material is ready for use.

This is when the substance is transferred to another lab, where the packaging of the vaccine vial is finalized.

Butanvac is the first vaccine to be entirely produced in Brazil and has already been approved by the Brazilian Health Regulatory Agency Anvisa, even though trials are still underway.

The production of Butanvac is much more inexpensive than those currently imported into Brazil, including Coronavac, AstraZeneca and Pfizer. This does not mean it is less effective, according to experts.

Brazil hopes to finalize their product by the end of the year, when they plan to export it to other countries who, like Brazil, are experiencing delays in vaccinations.

Butantan has already started producing 7 million doses of the vaccine. Depending on the eggs, it expects to have 18 million ready by next month. EFE


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