Two Hundred Million Dollars, Two Billion Dollars, Ten Days discussed on Making Sense with Sam Harris


In a market. That can't effectively incentivize it. You know we have antibiotics. That are losing their power over really every bug that concerns us and we're meandering toward a time that will be indistinguishable from the nineteen twenties and thirties. When we simply didn't have the drugs that could solve our most basic Infectious disease problems and the reason is there's not enough money in it you know. You take a new antibiotic cost a billion dollars to produce and you take it once for ten days in your life and then that's it that is if you're unlucky you know most people don't have to take them any specific new antibiotic ever rent and yet if you need it. This is the one drug. That's going to save your life you know. It's so it's we have to. This is the role of government or major philanthropy about some level. We just have to say the whether it makes any market sense in any rational time horizon for a business person. We have to spend money on these things. Yeah we've basically stood by as multiple antibiotic companies have gone out of business in the us and it just allowed this market failure to propagate to the point that you know who's even developing new antibiotics. I can only think of a couple of companies that even that business anymore and we're not really talking we're talking more about viruses than than bacteria the but that is an equally glaring issue and something that you know. One estimate that i saw you know superbugs could could easily be killing millions of people per year within ten years. Yes so what are the prospects of developing vaccines for whole classes of viruses. A universal flu vaccine universal corona virus. Vaccine what have you uncovered on this front. Well this actually ties to what you're just saying about market failures because it seems talking to some pretty informed people in this in this domain that a universal flu vaccine effort would probably have very good chances of succeeding at least fifty percent which is shot worth taking and the budget that i was quoted. Was you know. Probably in the range of two hundred million dollars over ten years with kind of an extreme like. Why don't we just for safety. Go up an order of magnitude budget of two billion dollars over ten years and you look at those numbers and you. You remember that. The flu is causing the us alone. Three hundred sixty one billion dollars a year in lost productivity in medical spending and you it's just flabbergasting and i couldn't believe my ears when the budget was quoted to me and it couldn't have come from a more informed person Who is harvey feinberg. He's the former president of the national academy of medicine and the former dean of the harvard school of public health and and more to the point. He's done a lot of work studying the potential for universal flu vaccine including at the sabin vaccine institute and so this is just another stunning market. Failure i mean if you can spend stick the worst case scenario two billion dollars over ten years for the chance of saving three hundred and sixty one billion dollars a year..

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