Applying the lessons of COVID-19

Factors that contributed to the rapid pace of COVID-19 vaccine development could be applied to future epidemics and other global health challenges, according to an article co-authored by Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health’s David Bloom.

The article was published February 2, 2021 in Health Affairs. Other co-authors included Daniel Cadarette, research and communications manager, and Maddalena Ferranna, research associate, both from Harvard Chan School’s Department of Global Health and Population; Randall Hyer of Moderna; and Daniel Tortorice of College of the Holy Cross.

In the analysis, Bloom, the Clarence James Gamble Professor of Economics and Demography, and co-authors outlined the factors that helped speed the development of COVID-19 vaccines. Among the factors they noted were the unprecedented scale of resources devoted to addressing the pandemic, an unusual intensity of cooperation among institutions and across state and national borders, and significant levels of innovation in technologies, such as new vaccine platforms, and in processes, such as vaccine clinical trials.

“If widespread COVID-19 vaccination is realized in the coming months and years, the approach undertaken to arrive at that point will offer lessons for how to optimize the development and accessibility of vaccines against other pathogens, under both outbreak and non-outbreak scenarios,” the authors wrote. “Our experiences with COVID-19 may also offer knowledge spillovers to other areas of medicine and public health.”

Read the Health Affairs article: How New Models Of Vaccine Development For COVID-19 Have Helped Address An Epic Public Health Crisis