“The Institute Butantan woke up four years ago when we started the construction of our influenza vaccine manufacturing plant. It is not only the construction that matters but also all the necessary equipment, that you can not find anywhere and there is a waiting line for the equipment to be delivered. But after all that we will be able to be ready to produce in full scale in October 2009.”
Guaranteeing access for developing countries to vaccines, including a possible vaccine for the new influenza A(H1N1) virus, is a major concern of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), the regional office for the Americas of the World Health Organization (WHO).
The Health Ministry of Brazil with the collaboration of the Butantan Institute in São Paulo, will start the production of around 17 million doses of the H1N1 vaccine in October 2009. The vaccines will be available at the start of 2010.
In the meantime, PAHO says people should follow public health advice such as covering coughs and sneezes with a tissue, washing their hands frequently, and postponing travel if sick. Those who travel and return sick should seek medical advice.
The Butantan Institute just finished building this new influenza vaccine plant that was planned years ago in anticipation of a possible pandemic caused by a virus such as bird flu. It will now be exclusively devoted to full-scale production of the H1N1 vaccine.
So far the population groups that will be receiving the doses of the new vaccine have not been decided yet. Risk groups include pregnant women, senior citizens, children and health workers.
As of 28 August 2009, a total of 116,046 confirmed cases have been reported in the 35 countries in the Americas Region. There has been a total of 2,234 reported deaths among the confirmed cases in 22 countries of the region.
Video (c) United Nations