Thursday, March 26, 2020

Society hardly care about funding for research projects

To fight with bacteria and viruses we need help. This help comes in the form of vaccines and antibiotics. We frequently take these tablets just like candy. We most often fail to comprehend the hours of work behind that. Thousands of hours invested by researchers and millions of dollars spent by universities and pharma companies. Let me remind you, most of these universities are not super-rich and don’t have the kind of money, like European football clubs, to spend.

It will take more than a decade for a vaccine to move from the ideation stage to the commercial stage. During this time a lot of possible candidates will be dropped out of the race. This track is hard and often not appreciated at well.

Penicillin saved tens of millions of lives; BCG saves millions of people from TB; Hepa vaccines saved millions from Hepatitis diseases so as many other vaccines. But how many of us remember the people who were behind these vaccines. Some of us study their names just to get scores in quiz programs and competitive exams. We hardly care about those people. 

In medical profession, society pays respect to doctors and nurses. But those who run after vaccines and antibiotics rarely come to the limelight. We hardly know what happens to them and the programs they worked on. When an epidemic disappears, they are also forgotten (so as their programs).

Societies which care about every moment of their cinema, pop/jazz/eastern/western/Korean music stars, football, cricket celebrity’s life hardly cares about vaccine research and its funding; even though it’s critical for the very survival of humanity. 

When the Soviet Union broke up NASA lost funding, so as particle accelerators. By the way, NASA started getting funds again when China emerged as a challenge. It’s like administration cares more about beating opponents rather than what NASA really does. This problem is not limited to the US, it’s there in other countries as well. The same happened with vaccine research funding for SARS once that outbreak was over some years back.

I have no doubt that, once SARS-COV-2 came under control everything will go back to normal (or new normal). Whatever funding allocated to universities and labs for medicine/vaccine research will disappear... till next outbreak.

I earnestly request you; make sure that funding will always be on for medical research. Convince your representatives to pass bills; allocate grants etc. Because viruses are not going to give up. They will come back… let’s be ready.


PS: Everyone is interested in weapons research; taps for funds are always on to build better machines for killing other human beings.

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