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AstraZeneca sticks to vaccine dev’t partnering with LatAm region

Multinational pharmaceutical and biotechnology company AstraZeneca is committed to develop vaccines and therapies for protection, in collaboration with Latin American countries, as well as educational institutions for the spread of validated scientific information, officials told News is my Business.

“What we learned about COVID-19 was how to harness all these tools but making sure that we are getting the best information to people in the right way,” said Tonya Villafana, global head of AstraZeneca’s Infectious Disease Franchise.

“As a global scientific community, we have to wrap our minds around and figure out how fast we can send our messages out, as well how to deal with the spreading misinformation,” said Villafana.

Villafana, whose role is in research and development of novel innovative vaccines for infectious diseases, helped develop AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine and led some efforts, wanting to “pave the way” for other women wanting to pursue science related jobs.

In the first stages of clinical development programs for AstraZeneca’s vaccine, Latin American countries, like Brazil, Chile, Peru, Mexico, Argentina, and Panama aided in the process through the enrollment of participants and manufacturing.

In November, Villafana, who is of Trinidad and Tobago decent, participated as a speaker in the Women Economic Forum Caribe held at the InterAmerican University of Puerto Rico Metro Campus, when she discussed her experience during the pandemic, helping develop the vaccine, and women leadership roles in STEM positions.

“There is a lot of support for ongoing development and opportunities to pull on your skills,” said Villafana.

“It´s not about being a woman, getting there and you’re done, but continuing to improve upon your skill set to learning and really putting things in place to ensure that happens across the spectrum,” said Villafana.

The forum, which had more than 200 speakers and 900 attendees from different countries, presented 90 sessions, of which 16 were thematic conferences, eight workshops, and four panels, hosting around 20 different countries, such as Panama, Spain, Haiti, Cameroon, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Argentina, and Bahamas. 

The event’s topics were on entrepreneurship, fintech (financial technology), public and private policies, sustainability, as well as the transformation of innovative, intelligent, and inclusive territories.  

AstraZeneca has operations in more than 100 countries and has a manufacturing facility in Puerto Rico for primary care medicines for cardiovascular disease care in Canóvanas, where it has approximately 150 employees and makes two commercial medicines.

Additionally, the facility has the capability to formulate oral solid dosage products for use in commercial medicines which are globally distributed.

Author Details
Author Details
Yamilet Aponte-Claudio was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico. She graduated from Colegio Nuestra Señora de la Providencia and is currently a junior at Sacred Heart University. Majoring in Journalism and adding a minor in sustainable development and foreign languages, she aspires to study law after obtaining her bachelor’s degree.

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