Before COVID-19, Big Pharma Was Neglecting Vaccine and Antiviral Research
Drug companies have historically pleased investors by promoting vaccine development programs during disease outbreaks, then quietly dropping them later, according to Dana Brown, director of The Next System Project, a research and development lab for political-economic alternatives. Despite an outbreak raging in the Republic of Congo, the British drug maker GlaxoSmithKline recently gave up its effort to develop a vaccine for Ebola and handed off its research to a nonprofit lab. Ebola is deadly but relatively rare globally, and the market was too small to generate significant profits. In 2017, the massive French drug maker Sanofi pulled out of a partnership with the U.S. Army to develop a vaccine for the mosquito-borne Zika virus.