May 2021

· 1 min read

Martin Lush Reflects on Post-COVID Vaccine Challenges

Martin Lush, NSF’s Global VP of Health Sciences, reflects on the challenges of managing the pandemic following his participation in the recent Financial Times Global Boardroom.
Globe vaccine pills - Martin Lush Reflects on Post-COVID Vaccine Challenges | NSF

Earlier this week, I joined a Financial Times panel discussion on managing the pandemic with Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, Kate Bingham, Managing Partner of SV Health Investors, and Uğur Şahin, Co-Founder and CEO of BioNTech. It was a fascinating conversation, covering topics such as:

  • How we managed to create new and highly effective vaccines in just one year (it normally takes 10) and what we must now do to generate vaccines to combat new strains of COVID-19.
  • How we managed to get needles into arms in the largest and most successful vaccination program in history – but only in the richer countries.
  • How 80% of vaccines have gone to just 10 countries and that only 4% of our global population has been vaccinated so far.
  • A shocking statistic – that 25% of all cases globally have occurred in the last nine weeks. Globally, COVID is in ascendancy.
  • The catastrophe in India requires an immediate global response and why countries with high vaccination rates (and low levels of infections) must dedicate their resources and vaccines to India, Pakistan, Africa and Brazil. The time to act is now.
  • The need to prepare for the disruption ahead. India is the largest manufacturer of all types of vaccines (not just COVID-19 related) and generic medicines. It is the pharmacy of the world. Approximately one in three generics come from India. We also covered how will we manage the acute (and global) shortage of many life-saving medicines, not just vaccines.
  • How pharma companies can de-risk their supply chains in the future.

The last 12 months have shown us what is possible when we move at COVID speed. We have achieved new ways of thinking, new science, new methods of diagnosis and treatment, and new collaborations and partnerships. But, globally, we still have a way to go.

Louis Pasteur once said, “It is the microbes who will have the last word.”

Let’s prove him wrong, because we’re not safe until we’re all safe.

Note: This article originally appeared on LinkedIn.