Commentary on Current Events
Right off the bat, I’m not a doctor or someone who’s trained in medicine. I read a lot of medical studies for research, but that doesn’t make me an expert by a long shot.
With that out of the way, the amount of information out there on virology is staggeringly high. There are tons of studies going back to 1950s (and earlier) from propagation to RNA sequences to tissue impacts.
As a writer, I can tell that in the U.S. we got lulled into a sense of safety with vaccines. Sure, vaccines helped our economy by preventing absenteeism and promoted a longer life. But on the flip side, our socio-economy became dependent upon them. Therefore, the current pandemic is disruptive, and everyone wants to go back to the way it was.
To make matters worse, this virus does not obey the normal rules for other viruses we have vaccines for. Most viruses make us sick nearly on day one, then contagious. This one lingers around the body for several days. Making a person contagious. Then you get sick, and if at that for some.
It would be easy for me to say in Rosella Tolfree’s future world the current pandemic isn’t a problem anymore. But as a writer I can’t say this because I need to wait and see what happens by next year. I need to see how the vaccine trials go.
What Concerns Me as Well…
CNN’s John King interviewed vaccinologist, Dr. Paul Offit, on 5-24-2020 concerning the trends in the pandemic vaccines. Dr. Offit really wants to wait for the big trails to go through first. But what got me was Dr. Offit’s closing statement concerning one potential vaccine result- “By incomplete I mean would protect you against moderate-to-severe disease but not a mild disease associated with reinfection. In which case, you might still be shedding virus.”
Okay, if a person is still shedding virus, then herd immunity could be a problem. My understanding of herd immunity is those vaccinated would get the disease and then naturally kill it off. But this is not what Dr. Offit is saying. All I can imagine is now we have groups of vaccinated people who are now asymptomatic and infecting others.
If this is true, then a vaccine could only be helpful in the sense of reducing the severity of the disease for some people, but maybe not all. We could still end up with a society that requires social distancing and masks as a result, depending upon the vaccine results.
Therefore, as a writer of future events; I need to wait. I don’t know what the outcome will be. We could end up with a vaccine that provides 100% protection for a person’s entire life, or we could end up with something that just helps the young but not the old.
One Possible Future
The only future idea I can think of is the use of CRISPR-like technology to edit the human genome to be more resistant to the current pandemic. Society would introduce this DNA modification through couples seeking in-vitro fertilization, allowing their children to then spread it naturally into the larger gene pool. Governments could even encourage this through stipends to couples and other tax incentives. In time, humanity would build up a genetic resistance, but for a time it will have to deal with the socio-economic impacts of disease again.
Produced by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), this highly magnified, digitally colorized transmission electron microscopic (TEM) image highlights the particle envelope of a single, spherical shaped, Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) virion, through the process of immunolabeling, the envelope proteins, using rabbit HCoV-EMC/2012 primary antibody, and goat anti-rabbit 10nm gold particles. By CDC. Source Unsplash
Seth Underwood writes hard science fiction and political dystopian science fiction. His future political dystopian U.S. world features decades of despot presidents, a flooded world, and new para-military force known as the Ranger Marshals. He has freemium stories at www. sethunderwoodstories.com