Butantan Institute starts producing its vaccine against COVID-19

Some 18 mi doses of ButanVac should be manufactured by June

Published in 28/04/2021 - 16:20 By Elaine Patricia Cruz - São Paulo

Despite not having initiated human trials, Brazil’s Butantan Institute today (Apr. 18) announced the beginning of the production of a new vaccine against COVID-19, named ButanVac. According to Butantan Durector Dimas Covas, the first batch of the vaccine will include 1 million doses. Some 18 million doses of this inoculation are estimated to be produced by June.

ButanVac will be produced at the Butantan factory where flu vaccines are made—a production that has already come to an end this year. ButanVac will be fully manufactured in São Paulo, with no imported supplies necessary.

At the same plant, the institute also produces CoronaVac, the inoculation being applied countrywide under the National Immunizations Program. CoronaVac, however, requires raw materials from China.

The production of ButanVac has been split into stages. In the first stage, which kicks off today (28) and ends on May 18, six batches will be produced, comprising 6 million doses. In the second phase, from May 14 to June 1, another six batches will be manufactured. In stage 3, from May 28 through June 15, yet another six.

According to São Paulo Governor João Doria, 40 million doses of this new vaccine will be produced by the end of this year.


ButanVac technology makes use of the genetically modified virus that causes Newcastle disease. The viral vector contains the spike protein of coronavirus in its full form. The complementary development of the vaccine will be wholly made with Butantan technology, including virus multiplication, the conditions for cultivation, ingredients, egg adaptation, conservation, purification, virus inactivation, dose distribution, and other stages.

The Newcastle disease is an infection affecting birds, and, as a result, Butantan reports, the virus develops well in embryonated eggs, allowing for productive efficiency in process similar to that used in Butantan’s vaccine against influenza. The virus of Newcastle disease does not cause symptoms in human beings, and is a fairly safe alternative for production. Inactivated for the formulation of the vaccine, the virus facilitates its stability and makes the inoculation even safer.

Translation: Fabrício Ferreira -  Edition: Nádia Franco / Nira Foster

Latest news