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

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

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

GIORGIO PALU (GP): Yes, there’s a massive dialogue about Sputnik V due to a research by Lancet, which got here out in February. That research was properly carried out, and the end result was an efficacy of 91-92%…I do know that the file of Sputnik was despatched to the EMA (European Medicines Agency) for analysis. Another pure step will probably be an inspection of the manufacturing websites. Therefore, I believe that the approval course of will nonetheless take a number of months earlier than a last inexperienced mild is given.

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

GP: India can also be producing vaccines, they do it for AstraZeneca as properly, however on this case, the EMA or AIFA (the Italian Medicines Agency) or the FDA (the US’ Food and Drug Administration) should examine the manufacturing websites. The EMA might then delegate somebody from AIFA or from Germany or France’s pharma businesses to hold out an onsite analysis in an effort to see if the heaps are produced on the similar tempo. When you go to examine a manufacturing unit, it’s important to make sure that the product can also be the identical. It then has to all the time 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). Finally, you will need to have the identical processes validated by the pharma home. We have to go to the manufacturing website and verify all the normal operations for the manufacturing of the vaccine.

NE: What is the state of affairs relating to monoclonal antibodies?

GP: I personally fought for his or her use, and I discovered assist from Italy’s Health Minister Roberto Speranza, in an effort to undertake an EU directive integrated by a nationwide draft regulation in 2006. It was used for the Ebola emergency. In 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 travel?

GP: This concept can also be supported by the ECDC, we’ve to be pro-active about it. We are in the course of an emergency that features the circulation of products and folks. As a end result, we have to go on this path. Remember,  not all the nations 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 the parameters for the EU vaccine passport will probably be to incorporate individuals who already had the virus and have developed antibodies. Do you suppose that this can be a good technique?

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

NE: There is a giant dialogue in Europe about particular person nations throughout the EU shopping for vaccines out of the European Union’s circuit. What do you consider such initiatives?

GP: We are sure by a European treaty. This was a really cheap concept, and once I was in Brussels, we mentioned the potential for putting in a single procurement for influenza vaccines. This system had the aim of lowering prices and centralizing purchases and distribution. Now we’ve to acknowledge that this method hasn’t work properly and all people is complaining. Even Italy’s Prime Minister, (Mario) Draghi, desires to maintain the vaccines in Europe and to not export them exterior the bloc. If Austria and Denmark determined to purchase vaccines exterior the EU, they have been capable of do it as a result of there may be an EU regulation that in emergency situations, permits for such distinctive measures. In any case, I believe that Europe remains to be in wishful pondering mode. We nonetheless want to build up a single procurement plan, and that is the time to do it. The particular person nations 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.