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Brazil negotiates accord with U.S. to develop anti-Ebola serum

Sao Paulo, Nov 19 (EFE).- Brazil’s Butanta Institute scientific research center is negotiating an agreement with the U.S. National Institutes of Health to develop a serumagainst Ebola, authorities said Wednesday.

The details of the accord were discussed in a meeting authorities from the Brazilian state of Sao Paulo held on Tuesday with the director of the Butanta Institute, Jorge Kalil, the latter told reporters.

If the Brazilian government authorizes the accord, the scientific center will use biological material provided by the NIH to begin developing the serum, Kalil said.

He calculated that the serum would be available for use in humans in about nine months.

In contrast to a vaccine, which immunizes the patient by inducing the body to increase production of its own antibodies to defend itself against a virus, the serumintroduces antibodies produced by another person or animal.

The aim of the Butanta Institute, an entity linked to the Sao Paulo state government, is to develop the serum using the process that is already being used to manufacture a serum against rabies in immunized horses.

Instead of inducing the animals to produce antibodies against rabies by introducing a weakened form of that virus into their bodies, a non-pathogenic Ebola protein will be used in the procedure to develop the serum against the disease.

“We believe the chances of this being successful are very great because the Ebola protein that interests us for producing the serum is in the structure of the rabies virus,” Kalil said.

“We already have a lot of experience in the production of the serium against the rabies virus. It’s very probable that we’ll get a serum to neutralize Ebola similar to the one we’re producing against rabies,” he added.

“So, we’re in contact with the NIH and we’re traveling to the United States to present the idea and sign the corresponding intellectual property and confidentiality contracts. The cooperation will begin very soon,” he said.