The Covid-19 pandemic represents one of the largest global threats in recent history. It has affected economies, housing, healthcare, and families around the world. As a novel illness, its long-term consequences are still being researched, and there is still so much about the disease we don’t understand. Perhaps the most astonishing aspect of the crisis was the swift development of vaccines for a new and little known global scourge. When humanity, or a society within humanity, focuses solely on attaining one goal, miraculous innovation can occur.
The development of the vaccine is akin to humanity’s earliest efforts in space exploration. Between the USSR and the U.S.A., two nations locked in a space race, you had two global powers focusing a vast amount of resources and energy towards developing feasible space travel. When Kennedy demanded the U.S.A. put a man on the moon by the end of the 1960s, NASA didn’t believe that technology would be available until the 1990s. Still, incredible leaps in technological understanding can come when an entire community gears towards one goal and the Coronavirus vaccine is no different. The medical industry had one major problem to solve as swiftly as possible, and it focused primarily on doing so.
Of course, these efforts required mass amounts of funding, and money, of course, does not grow on trees. This is why we have to look at the coronavirus’s solution as one that required the whole of humanity to support the cause. Which of course means that none of these solutions would have been found without the generous support of philanthropic individuals who provided the ways and means to develop a vaccine.
Vaccine development remains one of the riskiest investments an individual can spend money on. Many vaccines have high failure rates and take a long time to produce. Companies are averse to investing serious money into vaccines, and so philanthropy often resolves any funding gaps that pharmaceutical giants might be stuck attempting to fill. Yet what is so endearing about the development of the various Covid Vaccines is that it seems as though economic gain was not the motivator for those investing in a cure.
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has dedicated hundreds of millions of dollars already, making them a tremendous ally in the fight against coronavirus. Individuals are not the only ones donating. Johnson and Johnson donated $1,000,000,000 to help develop a vaccine. These cashflow influxes allow researchers to create long-term projects searching for solutions and create spaces for collaboration between disparate groups. Further, philanthropists are not beholden to company stockholders or governmental special interest groups. Thus, they can cut through a lot of the red-tape that keeps other revenue sources from being fully tapped.
The picture is quite clear; a coronavirus vaccine is never developed so swiftly without the intervention of philanthropic spending. It speaks to the massive and all-encompassing danger that a pandemic represents when the vast majority of the world’s charitable endeavors push towards finding a solution to this one problem. More importantly, it is a testament to humanity’s interconnectedness and our ability to set aside differences and work towards a common goal when presented with a global crisis.