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NOV. 17, 2020

Science Minister: “We work with maximum rigor so that science and technology benefit people’s health”

Along with a group of specialists advising the government on the strategy for conducting clinical trials, Minister Couve reported that four studies have been approved in Chile and emphasized the importance of publishing promising results in scientific journals for community analysis.

In the Montt Varas Salon at La Moneda Palace, Science Minister Andrés Couve met this morning with the Coronavirus Vaccine Committee to analyze the global scientific context as well as the end of the clinical trial identification and approval phase in Chile, which four international laboratories have completed.

Accomplished researchers and industry representatives Miguel O'Ryan, Paula Muñoz, Lorena Tapia, Carlos Pérez, Alexis Kalergis, Mario Rosemblatt and David Farcas attended the meeting. Stephania Passalaqua, Mario Calvo and the Science Ministry’s Regional Ministerial Secretary for the northern macro zone, Margarita Lay, participated remotely.

“Today, there is no vaccine for COVID-19 anywhere in the world, but we are optimistic about the more than forty studies that are already in clinical phases, in other words, that are being tested on humans,” said Minister Couve, who emphasized the rigor and high standards with which the trials are conducted in Chile and worldwide. 

Minister Couve explained that in addition to the Sinovac, Janssen and Oxford trials in Chile, the Public Health Institute (ISP) recently approved the clinical trial by Canadian-Chinese laboratory CanSino, under the leadership of researchers at Universidad de la Frontera and including centers from the Araucanía, Los Ríos, Los Lagos and Metropolitan regions.

“We work with maximum rigor so that science and technology benefit people’s health. We are proud of how our scientific community has come together to collaborate nationally and internationally on clinical trials that aim to protect health, save lives and put science at the service of the people,” the minister added.

Concerning the announcements by Pfizer-BioNtech, Gamaleya and Moderna, which have reported that their vaccines are more than 90% effective, Minister Couve stated, “they must be published in international scientific journals with maximum transparency to enable a careful analysis that leads regulatory institutions to approve these vaccines. So, while we do not have an approved vaccine, the call is to abide by the measures that currently enable us to protect ourselves and others: hand washing, wearing masks and social distancing.” 

When asked about the people’s willingness to be vaccinated, the minister responded emphatically: “I want to be very categorical: Vaccines save lives. Vaccines protect health. Vaccines have eradicated diseases in the world as well as in Chile. We need to trust that they are valuable tools for fighting diseases like coronavirus.”