The National Executive Council has gone ahead to approve the 10.2 million kina COVID-19 research project despite a huge negative reaction from the public.
As stated on the 29th of October that he would make a full announcement when the entire cabinet process to approve the 10.2 million kina for COVID research is complete, PNG Prime Minister, James Marape late yesterday announced this decision in a statement on his Facebook page.
Marape maintained his stand, that local scientists and researchers should be supported and that he is not here to kill research and ingenuity.
In announcing this NEC decision, Marape in the statement said the money will be made available to assist in COVID19 drug research, procurement of sample drugs and development of research laboratories plus trial of drugs if approved by the Health Department.
He said the release of this statement now completes the entire process in as far as him signing the NEC decision.
Marape further stated that this pursuit to research COVID-19 drugs was a genuine one by local scientists and he will continue to support Papua New Guineans through a state sanctioned process.
He said the company Niugini Biomed’s name had to be mentioned in the NEC Paper and decision because they felt their intellectual properties need to be secured.
Marape further stated that the fund envelope approved is not for the company but the program that will be properly supervised by relevant State authorities.
He adds this decision will not give away a cheque of K10.2 million to the researching firm, but for the entire work to start and that will involve collaboration between the Health department, UPNG, PNGIMR and others.
And if the medical and scientific community through peer review gives okay, he says the next phase of the work will proceed and that will involve drugs procurement, laboratory mix and trial among others.
“I ask all our doctors, all our scientist, this is an opportunity for you all to pull together to look into the area of science and research as a pursuit of economic value too.”
“We have been having conferences and symposiums for 45 years, let us now move into the next phase for actual discoveries of cure.”
“I believe we have enough intellectual capacities in our country for such a pursuit, and it may not be just for COVID 19 but any other human and animal medicines or plant pesticides into the future. “
“Tell me I am dreaming again but into the future the world will look for medicines, organic food, clean water and air; we have them in abundance in PNG.” PM Marape says.
Of the K10.2 million, bulk of the fund will be channelled towards rebuilding of science faculty laboratories in UPNG for this work and future research.