Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez visited the installation of the pharmaceutical company HIPRA in Amer (Girona), where he saw first-hand the progress in the research for the vaccine against COVID-19 being performed by this Spanish multinational – one of the most advanced in its development in the country, which plans to hold clinical trials in June and produce 400 million doses in 2022.
Sánchez described the visit as “inspirational” and underlined that the government will continue to offer its full support in the hope of obtaining a Spanish vaccine against the virus.
Research and innovation, Sánchez argued, are the keys to overcoming the pandemic and Spain has shown its capabilities in these areas. Pedro Sánchez praised the efforts of the Catalan and Spanish industries over recent months and the weight that research has in the investments of companies like HIPRA. He also stressed the importance of public-private alliances and of collaboration between all tiers of government in the fight against the pandemic.
Sánchez also recalled that between April and September, Spain should receive 87 million doses to ensure that vaccinations are available for all citizens.
Spain has several lines of research developing projects to create a vaccine against COVID-19, among which HIPRA stands out as one of the most promising, together with the CSIC research teams headed up by Luis Enjuanes and Mariano Esteban.
The HIPRA project is backed by the Spanish Medicines and Health Products Agency (Spanish acronym: AEMPS) and by the Ministries of Health and of Science and Innovation.
In his visit to the pharmaceutical company, Pedro Sánchez was accompanied by the Minister for Health, Carolina Darias, and by the Minister for Science and Innovation, Pedro Duque, as well as the Regional Health Councillor of Catalonia, Alba Vergés, the Mayor of the Local Council of Amer, María Rosa Vila, and the Chairman and CEO of the pharmaceutical company, David Nogareda.
HIPRA SARS-CoV-2 is a recombinant protein vaccine designed to be very safe and induce a powerful neutralising immune response to the virus. It can be conserved at between 2 and 8ºC, thus facilitating the logistical process. The vaccination strategy contemplates the vaccination scenarios, effectiveness against different variants and the probable revaccination process.
If the clinical trials prove successful, production will begin in October, with the aim of commercialising the vaccine at the end of 2021, subject to obtaining the competent authorisations. According to HIPRA’s current projections, 400 million doses will be produced in 2022. By 2023, this could amount to 1.2 billion doses.
Vaccination strategy in Spain
Spain has already administered close to 12 million doses of vaccines – 87.4% of those received from the Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca laboratories.
The vaccination rate certifies the capacity of the National Health System to take on-board the challenge of a vaccination campaign of this magnitude: 8,631,548 people have had at least one dose while 3,253,537 have received the full dose.
The age group with the greatest vaccination cover is those over the age of 80, of which 97% have now received at least one dose.