COVID-19 in Latin America – Opportunity for Clinical Trials

Latin American countries expect longer and sustained peaks of the Coronavirus outbreak. This will consequently offer a major opportunity to conduct COVID-19 research.

COVID-19 Background

Human coronaviruses are well known as etiological agents of respiratory infections throughout the years, however; the novel coronavirus COVID-19, has been declared a public health emergency worldwide.

Since the first reports that the novel coronavirus was showing human-to-hu- man transmission characteristics and asymptomatic cases, the number of patients with associated pneumonia has continued to rise and the epidemic has grown.

To date, there are no definitive reports regarding immunogenicity of SARs-COV-2 and more well established, standardized long term studies in larger sample sizes are needed in order to fully understand virus pathogenicity and post-infection state of patients.

Latin America Landscape – Facing SARs-COV-2 (COVID-19)

For this article we will focus on Mexico and Brazil, as they’re the 2 countries most affected by the ongoing pandemic.

The “official” cases reported by Mexican authorities is 150,264, and for Brazil the number of cases stands at 891,556 as of June 15. But the real number of cases indicates to be much higher than that. Many experts, even from within both governments, have been critical of the testing cappabilities that are in place and of how authorities have manipulating death certificates information that point to a much more grim reality.

This inconsistent message from health authorities, the lack of testing and the rush to re-open the economy, are three important factors that will contribute for a longer and sustained peak of the Coronavirus outbreak. This will consequently offer a major opportunity to conduct SARs-COV-2 research in both of this countries, as cases are estimated to reach 1.6M (MX) / 2.1M (BR) by September 15.

Unreliable Death Reports + Lack of Testing

The percentage of deaths from COVID-19 in Mexico stands today at 13% (17,580) and in Brazil at 9% (44,118). This figures have been questioned from national and international investigational reports, for example; A Reuters investigation concluded that fatalities could be 2.5 times higher than reported. Mexico’s government has previously admitted the real number of fatalities was higher than the official count.

Other reports have been published from the New York Times, LA Times and the Wall Street Journal, all of them claiming that the official death toll is at least 2.5 times higher in both countries. This is why experts are confident that the number of infections is around 10 times higher than reported.

The estimate of 10x more infections than reported of COVID-19 in Mexico and Brazil is founded upon the unverified death reports, but mainly because of the lack of testing, as Mexico and Brazil are two of the countries with fewer tests performed per capita.

Cohortias: your partner to conduct clinical research in Latin America

During the past 9 years, Cohortias has expanded its infrastructure in Latin America, by adding to our network talented and experienced academic and key scientific leaders in their respective therapeutic areas. Our network works using a peer-to-peer model that is based on efficient communication and thought leadership. Throughout the 4 countries where we operate, our net- work makes up an extensive and reliable clinical research body from the public and private healthcare system in each region.

As a result of our local knowledge in the region combined with our peer-to-peer model, Cohortias can offer a fast-track study start-up and guarantee high recruitment levels in all of our sites.


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