In view of the advance of coronavirus in the region, Mercosur will allocate USD 16 million through its Structural Convergence Fund (FOCEM) to the project “Research, Education and Biotechnology applied to Health,” which amount will be used exclusively to fight the pandemic.
The aim of the initiative by Foreign Minister Solá and his MERCOSUR counterparts is to cooperate in coordination with the national authorities of the four member States (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay) in the fight against COVID-19, in particular to improve national capacities to conduct virus detection tests. This expansion includes the following measures:
- MERCOSUR will set aside an additional USD 5.8 million available. In the case of Argentina, 45,000 tests will be available for virus detection. Furthermore, an additional USD 10 million fund has been provided to broaden the scope of action, aimed at improving the capacity of the four countries to conduct tests, and that sum will be used according to the evolution of the pandemic;
- The four countries will conduct virus detection tests;
- Fiocruz and Instituto Pasteur will develop and distribute a diagnosis kit;
- Instituto Pasteur and Fiocruz will develop a serodiagnosis technique;
- The serodiagnosis test will be implemented to follow up on the pandemic across the four countries.
The Argentine Foreign Ministry supports this initiative introduced by the Director of the project, Dr. Eduardo Arzt (Biomedical Research Institute of Buenos Aires) from CONICET, aimed at providing vital elements to fight the pandemic.
In Argentina, the project is carried out by the Instituto de Investigación en Biomedicina of Buenos Aires –CONICET-, in Brazil by the Fundação Oswaldo Cruz, in Paraguay by the Laboratorio Central de Salud Pública of the Ministry of Health (LCSP) and the Centro para el Desarrollo de la Investigación Científica (CE-DIC), and in Uruguay by the Instituto Pasteur of Montevideo.