At present, big-name pharmaceutical and biotechnology firms around the globe are in an intense race to develop the world’s first vaccine for the novel coronavirus which would potentially lead to national bragging rights and huge profits for successful companies as countries hope to put their economy back on track earlier than other nations.

A total of 142 vaccines were being developed as of Monday, of which 13 are were clinical evaluation, according to the World Health Organization. British drugmaker AstraZeneca PLC and U.S. biotech firm Moderna Inc. are considered two of the leading candidates to put the world’s first vaccine on the market as early as by the end of this year. At home, AnGes Inc., which has teamed up with Takara Bio Inc. and Osaka University, is considered the front-runner, aiming to launch the vaccine as early as next spring, followed closely by Shionogi & Co. among other domestic efforts.

But at the same time, questions arise. Is there a possibility that the safety or efficacy of the vaccine may be overlooked so as to prioritize the speed of the development? If Japan is lagging behind other countries in vaccine development, how would that affect the country when it tries to import them?