The Massive Screwup That Could Let COVID Bypass Our Vaccines - The Daily Beast
May 23, 2022 1 min, 54 secs
Global attention is no longer focused on vaccine innovation, leaving open the nightmare scenario that fast mutating COVID will bypass our immunity.

What’s the best strategy for preventing catastrophic mass death from the worst possible new COVID variants?

And in the world’s richest country, the United States, a few right-wing politicians are doing their damnedest to make sure no new money is available to speed up development, production, and distribution of new vaccines and therapies.

Two years ago the world worked together to develop highly effective messenger-RNA vaccines, and fast.

A second booster of an existing two-dose mRNA vaccine could restore and prolong the jab’s effectiveness.

The inherent flexibility of mRNA vaccines makes that possible.

The seemingly accelerated rate of viral evolution in COVID could mean the disease outpaces the processes for tweaking mRNA.

Instead of chasing after COVID variants with boosters, we could change course and erect totally new defenses against the virus.

There are two major new vaccine types in development: “mucosal” nasal vaccines and universal “pan-coronavirus” vaccines.

The nasal vaccines, administered by a spray, induce immunity in the mucus tissues of the nose and throat—where a COVID infection generally begins.

Existing COVID vaccines are all injected into muscle tissue.

The antibodies they produce, while effective against the virus, might be less effective than antibodies originating in the nasal passage.

Where a nasal vaccine is highly optimized for a respiratory virus like COVID, a pan-coronavirus takes the opposite tack.

The upside is that a single vaccine, periodically boosted, could offer some protection against the current COVID pandemic and the next one.

The downside is that any universal COVID vaccine might be less effective than a vaccine tailored for a specific coronavirus.

Oh, and a safe and effective pan-coronavirus vaccine, like a nasal vaccine, “may be years away,” Bortz pointed out.

To keep lockdowns off the table and sidestep the hardest choices about COVID strategy, governments could fund all the options.

The administration of President Joe Biden wants $10 billion in new funding to keep fresh supplies of today’s vaccines and therapies flowing, while also accelerating development of tomorrow’s vaccines and therapies.

That a fight over immigration could weigh on America’s COVID strategy, at precisely the moment that strategy might need to shift

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