"Covid-19 lives in the shadow of the most vexing virus we’ve ever faced: H.I.V. After nearly 40 years of work..."

"... here is what we have to show for our vaccine efforts: a few Phase 3 clinical trials, one of which actually made the disease worse, and another with a success rate of just 30 percent. Researchers say they don’t expect a successful H.I.V. vaccine until 2030 or later, putting the timeline at around 50 years. That’s unlikely to be the case for Covid-19, because, as opposed to H.I.V., it doesn’t appear to mutate significantly and exists within a family of familiar respiratory viruses. Even still, any delay will be difficult to bear. But the history of H.I.V. offers a glimmer of hope for how life could continue even without a vaccine. Researchers developed a litany of antiviral drugs that lowered the death rate and improved health outcomes for people living with AIDS. Today’s drugs can lower the viral load in an H.I.V.-positive person so the virus can’t be transmitted through sex. Therapeutic drugs, rather than vaccines, might likewise change the fight against Covid-19.... Combine that with rigorous testing and contact tracing — where infected patients are identified and their recent contacts notified and quarantined — and the future starts looking a little brighter.... If all those things come together, life might return to normal long before a vaccine is ready to shoot into your arm."

From "How Long Will a Vaccine Really Take?" (NYT). The article examines many things that could be done to speed up the development and distribution of a vaccine (with the best possible result arriving in the middle to end of next year).

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