We just witnessed a modern medical miracle.
Several drug developers brought COVID-19 vaccines from initial trials to people’s arms in less than a year. This lightning quick pace defied the expectations of health care professionals and saved countless lives. It was far faster than the development of any similar drug.
Bringing a vaccine to patients is a complex process typically measured in years or decades. Consider this: It took nearly 50 years of research and trials before Dr. Jonas Salk’s polio vaccine was introduced in 1955. More recently, vaccines for chickenpox and Ebola were each developed in about 42 years.
“It’s no exaggeration to call these COVID-19 vaccines one of the greatest scientific accomplishments in our lifetimes,” says health care analyst Laura Nelson Carney, who covers pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies in Europe and Asia and holds a doctorate in neuroscience. “What’s more, global manufacturing capacity is also larger than we would have thought possible a year ago: Thirteen billion doses of vaccine will be made this year.”