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The government is always trying to get into our business and mess with our things, but this time? They’ve gone too far. Government regulation is trying to keep us from a viable vaccine for herpes just because it’s apparently too dangerous to test on humans. Really?
Luckily, we have heroes like libertarian billionaire Peter Thiel to take the project and pay for it in a different country that doesn’t care about that kind of stuff.
Peter Thiel and a group of libertarians are funding an offshore human clinical trial of a herpes vaccine, skirting FDA regulations and sparking a heated debate over U.S. safety rules.
The tech billionaire and Trump advisor has reportedly poured $7 million into the experimental trial being held on the Caribbean island of St. Kitts without any oversight from the FDA or monitoring from a safety panel known as an institutional review board (IRB).
Just like medical schools in the Carribbean that will take any damn person that applies there as long as they have money, the whole approach to medicine is just a little bit more laid back on the islands than it is in the states. Is this a bad thing or a good thing?
Do you like science? How about not having smallpox?
Thiel, who hates government regulations the way Wisconsinites hate not filling every square centimeter of their arteries with fried cheese, has argued that it would be “impossible to invent the polio vaccine today.” But he might not remember the first vaccine ever was created in a much riskier way than the polio one was.
The invention of the smallpox vaccine, and the breakthrough that would eventually lead to every other vaccine ever created after that, happened because Edward Jenner literally injected live smallpox right into a little boy and watched what happened. He had no idea this would work other than the word of a dairy maid he overheard bragging about how her face would always be beautiful because she caught a different virus from a cow. Jenner gave that virus to an eight year old boy who was the son of his gardener, and then afterwards infected the kid with the most dangerous disease of his entire fucking era.
The kid was fine, vaccines had been invented, and billions of lives were saved. Not saying this is necessarily what we should do again, but that was the way it was.
Thiel is right that regulations and subject safety greatly slow the development of research. The regulators are right that it’s probably a beneficial side effect of the progress of civilization that humans (and especially the poor) aren’t as expendable as they used to be.
It’s definitely ethically immoral that Thiel is going to test a horrible, potentially disfiguring disease on an impoverished population and will make billions of dollars off of it once he’s done, but hey — capitalism, risk, and taking advantage of the less fortunate is what this country is based on, right? Hooray?
In any case, the development of the herpes vaccine would spur a new golden age of post-function hookups and sharing jungle juice cups like the world couldn’t even imagine. The good/bad news is that even if Thiel gets it to work in the Caribbean, he still has to put it through US trials… which means that they’re still going to have to go through the exact same process as if they had just stayed here.
Although since his buddy Donnie runs the FDA, I suppose anything could happen. It’s a brave new world..
Image via Shutterstock