Now that Pfizer and Moderna have demonstrated just how profitable a vaccine business can be during a global pandemic, drug companies around the world are rushing to prepare for either a resurgence of mutant COVID-19, or perhaps some new virus, as Dr. Anthony Fauci and others concede that SARS-CoV-2 may have escaped from a Chinese lab, instead of emerging from the wild.
In a report published Monday, Bloomberg pointed to the efforts of GlaxoSmithKline, which is investing in its vaccine business in order to get ahead of the next pandemic, while continuing to develop the next generation of COVID-19 vaccines (since its international production capabilities could give it a leg up in catering to the developing world).
It's just the latest indication that President Biden's support for a WTO proposal to waive IP protections for COVID vaccines is mostly lip service, and that the pharmaceutical industry will do everything in its (considerable) power to stop it.
What's more, GSK is in talks with the British government to onshore more of its vaccine development and research capabilities, alongside production, according to the company's vaccines chief, Roger Connor. These labs will be equipped with "vaccine technologies to tackle deadly viruses of the future, he said in an interview." Presently, Glaxo's main R&D vaccine hubs are based in Belgium, Italy and the US.
"When every government does their after-action review from this pandemic, they'll start to think about manufacturing within their own boundary, or within their own region at least," said Connor. We want to "create in-country manufacturing and vaccine development capability for the future."