Concerned about the possibility of an outbreak of bubonic plague in Rio de Janeiro, like what had happened in Santos, and about the difficulty of importing Yersin serum in the future, the Mayor of Rio de Janeiro, JosĂ© CesĂˇrio de Faria Alvim, decided to create a serotherapy laboratory following the suggestion of Baron Pedro Affonso Franco who was an important figure in the introduction of animal vaccine to Brazil and the owner of the Municipal Vaccine Institute. Created in 1894, the Municipal Vaccine Institute was responsible for the production of smallpox vaccine and the distribution of anti-diphtheria serum in Rio de Janeiro. The serotherapy laboratory was installed on the Manguinhos farm, a property of 35,000 square meters belonging to the municipality. This farm was far enough from the city to dispel fear of infection among the population. CesĂˇrio Alvim authorized the expenditure of 90 â€ścontos de reisâ€ť for the construction, equipment, and installation of the new establishment. The project was presented by Baron Pedro Affonso, who was responsible for the organization and administrative direction of the Federal Serotherapy Institute and Oswaldo Cruz for its technical direction. The creation of the Federal Serotherapy Institute modeled itself after the Pasteur Institute in Paris, although the two institutions had encountered very different conditions for the development of their activities.
In 1897, by Decree No. 2.449, on the 1st of February, the Federal Health Institute and the Port Health Inspector General were transformed into the General Directorate of Public Health subordinate to the Ministry of Justice and Internal Affairs with headquarters in Rio de Janeiro..
In addition to its previous duties like hygienic services of the Union, it became incumbent on this institution to study the nature, etiology, treatment, and control of communicable diseases which develop in any part of the country; propose to the Government a plan of health aid that would be provided to each state, in the case of public calamity, upon request from their respective governments; prepare attenuated microbial cultures and antitoxic and curative sera to be supplied to requesting authorities; supervise the practice of medicine and pharmacology; organize demographic-health statistics; direct the health service of ports; create the Brazilian Pharmaceutical Code, and respond to queries from the Government, providing the requested information (art. 2.Âş). A bacteriology laboratory was created which functioned subordinate to the Directorate (art. 3.Âş). For the implementation of the health services for the ports, the coastline was divided into three districts with the headquarters being: the port of Rio de Janeiro with the quarantine hospital of Ilha Grande; the port of Recife with the quarantine hospital of TamandarĂ©
and the port of Belem with the quarantine hospital of ParĂˇ (art. 5.Âş). By Decree No. 2.458 of 02/10/1897, its regulation was approved. Under the management of the public health physician Oswaldo Cruz (1903-1909), the Public Health General Directorate had the task of eradicating yellow fever, bubonic plague and smallpox that hit the capital during the period. Combating these diseases was done through organized campaigns against yellow fever, preventive vaccination of the population against smallpox, and the extermination of rats, the main vector of transmission of bubonic plague.
The Institute also began operating out of Rio de Janeiro. The government of Minas Gerais proposed to Oswaldo Cruz the establishment of a branch in Belo Horizonte that it would fund with annual allocations. At the request of cattle ranchers of Minas Gerais, the Institute initiated a research program to develop a vaccine against the epidemic of “lameness”, or blackleg, that was attacking their herds. The production and sale of this vaccine allowed, to a large extent, the continuation and expansion of the Institute’s activities in subsequent years. The branch was established in the PraĂ§a da Liberdade and the scientist Ezequiel Dias, whose tuberculosis – compounded by his stay in SĂŁo Luiz do MaranhĂŁo where he installed the State Bacteriological Laboratory – required the milder climate of Belo Horizonte, was appointed to direct it.
Beginning in 1906 the branch of the Institute conducted laboratory tests and began to manufacture smallpox vaccines and anti-ophidic serum, in addition to studying epizootics and investigating leukemia, snakebites and scorpion stings.
In 1909, Carlos Chagas was responsible for another important approach Manguinhos, now the Oswaldo Cruz Institute (IOC), to Minas Gerais. While combating malaria during the extension of the Brazilian Central Railroad to Pirapora, MG, Chagas discovered, in the town of Lassance, a previously unknown human trypanosomiasis that causes hypertrophy of internal organs and is transmitted by an insect called “barbeiro” (kissing bugs). The description of Chagas disease brought prestige to the Institution so a laboratory was installed allowing Carlos Chagas and his colleagues to research and learn about this new disease. Patients with Chagas disease in Lassance were taken to the Hospital Oswaldo Cruz in Manguinhos.
In 1922 the branch of the Institute was renamed Ezequiel Dias Biological Institute. In addition to its previous duties, it now also incorporated the production of rabies vaccine and anti-scorpion serum. The work of the director, OctĂˇvio de MagalhĂŁes, and of Eurico Villela culminated in a significant campaign against scorpions, which were present in large numbers in the capital of Minas Gerais. The serpentarium of the Institute, which was used for the production of anti-ophidic serum, was also a tourist attraction in Belo Horizonte and caught the attention of a medical student, AmĂlcar Vianna Martins, who went to work at the Institute. Its library, the most complete in the city, drew flocks of physicians, biologists, and students for research and to participate in weekly discussions of scientific articles.
AmĂlcar Martins studied the systematics of â€śbarbeirosâ€ť in Minas Gerais and, together with Emanuel Dias of the Instituto Oswaldo Cruz, discovered a major focus area of Chagas disease in BambuĂ, in western Minas Gerais. They found swelling of the eye to be a characteristic sign of the acute phase of the disease, which only manifests itself in the internal organs after several years of infection.
Since the interventor of Minas Gerais had prohibited AmĂlcar Martins from working in BambuĂ, the IOC created, in 1944, a center for studying the disease in the city and appointed Emanuel Dias to direct it. There Chagas disease came to be studied in great detail, especially the cardiopathies that resulted from it.
Toward the end of the 1940â€™s the IOC maintained a small â€śresearch nucleusâ€ť in Belo Horizonte that held the Chair of Physiology of the Faculty of Medicine and supported the typhus research of OtĂˇvio de MagalhĂŁes. Wladimir Lobato Paraense was sent by IOC to this â€śresearch nucleusâ€ť, having carried-out research on avian malaria, leishmaniasis of the guinea pig, and foci of transmission of Schistosoma mansoni. Over the next two decades, however, BambuĂ was the main connection of Manguinhos with Minas Gerais.
In response to the longstanding demand of Brazilian physicians, the Ministry of Health was created in 1953. The Institute of Malariology, which had existed since 1946 within the National Malaria Service, operated in the Cidade das Meninas in Duque de Caxias in Rio de Janeiro, researching the disease and methods to combat it, mainly with the insecticide BHC, which was manufactured by the Institute. The policy of regionalizing research on endemic diseases to the places of their occurrence, the proposal of creation regional research centers across the country, and the meeting in Belo Horizonte of the chief of the Division of Health Organization of the Ministry of Health, Amilcar Barca Pellon, with AmĂlcar Martins, who at the time had shown that the sedimentation of feces, as described by Lutz, was the most suitable method for diagnosing schistosomiasis, resulted in the Ministry of Health being interested in studying the disease and in the idea of establishing a research center in Belo Horizonte. After negotiations conducted by AmĂlcar Martins, work on the future Endemic Diseases Research Center of Minas Gerais began in 1953 on land donated by the city at the corner of Augusto de Lima Avenue and Juiz de Fora Street in the district of Barro Preto in Belo Horizonte.
As the facilities at the Institute of Malariology in Rio de Janeiro, directed by public health specialist RenĂ© Rachou, were substandard, he was transferred to Belo Horizonte in late 1955 with the support of Barca Pellon, Manoel Ferreira and OlĂmpio Silva Pinto. Whereas an insecticide factory and a small central core remained in Rio de Janeiro, all the remaining equipment and thirty-five employees were installed in the Barro Preto building. The Institute of Malariology in Belo Horizonte started publishing a consulting-informative bulletin titled â€śFrom you to us and from us to youâ€ť, in order to promote a greater interchange with coworkers of the National Service of Malaria. In these newsletters, 104 questions about malaria, Chagas disease , leishmaniasis , schistosomiasis and filariasis were answered by researchers at the Institute. The approach not only dealt with the etiology of these parasitosis but also with the ecology of their vectors and ways to combat them.
In March 1956, the Institute of Malariology was transformed into the Research Center of Belo Horizonte. In addition to research, the Center also undertook activities in teaching, offering courses on rural endemic diseases for physicians and leaders of health services across the country. These courses dealt with Chagas disease, malaria, schistosomiasis, entomology, insecticides, and parasitology, took place from 1956 to 1958 with a duration of two months. With the aim of improving the Center, the employees were encouraged to take internal courses as well as at the Faculty of Medicine
RenĂ© GuimarĂŁes Rachou directed the Research Center of Belo Horizonte until 1957, leaving two years later to work for the Pan-American Health Organization in Central America. This period was marked by a greater emphasis on field research on malaria, schistosomiasis, and Chagas disease, which began to be studied from both the perspective of the systematics of their vectors and the methods for their elimination. The laboratories to study the diseases were structured in a multifaceted way reflecting the various branches of technical scientific knowledge.
The original laboratories of the Center (Entomology, Chemistry of Insecticides, Genetics, and Ecology) were transformed into eight in 1963, the end of the administration of Lobato Paraense.
The names of the eight new laboratories and their respective heads were:
Immunology – JosĂ© Pellegrino;
Epidemiology – AprĂgio Abreu Salgado;
Serological Investigation – SebastiĂŁo Mariano Batista;
Intestinal Parasites – Geraldo Chaia;
Chemistry of Insecticides – Ernest Paulini;
Leishmaniasis – Marcelo Coelho;
Malacology – Lobato Paraense;
Experimental Therapeutics – Zigman Brener.
In 1966, the Research Center of Belo Horizonte was renamed by the President of the Republic and the Minister of Health, Raymundo de Britto, to the RenĂ© Rachou Research Center (CPqRR), in honor of its director who had died three years earlier.
At the end of the 1960â€™s the first graduate degree in parasitology in Brazil was established at the Federal University of Minas Gerais, which was also taught by several researchers of CPqRR, many of whom, with the improvement of working conditions and wages at the university, transferred to there, thus emptying the Center of its activities. In 1969, cooperation between UFMG and CPqRR was made official through an agreement signed by the rector, Gerson Boson, the director of INERu, Celso Arcoverde, and the head of the Research Center, Marcelo Coelho, who was replaced that the same year by Raimundo Siebra de Brito.
The second administration of Naftale Katz as director of the Center began in 1985, which was marked by the creation of the Deliberative Board of Fiocruz when the CPqRR went on to participate in the politico-administrative management of the institution, and thus reversed the institutional isolation that existed since the incorporation of the Foundation in 1970. This period also saw an increase in the number of research programs, the number of published papers in national and international journals, the number of researchers and the number of graduate students, although the total number of employees remained the same. Doubling the physical space was accompanied by the modernization of equipment and the research programs of the laboratories.
Since 1998, the CPqRR was directed by Roberto Sena Rocha. In its organizational structure, the CPqRR consisted of fourteen laboratories, the Center of Technical Scientific Support (NĂşcleo de Apoio TĂ©cnico-cientĂfico), and the Department of Administration (Departamento Administrativo). The laboratories studied Chagas disease, schistosomiasis, leishmaniasis, and malaria from various perspectives (biology, diagnosis, immunology, therapy, clinic, physiology, epidemiology and control, and systematics), and from both the parasite point of view and that of their vectors.
The epidemiology and anthropology of aging, risk behavior and occupation began to be studied during this period.
The fourteen laboratories and their respective heads were:
Chagas Disease – Zigman Brener;
Medical Entomology – Paulo Pimenta;
Epidemiology and Medical Anthropology – Maria Fernanda F. Lima e Costa;
Schistosomiasis – Naftale Katz;
Intestinal Helminthoses – Omar dos Santos Carvalho;
Cellular and Molecular Immunology -Rodrigo CorrĂŞa Oliveira;
Immunopathology – Ricardo Tostes Gazzinelli;
Leishmaniases – Reginaldo Brazil;
Malacology – CecĂlia Pereira de Souza;
Malaria – Antoniana Ursine Krettlli;
Molecular and Celular Parasitology – Alvaro JosĂ© Romanha;
Clinical Research – Ana LĂşcia Teles Rabello;
Chemistry of Natural Products – Carlos Leomar Zani;
Triatomines and Epidemiology of Chagas Disease – Lileia Diotaiuti.
Also operating at the Research Center RenĂ© Rachou at that time were four Reference Services:
Center of Reference and Training in Leishmaniases;
National and International Reference Center for Phlebotamines;
Laboratory for Triatomines and Epidemiology of Chagas Disease;
Center for Collaboration and Research for the Control of Schistosomiasis.
In 2003, the Graduate Program in Health Sciences at CPqRR received their first groups of master’s and doctoral students in the areas of Cellular and Molecular Biology, Infectious and Parasitic Diseases, and Public Health. Concomitantly, involvement with students from the UFMG graduate programs and the IOC continued, thus expanding the training of human resources for research.
In October 2009, the CPqRR signed an agreement for the construction of its new headquarters in the Technological Park of Belo Horizonte (BHTec) – an innovation and research park being built through a partnership between the Government of Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte City Hall, and the Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG).
This year a new Graduate Program in Public Health was created at CPqRR. The proposal was the result of the growing demand in this area and the need for training qualified staff to serve the Unified Health System in the state of Minas Gerais.
The institution now has 22 research groups, becoming increasingly more dynamic with more interactions among researchers.
Partnerships with various educational, health care, and research institutions in the state of Minas Gerais, in addition to several others at the national and international levels, have enabled a solid growth in scientific production. There is also a strong investment in training personnel through research at the undergraduate, masterâ€™s, doctoral and post-doctoral levels.
The 22 Research Groups and their respective leaders are:
Molecular Biology and Immunology of Malaria â€“ Luzia Helena de Carvalho;
Vector Behavior and Interaction with Pathogens â€“ Marcelo Gustavo Lorenzo;
Medical Entomology â€“ Paulo Pimenta;
Schistosomiasis â€“ Naftale Katz;
Study of Leishmaniases â€“ CĂ©lia Maria Gontijo;
Genomics and Computational Biology â€“ Guilherme Correa;
Functional Genomics and Proteomics of Leishmania spp and Trypanosoma cruzi- Silvane Murta;
Group of Multidisciplinary Studies in Health Education â€“ Virginia Schall;
Integrated Biomarkers Research Group â€“ Olindo Assis Martins Filho;
Medical Helminthology and Malacology â€“ Omar dos Santos Carvalho;
Cellular and Molecular Immunology â€“ Rodrigo Correa Oliveira;
Immunology of Viral Diseases â€“ Marco Antonio Campos;
Immunopathology – Ricardo Gazzinelli;
Biosystems Informatics â€“ Jeronimo ConceiĂ§ĂŁo Ruiz;
Interaction of Biomphalaria/Schistosoma mansoni/Schistosomiasis â€“ Paulo Marcos Zech Coelho;
Experimental and Human Malaria â€“ Antoniana Ursine Krettlli;
Mosquito Vectors: Endosymbionts and Pathogen-vector interaction â€“ Luciano Moreira;
Center for Studies in Public Health and Aging â€“ Maria Fernanda Furtado Lima e Costa;
Clinical Research â€“ Ana Rabello;
Chemistry of Bioactive Natural Products â€“ Carlos Leomar Zani;
Taxonomy of Phlebotamines/Epidemiology, Diagnosis, and Control of Leishmaniases – Edelberto Santos Dias;
Triatomines â€“ Lileia Diotaiuti