Factors, enablers and challenges for COVID-19 vaccine development.
Excler J-L., Saville M., Privor-Dumm L., Gilbert S., Hotez PJ., Thompson D., Abdool-Karim S., Kim JH.
The COVID-19 pandemic triggered a sense of vulnerability and urgency that led to concerted actions by governments, funders, regulators and industry to overcome traditional challenges for the development of vaccine candidates and to reach authorisation. Unprecedented financial investments, massive demand, accelerated clinical development and regulatory reviews were among the key factors that contributed to accelerating the development and approval of COVID-19 vaccines. The rapid development of COVID-19 vaccines benefited of previous scientific innovations such as mRNA and recombinant vectors and proteins. This has created a new era of vaccinology, with powerful platform technologies and a new model for vaccine development. These lessons learnt highlight the need of strong leadership, to bring together governments, global health organisations, manufacturers, scientists, private sector, civil society and philanthropy, to generate innovative, fair and equitable access mechanisms to COVID-19 vaccines for populations worldwide and to build a more efficient and effective vaccine ecosystem to prepare for other pandemics that may emerge. With a longer-term view, new vaccines must be developed with incentives to build expertise for manufacturing that can be leveraged for low/middle-income countries and other markets to ensure equity in innovation, access and delivery. The creation of vaccine manufacturing hubs with appropriate and sustained training, in particular in Africa, is certainly the way of the future to a new public health era to safeguard the health and economic security of the continent and guarantee vaccine security and access, with however the need for such capacity to be sustained in the interpandemic period.