28 May 2020 – As the number of COVID-19 cases hits 5.4 million globally, the race is on to find treatments and a vaccine. At the joint MBC-USABC event “Crisis Mode R&D”, the Philippine heads of three global pharmaceutical companies — Beaver Tamesis of MSD; Jean-Antoine Zinsou from Sanofi Pasteur; and Zainab Sadat of GSK — shed light on the challenges of vaccine research and development in crisis-mode.
Despite the toll on human life, COVID-19 is bringing pharmaceutical collaboration to new heights. Research institutions, private foundations, and previously fierce competitors join hands and join technologies to develop innovative vaccines in less than half the time.
Yet, Zinsou, Sadat and Tamesis emphasize that vaccine development is only half the battle. The governments of the Philippines and many other countries need to prepare as early as now to acquire it and allocate it first to the most vulnerable, as well as correct lingering aversion to vaccines.