Michael S. Kinch is associate vice chancellor, professor of biochemistry and molecular biophysics, and director of the Centers for Research Innovation in Biotechnology & Drug Discovery at Washington University in St. Louis. He is the author of “Between Hope and Fear: A History of Vaccines and Human Immunity”; “The End of the Beginning: Cancer, Immunity, and the Future of a Cure”; and “A Prescription for Change: The Looming Crisis in Drug Development.” The opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author. Read more opinion on CNN. (CNN)As a kid, I remember my mother taking me to “get my shot.” I whined my way into the doctor’s office, fully expecting a sharp, pointy needle. To my joyous discovery, the vaccine I received came in the form of a sugar cube. I happily gobbled it down, and in the process received life-long protection from polio.A half century later, this memory resurfaced after a conversation with a reporter about Covid-19. Thinking back, I realized there was much more to that sugar cube than I had appreciated in 1970. The story of the polio vaccine contains an important warning for world leaders and present-day scientists about the perils that could arise from


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