While other drugmakers have been working on treatments and vaccines for COVID-19 for a month or more, Pfizer (PFE -1.77%) finally announced its plan to help with the virus today. As they say, better late than never.

The big pharma is working with BioNTech (BNTX -2.70%) on a potential mRNA vaccine for COVID-19, which is caused by the new coronavirus. The duo could make progress quickly since the only thing that's needed to design an mRNA vaccine is the sequence of the gene, which is already known for the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

Moderna (MRNA -5.38%) announced in late January that it had started working on an mRNA vaccine for COVID-19, and about a month later, it had shipped its mRNA vaccine mRNA-1273 to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases for a clinical trial that's expected to start next month.

Pfizer has created a SWAT team dedicated to address the pandemic and is committed to sharing tools and insights that it discovers in an open-source environment. The company has committed to loaning out its clinical development and regulatory expertise to support smaller biotechs that are developing treatments and vaccines for the disease.

Scientist working in a laboratory

Image source: Getty Images.

The company also committed its manufacturing capabilities for therapies or vaccines that are eventually approved. "As one of the largest manufacturers of vaccines and therapeutics, Pfizer is committed to using any excess manufacturing capacity and to potentially shifting production to support others in rapidly getting these life-saving breakthroughs into the hands of patients as quickly as possible," the company said in a statement.

Perhaps admitting that it was slow to the game, Pfizer also noted that it plans to address future global health threats by "reaching out to federal agencies including NIH, NIAID and CDC to build a cross-industry rapid response team of scientists, clinicians and technicians able to move into action immediately when future epidemics surface."