New York Times

Opinion: In the Race for a Coronavirus Vaccine, We Must Go Big. Really, Really Big.

We should commit tens of billions toward a program.
By Susan Athey, Michael Kremer, Christopher Snyder and Alex Tabarrok
May 4, 2020   /   4 Minute Read
NYT Article - Coronavirus

Originally published on May 4, 2020 in the New York Times here. Below is an excerpt from the article: 

The Covid-19 virus has killed over 200,000 people, overwhelmed health systems and confined billions of people in their homes. Large sections of the world economy have been locked down.

We are desperate for a vaccine, and research is underway around the world toward that goal. However, the challenge facing us has been underestimated. Vaccines often take 10 years to bring to market. We want a new vaccine as fast as possible, where each month matters.

The fact is that starting from the early stages of development, most vaccines fail. We cannot afford to fail, so we need to plan for success. To do that, we must think and invest as ambitiously as we can — and that means in a Covid vaccine advance market commitment.

The A.M.C. model was proposed in the early 2000s. And in 2007, the pneumococcus advance market commitment guaranteed vaccine manufacturers sales at a fixed price in return for an effective vaccine. It led to the successful development and distribution of hundreds of millions of doses of vaccine and saved an estimated 700,000 lives.

Today, the U.S. government could go big and create a Covid-19 vaccine A.M.C., guaranteeing to spend about $70 billion on new vaccines — enough to make direct investments to support capacity installation or to repurpose capacity and to pay, say, $100 per person for the first 300 million people vaccinated.

You can find the entire article here.

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