What Life Will Be Like If A Vaccine For Coronavirus Is Never Made

In a "the glass is half empty/no, it's really half empty" development, scientists worldwide are warning that the magic bullet, the holy grail, the one-size-fits-all armor of coronavirus vaccine is at best a maybe, and maybe a never. According to Business Insider, the United Kingdom's Chief Medical Officer, Christopher Whitty, told a Parliamentary committee in April 2020 that despite best efforts, "concerning evidence" suggests that a vaccine isn't necessarily a lock. "We simply don't know yet," he said. Covid-19 is one of several forms of coronavirus, and no successful human vaccine has ever been developed against any of the coronaviruses — so far. In addition, "immunity wanes relatively quickly," he said. "Vaccines are looked for, for every infectious disease," said Dr. Whitty; "they are not found for all of them." So then what?

Part of it will depend on the recommendations of experts and government officials. Part of it will depend on the public's acceptance of the science being presented. Part of it will depend on economics and herd psychology.

CNN suggests that "testing and physical tracing will become part of our lives in the short term, but in many countries, an abrupt instruction to self-isolate could come at any time." Treatments might be developed, but there's no guarantee that they'll be universally effective, especially if a vaccine isn't.

The days of going to work even when you're sick are over

Development of an effective vaccine will take time. Dr. Peter Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, told CNN, "We've never accelerated a vaccine in a year to 18 months. ... We need plan A, and a plan B." There have been other viruses for which a vaccine was never developed. Part of that has to do with how quickly and efficiently a virus mutates. One piece of good news: the Coronavirus doesn't mutate particularly quickly. After decades of research, there's still no vaccine for dengue fever, which kills as many as 400,000 people every year. Have you had your vaccine for the common cold yet? No, you haven't, because it doesn't exist.

Keith Neal, Emeritus Professor in the Epidemiology of Infectious Diseases at the University of Nottingham, points out that a continued lockdown isn't "sustainable economically." Some suggest a new "social contract" — individuals taking increased responsibility to self-isolate at the first symptom. The days of feeling lousy and showing up for work anyway might well be a thing of the past. Working remotely has proven, well, workable, and increasingly might be an option, if not a requirement. No instant solution is on the horizon. Be prepared to adapt to circumstances. As former president George W. Bush said recently, "We rise or fall together." And for goodness sake, don't hoard toilet paper.