“The Vaccine! The Vaccine!” Yes, the “right around the corner” magic-bullet vaccine. In the television westerns of my youth the cavalry was always coming to save the day. “The Vaccine” has become society’s new cavalry.
Columns share an author’s personal perspective and are often based on facts in the newspaper’s reporting.
“The vaccine! The vaccine!” Yes, the “right-around-the-corner,” magic-bullet vaccine. In the television westerns of my youth the cavalry was always coming to save the day. “The vaccine” has become society’s new cavalry. It is not my intention to rain on anyone’s parade, but perhaps a reality check is prudent. I have been working diligently reader, doing investigation, and contacting medical researchers. Herein lies what I have learned.
The average vaccine “development” cycle is between 10 and 12 years. Rarely has a vaccine been developed in under five years. The mumps vaccine was the exception, being created in four years, but drew extensively from previous research done during WWII. Many vaccines required decades. In 1984 officials announced that an AIDS vaccine would be developed in under two years. Sound familiar? Thirty-six years later and still we await.
Pharmaceutical development is a lengthy process involving dramatically more failures than successes. Breakthroughs that shorten the timeline are rare. Adding resources accelerates the effort, but this is non-linear beyond a certain point. It takes one woman nine months to create a baby. Nine women can’t do it in one month. For every 5,000 drugs that enter preclinical testing, only five reach human trials. Of