Is there a Price for a Covid-19 Vaccine?

by gavintaylor1 min read22nd May 20203 comments


COVID-19 pandemic
There is no currently existing human vaccine for covid-19. Can we force one into existence by promising to spend a lot on it? Is there some price at which we can “buy” a covid-19 vaccine in the next year?

This post provides an interesting discussion of the findings from several studies about how economic incentives (like advanced market commitments) can stimulate drug and vaccine development.

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We didn't get a vaccine for SARS-1 in time to be useful, and we don't have one for the 4 endemic coronaviruses, and it seems very likely that covid19 will become endemic/seasonal, so it is possible that much money spent on vaccines will be wasted, as many don't work, and most arrive after the 3rd and final wave. Also they may give only 6-12 months protection so may need to be repeated annually, and it's hard enough getting people to do an annual flu vaccine.

So if you really have that money available, it may be better to spend it on

# improving treatment and primary prevention (ventilation, humidity, distancing discipline, homework) and secondary prevention (humidity, exercise, weight loss, micronutrients)

# protecting doctors, health staff and family members better (eg. better PPE negative pressure rooms)

# improving your health system or nutrition for all-causes mortality

#better preparedness for the next pandemic, which may have far higher mortality, including rapid testing/isolation ramp up capacity

# low dose effect Challenge Trials, as proposed by Prof Robin Hanson, especially for humanitarian/relief workers and young Navy teams

The author mentioned veterinary vaccines near the end of the post. I search around this and was surprised to find there are already commercially available veterinary vaccines against coronaviruses (that link lists 5). This raised my expectation that a human coronavirus vaccine could be successfully developed.

If you find such markets, please can someone post them here?