For weeks, talking heads have been promoting the liability-free vaccine(s) that will save the world—so Bill Gates and Tony Fauci proclaim—from what Gates has now dubbed “Pandemic I.”
As Microsoft News peddles self-congratulatory stories about the Gates Foundation’s reorientation of its priorities to devote “‘total attention’ to the pandemic,” Fauci—making the rounds of talk shows—pledges that a vaccine will make its debut in January 2021. Not to be outdone, the White House has now unveiled “Operation Warp Speed”—a joint pharmaceutical-government-military effort aimed at “substantially shrinking the development time for a vaccine”—and President Trump promises one by the end of the year.
Planet-wide COVID-19 vaccination—the overt objective that has all of these players salivating in anticipation—ignores a number of irrefutable obstacles. For one, the RNA virus being targeted, SARS-CoV-2, already “has mutated into at least 30 different genetic variants.” The variants include 19 never seen before as well as “rare changes that scientists had never imagined could happen.” Knowledge about these mutations may prove useful to clinicians wanting to better tailor their COVID-19 treatments, but the proliferation of mutations makes the chances of developing an effective vaccine immensely more uncertain.