Stung by the lack of vaccines to fight the West African Ebola epidemic, a group of prominent donors announced Wednesday that they had raised almost $500 million for a new partnership to stop epidemics before they spiral out of control.
The partnership, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, will initially develop and stockpile vaccines against three known viral threats, and also push the development of technology to brew large amounts of vaccine quickly when new threats, like the Zika virus, arise.
With enough money and scientific progress, the strategy could bring a drastic change in the way the world tackles pandemics.
Now the global response often resembles a fire department racing from blaze to blaze. The coalition wants something more like a military campaign, with stores of ammunition and different weapons systems ready to be deployed as soon as a threat emerges.
In theory, health officials could even act pre-emptively — inoculating a population against a dangerous new flu or coronavirus circulating in animals before it infects many people, for example.