he past few weeks have revealed the worst and the best in human responses to the coronavirus crisis – from the supermarket hoarders clearing the shelves to the neighbourhood groups organising help for elderly and vulnerable people.

When it comes to the pharmaceutical companies, how should we judge their response? They, after all, hold the key to ending the pandemic. Yet in one vital respect their behaviour has more in common with the supermarket hoarders than the neighbourhood groups.

Our exit strategy from the global lockdown depends on the development of an effective vaccine, as is well-known. A huge effort is under way to find such a vaccine, but we cannot afford to wait the 18 months it might take.

Image Credit:  Ted S Warren/AP

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