The germ of innovation: The lessons from accelerated COVID-19 vaccine development

May 24, 2021
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There is one bright flicker of hope: biotech. The spread of the pandemic is being slowed by the emergence of effective vaccines that were developed and deployed in fewer than 11 months. This is an extraordinary advance from past vaccine development, which ranged from five to 10 years. Two of the first vaccines that were out of the starting gate and jabbed into arms were from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna.

The vaccines that the U.S. government scientists developed and patented have been used by Moderna and BioNTech. As Scientific American noted, “for billion-dollar COVID vaccines, basic government-funded science laid the groundwork.”

Organizational adaptation, collaboration and agility are now essential for survival in this new pandemic environment, which the successful vaccine manufacturers demonstrated in abundance.

Innovation does not occur in a vacuum. It is supported and nurtured by research universities, venture capitalists and governments.

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