Scientists were close to a coronavirus vaccine years ago… and then money

Dr. Peter Hotez says he made the pitch to anyone who would listen. After years of research, his team of scientists in Texas had helped develop a vaccine to protect against a deadly strain of coronavirus. Now they needed money to begin testing it in humans.

But this was 2016. More than a decade had passed since the viral disease known as severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS, had spread through China, killing more than 770 people. That disease, an earlier coronavirus similar to the one now sweeping the globe, was a distant memory by the time Hotez and his team sought funding to test whether their vaccine would work in humans… More here.

Thanks to Kirk for the above link which kicked off the following discussion on the Lost In Mobile WhatsApp group-

Coronavirus represents a huge failure of both public health and private investment. Serious question: which one is more likely to be able to do the right thing? Unclear threats over the horizon are tough to generate either sustained public interest in or private capital for such uncertain payout.

Random other thought: while “Coronavirus” is too generic to be a good name, at least we’re not naming it something stupid and racist like “Placename Flu” Kirk

We can’t have a society that is only based on profits. There has to be attention to what the common good is. Tom

But that is our society. Money is what we seemed to be programmed for in so many aspects of our lives. Shaun

Money is quantified power. Heck, with a somewhat middling amount of money by today’s standards, you can buy yourself superpowers! Travel across the world in hours – dramatically improved recovery from many injuries or health issues – communicate with nearly anyone across the world – access to the lion’s share of human knowledge in a device in your hand or on your desk… a giant selection of delicious foods – own a contraption that lets you travel so much faster than any horse or deer.. Kirk

Money can be a giant security blanket, and/or a score card, as well as providing access to so many pleasures. No wonder we’re so wild for it.

But that’s more on the personal level. On the public enterprise level… its become gamemanship. And there’s so many more reliable ways of making money than for trying to build up against future threats- you can still make bank, but its dependent on you guessing right and then the problem coming along. Kirk

It’s frustrating. Cooperation and support lends to more satisfaction and happiness. I guess I’m just an old hippy. Tom

Besides money/profit we seem, at least in what’s called the developed world, to be more and more short-term oriented. Some would say short sighted. If it isn’t here and now or in the immediate future, it’s as if it doesn’t exist. Most of our health care systems are based on reaction rather than prevention. Even though prevention would be far less expensive in money terms as well as people terms.

I wonder if that’s the downside of rapid technology evolution. We’ve grown to expect that there’ll be something better very soon, so why buy or make something that will last.

As for being close to a vaccine, the common cold is also a coronavirus, and we haven’t figured out a vaccine for that yet either. Tom

Technology has allowed us to develop faster than we can deal with it intellectually… or something to that effect. The long view is the big picture is always a better approach. Technology effectively clouds our perspective. Tom

technology lets us explore a lot of interesting possibility spaces without having resolved the big existential questions of what is the point of it all anyway. Kirk

Like any animal, the point is to maintain and improve the species. That’s instinct. What we do, and at least some other animals, is ponder our existence. Besides, isn’t it all about the journey? Bob

yeah, a lot of our internal differentiators / unique-ifiers have been knocked down over the years – but you can’t really think about humans properly without considering our tools – physical, and ideas like culture and its ability to pass wisdom outside of immediate family group and proximate tribe– and I assume no animals have that, unless they get the same results w/o artifiacts we can observe… Kirk

And so it continued. Love these guys.

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