25 October, 2020

118 Racers On The Block, Who Will Win The Covid Vaccine Race?

Traditionally, a vaccine’s clinic-to-market cycle can take upwards of a decade. So it can be a long wait

118 Racers On The Block, Who Will Win The Covid Vaccine Race?
outlookindia.com
2020-06-17T10:26:27+05:30

The starting gun was sounded as far back as the weekend of January 11-12, when Chinese aut­horities released the full sequence of the COVID-19 genome. The ‘vaccine race’ has now grown to field some 118 potential candidates and seen unp­recedentedly short projected completion windows—most experts endorse a 12-18 month ‘best-case scenario’. Traditionally, a vaccine’s clinic-to-market cycle can take upwards of a decade. Though the global health emergency brought on by COVID-19 has looked like catalysing that marathon into a sprint, the race has regulatory, scientific and market hurdles to overcome: the transitionfrom proof-of-principle to commercial development will be plagued by bottlenecks. And attrition too will play its part: industry benchmarks peg the failure rate at greater than 90 per cent. No wonder the European Medicines Agency dismisses claims of a ‘cure by Christmas’.

All this unfolds against a backdrop of geopolitical tensions and ‘vaccine nationalism’—faultlines that grew wider still at...

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