Photo illustration, April 2020
Dado Ruvic / Reuters

The rush is on to come up with a viable vaccine against COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus. Scores of academic institutions and companies around the world are hard at work, and at least eight vaccine candidates have reached or are approaching the clinical trial stage. Oxford University’s Jenner Institute is currently leading the race and due to start large-scale human trials by the end of May. This week, a Massachusetts-based biotech firm, Moderna, announced that its coronavirus vaccine had safely produced protective antibodies in human volunteers in early-stage testing. 

A similar push is on to develop antiviral drugs and other therapeutics—and to repurpose existing ones—to treat those infected with the coronavirus. By mid-April, in the United States alone, 950 drug development proposals had been submitted to the Food and Drug Administration for approval, and more than 70 COVID-19 medication trials were underway. The pace is remarkable:

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  • JENNIFER HILLMAN is a Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and Professor of Practice at the Georgetown University Law Center. She served on the World Trade Organization’s Appellate Body from 2007 to 2011 and as a Commissioner at the United States International Trade Commission from 1998 to 2007.
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