World War II, today’s corporations are retooling their production lines to make everything from hand sanitisers (LVMH) to respirators (Ford, GE). In the UK, billionaire inventor James Dyson announced his vacuum cleaner firm would start manufacturing ventilators. German drugmaker BioNTech—backed by twins Thomas and Andreas Struengmann, both billionaires—is working with Pfizer and Fosun Pharma to develop a vaccine. It is one of more than a dozen Covid-19 vaccines under development—smart considering that two of every three vaccines for infectious diseases fail, according to a Massachusetts Institute of Technology study.
But you don’t need to be a multinational or have billionaire owners to pitch in: Italian startup Takis Biotech, with 25 employees, is racing to make a vaccine, while Carbon, a 3D-printing outfit in California, will soon be distributing testing swabs. On the right are 11 companies on the coronavirus frontlines.