Skip to content
Subscriber Only
Opinion
Tyler Cowen

Women Take the Lead in Vaccine Development

The rapid scientific progress against Covid shows the benefits to society of expanding opportunity.

Not an uncommon sight inside a vaccine research lab.

Not an uncommon sight inside a vaccine research lab.

Photographer: Adam Glanzman/Bloomberg

Corrected

The early history of vaccines is a male-dominated field. The science, which is currently showing spectacular results, is now led by women. Therein lies a lesson about the allocation of talent.

Consider the history of the mRNA vaccine, which is the technological basis of both the Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines, the two leading vaccine contenders for the U.S. To oversimplify, mRNA vaccines teach cells how to make a protein that triggers an immune system response, rather than injecting live or dead virus material.