«We are already out of the pandemic. We woke up to a new day where we live with a new one virus and consequently we should use le from time to time masks indoors, we should use i green pass for a while longer, but we had a normal summer, we are here chatting quietly ». She is convinced of it Antonella Viola. “We must adapt to a new coexistence – explains the immunologist from the University of Padua -, but we do not continue to think that we are still in an emergency, because otherwise the real emergency will become pandemic anxiety in people” is the invitation of Viola who believes and has always made scientific popularization.
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And of the scientists who have suddenly become stars for the coronavirus emergency, what do you think? “I think it was important to be there because we were the narrators of what was happening. I don’t think we would have reached the same vaccination rate if we hadn’t been saying every day that vaccines are safe, they don’t change DNA and so on. Hundreds of people write to me “I got vaccinated because she said so”. Science has always been absent from televisions, newspapers, communication and we paid dearly for this because we found ourselves completely unprepared when the pandemic broke out: we didn’t have a pandemic plan, we didn’t have masks ”explains the immunologist and professor of general pathology at the University of Padua.
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Viola spoke to Ansa in Pordenonelegge with the children’s book “Virus game. From attack to defense: how the human body is protected ”(Mondadori) written with Federico Taddia and with“ Danzare nella tempest ”(Feltrinelli), both dedicated to how the immune system works. “I lived my call to the public, to communication, as a mission not only for Covid, to tell what was happening, but to give a voice to science. We have all seen that our society if it does not have, I am not saying a guide, because I do not believe it, but the contribution of science to politics, to important decisions, finds itself then, when the emergency arrives, completely unprepared. And this is why I continue to go on television even now. We had the opportunity to be present in the public debate and we cannot lose it, ”he says.
But why has there been this exclusion so far? “The scientist is seen as a bit of a technician, as something weird, isolated. And then there is no scientific culture in our country. He has always pushed towards the artistic literary culture, but never towards the scientific one. It has always been of little interest to the audience. Then the scientist is one who announces catastrophes and politics is not interested in long-term problems, but only in the immediate, while science is concerned with the long term, this is the real difference, so it is better not to listen to us ». Among the scientists there have been different positions on the coronavirus. Don’t you think they created a bit of confusion? “There were different positions in the first phase of the pandemic because we did not know exactly what was happening. Science is doubtful, all the more so with regard to a completely new thing. There were those who said “it is a trivial influence”, who “is a very serious thing”. It was a phase of confusion due to the fact that some colleagues were wrong. Some have been given too much space. The problem is that the pandemic has been spectacularized, ”says Viola, who spares no accusations even against journalism.
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“In the second phase, things changed. Today we are all aligned. The differences are very subtle. They are differences of style, of personality, not of scientific content »he adds. Making citizens aware is the first and most important step for Viola. For this he wrote “Virus game” and “Dancing in the storm”. «By understanding the immune system, I hope that children can approach vaccination in a serene way. The book is built like a video game and the immune system lends itself well to this game-like narrative. With Taddia we thought of inserting a test between one level and another just like in video games. “Dancing in the storm” is more complex, for an adult audience, with a different narrative, a little personal, linked to my approach, to my history as a scientist. All-round it touches on the great current issues of biomedical research ».