Earlier this month, many news agencies reported on an article that described a new drug that, in theory, could kill any viral infection, if it was administered early enough in the infection cycle. An example of such coverage can be found here.
The drug, DRACO (a name that should conjure up all sorts of imagery), targets a type of RNA only found in infected cells, leaving healthy cells alone. Upon locating an infected cell, the drug causes the virus to kill itself. The team used the drug to cure mice of H1N1, without any toxic side effects. The MIT researchers found it was effective against the common cold, polio, dengue fever, and other types of hemorrhagic fevers, and they believe it could be effective against all viral infections.
What if the drug works exactly as claimed? What if only some have access to it, while others don’t (consider such a scenario in times of famine, plague, war, etc.)? What would you pay for such immunity? What would you pay to give your children immunity? What would humanity look like if such deadly viruses were a thing of the past–more people, living longer, consuming more? Would you take more risks (travel, hobbies, sexual activities) if you wouldn’t or couldn’t get sick? What if this cleared room for something far deadlier (either a new bug or something from our distant past revisited)?
What do you think?
I immediately think of Unbreakable. We’d be superheroes on some level. But that is an amazing find. Why wouldn’t this go the route of regular vaccines for children? You’d hope that it could be replicated like those and administered to all children, if there are truly no effects.
I would assume that (assuming it passed through human trials), such a drug would become a standard childhood vaccine. The company owns the patent on the drug will make a fortune. Could supply keep up with demand? Might the government have to subsidize the cost? What about other countries? Looters attacking the facilities where the drug is manufactured during a plague?
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