During his visit to Brazil last week, IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano discussed the use of advanced radiation techniques for cancer treatment, radiopharmaceuticals production by the multipurpose nuclear research reactors at IPEN-São Paulo and the sterile insect technique (SIT) to combat the Zika virus.
Mr Amano received a status update on the country’s fight against the Zika virus and steps taken by Brazil to combat the spread of the disease. The IAEA will continue to share its expertise in SIT and in the use of the reverse transcriptase–polymerase chain reaction, a molecular diagnostic technique, which can classify the Zika virus rapidly, Mr Amano said.
Brazil, Cuba and Mexico are among the countries receiving technical support for the planning and implementation of SIT pilot projects to fight Zika.
Other areas of discussion included strengthening radiotherapy services and human resource development for the treatment of cancer and other non-communicable diseases, the importance of ensuring high quality production of brachytherapy sources, accurate molecular imaging, and comprehensive training to medical staff using clinical applications of nuclear medicine.
Mr Amano highlighted the IAEA’s support to Brazil in a number of peaceful applications of nuclear technology including capacity building for soil and water conservation.
He also visited the Angra Nuclear Power Plant located in Angra dos Ries, on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro and was briefed on the role of nuclear energy in the energy mix of the country. During his visit, 23-25 November, Mr Amano met Minister of Science, Technology, Innovation and Communication Gilberto Kassab and the Head of the Brazilian Navy, Eduardo Bacellar Leal Ferreira.