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Brazil earmarks $1.18 bn to battle swine flu

October 7th, 2009

SwineFluThe Brazilian government will allocate $1.18 billion for the purchase of vaccine and diagnostic material against swine flu that has so far caused the deaths of 899 people in this country, officials said.

The vaccine, diagnostic material and other equipment will be purchased during the coming months in order to have ‘redoubled protection’ before next winter in the Southern Hemisphere, when another wave of the flu is expected, said a decree published in the official gazette.

The Butantan Institute, a laboratory belonging to the Sao Paulo state government, is working on the production of a vaccine against the new virus and estimates that by the beginning of next year it will have stockpiled some 18 million doses.

Authorities said Tuesday that guinea-pig trials of the vaccine will begin this month and, depending on the results, experiments on humans will follow.

The World Health Organization says that Brazil, with 899 deaths, leads the world in swine-flu fatalities.

More than 4,100 have died worldwide, according to the latest WHO figures.

Even so, the mortality rate of the illness in Brazil up to now stands at 0.46 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants, behind four other countries that have registered fewer deaths: Argentina (514), Australia (171), Chile (132) and Paraguay (52).

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