The Production Plant of Sterile Fly (PPME for its acronym in Spanish) of screwworm (SW) for COPEG is located in Pacora, is the only plant in the world dedicated to the mass production of sterile screwworm flies. COPEG program uses the technique of SIT (Sterile Insect Technique) to maintain Panama and the countries of North America free from screwworm.

PPME was inaugurated in July 2006 and after three years of equipment, the installation of biological safety measures, staff training in rearing and insect sterilization, began the mass production of flies in March 2009.

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PPME is cataloged in a Level II for Biosafety safeguarded through the Department of Biological Safety, who is the authority responsible to implement and verify compliance with the rules and procedures required for the entry and exit of the building, and thus make the operation safe in order to prevent escape of fertile biological material that may endanger the health status of the country.

The Department of Biological Security since its beginning, has implemented an appropriate containment barrier that are reviewed and monitored on a daily basis by the staff that works verifying the sterilization process for the pupae, thus complying with the implementation of the Operational Manual and maintaining a culture of responsibility.

The primary purpose the PPME, is to produce sterile flies for weekly dispersion on the Permanent Biological Prevention Barrier to guarantee savings and annual profits of over $1.300 million annually, for the North and Central America Region.


PPME IS INTEGRATED AS FOLLOWS:

PRODUCTION BUILDING
Where insects are mass-reared and sterilized in the pupal stage. Although production capacity is 100 million pupae per week, the current production in order to maintain the Permanent Biological Prevention Barrier is 20 million per week, with availability to use the maximum capacity to meet national or international infestation outbreaks.

ADMINISTRATION BUILDING
Houses all offices for management, administrative and scientific staff.

UTILITY BUILDING
Responsible for generating steam, water and auxiliary energy required in the production building.

WAREHOUSE BUILDINGS AND WATER TREATMENT
To storage supplies and materials for treatment of wastewater and waste, respectively.

INDUSTRIAL MAINTENANCE AND WORKSHOP BUILDING
Responsible for carrying out preventive and corrective maintenance of all industrial equipment and vehicular fleet.

SECURITY POST
To protect personnel, facilities, property and operations. Identifies and minimizes the various physical security risks that may pose a threat.


THE PLANT WILL HAVE A SCIENTIFIC, TECHNOLOGICAL AND ECONOMIC IMPACT

SCIENTIFIC IMPACT
COPEG is recognized by the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) as Reference Laboratory for screwworm. It relies on genetic studies, ecological research and cryopreservation of strains.

TECHNOLOGICAL IMPACT
Employs gamma-ray technology with Cobalt-60 sources for insect sterilization. A Method Development Department working on innovative techniques and continuous improvement.

ECONOMIC IMPACT
It has a workforce of approximately 400 employees, with 8-hour administrative shifts and rotating shifts operating 12 hours, 24 hours a day, every day of the year.


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