Brazil Ready to Produce Bird Flu Vaccine in Two Months

    Isaias Raw, president of the Butantã Institute, in São Paulo, informed that within 60 days Brazil will have the infrastructure needed to start producing vaccine to combat avian influenza, also known as bird flu.

    The vaccine will be developed by the Institute, which is linked to the São Paulo State Health Department. According to Raw, the idea is to form a stock of 20,000 doses of vaccine this year. Last week the Institute received samples of the H5N1 virus subtype, which causes the disease, from the World Health Organization (WHO).

    According to Raw, since the medication will not be produced in sufficient quantity to immunize the entire population, it will be applied strategically.

    In other words, priority will be given to people most likely to contract the virus, people who had some kind of contact with infected areas or sick individuals, as well as professionals exposed to the disease.

    Together with Canada, the United States, England, France, and Belgium, Brazil belongs to an international network established to form a cordon sanitaire against the spread of the virus, which, according to Raw, has been fatal in half the cases identified in the four Asian countries first affected. Through December, the number of cases diagnosed in Asia by the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO) totaled around 130.

    To produce the anti-bird flu vaccine, the laboratory technicians introduce samples of the virus in a fertilized egg, thus repeating the bird’s reproductive cycle. At this developmental stage, the liquid is extracted from which the virus will be separated and divided into particles for use in producing the vaccine.

    Up to now, there have been no cases of transmission of the virus among human beings, only from birds to humans. In Brazil no cases of the disease have been detected.

    Agência Brasil

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