His biographer André Besson called Louis Pasteur “an adventurer of science”. The scientist, who died in 1895, traced his intense career in Lille and Paris at the institute that bears his name, which opened in 1888 and in which our great Oswaldo Cruz was the first Brazilian to study. He lived with the basic discipline of the researcher and the stubbornness of curiosity, with clear and rational goals that demanded grandeur when disappointed, and the admission of mistakes. His experiences range from pure alcoholic fermentation, splitting sugar into alcohol and carbonic acid, fermentation of milk, viticulture practices, transmission of infectious diseases, all the way to his seminal discovery, rabies vaccine. This earned him admission to the French Academy of Medicine, in a tight vote, and he was not without prejudice for not being a trained physician.
Bison describes him as an adventurer in the other sense of the superficial, but out of dread to search, in completely new areas, for answers to his carefully written and presented queries and observations. An example of conscience and public spirit deserving to inspire everybody today – scholars, public policymakers and politicians.
Where human emotions are allowed to interfere, an unpredictable domain turns into absurdity. We have seen sadness, and more of bewilderment, in the ongoing arguments about the CPI, despite the importance of the necessary clarifications suggested by the committee. Science and adventure are mixed with impunity in a tangle of quotes, which sometimes lead public opinion, really, very confused and in need of solace in the face of the tragedy we are going through, to receive it as facts, or at least doubts, scientific facts of which have been overcome.
The most unfortunate example is the use of a clinical study conducted in March 2020, in Manaus, by a group of experienced researchers, when the city was developing towards the first epidemic peak observed in Brazil. A kind of scapegoat, or smokescreen, has been mentioned to mask the fulcrum of the most important discussion regarding the ambiguous use of drugs that have been shown to have no effect and harmful effects on Covid-19. Still under the influence of the first Chinese and French studies with chloroquine, and under a rigorous methodology, approved by all national principles and ethical situations, controlled by an independent security group, as well as the best clinical trials, the Brazilian study has been published with great influence in a medical journal (inclusive) and is considered one of the best Ten research papers for this year. Good and happy results are not the goal of science, but the revealed truth is what makes the difference between it and fictional or adventure novels.
When the story of the pandemic is written, and there will be many, in the most diverse areas, it is imperative that it be told as it was, illuminated or ambiguous, but without prejudice or biased interpretations. This will be refuted in light of science, without the right to risk.