January 22, 2022

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Canavies in the Center – Has Science Failed?

by Tiziana AdageCanaves Centro

Tiziana, a resident of Canavisana living and working in Austria, engaged in scientific research, author of several publications on this topic and some patents, after a master’s degree in biology and a doctorate in pharmacology and toxicology, embarked on this path as a researcher in various innovative and international realities . Today he is the scientific director of an important reality.

As a scholar who has lived abroad for several years, I read the “Canavese al Centro” initiative about the exciting interest, and also for the feeling that I am closer to a land that I love and miss, I decided to join and make my contribution, in order to strengthen the relationship with the territory and to offer perspectives from different points of view.
I begin with an article related to my work, I am a biologist and pharmacologist who has always worked on developing new drugs, trying to provide objective elements and considerations based on what I have observed as a researcher.

When the SARS-CoV-2 vaccine race began, it became clear to me that mRNA vaccines would win the battle against time. The technology was more than mature, virus genome data was generated and shared in real time, and detailed knowledge of that particular class of coronavirus was gained in the recent worldwide outbreaks of SARS-Cov-1 and MERS in 2003-4 and 2012, respectively. I even jokingly bet on a Moderna vaccine. It is a pity that we did not follow words with actions, in which case we buy them.

I eagerly followed the agencies’ announcements, and I was amazed at the global collaboration, the economic investments that were made, and the fact that all scientific journals, without distinction, provided immediate, free publication of any study dealing with SARS-CoV-2 or the disease caused by COVID-19.

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The number of daily scientific publications has grown exponentially, along the lines of the virus infection curve, bringing new knowledge and questions, as is usual in the scientific world. Data were shared and discussed and some studies were withdrawn after publication, because specialists considered that they were conducted inappropriately, without adequate controls, or simply incomplete (peer review process), compensating for the need for speed without loss of quality.

The regulatory bodies responsible for examining the file of all production, quality, non-clinical and clinical safety data have made it possible for pharmaceuticals or biotechnology experts to analyze and give feedback to companies producing new vaccines in real time, activating this in English called rolling review. This way, not a single day is wasted too much.

And all this effort gave the expected result. In December 2020, the US regulatory agency FDA granted Emergency Use Authorization (UAE) to the first vaccine, the Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine, which had final approval since August 2021. The US authorization was closely followed up by the European Agency (EMA) and then in a series by individual member states. Certified manufacturing sites around the world continue to increase to ensure that the doses everyone needs are produced at acceptable times.

To date, four COVID-19 vaccines have been licensed in Europe (Comirnaty from BioNTech and Pfizer; Spikevax from Moderna; Vaxzevria from AstraZeneca and Janssen’s), another has applied to enter the market (Novavax’s Nuvaxovid) and another four are under ongoing review.

So why, despite what may be considered in my view the unprecedented success of science and international cooperation, is there distrust, fear and rejection? Not trusting those who worked day and night to provide a solution?

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I believe that if science succeeds in keeping its promises, those who have betrayed it are the men and women who practice science without knowing how to interpret it. I have watched with horror scientific information given to the public in an incomplete and superficial way, if not completely wrong, in an attempt to simplify concepts considered too complex. I still have a bit of white hair after seeing the explanation in the official information posts… “mRNA, a piece of DNA…”.

Therefore, I shut down my rant by asking you to believe in science, in the process of continuous review, and in the decisions of regulatory authorities. If you have doubts, ask for explanations, learn and search among the many voices that can give you explanations in a simple, clear, but correct way. Canavese is fortunate to have a site of international innovation excellence, Bioindustry Park, which attracts national and international talent. I hope the young Canaves will accept the challenge and become passionate about science, perhaps choosing to start a course of science studies at Liceo Aldo Moro in Rivarolo Canavese, where my journey also began. (www.canavesealcentro.it)