There are many recommendations on how to cope with COVID-19 – Covid – Coronavirus and many, perhaps most of the novel ideas will give some benefit. The most important is to physically be as far away from infected people as possible. Most people don’t have the option of living on a remote island or a wilderness area or even someplace within their area where they can totally avoid people, and therefore they must do the other recommended self-preservation techniques until an effective vaccine is developed.
Developing a vaccine may happen in a few months, or it might take a couple of years, but the coronavirus can be expected to go worldwide in a few months. That is probably too short a time to create a vaccine, test it for safety, and manufacture it in huge quantities need to vaccinate enough people to eliminate the virus entirely. The virus may spread so widely that it will find permanent refuges in unknown places and then become part of the background diseases that humanity has to cope with periodically.
One method for coping with smallpox was used before vaccinations were invented. Two hundred years ago a method called variolation was used for coping with Variola. It was discovered that the pus could be taken out of a surviving smallpox victim’s pustules during the late scabby stages of that deadly disease, and scratched into the skin of a healthy person. Those “patients” did get sick and a few percentages of them died, but most lived and didn’t go blind, and had fewer pox marks. Modern techniques might refine that primitive procedure in a few weeks to be effective against Coronavirus.
There has been enough spread of Coronavirus that some differences in the virus will have developed, and some of these will be less sickening and less deadly. These weaker diseases could be given to a population of people at risk in only a few days rather than a year or two. It is risky to proceed with this solution, but to do nothing and let this disease run its natural course appears to be a far worse solution.
From the people who undergo this two-hundred-year-old procedure, there will be some who will not get so sick as most of the others, and from these less sickened people a milder infection could be refined and given to yet another group. This would be a form of directed evolution and it could be helped along by using the modern CRISPR techniques.
Desperate problems call forth desperate solutions.