How involved is the government in the national scientific research?

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The Farvet company and the Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia (UPCH) have been working on a vaccine for months and have made satisfactory progress. The UPCH biophysicist indicated that in five weeks the effectiveness of the vaccine in animals would be known.

Under the same criteria, the head of the Bioinformatics, Molecular Biology, and Technological Developments laboratory at UPCH pointed out that the efficiency and safety are being verified in mice so that they will soon do so with monkeys. Also, he highlighted that one of the vaccines is a recombinant protein and that the other is a genetically modified salmonella.

He explained that these vaccines “have proven to be very safe in rabbits and pigs” and that the advantage of it is that “it would be for oral administration.” As it is an orally administered vaccine, “a specialized Army of vaccinators who can administer injections would no longer be needed.”

He estimated that up to 30 million doses of a vaccine that they produce could be produced in less than a month and, referring to the cost of the vaccine, stated that it would cost a fraction of these costs, allowing the production of more doses.

“In four weeks we will be starting the definitive trial that will test the effectiveness of this vaccine in monkeys. After the confrontation of the animals with the virus, (we hope) that the animals do not make the disease. In six weeks we would know the true effectiveness of this vaccine, “he explained.

Despite this information, the Government’s approach is that by the first half of 2021, 6.6 million vaccines will be received from the Sinovac laboratory (China), through the Butantan Institute (Brazil); 6.6 million from AstraZeneca-University of Oxford (UK); as well as 6.6 million vaccines from the Sinopharm laboratory (China); and 4 million from Pfizer (USA). As well as the 6.6 million doses of the international initiative promoted by the World Health Organization (WHO), through the Covax Facility, to immunize at least 20% of the population.

The experts as well as the former Minister of Health, Abel Salinas, considered that President Vizcarra should be careful when saying that the vaccine will arrive soon and refer to the 30 million doses since they create expectations in the population. “I think a first goal is to participate in the Covax Facility initiative and clinical trials,” he added.

However, Salinas said that the example of Mexico and Argentina should be followed, where they participate in clinical trials and vaccine production through technology transfer to development laboratories. “You have to aim for that to have autonomy in a few years.”

On the other hand, the executive director of Farvet, Manolo Fernández, announced the importance of the development of this national vaccine, since it is an alternative that cannot be overlooked.

“There are laboratories that are already much more advanced and it will be almost impossible to overtake them, but each laboratory is making a different model. It is very good that all these alternatives exist. We will see which ones work better, “he said.

In this way, it is clear that the support of the government is necessary for national scientific research, which is not being given due attention.

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