Developing a Covid vaccine in record time shows how medical research can rev up to fight other diseases.

In less than a year, we went from Covid-19 patient zero to several effective, thoroughly tested vaccines. In my career as a physician-scientist, I have never seen science and medical research move at this pace. For 21 successful vaccine development programs in the past decade, it took an average of eight years, and that doesn’t even take into account the many programs that have gone on for decades but have failed to produce a vaccine, including for HIV, CMV, malaria, TB, Zika and Dengue fever. For a broader sense of the achievement with Covid vaccines, consider that the average time in the life sciences for translating research into clinical practice is 17 years.

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