A strategic approach to COVID-19 vaccine R&D

Featured Journal Content


11 May 2020:
eabc5312 DOI: 10.1126/science.abc5312
Policy Forum
A strategic approach to COVID-19 vaccine R&D
By Lawrence Corey1,2, John R. Mascola3, Anthony S. Fauci4, Francis S. Collins5
A public-private partnership and platform for harmonized clinical trials aims to accelerate licensure and distribution.
[Initial text]
There is an unprecedented need to manufacture and distribute enough safe and effective vaccine to immunize an extraordinarily large number of individuals in order to protect the entire global community from the continued threat of morbidity and mortality from severe acute respiratory syndrome–coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The global need for vaccine and the wide geographic diversity of the pandemic require more than one effective vaccine approach. Collaboration will be essential among biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies, many of which are bringing forward a variety of vaccine approaches (1). The full development pathway for an effective vaccine for SARS-CoV-2 will require that industry, government, and academia collaborate in unprecedented ways, each adding their individual strengths. We discuss one such collaborative program that has recently emerged: the ACTIV (Accelerating COVID-19 Therapeutic Interventions and Vaccines) public-private partnership. Spearheaded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH), this effort brings together the strengths of all sectors at this time of global urgency. We further discuss a collaborative platform for conducting harmonized, randomized controlled vaccine efficacy trials. This mechanism aims to generate essential safety and efficacy data for several candidate vaccines in parallel, so as to accelerate the licensure and distribution of multiple vaccine platforms and vaccines to protect against COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019)…