HHS Moves to Boost Zika Vaccine Capacity in Brazil

(Released 24 June 2016) To aid Brazil in developing a vaccine to protect people from Zika virus infection, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will join the World Health Organization (WHO) and international public health groups in providing funding and technical assistance to Brazil’s Butantan Institute, a biomedical research center and Brazilian government partner.

Increasing Brazil’s domestic capacity to produce Zika vaccine can prevent infection in that country and help reduce the likelihood of transmission from people traveling between Brazil and the United States or other countries.

The Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), part of the HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR), will provide $3 million through its existing cooperative agreement with the World Health Organization. The WHO will make the U.S. funds and funding from other countries and private organizations available to the Butantan Institute to expand Brazil’s vaccine production capability.

The funding can be used to purchase laboratory and manufacturing equipment, vaccine reagents (tests), cell lines and other supplies that are essential in producing vaccines for Zika and other emerging infectious diseases.

In addition, BARDA vaccine experts will provide technical assistance to the Butantan Institute, advising on best practices in vaccine development and manufacturing, considerations for facility design, and potential regulatory considerations.

The agreement between the WHO and ASPR builds on the longstanding efforts to improve global pandemic preparedness by helping developing countries build and operate their own vaccine manufacturing facilities.

“Responding to Zika and other emerging infectious diseases regionally is vital in today’s interconnected world,” said Dr. Richard Hatchett, BARDA’s acting director. “Today’s agreement builds on our successful collaboration with the WHO to improve the global outbreak response, be it pandemic influenza, another emerging infectious disease or the Zika outbreak.” 

HHS and WHO have collaborated since 2006 to support international vaccine manufacturing capacity, and in doing so, successfully accelerated the development and production of seasonal and pandemic influenza vaccines in 12 developing countries. The program has created a global system capable of producing more than 300 million doses of pandemic influenza vaccine.

HHS is the principal federal department for protecting the health of all Americans and providing essential human services, especially for those who are least able to help themselves. ASPR leads HHS in preparing the nation to respond to and recover from adverse health effects of emergencies, supporting communities’ ability to withstand adversity, strengthening health and response systems, and enhancing national health security.

To learn more about public health emergency preparedness and response including international programs, visit the HHS public health emergency website, www.phe.gov.

Contact: HHS Press Office Email: media@hhs.gov Phone: 202-690-6343

Released by U.S Department of Health & Human Services. Click here for source.