Skip to main content
Premium Trial:

Request an Annual Quote

Prep for the Next One

While scientists developed SARS-CoV-2 vaccines in less than a year, that was still a year in which people became ill and died or lost their jobs, Vox writes. It notes that a recent paper has argued that better preparations are needed for when the next pandemic comes along.

In that paper, which appeared in NPJ Vaccines in February, researchers from the US and UK argue that governments should fund vaccine development technology, rather than pathogen-specific studies, as a broad investment will lead to flexible approaches that could be applied to a range of situations. At the same time, they suggest developing countermeasures against "prototype pathogens," or pathogens that belong to typically viral families that pose a threat to humans. "Biomedical pandemic preparedness requires prudent investments in R&D for vaccine platforms and prototype pathogens, which account for the knowledge gains that aid vaccine development for multiple pathogens, including novel viruses with pandemic potential," the researchers write.

Similarly, an editorial at Nature calls for investment in vaccine development as well as in the development of additional antiviral drugs. It notes that the COVID R&D Alliance and the Rapidly Emerging Antiviral Drug Development Initiative are raising funds toward that end, and it urges the US National Institutes of Health to, in addition to investing in COVID-19 drugs, to secure funding to prepare for future pandemics. "The world cannot afford to be caught with an empty [medicine] cabinet again," Nature says.

The Scan

Positive Framing of Genetic Studies Can Spark Mistrust Among Underrepresented Groups

Researchers in Human Genetics and Genomics Advances report that how researchers describe genomic studies may alienate potential participants.

Small Study of Gene Editing to Treat Sickle Cell Disease

In a Novartis-sponsored study in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers found that a CRISPR-Cas9-based treatment targeting promoters of genes encoding fetal hemoglobin could reduce disease symptoms.

Gut Microbiome Changes Appear in Infants Before They Develop Eczema, Study Finds

Researchers report in mSystems that infants experienced an enrichment in Clostridium sensu stricto 1 and Finegoldia and a depletion of Bacteroides before developing eczema.

Acute Myeloid Leukemia Treatment Specificity Enhanced With Stem Cell Editing

A study in Nature suggests epitope editing in donor stem cells prior to bone marrow transplants can stave off toxicity when targeting acute myeloid leukemia with immunotherapy.