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First low cost vaccines plant opens in Nicaragua

News from Nicaragua | Friday, 28 October 2016 |

In a joint venture with Russia's Health Ministry, Nicaragua has opened the first plant in Central America for the production of low cost, quality vaccines.

The Mechnikov Biotechnology Plant was opened on October 22 in a ceremony that included the Russian Health Minister, representatives of the Nicaraguan government, and the Pan-American Health Association (PAHO).

The total cost of the plant was US$21million, $7million contributed by the Government of Nicaragua and $14million by Russia.

The President of the Nicaragua Social Security Institute (INSS), Roberto Lopez stated: “The new plant will ensure production of low cost vaccines and medicines for Nicaragua, Central America and the Caribbean”

The factory will enhance the technologies of biomedicine to eliminate deadly diseases like dengue, chikungunya and yellow fever, as well as produce about 15 million doses of anti-flu vaccines by the end of this year alone. One million of these doses will be for people within Nicaragua, with the rest going to benefit other Central American countries.

In addition to the production of medicines, a Centre for Immunology and Epidemiology Research supported directly by the Ministry of Health of Russia will be opened in the facility.

Speaking at the opening ceremony of the Mechnikov, the Director of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), Dr. Clarissa Etienne, said, "I congratulate you on this great initiative… We see the wealth of our peoples not just in terms of money, but in determination, human talent, creativity, and innovation to achieve a sense of wellbeing. ”

The plant takes its name from Russian doctor, Ilya Mechnikov, a pioneering researcher in immunology who won the Nobel Prize for Medicine, Physiology and Immunobiology in 1908.

The decision to construct the plant was taken in the framework of the Russian-Nicaraguan inter-governmental commission in 2013. Russia plans to open other such facilities in the Americas, with an announcement made the day after the Mechnikov's opening about an agreement for the construction of a similar facility in Ecuador.