In this comment on the parent question, David Manheim makes the case for building new vaccine production facilities before we have a vaccine ready to produce, and for this to be subsidized. I find this question interesting in its own right, but it's also an opportunity to dig into the nitty-gritty of producing something, which I wish happened more on LessWrong. I don't expect this to lead directly to a vaccine facility coming into existence- presumably the people who have the power to do that already have access to the knowledge as well- but I think it's a useful exercise in how things actually get done.
To recap, David's argument as I understand it is:
- The world is under-capacity for vaccines as it is
- Building a vaccine production facility takes a lot of time and money, so we need to start funding and building them now to have them ready when we have candidates ready.
- We're likely to want to mass-produce multiple vaccines until we know which ones work the best, increasing the amount of capacity needed.
There's already a great discussion of this in the replies to his thread, and I encourage you to read it before commenting here. Some questions that came up in that discussion:
- Is there such a thing as a generic vaccine production facility, or do different vaccines require different facilities?
- What raw materials (e.g. sterile eggs) are we also likely to need large quantities of, and should perhaps start sourcing now?
Some additional questions I have are:
- Are there costs besides the obvious financial ones to building these facilities ahead of time? Are they competing for a resource we need more elsewhere?
- Who does have the power and knowledge to make these facilities?
- What are some historical equivalents?