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UPDATE 1-Sao Paulo state in Brazil asks approval to use Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine

(Adds details on announcement, adds context)

SAO PAULO, Oct 2 (Reuters) - The government of Sao Paulo state in Brazil has asked health regulator Anvisa to register for use the COVID-19 vaccine candidate developed by China’s Sinovac Biotech Ltd, governor Joao Doria said on Friday, a major step in what could be one of the first vaccination programs in the Americas.

Doria has said he plans to begin inoculating the population of Sao Paulo with the Sinovac vaccine by mid-December, one of the world’s most aggressive timelines outside China and Russia.

Before he is able to do so, he requires approval from Anvisa. Shortly after Doria’s statement, the regulator confirmed it had received the first tranche of data related to the Sinovac vaccine.

Sao Paulo, Brazil’s most populous state, is one of the sites of Phase III clinical trials for the Sinovac vaccine conducted by the state’s Butantan Institute, a leading biomedical research center.

On Wednesday, Sao Paulo signed a $90 million contract on Wednesday to receive 46 million doses of the potential vaccine from Sinovac.

Reporting by Eduardo Simoes, writing by Stephen Eisenhammer and Gram Slattery, Editing by Rosalba O’Brien

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