Safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines were produced far faster than any expert expected.
Yet almost all of the time that it took to bring the vaccines to market was due to safety testing and other governmental mandates that could have been sped up without endangering anyone.
By January 13, 2020 — only two days after the Chinese researchers shared the genetic sequence of the COVID-19 virus and before most Americans had heard of the disease — the biotech company Moderna had devised the formula for its vaccine.
BioNTech launched its COVID-19 vaccine program in January and had partnered with Pfizer to manufacture it by mid-March of last year.
The first volunteer was injected with Moderna’s vaccine on March 16, 2020, yet it was only approved by the FDA last December 17th, a week after Pfizer’s vaccine met the agency’s approval.
Had the agency been faster off the mark and used human-challenge trials and other innovative testing techniques, the vaccines could have been brought to market months earlier with no compromise in safety. That would have conceivably saved hundreds of thousands of lives globally.