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Patrick Couvreur

Emeritus Professor of Pharmacy, Paris-Saclay University, France

Couvreur is a member of the French Académie des Sciences and holder of the Chair of Innovations Technologiques (2009-2010) at the prestigious Collège de France. In 2009, he was appointed as a Senior Member of the Institut Universitaire de France.

“I find that the COVID-19 crisis has given researchers, financiers, and industrialists an extraordinary lesson. The mRNA vaccine represents, indeed, an extraordinary scientific and technological revolution. It is perhaps the greatest discovery of the century.

What is the most interesting or little-known fact about you? 

When I was a pharmacy student in Belgium and I was doing my internship in a community pharmacy, I was not very motivated by the dispensing of drugs at the counter. So my supervisor asked me to take care of compounding, which I liked. One day, I had a patient who was a pigeon fancier and played at releasing pigeons. However, his pigeons never won any races. I suggested to him to prepare a mini pill with an amphetamine derivative to help the pigeon to win. However, the dose was too high and it did not work: the pigeon stopped out of breath after about 20 km. So I decided to coat the pill by sticking a needle in the pill and dipping it in a polymer solution to get a coating and a prolonged release of the drug.  His pigeon won the grand prize. Afterwards, many pigeon fanciers came to the pharmacy to get my preparation. I didn't know at the time of this internship that I would later embark on an academic career in drug delivery and galenical research. This is not a very politically correct story and it is obvious that I would not do such things anymore!

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