Reuters / Andreas Gebert : Employee Philipp Hoffmann, of German biopharmaceutical company CureVac, demonstrates research workflow on a vaccine for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at a laboratory in Tuebingen, Germany, March 12, 2020. Picture taken on March 12, 2020.


Global race for coronavirus vaccine is more like a lottery

There had always been a plan for a “Disease X situation”. By late 2019, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (Cepi) was funding scientists across the world. It had teams looking at known viruses, trying to tease out their weaknesses and exploit their flaws.

Then, says Melanie Saville, Cepi’s director of vaccine development, in January came the moment for which it had been created. “We all came back from vacation and saw this new disease emerging,” she says. “At the very least we thought it could be a drill for a real pandemic.”

They had their Disease X and the global battle for a coronavirus vaccine had begun.