Pandemic Protection

The dream product starts with a clinical sample of a person infected with an unknown pathogen and produces an agent for cure or to prevent infection of others within a clinically relevant timeframe.


Emergence of a new, potentially lethal infection that is easily transmitted from person to person is among the greatest threats to humanity. The risk is increasing due
to global urbanization, ease and speed of travel, climate change and the possibility of bioterrorism. Using current technology, development of medical countermeasures would be too slow to prevent many millions, or even billions, of deaths.

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In 2020, we contribute to the response against COVID-19

In 2019, we awarded the Future Insight prize for outstanding research in the field of Pandemic Preparedness to Pardis Sabeti of Harvard University and the Broad Institute and to James Crowe of Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

Stefan Oschmann, CEO of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, Pardis Sabeti, James Crowe and Subhanu Saxena, director of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation came together virtually to exchange thoughts regarding the COVID-19 situation and to share their vision for the future. The recording took place on April, 29th with participants joining from their home-offices.

This panel elaborated on the general understanding of pandemics, effect on preparation as well as vaccination, anti-body development and the current discussion regarding herd-immunity. To listen to the full talk, click hereRead about the ways we are contributing to the COVID-19 response here (press kit).

"The Future Insight prize is hugely important because it provides catalytic funding that gives scientists the freedom to respond to emerging trends at the frontlines of infectious disease research. That’s critical in pandemics because you never really know what’s coming at you. The Future Insight prize supports my whole lab and that’s how it should be because fighting pandemics is a war that can only be won through co-operation.” Pardis Sabeti, The Broad Institute, Inc.

"It is really visionary for a company that is well established to look ahead to the future and not just stick with what is being done now. I want to thank you for the curiosity to wonder about big questions and support scientists like us who work on things that supposedly can’t be done. The Future Insight Prize gives us fuel to move forward in our work to understand how the human body responds to infections and how we might use that knowledge to understand how pandemics are caused.” James Earl Crowe, Jr. Vanderbilt University Medical Center