Our exit strategy from the Covid-19 pandemic relies on investing in research. But finding a vaccine won’t be enough – effective treatments have to be part of the strategy, too. And they must be accessible to everyone, everywhere – starting with those who need them most.

A successful vaccine against Covid-19 would be a great lifesaving advance. But vaccines alone won’t be enough to bring the crisis under control.

Thousands of people are still becoming infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus every day. Those who develop a severe illness can’t just wait for a vaccine to be developed, manufactured and rolled out – we need to invest in potential treatments now.

Vaccines are slow to develop and test. Researchers need to wait to see participants in clinical trials not becoming infected – and that takes time. By contrast, scientists testing treatments can observe infected patients in real time, directly seeing what works and what doesn’t.

These quick results mean that, when knowing what doesn’t work, researchers and resources can be redeployed to look into other, more promising treatments. And, when finding treatments that do work, these can then be put into use to save lives.

Even when effective vaccines are found, the process of manufacturing and distributing them around the world will be complex. Nick Cammack, Wellcome’s COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator Lead, says: "Imagine we find a successful vaccine – one that develops the appropriate immunity – by the end of this year. It will still take a number of years to roll that vaccine out around the world." Effective treatments will help us save lives while this is happening.

Read the full article about COVID-19 treatments at Wellcome.