24 March 2021

We are pleased to announce that TRENDS Research & Advisory is today launching a book, Covid-19 Vaccine Development: A Fierce Race to End the Pandemic and Learning from History. This book offers a detailed review of the Covid-19 pandemic, its impact on the world, and the global efforts to develop effective vaccines.

Authored by Dr. Ziad Hussni Al-Najjar, a former advisor to the World Health Organization (WHO) on health promotion in developing countries and AIDS prevention and control in Morocco, the book presents the most devastating pandemics over the years and vaccines used against them throughout history.

The book highlights a competitive race between countries and pharmaceutical companies to develop a vaccine, which has raised a debate about the true intentions behind this race: Is it for profit, political influence or recognition?

It also highlights how the WHO has been trying to overcome this race for profit and national pride by creating unprecedented public-private partnerships between pharmaceutical companies, NGOs, and governments to produce Covid-19 vaccines.

The book sheds light on major pandemics that hit humanity, starting from the Antonine Plague in 165 AD to Covid-19 in 2020. It also explains the concept of tracking infectiousness using the infectiousness indicator (R0), the notion of importing diseases, and the origin of the concept of quarantine and its implementation.

Covid-19 Vaccine Development explains the evolution of the vaccine development process and what the process entails in testing, regulations, and manufacturing. It clarifies the new concept of Infodemiology provided by WHO, which helps them fight against false information about Covid-19.

The aggressive race between pharmaceutical companies and countries to create a Covid-19 vaccine also finds extensive space in the book. The reader gains basic knowledge about viruses in general, especially Covid-19 and its vaccines. Other concepts such as herd immunity, Covid-free certificate, and immunity passport also find mention in the book.

The book makes recommendations to contain current and future viruses. It recommends establishing national centers in each country for containing viruses and developing vaccines. The establishment of national centers for disease prevention and control worldwide (like the US CDCs and the EU’s EMA) is vital to strengthen the defenses against infectious diseases, the book recommends.

According to the author, such centers should perform emergency responses and include effective disease surveillance systems. They can ensure coordination between national and local efforts during a health crisis and deploy the most appropriate resources that contribute to preventing, controlling, and coping with pandemics.

These centers are needed to foster more effective monitoring of infectious diseases. With high support and sufficient human and financial resources, they have the potential to become effective knowledge hubs for infectious disease prevention and control.

About the Author

Dr. Ziad Hussni Al-Najjar is a former advisor to the World Health Organization (WHO) on health promotion in developing countries and AIDS prevention and control in Morocco. He has also served as public health and socio-behavioral research lecturer at the Dubai Health Authority. He has been a public health consultant for HIV/AIDS prevention strategic planning for UNICEF in Oman.

Dr. Al-Najjar has worked at the UNFPA in Jordan and Syria and for the national strategy and deportation policy in Cairo, Egypt. Since September 2012, he has been Regional Operational Manager at Visamed Healthcare Solutions, MENA, for expatriate health to develop national strategic plans. He has also had a two-year stint (2005-07) as the Director of Marketing, Media and Communications at Al-Noor Hospital.