Beyond the Magic Bullet: Medical Progress Is Often Incremental

Doctor Colombine Godart listens to a patient at the Titeca psychiatric hospital amid the coronavirus outbreak, Brussels, Belgium, April 14, 2020. (Francois Lenoir/Reuters)
COVID-19 researchers may find some answers in information gleaned from traditional patient–doctor encounters.

NRPLUS MEMBER ARTICLE L ife won’t completely return to normal while the novel coronavirus remains a threat to health and to life. More than 60,000 Americans have already lost their lives to this virus; while older people seem especially vulnerable, the virus has demonstrated its ability to kill people of all ages. Even as the country edges back to work and school, there’s a palpable anxiety. We don’t want to get infected, and we don’t want to infect others.

The most appealing solution would be a transformational treatment that immediately neutralized the threat. This would most likely be in the form of a vaccine, a

David Shaywitz, a physician-scientist and the founder of Astounding HealthTech, a Silicon Valley advisory service, is an adjunct scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and a lecturer in the Department of Biomedical Informatics at Harvard Medical School.

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