Last year, a disaster hit the planet in the form of the Covid19 pandemic. The spread of the covid infection was so rapid, the health infrastructure across the globe was trampled under the heavy load of the disease. And then started the race ahead of time to create ways to detect and treat this deadly disease that has brought nations to a halt. The Covid-19 health emergency has redefined the values of our economy, suddenly putting health issues and the well-being of the entire community at the centre. Covid 19 forced the pharma companies to rethink their whole research and development infrastructure and make it as efficient and agile as possible to tackle the rapid spread of the disease.
According to the McKinsey analysis of new vaccine development, the time from the start of the development to the final stage and approval is nearly ten years. The same goes for any anti-infective vaccine. In such a scenario, imagining the vaccine development time reduced to five years is highly unusual.
It is then certainly remarkable that three Covid 19 vaccines were given emergency-use authorization (EUA) by the end of 2020. It took only eleven months to develop the vaccine since the SARS-CoV-2 sequence was published. What’s the reason for this? Covid acted as a catalyst, driving pharmaceutical businesses to adopt new processes and previously unimaginable methods.
Covid has pushed the companies to shed older ways and adopt newer, faster, more efficient ways to research and develop drugs and vaccines within the shortest time frame possible.
Technology is also a driving factor behind the reduced timeframe of vaccine and testing kit development. Thanks to information technology, critical Covid related information was easily shared throughout the scientific community. Similarly, AI and machine learning tools were deployed on a large scale to develop a potential cure. Just a couple of years ago, the early phases of molecular investigation would entail many hours of research, sifting through published data, field trials and research documents looking for relevant information. But with technology and the latest means of information sharing, all the needed data is easily available. It has widely contributed to spur the development of effective Covid vaccines and reduce the development time frame.
The rapid spread of the Covid19 infection was a disaster of immense proportion. It forced the pharma companies and the governments to adopt newer and more sophisticated solutions to check the spread. The desperate time of the pandemic allowed the companies to take equally desperate measures to tackle the infection, and it has paid off. And now this virus spurred medical revolution is transforming the whole approach of identifying, detecting, and treating diseases.