The World Economic Forum (WEF) on Tuesday proposed creating a pairing mechanism for both vaccine innovators and vaccine manufacturers, aiming to meet the global COVID-19 vaccine demand.
"Current manufacturing capacity may not be enough to supply a global COVID-19 vaccination program," said Arnaud Bernaert, head of Global Heath and Healthcare at WEF.
He said the vaccine development programs are currently being run at a fast pace, yet there is a strong possibility that when closer to licensing and approval, the manufacturing capacity will not be enough to deliver vaccine that would meet the principle of universal access, equity and prioritization of supply to benefit the most vulnerable populations.
"It is possible that this dilemma will be further exacerbated by the type of public funding arrangements that have been put in place to support vaccine developers in their research and development efforts," he warned.
According to Bernaert, such funding usually comes with obligations for the manufacturers to produce on the territory of the country providing financial resources, which may in turn result in restriction of exports, and limited availability of the vaccine beyond the population of the countries in question.
This is the reason, he said, why more partnerships between researchers and manufacturers are needed.
"This represents a departure from the way traditional market forces shape the vaccine manufacturing landscape, but a vaccine is a global public good, not something to profit from," he said.
The proposed mechanism aims to protect both innovators, who will find capacity to produce, and manufacturers, who will access vaccine candidates at the right clinical development pathways, hence averting the need for innovators to unilaterally and exclusively secure large capacities from individual manufacturers while their vaccines are yet unproven.