Fact Sheet: U.S.-Brazil Health Cooperation

November 20, 2021

“Since the beginning of the pandemic, the United States has supported Brazil’s efforts to fight COVID-19 at all levels, building upon decades of scientific and health cooperation to address the most urgent health challenges in Brazil. From donating personal protective equipment and supporting struggling businesses and communities, to donating ventilators and vaccines, we have worked to show the depth of our long-established partnership through our actions and sustained commitment to one of our most important allies in the hemisphere.”

Douglas Koneff
Chargé d’Affaires,  U.S. Embassy and Consulates in Brazil.

The cooperation between the U.S. and Brazil on health and biomedical research is long-established. Through direct investment and public and private partnerships, we have contributed to the fight against HIV/AIDS, Zika, and COVID-19.

The following are examples of our work together:

Combating COVID-19    

  • The United States and Brazil cooperate against COVID-19 in both the public and private sectors.
  • Under the Biden-Harris Administration Global Vaccination Strategy, the U.S. government donated upwards of 3 million doses of Janssen’s single dose vaccine to Brazil and 2,187,300 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine against COVID-19 with arrival at Viracopos Airport November 20, 2021.
  • Pfizer is accelerating its deliveries of its highly efficacious COVID-19 vaccine in fulfillment of its contract for 200 million total doses by early 2022.
  • The U.S. Government has provided technical and financial assistance to the Government of Brazil for combating COVID-19 in the country. At the same time, Brazil benefits from ongoing assistance from the U.S. private sector.
  • As of March 2021 the U.S. government announced assistance totaling over US $ 30 million to mitigate the health and socioeconomic impacts of COVID-19.
  • U.S. private sector initiatives totaling over US$ 57 million have been or will be implemented in Brazil.  More recently, the U.S. government committed to coordinating with Brazilian partners, the government, and the private sector to support COVID-19 vaccination efforts. Recent contracts signed between the government of Brazil and U.S companies Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson will provide an additional 238 million high quality vaccine doses to Brazilians.
  • The U.S. provided a $7 million supply of urgently needed intubation medications from the Strategic National Stockpile through a partnership with the Pan-American Health Organization.
  • The U.S. government has provided technical and financial support directly to public health experts and scientific researchers in Brazil to analyze virus variants through epidemiologic field investigations.
  • In Summer 2020 the United States, through the Department of Defense, funded a field hospital, under supervision from the State of Maranhão, to combat the coronavirus in Bacabal, a city 240 km from São Luís. In addition to the hospital structure and supplies, the U.S. donation to the state of Maranhão included US$ 50,000 for kits with personal hygiene products and US$ 50,000 for food baskets.
  • Through the United States Southern Command of the Department of Defense, the U.S. donated a mobile disaster response structure to the government of Minas Gerais in February 2021. Aside from the structure, 40 beds, power generators, and air ventilators were donated to support the population of Minas Gerais.
  • In July 2020 the Escola Politécnica da Universidade de São Paulo received a grant of nearly US$ 200,000 from the U.S. Office of Naval Research (ONR) Global to design and produce low-cost ventilators for use by hospitals in São Paulo.   
  • In 2020, the U.S Government, through USAID, donated 1,000 ventilators to the Ministry of Health to assist Brazil in its fight against COVID-19.
  • USAID is addressing COVID-19 health, social, and economic effects in the Amazon with a focus on vulnerable communities. USAID is working with local partners to support community engagement activities to prevent and control infection in health facilities, and with civil society and private sector partners to strengthen local health systems to respond and control COVID-19 through case management and surveillance services.
  • In November 2021, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) announced an additional USD$18.2 million in urgent COVID-19 assistance for Brazil. The funds will assist local health authorities addressing the most vulnerable in the country, with a particular focus on the Amazon region. This contribution builds on recently announced 10.7 million in new COVID-19 Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance awards for Brazil to address health and economic strategies to mitigate COVID-19 among that same group in the Amazon region, and on more than 9.3 million in USAID COVID-19 assistance to Brazil since the start of the pandemic.

Combating Infectious Diseases 

  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has operated in Brazil since 2003 and worked directly with the Ministry of Health in Brazil on HIV/AIDS, malaria, immunizations, and Zika, and on laboratory capacity. In October 2020, the CDC established a South America Regional Office in Brasilia to increase health cooperation with countries in the region and to add new areas of expertise and scientific development.
  • Recent cooperation between CDC and Brazilian agencies has focused on preventing and combating COVID-19 in Brazil. On May 1, 2020 the CDC South America Regional Office provided US$3 million funding for strengthening case detection, contact tracing, the identification of areas of transmission, the control of outbreaks and data reporting analysis.   
  • Most recently, in the midst of the COVID-19 global pandemic, the CDC helped the Ministry of Health set up programs for testing and accessing services, improve  laboratory and emergency response structures, and supported the implementation of infection prevention and control at hospitals in high burden areas.

Funding (Biomedical) Research

  • Brazil is home to the U.S. National Institute of Health’s (NIH) largest research portfolio in Latin America.    
  • As of June 2021, NIH provided US$ 2,228,874 funding to 3 institutions to support 5 research projects-– US$ 542,284 to the Federal University of Bahia, US$ 291,134 to the Foundation for Research Development in Belo Horizonte, and US$1,395,456 Fundação Oswaldo Cruz (or, Fiocruz) in Rio de Janeiro.
  • Between 2016 and 2021, the NIH has provided over US$ 19 million in funding to Brazilian institutions across the country in support of nearly 50 distinct research projects. Research cooperation has focused on everything from infectious diseases to diabetes and cancer.    
  • The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) works with Brazilian experts to develop and create regulatory pathways for new technologies. In 2021, a joint team of researchers developed new methods for testing bacterial growth in foods that will facilitate more robust field testing, addressing food safety and facilitating agricultural trade.
  • Joint biomedical research has developed a vaccine effective against all four dengue strains, increased our understanding of the genetic aspects of cancer, and provided critical evidence on the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines.

Health Care Collaboration

  • The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has been working with Brazil on addressing health care supply chain issues, notably by supporting expanded production capacity both domestically and regionally to establish a more secure and diverse supply chain.
  • Brazil and the United States collaborate closely at the World Health Organization and the Pan American Health Organization, its regional office.
  • HHS and its Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration partnered in 2021 on efforts to improve suicide prevention programs in Brazil and address mental health aspects of the pandemic.