INTERVIEW: Professor Giorgio Palu, President of Italy’s medicines company


New Europe spoke with Professor Giorgio Palu, President of AIFA (the Italian Medicines Company) and a newly appointed member of the Scientific Technical Committee, in regards to the sudden challenges the EU is dealing with relating to the provision of vaccines. Some EU of the 27 nations of the European Union has determined to take an unbiased path to acquire vaccine provides. Italy can be collaborating in these discussions.

NEW EUROPE (NE): There’s a large debate in Italy about utilizing Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine. What do you consider that?

GIORGIO PALU (GP): Sure, there’s a large dialogue about Sputnik V due to a examine by Lancet, which got here out in February. That examine was nicely accomplished, and the consequence was an efficacy of 91-92%…I do know that the file of Sputnik was despatched to the EMA (European Medicines Company) for analysis. One other pure step shall be an inspection of the manufacturing websites. Subsequently, I believe that the approval course of will nonetheless take a couple of months earlier than a ultimate inexperienced mild is given.

NE: There are additionally discussions on different vaccines, together with India’s Covaxin. What, do you suppose, is the most effective strategy in all these instances?

GP: India can be producing vaccines, they do it for AstraZeneca as nicely, however on this case, the EMA or AIFA (the Italian Medicines Company) or the FDA (the US’ Meals and Drug Administration) must examine the manufacturing websites. The EMA may then delegate somebody from AIFA or from Germany or France’s pharma companies to hold out an onsite analysis with the intention to see if the tons are produced on the similar tempo. If you go to examine a manufacturing unit, you need to make certain that the product can be the identical. It then has to at all times have the identical focus in case of viral vector or micro-gramms of MRNA (messenger RNA, the single-stranded molecule of RNA that corresponds to the genetic sequence of a gene, and is learn by a ribosome within the strategy of synthesizing a protein). Lastly, you will need to have the identical processes validated by the pharma home. We’ve to go to the manufacturing web site and test all the customary operations for the manufacturing of the vaccine.

NE: What’s the scenario relating to monoclonal antibodies?

GP: I personally fought for his or her use, and I discovered help from Italy’s Well being Minister Roberto Speranza, with the intention to undertake an EU directive integrated by a nationwide draft regulation in 2006. It was used for the Ebola emergency. On this case, the minister issued an emergency decree to approve the usage of monoclonal antibodies as a result of the regulation permits for emergency use if an experimental drug has already been accredited by one other worldwide oversight physique, just like the FDA.

NE: What do you consider the European concept to create a vaccine passport to permit folks to journey?

GP: This concept can be supported by the ECDC, we’ve to be pro-active about it. We’re in the midst of an emergency that features the circulation of products and other people. In consequence, we have to go on this path. Keep in mind,  not all the international locations are going to have a fast provide of vaccines, so you will need to safeguard the remainder of the world for financial, social and industrial causes.

NE: One of many parameters for the EU vaccine passport shall be to incorporate individuals who already had the virus and have developed antibodies. Do you suppose that this can be a good technique?

GP: Sure, the an infection offers a pure immunity as with different viral illnesses. We don’t understand how lengthy the immunity may final, however you will need to know and determine it. Relating to the potential of giving just one dose of the vaccine, there may be information by Jama and Lancet displaying that after 3-6 months, a single dose of the vaccine offers an individual who had already had the virus, very excessive development of the neutralizing antibodies.

NE: There’s a large dialogue in Europe about particular person international locations inside the EU shopping for vaccines out of the European Union’s circuit. What do you consider such initiatives?

GP: We’re sure by a European treaty. This was a really cheap concept, and once I was in Brussels, we mentioned the potential of putting in a single procurement for influenza vaccines. This technique had the purpose of lowering prices and centralizing purchases and distribution. Now we’ve to acknowledge that this technique hasn’t work nicely and everyone is complaining. Even Italy’s Prime Minister, (Mario) Draghi, needs to maintain the vaccines in Europe and to not export them outdoors the bloc. If Austria and Denmark determined to purchase vaccines outdoors the EU, they have been in a position to do it as a result of there may be an EU regulation that in emergency circumstances, permits for such distinctive measures. In any case, I believe that Europe remains to be in wishful pondering mode. We nonetheless must construct up a single procurement plan, and that is the time to do it. The person international locations of the EU ought to have a typical motion plan. Heath remains to be a nationwide competence, however in this sort of emergency, we’ve all to be in synch.

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