There is a dome of vaccines, which has turned the fight against dangerous viruses into business, ensuring the enrichment and career of public officials. It is the conclusion of the Rome prosecutor's office, which closed the eight-year investigation, confirming the investigation published by "l'Espresso" last April. In the list of 41 suspects, who are now at risk of trial, there are prominent names that have managed veterinary safety in the last decade. Among them, there is the virologist Ilaria Capua, now a member of the Civic Choice parliament, who has always rejected the accusations. And above all there is Romano Mirabelli, promoted a few weeks ago by the minister Beatrice Lorenzin to the position of secretary general of the Ministry of Health despite "Espresso" having revealed his involvement in the affair.
The Roman prosecutors led by Deputy Prosecutor Giancarlo Capaldo divided the process into two strands. The first concerns measures to fight avian, the epidemic of chickens which in some forms can also affect humans. The second, on the other hand, relates to the blue tongue, a disease that mainly affects sheep and has decimated farms in Sardinia.
Precisely on this front, the prosecutors hypothesize that the introduction in 2003 of a South African production vaccine never tested in Italy contributed to spreading the epidemic in our country "causing the spread in most Italian herds of the virus causing significant damage to the heritage national zootechnical ". A decision that would have been taken by Mirabelli, at the time general director of the ministry's veterinary department, and by Vincenzo Caporale, director of the zooprophylactic institute of Abruzzo and Molise.
The complaints of corruption, disclosure of official secrecy and ideological falsity are instead linked to the campaigns to fight the "blue tongue" in the years from 2006 to 2009. During which according to prosecutors the company Merial Italia would have been favored, even with "false claims" through the sale of "large quantities of vaccine not necessary for national needs, and in particular to the Region of Sardinia , causing property damage of two and a half million euros ».
The chapter on avian is also disturbing, in which Capua is called into question and the activity of the zooprophylactic institute of the Venice of Padua. Magistrates believe that there was a criminal association aimed at the use of "Highly pathogenic avian influenza viruses of type H9 and H7N3, of illicit origin, in order to produce in clandestine form, without the ministerial authorization required, medicinal products for veterinary use, subsequently proceeding, still in illicit form, to their marketing and administration to poultry animals of intensive breeding ".
It is precisely the trafficking of viruses, sent secretly from other countries, that "L'Espresso" denounced on its cover.
The investigation was the result of a report by the American authorities, who had discovered that uncontrolled viruses collected in the Arab countries were sent to the USA from the Italian branch of the multinational Merial. The aim was to prepare vaccines to be placed on the market before the competition, in order to multiply the profits. In front of the investigators the manager Paolo Candoli had admitted the traffic, then he had returned to Italy continuing his activity. But the report sent by the US in 2005 triggered the investigations of the Nas carabinieri, who thanks to long telephone interceptions, revealed the activities in our country of this "criminal association". For the carabinieri, from some interceptions “it appears evident that the smuggling of the viral strains of avian influenza, carried out by the Experimental Zooprophylactic Institute of the Venezie, in the persons of Ilaria Capua, Stefano Marangon and Giovanni Cattoli, with the help of the husband of the Dr. Capua, Richard William John Currie, constitutes in fact a serious and concrete danger to public health for the failure to comply with the biosafety standards ".
Now after the decision of the Rome prosecutor requests for Minister Lorenzin to suspend Mirabelli are multiplying from the position of secretary general. The senator of Sel Loredana De Petris underlined how the investigations reveal the existence of a dome "which has guided the choices in the field of vaccines for the exclusive benefit of a private company". On the same line Mauro Pili, Sardinian deputy former PDL and now leader of Unidos, who speaks of "unprecedented serious scandal because it was built with the silence of many, both nationally and regionally".
Pili, with an urgent question, asks the Commissioner for the management of measures against the blue language.
"We no longer count the opportunities wasted by Minister Lorenzin, and this is only the last" insists Claudio Giustozzi, secretary of the association "Giuseppe Dossetti:" his silence on the responsibilities in particular of his ministry is disconcerting and worrying. We believe that all those who should receive notices of guarantee have the civil and moral sense of self-suspension from the position ».