The COVID-19 crisis sounded the alarm on weaknesses in U.S. and global preparedness and response capabilities. It also showcased human ingenuity, the significance of R&D in overcoming societal threats, and the importance of public-private partnerships. The participants in the first of this two-part discussion will address questions like: What role is science playing in the COVID-19 response? What are the roles of different segments within the R&D pipeline, and in what ways do the efforts to overcome COVID-19 align with, or differ from, the process that produces progress against other health threats? What has COVID-19 revealed about the scientific enterprise and access to/trust in its benefits?
How is the race to develop a COVID-19 vaccine influencing vaccine development itself? What challenges still lie ahead for COVID-19 vaccine development and for vaccine development generally? How will broad scale access be accomplished? Are there mechanisms to address the time and financial risk absorbed by companies and partnerships that do not arrive at a viable vaccine?
Fully protecting the public’s health requires a robust effort to build confidence in vaccines. Hesitancy about vaccination was on the rise prior to COVID-19. Fortunately, cutting-edge social, behavioral and data science points the way forward.
COVID-19 has made life and death disparities in health and healthcare even more visible. What can be done to make tangible progress against this long-standing failing in our collective efforts to secure better health for all? Spanning such topics as social determinants of health, workforce diversity, and disparities in health care access and utilization, the panel will explore what actions can be executed immediately to mitigate the disparate impact of COVID-19 and how to translate the visibility of this issue into concrete progress against entrenched inequities in health and healthcare.
Despite dedicated funding, legislative policies, and scenario planning, the national response to COVID-19 from a preparedness perspective fell short in many ways. What have we learned from the US experience and that of other nations to date and how can we quickly apply these lessons to outpace COVID-19 and the next global health threat?
The urgent need for COVID-19 diagnostic tests and treatments coupled with the impact of social distancing on clinical trials, forced researchers, developers and regulators into uncharted waters. Are these new policies relevant in the long-run to speed up patient innovation? Helpful or harmful? How will the COVID-19 experience impact the upcoming user fee process and the biomedical regulatory climate?
What would need to change to emerge as a nation determined to combat future pandemics and other challenges with the same sense of urgency and shared purpose as that defining our response to COVID-19? How do we truly take in what we’ve witnessed and accomplished, becoming a nation that reaches higher and more boldly for science and technology progress that advances the public good?