Can Science Stamp out the Covid Fires?

Posted on January 18, 2021

Ever since I became an amateur epidemiologist last March, I have been following the Coronavirus epidemic with morbid fascination. The amount I have learnt is negligible, but I can say with confidence, I know more than I did a year ago, when I didn’t even know what a virus was.

If, like me, you have (*rapidly taps wooden desk*) avoided these things over the years, it is understandable not to know anything about them. The reason I took an interest in Covid-19 was because like any self-respecting middle-aged chap, I was shitting myself.

Worrying Less

As time has passed, I have become a little less scared because, since Brexit, I have socialised less. I have been avoiding pubs featuring bar stool bullshitters who seem to suddenly know a lot about North Sea fishing rights. Working at home has also been a bonus, as has living on the edge of the middle of nowhere.

However, when news of vaccines emerged through the chaos of a catalogue of government cock ups and financial irregularities, I was as relieved as the next hypochondriac. To be able to see an end to it all is such a relief, unless of course, you think Bill Gates has taken a sudden interest in you washing the car or taking the dog for a walk.

Tweaks and Variants

The only thing that has troubled me, is the talk of variants (mutations). The South African variant is apparently showing signs of resistance to antibodies in lab tests, but it is too early for experts to call on that, let alone me. But what if there were variants popping up all over the place? We are told, with confidence, that the vaccine can be tweaked to suit, but it could all get like running around stamping on fires, couldn’t it?

With regards to tweaks, I have learnt today (from a dastardly expert I know) that a new vaccine centre in Harwell is due to go live in 10 months’ time. It will be capable of producing re-engineered vaccines available to the whole of the UK every four months. The evidence to hand so far, is pointing towards vigilance but with confidence science can get ahead of the virus and stay in front.

As an uplifting way to finish, a lot of highly intellectual folk are looking out and preparing for big trouble with variants. They are doing it with a good degree of certainty that it won’t even happen. I am so used to the government being reactive and jumping around like a bare footed Stevie Wonder on a hot tin roof, I sometimes fool myself scientists are doing the same. Shame on me.

Taking the Plaudits

When the virus is beaten, or at least under control with vaccines, Johnson will be out on the steps of Number 10 doing victory signs and pretending he is Churchill. However, it won’t be his doing. It will be those in the background who have been working eighteen hour shifts to get this nightmare under control.

It will be a victory for science, but I fear the real heroes will be buried under the red, white, and blue bunting of populism.

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