[ExI] Vaccines

John Clark johnkclark at gmail.com
Wed May 13 16:35:30 UTC 2020

The average vaccine takes 10.7 years to go from an idea to something the
average person can get, the fastest one was the Ebola vaccine and it took 5
years. That's way too slow. It takes such a long time because before
clinical trials start an experimental vaccine only has a 6% chance of ever
reaching the market; even if it gets to the clinical trials stage there is
only a 33% chance of success. But a COVID-19 vaccine is so important we
can't proceed with doing business the usual way, we need a massive
Manhattan Project style effort. About 100 different vaccines are some stage
of development and at least half of them should be aggressively pursued in
parallel. And we should definitely use human challenge trials, some will
say that's immoral but I think the moral path is the one that produces the
least sickness and death.

There is also the problem of scaling up, even after a good Vaccine is found
we need to make enough for 7.6 billion people. Bill Gates has picked 7
vaccines that he thinks are most promising and is spending several billion
dollars to make 7 factories to mass produce them with the full knowledge
that most of the factories will be unused and most of the money will end up
being wasted because he is willing to trade money for time because every
day you save in finding a vaccine you save thousands of lives.  But it's
not enough, we need at least 50 factories, if 49 are never used that's OK,
it would be money well spent as far as I'm concerned.

John K Clark
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