Ambassador Pyatt’s Remarks at the Ministry of Health

Abbott Delivery Ceremony

Thursday, May 14, 2020, 11:00 a.m.

Καλημέρα σας.  Let me start by saying what a real pleasure it is to be here with my friend Minister Kikilias, with his Deputy, live and in person. There really is no substitute for this kind of face-to-face conversation.  I also want to start with just huge congratulations to Prime Minister Mitsotakis, to the whole cabinet for the way in which Greece has so effectively managed this global challenge of the Coronavirus pandemic.  The actions of the Greek government have saved lives, but they have also done great work to enhance Greece’s international reputation, certainly in the United States and the U.S. government.

I want to congratulate Minister Kikilias for his leadership of that effort, the Deputy Minister, but also the hundreds of Greek doctors, hospital workers, nurses, ambulance drivers, the real heroes of this story over the past several months.  This is a historic time, it’s something that we will all remember, but I think all of us at the Embassy feel lucky to be here in Greece at this particular moment, and really humbled by the service that the Greek healthcare sector has delivered.

Minister Kikilias and I have been in close contact over these weeks on a variety of issues related to the U.S. government’s response, the role of American companies, American technology, but also the Greek government response, and how we work together to confront this global challenge, because it is clearly a challenge that has to be met jointly.

I want to thank Abbott Corporation for its close collaboration with the Greek Ministry of Health.  Abbott embodies the world-leading technology of the American pharmaceutical and healthcare industries.  It is a reflection of the innovative spirit of the U.S. business environment and the unique capabilities that American companies bring.

Just a few days ago, we heard America’s top epidemiologist, Dr. Anthony Fauci, thank Greece for its role as one of the countries that Gilead’s Remdesivir is being trialed in as a potential treatment for the Coronavirus, and there are so many other levels of cooperation between our two countries as we work on this challenge.

The Stavros Niarchos Foundation has provided a generous grant of $3 million to Rockefeller University in New York for its work on COVID-19.

And even as we meet today, there are thousands of researchers across the United States working in our world-leading pharmaceutical industries, in our government and university laboratories, and in hundreds of different locations to identify COVID-19 therapies and hopefully soon to find a vaccine.

As Dr. Fauci warned in comments just the other day, the timing of this effort is not certain, but the prospects of success are very high.  And I know that U.S. industry, American researchers, and our global companies like Abbott; Pfizer, which is growing its presence in Thessaloniki; Abbvie, which already has a clinical trials hub here in Athens, are going to lead the way.

As Greek businesses begin to open up the economy again—something I was discussing with Minister Georgiadis just yesterday—and as we look towards the summer tourism season, we agree on the importance of accurate testing so that our officials and our scientists can continue to make informed decisions about the public health and safety aspects of this period of the Coronavirus crisis.

So I’m very excited about Abbott’s delivery of 200,000 COVID-19 antibody tests to the Ministry of Health.

To be clear, this is a commercial purchase, but it required significant coordination between the Ministry and Abbott, and the Embassy was pleased to help facilitate this.  We hope this delivery of these tests will aid Greece through this critical next phase of battling the virus and restarting the Greek economy.

And rest assured, the United States and Greece are going to continue to work on this problem together.  We will solve it together, and we will move forward as allies and the closest of partners.  Ευχαριστώ πολύ.

Abbott Labs COVID-19 Test Kits

Press Statement 

Καλημέρα.  Ιt was my great pleasure this morning to be able to see Minister Kikilias and the rest of the team.  I started by offering my sincere congratulations to the Prime Minister, to the whole team of the Health Ministry, but also to the hundreds of Greek doctors and nurses, ambulance drivers, and healthcare professionals who have performed so heroically in the response to this Coronavirus pandemic.

The United States is strongly committed to our partnership with Greece as we jointly work to defeat this disease, and the event the Minister and I participated in today with the delivery of 200,000 rapid tests from Abbott Laboratories for the antibody of Coronavirus is a perfect example of how American technology and American researchers and laboratories and companies continue to lead the way.

We are committed to doing everything we can jointly with Greece to defeat this disease, and I think Greece will continue to have an important role leveraging its own research capabilities, the excellence of its healthcare professionals, and the opportunities which we believe will emerge as we work together to both deal with the terrible challenge and the terrible cost that this disease has imposed on the world, but also to work for the future at the task of economic recovery in Greece that the United States is committed to supporting.

Thank you very much, ευχαριστώ πολύ!