This is an interesting idea from a brilliant friend that I’m passing along for the consideration of researchers out there. Take it or leave it:
I’m circulating this email in the hopes of networking my way through you to someone conducting a COVID-19 vaccine trial, or able to influence one. So far, advancing such a novel idea via emails to anyone I can think of, mid-pandemic, is not working. I’m sure the inboxes of the vaccine developers and immunologists competing to save the world are full. Among a couple dozen others, Bill Gates, Sanjay Gupta, and Dr. Fauci have yet to get back to me. If my proposal makes any sense to you, please pass it on to anyone you know who might be able to put it in front of someone who could make it happen.
I have been researching the intersection of my psychology PhD and my concerns, as a physician, regarding the challenges of implementing a Covid-19 vaccine. There is sound, supportive, but limited research suggesting that a distinctive taste stimulus paired with vaccine doses can later, and by itself, become immuno-enhancing via Pavlovian conditioning. The taste alone can then supplement or replace vaccine boosters, multiplying the availability and dramatically reducing the cost of successfully vaccinating billions worldwide against COVID-19. It would be easy and almost without additional cost to safely integrate the definitive experiment proving this concept into phase II or III trials of any prospective COVID-19 vaccine (one suggested protocol below). A major limitation is the lack of incentives for vaccine developers to pursue a paradigm that could cut their vaccine sales in half. Supporting data is in the attached brief proposal and included more extensively in a recently accepted paper of mine, also attached. I, of course, have no financial interest in the outcome of this; just trying to be helpful to the effort.
Be safe, be well.
All the best.
Kenneth Frumkin, PhD, MD, FACEP
Kenneth dot Frumkin at gmail dot com
Retired civil servant on a pension