• peter grose

An awful thought

Updated: Jun 13

This is one of those keep-you-awake-at-night thoughts. We are all waiting anxiously for the announcement of a vaccine or a treatment drug for Covid-19, right? And until we have one or both, it's unsafe to drop our guard and whip off the face masks, end social distancing and open the bars, theatres, stadiums, churches, football grounds and restaurants, right? But those clever scientists are bound to come up with either a vaccine or a cure, or both, pretty soon, right?

If you believe the last point, I'm afraid science and history are not on your side. The most prevalent viral disease in the world is the common cold. While the most frequent cause of the common cold is a rhinovirus rather than a coronavirus, no fewer than four coronaviruses cause between 20% and 30% of common colds. Covid-19 is exclusively caused by a member of the coronavirus family.

Now people have been looking for a cure for the common cold, and a vaccine to prevent it, for more than a century. So far ... zilch. So what are the chances of solving the Covid-19 problem quickly, when the SAME PROBLEM has defeated the best researchers and the biggest drug companies for over 100 years? While we are waiting for an answer, my strong advice to you is: don't hold your breath.

Meanwhile I am indebted to my brother Doug, who is both a doctor and a scientist, with degrees in both to prove it, for the following insight: "Developing a vaccine has proved impossible so far for two very important diseases. The first is malaria which still kills thousands if not millions of people every year. The second is AIDS which has had billions of dollars, euros etc thrown at it with no effect. I am a pessimist that a vaccine will be developed for Covid-19 but I have no expertise in how you develop one. I would point out that SARS (2002-2003) is a Coronavirus that has no effective vaccine. Some SARS vaccines proved quite toxic. SARS seems to have spontaneously disappeared. Maybe Covid-19 will do the same. ."

And on that happy note: sleep well!



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