Roberto Burioni & Eric J. Topol Nature Medicine. Correspondence. Published: 21 June 2021.
- To the Editor—For the first time in the history of medicine, the evolution of a virus can be observed ‘as it happens’. Throughout this, molecular tools of unprecedented accuracy are also assisting by providing an extraordinarily detailed picture of the interactions between the virus and the immune system of its human host…
- Some evolutionary virologists believe complete or nearly complete resistance to the current vaccines is an inevitability8, which is a prediction that cannot be discounted or ignored.
- Therefore, while the world needs to remain on full alert in order to promptly detect the emergence of ‘vaccine-piercing’ variants and, in that case, rapidly update the available vaccines, there is reason for very cautious optimism. In any case, what is certain is that the emergence of such vaccine-evading variants, if at all possible, will be made more likely by viral spread and replication. May this serve as a reminder that, once infection rates have been controlled in the most advanced countries, it will be crucial to do the same in the developing ones and achieve the same success in more-difficult ‘socio-sanitary’ settings.
- For this reason, it will be in humanity’s own interest to not be greedy and instead provide vaccines at an affordable price to all mankind: history has in fact taught that when dealing with the global control of an infectious disease, the most effective way to be selfish is to be generous.