Financing and Scaling Innovation for the COVID Fight: A Closer Look at Demand-Side Incentives for a Vaccine   [open pdf - 817KB]

From the Document: "A safe and effective vaccine would be enormously valuable, but the longer development timeline (at least 12-18 months) creates large market risk for potential developers (would people want to buy it?) on top of substantial scientific risk (would the product work?). By the time a vaccine comes to market, perhaps no one would want or need it anymore. What if the disease dies out naturally (as happened with SARS [severe acute respiratory syndrome] or MERS [Middle East respiratory syndrome-related coronavirus]), is fully controlled (like the 2014/2015 West African Ebola outbreak), or enough people contract it and recover to establish herd immunity, perhaps as a result of a managed strategy of using testing to enable social distancing measures to be relaxed and economic activity revived? What if someone else comes to market first with a better vaccine and a company's up-front investment was for nothing? What if we have enough affordable and effective therapeutic options available to manage the threat of COVID-19 [coronavirus disease], such that a vaccine is no longer needed? These are all great outcomes for society at large--but highly problematic if you're a company considering whether potential R&D [research & development] costs are likely to be justified by ex post facto sales of a successful product, and therefore highly problematic for the global community that desperately needs a vaccine in case those scenarios do not come to pass."

Center for Global Development. Posted here with permission. Document is under a Creative Commons license and requires proper attribution and noncommercial use to be shared: [https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/]
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