Robin Hanson on Variolation as a Response to COVID-19

Economist and iconoclast Robin Hanson suggests that variolation—controlled, intentional infection of the virus that causes COVID-19—could be an important “Plan B” if the test-trace-isolate strategy fails and especially if eventual herd immunity seems likely. Note that this involves a controlled test first, doctor supervision, and careful screening. This is the Self in Society Podcast #15 (see more). Also listen to this podcast via iTunes.

Hanson wrote an April 6 article on the topic (see his web page for additional entries on the topic). I also want to draw readers’ attention to a first and second article by Daniel Tillett. His idea is to find a naturally less-harmful strain of the coronavirus for use in inoculation, which could radically reduce risks. See also my article, “Why not consider controlled, intentional infection?” For more discussion of this topic (and more) see my “COVID-19 Resources” page.