A COVID-19 Vaccine Could Make Someone Billions… Or They Could Be Like Jonas Salk
The race to find a viable vaccine for the COVID-19 a / k / an against which the coronavirus is committed. The sooner we get a safe and effective vaccine, the sooner we can get back to work. It is not the first time in human history that a disease or pandemic has invaded the world. It is not the first time that a vaccine is needed to stop the progression of a virus. During the first half of 20e century, polio ravaged people. At that time, polio essentially wiped out a generation. Polio cases increased from 27,000 in 1916 to almost 60,000 in 1952. It was particularly devastating for children when parents began to keep their children at home, isolating them to keep them healthy. Finding a cure quickly was vital. We are faced with a different type of virus which is quite serious in itself.
Finding and testing a vaccine is the job of scientists. Selling and distributing vaccines is the job of pharmaceutical companies. And we all know how much the pharmaceutical companies and the leaders who run them like to increase the cost of essential drugs. In fact, the sale of vital medicines at exorbitant prices is so normal in the United States that most of us are not afraid of it. This is why the story of Dr. Jonas Salk, who discovered the polio vaccine is so important. In 1952, in the midst of the polio crisis, Salk was invited to work on a polio vaccine by the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis.
Salk was born in New York on October 28, 1914. His intelligence was evident from the start, and when he was 13, he was accepted to an accelerated high school program that piled four years of apprenticeship into three. At 15, he enrolled at City College in New York. After graduating, he attended the NYU School of Medicine where he became interested in research. He went from the practice of medicine to biochemistry and bacteriology. His goal? He wanted to “help humanity in general rather than isolated patients”. Salk quickly made a name for himself as a virologist. He found a research position at the University of Michigan where he developed a flu vaccine.
Fast forward to the 1950s and Salk’s work on the polio vaccine. He tested his polio vaccine on animals before moving on to the children. When his vaccine was tested in 1954, 1.8 million children participated. In 1955, the vaccine was declared a success. Besides being an effective polio vaccine, another reason for its success is that Salk chose not to patent the polio vaccine. Pharmaceutical companies wanted to put a price on the vaccine, but Salk was more interested in saving lives than making money. If the polio vaccine had been patented, it would be much more expensive than it currently is. If it were more expensive, it would have been almost impossible for developing countries to afford it. Rather than being almost eradicated, polio could still have been a major problem in many countries around the world. However, due to Salk’s knowledge and generosity, polio is largely a thing of the past.
Scientists working on a potential vaccine for COVID-19 have a choice to make. Will they patent their discovery and sell it for a lot of money, making it difficult, if not impossible, for many people to afford, or will they follow in Salk’s footsteps and will they achieve the greatest good of humanity and save lives is more important than earning billions. Salk developed the polio vaccine in a laboratory at the University of Pittsburgh. Today, two doctors, Louis Falo and Andrea Gambotto, a dermatologist and a surgeon have developed an inoculation that produces a large number of anti-coronavirus antibodies when injected into mice. They developed this inoculation in a laboratory at the University of Pittsburgh. They are waiting for the FDA to authorize the conduct of human trials on their vaccine. Falo and Gambotto are just a team of healthcare professionals working overtime to find a viable vaccine for COVID-19.
The question is whether the researchers who develop the successful coronavirus vaccine will go the Salk route and choose not to patent it so that as many people as possible can afford and get the vaccine, or will they choose to patent their vaccine and sell it to the highest bidder, a pharmaceutical company that, based on history, would likely raise the price and make it out of reach for many people. If Salk had done this, we could still see polio in society today. Instead, the disease was eradicated.