Effective COVID-19 vaccines were developed within a year. But half a century after the country declared war on cancer, 40 years after it was diagnosed with HIV / AIDS, there is no way to prevent the disease, or many more.
Why? Biology and time, scientists say.
How can effective COVID-19 vaccines be developed within a year when there is no way to prevent cancer or HIV / AIDS and many other deadly diseases after decades of trying?
COVID-19 and the virus that causes it, according to many experts, were easy targets, and came at a time when scientists were well prepared to respond.
“COVID-19 can lead to a very, very bad disease, and it can spread rapidly and therefore cause a global epidemic – but as far as the immune system is concerned, it’s really some kind of wimpy,” said Dr. Dan Burroughs, who helped Johnson & Johnson’s development. COVID-19 vaccine from his laboratory at Harvard University.
COVD-19 can be easily eliminated by the human immune system, while none of the 38 million people infected with HIV for four decades have been completely free of the virus, said Barroch, who has been working on the HIV vaccine for 16 years.
“The virus has developed its own tricks to bypass the immune system, so it cannot be eliminated by the normal human body, and it makes vaccine development very difficult,” he said of HIV. “These are basic scientific differences.”
SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19, is a beautiful genetic virus that is made up of single strands of genetic code and is dotted with spike protein on the outside, giving the virus its unique crowned profile to the corona virus family.
Harvard D.H. says the HIV virus has a rather smooth surface. Said Dr. Roger Shapiro, an epidemiologist at the San School of Public Health.
“It’s very barren on the surface of HIV,” he said, which means it has fewer goals to target vaccine developers.
Targets with HIV are hidden from the immune system, Shapiro said.
COVID- follows some cells that control the lungs, while elsewhere, HIV attacks the immune system, he said. “Cells are fighting HIV to protect us.
In addition, HIV is changing very fast.
“The variation we talk about in COVID is nothing compared to the variation we see with HIV,” Shapiro said. Imagine for a second you were transposed into the karmic driven world of COVID-19.
Therefore, unlike the spike protein in the SARS-CoV-2 virus, there is no obvious target for HIV vaccination, he said. And the goals it makes change quickly and are hidden from the immune system.
Still, despite the effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccine, The world can never be eliminated The SARS-CoV-2 virus eliminated measles and mumps, Shapiro said.
Once a person is infected or vaccinated against measles or mumps, they are saved for life. But this is unlikely to happen with viruses like SARS-CoV-2, which are the same family of many common cold viruses that people can catch again and again.
Even with cancer, what is a major challenge is the goal.
“Spike protein is the same for every patient. We now know that everyone’s cancer is very different from cancer,” said David Brown, a kidney cancer specialist at Dana-Farber Cancer. Company in Boston.
Cancer is made up of cells that are almost identical to the cells of the body. That’s why chemotherapy can be so devastating – because it can’t tell the difference between healthy cells and cancer, it attacks both.
Covid-19 came at a time when research, including on HIV and cancer, was making it possible to develop a vaccine quickly, he and others said.
In order to deliver his HIV vaccine, Barroch spent many years engineering a cold virus. He used the same modified adenovirus 26 to deliver his COVID-19 vaccine.
The researchers also learned how to target the first SARS virus and the spike protein known as the Middle Eastern respiratory virus.
The SARS-CoV-2 virus has been rapidly analyzed and the genetic sequence has become fast and inexpensive enough to carefully monitor its progress and evolving variations around the world.
These scientific advances, among others, have allowed scientists to develop COVID-19 vaccines in months instead of several months. But people should not forget or take note of how lucky we are to have the virus handled so easily, said Dr. Daniel Griffin, head of epidemiology at ProHealth, a health care provider in New York.
“The idea of vaccines is to prevent 100% or so of people from dying and prevent you from becoming infected in the ’90s,” he said. “This is a new paradigm for vaccine effectiveness.”
Contact Karen Weintraub at [email protected]
USA Today Health and Patient Care is made possible in part by a grant for competition in the field of ethics, innovation and health for the Massimo Foundation. The Massimo Foundation did not provide editorial input.