Coronavirus

The Last Pandemic

Technological breakthroughs and policy progress mean humanity may never again have to endure a disaster like COVID-19.

|

"We're not ready for the next epidemic," Microsoft founder Bill Gates cautioned in 2015. The next catastrophically deadly global event, he predicted, was "most likely to be a highly infectious virus rather than a war."

In 2019, Johns Hopkins researchers issued an even more specific warning. In the article "Characteristics of Microbes Most Likely to Cause Pandemics and Global Catastrophes," a team led by physician Amesh Adalja identified respiratory transmission as the "mechanism most likely to lead to pandemic spread." They noted that "diseases that are contagious prior to symptom development" pose the greatest risk, especially if a significant proportion of the human population were "immunologically naïve to the agent," and that the ability to latch onto common cellular receptors located throughout the human body would make such a pathogen highly infectious. Finally, they singled out RNA viruses emerging from an animal species as the "most probable" cause of such a pandemic.

In a September 2019 report, the Global Preparedness Monitoring Board convened by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Bank warned that "there is a very real threat of a rapidly moving, highly lethal pandemic of a respiratory pathogen killing 50 to 80 million people and wiping out nearly 5 percent of the world's economy." The authors added, "A global pandemic on that scale would be catastrophic, creating widespread havoc, instability and insecurity. The world is not prepared."

These predictions proved horrifically correct: Gates identified the type of threat. The COVID-19 virus ticks every one of the boxes specified by the Johns Hopkins researchers for a microbe capable of causing a global catastrophic biological risk. And although COVID-19 deaths, fortunately, amount so far to only about 5 percent of the dire scenario sketched in the Global Preparedness Monitoring Board report, the World Bank estimates that the global economy did contract by 4.3 percent in 2020 as a result of the pandemic.

"This will not be the last pandemic, nor the last global health emergency," declared WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus in a September 2020 report. A World in Disorder estimated that the world's governments had already spent $11 trillion (of often borrowed money) in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has so far resulted in 115 million diagnosed cases and 2.6 million deaths.

But take heart: There are good reasons to believe that the WHO director-general is wrong. The greatly speeded-up biomedical innovation provoked by the current global scourge has provided future generations with tools to keep subsequent viral invasions at bay. These include fast new vaccine production platforms, the development of better diagnostic and disease surveillance monitoring, and progress in the rapid design of therapeutics.

Calibrating the role of governments in staving off future threats remains a challenge. But the horrors of the last year have spurred humanity to quickly develop an unprecedentedly flexible and powerful toolkit that may well make COVID-19 the last true pandemic.

Vaccines

"Hopefully in the not too distant future, in a year, year and a half, two years, we'll have a vaccine," said Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Robert Redfield during congressional testimony on February 27, 2020. At a televised cabinet meeting on March 3, 2020, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) Director Anthony Fauci suggested that a "deployable" vaccine against the COVID-19 virus would be available in, "at the earliest, a year to a year and a half, no matter how fast you go." At that point, just 100 Americans had been diagnosed with the illness and only nine had died of it.

Many considered this timeline bullish to the point of insanity. "When Dr. Fauci said 12 to 18 months, I thought that was ridiculously optimistic," Paul A. Offit, co-inventor of the rotavirus vaccine, said a month later on CNN. "And I'm sure he did, too." After all, the fastest vaccine developed at that point had been for mumps, and that took four years in the 1960s. An influential 2013 study in the journal PLOS One analyzing a database that included all vaccine projects in development from 1998 to 2009 found that "the average vaccine, taken from the preclinical phase, requires a development timeline of 10.71 years and has a market entry probability of 6 percent."

As it happened, even the wild-eyed optimists were too pessimistic. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued emergency use authorizations (EUAs) for the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) COVID-19 vaccines on December 11 and 18, 2020, respectively.

In fact, researchers at Moderna had developed their vaccine by January 13, 2020—only two days after Chinese researchers had shared the genetic sequence of the COVID-19 virus. BioNTech launched its COVID-19 vaccine program by mid-January and signed up with Pfizer to manufacture it in mid-March. The first volunteer was injected with Moderna's vaccine on March 16, 2020.

In other words, at the moment Fauci was being derided for being too optimistic about having one working vaccine in 12–18 months, researchers had already developed and were on the verge of launching clinical trials for two.

This previously unthinkably rapid timeline was possible because researchers weren't just making new vaccines; they were making vaccines in a new way.

The vast majority of vaccines heretofore have been based on inactivated, weakened, or genetically modified viruses and bacteria. But mRNA vaccines are different, constituting what is essentially a plug-and-play platform technology.

The process involves creating a synthetic version of the mRNA that the coronavirus uses for the construction of the spike proteins that enable it to infect human cells. The injected mRNA tricks muscle cells in our arms into making some of the viral proteins that then induce the immune system to produce antibodies in response. Antibodies bind themselves onto attacking viruses, disabling them or marking them for death by other parts of the immune system, like the cell-devouring macrophages.

Since the cells in our bodies quickly degrade mRNA, the key to getting the vaccines to work was to encapsulate the fragile mRNA within tiny protective fat particles. The muscle cells absorb the fat particles, enabling the mRNA to deliver its instructions to the cellular machinery to make the viral proteins that prime the body's immune system to fend off the real virus.

In fact, mRNA technology wasn't quite new. Research had been plodding along for a couple of decades prior to 2020. Moderna was working on vaccines for the Zika and H7N9 bird flu viruses. BioNTech was primarily focused on using mRNA vaccines to treat various cancers. But the urgent need for a response to COVID-19 sent researchers scrambling for the right technology to apply, and reaching for this tool turned out to be a master stroke.

Now that the safety and efficacy of mRNA vaccines have been established, companies can within days assemble and install appropriate mRNA sequences from other pathogens into protective fat droplets to create new vaccines. More good news is that capabilities for producing mRNA vaccines have risen greatly as a result of pandemic manufacturing. In addition, the CDC suggests that future mRNA vaccine technology may allow for one vaccine to provide protection against multiple diseases, thus decreasing the number of shots needed for protection against common vaccine-preventable illnesses.

Viral vector vaccines are another plug-and-play development platform in which genes that would provoke an immune response, such as those for the COVID-19 spike proteins, are spliced into weakened, harmless versions of other viruses. The COVID-19 vaccines from Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca and Russia's Sputnik V vaccine are based on inactivated cold viruses that had already been used to develop vaccines against HIV, Ebola, and Zika. The inactivated viruses enter human cells and deliver the genes for the COVID-19 spike protein, which the invaded cells then produce and which subsequently stimulate the body's immune system.

In the future, these new vaccine manufacturing platforms could be used to rein in outbreaks by developing and deploying new vaccines in only three to four months. Florian Krammer, a medical researcher at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, outlines an overall strategy in which researchers would survey and select representative strains from the virus families most likely to cause new pandemics. These families include influenza viruses, pneumoviruses (respiratory syncytial virus), henipaviruses (Nipah and Hendra diseases), picornaviruses (polio and the common cold), and, of course, coronaviruses. Krammer suggests that 50–100 different viruses could be selected, broadly covering the virus families that are most likely to pose a major pandemic threat in the future.

Once the viruses have been selected, vaccines could be produced using the new platforms and then tested in small phase 1 and phase 2 safety and efficacy trials, which would involve around 1,000 volunteers total.

Krammer estimates that developing and testing the anticipatory vaccines for each of the selected candidate viruses would cost about $30 million. The overall cost would be somewhere between $1 billion and $3 billion. This is cheap compared to the vast economic havoc wreaked by the current pandemic, as well as compared to the cost of more traditional vaccine development.

If a new virus emerges to threaten humanity, the vaccine closest to the new strain would be selected and updated to match. Production could start immediately, and phase 3 trials to see if the vaccine prevents or ameliorates the infection could be initiated within a month.

In fact, this is happening during the current pandemic. Mutations that make COVID-19 more contagious have emerged in the United Kingdom, South Africa, and Brazil. While current versions of the vaccines remain somewhat effective against the new strains, companies are already nimbly updating their vaccines to counter the new mutations. Both Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech have announced that they have already tweaked their vaccines to create booster shots to counter the South African COVID-19 variant.

Regulators in the U.S. have indicated that such reworked mRNA vaccines would not need to undergo full phase 3 trials involving thousands of people before being rolled out. On February 22, 2021, the FDA issued guidance for seeking approval of vaccines updated to address emerging COVID-19 variants. Boosted vaccines would be simply checked for safety and appropriate immune responses in volunteers. On a press call, the FDA's vaccine chief, Peter Marks, suggested that trials for booster doses are "going to be on the order of a few hundred individuals in terms of size and we'd expect that that might take a few months."

Krammer also proposes that rapid production capacity for at least 2 billion doses per year be maintained. As it happens, that goal is already being met. The Pfizer/BioNTech partnership plans to produce 2 billion doses this year; Moderna plans to produce 1 billion doses; AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, and Novavax are building the manufacturing capacity to supply 3 billion, 1 billion, and 1 billion doses, respectively, of their COVID-19 vaccines in 2021.

Instead of waiting for newly identified outbreaks to circulate widely in human populations in order to conduct phase 3 efficacy trials—as manufacturers are currently required to do—regulators should approve vaccines if they are shown to induce specific immune biomarkers that are associated with protection against infection, such as a sufficiently high level of neutralizing antibodies in volunteers.

A final way to speed up vaccine testing would be to more permissively allow human challenge trials in which a few hundred fully informed volunteers would be deliberately exposed to a pathogen to evaluate a candidate vaccine's effectiveness against it. Such trials sponsored by NIAID have been used to test influenza antivirals and vaccines in the past decade. In October, a human challenge trial involving up to 100 volunteers ages 18–30 that will seek to find the lowest dose of COVID-19 virus to cause infection was approved in the United Kingdom. An ethically acceptable framework for such trials should be devised now, so that they can be appropriately launched as soon as another potentially pandemic pathogen emerges.

The leaps in vaccine development that have emerged from the joint and separate efforts of pharmaceutical multinationals are truly remarkable. They undergird the optimism that future viral threats can be curbed before they reach pandemic levels.

Testing

"It took months to get enough testing capacity for COVID-19 in the United States. But it's possible to build up diagnostics that can be deployed very quickly," wrote Bill Gates in the annual letter that he and his wife Melinda Gates issued in January 2021. "By the next pandemic, I'm hopeful we'll have what I call mega-diagnostic platforms, which could test as much as 20 percent of the global population every week."

As it happens, German researchers released a diagnostic test just six days after the genome for COVID-19 was posted online. However, the CDC forbade researchers and companies from developing diagnostic COVID-19 testing in the U.S., insisting that all Americans wait to use the one that would be developed by that agency. As public outrage over the dearth of testing escalated, the FDA finally lifted its restrictions and allowed commercial and academic laboratories to test for the virus. But by the time the CDC relented at the end of February 2020, the coronavirus was spreading undetected throughout the country. The FDA has since approved more than 300 different diagnostic and serologic COVID-19 tests.

Unfortunately, the Trump administration resisted widespread testing, and excessively cautious regulators further stymied development and deployment. The FDA did not authorize the first at-home rapid-results nonprescription test, by the Australian company Ellume, until December 2020. At $30 per unit, the test is still too costly to be practical for most people and is not expected to become widely available until the second half of 2021. On March 1, 2021, the FDA approved the prescription use of Quidel's simpler QuickVue At-Home COVID-19 Test, whose test strip provides results from a nasal swab in 10 minutes. That price has not yet been announced.

We know what testing tools are needed to help short-circuit the next pandemic, and researchers have made huge strides in developing them. Regulators and politicians alike took a shellacking for their failures to rapidly and responsively clear away barriers to the development and dissemination of cheap, readily available at-home tests. While some of the red tape has been dispatched, this is an area where continued vigilance will be necessary to hold on to those gains.

Numerous researchers, such as Harvard epidemiologist Michael Mina, have been arguing for a crash government program to develop and deploy cheap at-home antigen tests. Such tests would be similar to at-home paper strip pregnancy and HIV tests and would cost less than $5 per unit. These antigen tests work by detecting, within minutes, the presence of coronavirus proteins by using specific antibodies embedded on a paper test strip coated with nasal swab samples or saliva. The antigen tests change color or reveal lines if COVID-19 proteins are recognized.

Cheap at-home testing is a crucial tool to empower individuals to make good decisions at the micro level in the face of the next threat. The availability of such tests will enable Americans to test themselves frequently and then break the chains of infection by voluntarily isolating themselves from others if they test positive for a novel or dangerous virus.

Early Warning Systems

To stop potential pandemics before they get out of hand at the macro level, a reliable global warning system is needed—one that doesn't rely on the existence of cooperative and transparent national health bureaucracies. China's foot dragging when it came to sharing information about early infections in Wuhan, and its subsequent obfuscation on communicability and mortality from the virus, ended up delaying the global response, likely costing hundreds of thousands of lives. In the U.S., government data collection on COVID-19 in schools and other public spaces is still lagging, even as that question becomes increasingly pressing for policy makers.

Artificial intelligence (A.I.) systems monitoring the vast streams of publicly available data cascading around the world could play an important role in early identification and tracking of future outbreaks of novel pathogens. The Canadian A.I. startup BlueDot alerted its clients on December 30, 2019, to the anomalous pneumonia outbreak in Wuhan, China. The WHO would announce to the world an outbreak of "pneumonia of unknown cause" in Wuhan on January 5, 2020, and say that a novel coronavirus had been identified as the source of the infections on January 9, 2020.

BlueDot also correctly predicted the countries where the virus would next be detected. A.I. companies have developed tools based on machine learning and natural language processing technologies. BlueDot has devised different models and algorithms to scour data daily from sources including official public health databases, major global news outlets, 100,000 online articles in 65 languages, global airline ticketing data, and infectious disease alerts.

There will also soon be much more data available, which could be a powerful tool for identifying novel outbreaks—assuming protections for privacy and anonymity can be guaranteed. Commercial chip-based technologies such as VirScan, developed by researchers at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, can analyze a single drop of a person's blood to identify hundreds of thousands of antibodies and so test for current and past infections from any known human virus. Widespread and frequent antibody scans would identify the rise of different antibodies signaling that a new pathogen is now infecting people in a particular region. Diagnostic tools could also be optimized to detect antibodies to 50–100 potential pandemic pathogens chosen by researchers to allow for the early development of vaccines.

The development and deployment of automatic metagenomic testing in medical clinics across the globe could function as a mega-diagnostic platform for the early detection of new pathogens. "Clinical metagenomics is the application of sequencing all genes in a single clinical sample without the need for isolation or lab cultivation," explained Oxford University genetics researcher Kumeren Govender in a January 2021 article in the Journal of Clinical Microbiology. "These sequences are then bioinformatically classified using a comprehensive database of known microorganism DNA, producing phylogenetic matches to the most closely related genus and species." Ideally, local physicians treating patients with respiratory symptoms, for example, would be able to inject nasal and throat samples into a nanopore gene sequencing machine. The nanopore machine would read off all of the genes in the samples, which could then be compared to an online library of genetic sequences of known respiratory pathogens, leading to a suggested diagnosis.

Unknown sequences would be compared to their closest matches in the online database, possibly signaling the outbreak of a new pathogen that had crossed over into humans from other animal species. Routine laboratory testing today may fail to detect as much as 89 percent of respiratory pathogens, so the widespread deployment of clinical metagenomic testing would benefit individual patients with more precise diagnoses as well as provide useful public health information. The results from clinical metagenomic testing could be monitored by public health authorities in much the same way that the CDC's influenza surveillance system collects and aggregates diagnostic data for that illness from state and local health departments, public health and clinical laboratories, vital statistics offices, health care providers, clinics, and emergency departments now.

"As surveillance networks and rapid diagnostic platforms such as nanopore sequencing are deployed globally, it will be possible to detect and contain infectious outbreaks at a much earlier stage, saving lives and lowering costs," predicted University of California, San Francisco medical researchers Charles Chiu and Steve Miller in a 2019 Nature Reviews Genetics article on clinical metagenomics.

There are other promising pathogen surveillance techniques as well, including the development of microfluidic chips such as combinatorial arrayed reactions for multiplexed evaluation of nucleic acids (CARMEN). The smartphone-sized CARMEN chip functions as a miniature laboratory, using modifications to CRISPR genome editing technologies to identify the genes from a huge variety of viruses in clinical samples and lighting up when they are found. In the future, CARMEN chips specifically designed to test thousands of samples from selected populations and symptomatic patients could be quickly deployed to regions where outbreaks are suspected.

All of these data will derive from people who know they're being tested and give consent, similar to the way standard medical labs operate today. When deployed correctly, such systems will be a net gain for privacy and civil liberties, compared to the intrusive measures that tend to be put into effect after a pandemic is well underway.

Treatments

Even the fastest vaccine development and the best testing and tracking may not be enough to forestall every infection or local outbreak; effective treatments must also be available. The COVID-19 pandemic has offered crucial insights into what works and what is needed to aggressively manage the next viral outbreak to reduce mortality.

The most pressing question: Why were there no broad-spectrum antiviral medications available to fight COVID-19? After all, there are lots of fairly broad-spectrum antibiotics available to attack invading disease-causing bacteria, including penicillin, doxycycline, amoxicillin, azithromycin, and tetracycline.

One key reason for the disparity is that bacterial cells are quite different from human cells, so they can be targeted without significantly harming our bodies. In contrast, viruses invade our cells and hijack their machinery to replicate themselves. Targeting this replication process would involve interfering with the operations of our own cells, which is likely to be toxic to the infected person as well.

All bacteria have double-stranded DNA genomes. In contrast, some viruses' genomes consist of a single strand of RNA, such as those responsible for hepatitis C and COVID-19. Others are double-stranded DNA viruses that cause illnesses ranging from smallpox and chickenpox to the common cold. And then there are single-stranded RNA viruses that transcribe their genomes into double-stranded DNA, of which HIV is one example. There are also a huge number of different viruses. Researchers at the Global Virome Project estimate that more than 1.6 million yet-to-be-discovered viral species circulate among the world's mammal and bird populations and that about half may have the capacity to infect and cause disease in humans.

The prevailing development paradigm is "one virus, one anti-viral," with the result being that most current antiviral medications target very specific viruses, explained Johns Hopkins' Adalja and co-author Thomas Inglesby in a June 2019 article in Expert Review of Anti-Infective Therapy. "The paucity of true broad-spectrum antiviral agents leaves a major chasm in preparedness for viral infectious disease emergencies." The advent of the current pandemic six months later showed just how wide that chasm is.

One stopgap measure they recommended is to repurpose off-the-shelf antivirals in response to emerging viral threats. The FDA's emergency use authorization allowing the Ebola antiviral remdesivir to be given to hospitalized COVID-19 patients is an example of such repurposing. Clinical trials showed that remdesivir is far from a silver-bullet COVID-19 treatment, but it does shorten the recovery time by a few days.

In light of the dearth of broad-spectrum antivirals, Adalja and Inglesby also recommended the complementary "pursuit of targeted therapies such as monoclonal antibodies," noting that such treatments had been successful against infections caused by the Ebola, Hendra, and Nipah viruses.

The COVID-19 outbreak did substantially rev up monoclonal antibody (mAb) research and development. Naturally produced antibodies are an immune response that protects against infections by binding to pathogens in order to prevent them from entering or damaging cells and by coating them to attract white blood cells to engulf and digest them. Man-made mAbs are proteins that act like human antibodies in the immune system.

In an April 2020 article in Nature Biotechnology, Vir Biotechnology bioengineer Brian Kelley argued for cutting at "pandemic pace" the time to go from suitable mAb identification to phase 1 clinical trials from 12 to six months.

The pace of development of mAbs has increased with astonishing rapidity in the last year. There are around 40 clinical trials seeking to test mAbs as treatments against COVID-19. The Canadian company AbCellera Biologics used its rapid pandemic response platform, developed under the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's Pandemic Prevention Platform program, to screen over 5 million immune cells in a blood sample from one of the first U.S. patients who recovered from COVID-19. AbCellera's platform identified numerous candidate COVID-19 antibodies in less than a week in early March. The company then teamed up with pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly and Co. to launch a phase 1 clinical trial on June 1. In other words, they cut even Kelley's ambitious timeline in half. Their mAb therapy received an emergency use authorization from the FDA on November 9, 2020—that is, just eight months after it was first identified by AbCellera researchers.

Regeneron pursued a similarly speedy process to identify and produce its COVID-19 treatment. The company targets the virus using two different antibodies, which means that the virus would need two separate mutations to make the treatment ineffective. When President Donald Trump was infected with the coronavirus in October, he received infusions of Regeneron's polyclonal COVID-19 antibody treatment. Regeneron received an EUA for its medication on November 23, 2020.

Both Regeneron's and AbCellera/Eli Lilly's mAbs were initially approved to treat mild to moderate COVID-19 and were supposed to be infused at least 10 days before symptom onset. Subsequent research found that using the AbCellera/Eli Lilly treatment as a preventative reduced the risk of contracting COVID-19 by up to 80 percent in a clinical trial involving nursing home residents. AbCellera is now collaborating with Vir Biotechnology and GlaxoSmithKline to make a polyclonal antibody cocktail.

The biotech startup Adagio Therapeutics announced in January 2021 that it has engineered what is essentially a broad-spectrum antibody that confers potent protection by targeting specific proteins common to a wide range of coronaviruses, including COVID-19 and SARS. The new antibody could be deployed almost immediately to treat and prevent future coronavirus outbreaks. In addition, the protein common to most coronaviruses identified by the Adagio researchers is "an attractive target for the rational design of 'pan-SARS' vaccines" in the future.

Adagio's success suggests a potential strategy of engineering in advance similar broad-spectrum antibodies targeting other virus families that are likely sources for future pandemics.

Right now, mAb developers must spend a lot of time creating and nurturing cell lines to produce antibodies. Why not skip this step and instead inoculate people with the appropriate antibody mRNA so that their cells quickly churn out antibodies to stop infections before they take hold?

Moderna reported in September 2019 the results of a safety trial for its mRNA therapeutic encoded for a functional antibody protecting against the chikungunya virus. The intravenously administered mRNA therapeutic induced in just 24 hours the production of enough antibodies to prevent chikungunya infection. The antibodies remained effective against the virus for at least 16 weeks. Other researchers are currently working on mRNA-encoded antibodies to treat influenza, rabies, HIV, and Zika. Instead of the lengthy and complicated process of manufacturing antibodies in bioreactors, mRNA-encoded antibodies, like mRNA vaccines, are a potent and easily tweaked platform technology that induces human bodies to produce an almost immediate immune response to nearly any targeted pathogen.

The COVID-19 pandemic has made the public and policy makers acutely aware not only of the misery and mortality that novel pathogens directly causes but also of the economic and social damage that chaotic and heavy-handed responses to them wreak. The brilliant performance of the new preventative platform technologies should prompt regulatory authorities to rethink their old hypercautious approval standards for infectious disease therapies. For example, mRNA vaccines and encoded antibodies are plug-and-play—that is, developers can deliver precise instructions to get the body to produce whatever immune response is sought. Certainly, new treatments will be monitored for dose optimization and safety, but human challenge trials or checking directly for pertinent immune responses in patients should be able to replace expensive, extensive, and time-consuming phase 3 clinical trials.

The Role of Government

A major challenge to realizing humanity's potential to prevent and control future pandemics will be correctly calibrating the role of the state. It may well be that specific targeted interventions could pay off handsomely and rectify potential market failures. But it is equally important for politicians and regulators to remove barriers to innovation and eliminate unnecessary barriers to market entry before the next crisis hits.

"All medical countermeasures for rare, catastrophic events face challenges in securing interest and investment from the private sector," observes Stanford physician Jaspreet Pannu. "Pharmaceutical companies are often unwilling to develop medicines for rare events that risk destroying global economies and thus the very mechanism for return on investment." In other words, who will pay in advance to devise medical treatments for pandemics that may never emerge?

To address this problem of a "market failure for pandemic drugs," Pannu proposes "adopting innovation prizes with awards large enough to justify investments in broad-spectrum antiviral drugs" in her March 2020 Mercatus Center paper, "Running Ahead of Pandemics: Achieving In-Advance Antiviral Drugs." How large? On the order of $1 billion for treatments that are shown to successfully prevent transmission and stop disease progression for all strains of a certain viral family or even multiple viral families. Such prizes could also be used to incentivize the development of vaccines against pathogens with pandemic potential.

As Cato Institute fellow Thomas A. Firey observes in a November 2020 paper, governments have long addressed the related potential market failure of suboptimal research funding "by providing grants for scientific research and operating research centers, often making the results of this work available for public use." For instance, the federal government appropriated more than $13 billion for Operation Warp Speed, a program to spur the rapid research, development, manufacture, and purchase of the COVID-19 vaccines discussed above, an approach generally hailed as a successful public-private partnership and one that combined some of the attributes of prizes with conventional subsidies.

The government also allocated $1.5 billion to the Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics (RADx) initiative that aimed to optimize the efficiency and availability of COVID-19 tests. Unfortunately, the RADx program did not get any new diagnostic platforms to the massive scale needed to help control the pandemic, highlighting the difficulty of correctly targeting interventions.

In order to forestall future pandemics, it is essential that regulators and public health authorities eschew ponderous yearslong clinical trials for the new platform technology vaccines and therapeutics and get out of the way of commercial and academic laboratories that want to devise and quickly deploy diagnostic tests.

Bill Gates and the Johns Hopkins researchers were right to fear a catastrophic pandemic. But other prognosticators were less accurate. Me, for one: In 2005, I wrote that "as humanity's biotechnical prowess increases, we may never suffer through another pandemic," a prediction I doubled down on in January 2020. Unfortunately, I was wrong then. But the new biomedical tools that have been developed and the sense of urgency that has emerged in response to the COVID-19 contagion make me confident that next time around the techno-optimists will win out.

NEXT: Beyond COVID

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. There is no current testing technology that can reliably be used on asymptomatic populations.

    WRT therapeutic drugs there are hundreds of papers showing modest to substantial efficacy of invermectin and HCQ. For this disease, they should have been used by Western Gov’s.

    The elephant in the room is the fact that lock downs – indeed most all NPI’s – had no effect on death rates. Which means they are/were a net harm…really they are/were tragic. Subjecting the world’s population to the worst public health policy decision made in the history of mankind is the real story. It will be interesting to see how various organizations handle being on the wrong side of history.

    1. Start making cash online work easily from home.everybody can join this job and make extra dollars in part time……….USA PART TIME JOB.

      1. Govt Announced Job opportunity for everyone! Because of Corona Work from comfort of your home, on your computer And you can work with your own working hours. You can work this job As part time or As A full time job. You can Earns up to $1000 per Day by way of work is simple on the web. It’s easy, just follow instructions on home page, read it carefully from start to finish Check The Details.

        |||||||| Visit Here To Apply For Online Jobs ||||||||

        1. Making money online more than 15$ just by doing simple work from home. I have received $18376 last month. Its an easy and simple job to do and its earnings are much better than regular office job and even a little child can do this and earns money. Everybody must try this job by just use the info
          on this page…..VISIT HERE

    2. They write the history, so I’m sure they’ll all be heralded as heroes, and all the people who protested being locked inside for a year will be regarded as villains and traitors to the cause.

    3. JOIN PART TIME JOB FOR USA Making money online more than 15$ just by doing simple dcs work from home. I have received $18376 last month. Its an easy and simple job to do and its earnings are much better than regular office job and even a little child can do this and earns money. Everybody must try this job by just use the info
      on this page……. Visit Here cs

    4. Single Mom With 4 Kids Lost Her Job But Was Able To Stay On Top By Banking Continuously 1500 Dollars Per Week With An Online Work She Found Over The Internet TRUMP TO WIN AND GIFT TO THE JOBS… Check The Details….______ Read more

    5. Sadly accountability has gone out the window with objective media.

    6. LIFE CHANGING OPPORTUNITY BE an Internet HOME-BASED real Earner.I am just working on facebook only 3 to 4 hours a Day and earning £47786 a month easily, that is handsome VBH earning to meet my extra expenses and that is really life changing opportunity. Let me give you a little insight into what I do….. Visit Here

    7. Oh sure. That’s why South Korea did so badly, deaths-per-million-wise, compared to the US. Japan. Even Germany and the UK.

      Oh wait. We lost hundreds of thousands of lives, unnecessarily. Japan recently had a “surge” that was negligible compared to the deaths per DAY in the US.

      The elephant in the room is that we had a pandemic playbook that our president refused to follow. He is a mass murderer who belongs in prison.

      1. The official pandemic play book for both WHO and the CDC was not to lock down…you fucking moron.

      2. We lost 100s of thousands of lives due to the 100k of lock down deaths and the refusal to issue cheap therapeutics (ivermectin and hcq).

      3. Japan and S. Korea, being next door to China, are epidemiologically distinct populations from Europe and the US.

    8. [ PART TIME JOB FOR USA ] Making money online more than 15$ just by doing simple works from home. I have received $18376 last month. Its an easy and simpleBTTY job to do and its earnings are much better than regular office job and even a little child can do this and earns money. Everybody must try this job by just use the info
      on this page…. Visit Here

    9. [ PART TIME JOB FOR USA ] Making money online more than 15$ just by doing simple works from home. I have received $18376 last month. Its an easy and simple job to do and its earnings are much better than regular office job andHYT even a little child can do this and earns money. Everybody must try this job by just use the info
      on this page…. Visit Here

  2. this is such a really bad time we spending on pandemic.

  3. Bill Gates and the Johns Hopkins researchers were right to fear a catastrophic pandemic.

    and that fear was seized upon as a pretext for chipping away at individual freedom. A year later, despite mounds of data of who is most at risk, the nexus of power-grabbers and fear-mongers still insists that this virus is an existential threat to every single human being.

    Meanwhile, separate research from a team at Duke/Harvard/Hopkins suggests that the remedial remedies undertaken by govt may result in up to one million deaths that were otherwise avoidable. This dovetails with previous findings after the great recession that suggest a half-million deaths stemming from the economic harm of that time. And that was without lockdowns and the hysteria of this pandemic. Economic harm leads to health harm.

  4. Happy Easter, Peanuts.

    The 10 most conservative countries in the world in 2021

    1. Swaziland
    2. Lebanon
    3. Yemen
    4. Iran
    5. Saudi Arabia

    (more)

    https://www.msn.com/en-xl/africa/other/the-10-most-conservative-countries-in-the-world-in-2021/ar-BB1fceka

    1. No surprises there.
      America’s left coasts are the most radically left-wing places socially on the planet, and certainly tug the rest of the country far to the left.

      1. Also, the traditional definition of liberal and conservative are inverted in Nor America, where it’s “conservatives” are strongly liberal, but it’s “liberals” are radical authoritarians.

        1. You are incorrect. US conservatives are reactionary traditional (but with a different religion) and that is why conservatism as we know it must die by it’s own hand.

          (Progressives are just as authoritarian but are very ineffective in public policy).

          1. “US conservatives are reactionary traditional”

            Classical liberalism is American (and Anglosphere) tradition.

            American establishment “liberals” are the ones currently destroying that tradition. Not American “conservatives” (or even the old left for that matter), but the people who have adopted it as their moniker.

            This is in much the same manner as those who hide behind the name “Antifa”, have adopted a fascist worldview and behaviors, or how Critical Race Theory is unrepentant racism in an “anti-racism” skin suit.

            1. But us classic liberals reject conservatism entirely.

              Example, we are secular and support the complete separation of church and state. Republicans and conservatives want to merge the two and even maintain the Big Lie that our rights “come from Gawd or the church” and are defined by such. The Aborto-Freak and Bible Beaters that make up the GOP reject classical liberalism in favor of the Big Lie.

              Conservatism is a lie based on lies told by liars.

              See Fat Rush Limbaugh (Praise Be Unto Him). His job was to peddle the Big Lie to soft-headed rednecks who twisted liberty into knots.

              1. You’re not a classical liberal, Buttplug, and you wouldn’t recognize actual liberalism if it teabagged you.
                You’re a bog-standard leftist authoritarian fifty-centing for a left-wing PAC here. Who do you think you’re kidding?

                1. I have far more in common with Hayek than any of you conservatives ever will.

                  1. Unless Hayek was a fat, Torontonian pedophile and living in his mother’s basement, you don’t have anything in common with him.

                    In fact The Road to Serfdom is antithetical to anything you’ve ever said here.

              2. Our rights do come from “Gawd”. But as clearly stated some are more blessed than others; perhaps you are not so much as that would explain you thinking on this? Easy test is to have you husband hold you head underwater and see who you want to save you.

          2. Ah, look, y’all, I can help you out here.

            Buttpig there is actually 3 sockpuppets, Buttpig, AddictionMyth, and Dajjal, or something like that, competing to be the dumbest person on the internet. Not a small feat by any means. ‘IT’ even has a website where the three moron sockpuppets argue with one another over which is the dumbest.

            Dude is mentally ill, that’s an understatement.

            So just ignore anything the certified retard says.

        2. I was just commenting on that to somebody. Mike Huckabee had sent out a tweet that he was going to identify as Chinese so that Coke and Delta and MLB would like him and a bunch of people jumped all over him for being racist (naturally) and defending these companies for siding with China. And I thought how odd it was that it’s the progressives who were defending these evil, greedy, soulless corporations who didn’t give a shit about who got hurt as long as they could make a buck and when the hell did this happen that progressives are now pro-corporation?

          1. Of course, I knew what it was, it’s not that progressives are pro-corporation or pro-China, they’re just anti-American and anybody that’s an enemy of America is a friend of theirs.

          2. when the hell did this happen that progressives are now pro-corporation?

            Obama became a free-trade pro-Silicon Valley dream date for US corporations.

            Wingnuts couldn’t see it due to their “Muslim Kenyan” myopia.

            1. “free-trade”

              And yet he smothered it under regulation, until Trump finally fixed it with the USMCA which you never seem to want to discuss.

              1. USMCA was warmed over NAFTA that put more regulations and “content requirements” in place.

                The TPP was real free trade and killed over 18,000 tariffs on US products.

                Big Obama win over Trump for classic liberalism.

                1. Are you insane. The TPP was warmed over corporatism.

                  1. Yes, you progressive protectionists repeat that lie about free trade – that only corporations benefit from FTA’s.

                    In reality corporations, workers, and consumers all benefit from free trade.

                    1. Corporatism and corporations aren’t the same thing, you gibbering idiot.

                    2. You know all one has to do to show how fucking stupid you are is to point out the explosion in federal regulations under Obama right?

            2. Obama WAS a Kenyan until he turned 21.

            3. Lol. And you claim to not be a Democrat. Fucking hilarious. As big a lie as you not being a pedophile.

  5. Interesting bunch of scientific stuff; but the crisis was created and exacerbated by government actions. Any ideas about how to deal with that does not involve woodchippers?

  6. Unfortunately, the Trump administration resisted widespread testing, and excessively cautious regulators further stymied development and deployment.

    Now when you say “the Trump Administration”, are you talking about the self-professed smartest man in the world and world’s foremost expert on absolutely everything Donald Trump, or are you talking about the experts at the CDC, the NIH, the FDA, the WHO, and the NIAID who initially suggested that the coronavirus was not any kind of threat and there was no need for concern, no need to lock down our borders, no need to wear masks, no reason to do anything other than go about living our lives as normal? Because if it was Trump himself refusing to listen to the experts and making them say things that just weren’t true, he’s some kind of evil bastard and I have to wonder why all these people didn’t quit in protest of his evil bastardry, but if Trump were only repeating what the experts themselves were telling him, well, that sounds exactly like government as usual responding poorly to an emergency. I think the Apollo project was the last time the government demonstrated any ability to move their bureaucratic asses with any sort of urgency.

    1. “or are you talking about the experts at the CDC, the NIH, the FDA, the WHO, and the NIAID who initially suggested that the coronavirus was not any kind of threat and there was no need for concern, no need to lock down our borders, no need to wear masks, no reason to do anything other than go about living our lives as normal?”

      No, but the narrative, you see.

      Also, we’re not supposed to mention how the border shutdown was initially ferociously oppressed by the bien pensants and meant Trump was horribly racist, and how everyone should hug Chinese visitors, and how going to the Chinese New Year celebrations in NYC was standing against Trump’s racist tyranny.

      1. Bailey, in a dereliction duty, say little about Trump and his administration. Long time bureaucrats slowed things down, but Trump pressed them to deliver faster and got pushback , but succeeded in delivering a vaccine much sooner than expected. Trump did no lockdowns, mostly D governors and mayors did.

        Bailey also seems blind to the dangers of government policy creating these pandemics, as it seems that’s exactly what happened, with US government funding (and Fauci involved) China to do research on the virus. The technical progress, also facilitates creating new viruses. Government is supposed to protect us, but instead our government is helping China research ways to kill us. Someone should ask Fauci why we’re doing it.

    2. the self-professed smartest man in the world and world’s foremost expert on absolutely everything Donald Trump

      Trump to Pfizer/Moderna/J&J, “You didn’t build that”.

      1. Not on their own dime anyway, unlike the “villains” the lightbringer was decrying when he said that.

        1. Obama was referring to the “roads and bridges” those companies were using.

          You fell for the incorrect wingnut framing of that quote.

          1. Lol, not exclusively by his own admission. You feel for the weaselly excuses made afterwards.

            1. Well, to be fair, plug is kind of an idiot.

          2. Man. Obama cultists actually exist here.

          3. No, he wasn’t. He was referring to your entire life of useless graft and tit sucking

  7. “Technological breakthroughs and policy progress mean humanity may never again have to endure a disaster like COVID-19”

    Not for as long as political figures and social engineers think lockdown’s the ticket to power and control.

  8. If only we could engineer a virus that only targeted mormons. If there was some way to get the virus to only infect people dumb enough to believe the crock of shit mormons believe.

    Exterminate the Mormons.

    1. Have a happy Easter, everyone.

      1. I didn’t realize Canadians celebrated Easter?

        Do you drink Molson and celebrate John Macdonald rising from death?

        1. Canada has two semi-official religions actually. Anglicanism and Catholicism. The government pays for religious education. The Lord’s Prayer is still said every morning in many public schools. Parliament is opened with a prayer.

          1. I figured the anglican church was big there because you’re still Britain’s bitch kind of.
            Imagine many of the bs catholic schools are I’m Quebec.

            The fascist god you pray to Mother is as fake as the mormon’s pervert god.

            If the Christian God exists it hates fascists like you and mormons.

      2. Btw your fascist god doesn’t exist.

        1. Have a happy Easter, everyone.

          1. Happy Canadian Easter to you!

            Your fascist god is as phony as the mormons pervert god.

            1. I’m going to snuff you out pedo:

              1. How am i pedo?

                You’re the one defending mormons. They worship a pervert.

                Or are you lying like mormons lie?

              2. Anyway Pepin haven’t you been dead since the ninth century?

                You’re also short, so there’s that…

    2. I sometimes think my life is shitty. Then I remember KARen exists, and I feel pretty good about my life.

      1. Yeah my life is pretty goddamn awesome!

    3. Hi KARen!

      1. Hi pussy.

    4. Chuck never comments on weekends because he’s too busy praying to his perv god who doesn’t exist.

  9. Schumer: Senate will act on marijuana legalization with or without Biden

    https://www.politico.com/news/2021/04/03/schumer-senate-marijuana-legalization-478963

    Democrats are due for another midterm shellacking in 2022 but if they can make weed legal at the federal level it could be a Hail Mary TD pass instead.

    Certainly Biden is not stupid enough to fuck this up?

    1. “Democrats are due for another midterm shellacking in 2022”

      Not so fast. A strong economy always benefits the incumbent party, and the Biden economy is terrific. I know this because Warren Buffett’s net worth is increasing, and you used that as your main indicator of economic strength during the Obama years.

      #BlueWave2022

      1. Oh no, you overrate the intelligence of the American voter.

        After two years of non-stop “Gawd, guns, gays kissing, and MIGRANT CARAVAN!” the public will want another conservative fuckstick Washington DC.

        Throw in about half the voter precincts available due to GOP vote suppression and we have a GOP wave coming in 2022.

        1. “gays kissing”

          But Drumpf’s aggressive campaign against same-sex marriage didn’t stop Biden from winning a historic landslide in 2020. There’s no reason to think that tactic will work any better in 2022.

        2. “Oh no, you overrate the intelligence of the American voter”

          If it wasn’t for this overweening hatred for the base canaille the left is constantly displaying, they could have a chance of legitimately winning elections.

    2. You were stupid enough to vote for the feeble old man Biden, so yeah he’s stupid enough to fuck it up.

      And yes your democrats are going to get beaten hard in 2022 and no it won’t be due to lies about voter suppression. Just the people wanting to watch a cage match.

      Anyway, happy easter you fucking moron.

    3. Certainly Biden is not stupid enough to fuck this up?

      What was it Obama said? Something like, “Never underestimate Joe’s ability to fuck things up.”

  10. Technological breakthroughs and policy progress mean humanity may never again have to endure a disaster like COVID-19.

    How is technology going to prevent government overreach and societal self destruction? It’s not the disease that did all this damage, it was the people.

  11. You might want to be cautious about proclaiming experimental mRNA treatments established successes until there’s verifiable proof that they have efficacy and are safe.

    They’re certainly effective at creating a stable, reoccurring revenue channel for the pharmaceutical industry and the politicians who rely on them.

    1. And people having shit takes on Texas have to do anything with this article because???

  12. My last month’s online job to earn extra dollars every month just by doing work for maximum 2 to 3 hrs a day. I have. joined this job about 3 months ago and in my first month i have made $12k+ easily without any special online experience. Everybody on this earth can get this job today and start making cash online by just follow details on this website………
    HERE——??.https://www.scansweb.com

  13. “Muslim Kenyan” myopia.”
    Yeah, wherever did that crazy idea originate anyway?

    1. Team Hillary…
      but that’s different because, unlike Trump, she can’t be racist because she’s one of us.

      1. Fake buttplug.

        1. Lmao it started with Hillary you worthless retard! Ahahaaaa thats good sock trolling

  14. Fuck Bill and Melinda Gates. They’re both awful people.

    1. There’s just completely detached from reality. Being ultra-rich for decades will do that to you.

      1. THEY’RE*
        edit button when

        1. I don’t worry about typos. I use voice recognition at work and they happen all the time. Same for texting. Peeple ken reid write thru thm.

  15. So these comments are … interesting. I dont know if anyone actually read the article. I did. Most proposals seem reasonable enough, except:

    “regulators should approve vaccines if they are shown to induce specific immune biomarkers that are associated with protection against infection, such as a sufficiently high level of neutralizing antibodies in volunteers”

    I want you to ask any honest person in the pharma industry whether biomarkers alone can ever be sufficient to prove if something works. I have yet to find a single person who thinks so, and if there are they are probably those annoying idiot people at meetings who has no idea why a proposal wasn’t approved when everyone around them knows.

    Academia published thousands of papers about this or that biomarker, almost all of the time even if the paper replicates, it means nothing for the disease. Perhaps if we have a good mechanistic model of the human body, but we don’t. Biomarkers are a starting point, but they should never be sufficient to approve a drug.

    1. I have to agree, this fascination on biomarkers was the hallmark of the anti-fat dietary push and aggressive, universal cholesterol treatment, which has been shown repeatedly over the course of several decades to be either ineffective or even counterproductive on reducing actual heart attacks and strokes.

      As for the headline, I have to say, that hubris was present before the Spanish Flu as well. We should be far more cautious.

  16. The disaster was not the disease, which killed a modest amount of people, mostly old fucks, or fat fucks, or old fat fucks. It was a plague for the boomers, and the boomers are the ones who created the disaster: lock-downs, masks ad nauseum, and a multi-trillion dollar spending spree which will hasten the economic meltdown we’re heading towards in this country. That problem doesn’t have a technological solution.

    1. Don’t mess with old people.

      We didn’t get to this age with all the stuff and power by being stupid.

  17. Lol.

    “President Biden is also proposing to encourage other countries to adopt strong minimum taxes on corporations, just like the United States, so that foreign corporations aren’t advantaged,” the details said.

    Don’t ever let it be said that democrats aren’t economically ignorant.

    1. It’s like Davis bacon act for the world except America is some worthless labor union and the world is a private company in this scenario.

      America/union: we fucked our labor costs, and thus production costs, up so badly we no longer are competitive. You should all jack yours up to so we can compete again.

      World/private company: why do we need to hurt ourselves because you use a bunch of lazy, unskilled, overpaid, unionized morons to do all your remedial tasks?

  18. Only because politicians will never let this pandemic end.

    1. It is really not up to them.

      1. If you look at polls, many people are still absolutely terrified and will never go back to normal.

        Politicians will play on that fear to keep this going for years. And once it’s happening long enough, people won’t know anything else.

      2. The majority of the harm induced in the last year was absolutely man made. Lock downs have been the worst public policy disaster since WW2. If you remove wars from the pool of policy disasters, I can’t think of anything worse in the last 1000 years than the lock downs.

  19. You know, Ron. You’re a smart guy and I agree with you on a lot of things. And I actually agree with you on this. That it’s the way this SHOULD work.

    But it won’t. Why? Because ‘never let a good crisis go to waste’, that’s why.

    Science was great while it lasted, but the woke idiots in this country are hell bent on leading us straight back to a new dark ages.

    But you know that. You SHOULD know that. Too many cocktail parties for real this time?

    1. Ron trusted non validated models over real world experiments on cruise ships. He isnt smart with science.

  20. Technological breakthroughs and policy progress mean humanity may never again have to endure a disaster like COVID-19.

    Sure, if you believe that it was technology that has kept us in perma-lockdown. And I don’t even know what to say about “policy progress”. It was policy progress that got half the planet into total lockdown over a disease that, while more dangerous than just a standard flu, was nowhere near as dangerous as the Spanish Flu. If we progressed ourselves TOWARDS a panic, unscientific response, what makes us think we’ll progress away from that.

    I mean, if you think that we ‘learned’ something from our response to COVID, my estimation is the only thing “we” learned is that a small number of local government hacks can lockdown millions of people on the shakiest of grounds and those millions will eagerly comply.

    1. “I mean, if you think that we ‘learned’ something from our response to COVID, my estimation is the only thing “we” learned is that a small number of local government hacks can lockdown millions of people on the shakiest of grounds and those millions will eagerly comply.”

      Absolutely correct!

    2. Agree. What the wanna be dictators have learned is that all that’s needed is an “emergency” to assume unconstitutional powers. They get to decide its an emergency, and they get to tell you when its over.

      Go over to Volokh, and most of the folks over there swear, and unfortunately a lot of the judiciary there is a suspend the constitution clause in the constitution. Its just in invisible ink I guess? Those silly founders just forgot it!

      No they didn’t. There is no suspend clause because they feared what happened last year. They even created the Bill of Rights just to emphasize the really really important rights which shall not be infringed.

      But the lawyer, politicians and unfortunately a lot of judges say even the most important rights like 1A don’t apply when a governor invents, oops declares an emergency.

  21. The problem wasn’t covid but socialism, which exacerbated and exploited the crisis for cynical political gain. The nefarious alliance included banksters like Mnuchin who wanted to bankrupt small businesses so they could snap them up for a song. And they are desperate for another fake crisis and will fabricate the pseudoscience to obviate all this pollyannnaism.

    And too few of us fought back. Instead we cowardly attacked those who fought: “My state didn’t have lockdowns you idiot. If yours did then you have only yourself to blame.”

    One reason for the weak response is social security and medicare: old people have no skin in the game. Without these programs they’d have demanded we got back to work and school to afford to care for them.

    But the core problem is loss of faith in capitalism: all the big discoveries have been made and there are no lucrative opportunities left unless you already have a billion dollars and well connected friends (or score a spot on Shark Tank to hawk a new flavor of dog food). So people turn to socialist schemes for profit and power (e.g. medicare for all, UBI, GND, gun control, etc). Calling people ‘losers’ for not wanting a career in robotics isn’t going to be a winning strategy.

    1. Oh good, this guy again. I love how people trying to build a “brand” show up in all the same places.

      1. I don’t think it does anything to combat the world health organization pandemic. I think the existence of the world health organization should be questioned.

  22. humanity may never again have to endure a disaster like COVID-19

    So governments are milking this one for as long as they can.

  23. humanity may never again have to endure a disaster like COVID-19

    We’re going to kill all the politicians? Because I’ve got news for you: the disaster wasn’t the disease, it was the reaction to the disease.

    Blaming the disease for anything other than people getting sick and loss of life isn’t accurate or honest. EVERYTHING ELSE came from government decisions in response. Not enough people died for it to have had a material effect on society. All of the negative consequences came from government.

    This bullshit where people just shrug and go, “THE PANDEMIC DID ________ !!!!!” is infuriating.

  24. And absolutely no coverage of the fact that the whole Emergency Use is flawed, because by the time they got around to it, we’d identified treatments that actually work.
    But those cost pennies, so the medical industry doesn’t care, and the FDA won’t review them.

    1. Yea I brought that up in yesterdays covid thread. My mother received Eli lillys bamlanivimab 2 weeks ago. I mentioned it was developed on the same 60 day DARPA platform as other monoclonal antibody treatments and the vaccines. Yet it took 200+ days for it to gain emergency use approval. Why does DARPA even have a 60 day program then lol? Especially when you consider these monoclonal antibodies are much different, and safer, than the vaccines. They are based off of known antibodies that fight covid and were identified as such literally within days or weeks of blood sample analysis from early recovered patients. They go right into your blood and work, there’s no hijacking of a cell and altering it’s function to trigger an immune response and then waiting 3 weeks for antibodies to develop. These treatments could have been out last summer easily saving lives.

      And that says nothing as you mentioned of the cheaper treatments like ivermectin or early/prophylactic hydroxychloroquine. God bless Florida because it seems that ivermectin is finally becoming widespread there, as well as a few other interesting treatments/aids for symptoms, and they’re getting a lot of good “American” data.

      1. c19ivermectin.com has hundreds of papers showing pretty decent efficacy numbers.

  25. “Now that the safety and efficacy of mRNA vaccines have been established..”

    How can 3 months of testing establish safety and predict what the vaccines may do in 3-4 years from now?

    1. how to deal with the corona virus in this year SALDO4D

  26. how to deal with the corona virus in this year SALDO4D

  27. Ronald Bailey – the “pandemic” wasn’t the disaster; the disaster was the government 1) creating a fake pandemic 2) using their made-up pandemic to destroy the country.

    I used to consider Reason an antidote to government and statism; how is it that you are now acting like MSM, toeing the party line and complying with the state’s narrative?

    Although I still check in on you guys, this is one reason (no pun intended) why I will not contribute my dollars via a subscription any longer. Might as well donate to PBS.

  28. It is optimistic if it is so. Yet the microbes make themselves equipped for the changing scenario.

  29. This article is beyond ludicrous. Using any stringent standards and acceptable means, no pandemic has yet to be proven. Perhaps there some type of man mad flu-type virus going around, but millions are not dying as a direct result. One can argue that the morbidity rate is less than 1/4 of 1 percent.

    The main fault lies in no standardize testing methodology proven to provide consistent results. The major testing vehicle, the PCr test is highly suspect since there is no determined number of cycles to be used as a standard. his should have been determined ahead of using this for testing. The results are all over the map and not accurate in most cases.

    Furthermore, the CDC sated very early during the virus contagion that SARS CoV-2 could be used as the main cause of death on death certificates if it was suspected, not proven, to be a factor. With government incentives in the form of much higher payouts for CoV-2 deaths, the impetus is there to assig many death as being CoV-2.

    There is also mention in the Journal of Clinical Microbiology of SARS CoV-1, CoV-2, and CoV-3…way back in 2007 by Chinese virologists. Ring any bells? CoV-1 was already a failed attempt to shock the world with a deadly planned virus back in 2002. It is known that CoV-2 is very similar to CoV-1. At least with in vitro observations, not totally purified of course. But that would be overly scientific for today’s crowd of pretend scientists.

    And the big unknown with the gene altering therapies, described as such by the very drug makers themselves, is mainly the Antibody Dependent Enhancement (ADE) factor which at this point because of such a quick trial period is a disaster of mega proportions waiting to happen. Since no previous corona virus has ever survived ADE after injection in trial animals, it would appear that we humans are now the trial lab rats No way can these concoctions be termed safe in the long run…that data does not exist…period!!

    If in the months and years ahead the RNA/DNA altering potions may prove to have changed our immune systems to the point where most of it only seeks out CoV-2 viruses and not much else. Then you will have your monstrous pandemic of epic proportion in which 100’s of millions will perish. This possibility is highly probable.

    There is no way pharma can assure us this will not happen because they will need 5-10 years, the more normal vaccine assessment period, to determine if all is well.

  30. This article is beyond ludicrous. Using any stringent standards and acceptable means, no pandemic has yet to be proven. Perhaps there some type of man mad flu-type virus going around, but millions are not dying as a direct result. One can argue that the morbidity rate is less than 1/4 of 1 percent.

    The main fault lies in no standardize testing methodology proven to provide consistent results. The major testing vehicle, the PCr test is highly suspect since there is no determined number of cycles to be used as a standard. This should have been determined ahead of using this for testing. The results are all over the map and not accurate in most cases.

    Furthermore, the CDC sated very early during the virus contagion that SARS CoV-2 could be used as the main cause of death on death certificates if it was suspected, not proven, to be a factor. With government incentives in the form of much higher payouts for CoV-2 deaths, the impetus is there to assign many death as being CoV-2.

    There is also mention in the Journal of Clinical Microbiology of SARS CoV-1, CoV-2, and CoV-3…way back in 2007 by Chinese virologists. Ring any bells? CoV-1 was already a failed attempt to shock the world with a deadly planned virus back in 2002. It is known that CoV-2 is very similar to CoV-1. At least with in vitro observations, not totally purified of course. But that would be overly scientific for today’s crowd of pretend scientists.

    And the big unknown with the gene altering therapies, described as such by the very drug makers themselves, is mainly the Antibody Dependent Enhancement (ADE) factor which at this point because of such a quick trial period is a disaster of mega proportions waiting to happen. Since no previous corona virus has ever survived ADE after injection in trial animals, it would appear that we humans are now the trial lab rats No way can these concoctions be termed safe in the long run…that data does not exist…period!!

    In the months and years ahead the RNA/DNA altering potions may prove to have changed our immune systems to the point where most of it only seeks out CoV-2 viruses and not much else. Then you will have your monstrous pandemic of epic proportion in which 100’s of millions will perish. This possibility is highly probable.

    There is no way pharma can assure us this will not happen because they will need 5-10 years, the more normal vaccine assessment period, to determine if all is well.

    1. It’s amazing to me that no one points this out. Nor that that the FDA has approved the vaccine for “emergency” use only.

      Except where is the emergency? As you say, tens of millions dead? Nope. Proof that those that did die died OF covid and not WITH? Nope. Extensive, year long trials of this so-called vaccine? Nope.

      I have no problem with people believing in voodoo. I do have a problem with them forcing ME to.

  31. Or, have I completely misread this, and Bailey is actually engaging in a masterpiece of satire?

    “it is essential that regulators and public health authorities eschew ponderous yearslong clinical trials”

    I mean, who WOULDN’T want to be a guinea pig boosting profits for pharmaceutical companies while risking who knows what genetic damage or death.

    That’s got to be it: no one could seriously propose something this outlandish. Satire it is. Cudos, Ron!

Please to post comments