All three outlined approaches have yet to be tested in humans. The Cambridge one is set to enter phase 1 trials in the autumn and the one at Duke University is nearing that milestone too. Both the Cambridge and Caltech candidates have the attraction that they can be produced as a heat-stable and freeze-dried powder. This will make their storage and distribution much easier than the current mRNA vaccines (Moderna and Pfizer). It will also make production much cheaper, which is vital to ensuring equitable access to the vaccine across the world and bringing the pandemic under control.

New pandemics

While scientists have the tools to develop a pan-coronavirus vaccine within a year, its creation would not be the end of the story. Growing population density, human mobility, and ecological change means that the world will continue to face the threat of new pandemics.

Meeting this challenge will require a high degree of outbreak vigilance, political will, and international cooperation as well as continued investment in vaccine development well beyond the end of the Covid-19 pandemic. As the WHO put it in September 2020, “a global pandemic requires a world effort to end it – none of us will be safe until everyone is safe”.

Access to vaccines is also only one arm of what is needed to combat pandemics. What SARS-CoV-2 has also taught us is the importance of rapid frontline genomic sequencing on the ground to swiftly detect newly emerging threats. As Hatchett argues, the key to radically reducing epidemic and pandemic risk to the world is through “earlier detection, earlier sequencing, and earlier more tailored public health responses”.

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

📬 Sign up for the Daily Brief

Our free, fast, and fun briefing on the global economy, delivered every weekday morning.