Monday, October 31, 2016

Polio is Back

I had a nasty case of whooping cough this summer, and the theory is the childhood disease jumped to adults after being cornered by vaccinations.  Almost nothing can be done for it, except wait it out, but you win a 30 year immunity for your efforts.  If so, then it will be what kills me at that point, so fine.

Now a version of polio is back, in kids vaccinated for polio.

Some think there hadn’t ever been enough cases of enterovirus D-68 to unmask the horrifying side effect; only 26 people tested positive for the virus in 36 years. Another possibility is that enterovirus D-68 recently mutated to become more likely to paralyze those infected.
For now, experts say that enterovirus D-68 isn’t enough of a threat to make a vaccine and that many people now have immunity to the virus from the 2014 outbreak. Plus, it will probably mutate again, rendering a vaccine that protects against the current strain useless.

That should read "isn't enough of a threat in America under capitalism to make a vaccine" for the Big Pharm demands about $800 million to develop a vaccine when Jenner first popularized smallpox vaccine at a cost of exactly... ummm... zero.    There is no reason, except for regulations designed to protect Big Pharm monopoly, that a vaccine could not be made.

But not to worry, we have medical tourism now, and just as the art of vaccination came to Jenner by way of an Englishwoman who learned it from Moslem doctors, so places not under the Hegemon can and will no doubt come up with not only a vaccine, but a cure.

But here is the problem, when one in five Brits were dying of smallpox as a matter of course, Jenner introduced the practice, and became world famous.  Napoleon bowed to Jenner although enemies, for vaccination countered one of the main killers in war, disease.

And that is just it: capitalism breeds war, and war always leads to a general suppression of individuals immune systems, and anyone of the billions of bigs hanging around us can get a foothold and make you sick.  WWI 50 million died of the flu.  In the concentration camps disease was the real killer, faster than the ovens.  So one version of polio is gone? In war you'll meet its cousin.

In relative peace we chase down disease pointlessly: we don't need vaccinations in peace time, and certainly not for mild illnesses we can survive in peacetime.  But come war, all of the vaccination is useless because the general immune suppression will give opportunity to another bad boy.  Immunizating for a half dozen poster-boy diseases makes for heartwarming confidence that science can fix all, but come war, all bets are off.

Pynchon said get them to ask the wrong question and the answer doesn't matter.  To immunize or not?  Wrong question.  Capitalism or not?  For with capitalism, as long as we have had it, we have had its necessary wars.  Free markets have provided anything good such as popularizing Jenner's vaccination, but capitalists, greedy for everything, pretend capitalism, not free markets, bring good things forth.

If we deregulated medicine, we'd have more better cheaper faster.  Right now we have snake-oil medicines and social-engineering in the hospital.  Let free markets reign.  In the meantime, there is medical tourism. 

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