Brazil has announced plans to develop a low-cost measles and rubella vaccine for export to developing countries.
The combined measles and rubella vaccine will be the first vaccine produced by the South American nation specifically for export, reports Reuters. It’s being made by the country’s top medical research facility, the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation, with the aid of a $1.1 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Currently, only one manufacturer based in India produces a combined measles and rubella vaccine. Brazil plans to export the vaccine to developing countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America.
According to the World Health Organization, measles is one of the leading causes of death among young children. Over 95% of measles deaths occur in low-income countries that have weak health infrastructures.
Although cost-effective vaccines against measles and rubella already exist, the price has still been too high for some nations. Brazil’s Health Minister, Alexandre Padilha, told reporters at the announcement on Monday that “the agreement which we are signing provides more investment and guaranteed purchases, which makes it possible to export at the lowest cost.”
The new vaccine is expected to reach the market by 2017.