On Dec. 1, 2019, the first case of human COVID-19 was documented. Less than six weeks later, the genetic sequence was unlocked by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for the SARS-Co-V-2 virus. Within five days, a mRNA vaccine was in development. As we pass one year since the first COVID-19 case, several vaccines have been readied for human use and three former U.S. presidents will roll up their sleeves to be publicly vaccinated.
The speed of this scientific achievement will be recorded in history as one of the most rapid, impactful, and critically important medical advances of our generation—and likely of generations to come. Millions of people will never suffer the acute or lingering effects inflicted by SARS-Co-V-2. Hundreds of thousands more will be spared death. The positive impact on this generation and on future generations will be so large that it will be impossible to measure.
There are, however, other diseases that, if left unchecked, will cause worse devastation than SARS-Co-V-2. Frustratingly, we may be doomed to wait until world economies and health-care systems are pushed to near collapse. One such disease is Parkinson’s.
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