Ebola vaccine: 43 years after first outbreak

A righteous Church of Shutdowner on Facebook regarding the infidels of the frozen north:

The Swedish approach makes sense if and only if you are certain that everyone is going to get the virus in the end. If you think there is going to be a vaccine available within 18 months, it means far more deaths than necessary.

[“far more deaths than necessary” in Sweden to date translates to half as many as in Massachusetts (adjusted for population size). Their failure with continuity looks pretty good compared to our success with shutdown!]

I asked why he was confident regarding vaccine development:

We produced a vaccine for Ebola within months of the disease appearing. And right now we have every vaccine lab in the world and more looking for the COVID vaccine. The question hasn’t been time, it has been whether immunity was possible. If you have thirty world class labs each taking a shot at producing a vaccine that has a 10% chance of success, you are pretty much certain to succeed if it is possible with that approach.

I certainly hope that he is right (he’s a computer programmer, not a virologist, so he is guessing just like the rest of us!), but I decided to check out Wikipedia on Ebola and discovered that it first broke out within humans in 1976 and an approved vaccine become available 43 years later, on December 17, 2019 (i.e., we were perfectly set up to fight the last war almost to the day that the next war broke out).

(The press release might have to be walked back a bit, given recent events: “The first-ever FDA approval of a vaccine for the prevention of Ebola is a triumph of American global health leadership.”)


7 thoughts on “Ebola vaccine: 43 years after first outbreak

    • Great interview. Peter Robinson is a national treasure. More good information in 1 hour than you’ll get in 100 hours of listening to the usual drivel. Bhattacharaya should be front and center on every TV channel in the country. Finally someone sane.

      “It’s not possible to eradicate it with a lockdown….we have to come to terms with that, I think.” (~13:30)

      Then a direct segue into Ebola: “That’s the strategy that works with diseases like that…you test, you contact trace…you go test those people until you’ve identified all the people in their social circle that have had the disease, and you isolate them, you quarantine them so they don’t infect anybody else. That works fine when you have a disease with a very limited number of people who have been infected….A disease like this, where we’ve seen a very large number of people who don’t have very many symptoms and yet can spread it, this kind of strategy will not work. This strategy is doomed to failure. In fact, it’s going to be counterproductive.”

      “Whatever that number is to achieve herd immunity, it is way more than the 20% we see even at the highest infection levels in New York, and it is WAY, WAY more than the 7/10ths of 1% that your study has picked up among [the MLB]?”


      “So we cannot eradicate this disease, it’s way too late for that, and we’re not even close to herd immunity. Is that correct?”

      “That is correct.”

      “Well, you’re just full of good cheer today.” /sarc

      But watch the whole thing. On to lockdowns and their efficacy. They have an effect, but it is to slow down the inevitable. They don’t eradicate the virus. Then transmission to/from children. Economic effects. People not being treated for other diseases. Testing. What can we do?

    • I don’t think it’s true that coronavirus is too contagious and/or asymptomatic to eradicate. That idea seems to come from some sense of fatalism rather than any actual facts. China has gotten extremely close in Wuhan, to the point where the fact that they’re now seeing a handful of cases looks like technical error. Eradicating a virus is like squeezing Jell-O, but not impossible with sufficient organization (as China has and the US does not). If you look at polio, the reason eradication is failing is not all that different from the reason the US can’t get a handle on coronavirus: the vaccination workers are getting killed in Pakistan (in the US, people responsible for enforcing mask use are getting killed).

  1. Probably not going to happen, since coronas mutate too rapidly. A portable test which can be done without a lab will be the key. The testing continues to be an extremely laborious process, but nothing that can’t be miniaturized. The flyover states will pay for it.

  2. We have never successfully developed a safe vaccine (or antiviral drug for that matter) for any of the viruses classified in the coronavirus group despite previous efforts. The common cold is a good example (occasionally caused by a coronavirus rather than the more common rhinovirus).
    Source: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coronavirus

Comments are closed.