Urgent lessons from COVID 19: why the world needs a standing, coordinated system and sustainable financing for global research and development

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The research and development (R&D) ecosystem has evolved over the past decade to include pandemic infectious diseases, building on experience from multiple recent outbreaks. Outcomes of this evolution have been particularly evident during the COVID-19 pandemic with accelerated development of vaccines and monoclonal antibodies, as well as novel clinical trial designs. These products were developed, trialled, manufactured, and authorised for use in several countries within a year of the pandemic's onset. Many gaps remain, however, that must be bridged to establish a truly efficient and effective end-to-end R&D preparedness and response ecosystem. Foremost among them is a global financing system. In addition, important changes are required for multiple aspects of enabling sciences and product development. For each of these elements we identify priorities for improved and faster functionality. There will be no better time than now to seriously address these needs, however difficult, as the ravages of COVID-19 continue to accelerate with devastating health, social, and economic consequences for the entire community of nations.