By Whitney Webb
Those analyzing the COVID-19 crisis and its effects have mostly focused on how its disruptive nature has led to major shifts and recalibrations throughout society and the economy. Such disruption has also lent itself to a variety of agendas that had required an event of “reset” potential in order to be realized. In the case of the vaccine industry, COVID-19 has led to dramatic changes in how federal agencies manage the approval of medical countermeasures during a declared crisis, how trials for vaccine candidates are conducted, how the public perceives vaccination, and even how the term “vaccine” is defined.
Such shifts, though obvious, have provoked praise from some and sharp criticism from others, with the latter category being largely censored from public discourse on television, in print, and online. However, in objectively analyzing such seismic changes, it’s clear that most of these shifts in vaccine development and vaccine policy dramatically favor speed and the implementation of new and experimental technology at the expense of safety and thorough study. In the case of vaccines, it can be argued that no one benefitted more from these changes than the developers of the COVID-19 vaccines themselves, particularly the pharmaceutical and biotechnology company Moderna.
Not only did the COVID-19 crisis obliterate hurdles that had previously prevented Moderna from taking a single product to market, it also dramatically reversed the company’s fortunes. Indeed, from 2016 right up until the emergence of COVID-19, Moderna could barely hold it together, as it was shedding key executives, top talent, and major investors at an alarming rate. Essentially, Moderna’s promise of “revolutionizing” medicine and the remarkable salesmanship and fund-raising capabilities of the company’s top executive, Stéphane Bancel, were the main forces keeping it afloat. In the years leading up to the COVID-19 crisis, Moderna’s promises—despite Bancel’s efforts—rang increasingly hollow, as the company’s long-standing penchant for extreme secrecy meant that—despite nearly a decade in business—it had never been able to definitively prove that it could deliver the “revolution” it had continually assured investors was right around the corner.
Read more: Moderna: A Company “In Need Of A Hail Mary”