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Podcast: COVID Vaccine in Record Time - What Now? Moderna Co-Founder Noubar Afeyan

Listen: The pandemic's US death toll shows no signs of abating and the holiday season's spike will likely dwarf any surge that came before it. But in the midst of this dark winter there are glimmers of hope, as the first of the COVID-19 vaccines have nearly arrived (or, depending on when you read this, already have). On the GZERO World podcast, Ian Bremmer interviews Noubar Afeyan, the co-founder of a leading vaccine developer Moderna. They'll discuss distribution plans, the revolutionary science behind Moderna's vaccine, and how a company younger than Twitter became a frontrunner in the race to end the pandemic.

How the Moderna vaccine works, why it’s effective, and how it’ll be distributed

"What we're trying to do is to educate the immune system to see the protein before it's seen the virus." In a race for a COVID vaccine, Moderna, a 10-year old company with no products previously on the market, developed a vaccine in 10-months, by using revolutionary new mRNA technology. Now the focus shifts to how to distribute and safely administer this vaccine. Moderna co-founder and chairman Noubar Afeyan explains.

His conversation with Ian Bremmer was part of the latest episode of GZERO World, which began airing nationally in the US on public television Friday, December 11th. Check local listings.

Watch the GZERO World episode: A Shot in the Arm: Moderna's Co-Founder on the COVID-19 Vaccine

GZERO Summit: Fighting COVID-19

Almost one year since the coronavirus upended the world, what's the current state of play on ending the pandemic, and what challenges we face towards vaccinating everyone in 2021.

Fortunately, as the virus has grown exponentially, so has science, Dr. Larry Brilliant, CEO of Pandefense and one of the world's most highly regarded epidemiologists, said during the panel discussion on fighting COVID-19 at the 2020 GZERO Summit in Japan.

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Quick Take: Challenges of vaccine production & distribution

Ian Bremmer's Quick Take:

Hi, everybody. Ian Bremmer here, back in the office in New York City. And I've got my Christmas scarf going, it feels... It's the time of the holidays, get your trees, decorate, right? I usually have a little tree trimming party, which means everybody else comes and trims the tree with me. Not this year, but nonetheless, soon to be, Merry Christmas to everybody and lots to talk about.

I guess, biggest thing on my mind right now is the rollout of these vaccines. I mean, on the one hand it's I know it's challenging the push and pull of the United States right now being in the teeth of the worst of the pandemic in terms of cases, in terms of hospitalizations, and even now in terms of deaths. And that's with mortality rates significantly lower than they were six months ago, but the case level has been so explosive that the death rates are still higher than they were at the earlier peak back in the spring. And given where hospitalizations now are and given where cases are certainly going to be, those numbers are going to keep going up. So, on the one hand we're looking at maybe half a million total dead by the time we get to end of January, February, and the next couple of months are going to be really, really hard.

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Watch our expert panel on reasons for hope in the COVID crisis

Watch the recording of GZERO Media virtual Town Hall, "Reasons for Hope: COVID and the Coming Year," presented in partnership with Eurasia Group and The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Our panel discussed the road ahead in the global response to the COVID crisis. Will there be more multilateral cooperation on issues like gender equality moving forward from the pandemic?

Watch the event recording here: https://www.gzeromedia.com/townhall

Our moderator, CNBC health care correspondent Bertha Coombs, along with Ian Bremmer, president of Eurasia Group and GZERO Media, and Mark Suzman, CEO of the Gates Foundation, spoke with distinguished experts on three key issues:

Heidi Larson, Director, The Vaccine Confidence Project

  • How will COVID vaccines be distributed safely?

Minouche Shafik, Director of London School of Economics & Political Science

  • How has the pandemic disproportionately impacted women?

Madeleine Albright, Chair, Albright Stonebridge Group and Albright Capital Management; former US Secretary of State

  • What is the opportunity for global cooperation emerging from this crisis, and what are the greatest political risks?

Friday, December 4, 2020
12 noon EST/9 am PST/5 pm (17:00) GMT
#GZEROTownHall

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