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RAI 2, Patriae – 5th May

ENGLISH TRANSCRIPT

ANNALISA BRUCHI, IN STUDIO

First we have the vaccines and then we’ll come back to the studio and discuss it with our guests.

INTERVIEWER

The search for a vaccine against coronavirus is moving forward apace. We are in Pomezia, in the laboratories of IRBM, a research centre for new chemical and biological drugs. It was here in 2013 that the Italian vaccine for Ebola was first developed. In collaboration with the Jenner Institute at the University of Oxford, the 40-strong team of Italian and foreign researchers has been working day and night to produce a vaccine against Covid-19. The human trial has already begun.

PIERO DI LORENZO

The human trial began around 10 days ago. 510 healthy volunteers have been vaccinated. At the end of May, 3000 healthy volunteers will be vaccinated so that by the end of September we should have a sufficiently positive response from the clinical trial.

INTERVIEWER

Is it possible yet to say what type of reaction there has been to this vaccine?

PIERO DI LORENZO

Fortunately, there has been no reaction. The individuals are well and we are currently waiting to see whether this continues to be the case.

INTERVIEWER

How soon could it be marketed?

PIERO DI LORENZO

We will be ready to provide a significant number of doses of the vaccine by the end of the year.

INTERVIEWER

This vaccine will be distributed by a British rather than an Italian multinational, so it will be up to the UK to say how it is distributed. This is something of a downside for us.

PIERO DI LORENZO

The arrival of a player such as AstraZeneca is certainly something to celebrate, as they have a presence all around the world, so they can certainly provide the right kind of leadership when it comes to distributing this vaccine.

INTERVIEWER

How many doses will it be possible to produce annually?

PIERO DI LORENZO

Global production capacity currently stands at around 200 million doses per year, if you think that we need 8 million doses, you get an idea of what it means. When this production gets under way, there will be a worldwide effort to involve a series of companies who are specialists in this sector.

VOICE OVER

 

In the meantime, Bill Gates has said he wants to finance worldwide production of an effective vaccine. In interviews held on Saturday with Giuseppe Conte and the founder of Microsoft, it became clear that there is a need for a worldwide agreement on research, this will also receive funding of 7.5 billion from a European plan.

INTERVIEWER

Conte said that the government would probably put up between 110 and 140 million euros to finance worldwide research on the vaccine, how do you view this proposal from our government?

PIERO DI LORENZO

I see it as something positive. In my opinion, the government should join the CEPI which is this supranational body that finances research into vaccines, whether there are epidemics or not, with the future always in mind.

INTERVIEWER

It hasn’t yet been shown whether there is any immunity to this virus and, above all, how long any such of immunity might last. Given that this is the case, how useful is it to make a vaccine?

PIERO DI LORENZO

This virus first appeared in our midst 3 months ago, but scientific evidence will take several months to complete.  Even if the immunity is not definitive, i.e. for life, but is like the flu one for example and lasts for a year, it is worth acting upon and researching.

ANNALISA BRUCHI, IN STUDIO

I want to go right away to Deputy Minister Sileri as I wanted to ask whether it’s true that this vaccine from Pomezia, that is being so widely discussed, that is being tested with the University of Oxford and a research centre, is one of the most advanced vaccine, is that the case?

DEPUTY MINISTER SILERI

So, as far as I know, this is precisely the case. Clearly, it will take some time before we get a vaccine so it’s not something we will have the day after tomorrow. It will take several months. Of those that are being tested, it is certainly the one that seems to have reached a more advanced stage, so it is an excellent European partnership because Oxford and, as well as Italy, other countries are involved. Obviously, we are waiting to see over the next few months how long it will take for it to be ready.

ANNALISA BRUCHI, IN STUDIO

Minister, as regards the international partnership, why is the patent held by a British multinational? And what will we do? If, as we hope, they succeed in making this vaccine work soon, will we be buying it from a British multinational after having contributed to its production using Italian expertise?

DEPUTY MINISTER SILERI

No, to be honest, the University of Oxford has a centre, I think it is a spin-off of Oxford University, so they have laboratories in which they are developing this vaccine. And to be honest it is still very premature to be able to say how it will be available, how it will be purchased, how it will be distributed and so on.

 

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