The Hustle

The state of vaccine development

A primer on why recent vaccine news matters and what challenges remain.

November 24, 2020

UKRAINE - 2020/12/15: In this photo illustration, vials and a medical syringe seen displayed in front of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of the United States logo. FDA finds the COVID-19 vaccine. (Photo Illustration by Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

A primer on why recent vaccine news matters and what challenges remain.Vaccine news has moved fast in the past few weeks:

The VC firm a16z is providing excellent coverage on the latest vaccine progress (this 22-minute podcast is a great primer). Here are a few nuggets from their assessment:

Pfizer and Moderna results are important for 2 reasons

Preliminary efficacy for Pfizer (95%) and Moderna (94.5%) were both found in clinical settings. There is no guarantee that these results will translate to the real world, but there are 2 takeaways from the trials worth noting:

Rolling out a vaccine comes with many downstream challenges

If these vaccines clear all the medical and regulatory hurdles, the additional challenges can be summarized by the “4 D’s”:

These challenges are befitting a process that has been compressed from the typical 10-15 years into a 12- to 18-month time frame.

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