Washington DC, September 21, 2021 (PAHO) – The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) has announced the selection of Sinergium Biotech, in Argentina and Bio-Manguinhos, in Brazil, as regional hubs for the development and production of mRNA-based vaccines in Latin America in a bid to tackle COVID-19 and future infectious-disease challenges.
The Bio-Manguinhos Institute of Technology on Immunobiologicals at the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (FIOCRUZ) has a long tradition in vaccine manufacturing and has made promising advances in the development of an innovative mRNA vaccine against COVID-19. Sinergium Biotech, a private sector biopharmaceutical company, will partner with pharmaceutical mAbxience, to develop and manufacture active vaccine ingredients. The two companies have extensive experience in the production and development of vaccines and biotechnological medicines.
The announcement was made by PAHO Assistant Director Dr Jarbas Barbosa and Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, World Health Organization (WHO) Chief Scientist, during a side event on the margins of PAHO’s 59th Directing Council. The “Technology Transfer for the Production of mRNA Vaccines in the Americas” event brought together health ministers and authorities from countries in the region to discuss vaccine production. “Delays in production have meant that many countries [in the region] are still awaiting the doses they purchased months ago. Limited vaccine supplies continue to set us back,” PAHO Director Dr. Carissa F. Etienne said in her opening remarks to the side event.
The region of the Americas has borne the brunt of COVID-19 infections to date, with 87.6 million cases recorded and over 2.16 million lives lost. Vaccine distribution continues to be unequal, with few countries in the region reaching the 40% COVID-19 vaccine target set out by WHO.