Carlile Lavor (Fiocruz): Reference in Scientific Research
18:39 15 de November de 2022 Por Daniel Oiticica
Carlile Lavor, General Coordinator of Fiocruz Ceará
Inaugurated in 2018, the Health Innovation District, in Eusébio, began its activities with the inauguration of the Ceará headquarters of the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (Fiocruz). The 73-hectare space, provided by the Government of Ceará, has been attracting institutions from Brazil and abroad, opening the way for Ceará to become a reference in research and technological and industrial development in the healthcare area. The Fiocruz park is the first in Brazil to integrate projects for technological innovation in the production of drugs, inputs and diagnostics, to provide from basic health care to highly complex medicine. “We are establishing cutting-edge technology and professional training in the same environment, to attract investors that consolidate the District as a reference in the country,” explains Dr. Carlile Lavor, General Coordinator of Fiocruz in Ceará.
What are the activities that Fiocruz carries out in the Health Innovation District of Ceará?
Fiocruz is present in 10 states of the Union, as well as the Federal District. Here in Ceará, Fiocruz defined its objectives in the state in 2007, after an understanding between the Government and public universities. Two central objectives were defined: to strengthen the Primary Care Program, which in Brazil is known as Family Health, and to develop an industrial area for Health. Brazil suffers from depending on large foreign corporations, just remember that we had, for example, to import masks from China during the pandemic. With this need in mind, we developed the Innovation District here in Ceará”. In other words, we don’t just bring together the big industries. It is an area that assembles together industry, housing, research and teaching. This model already exists in the United States and Europe. And we reserved an area here in the municipality of Eusébio to establish this interaction between the great innovative industries, the research centers and the workforce that will work in the District. Fiocruz’s role in this process is to promote research that serves as a basis for this technological development. In 2020, with the pandemic, in just three months we developed a diagnostic laboratory, and carried out more than 1.4 million exams, importing the most modern equipment, with cutting-edge technology. We produce exam kits for all of Brazil, working around the clock.
And what are the ongoing projects?
We have another project underway in partnership with the World Mosquito Program (WMP), an international non-profit initiative that works to protect the global community from mosquito-borne diseases such as dengue, zika, chikungunya, and yellow fever. It is anticipated that starting in late 2023 we will begin releasing Aedes aegypti mosquitoes with Wolbachia bacteria to breed with local Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, slowly establishing a new population of these mosquitoes, all with Wolbachia. Wolbachia is a bacterium present in about 50% of insects, including some mosquitoes. However, it is not found naturally in Aedes aegypti. When present in this mosquito, Wolbachia prevents viruses from developing inside it, contributing to the reduction of these diseases.
What about vaccine production, what are the next steps?
We will implement a Bio-Manguinhos unit here in Eusébio. Biopharmaceuticals will be produced from plant platforms, being the first unit of its kind at Fiocruz. Also, we want to attract large companies to develop a competitive biotechnology sector in the country.
All these initiatives promise to transform Ceará into a technological reference in the health area…
Exactly. The state of Ceará is very keen to develop its industry. And this Health segment is strategic, along with Energy.
What are the advantages for companies setting up in the District?
The technological base, researchers, specialized labor. Besides this, there is the differential of logistics, with ports with the capacity to transport goods and airports, which are essential. To have an idea, when we implanted the exam center, we received more than a thousand resumes of qualified professionals, among them 34 doctors and 32 masters.
How important is government support for the District?
It is fundamental. If we compare the Fiocruz units in Brazil, the one in Ceará was the one that developed the most. Starting with the transfer of the land where we built our unit. In addition, Ceará raised funds from parliamentary amendments, for the construction and purchase of equipment.