2021-05-02 General

Vaccines

You know how I keep saying we are going to have SO MUCH VAX?From an April 22 Economist article (emphasis mine):

“Last week, the billionth dose of covid-19 vaccine was made. It is a sign of how greatly capacity has expanded over the past six months that the next billion could be produced by May 27th, according to Airfinity, an analytics firm (see chart).”


A preprint says that COVID antibodies are still present in some people who got infected a year earlier. Yay!

Variants

The spread of variants in the US is interesting, not just because they are RIGHT NEXT to us, but because it gives a crude measure of the relative transmissibility of several VOCs:

It’s a little hard to read, but that top label says “Brazil Variant”. The light purple is “New York Variant”. Note that the grey, unmarked area is COVID Classic.


People ask me, “Aren’t you worried about some scary new variant that evades all the vaccines??!?!??” My answer is NO.

  1. I kind of feel like COVID has already given us its best shot. (I can’t entirely justify this — there was a scientific article I read that said basically that, but I can’t remember where I saw it, nor what arguments it had, so I acknowledge that’s a weak argument.)
  2. Regulatory agencies have said that they would require much less from clinical trials and documentation for vaccines against variants. (Both Moderna and Pfizer made boosters against B.1.351, but I haven’t heard boo about them, probably because their current vax works well enough against B.1.351.)
  3. The mRNA vaccines are magic, and can be developed very fast now. It took two days from the time the SARS-CoV-2 virus was sequenced to design a vaccine for it. Two days!
  4. The mRNA vaccines can be manufactured quickly now. Pfizer takes sixty days to make vax, and more than half of that is testing. Frequently in manufacturing, making a small batch can be done much more quickly than the normal production runs.
  5. The mRNA vaccines can be manufactured in bulk now. (See above.)
  6. We are better at pandemicking now. We have practice at it, and our leaders have learned that we need to act fast and hard. If we get COVID-19 under control and loosen all the restrictions, we will know what to do if COVID-22 comes at us. Like the countries who got practice with SARS, we will know to slam all the borders shut right away. We will have processes for quarantining. We will know exactly where to set up the mass vax clinics. We got this.

Disease Mechanism / Long COVID

There’s a really interesting experiment reported on here: they built little pseudo-viruses studded with spike proteins but with no actual virus. They injected those into lab animals and found that they caused damage which looked similar to COVID!

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