They say Covid-19 is here to stay

The economic incentive of the drug companies is to reduce Covid-19 to a continuing low level threat, both in the USA and abroad, and to have a monopoly on the means of controlling it.

The model is the Great Influenza of 1918.  The ‘flu never went away, it just became something we learned to live with, and people like me get a ‘flu shot every year.

The drug companies seem to be getting their wish.  But their problem is that they do not have a monopoly on Covid-19 treatments.

There is ivermectin. There are other treatments.  There are the vaccines developed by Russia and China.

The U.S. government claims the Russian and Chinese vaccines are ineffective.  Maybe they are, I can’t judge, but an imperfect cure that is available and affordable is better than a perfect cure that you can’t get or can’t afford.

It didn’t have to be this way.  A few countries acted quickly to eliminate the virus before it took told, through quarantine, contact tracing and travel restrictions.  When they had lockdowns, they were short and all-encompassing.

But most of the so-called advanced nations waited to act until the virus had taken hold, and then their goal was not to eliminate the virus, but to “flatten the curve” so that the infection rate was at a level that physicians could handle.

I do not claim the drug companies somehow caused the ineffective response.  But they benefit from it.

Another opportunity was lost when Oxford University changed its mind about developing a no-patent vaccine and partner with AstraZeneca instead.

The result will be that less vaccine will be produced, and the price of vaccines will be higher, than if rights were freely available. 

And even though some of the drug companies are offering reduced prices during the pandemic, they expect to sell a lot at high prices in the long run.

But, in the long run, nations and individuals will simply find alternatives to the three FDA-approved vaccines.  There is no non-corrupt, non-coercive way this process can be stopped.

LINKS

SARS-CoV-2 elimination, not mitigation, creates the best outcomes for health, the economy and civil liberties by Miquel Oliu-Barton and other authors for The Lancet.

Now We’re Making Sure Covid Stays Chronic by Ian Welsh.  [Added 6/12/2021]

The coronavirus is here to stay – here’s what that means by Nicky Phillips for Nature.

‘When will it end?’ How a changing virus is reshaping scientists’ views on COVID-19 by John Steenhausen and Keillie Kelland for Reuters.

The ‘America First’ Vaccine Policy Must End by James Hamblin for The Atlantic.

Africa Is Outrageously Short of COVID Vaccine by Bill Imray for the Los Angeles Times.

Bill Gates Chooses Corporate Patent Rights Over Human Lives by Luke Savage for Jacobin magazine.

The world is desperate for more Covid vaccine – patents shouldn’t get in the way by Stephen Buranyi for The Guardian.

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4 Responses to “They say Covid-19 is here to stay”

  1. Fred (Au Natural) Says:

    No disease ever “goes away” unless we get very very lucky. That just isn’t how biology works.

    We were very fortunate with smallpox. Smallpox has a low mutation rate for a virus and the mutations that did occur didn’t interfere with the vaccines we developed. The world still mostly believed in science and governments were willing to enforce vaccination on those who did not. Smallpox is also not that easily transmitted. Immunization via cowpox had been around for a century and a half. Most important was that there was no animal vector. No reservoir of virus just waiting for the next mutation to make it transmissible to humans. The result was way beyond what was needed for herd immunity and the disease went extinct. There are small stocks of virus remaining in a couple of national labs, a decision I am dubious about.

    Smallpox was a very rare exception. Polio could be another exception and we are close. In 2020 there were 2 wild polio cases and 9 vaccine-derived cases known to the WHO. Almost there! The cases of vaccine-derived infection happen because people don’t like getting shots. The program formerly used oral vaccines which use weakened poliovirus instead of injected vaccine which uses inactivated poliovirus. The global polio eradication program is trying to shift from oral to injected in the hope of extinction.

    Influenza is endemic to animals and mutates rapidly. It also has a high propensity of jumping to humans. It is simply not possible to eradicate the flu with the technology that exists today. To say the big pharma keeps flu around just to make money off vaccinations (even if some sociopathic CEO might want to) is ridiculous.

    COVID is also endemic to animals and mutates rapidly.

    You could argue that the thousands of lives flu vaccinations save aren’t worth the cost or that we could simply stay in perpetual lockdown and avoid flu epidemics entirely. You could argue that the one in a hundred thousand serious adverse events or the one in a million deaths caused by flu vaccinations make them not worth the risk. I would not want to be the person trying to make any of those arguments to a reasonable person.

    COVID-19 vaccinations seem to be following those numbers. The latest data I saw (Jan, 2021) shows 66 deaths that “may possibly have a causal link” from a COVID vaccination. Looking at the reports of a random half dozen, all except one were quite elderly, quite ill, and/or immunocompromised who probably should NOT have gotten the vaccine. One happened to be a 55 y.o. doctor, apparently in good health. When you’re talking about a hundred million people, some of them would likely have died within a week of any given day, vaccination or no. Given the fatality rate of COVID infection, (.5 – 5% in my age group) and the much higher rate of serious permanent side effects, I’ll take those odds.

    There are 4 different COVID vaccines available around the world – plus the Chinese and Russian vaccines that nobody really wants but will take if nothing else is available. More are coming online. Biden’s promise of a half-billion vaccine doses to poorer countries is exactly what he should be doing. EU should be matching it. It is unfortunate that the scale of producing billions of doses is quite daunting. Look how long it took to spool up production enough just to cover ourselves.

    If it turns out that boosters are necessary to keep up with a constantly mutating virus, COVID will indeed be with us until we can devise a better vaccine that hits all variants. That isn’t greed by big pharma. It is just how viruses work. A lot of it is humanity’s fault for not taking it seriously. Many of us still aren’t taking it seriously. If we’d had this attitude in the past we’d still have rampant smallpox and polio.

    With the technology that exists tomorrow, it may be possible to make a more generic influenza vaccine or a universal COVID vaccine. That tech did not exist a decade ago. It is developed, we can probably thank COVID-19. Flu was indeed something we had simply gotten used to. IIRC, the last really deadly flu pandemic was the 1968 H3N2 pandemic. At the time we didn’t try to vaccinate our way out of it. Probably a good thing because even though influenza vaccines had been around for a while (1938, Jonas Salk!) they were prone to side effects, as we saw in 1976.

    It takes a crisis to kick humans in the butt and get them to pump the kind of resources into a problem it takes for a rapid advancement.

    Like

    • philebersole Says:

      I’m not opposed to vaccines. I got vaccinated for Covid as soon as I could. I think that, given the situation, President Trump’s Operation Warp Speed plan to develop vaccines was the best feasible plan. Vaccines were developed much faster than was generally expected.

      The way to stamp out a constantly-mutating virus is to stamp it out before it gets established. A few countries, mostly in the Far East, succeeded in doing so. They did it by contract tracing, quarantine, travel restrictions. Their lockdowns were universal and short. But most of the world did not follow their example.

      The current plan for dealing with Covid is through immunizations. But there isn’t enough vaccine to deal with the world’s needs, and no plans to ramp up production so that everyone can be vaccinated.

      Here in the USA, we have a special problem of people who resist vaccination, either because they think it is in infringement on their liberties or because they have an understandable suspicion of the public health establishment.

      If the U.S. government was seriously about stamping out Covid, it would offer free vaccinations on call, like pizza delivery. You would call a number, and somebody would come to you and give you your shot. It also would offer free treatment for possible bad side effects of the shot.

      If it were serious about stamping out Covid, the U.S. government and medical establishment would be exploring treatments and cures and not just immunization. Instead there is an organized resistance to even discussing alternatives, as shown by YouTube’s taking down the video of Dr. Pierre Kory’s and Brett Weinstein’s discussion of invermectin.

      Liked by 1 person

    • philebersole Says:

      Many diseases have “gone away,” at least in the USA.

      One thing to be thankful for is the medical progress in the 19th and 20th centuries. We Americans no longer worry about typhus, cholera, yellow fever or childhood diseases such as measles, mumps, whooping cough and chicken pox.

      But that’s no reason not to press forward.

      When a cure or vaccine for a disease is available, there is no excuse for allowing it to persist, anywhere in the world.

      https://harpers.org/archive/2021/06/when-children-die/

      https://www.worldatlas.com/articles/infectious-diseases-that-have-been-globally-eradicated.html

      https://www.worldatlas.com/articles/which-infectious-diseases-have-been-eliminated-from-the-united-states.html

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eradication_of_infectious_diseases

      The technical name of the coronavirus is SARS-CoV-2. There was a SARS-CoV-1 that was totally eliminated, almost entirely through prompt public health measures in China and other countries before established itself.

      https://www.history.com/news/sars-outbreak-china-lessons

      https://theconversation.com/the-original-sars-virus-disappeared-heres-why-coronavirus-wont-do-the-same-138177

      The second version of COVID was virtually eliminated in China and neighboring countries while it spread to Iran and Italy, then throughout the USA Europe, India and Latin America, and now back into the countries that fought it successfully.

      Maybe eradication of the present coronavirus is impossible. It is impossible to know that if you assume failure at the beginning.

      Liked by 1 person

    • philebersole Says:

      My point is that if you’re serious about fighting a disease, you should be willing to look at anything that seems to work. This is not the case with the CDC or WHO.

      Liked by 1 person

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