Waiting for a Sensible Approach to the SARS-CoV-2 Pandemic: How Long Will It Take?

We in the West have repeatedly pursued a failed policy of trying to eliminate the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, first with lockdowns, then masks, social distancing, contact tracing and later with vaccination. However, as early as September 2019 satellite pictures of Wuhan, China reveal that hospitals experienced significantly increased activity, most likely due to Covid-19 (Ref.1). As the virus causes minimal to no symptoms in most of those younger than 55 y/o there was ample time for it to spread worldwide and become established before being officially noticed. Therefore, attempts to eliminate the virus by early 2020 were doomed to fail.  This was in part the thinking behind the Great Barrington Declaration, October 4, 2020, that has unfortunately received minimal press attention (Ref.2). Thus, the main reason to vaccinate is to protect the individual from serious complications, knowing that a low level of viral presence is inevitable. Then, in the future with good fortune, when most of the human population is vaccinated and there are no animal reservoirs, the SARS-CoV-2 virus would be eliminated, as was the case with Smallpox (Ref.3).  
     It is time for official America to come to terms with reality: SARS-CoV-2 is with us for the foreseeable future. Seasonal influenza kills thousands per year (Ref.4). Yet we make no attempt to stop the spread of that virus. We depend on individual protection with vaccines for ALL including children. It is just plain silly to be testing asymptomatic or slightly ill individuals for the presence of Covid-19 under the guise of halting the spread of the virus. This accomplishes nothing; the virus is ubiquitous. Recently in Australia among teenagers, contact tracing, masks and social distancing did NOT stop viral spread, and instead a widespread vaccination program has been initiated. (Ref.5). 
     The goal should be to know that everyone has adequate immunity to the virus.  The development of immunity after vaccination is variable like all other biological processes as to degree and duration. To eliminate serious disease, it would be ideal for everyone to know their immunologic status. Although at home antibody tests exist, they require sending the kit back to the laboratory for analysis and are expensive (Ref.6). What is needed is an inexpensive semi-quantitative, home-based, FDA approved, patient friendly antibody test that gives immediate results.  Individuals would then know their immune status and if inadequate receive an appropriate booster.  If unable to mount an immune response those individuals should receive antibodies (Ref.7).
    In this way each person would know his or her risk of complications and could act accordingly. Whatever the decision, it would not at this time eliminate the spread of this established virus. The newer mRNA vaccines allow for quick development of more effective vaccines that may be required as time passes due to viral mutation. Emphasizing an approach that focuses on having each individual know their own risk and the authority to act accordingly is more respectful and more likely to achieve the desired result.

  1. Robert Redfield and Marc Siegel, The World Needs to Know What Happened at the Wuhan Lab, Wall Street Journal, August 16, 2021, available at: https://www.wsj.com/articles/wuhan-virology-lab-leak-gain-of-function-research-ccp-beijing-covid-origins-coronavirus-11629037765 (accessed August 17, 2021)
  2. Dr. Martin Kulldorf, Dr. Sunetra Gupta, Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, Great Barrington Declaration, October 4, 2020, available at: https://gbdeclaration.org/ (accessed October 25, 2020)
  3. Derrick Baxby, The End of Smallpox, History Today, March 1999, available at: https://www.historytoday.com/archive/end-smallpox (accessed August 17, 2021)
  4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Disease Burden of Influenza, June 11, 2021, available at: https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/burden/index.html (accessed August 12, 2021)
  5. Alice Uribe, Australia Vaccinates Thousands of High-School Students to Stop Delta, Wall Street Journal, August 18, 2021, available at: https://www.wsj.com/articles/australia-vaccinates-thousands-of-high-school-students-to-stop-delta-11629288000 (accessed August 19, 2021)
  6. Epitome, Neutralizing Antibody Test, available at: https://www.epitomerisk.com/product/neutralizing-antibody-test/ (accessed August 22, 2021)
  7. Nick Paul Taylor, Astra-Zeneca antibody cocktail slashes risk of symptomatic Covid-19, setting up regulatory filings and a lifeline for the immunosuppressed, Fierce Biotech, August 20, 2021, available at: https://www.fiercebiotech.com/biotech/astrazeneca-antibody-cocktail-slashes-risk-symptomatic-covid-19-setting-up-regulatory (accessed August 24, 2021)  

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