Scientists around the world are racing to discover a vaccine for COVID-19, with clinical trials fast-tracked as never before. Experts predict that a vaccine could be ready for the public as soon as early 2021—just about a year after the emergence of the novel coronavirus.
Such rapid movement is upending the long-held belief that the process from laboratory research to advanced drug development takes at least 10 years.
Gary K. Michelson, MD, founder of the Michelson Medical Research Foundation, sees this disruption as an opportunity. In “America’s Needed Medical Revolution,” published in U.S. News & World Report in July 2020, Dr. Michelson proposes that we seize this momentum and “set a new course for medical discovery and breakthrough treatments for people who need them now.”
He notes the infrastructure is already in place for a new National Institute of Cures that would operate in cooperation with the National Institutes of Health and the Food and Drug Administration. With an updated rather than outdated approach, the new institute would better foster innovation and prepare for future emergencies.
“A National Institute of Cures could combine the current infrastructure with new architecture and put our nation on the path to unleashing a needed revolution in thinking, research, and methodology,” he writes.