Portugal aims to produce COVID-19 vaccine with multinationals

Portugal is looking to collaborate in producing a vaccine against Covid-19 together with global multinationals, the country’s Secretary of State for Internationalisation has told a leading local newspaper.

Since March, government ministries have been working together to promote the country’s health sector to attract more direct foreign investment and encourage exports, Eurico Brilhante Dias told Expresso.

He pointed out that laboratories around the world were testing vaccines in humans and that soon these would be mass produced. According to the World Health organization, there are currently more than 100 COVID-19 vaccine candidates under development, with a number of these in the human trial phase.

Brilhante Dias added that global demand would exceed the capacity for production and that it would be likely that multinationals would look to sub-contract companies. Portugal was therefore identifying “internal resources” to define the value of the pharmaceutical industry, he said.

WHO has said it is working in collaboration with scientists, business, and global health organisations through the ACT Accelerator to speed up the pandemic response. COVAX (led by WHO, GAVI and CEPI) will enable equitable access and distribution of these vaccines to protect people in all countries, and people most at risk will be prioritised, according to WHO.

Currently, no treatment for COVID-19 has been internationally approved and global COVID-19 deaths have surpassed 1 million, with many governments enforcing stricter measures to keep the virus under control.