The Minister of Science and Innovation, Pedro Duque, has indicated that the Government is financing the reconversion and adaptation of productive means of several companies that produced veterinary vaccines, with the aim that “In a few months” the national production of a hypothetical vaccine against COVID-19 can be guaranteed, be discovered by Spanish researchers or abroad.
At a press conference after the Council of Ministers on Tuesday, the minister reported that these companies are talking to spanish researchers They are working on the development of a vaccine, but are also “in talks” with international companies to bring “some part of the vaccine manufacturing to Spain.” “It is a very positive consequence of the projects we have financed,” he celebrated.
Duque has presented to the Council a report on the state of government-funded research on COVID-19, both in search of drugs and in the development of new techniques for diagnosing the virus in residues, environments or surfaces. According to the information presented by the ministerthere are up to 100 clinical trials underway to show which drugs already approved may be useful to treat COVID-19 during some stage of the disease.
The minister recalled that, Internationally, there are some 180 vaccine projects that the Government is “monitoring and following”. In Spain, there are 12 developments financed by public funds, of which five already have the vaccine candidate and “pre-clinical trials in animals are already starting.”
On when it will be available, he believes that “there is a high probability” that in “between one and six months” the vaccine could be applied to citizens, placing the beginning of next year as an ideal time. “There may be manufacture of massive doses two or three months before, just in case,” he has advanced, although specifying that development will accelerate if the epidemiological situation worsens and is necessary.
Despite the great development of some international vaccines, which are in advanced stages, Duque has claimed the importance of continuing to investigate in Spain. «We must continue with our vaccine projects. They are scientific developments of enormous value, several of the vaccines are based on different concepts from the rest, and there is not much certainty about which are going to be the most effective, ours could end up being better than the current ones. Having its own vaccine development puts the country in a more favorable situation when negotiations are made with external companies, “he argued.
Duque has recalled that Spain defends that the European Union coordinates negotiations with vaccine manufacturers to guarantee that all the countries of the ‘old continent’ have equal access, proportionally based on their population and their needs. “The most important thing is that all this coordination will be very useful to ensure that there are no differences in access,” he said.
Thus, he pointed out that “cautiously as there is a lack of evidence and there is still an investigation”, the government is “optimistic” that “there will be a vaccine”. “And that we will be able to differentiate which one works best and will be available to the National Health System when its safety and effectiveness are sufficiently demonstrated,” he added.
Duque has highlighted that «what the Spanish need they will have “, Regarding whether the price of drugs against COVID-19 is going to be an obstacle to accessing the necessary treatments.
At a press conference after the Council of Ministers, Duque commented that “the ethics of how much a drug should cost is a very complex debate that has been thrown around many times”. “On the one hand, you have to try to recover the investment in innovation and, on the other hand, people have the right to be cured”, he argued