The discovery of antibiotics was a massive blow to the Righteous. Before that, they could scare us all into celibacy with tales of syphilis and gonorrhea, and of the terrible toll the ‘cures’ for those diseases took.
Syphilis was cured by giving the patient mercury in wine. Yes, the liquid (and highly toxic) metal. You took the chance that the disease would die before you did. Well, if you didn’t try it you had the loss of your mind to look forward to and a final end covered in suppurating pustules while gibbering in an asylum. At least you get some wine and possibly a slightly cleaner death.
Penicillin and the later antibiotics changed all that. The Righteous would exhort us all to stay away from loose women and sex-crazed tarts in case you suffered Shrivelling in the Underpant Regions or Green Fur Balls or a nasty seepage of something noxious from the little chap’s eye or (for the ladies) the vertical smile. Terrible tales to keep us all on the straight and incredibly narrow Puritan path.
Once antibiotics were available we could go out bonking away willy-nilly and if we caught something, a quick visit to the clap clinic would soon fix it. The terror of the old venereal diseases was dissipated. Now we have new ones – HIV is the scariest of them. You don’t even know you have it until everything just stops working.
The latest scary story to keep us all in line is cancer. Don’t smoke, don’t drink, don’t eat sugar or salt, live your life as directed or you’ll get The Lumps. You will turn into something that looks like a well chewed and discarded bubble gum and then you will die and be buried in an odd shaped coffin.
Cancer Research UK have control of the research. It looks like a particularly brilliant idea but if it does work, CRUK will stamp on it. A quick and easy cure for cancer? What about all the funding they get to find such a cure? If they actually find it, the money stops.
They need to get close enough to keep the money coming but never actually reach their goal or the money stops. Like ASH, who continually report they have reduced the number of smokers but the number can never be zero.
Imagine the effect of a quick and easy cancer cure. Antismoking, antidrinking, antisalt, antisugar, antifat, anti pretty much everything depends on cancer as the scary consequence of not living as directed by the Righteous. It would all collapse!
We could all smoke and drink as much as we want and if we get The Lumps there would be an easy and quick cure. The scary cancer would be no more and so many Righteous groups would be shut down that the unemployment queues would be visible from space.
The theory is sound. As long as the growth media for the leucocytes maintains their activity, it will work. The idea for a vaccine against a specific cell surface antigen is even better. In fact, it’s a particularly impressive bit of brilliant real science. What a pity it’s so tied to the Righteous.
It should have been independent and kept quiet until it was ready to go, like the antibiotics.
As it is, the Righteous own the research and if it does work it’s going to be silenced.
Too much money depends on its failure.