MIL OSI Translation. Region: Germany / Deutschland –
Source: CDU CSU
Madam President! Dear Colleagues! As a biochemist, I would really like to cheer loudly when it comes to the fact that medical biotechnology is more strongly supported and promoted in Germany; because I know how important it can be for the future of medicine. The medical application possibilities of so-called mRNA technologies are in fact almost limitless.
The federal government is also already supporting them. I would now like to cite just a small example, because I found what the minister said at the beginning of the debate to be remarkable: The German government is funding BioNTech with vaccine development with almost 400 million euros. – 400 million euros! Minister Wissing has just impressively demanded how important it is to support these technologies financially. According to a request from the state parliament, the state of Rhineland-Palatinate is funding BioNTech with 500,000 euros. I would say: At this point, words and actions speak different languages.
Let’s get back to “messenger RNA”. Behind the admittedly somewhat cumbersome term there is, for example, the possibility of treating certain genetic diseases without us – that’s the exciting thing about the topic – interfering with the DNA, i.e. our genetic material. We can use mRNA to turn our own body cells into small factories. These factories then produce medicines that help cure diseases that you yourself are suffering from. We can use mRNA to give our immune system the blueprint for antigens so that the immune system can then ensure that infectious diseases can be fought effectively or – I actually think that is almost much better – that the immune reaction, for example, attacks and kills tumor cells and we ideally, can cure cancer with the help of this technology.
I know it all sounds a bit like science fiction; but in the last few months all of these things that I have spoken of as examples have become tangible. As crazy as it may sound, we are facing a great revolution in very, very many areas of medicine. That is why I say very clearly: Of course we have to support these developments. Of course, we have to make sure that we don’t just cross the finish line from the top position that we currently have a bit; rather, it is about developing strategies that allow us to extend the lead we have at the moment.
To be honest, my dear colleagues from the FDP, it seems to me that you quickly shook the motion that you presented today off your sleeve. The action plan is certainly well meant. To be honest, for me it is a little too much action, a little too little plan, too little strategy, too little common thread. From my point of view, it’s not about putting as much money as possible into any programs that come to mind as quickly as possible.
I would like more: I would like a program that takes a comprehensive look at all areas in this context, that ranges from basic research to application, that also promotes the training of young scientists, etc., and so on. If we all succeed , then we still need a good science communication strategy. Because how do we want to explain to people that it is important to invest a lot of money in an area that hardly anyone can fully understand and that, to be honest, sometimes unsettles people? We are already noticing with the Covid-19 vaccine that we have to explain an incredible amount in order to be able to reduce the diffuse fears that exist in parts of the population.
This is precisely why we have to think about this area in a comprehensive strategy; because only with broad acceptance can the result become a medical, but also an economic success; my colleague Mario Brandenburg ought to know that too. It is important – this has just been mentioned by Kees de Vries – that such methods can be experienced by everyone so that they can also be understood. We have just completed this laboratory course on CRISPR / Cas and have seen that the practical work increases our understanding of these new technologies.
We need to work to ensure that more citizens have the chance to have a better look at these technologies. So I would be happy if some of my colleagues catch up on this course at some point and get a deeper understanding of these technologies; because if we want to make important decisions in this area, we should have a basic understanding of it. Honestly, I wasn’t so sure about one or the other speech we heard today.
(Applause from the CDU / CSU and members of the SPD)
Vice President Petra Pau:
Staffler, please watch your time.
Katrin Staffler (CDU / CSU):
Last paragraph. – With its motion, the FDP has presented something that goes in the right direction. I look forward to further developing the topic in the future so that it becomes a great success for our health, for our science location and above all for our future.
Thank you very much.
(Applause from the CDU / CSU as well as from Carsten Schneider [Erfurt] [SPD])
EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is a translation. Apologies should the grammar and / or sentence structure not be perfect.