2021-06-01 General

Vaccines

Canada’s National Advisory Committee on Immunizations has decreed that it’s okay to get an mRNA shot after an AstraZeneca shot. They had been waiting for the efficacy results from a big UK study, but the study has been delayed another month, and they (along with many other immunology boards) finally said “screw it, we’re just going to do it.”

I also strongly suspect that the regulatory agencies know the basic outlines of what the study says, from informal conversations, e.g. “Hey, Wilma, you’ve got a friend working on Com-Cov, what are their results like and why is it taking so long?” “Oh, he says that the holdup is because they are bickering about who gets what credit, but that AZ+Pfizer is really really good.”

Reminder that the UK study has given us safety information. AZ+Pfizer is safe, although the side effects are more annoying (though not dangerous) than AZ+AZ. There is also a Spanish study which confirms the safety and found that AZ+Pfizer gave seven times as many antibodies as AZ+AZ.


There’s a town in Brazil, Serrana, where they did whole-of-city vaccination, in four steps. They announced preliminary results, and said that they determined that they needed to vaccinate 75% of the city to control the virus.

I don’t understand how they decided that 75% was the magic number. It looks to me like the point they picked was sort of arbitrary.

And yeah, it’s nice that deaths dropped by 95% after they vaccinated 95% of the citizens, but frankly it would have been astonishing if that had not happened.

Mitigation Measures

There are several lawsuits going forward saying that the quarantine hotels are unlawful detention.

Treatments

I told you that Vitamin D was good for COVID? This paper says no, but the paper is a little… odd. It used the “genetically predicted Vitamin D level” — I don’t even know what that means — in COVID-19 patients and controls. It did not try giving Vitamin D supplements, and it also excluded people with Vitamin D deficiency (!).

Other diseases

This isn’t coronavirus-related, sorry, but it’s exciting as hell! Yestrerday, they started Phase 1 trials of a universal influenza vacccine. It’s a nanoparticle mosaic approach (sort of like the Novavax approach) where they stick pieces of a bunch of different influenza strains together:

Artist’s rendering of the universal influenza virus nanoparticleT

The nanoparticles go into the lymphatic system, where the immune system sees them and goes DO NOT WANT! and makes antibodies to all of them.

This is one possible approach to a universal coronavirus vaccine.


This paper says that mitigation measures for COVID reduced Streptococcus pneumoniae (one cause of pneumonia), Haemophilus influenzae (influenza), and Neisseria meningitidis (one cause of meningitis).

Recommended Reading

This article talks about mRNA vaccines: the development hurdles they had already (fortunately!) overcome, what they might be used for in the future, etc.

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