June 27 (UPI) -- Brazil's government announced Saturday that it has signed a $127 million agreement to start producing an experimental COVID-19 vaccine developed by AstraZeneca.
The vaccine developed by AstraZeneca, a British pharmaceutical manufacturer, is considered the world's leading candidate and most likely to be licensed as an official vaccine against the novel coronavirus.
In May AstraZeneca, which has been working since the end of May to develop a vaccine against the virus, began working with Oxford University on a trial to test a vaccine candidate.
Earlier this month the company announced that it has reached an agreement with the Inclusive Vaccines Alliance of Europe to supply as many as 400 million doses of the University of Oxford's COVID-19 vaccine, with deliveries beginning at the end of the calendar year.
According to Elcio Franco, Brazil's deputy public health official, Brazil's public health organization will initially produce about 30 million doses of the vaccine -- half by December and half by January of next year.
As of Friday Brazil had more than 1.2 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and more than 55,000 deaths, making it the second-most affected country in the world.