Corona Virus and advances in science

17 posts / 0 new
Last post
boomer47's picture
Corona Virus and advances in science

CAVEAT: Although I understand scientific method, I am pretty much scientifically illiterate., so please forgive me if the following is simply fantasy .

I thought of this after watching the clips cognostic posted on robotic limbs.

I started thinking about the space race. I understand there were peripheral discoveries. The only one I can think of right now is Teflon, with which I have issues.

THERE are currently thousands (?) of scientists world wide trying to find a vaccine or cure for Coronavirus. How likely is it that peripheral discoveries will be made? I was thinking of say advances in gene sequencing or in the treatment of viral infections (?).

Just a thought.

Subscription Note: 

Choosing to subscribe to this topic will automatically register you for email notifications for comments and updates on this thread.

Email notifications will be sent out daily by default unless specified otherwise on your account which you can edit by going to your userpage here and clicking on the subscriptions tab.

Cognostic's picture
Viagra was the result of a

Viagra was the result of a hair growth product. Who can tell? At the same time, though the research is fairly focused, only the human trials will tell/

Grinseed's picture
A topical subject.

A topical subject.
The following story, recently stumbled on while searching for something else online, is from this site
VBI Vaccines

Pasteur, was working on a vaccine for chicken cholera, a virulent and usually fatal disease for chooks.

"In 1879, Pasteur observed, by chance, that old bacterial cultures lost their virulence. He had instructed an assistant to inject the chickens with a fresh culture of the viral bacteria before a holiday. The assistant, however, forgot and went on vacation. When he returned a month later, he performed the procedure using the old cultures. Unexpectedly, the chickens only showed mild signs of the disease and survived. When they were healthy again, Pasteur, intrigued by the results, injected them with fresh bacteria. The chickens did not become ill. Pasteur reasoned the factor that made the bacteria less deadly was exposure to oxygen.
The discovery of the chicken cholera vaccine by Louis Pasteur revolutionized work in infectious diseases and can be considered the birth of immunology."

I'd be willing to bet something similar to this event is likely to lead to the C-19 vaccine.

Just before the C19 pandemic hit researchers at Cardiff University revealed they had 'stumbled' on a new naturally occuring TCR cell, in circumstances not unlike that of the Pasteur story above. The research group had been looking for some other immunisation problem when they found the TRC cell that they discovered identifies and eliminates almost all kinds of cancers without affecting the host cell, which is a very significant discovery. Thankfully the urgent push for the C19 vaccine has not stopped further research on the TCR cell going ahead. Beating cancer would really have us 'playing god'.

It would be a happy outcome if the TCR cell was found to kill off Covid 19, probably not likely but.....

algebe's picture
Alexander Fleming

Alexander Fleming accidentally discovered Penicillin when doing some research on the influenza virus, so anything could happen with the scale of work in progress now, plus the more advanced technology and equipment available.

I'm wondering how anti-vaxxers will react when the vaccine becomes available, and how rational people will react to their reaction. Having a large population of COVID-19 virgins walking around could give the virus the chance to mutate into something more dire. Perhaps we should put all anti-vaxxers in concentration camps until they learn how to concentrate on facts and science.

Here's some really good news (well about 80% anyway).

boomer47's picture


That would be great, However, the item contains the weasel word 'could'. This also means 'may' and 'might' in this context.

Coming from a scientist, I'm a bit more confident. With an 80% chance, perhaps 'cautiously optimistic' might be better.

The British government is willing to fund millions of doses on the chance it might work.. Gee, I wonder what Donald would do?

algebe's picture
@cranky47: Gee, I wonder what

@cranky47: Gee, I wonder what Donald would do?

He'd buy millions of doses and sell them at a 1,000% markup with a free "Make America Great" hat.

I hope pharmaceutical companies everywhere are gearing up right now to produce 7 billion doses of whatever vaccine is developed. With all the frenetic research going on an early breakthrough is almost inevitable. It would be a shame to lose months because nobody was ready to make, procure, and administer an effective vaccine.

I heard yesterday that the BCG vaccine (TB) seems to provide enhanced defense against COVID-19. That might explain the relatively low incidence in Japan, where babies are routinely given BCG.

David Killens's picture
The history of scientific

The history of scientific discoveries has many examples of serendipity. And with such a massive amount of research on this disease being performed around the world on thousands of research institutes, the odds are we will stumble across those unexpected but welcome discoveries. Of course, no one can predict what they will be.

But it won't be just scientific discoveries, organizations may find more efficient methods in research, in collaboration, in learning what works, and what doesn't and who to trust or not to trust. A crisis can bring out the best or worst in people or organizations, and the crisis is laying bare those assets or liabilities.

For example, our homes for seniors are suffering tragic and horribly high numbers of deaths. No doubt there will be very serious non-partisan government investigations once the dust settles, and any faults in training, quality of staff, and other factors will reveal the shortcoming of those death camps for seniors. We will learn what homes to shut down because they are run by slum lords, we will learn how to design those residences so they have a mechanical layout that restricts the vector paths of infectious diseases. For example, a dumbwaiter maybe safer than having someone push a tray of food into an elevator and ride with it.

algebe's picture
@David Killens: death camps

@David Killens: death camps for senior

The home where my mother spent her final years was very well run, but they still had occasional outbreaks of disease. Personal hygiene is one of the faculties lost with dementia, and you can't watch every person every minute to make sure they wash their hands. The home also had to tread a fine path between welcoming visitors and keeping residents safe. That must be doubly difficult now. I also feel sorry for the staff, who aren't paid at all well and must now be feeling very vulnerable.

Sadly, any epidemic tends to decimate the very elderly because of their weak immune systems. That's just a fact of life and death.

David Killens's picture
@ Algebe

@ Algebe

Many years ago one of my jobs had me cutting huge swaths of grass with a huge mower. The land I was trimming backed onto a senior's home. The front of this institution facing the road and entry looked wonderful, a brochure presentation. But as I drove around to the back, I saw bare rooms with just four beds, one person on each bed, just laying there, doing nothing but waiting for the curtain to fall.

Not all of these homes are the same.

My mother spent her last yeas in a home, and we checked it out from top to bottom to ensure it was a quality institution.

Sheldon's picture
I don't understand, according

I don't understand, according to Apollo science is just preconceptions, and opinions?

Ohhh, that felt good...

Presumably if Apollo gets Covid 19, he'll treat the diagnosis as "just a subjective opinion" and won't worry...

Whitefire13's picture
Lol Sheldon...

Lol Sheldon...

boomer47's picture


"The history of scientific discoveries has many examples of serendipity. "

Indeed. I will never forget an accidental discovery I made when I was 13---------

Nyarlathotep's picture
Algebe - I'm wondering how

Algebe - I'm wondering how anti-vaxxers will react when the vaccine becomes available...

I've been wondering that myself. Will this whole situation be a deathblow to their "anti-vax movement"; or will the use of conspiracy theories somehow spin this to their own advantage?

I mean how long before they start claiming this new virus was made in a lab, and intentionally distributed by hiding it in some other vaccine?
On a tangent: the "free-marketeers" that I know have been noticeably silent over the past month, heh. I mean what are they going to say: "let the free market decide who gets the virus?". Not likely.

Cognostic's picture
New Virus Made in a Lab: It

New Virus Made in a Lab: It's already on all the Conspiracy sites. Has been for a while,
"In the US, according to a new report by the Pew Research Center, about a third of Americans surveyed believe that Covid-19 was created by humans in a laboratory."

"Most Americans surveyed in the report (43%) believed that Covid-19 most likely came about naturally, but nearly three in 10 (29%) said it most likely was created in a lab. What’s more, most of those who believed the virus was created in a lab believed it was done so intentionally (23%). A quarter said they weren’t sure where the virus originated, while 1% believed that the virus does not exist."

David Killens's picture
My conspiracy theory is that

My conspiracy theory is that the NFL was behind it all. Think about it, this virus did not pop up until after the Superbowl, and it will most likely be under control by the times the NFL season begins. All of the other major sports have had to shut down.

One can beieve any crap if they do not understand evidence and science.

Nyarlathotep's picture
I think when this is all over

I think when this is all over, there are going to be some very serious questions about how testing was conducted in the US. I smell a scandal; and I don't mean the scandal about the failure to mass produce testing kits/supplies early in the outbreak. I talking about what criteria was used to determine who got one of the very limited number of tests in the early days. Apparently whole sports teams somehow managed to get tested, while obliviously sick people were not.

Got nothing substantial yet, but keep your ears open!

Calilasseia's picture
One serendipitous discovery I

One serendipitous discovery I'm aware of, came courtesy of the chemist John Sutherland. Prebiotic chemistry researchers had been struggling to devise a mechanism that generated activated nucleotides, a necessary step for the continued viability of the RNA world hypothesis for the origin of life. Numerous attempts to build them stepwise had failed, but Sutherland alighted, by accident, upon a completely different reaction sequence that allowed the synthesis of these molecules via a completely unexpected route, and in excellent yield. He has now extended that work to provide plausible synthesis pathways for a wide range of important biological molecules.

The full paper covering the latter extension of his original work, published in Nature Chemistry, can be read by following this link. Enjoy.

Donating = Loving

Heart Icon

Bringing you atheist articles and building active godless communities takes hundreds of hours and resources each month. If you find any joy or stimulation at Atheist Republic, please consider becoming a Supporting Member with a recurring monthly donation of your choosing, between a cup of tea and a good dinner.

Or make a one-time donation in any amount.