Brazil

In Brazil, which is faced with some major development challenges, particularly in the Amazonian states, we are working to strengthen diagnostic and research capacities in the Acre State and supporting Chief Almir in his fight to integrate his tribe into modern society.

Overview

  • 1974-1975: the Mérieux Foundation, in partnership with Institut Mérieux, enable the population of Brazil to be vaccinated during a meningitis A epidemic
  • Charles Mérieux Center for Infectious Disease and Rodolphe Mérieux Laboratory (2016) at the Fundhacre hospital in Rio Branco
  • 2 GABRIEL network members: the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation and the National Laboratory of Scientific Computation (Laboratório Nacional de Computação Científica)

The Rodolphe Mérieux Laboratory’s research focus: viral hepatitis & tuberculosis

Situation

We have long-standing ties with Brazil. In 1974, when our founder, Dr. Charles Mérieux, learned about the deadly meningitis A epidemic in Brazil, he traveled there to meet the Minister of Health, Paulo Almeida Machado. Following that meeting, the Institut Mérieux and Mérieux Foundation joined forces to stop the epidemic and supplied 103 million vaccines: enough for the Brazilian population. It was the biggest public health intervention ever to be organized at the time.

Access to diagnostics

The creation of the Charles Mérieux Center for Infectious Disease and the Rodolphe Mérieux Laboratory in 2016 marked an important step in the fight against viral hepatitis, a major public health problem in the Amazon. With a high level biosafety laboratory (BSL3), the first in the Amazonian region, the Rodolphe Mérieux Laboratory also contains three BSL2 laboratories and areas dedicated to molecular biology and the production of plasmid.

Enhancing research capabilities

As part of a collaborative project with the GIHSN (Global Influenza Hospital Surveillance Network), and with financial support from Sanofi Pasteur, a surveillance program of severe influenza cases is conducted at 3 clinics in Brazil: Fortaleza (in the state of Ceará), Rio de Janeiro and Porto Alegre (in the state of Rio Grande do Sul). The aim of this study is to document severe influenza cases, identify the responsible influenza strains and assess the effectiveness of vaccination.

The Brazilian members of the GABRIEL network contribute to international research programs carried out in several network centers, particularly the project to develop diagnostic tools for the Streptococcus pneumoniae strain using multiplex real-time PCR technology.

We are also engaged in two international partnerships with activities in Brazil:

  • ZikaPLAN, a global initiative to address research challenges posed by the Zika outbreak and build a sustainable response capacity in Latin America: with funding from the European Union (grant agreement 734584), we will be developing diagnostic tools and organizing a workshop on diagnostic tests;
  • GloPID-R, a global initiative which unites research funders to accelerate response to epidemics: as co-leader of the Secretariat, which is funded by the European Union, we organized the “GloPID-R Zika Virus Research Workshop” in Sao Paulo in 2016, to establish collaboration and synergies between the research and capacity development projects in support of the Zika virus response in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Support for mothers and children

In 2016, the Mérieux Foundation developed a partnership with Almir Narayamoga, Head of the Surui Amazonian tribe, to build a Training Center for the Preservation of Traditional Knowledge about Health.

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