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Billionaire Jorge Lemann Building An $18 Million COVID-19 Vaccine Factory In Brazil

The Oswaldo Cruz Foundation will receive a grant of 100 million reais ($18 million) in order to construct the factory, according to a statement from the Lemann Foundation.

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According to Reuters, billionaire Jorge Lemann and his non-profit organization the Lemann Foundation are funding a $18 million factory specifically for the purpose of mass producing a COVID-19 vaccine that is currently being developed by Oxford University and the pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca. This news highlights the ongoing race to find a workable COVID-19 vaccine. You might recall that other billionaires are also placing a substantial bet that the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine turns out to be the one that hits the bullseye necessary to rid the world of the coronavirus, but in Lemann’s native Brazil the mission is especially urgent since the country is in second place behind the US in terms of the severity of the outbreak there.

Scott Olson/Getty Images

Getty Images/Scott Olson

According to a statement from the Lemann Foundation, a donation of 100 million reais (or US $18 million) is being made to the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (also known as Fiocruz) in order to build the factory, which if all goes according to schedule will be able to manufacture as many as 30 million doses of the vaccine per month by the start of next year. Other financial contributors to the project are also listed in the foundation’s news release:

Along with the factory, the Federal University of So Paulo is also researching the vaccine, and both of these endeavors are supported by the Lemann Foundation. And according to Lemann’s statement, he hopes that the factory will continue to be of use to the public even after the current crisis has passed, and that Brazil will soon be “better positioned and prepared to face other challenges of this nature that may arise.”

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