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Do not expect a corona vaccine this year

As of May 2020, 182 treatments and 99 different vaccines are being developed in different countries. But, according to experience, it can be assumed that only one or two will really succeed, a small number of them may be partially useful, some will end up as dangerous, while most will show conflicting results as to their effectiveness. This is because medical research is a slow and tedious process. The work is complex, and it is too easy to draw wrong conclusions

By Simon Colstow, Senior Lecturer in Evidence-Based Medicine and Ethics Consultant, University of Portsmouth, UK. Translation: Hana Rosenfelder

US President Donald Trump can be "very sure" that we will have a corona vaccine by the end of the calendar year, but it is better for the public to be a little more careful. Billions of dollars are now being invested in attempts to develop vaccines and treatments as permanent solutions to the crisis, instead of the quarantines currently enforced around the world.

As of May 2020, 182 treatments and 99 different vaccines are being developed in different countries. But, according to experience, it can be assumed that only one or two will really succeed, a small number of them may be partially useful, some will end up as dangerous, while most will show conflicting results as to their effectiveness. This is because medical research is a slow and tedious process. The work is complex, and it is too easy to draw wrong conclusions.

Trust the experts

One positive result of the corona epidemic is renewed confidence in experts. The regular presence of scientists in government consultations acknowledges that he asked us to protect scientists. On the contrary, we need these people to defeat the virus.

But, additional confidence in experts comes with an added demand and investigation of the science as it develops. New studies showing promising results are making headlines. And it should worry us because although there is no doubt that treatments will be found someday, expectations can become cynical when they do not materialize as quickly as the public and politicians hope.

There is not enough understanding and recognition of the fact that during the development of drugs and vaccines over the years, thousands of drugs showed promising results in preliminary studies (on animals or even people) - for example the "vaccine trials" at the University of Oxford - most of the "promising" preparations do not reach routine clinical use. On average, it takes over 12 years and investments that exceed a million dollars to bring a drug to the market.

Quality research takes time

The writer of these lines chairs several ethics committees. In recent years, I've gone through thousands of research protocols that represent the best examples of medical research (and sometimes some pretty bad examples too).

Qualitative research is defined as rigorous and reliable, which produces results that are not only interesting but also applicable, useful and in some cases even change the face of the world. Also, they report clearly, transparently and within the context of previous studies. And this is exactly the type of research we need to address the Corona crisis.

But quality research has a price. Most of the world thinks of a price in dollars, and indeed researchers and scientists will always ask for additional investments. But in addition to the economic resource that makes it possible to obtain any desired chemical and unique devices or pay others to run experiments and make findings quickly, we must be careful not to underestimate the importance of the time required to think and consider the meaning of the findings and results.

Only after researchers take the necessary time to prepare the results within the contexts can they be translated into effective applications and treatments. That is, the real price of quality research is time.

The frustrating truth in medical research is that most experiments seem to be unsuccessful because the subject being tested is so complex. In fact, many experiments do not fail but do not give clear results. In order to move forward, one must slow down, examine the evidence and take time to think carefully about what the results could mean.

This thinking takes years. I participated in a project that was delayed for almost a decade when the team was trying to understand why one animal exhibited cardiovascular complications. Another project I worked on showed promising results in reducing Alzheimer's-like pathology in mice, and even 18 years later, similar effects have not been demonstrated in humans. To the credit of the staff, it is worth noting that they are still working on it.

The reality is that the long road to a vaccine or cure for any disease is lined with experiments that did not lead to expected results. Even in cases where research is successful, there is still a long way to go from the laboratory to the general public.

Corona test. From
Corona test. From

The pressure to find a cure

A worrying aspect of the current situation is the pressure on researchers to work quickly and come up with solutions to Corona almost immediately. Perhaps for the first time, financial resources are not a limiting factor, so politicians and the public expect researchers to put up the money and come up with answers. This problem is coupled with significant pressure on supervisors to streamline or even suspend some processes so that treatments reach the market faster.

The promises of unlimited funding, and perhaps fame if their proposal is successful, may tempt researchers to choose questionable research procedures. History shows that when large sums of money are involved, there is an increase in the temptation to fake, misbehave, or work with questionable methods. The British government spent over £400 million during the swine flu era stockpiling a drug whose effectiveness was inflated by the manufacturers due to publication bias - a bias that occurs when negative or inconclusive results are not published in scientific journals, and only the positive results are published.

Without careful testing, there is a real risk that ineffective, and even dangerous, treatments will end up being used. It may be a calculated and acceptable risk in the current crisis, but if so, it is extremely important to have close monitoring so that cases of negative effects are reported immediately and treatments are withdrawn from the market without hesitation in the event of evidence of damage accumulating.

Given time - two years, three years or even a decade - researchers will be able to go through all the evidence from experiments and trials, conduct a meta-analysis, a systemic review, and international conferences, and only then, after careful thought, publish to the world what the preferred treatment for the disease COVID19 is.

It is understood that the world needs medical and scientific answers to the current epidemic as soon as possible, but we must recognize that in the beginning we may only find partial or inconclusive answers. Instead of a quick vaccine that completely prevents the corona disease, several partial successes will be combined until a complete solution is finally found.

There may be promising ideas that prove fruitless. This is not a research failure nor a waste of resources. Most of all, researchers need support to work honestly, and not become scapegoats during the challenging stages that will surely be part of the journey.

For an article in The Conversation

More of the topic in Hayadan:

10 תגובות

  1. Spiritual medicine. ? .

    won't you take?

    The virtue of the incense stick:

    In the Holy Zohar (Vikhel, page XNUMX) he glorified the saying of fatum the incense and this is his language: Rabbi Shimon said, O my sons, who knew how great the doctorate of Kemi Kudsha was, blessed is he, who carried every word and fullness, and who was blessed with a crown on his Rishihu as a kathara Dadhaba etc.

    And this is the language of Rabbi Segulot Yisrael:

    A. Eliminates plague and bad scum.

    B. will benefit from the enslavement of royalty.

    third. The blessing is found in the work of his hands.

    d. will exploit a country of hell.

    God. Eliminates the shells and the outer ones and will look after.

    and. cancels the spells

    G. Eliminates bad thoughts.

    H. Landing in two worlds, this world and the next.

    ninth. Removes the laws from above.

    J. He will find favor and grace in the eyes of all his seers.

    XNUMX capable of wealth.

  2. It's hard to take an article seriously when it has spelling and syntax errors, low-level wording, don't you check before publishing?

  3. Oded
    The person who made this film - Judy Mikovitz - is a criminal who will still be in prison.

    I really hope you don't take her lies seriously.

  4. Your (automatic?) translator does a bad job that makes you want to read the article.

  5. In my humble opinion, a cure will be found or a vaccine will be found by the beginning of next winter

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