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The Last Pandemic In Human History
Quote:So your biggest motive to not bother developing a vaccine, from the companies' point of view, is that someone else is going to do it first?

Uh, no! Right now they are in a frenzy do develope and market a vaccine because the demand is sky-high. They also got a lot of funds from governments to accelerate the process.
Regarding pharmaceutical in general companies invest if there is a valid return.
I know, pretty shitty when it regards healt but when you use pack of reagents that cost like a salary and bench equipment that can cost like an apartment you don't have much choice. And I don't want to talk about the cost of test on humans.

Quote:Okay, from everybody else's point of view, What's the downside here? If some people don't think they can win the race, that means there's a race. And a race has a winner.

And it doesn't even have to stop at one winner. If the winner of that race is charging too much, it may be cheaper for some nation or even some large corporation to develop it for themselves.

We already have a few "winners" in the race: AstraZeneca, Moderna and Pfizer, more to come.
Right now is not a question of price, people want a vaccine and go back to a normal life and are very willing to pay for it. As I wrote above, companies got a lot of fund and permits to to the job ASAP.
The problem at the moment is production: vaccine plants, quite probably, were not big enough to support such a surge in demand and, as I wrote in the post before, creating more is expensive and require significant know-how, personal and permissions.

Quote:And finally, none of these are processes that are going to get more expensive as tech continues to advance. Costs of production tend to come down, not go up. We spent a decade and billions of dollars on the Human Genome Project, and it was worth it. But we can have our own genomes seqenced for a dozen bucks now.
The problem here is that processes can be easily be supplanted by better processes, which can be much better but not necessary cheaper. And we have a loooong way before the improvement of those processes hit a ceiling (e.g.: stem cells derived, fully functional organs, tha cost like 2-3 salary).
I learned it the hard way when I graduated and I had to throw in the garbage bin more or less all the techniques I learned on how to manipulate DNA because the CRISPR-Cas9 toolkit that has been develeped was a monster compared to them, we are talking 3-4 orders of magnitude in precision IIRC, so much that we are seriously considering gene editing in human patients affected by rare diseases.

I'd like to conclude that I'd really like that essential things like medicine to be developed and administrated by the state. Unfortunately I don't trust the capacity of many states to do things right, expecially when you have to push the limits in a field.
Semi-professional threads diverter.
The whole point is that we DON'T have to push the limits in the field any more. We pushed the limits hard this year. And having done so we moved the limits. Using that technique won't be that hard ever again. It will only get easier in the future. And it's not the only new technique that now falls inside the boundary of "limits we've already pushed and which will only get easier to push in the future."

I submit for your approval, the fact that suddenly there is an HIV vaccine with 97% effectiveness. HIV has spent forty years being the hardest target of everything in the world to make a vaccine for, and suddenly, we have one (and eradication couldn't happen to a more deserving pathogen as far as I'm concerned; the casualties include my own cousin and my wife's brother).

This wasn't an mRNA vaccine. This was even more amazing than that. They found a way to target the one-in-a-billion B cells that can produce broadly-immunizing antibodies against HIV, and deliver the stimulus to those cells specifically.

We're getting good enough at making vaccines, and the mRNA technique is only one of the arrows in the quiver, that I don't expect a broad pandemic ever again. If something starts getting widespread, there's going to be a vaccine, within a year starting now, and within a few months starting in the next few years.

There'll still be diseases and people will still die from them. But no one disease is ever going to be able to threaten everybody in the whole world again.
Something to keep in mind is just how suddenly these things can escalate into a pandemic, with COVID-19 taking just a few months to get there.

So even if we can develop, trial, and deploy an effective vaccine in a few months, we'd need to start long before anyone would consider the disease to be at risk of becoming a pandemic.
At some point in the future, anti-pathogen treatments will be prompt enough to prevent future pandemics. We aren't there yet. In OA, we take it for granted that medical technology can cope with any naturally-evolved pathogen- even those encountered on alien planets. This level of confidence doesn't really become available until the First Federation era.

Even then there is the distinct possibility that pathogens could be designed by deliberate agency, pathogens that could defeat the most sophisticated defences available at any particular time. The art of medical defence against weaponised pathogens would be an on-going arms race, which will persist so long as there are conflicts between factions.
(05-10-2021, 02:54 PM)Bear Wrote:   If only wealthy people in powerful countries are capable of developing mRNA vaccines, you can still damn well bet that they'll be developing them, immediately, in response to any pandemic.  And as long as they fear visitors bringing that disease into their nation, and as long as they can score major diplomacy points by doing so, they will be exporting it, and exporting the power to make it, to everybody else just as fast as they can. In fact, as we are doing right now, starting with Biden's release of the IP.

So, yeah, it won't be a response to every epidemic.  If something doesn't threaten a set of people including powerful people in wealthy countries, it may get neglected.  But an actual pandemic?  We're going to be stomping on those from now on.

I decided to avoid naming names, but there were some famous politicians and billionaires downplaying the pandemic, and I'm not clear on what their motive for that was, and whether they had the same motive.  I don't want to start any unpleasantness on this board.  But that seems like a counterexample to wealthy people all wanting to develop a vaccine.
True, there's been some bastardry of that sort in a few countries - one of which had enough wealth and power to be relevant. So some chose denial over development. But that certainly didn't stop wealthy and powerful people, both in that country and elsewhere, from wanting and developing vaccines.

After all, even if their own government wasn't interested (and it was - denial only goes so far) they stood to make enormous money on a vaccine in the overseas market. If the government hadn't decided to pay the cost, they'd have sold it, for profit, without any government support beyond certifying it effective, via every health care provider and medical insurer in the country.

But don't worry about nastiness, at least with me; I'm not politically invested in this discussion. This is a wonder to me, a moment in history that may mark a change in kind - not an imperative or a matter of doctrine. Just because of what kind of thing this is, It doesn't matter whether I'm right or wrong, nor whether you believe the same. There's literally no fight to have. It is happening this way or it isn't, and we won't really know which until afterward.
I'm really glad to see this thread.  I'm worried that it won't be true, but for petty reasons unrelated to the strict technological limits of humanity.  It seems like there's some amount of struggle to get people to believe in the rapid development potential of mRNA vaccines, and there's some struggle to get decision-makers to understand the true potential of such rapidly developable disease interventions.  Without belief, vaccines are impotent.

I obviously hope to be wrong.  I'm keenly interested in mRNA vaccines as a technology.  I hope they can even obsolete (improve upon) some current vaccines, though I'm not sure that research is currently being pursued.  I also hope that they can vaccinate against diseases that are presently untargetable (such as HIV).  I believe that this research is being attempted; I hope governments are willing to bring international coordination to bear in service to the cause of destroying viruses.  HIV is of particular interest to me, as it drives international stigmatization against gay people, but also due to the basic incompetency of the immune system against it.  Unless I'm quite mistaken about the implications of handing a new source of effective antibodies to the immune system, the inability of the basal immune system to generate effective antibodies against HIV means that such a vaccine would also have therapeutic application for present sufferers of the disease. (Title: Lipid nanoparticle encapsulated nucleoside-modified mRNA vaccines elicit polyfunctional HIV-1 antibodies comparable to proteins in nonhuman primates)

Their potential even extends beyond viruses.  For instance, mRNA vaccines may be able to shift allergic responses from IgE-dominated (eosinophilic) to IgG-dominated (macrophage-based), which would eliminate the risk of anaphylaxis.  I found this potential to be medically surprising and rather inspiring.  This may seem off-topic, but it's such a "child health" topic that I think it has significant potential to "move the needle" on mRNA acceptance if they become widely deployed for this purpose.  I've a few pubmed links to offer for this one: (Title: DNA and mRNA vaccination against allergies) (Title: Generation and Evaluation of Prophylactic mRNA Vaccines Against Allergy) (Title: Prophylactic mRNA vaccination against allergy)

Due to my fear that positive potentials in mRNA vaccination will be underutilized, I'm studying to get into immunology research as a potential future career.  This is one of my two serious "irons in the fire", the other of which has no relevance in this thread.

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