Many of us have just watched the Olympics, marveling at the speed of the world’s finest athletes. We know they got to the finish line not in minutes or seconds, although that is the number on the clock.
They got there after years of perfecting technique.
The same is true for the brilliant and dedicated doctors, scientists and biochemical engineers who brought us the COVID vaccine in record time. Ed Yong, who won the Pulitzer Prize in 2021 for Explanatory Reporting, wrote that in the fall of 2019 no one was studying COVID-19 because they didn’t know it existed. By December 2020, more than 74,000 COVID-related scientific papers had been published.
Almost everyone who had the expertise got on board.
But they were not starting from scratch, far from it.
They had been studying this type of virus since Zika, SARS and MERS (a COVID cousin) broke out. New safe technologies to make vaccines, so-called messenger RNA or mRNA, have been investigated for a decade.
Thank you, scientists, for working like Olympic athletes – or like the Apollo team wanting to put a man on the moon – showing us what training and team work can do.
And we citizens can beat this pandemic if we work together, too.