“The pursuit of a vaccine across federal health agencies has also forced tradeoffs. The Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, for example, has halted a push for lung treatments to fight the coronavirus, potentially putting a treatment option on the back burner.
The danger of going all in on a vaccine may be that President Donald Trump is pinning hopes on a miracle shot while there’s considerable reason to believe that the outbreak could stretch on for years.
“There’s no guarantee that a vaccine is going to work,” said Luciana Borio, who served as the FDA’s acting top scientist and worked on White House pandemic preparedness efforts earlier in the Trump administration. “And even if it does, there’s no guarantee that it’ll be the right product for most people, or that people will want to take it, or that the virus won’t mutate.”
Vaccines are notoriously difficult to make; the vaccine for mumps, the fastest ever developed, took four years. Many take far longer, and more still fail in animal or human testing and never reach the market. Public health experts say the U.S. government is making a risky bet by focusing so much of its pandemic response on the hope that a shot will end the coronavirus’ devastating march.”