Brazil began human trials this week to test an experimental vaccine for Covid-19 developed by the University of Oxford.
Volunteers in Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro are being given 3,000 shots of the vaccine.
Doctors, nurses and ambulance drivers are among those recruited for the trial due to their increased risk of exposure to the virus. Volunteers are between 18 and 55 years old and must have tested negative for Covid-19.
Brazil’s Health Regulatory Agency (Anvisa) gave pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca permission earlier this month to begin the trial. The studies of the vaccine could take up to a year, according to the Federal University of Sao Paulo.
Why this matters: Brazil was selected because it’s one of the countries hardest-hit by the virus. Second only to the United States, the country has recorded more than 1.2 million cases and at least 55,000 deaths, according to Brazil’s health ministry.
The country has not yet signed a deal to produce the vaccine.
Human trials of the vaccine are also underway in the United Kingdom, where researchers announced last month that they had moved into the second phase, involving 10,260 participants.