It is time to pause and reflect on our covid 19 strategy

I am a retired scientist, I am pro-vaccine, I had my 2 shots and a booster and am grateful for that. Still, looking back at the last two years of the pandemic I am uneasy. I see potential problems with the vaccine design, the role of Big Pharma and the pandemic strategy that Canada and the World had adopted. Canada and the World have invested much effort and resources in mRNA-based strategy, did it pay off? should we not change the course?

Vaccine design: The current mRNA vaccines are designed specifically to recognize the covid-19 spike protein which makes them inherently less effective against spike mutations. Virus mutations are occurring constantly and a sufficient number of mutations in the spike protein may render the vaccine ineffective. That seems to be the case with the Omicron variant. There are ways to improve vaccine resiliency against virus mutations; the production of these improved vaccines is more complex, more time-consuming and probably more expensive.

Big Pharma: Pfizer and others have a poor track record of doing what is best for the public. They are known for price gouging of life-saving drugs and for manipulating prescription criteria for drugs to artificially expand their use (for example the widespread and excessive use of Statins made by Pfizer ). The current pricing of covid -19 vaccine doses is estimated to be at least 5 times more than the production costs. This pandemic generated billions of dollars for the Big Pharma.

Strategy: The current strategy, globally, is designed around the continued use of vaccines, vaccines that were shown to be less effective against the new variants. There are some important questions to ask: Are we still aiming for herd immunity? How do we end this pandemic with new variants appearing on the scene?

Canada (and the World) should not base its pandemic strategy on the current mRNA vaccine. These vaccines generate billions for Big Pharma (and will continue with additional third doses) but will not bring end to a pandemic driven by new variants. Governments need to mandate from drug companies the development of vaccines with greater mutation resiliency and require more socially responsible pricing.

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