Experts on the COVID-19 pandemic seem to think there are three ways out—that is, for life, health, and the economy to return roughly to normal.
Either we get a vaccine good enough that R0 for the world goes below 1, a good enough treatment that people no longer need to be afraid, or we develop a great culture of testing, contract tracing, masks, and isolation.
I wish that the federal government were doing much more—it would be great to see even a few percent of the recent stimulus bill go to funding R+D. But they don’t seem to be funding enough science, and although I think concerns about the private sector and philanthropy doing what the government is supposed to be doing are somewhat valid, there isn’t a great alternative right now.
On the positive side, I have never seen a field focused on one problem with such ferocity before. The response of biotech companies and research labs is amazing, and the speed they are operating at seems to have increased by more than 10x. It’s the best of the spirit of innovation, and it’s inspiring to see what these companies and research labs are doing.
Scientists can get us out of this. What they need are money and connections.
Investors and donors—this is where we can help. Please consider shifting some of your focus and capital to scientific efforts addressing the pandemic. (And future pandemics too—I think this will be a before-and-after moment in the world, and until we can defend against new viruses quickly, things are going to be different.)
The learning curve is quick, and there are a lot of experts willing to help you with diligence. It feels good to do something that might be useful, it’s interesting to do something totally new, and it will make you more optimistic.
If you make it known to your network that you want to fund efforts working on COVID-19, you’ll get flooded with opportunities. And it’s always good to invest where the best founders are congregating.