We all need hope at times like this.
But false hope is worse than no hope at all, and that seems to be what the BBC was reporting yesterday.
Here’s the news article that’s got me annoyed – https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-52329659. The headline reads ‘Coronavirus Vaccine: target of a million doses by September, scientists say’. Now call me old fashioned, but that sounds to me like some scientists have said that there is an intention of producing a million doses of a vaccine against coronavirus by September (which, incidentally, is just 5 months from now). And that implies that there is a vaccine against coronavirus.
There is no vaccine against coronavirus.
It hasn’t been discovered yet.
You have to read down to paragraph two of the BBC article, below the picture, before there’s any suggestion that it might not happen – and it’s phrased to sound like it’s the UK government that is pouring cold water on the idea by saying it’s ‘not guaranteed’
The article goes on to say that ‘most experts’ agree that it will take 12 to 18 months before a vaccine can be developed. So why on earth have the BBC gone with the ‘it’ll all be over by September’ headline?
Quick reality check required.
Bringing a new drug to market takes years IF IT HAPPENS AT ALL. Ten years is not unusual. And at the end of the ten years, when you get to the clinical trials stage, all that work can come to naught if there are untoward side-effects when it’s tested on actual human beings. Far more drugs don’t make it to market than actually do make it to market.
And here’s the thing. Talk of a vaccine for coronavirus makes one basic assumption – that ‘somewhere out there’ there is a vaccine waiting to be discovered. That if we simply pour enough money into it, get enough scientists working on it, then we will find it. That we are entitled to discover a vaccine.
That’s the height of arrogance. Why should there be a vaccine? There’s isn’t one for the common cold – another variant of coronavirus. There is absolutely no reason why there should be a vaccine for Covid-19. We can hope that there is – but as the UK Government has stated, quite correctly, ‘there are no guarantees’.
Maybe, just maybe, we are going to have to come to terms (as all previous generations have had to do) with the notion that there are some diseases out there that might kill us. We have no God-given right to a disease-free life.
If developing a vaccine is our exit strategy – we need another exit strategy,
Five a day – who will you contact today?
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