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We should make vaccines before viruses emerge



  • NorthCascadesNorthCascades Member Posts: 10,271 Member Member Posts: 10,271 Member
    Faetta wrote: »
    You cannot make a highly effective vaccine before you know the genetic sequencing of a virus. You cannot know the sequencing until the virus fully mutates. If we knew what virus was going to develop, then we could prevent it from ever happening. Another thought is we don't have a vaccine for the coronavirus that manifests itself as the common cold. Such has eluded even the best medical minds dedicated to virology.

    I think you're confused.

    Why would the best minds in medicine be working on something unimportant like the common cold? Instead of, you know, cancer, and other stuff that kills people in appreciable numbers?

    Vaccines are the least profitable things pharmaceutical companies make. They take many years and are very high risk meaning most never go to market, but it'll cost untold millions to make either way. A vaccine against something that's a minor annoyance for a few days isn't going to be a wind fall even if it works is it?

    There was a randomized controlled trial of a candidate cold vaccine in the 1960s. Doesn't seem like there's been much work since. I don't think "it's not worth the effort" counts as eluding the best minds.

    Also, about the generic sequence stuff, please notice we have many covid vaccines, we also have many covid variants. The first vaccine against covid does a pretty good job against all of the mutated versions, better on some than others but effective against all including mutations that didn't happen until after the vaccine was already in production.
  • NorthCascadesNorthCascades Member Posts: 10,271 Member Member Posts: 10,271 Member
    Thoin wrote: »
    A lot like the flu shot, they make educated predictions about what strains will circulate before it happens. And we don't spend 15 years testing it, we know the framework for making flu shots is safe.

    Sounds crazy, right? Because of SARS and MERS, public health people knew it was a matter of time until another coronavirus went pandemic. They thought it would arrive in Chicago instead of Seattle but got the rest right.

    It took 2 days for Moderna to engineer a molecule that's 95% effective against the disease. Thanks to all the research during SARS1. That's how they knew to target the spike protein.

    Scientists have a very good idea which virus families have the potential to become pandemic. Like the flu, if we have the vaccine on the shelf when the virus emerges, the best matching shot may (or may not) need tweaking if it's a novel strain, and for the most part only the changes will need to be tested, instead of the whole thing. Like the flu shot.

    We can do Phase 1 & 2 testing ahead of time. We can even do some limited Phase 3 trials, verifying that the shot makes people produce antibodies. More efficacy testing would be needed it the virus became a problem, compared to starting from scratch.

    This would cost about a millionth of what covid has so far. We could have jabbed our way to herd immunity by last summer. Almost 3 million have died so far worldwide.

    This isn't my idea, it was cooked up by people smarter than me who work in public health.

    I think this would be great. However, I've seen warehouses filled with unused medications (for emergency outbreaks like malaria) so I have to ask, what happens if they guess wrong?

    That was part of the point I was trying to make with my #2 above. This idea proposes we expand the amount of emergency drugs we keep on hand, which the governmeny has to buy, and then stores, then replinish their stock if they do not get used by their expiration date. How much taxes do you want to pay for "maybe relevant one day" drugs.

    I dunno. I'm happy to pay taxes to have fire fighters available even though my house never caught fire and I don't think it ever will. Almost everyone thinks it's smart to pay for car insurance. I know I don't want to pay a lot of taxes to keep paying almost every citizen $1k+ several times a year and bail out half the industries that exist.

    The difference (to me) in these two examples is we know fires do happen and car accidents do happen. So we all pool our money (so to speak by paying of insurance) in order to cover our chances of said event. In comparison, to me this is more like buying insurance on a space ship presuming that will be my method of transportation in the future.

    Ok now I know you're pulling my leg. 🙂
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