2021-06-30 General


This paper poses an interesting idea: maybe masks and distancing help not just in preventing spread but also from lowering the number of virus that one is exposed to to a level where people got micro-innoculations from sick people! They base it on the observation that many countries in Europe had increased cases without increased mortality in their second and third waves.

CureVac’s Phase 3 data analysis of their mRNA vaccine is finished, and its efficacy is very disappointing: 48%. They are going to push ahead and try reformulating it (maybe try replacing your uracil with 1-methyl-3′-pseudouridylyl, eh?) and try again. This has the unfortunate side effect of not freeing up their significant manufacturing capacity NOW for vaccines which we KNOW are very effective. That’s sad.

Apparently Moderna didn’t have a brand name in Europe. They’ve trademarked “Spikevax” which I think is an awesome name. 😆

In a case of making lemonade when given lemons, there’s an experimental Italian viral vector (i.e. like AZ and J&J) vaccines that’s currently in studies.

Well, eight of the volunteers ditched the study and got vaxxed with approved vaccines. Some got one more dose, some got two; some got Pfizer, some got AZ.

The authors of this study saw an opportunity, and looked at their blood. While it has very small numbers, they found that the volunteers got a good boost from their subsequent shots. They made the case that viral vectors might be a good first shot, in part because they are cheap, and can get a good boost from other shots.

This paper and this paper alert the world to a few myocarditis cases after mRNA shots.

This preprint says, basically, that AZ isn’t as effective as Pfizer, especially against some variants.

This case study describes one case of clotting in someone who got Moderna err Spikevax.

Recommended Reading

This article talks about excess deaths (mostly focusing on the US) by age. It’s more complex (and interesting!) than you thought. Tidbit: the total deaths per 100K in the US from traffic accidents, accidental poisonings (i.e. overdoses), and homicide is 2x in the US than it is in Canada.

This article talks about what we’ve learned from the COVID-19 vaccine development process.

This article talks about the relationship between a US lab, the NIH, and the Wuhan Institute of Virology. The most interesting thing: the opinion that Shi’s work on bat viruses should have been at a stricter biosafety level lab (BSL-3) than it was (BSL-2).

This article says why we should care if the pandemic was the result of a lab leak or not. I’m almost convinced.

This article talks about people still working on COVID-19 vaccines, of both the how and why.

This article looks at the office, how workers interact in the physical space, and how the office is portrayed in media (e.g. The Office).

This article looks at inequality in the US and how it leads to differential COVID-19 outcomes.

This article talks about the Delta variant and why it’s difficult to say if it causes more severe illness or not.