US company Johnson & Johnson has said it will extend trials of its vaccine candidate against Covid-19 to Chile and Argentina.
The vaccine will undergo Phase 3 trials in eight countries altogether, involving some 60,000 adult volunteers. The participation of Brazil, Colombia, Peru and Mexico had already been announced.
"This study is scheduled for September, subject to review by the health authority," the company said in a statement.
The countries have been chosen because they have some of the highest infection rates worldwide.
"The current prevalence of the disease, the demographics of the population and the requirements of the health authorities were taken into account to ensure that the study can be carried out properly and provide relevant data," the company said.
The study will be coordinated by Johnson & Johnson’s pharmaceutical subsidiary Janssen.
In Chile, the trial will be coordinated by the University of Chile’s School of Medicine. Miguel O’Ryan, Professor of Microbiology at the School, told Reuters that government approval was still needed for the trial, but it could begin within three weeks of the vaccine being delivered. O’Ryan said the school was prepared to recruit up to 1,000 people for the study.
Colombian President Ivan Duque said earlier this week that his government had also signed an agreement with Johnson & Johnson for Phase 3 trials.
Last week, Brazil’s regulatory authority Anvisa approved human clinical trials for the vaccine being developed by Johnson & Johnson.