Oswaldo Cruz Foundation an institution in the service of life

Início do conteúdo

Working Group joins Fiocruz and Chinese institutions to create center for infectious diseases


Ana Paula Blower (Fiocruz News Agency)


A group of researchers from the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) and the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC/China) visited Fiocruz in the last week of October and met with colleagues from the Foundation to advance the cooperation in the area of science and technology related to health. On the occasion, a working group (WG) was created to facilitate the creation of the Sino-Brazilian Infectious Diseases Research and Prevention Center (IDRPC), provided for in the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed this year in April, in Beijing, and which also provided for the formation of the WG. The agreement takes place on the occasion of President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva's first visit to China.

The Center, provided for in the MOU, focuses on the prevention and control of pandemics and epidemics (photo: Pedro Linger)

Led by the executive director of the CAS-TWAS Center of Excellence for Emerging Infectious Diseases (CEEID), Shi Yi, the CEEID delegation also visited the COVID-19 Diagnostic Support Unit (Unadig/Fiocruz), the National Institute of Infectious Diseases (INI/Fiocruz), the Center for Technological Development in Health (CDTS/Fiocruz), the Mourisco Castle, the Immunobiological Technology Institute (Bio-Manguinhos/Fiocruz) and the COVID-19 Biobank. In the last days of the visit, they met at the Center for International Relations in Health (Cris/Fiocruz) with researchers and coordinators from several Fiocruz units to form the WG of the IDRPC.

According to the coordinator of the CDTS, Carlos Morel, the purpose of the visit was to gather the researchers and start a conversation on the priority lines of work for the feasibility of the Sino-Brazilian center. The areas that were already mapped out are the genome of parasites, structural biology and advanced therapies. At the meetings, the idea was to expand the field of cooperation and move forward with the installation of the center with discussions on means of funding and terms for the mobility of researchers, for example.

“We had some points that matched. Now, let's define these points. I believe that the parasite genome project and the structural biology and cryogenic electron microscopy project with Cenabio [National Center for Structural Biology and Bioimaging//UFRJ] are more consolidated” commented Morel on the partnership in the training area that includes the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, which will have the state's first cryogenic electron microscope.

New area of interest

Special advisor to the Presidency of Fiocruz, Rodrigo Correa added that the advantage of bringing more representatives from the Foundation's units to the debate increases the capacity for cooperation with China. He also explained that a new area of interest for Chinese researchers emerged in the discussions: vaccine discovery and immune response studies, a field that is of Fiocruz's interest. “These are very strategic areas for the Foundation and in which we have a very large installed competence”, he concluded.

Researchers came together to advance cooperation in the area of science and technology related to health (photo: Pedro Linger)

Executive director of the CEEID, Shi Yi highlighted the exchange of knowledge that took place during the meeting with researchers from Fiocruz in the area of prevention and control of infectious diseases. “We presented our skills, platforms and scientific findings in pathogens”, he said, who visited Fiocruz for the last time in 2019. “We want to continue the academic cooperation with Fiocruz for the prevention and control of emerging infectious diseases.” He also added other areas of interest that could be part of the discussions in the working groups, such as surveillance, infection and immunity mechanisms, vaccine development and clinical trials. “These groups will involve Brazilian and Chinese researchers to work together”, he said.

Shi hopes that cooperation can serve as a model within the BRICS in terms of facing global challenges, such as infectious diseases.

Cooperation with China

Morel explained that the collaboration with China formally started in 2017, when a Chinese delegation came to the Foundation. At the end of that year, the first memorandum of understanding between Fiocruz and the Chinese CDC was signed. In 2018, a second memorandum was signed, at the Shenzhen Hospital, with other Chinese institutions, such as the CAS. After the agreements, a series of activities were developed in the scientific collaboration.

In April this year, the president of Fiocruz, Mario Moreira, was in Beijing to take another step in the collaboration with China, after a pandemic that hampered the progress of the activities. On the occasion, the third memorandum between Fiocruz and China was signed, this time bringing a more purposeful action: the creation of a working group and the Sino-Brazilian Center for Research and Prevention of Infectious Diseases. “This document takes the collaboration to another level with the creation of a center in China and another in Brazil”, emphasizes Morel.

About the MoU

The Center, provided for in the MoU, focuses on the prevention and control of pandemics and epidemics such as COVID-19, influenza, chikungunya, zika, dengue, yellow fever, oropouche and other infectious diseases, such as tuberculosis. Moreover, it will seek to develop global health public goods, such as rapid diagnostic tests, therapies, vaccines and drugs. The MoU provides that the laboratories will be installed in the CDTS/Fiocruz building – which is under construction in Manguinhos and is expected to be completed in the end of 2024 – and in the CAS’ Institute of Microbiology. Each headquarters will work with researchers from both institutions.

Back to the topBack