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Amazon donates BRL 5.3 million to build vaccine factory at Brazil's Butantan Institute

The donation will be made via Comunitas, a social organization that coordinates the São Paulo State Government's fundraising campaign with the private sector

New Butantan vaccine factory, under renovation
New Butantan vaccine factory, under renovation. The structure is expected to be ready in September 2020. Photo: Screenshot/ São Paulo State Government
  • The objective is to help Sao Paulo’s Butantan Institute to raise the amount necessary for the construction of the plant that will manufacture 100 million doses of vaccines;
  • The state government estimates that the factory will be ready in September this year.

The e-commerce giant Amazon announced on Friday it is donating $1 million (BRL 5.3 million) to Comunitas, a non-profit entity, which coordinates with InvestSP the fundraising campaign that the Government of the State of São Paulo is carrying out to build a vaccine factory at the Butantan Institute.

The objective is to help Sao Paulo’s Butantan Institute to raise the amount necessary for the construction of the plant that will manufacture 100 million doses of vaccines against COVID-19 per year.

“Amazon continues to be engaged in efforts to combat the pandemic in Brazil and around the world,” said Alex Szapiro, country manager for Amazon Brazil. “We want to offer our support where help is most needed, and at the moment we see that it is in vaccination. We hope that the amount will help the Butantan Institute to reach the target set for the completion of the factory so that the doses of the vaccine can be manufactured and thus immunize the entire Brazilian population,” he said in a press statement.

Regina Esteves, CEO of Comunitas, added that “the coronavirus pandemic caused society to wake up to a new reality: only by working together and joining public and private efforts will we be able to overcome the virus.”

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It was from this conviction that the government of the State of São Paulo, Comunitas, besides large companies mobilized and created a collective pact to produce the vaccine on a large scale. “I believe that this is one of the largest shared governance projects already in existence in Brazil,” she said.

The work on the new Butantan factory started in November 2020. The state government estimates that it will be ready in September this year. The factory will have 100% national production of the CoronaVac vaccine. When completed, it will eliminate the need to import the raw material that gives rise to the immunizing agent, the Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient.

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This is the second donation made by Amazon in Brazil to help in the efforts against the COVID-19 pandemic. The first donation, of BRL 5 million, was made in July 2020 to Comunitas itself and the Alice Figueira Foundation. At the time, the funds were used to purchase individual protection items (masks and gloves, for example) and essential medical equipment, such as mechanical ventilators.

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