In the context of the National COVID-19 Vaccine Strategy being led by the Science Ministry, Minister Andrés Couve has announced the names of the seven experts who are serving on the Scientific Advisory Committee. The entity is supporting Chile’s efforts to ensure the timely and equitable distribution of a vaccine for COVID-19.
Minister Couve explained that the team of experts has been working since early June to make progress on this strategy. They are responsible for “the task of identifying and recommending the appropriate candidates for conducting Phase III clinical trials based on scientific and technical expertise. The group will draw on our scientific community’s talent, capacity and experience in conducting this type of trials.”
The committee is comprised of doctors, researchers, and representatives of industry. Its members are Dr. María Teresa Valenzuela, Dr. Alexis Kalergis, Dr. Mario Rosemblatt, Dr. Miguel O’Ryan, Dr. Mario Calvo, Dr. Carlos Pérez and engineer and MBA holder David Farcas.
Minister Couve explained that this group of specialists works with the Inter-Ministerial Committee, which is made up of the Science Ministry, the Presidency and the Health and Foreign Affairs Ministries. “This group of specialists is evaluating candidates based on objective criteria such as level of progress, costs, benefits to Chile –such as guaranteed doses of successful vaccines or preferential pricing clauses-, the feasibility of conducting trials in our country, the volume of the population to be vaccinated and the promotion of associativity in our scientific community,” he said.
Dr. Valenzuela earned a medical degree in Surgery from Universidad de Chile. She is a Professor and Assistant Dean of Research at the Universidad de los Andes Medical School. She also holds a master’s degree in Public Health from Universidad de Chile and studied Epidemiology and Public Health. She is the Director of the Universidad de los Andes Comprehensive Center for Happy Aging. Dr. Valenzuela is a member of the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO) Expert Committee for Vaccine Preventable Diseases. She is also a member of the Ministry of Health’s COVID-19 Advisory Committee and former Director of the Chilean Public Health Institute.
Dr. Kalergis is a Professor at Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile and the Director of the Millennium Institute on Immunology and Immunotherapy (IMMI) FOCIS Center of Excellence.
He earned a degree in Biochemistry at UC and a medical degree in Immunology and Microbiology at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York. He is a member of the Chilean Academy of Sciences, received the Gold Medal from the World Intellectual Property Organization and earned the National Innovation Award (Avonni). He developed the first pediatric vaccine for Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).
Dr. Rosemblatt earned a degree in Biochemistry at Universidad de Chile and a PhD in Immunology from Wayne State University, Michigan. He is the Executive Director of Fundación Ciencia & Vida, a Professor in the Universidad de Chile Faculty of Sciences, the Director of the ANID Basal Project and a member of the Chilean Academy of Sciences.
Dr. O’Ryan is a Pediatrician with a medical degree from Universidad Católica de Chile and an Infectious Disease Degree from the University of Texas Health Science Center. He is a researcher in the field of vaccines. Dr. O’Ryan is a Professor in the Microbiology and Mycology Program at the Universidad de Chile Medical School, and is the Director of International Affairs at Universidad de Chile.
He served as the President of the Chilean Infectious Disease Society from 1998 to 1999 and is a Full Member of the Academy of Medicine, Institute of Chile.
Dr. Mario Calvo earned his medical degree at Universidad Austral de Chile in Surgery and specialized in Internal Medicine at Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile (PUC). He is a subspecialty physician in Infectious Diseases (PUC) and Intensive Medicine. Dr. Calvo is an Associate Professor at Universidad Austral de Chile, a member of the Health Ministry’s Vaccine Advisory Committee, and the Director of the Universidad Austral de Chile Medical Institute. He served as President of the Chilean Infectology Society from 2011 to 2013 and works as an Infectious Disease Specialist and Chief of Healthcare Associated Infections at Clínica Alemana de Valdivia and as an Infectious Disease Specialist at the Hospital Base Valdivia.
Dr. Carlos Pérez earned his medical degree in Surgery at Universidad de Chile and specialized in Internal Medicine at Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile (PUC). He became a specialist in Infectious Diseases after completing additional studies at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). He is a Professor and Dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Science at Universidad San Sebastián and is also a Professor of Medicine at PUC.
Dr. Pérez works as an Infectious Disease Specialist at Clínica Universidad de los Andes and is a member of the AUGE Advisory Committee.
He is the former President of the Chilean Infectology Society.
David Farcas is an industrial engineer who holds an undergraduate degree from Universidad de Chile and an MBA from University of California, Berkeley. He is the Director of Centrovet, which produces vaccines and pharmaceuticals for animals. Farcas is an entrepreneur focusing on technology who received the National Innovation Award (Avonni) for the development of the first vaccine for the ISA