Open drug discovery of anti-virals critical for Canada’s pandemic strategy

Tania Bubela, E. Richard Gold, Vivek Goel, Max Morgan, Karen Mossman, Jason Nickerson, David Patrick, Aled Edwards

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


In the event of the current COVID-19 pandemic and in preparation for future pandemics, open science can support mission-oriented research and development, as well as commercialization. Open science shares skills and resources across sectors; avoids duplication and provides the basis for rapid and effective validation due to full transparency. It is a strategy that can adjust quickly to reflect changing incentives and priorities, because it does not rely on any one actor or sector. While eschewing patents, it can ensure high-quality drugs, low pricing, and access through existing regulatory mechanisms. Open science practices and partnerships decrease transaction costs, increase diversity of actors, reduce overall costs, open new, higher-risk/higher-impact approaches to research, and provide entrepreneurs freedom to operate and freedom to innovate. We argue that it is time to re-open science, not only in its now restricted arena of fundamental research, but throughout clinical translation. Our model and attendant recommendations map onto a strategy to accelerate discovery of novel broad-spectrum anti-viral drugs and clinical trials of those drugs, from first-in-human safety-focused trials to late stage trials for efficacy. The goal is to ensure low-cost and rapid access, globally, and to ensure that Canadians do not pay a premium for drugs developed from Canadian science.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1019-1036
Number of pages18
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 17 Dec 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • COVID-19
  • Drug discovery
  • Intellectual property rights
  • Market failure
  • Open science
  • Pandemic preparedness
  • Public private partnerships


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