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For most people, a vaccine against the new coronavirus can’t come soon enough, as it will be the only tolerable way to achieve herd immunity. So it’s encouraging that more than 100 drug candidates in 12 countries are in development, and eight are already entering clinical trials. To accelerate the process, some people are heroically volunteering to expose themselves to infection. With luck, some of us can get our shots next year.

And yet, there’s still a danger that humanity will fail in its quest to control COVID-19. The culprit wouldn’t necessarily be the medical complexity, fiendish as it is, of engineering a vaccine. It could also be the ensuing politics surrounding inoculation. The fights will be intense, irrational and sometimes nasty.

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