Skip to Main Content

I’ve had a front-row seat watching how the Covid-19 pandemic has transformed the stately process of drug development into a far more nimble one. It’s a transition the pharmaceutical industry and the FDA must pay attention to.

It took just 17 months from the time Covid-19 was declared a global pandemic for Pfizer, the company I work for, and our partner BioNTech to develop and receive full approval from the FDA for Comirnaty, the first Covid-19 vaccine to reach that goal. On a similarly accelerated path, Pfizer designed, developed, and recently received FDA emergency use authorization for Paxlovid, an oral antiviral treatment for Covid-19.


It often takes 10 years or more to bring a vaccine or new treatment from discovery through FDA review and approval. Our accelerated timeline, which my colleagues and I at Pfizer dubbed “lightspeed,” was possible thanks to the tireless efforts of scientists and researchers, the valiant contributions of people who volunteered to participate in clinical trials, and unprecedented collaboration with the FDA.

Unlock this article by subscribing to STAT+ and enjoy your first 30 days free!


Create a display name to comment

This name will appear with your comment

There was an error saving your display name. Please check and try again.