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Brazil Plans on Creating Combined Measles and Rubella Vaccine for Poor Nations

Update Date: Oct 28, 2013 11:09 AM EDT

Bio-Manguinhos, Brazil's top biomedical research and development center, revealed today that it plans on producing a combined measles and rubella vaccine for poor and developing nations. Bio-Manguinhos is a unit of Oswaldo Crux Foundation (Fiocruz) and is in a partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The new vaccine could potentially improve and save the lives of people mainly from Africa.

Measles currently kills an estimated 158,000 people each year and mostly affects young children under five-years-old. Rubella, which is a contagious viral disease, can lead to severe complications for pregnant women and their unborn infants. Even though these diseases are controlled in developed nations, they still pose a huge threat for people in underdeveloped countries. Due to the dangers, the Brazilian health minister, Alexandre Padiha announced at a medical science conference organized by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in Rio de Janeiro that Bio-Manguinhos plans on producing the first ever vaccine created specifically for export.

The company is known for manufacturing combined measles, mumps and rubella vaccines since 2003. The triple vaccine is currently used in Brazil but is too expensive to export to poor nations. The company will now create 30 million doses annually to supply to countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America that need the measles/rubella vaccine the most. This type of vaccine is only being produced by one other manufacturer, the Serum Institute of India Ltd. Hopefully, Bio-Manguinhos's vaccine will become another reliable source.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation revealed that it would donate $1.1 million to support clinical trials. The foundation also stated that it would grant more money in the latter phases of the project. The company hopes to have the vaccine on the market by 2017.

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