July 23, 2020

The Race for COVID-19 Vaccines and Therapies: Risks in R&D, Product Safety and Environmental Concerns

Below is an excerpt from ISS ESG’s recently released “The Race for COVID-19 Vaccines and Therapies: Risks in R&D, Product Safety and Environmental Concerns.” The full paper is available for download from the Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) online library.

Key Takeaways and ISS ESG Data

  • The pressing demand for therapies and vaccines against SARS-CoV-2 amplifies ESG risks of drug development and production.
  • ISS ESG data shows that many companies are ill prepared to meet the new challenges as effective risk mitigation procedures are lacking.
  • The need for effective treatments for and prevention of COVID-19 should not come at the expense of the environment. It is crucial that companies include environmental considerations in early R&D and ensure high standards for biosafety when handling biological agents.
  • ISS ESG’s Corporate Rating can help investors identify leaders and laggards with regard to the key challenges faced by the industry today.

The World Health Organization announced in March 2020 that COVID-19 can be characterized as a pandemic. Since the disease emerged in Wuhan, China in December 2019, the number of confirmed cases has increased to more than 13 million with deaths having passed the half million mark worldwide (as at July 14, 2020 – John Hopkins University). The number of actual cases and related deaths are estimated to be significantly higher, but remains unknown as countries struggle to ensure thorough testing and to implement effective contact tracing procedures.


By: Marta Farina, Nicole Ducusin, and Valentina Boltze, ISS ESG

Share this
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on email
Get WEEKLY email ALERTS ON THE LATEST ISS INSIGHTS.