EUROPE - Twenty years ago the first SARS outbreak gave the warning. But Europe has failed to prepare for the Covid-19 pandemic due to a lack of funding for drug research and may still fail to prepare for the next pandemuc, argue several prominent scientists interviewed by Stefano Valentino and Gian Paolo Accardo.

The European Union (EU) has spent billions Euro to fight the Covid crisis, but only a few millions to try to prevent it, failing to do so precisely due to shortage of funding for research. Far more lives and economic losses could have been saved, had Brussels decision-makers pursued their drugs development investment strategy implemented in the wake of the first SARS outbreak in 2003. During the period between the two outbreaks, not only in Europe but also around the World, public coffers had invested taxpayers’ money in several SARS research projects, including both drugs and vaccines, which eventually never came to public fruition due to funding cuts. When the pandemic started and public finance was made available again, some of these promising projects were resumed and their inhibitors proved to be effective to a certain extent also against Covid, showing that sustained research efforts could have made a difference. Two decades after the first SARS, such a shortsighted emergency-based approach still seems to prevail, possibly leaving European citizens unprotected against future threats. 

Stefano Valentino

Stefano Valentino is a freelance investigative journalist based in Brussels. He specializes in the environment and green economy.

Gian Paolo Accardo

Italian-Dutch journalist Gian Paolo Accardo is co-founder and editor-in-chief of the European independent and multilingual news site Voxeurop.
Gian Paolo Accardo
€ 7.800 allocated on 13/12/2021.