The President of the Republic, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, today paid a public homage to Odette Santos-Ferreira and expressed his condolences for his death, praising “a remarkable course that pioneered research and the academy.”
The former president of the National Commission for the Fight against Aids Odette Santos-Ferreira, who pioneered the investigation of the disease in Portugal, died today at the age of 93, said official source of the Order of Pharmacists.
“The President of the Republic presents the most heartfelt condolences to his family and friends and pays tribute to Professor Odette Santos-Ferreira, praising a remarkable course that pioneered research and the academy,” read a note on the official website of the Presidency of the Republic.
The teacher, said Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, “played a fundamental role in research on AIDS in Portugal and abroad.”
“This work, which led to the identification of type 2 HIV, was perhaps the most well-known landmark in a long, persistent and remarkable course of service to science and the community,” he praised.
It is precisely this path that, “in the name of the country and the Portuguese, the President of the Republic remembers, considering that” is as a reference for Science and Health in Portugal. ”
In February of this year, Odette Santos-Ferreira was decorated by Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa in a private ceremony, receiving the Grand Cross of the Order of Public Instruction.
In the early 1980s, Odette Santos-Ferreira characterized the first cases of HIV infection in patients from Guinea-Bissau with a clinical picture of immunodeficiency, and identified a group of samples with an abnormal behavior against the diagnostic method used and which was the starting point for the discovery of type 2 HIV.
Research continues during this decade, notably at the Pasteur Institute in Paris, a world-renowned authority on the subject, which led to the discovery of type 2 HIV.
Odette Santos-Ferreira was the coordinator of the National Commission for the Fight against AIDS, a position she held from 1992 to 2000, by appointment of the Minister of Health. She has developed numerous projects with a significant impact on the prevention and dissemination of the disease.
The project of its authorship with the greatest national and international impact was the exchange of syringes in pharmacies, called “Say no to a secondhand syringe”, whose purpose was to reduce the risk of transmission of HIV and other transmissible diseases (hepatitis B and C) intravenous drug users.
This project was considered by the European Commission as the best project presented by a European country, not only for innovation, but for having been possible to develop it throughout the national territory.