THE Minister of Science and Innovation, Pedro Duque, has said that Spanish scientists are expected to develop a first candidate for a vaccine against COVID-19 ‘before the end of April.’
The vaccine is being researched by Luis Enjuanes and Isabel Sola at the National Biotechnology Centre of the Spanish National Research Council (CNB-CSIC).
At a press conference, the Minister of Science said the Spanish vaccine against coronavirus ‘is one of the most advanced in the world if not the most advanced’.
“There is only one other group in the world that is working on it and they are on par. It’s a special vaccine that has many possibilities of working,” he said.
Duque added that Spanish research centres are working on a second line of research that ‘is also giving very good results’.
He said Spanish science is ‘on a very good path’ to contribute to the search for a solution to COVID-19.
“We are moving forward at a promising speed. I think there is still a possibility that the vaccine will be discovered in Spain,” he said.
The minister explained that representatives of the Ministry of Science took part in a telematic meeting call on Wednesday with the Science Office of the United States White House with experts from around the world to offer a ‘complete vision’ of the treatments and vaccines that are being researched around the world in relation to COVID-19.
Duque said that even though there has been excessive reductions in the budgets dedicated to Science and Innovation in Spain in the last decade, Spain has vast experience in bacteriology and virology to aid in the fight against this new virus.
“Spanish scientists are at the same level and can be compared with those anywhere in the world,” he said.
“However, had the resources not been cut, Spain would be in a better position.”
During the press conference, when asked why Spain has 20% of the world’s cases of coronavirus despite its population of barely 47 million people. The minister explained that thanks to the Spanish health system, ‘Spain has one of the highest life expectancies in the world.’
It means there are many more senior citizens, the group most affected by the virus.
Additionally, Duque said that each country counts the deaths in a different way.
“The virus is spreading so fast that we are not sure that cases are being counted in the same way in other countries,” he concluded.