Carlos J. Finlay Vaccine and Serum Institute

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Last Updated: February 1, 2004
Other Name: Instituto Finlay, Centro de Investigación - Producción de Vacunas y Sueros; Carlos J. Finlay Institute; Carlos J. Finlay Research Institute; Finlay Research Institute; Finlay Institute
Location: West Havana; part of the "Scientific Pole"
Subordinate To: N/A
Size: The Finlay Institute occupies 23,000 square meters of floor space, which is divided into three areas: fermentation, purification, and "clean rooms." There are over 900 employees at the institute, 60-70 percent of whom are scientists and engineers.
Facility Status: Unknown

Since its inception, the Finlay Institute has become an essential component to Cuba's vaccine research and production efforts. The Finlay Institute's most successful and best-known product is the vaccine against meningitis B and its current meningitis B and C combination vaccine. As part of the Cuban National Immunization Program, 10 of 27 vaccines currently in the research phase in Cuba are being developed at the Finlay Institute. Previous successes in coordination with institutes such as the Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (CIGB) have included development of vaccines against tetanus toxoid, leptospira, and hepatitis B. In 2002, the Finlay Institute developed a new vaccine against typhoid fever, similar to one produced by Belgian and French pharmaceutical companies. According to WFCC-MIRCEN World Data Centre for Microorganisms, Finlay Institute researchers are currently involved in applied microbiology, molecular biology, fermentation processes, vaccine development, and immunology.

According to Granma Internacional, the Finlay Institute is equipped with modern fermentation installations, mass spectrometers, purification, filling and packaging plants, and quality control laboratories. Most of the equipment is imported, acquired abroad at a high cost because of the US trade embargo on Cuba.

Additional Information: The Finlay Institute is currently working with the GlaxoSmithKline Company on clinical trials of its meningitis B vaccine in both Europe and Latin America, with hopes of extending trials to the United States.

Key Sources: Chen May Yee, "Cutting-edge biotech in old-world Cuba," Christian Science Monitor, 17 April 2003, www.csmonitor.com/ 2003/ 0417/ p14s03-stct.htm; Manuel Cereijo, "Cuba: The Threat," GlobalSecurity.org, www.globalsecurity.org/ wmd/ library/ news/ cuba/ oagmc028.htm; Migdalis Perez Castillo, "Campa discusses vaccines developed at Finlay Institute," Prensa Latina, Havana, 1 April 1999, in FBIS PA0804010999, 1 April 1999; "Colleccion de Cuttivos Finlay, Instituto Finlay," WFCC-MIRCEN World Data Centre for Microorganisms, http://wdcm.nig.ac.jp?CCINFO/CCINFO.xml?770.

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