"It is true, and thus the question of whether it is sad or happy has no meaning whatever."
Bernhard Schlink

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Monday, October 31, 2005

Vaccines: Hope and Hopelessness 

Say what you will about his company's bloated, unstable software and monopolistic business plan, but Bill Gates does do pretty well with his earnings. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has just contributed a whopping $258.3 million to the study of malaria, more than $107 million of which will go towards development of a vaccine for the disease, which kills thousands a day in the developing world. If the current candidate vaccine holds up in trials, it could be available in as little as six years, with the potential to wipe out a major strain on the world health economy.

Another of the world's major killers is cancer, and curing/preventing cancer has been something of the holy grails of medical science for many years. In the next year or so, Merck will submit a vaccine for FDA approval, which protects against a number of the cervical cancer-causing strains of the human papilloma virus. Cervical cancer, caused by this virus, is responsible for more than 3500 deaths a year in the U.S. However, so-called social conservatives (actually, christianist fundie wingnuts) are opposing general use of the vaccine, because it 'might encourage sexual behavior' among teens. Because, as usual, their brand of moralism is more important than the lives of thousands of women worldwide. Fucktards. I sincerely hope that these people all contract horrible, painful diseases, and die poor, miserable and alone.

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