What is the best way to fight a pandemic in an era of intense globalization? The answer, clearly, is for humanity to throw its combined resources against its common adversary. Since no one is safe until everyone is safe, the longer it takes for the world’s population to acquire immunity against the coronavirus, the greater the risk that whatever protection immunized populations currently enjoy will be broken by new variants.
And what would a common global response to a common threat look like? Here too the answer is clear: temporarily suspend intellectual property rights restrictions, lift export controls, remove trade barriers and eliminate regulatory friction on vaccine supply chains. Essential drugs and medical equipment should flow unrestricted to wherever they are necessary. Amid a firefight with a common enemy, it makes no sense to demand payment from an ally who urgently needs bullets.