In the absence of an effective cure against COVID-19, only a safe and effective vaccine could put an end to the health crisis currently hitting the world, and Europe in particular. UN Secretary-General António Guterres even stated that only a vaccine can allow an eventual return to “normalcy”. Such a vaccine could save millions of lives and would be a major prevention tool to increase collective immunity and avoid a cyclical return of the epidemic.
This global race is occurring today and is a battle for scientists from China, the USA, Europe and other areas. In order to finance research into a COVID-19 vaccine, the European Union held a major on-line pledging event, in cooperation with various governments and global partners, to appeal for donations, in the hope of collecting an initial amount of €7.5 billion, which will also be used for treatment and screening tests.
Charlie Weller, vaccine specialist at the Wellcome Trust, a global charity operating in the health sector, has called for stakeholders in the sector to prepare themselves “to execute the largest and fastest scale-up in vaccine manufacturing history”. For Europeans, the challenge is not only finding a vaccine but manufacturing and distributing it as widely as possible. The stakes are multiple: health, economic, geopolitical.