Our history

Our History Vital Brazil (in lab coat) showing the facilities of a Butantan laboratory to the entourage of the then Secretary of the Presidency of the State of São Paulo, Oscar Rodrigues Alves. Photo from 1913
Credit: Unknown author

In 1899, an outbreak of bubonic plague spread from the port of Santos (SP) and led the state public administration to create a laboratory for the production of an antiplague serum, linked to the Bacteriological Institute of São Paulo (current Adolfo Lutz Institute). This laboratory was installed at the Butantan Farm, in the western part of the city of São Paulo. In February 1901, it was recognized as an autonomous institution under the name of Instituto Serumtherapico. Its first director was the physician Vital Brazil Mineiro da Campanha, who studied public health issues at the time.

Vital Brazil took upon himself to widely disseminate science, the institute's activities and the production of antitoxins, antivenoms and vaccines, which has earned him worldwide recognition by the scientific community.

More than a century after its foundation, Butantan is now an outstanding center for biomedical research, which integrates scientific and technological research, production of immunobiologicals and technical-scientific dissemination, seeking innovation through its permanent update and integration of resources.