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In: Opinions & Features

4.14.2023 | Forbes

By Steve Brozak

Paraphrasing a line miscredited to Einstein: “Insanity is repeating the same mistakes and expecting different results.” With the just announced White House $5 Billion Covid-19 NextGen Project for vaccine research and development, it seems that our pandemic response lessons have gone unheeded. To be specific, why has research and development of a Real-Time Diagnostics Plan and Host Defense Therapies remained unfunded?

I must begin by recognizing a fundamental truth, for more than 200 years, vaccines have saved more lives than all other therapeutics combined. However, development of many effective vaccines for protection from modern day infections has, so far, yielded disappointing results.

In 1987, research started on development of HIV vaccines. To date, no HIV vaccine exists. Clinical trials of candidates remain challenging. And when you look at seasonal influenza vaccines, because they are based on “best guess” strain identification, demonstrate effectiveness of no more than 60%; some years, effectiveness plunges to as low as 10%. The need for a universal pan-influenza vaccine has long been recognized through dozens of approaches have been heralded over a span of 40 years, only a handful of candidates have advanced to late stage clinical testing… and none have yet succeeded.

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