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Solving COVID

Pandemic expert calls for manufacturing coronavirus vaccines before they're proven to work

Teams around the world are racing to develop a vaccine for the COVID-19 coronavirus in the hopes that a successful one will lead the charge in normalizing life. But there are likely to be failures along the way — that's just the nature of vaccine development, Richard Hatchett, the CEO of the Norway-based Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, told Stat News. Still, Hatchett believes it's important to begin production of some potential vaccines before they're proven to work.

Hatchett said if the hope is to get vaccines out as quickly as possible while also minimizing health safety risks, "we're going to have to take an awful lot of financial risk." That includes "investing in manufacturing capacity for everything" and "even beginning full-scale manufacturing before we know if the vaccine even works." The comments echo those previously made by Bill Gates.

Stocking up on vaccines in the meantime would theoretically speed up the process of administering vaccinations once they have the green light, allowing more people to protect themselves from COVID-19 in a shortened timeframe. But it will take a lot of resources, Hatchett said, meaning governments will need to shell out for it, which he expects will happen. "That's talking tens of billions of dollars if you include the cost of manufacturing hundreds of millions or billions of doses," he said. Read more at Stat News.