With COVID-19, the novel strain of the coronavirus, touching almost every continent, the World Health Organization has designated the public health crisis a pandemic. The disease is dominating frontpage headlines across major publications worldwide, stoking anxieties and influencing financial markets.
As the number of infected patients climbs, it’s clear that strategies to combat the spread of COVID-19 are imperative. While health officials work to educate the public on measures to slow the spread of the disease, like quarantine and social distancing, innovators have quickly engaged in working on the development of treatments and a vaccine for coronavirus.
It’s critical that we continue to incentivize medical innovation and coalesce around strong partnerships that leverage the unique strengths that both the public and private sectors can offer.
The research and development of a new treatment or vaccine, as well effective production and delivery methods, are critical components the successful mitigation of the virus. Both breakthrough innovation and strong public-private partnerships, which leverage the resources and expertise of private companies and the reach and authority of the public sector, are vital components to fighting this and other global health crises:
- Scientists and innovators around the world are collaborating, building on existing knowledge of similar viruses and researching potential treatments and cures. Stakeholders are working on innovative ways to ensure technology is able to rapidly scale production once there is a successful treatment or vaccine. Policies that that protect new inventions, incentivize breakthrough research and development, help foster an environment that fosters groundbreaking innovation play an important role in fighting global health emergencies like the coronavirus.
- Tackling the global spread of this and other viruses and diseases doesn’t stop with the development of a treatment or vaccine. Public-private partnerships between biopharmaceutical innovators and the government bodies who stand on the frontlines of disease prevention effort is critical. Medicines are one of our best defenses against major disease outbreaks; they can save countless lives and limit the spread of the outbreak by treating people before they infect other and vaccinating healthy patients, so they are protected. While these medicines are critical to global health, they only go as far as health systems allow.
As we’ve seen in recent months, global health emergencies have wide-reaching impacts on the health and wellbeing of people around the world and can have damaging effects on international security and economic productivity and stability. Across the globe, it’s critical we that continue to incentivize medical innovation and coalesce around strong partnerships that leverage the unique strengths that both the public and private sectors have to offer. These are no longer theoretical issues—the time to act is now.