Threat of science being forgotten after the pandemic

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Fabiola Gianotti, the director general of CERN’s scientific research center, told CNBC she was concerned that science could be largely forgotten in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

“Of course there is a risk, the risk of one day the crisis [is] about science being put back in its little box or in a drawer to be taken out in the next crisis, and that is unsustainable, so big challenges cannot be tackled, “said Gianotti Steve Sedgwick of CNBC on Friday at the annual Ambrosetti Forum on the shores of Lake Como in Italy.

However, she believed that much had been learned from the pandemic and that the world was not the same. Gianotti hoped that the world would not return to the “old normal” but that a “new normal” would emerge based on positive principles that emerged from this crisis, such as cooperation.

To ensure that this collaboration continues, especially in light of the debate about waiving coronavirus vaccine patents, Gianotti said it was important to have a dialogue between governments and the private sector.

Both the Biden government and the European Parliament have supported the waiver of intellectual property protection for Covid-19 vaccines to give countries more affordable access. However, pharmaceutical lobbyists have resisted the proposed exemptions.

The Director General of the European Center for Nuclear Research (CERN), Fabiola Gianotti, gives a speech during an event to mark the 30th anniversary of the World Wide Web on March 12, 2019 at CERN in Meyrin near Geneva.

Fabrice Coffrini | AFP | Getty Images

Gianotti said discussions between the public and private sectors are important to ensure that “the common good takes precedence, that the long-term shared vision of what is important to humanity takes precedence”. [over] personal, individual, national, entrepreneurial interests. “

She was of the opinion that in the future a “Values ​​First Approach” should be pursued, in which society commits itself to guaranteeing “science and knowledge” [are] accessible to all. “

Gianotti stressed that one of the main lessons learned from the pandemic was that such crises increase inequality around the world and widen the gap between developed and developing countries, and those with and without access to “education, technology and health care”.