The scientific research center CERN’s director-general, Fabiola Gianotti, has expressed her concern that the world will largely forget science after the COVID-19 pandemic.
Talking to CNBC’s Steve Sedgwick on Lake Como on Italy’s shores, Gianotti said that there is a danger that when the crisis will get over, the world will put science back into a drawer, only to take it out when another crisis arises. She said that this wasn’t a sustainable way to address challenges.
CERN director: The World Will Forget Science After The Pandemic
She said she believes that the world wasn’t the same after the pandemic and a lot has been learned. She said she doesn’t want the world to go back to its old normal, she rather expects a new normal to develop that is built on principles and not a crisis.
Gianotti believes that a discussion should be carried out between the private sector and the governments to ensure the continuation of this collaboration, especially when there are ongoing debates over vaccines against the coronavirus.
In May, the Biden government announced its encouragement granting intellectual property protection for vaccines against coronavirus. It was amidst countries struggling to produce enough doses.
Katherine Tai, the United States Trade Representative, wrote that in the global crisis, extraordinary situations ask for extraordinary measures. She said that the government believes in protecting intellectual property, but to end this pandemic, supports granting these vaccines protection.
Tedros Adhanom, the director-general of the World Health Organization, applauded this decision, quoting it as White House’s moral leadership to battle the pandemic till its end.
However, this decision wasn’t appreciated by many lobbyists. Several lobbying groups representing giant pharmaceutical companies campaigned against Joe Biden’s decision.
A political advocacy group, the Pharmaceutical Research, and Manufacturers of America, or PhRMA, which represents more than 30 giants including Johnson & Johnson and Moderna, ran an ad campaign on Google and Facebook against the president’s decision.
Advocates of granting patent protection argued that this decision allowed backward countries to speed up coronavirus vaccines’ production.
A spokesperson of PhRMA said that biopharmaceutical research companies are devoted to accomplishing impartial COVID-19 vaccines accessibility, and for this very reason, they had been instructing policymakers and people about the functioning efforts to equate to global vaccine demand’s supply, and the risk of granting protection to intellectual property and the need to discuss real reasons of vaccine inequity.
Their digital ad targeted president Biden by name. It read as a harmful vaccine stance of Biden, and another called it a damaging stance of Biden. According to Google’s ad transparency report, the ads were up live on Google for around five days.
Ad archives from Google showed that the ads cost around $1,000 to $50,000. According to data from Google, both the companies targeted Washington DC. The ad said that this policy will not save lives around the world but would damage the American people. A Hill-HarrisX survey found that 57% of people who took the poll voted against the waiver.
Pointing this out, Gianotti said that discussions between the private and public sectors were necessary to achieve collective good that prevails for the long-term and is based on a shared goal of fulfilling the needs of humanity, their corporate, national, individual, and personal interests.
Gianotti said that she believes in adopting an approach that puts values first, where the society pledges to access science and knowledge to all.
She highlighted that the main lesson learned by the pandemic was that when such a crisis envelops the world, inequities widen in countries. The gaps between the developing and developed nations broaden, and the countries with little or no access to technology, education, and health care suffer.