In a highly symbolic gesture, just a few days before the anniversary year's commencement, the Committee "Greece 2021" proceeded to the sponsorship of the research for the development of a "live" drug against coronavirus. The project runs at the Hematology Clinic of "Papanikolaou" Hospital in Thessaloniki. It is a unique endeavor, innovative and groundbreaking, that opens a window of optimism to the future and brings Greek scientists to the front line of global scientific research in the fight against the pandemic. The Committee has decided to sponsor the research, based on the fact that one of its main objectives is to promote projects that create a legacy for the future.
The official announcement of the sponsorship was made in a teleconference held between the Hospital Administration, the Hematology Clinic's research team, and the President of the Committee "Greece 2021" Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki.
Practical support to a Public Organization
In her statement, the Director of the Hospital, Maria Yokatzi, thanked the Committee for the grant which will allow the research to be carried out and spoke of a historic day for "Papanikolaou" Hospital. "A very significant funding is announced, toward the development of a drug against a disease that has afflicted the entire planet and has caused the loss of many lives. What you are doing is even more important to us because it signifies practical support to an organization of the Public Health System, which we all serve and trust," she said, adding: "I want to commend the Committee "Greece 2021" for the manner in which you choose to honor the 200 years after the Revolution. People use their history to build on. Still, they must also appreciate what emerges along the way. They must respect and honor the visionaries of each era and plan with foresight and caution."
A "live" drug against covid-19
During the teleconference, the two researchers, Anastasia Papadopoulou and Evangelia Giannaki, presented in simple words all the information about the new drug they aspire to develop. As Mrs. Papadopoulou said, "T-lymphocytes are our body's defense against infections from various viruses." As the preclinical research has shown, patients whose body multiplies corona-specific T-lymphocytes fight the disease with good results. On the contrary, patients who cannot multiply the T-lymphocytes often end up in the ICU and may even expire. "After we made this observation," Mrs. Papadopoulou continued, "we wanted to see if we can give the patients who do not develop their own defense, instant, natural immunity. We drew blood from recovered patient-donors and used it to cultivate coronal T-lymphocytes, which, in the laboratory, seem to be effective."
The Hematology Clinic of "Papanikolaou" has obtained experience from the battle of T-lymphocytes against infections, which, together with the results of the preclinical research so far, makes scientists particularly optimistic. "For symbolic reasons, the product will be developed from recovered health workers, and we will then administer it to high-risk patients. Our goal is a safe and effective cellular product for the treatment of coronavirus. We hope that soon, and also thanks to your help, we will be able to produce it," said Mrs. Giannaki.
"The Committee's response has freed us."
In the teleconference, the Coordinating Director of the Hematology Clinic of "Papanikolaou" Achilleas Anagnostopoulos expressed strong emotion. "Your immediate response freed us from great distress and also solved a moral issue for us. We knew from previous experience obtained while using the same method on other viruses, that the results were very satisfactory, reaching 90%. We watched our fellowmen getting seriously ill and losing their lives. Both we and future patients who will benefit from the effective impact of this living cell, are grateful to you," he said.
Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki: Your research sends a message of confidence, hope, and optimism
"We are grateful to you," Committee President Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki said in her statement, "since your research, in addition to the obvious benefits for public health, also carries great symbolism: that during the anniversary year, at the beginning of the third century of the modern Greek State, a group of outstanding Greek scientists sends a message of confidence, pride, hope and optimism, something we all so desperately need."
"Your research opens new ways and creates a beneficial legacy. And this was the main reason we wanted to support it. It is a scientific effort that, if it becomes as successful as the results indicate so far, will further equip our armory against the pandemic and allow us to brace ourselves as a society even more – in combination, of course, with the vaccine", stated the President of the Committee, underlining that the project places the Greek scientists at the international foreground. "Your work promotes modern Greece, its people, scientists, and institutions, which is a goal of our Committee, as well," she said.
Mrs. Angelopoulos mentioned with great pride the central role that female researchers played in this project and concluded: "We stand by your side. We hope that everything will run smoothly and that your research will create valuable scientific capital for the future. We are proud that through the Committee's "Greece 2021" sponsorship, we, too, contribute to this great project."