A world research center, with funding from all countries to catch the signs of any new pandemics in the bud and intervene promptly, joining forces as was done at CERN to discover the Higgs boson: one year after the first diagnosis of Covid-19 in Italy, physicist Giorgio Parisi points to research as the main weapon to counter future crises such as the one unleashed in the world by the Covid-19 pandemic.
More than a center with a centralized structure such as CERN, "it would be necessary to have a network of research centers located in individual countries but with centralized funding from all nations", Parisi told ANSA.
"It is something that I believe is fundamental, together with a global pandemic plan: we have seen - he continues - that pandemic plans do not exist at the level of individual countries".
While preparing the pandemic plan is the task of the World Health Organization (WHO), "going in the direction of a global research system is essential to have first-rate research centers close to the most critical areas in the event of a pandemic, in which research is carried out in all directions on a very wide spectrum: it is from basic research that unexpected discoveries sometimes arrive. Just think of the mRna vaccines, which were born for tumors and are now used against the SarsCoV2 virus, such as those of Pfizer -BioNTech and Modern ".
A 360-degree search would also allow us to defend ourselves from unexpected enemies: "now we are all afraid of viruses, but there are also bacteria resistant to antibiotics, a topic on which research is slow, and the next pandemic is not certain to arrive. from there: we need to rethink biomedical research ".
A global research center with dislocated facilities would also allow "to carry out monitoring activities on site", continues Parisi.
"There are still many open questions and many rumors, all to be verified, and there is a lack of knowledge on the contagion, which requires large-scale research. It was not easy even to discover the Higgs boson but thanks to a large research center it was possible: this is why it is important to invest in research, in all directions ".
In the balance of one year from the first diagnosis in Italy, delays emerge
An initial underestimation that led to the accumulation of delays in the management of the Covid-19 pandemic all over the world and which still occur in vaccination campaigns: a situation, Parisi notes, common to many countries.
"Italy is no worse off than other countries: it is a common problem. Several mistakes have been made, such as an initial sense of security of being able to stop the disease. The fact is - he notes - that in Italy and in other countries there is no decided to do the only sensible measure, namely molecular tests on all viral pneumonia ".
There was therefore, he adds, "an underestimation" that has led many countries, including Italy, to act "with one or two weeks of delay", probably dictated by the "tendency to wait to take unpopular measures without seeming necessary ".
But "if we wait for the epidemic to spread, it becomes late. If we had focused more on research we would have had fewer problems".
The problem is that "we have deluded ourselves on many things: vaccines have been taken a little lightly, thinking only of vaccination and not of booster, and so are mutations, because if it is true that SarsCoV2 is a virus that mutates little , it is also true that the more it spreads, the more it changes, as all viruses do ".
Furthermore, "there have been delays in all crises, from decisions on lockdown to genetic sequencing, which we have been talking about since June and which only now, perhaps, will we be able to do under the pressure of variants. If we had only started in January, when the variants were less common, it would have been better. "