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Mrs Whiggins

CR: COVID-19 --Political Talk

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6 hours ago, Anastasis said:

Death toll bad. Trend in fatalities so far, at least in Texas, been ok.  We haven't see a spike correlated to the increased number of cases and hospitalizations.  We'll see if that holds...we are right on the leading edge of a two week window marking the spike in cases and hospitalizations. If the fatalities hold on trend, over the next couple weeks, that a really good thing given the trend in cases. 

In the past 2 weeks Texas 7 day average went from 2k to 6k new cases, while the deaths went from 24 to 32 (7 day avg).  I’m looking at 6/29 as all data wasn’t in when I started, still not even sure it is all in. 
 

 From the time NY hit 2k cases per day (again 7 day avg) on 3/22 to 2 weeks later they were hitting 9k cases a day, and 7day deaths went from 28 to 693.

 

What that all means, fuck if I know. They were doing 13k tests a day 3/22 and were doing about 25k a day by 4/6.  During our 2 week period, we started at 25k tests a day have made it up over 35k tests.  So they weren’t seeing more cases because they were doing more testing. 
 

Im hoping it boils down to improved treatment /methods and a younger avg age group getting the illness. And I’m hoping the trend continues. 

Edited by UT_OB1

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3 minutes ago, Bozo_Casanova said:

That’s the lesson of Iran-

spread among YAs->fatality rate falls -> cases spike -> cases diffuse to older population -> fatality rate spikes

Fractals.

image.png.3130d7e480dcefea2a54e2e1fada2456.png

Rinse and repeat.

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14 minutes ago, UT_OB1 said:

In the past 2 weeks Texas 7 day average went from 2k to 6k new cases, while the deaths went from 24 to 32 (7 day avg).  I’m looking at 6/29 as all data wasn’t in when I started, still not even sure it is all in. 
 

 From the time NY hit 2k cases per day (again 7 day avg) on 3/22 to 2 weeks later they were hitting 9k cases a day, and 7day deaths went from 28 to 693.

 

What that all means, fuck if I know. They were doing 13k tests a day 3/22 and were doing about 25k a day by 4/6.  During our 2 week period, we started at 25k tests a day have made it up over 35k tests.  So they weren’t seeing more cases because they were doing more testing. 
 

Im hoping it boils down to improved treatment /methods and a younger avg age group getting the illness. And I’m hoping the trend continues. 

 

To UT_OB's last sentence, has anyone come across any data for fatality rates by age group, trended over time? I'm interested in this as well. I'd love to see CFR going down across all age groups and not just more young people getting sick. 

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1 hour ago, Bozo_Casanova said:

That’s the lesson of Iran-

spread among YAs->fatality rate falls -> cases spike -> cases diffuse to older population -> fatality rate spikes

One thing I forgot to mention, there may not be fatalities due to covid in young people right now, but who's to say it won't result in complications for them later on in life? We may not fully know this piece of the puzzle for years to come. 
 

Basically I'm saying wear masks. 

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10 minutes ago, Skyline said:

One thing I forgot to mention, there may not be fatalities due to covid in young people right now, but who's to say it won't result in complications for them later on in life? We may not fully know this piece of the puzzle for years to come. 
 

Basically I'm saying wear masks. 

I’ve been out paddle boarding the last few nights, thinking to myself: “gee, breathing is nice. So is not having ground glass opacities or needing dialysis. Also being able to smell stuff is pretty clutch.” 
so, I think I can do a mask for a while.

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30 minutes ago, ChuckNorrisActionJeans said:

I really want to punch this blonde man in the head. 

It we didn't have a mortal stake in this, it would be entertaining to watch the GOP's anti-science ideology in the cage match with indifferent, empirical science. 

 

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52 minutes ago, Anastasis said:

 

Fuck the audience, 2-Live Crew spitting facts (regardless of gender) for a great number of consenting adults.

*Present company excluded, of course. 

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Pandemics change how the world works  - quickly. I don't know how anyone is going to convince people take this with enough seriousness. Some people think herd immunity is the only way this virus burns out. I am not sure they comprehend the ramifications of going full Sweden in the United States. 

One of the great things about getting outside is finding places where you can exist without a mask. There is beauty out there. And it is a good time to experience it. 

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6 hours ago, washparkhorn said:

Does Dan know how silly he sounds?  Laura Ingraham was pushing all sorts of lunacy early on. I see it continues.

If we’re very lucky he’ll catch it and won’t survive.

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6 hours ago, washparkhorn said:

Some people think herd immunity is the only way this virus burns out.

No guarantees herd immunity would work, even that catastrophic treatment has a big gulp of wishful thinking. 

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4 minutes ago, Bookman said:

Doesn't herd immunity by definition have to work?

Assuming that immunity lasts more than a few months after contracting COVID. We've seen a few cases where people no longer had the antibodies after several months post-recovery. Not to say there's no herd immunity, but the concept isn't exactly proven science wrt/ COVID

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43 minutes ago, lemonlime said:

Also if we somehow even get to herd immunity we may have an entire nation with permanent lung damage. Brilliant plan there

I saw a post on Facebook about how the shutdown was stopping us from developing a "natural herd immunity."

These are people who vote.

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7 hours ago, washparkhorn said:

Does Dan know how silly he sounds?  Laura Ingraham was pushing all sorts of lunacy early on. I see it continues.

Serious question... Is there really no one in the Texas Republican party whose job is to rein this stupid motherfucker in and keep him from embarrassing the state on an international level?

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5 minutes ago, Beau Vine said:

Serious question... Is there really no one in the Texas Republican party whose job is to rein this stupid motherfucker in and keep him from embarrassing the state on an international level?

Serious answer: of course not, it’s the Texas Republican party.

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The lack of national leadership is what allows for idiots like DeSantis and Abbott to fail at protecting their governed. We have the capability to blunt the impact of this virus, but only some states are choosing that path. Without action, all we have left are thoughts and prayers. Let’s pray we won’t see the freezer trucks holding bodies come to Houston bc the morgues are full. Lord knows there aren’t that many I’ve rinks down south, and they’re probably open for skaters anyway 

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12 minutes ago, Pig Bellmont said:

The lack of national leadership is what allows for idiots like DeSantis and Abbott to fail at protecting their governed. We have the capability to blunt the impact of this virus, but only some states are choosing that path. Without action, all we have left are thoughts and prayers. Let’s pray we won’t see the freezer trucks holding bodies come to Houston bc the morgues are full. Lord knows there aren’t that many I’ve rinks down south, and they’re probably open for skaters anyway 

If only the states could get together and create some sort of national center that controls and prevents diseases. It could be staffed with a bunch of public health experts who'd advise everyone and organize the local responses. 

Probably too crazy of an idea. 

Edited by Hookah Horns

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1 minute ago, 4th&Five said:

 

Relevant details from the article:

Quote

 

Early results of the study: The researchers found that the vaccine generated antibodies against the coronavirus in all of the participants by 28 days after receiving a single injection of 100 micrograms or seven days after receiving a second dose of either 10 or 30 micrograms.

"These preliminary data are encouraging, showing that BNT162b1 which exploits RBD SARS-CoV-2 as a target antigen is able to produce neutralizing antibody responses in humans at or above the levels observed in convalescent sera – and that it does so at relatively low dose levels. We look forward to providing further data updates on BNT162b1," Dr. Ugur Sahin, CEO and co-founder of BioNTech, said in a company press release on Wednesday.

Pfizer and BioNTech announced on Wednesday that this preliminary data will help them determine a dose level for the vaccine then select which of their multiple vaccine candidates to progress to a larger-scale global Phase 2/3 study, possibly beginning as early as this month.

 

Here's hoping that the vaccine is indeed successful, that it has an rapidly scalable production process, and that COVID doesn't mutate to lessen the effectiveness of it in the interim

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5 minutes ago, Captainant said:

Relevant details from the article:

Here's hoping that the vaccine is indeed successful, that it has an rapidly scalable production process, and that COVID doesn't mutate to lessen the effectiveness of it in the interim

The antigen response is good news, but man this one has a long long way to go.  Oxford/Astra Zeneca will probably be first to market.  Actually, I think that the Chinese will be the first to have a vax, but it won't get approved in the US. 

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1 minute ago, Anastasis said:

The antigen response is good news, but man this one has a long long way to go.  Oxford/Astra Zeneca will probably be first to market.  Actually, I think that the Chinese will be the first to have a vax, but it won't get approved in the US. 

Hoo wee, just imagine a timeline in which there's a viable vaccine out there that's withheld from the American people due to the complete abrogation of all of our diplomatic ties and international relationships. Sounds pretty 2020 if you ask me

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4 minutes ago, Captainant said:

Hoo wee, just imagine a timeline in which there's a viable vaccine out there that's withheld from the American people due to the complete abrogation of all of our diplomatic ties and international relationships. Sounds pretty 2020 if you ask me

Would you feel comfortable taking a chinese vaccination?

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5 minutes ago, Captainant said:

Hoo wee, just imagine a timeline in which there's a viable vaccine out there that's withheld from the American people due to the complete abrogation of all of our diplomatic ties and international relationships. Sounds pretty 2020 if you ask me

This really isn't a good take on the Chinese vax. 

 

 

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The Chinese vaccine will probably contain lead, asbestos and just a hint of melamine.

Edited by kevwun

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3 minutes ago, babysdaddy said:

Would you feel comfortable taking a chinese vaccination?

honestly, not really lol. Unless it had been through the entire FDA approval process

1 minute ago, Anastasis said:

This really isn't a good take on the Chinese vax. 

fair, more just making a cynical joke.

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For those interested in the vaccine development status, here is a very good overview of the different approaches being evaluated...

https://blogs.sciencemag.org/pipeline/archives/2020/06/29/coronavirus-vaccine-update-june-29

 

Here’s the latest on the ones I’ve covered before and with new efforts added. There are now so many of these running that unless the program is especially noteworthy I’ll only touch on the ones that are in trials right now, or about to start soon. And I’m going to arrange them by vaccine class – the April 15 background post goes into some more detail on these, but I’ll start each group off with a short scientific summary. Neither the order in which these different mechanisms are presented nor the order in which companies are listed within them is meant to reflect any horserace handicapping on my part.

Viral Vectors:

This class uses some other infectious virus, but with its original genetic material removed. In its place goes genetic instructions to make coronavirus proteins, and when your infected cells do that, it will set off an immune response. Note that this is different than being infected with a “real” virus, whose instructions are (naturally enough) to produce more virus, which go off and infect more cells. No, in this case each viral particle that you’re injected with will be able to infect one cell, and that’s it. An advantage of this approach is that it should appear to your immune system like a pretty realistic viral attack, and set off a full range of responses. A disadvantage is that this technique (as far as I can tell) has only once been used in human therapy (the Ebola vaccine, see below – update: edited this section to reflect this) – a lot of people have been working on it over the years, but things have now accelerated. Another disadvantage is that (depending on which virus you pick as a vector) some of your patients may already have antibodies to that one. That can mean that your attempt to repurpose it might crash and burn as the carefully designed vector gets attacked by antibodies and eaten by immune cells before it can even do its work. It also means that booster shots would have an uphill battle, since the antibodies from that first dose will be waiting for the second one. Antibodies to the viral payload: good. Antibodies to the viral vector itself: not so much.

Oxford/AstraZeneca: ChAdOx1-nCov19/AZD122: This is one of the frontrunning candidates in human trials (the WHO agrees), and it’s recently started dosing in South Africa and Brazil as well as the ongoing trials in the UK, etc. We’re going to be seeing a lot of that jump-around-the world pattern, tracking the places that have significant outbreaks in order to get the best statistics. That means that the organizations behind each candidate either have to have substantial resources themselves, or partner with those who do (pharma, the WHO, groups such as CEPI and the Gates Foundation, etc.) I don’t know when the next report of human data will be on this one, but it will be very closely watched indeed – see the May 18 post for the reaction to the last big data drop, which had some observers (not all) worried about the vaccine’s effectiveness. This one tries to get around the pre-existing antibody problem by using an adenovirus from chimpanzees (the “Ch” in the name).

CanSino/AMMS: their Ad5-nCov, we find out this morning, has been approved for use in the Chinese military “after clinical trials proved it was safe and showed some efficacy”. That’s probably how I would put it, too – the company reported on the Phase I data a few weeks ago, and one of the notable features was that about half the patients that they dosed, in all age cohorts, had pre-existing antibodies to the vector. That’s adenovirus-5, as the name implies, and it’s a pretty common human pathogen. This one was widely used earlier (back to the 1980s) in the viral-vector field (which encompasses both vaccines and gene therapy) and a great deal is known about its behavior in humans, but the existing immune response has been a problem every step of the way. Ad5 is also considered a good choice if you want your payloads delivered to the liver and not much of anywhere else – it tends to concentrate there, and it wouldn’t surprise me if a lot of the coronavirus protein production with the CanSino vaccine is taking place in that tissue. At any rate, an executive with the company has said that their Phase II results will be published very soon, while not missing a chance to take a shot at Moderna for not doing the same (see below), so it’s going to be very interesting to dig through those.

Johnson & Johnson (Janssen): J&J, on the other hand, is working with a different adenovirus platform, Ad26. That’s a much rarer strain, and very few people have pre-existing antibodies to it. They’ve been investing in this for years now, and the coronavirus epidemic has, as it has for so many other areas, accelerated things past anything that was contemplated before. This is the time to mention, though, that it’s not just the pre-existing response that can be a problem – if you raise too vigorous a response to the new viral vector you can cause trouble, too (and, as mentioned, perhaps wipe out the chances to ever use that particular vector for anything again). No big announcements since the company said that they were speeding up human trials to first dosing in July.

Gamaleya Research Institute: Those previous entries are a good lead-up to this one, because the Russian GRI vaccine is a mixture of Ad5 and Ad26 vectors. To be honest, I’m not sure of the thinking behind giving both, but it will be an interesting comparison with the Chinese and J&J efforts, for sure. This work made headlines not long ago when the head of the institute let it be known that he and other workers there had actually injected themselves with their own candidate vaccine (!) This was not, he said, an attempt to prove safety, but rather a means to protect the staff while they were working with the coronavirus itself. One would suspect that the Russian language, with its rich stockpile of phrases, would have a metaphor similar to the English “putting the cart before the horse”, wouldn’t it? At any rate, this one has gone into human dosing in Russia.

Reithera: This Rome-based company is taking a similar approach to the Oxford group, in that they have a gorilla-infecting coronavirus platform that should be immunologically novel in a human population. Data are scarce, although the company has said that they expect to go into human trials “this summer”, and some stories on them say July.

Altimmune: Here’s another adenovirus vector, but administered via a different route. They’re going intranasal, and thus hoping to bring in a mucosal immune response as well. Since this seems to be the same platform as their earlier Nasovax influenza vaccine program, I will assume that this is also an Ad5 vector. This one is still listed as “preclinical” on the company’s web site, with such studies taking place partly at the University of Alabama-Birmingham. It’s good to see another technique being applied here; we’re going to need all the shots on goal that we can get.

Merck/Iavi: Now here’s a non-adenovirus vector. Merck’s partnership with nonprofit Iavi is around vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV), which is what was successful in the development of the Ebola vaccine. In that case, the gene for the VSV glycoprotein was replaced by one for the Ebola protein, and I would assume that something similar will be done to swap in the coronavirus spike protein here. Merck is expected to use the same Vero cell line production for this that they used for making the Ebola vaccine and for their rotavirus vaccine. That last one isn’t a VSV vector, but rather a group of mixed bovine-human rotavirus strains – but for all of these you need cells to serve as factories to crank out viral particles for you. I have seen no projected date for first-in-human dosing for this one, though

Merck/Themis: In another non-adenovirus move, Merck had been collaborating with Themis on using attenuated measles virus as a therapeutic, platform, and about a month ago they announced that they were buying them outright. The attenuated measles vaccine (see below for attenuated viruses in general) has a very good safety record and has long been considered an attractive candidate for repurposing, and now we’re going to find out how that works rather before we thought we would. The plan is for this to go into patients sometime later this year.

Vaxart: Now, these folks I had not heard much until the other day, when they popped up with a surprise press release saying that their vaccine candidate had been selected as part of the government’s “Operation Warp Speed” for a challenge test in primates. They have a platform developing oral vaccines – an adenovirus vector delivered in a coated tablet to get past the stomach and into the small intestine. (There’s an immediately obvious difference this route and the injectables in ease of storage and administration, which might be quite advantageous). This “mucosal immunity” technique will be familiar to many via its use in the oral polio vaccine, and the differences between it and the immune response generated by injection are quite complex. Vaxart hopes to go into Phase I later this year, and it will be very interesting to see what happens in the primate study and in humans. This route could turn out to be noticeably better or noticeably worse than other the efforts in the category, or might even end up as an adjunct to another vaccination route. I’m very glad that we have a completely different approach being looked at. (Update: corrected and moved the category on this one; I’d initially thought they were using just recombinant proteins).

 

Genetic Vaccines:

These take DNA or RNA coding for coronavirus proteins and inject that directly into the bloodstream. “Directly” isn’t quite the right word, though – for these things to work, they have to be formulated and modified to survive destruction in the blood, to be taken up through cell membranes, and to be used for protein production once they’re inside. There have been extensive experiments in animal models over the years, but this is another category where no existing human vaccine uses the technology (yet!) Advantages include fast development and (possibly) ease of manufacture, depending on how exotic the final form turns out to be, and lack of an existing immune response to the vaccine itself (as seen with some of the viral vectors above). The big disadvantage is, well, once again no one has taken these things into humans yet. And another one is that some of these may need to be stored at not even the usual cold-chain conditions (which are enough of a logistical problem, thanks, particularly outside the industrialized countries) but even colder than that to keep them stable (for example) – an underappreciated problem, perhaps, that we’ll have to keep an eye on. Others have been shown to be stable without cold chain storage, so there’s clearly a wide variation.

Moderna: mRNA1273: this one, the leading mRNA vaccine candidate has been getting a lot of the coronavirus vaccine headlines, of course. They’re still heading for Phase III in July, and have signed up with Catalent (who are also working with J&J) for support in vaccine production, labeling, and distribution for that effort. This in addition to their own production work and the deal that they’ve already signed with Lonza in Europe. The company’s CEO said earlier this week that the best-case timeline had them with efficacy data before Thanksgiving, and yeah, I believe that would be the “everything goes flawlessly the first time through” situation. What we haven’t seen are many more details about how the vaccine has been performing so far. All we have is that small mid-May press release, and it’s been a while, hasn’t it? At some point, there’s going to be a dumptruck of data that will have to be released on this one, and until then we’re all just sort of tapping our collective feet.

Pfizer/BioNTech: Not much news here, but we definitely will be getting some. This effort started out with four different mRNA approaches, and there’s no word on if they’ve narrowed things down yet. Pfizer’s CEO Albert Bourla said recently that they’re sticking to a strict policy of not commenting on their vaccine results until they’re published in a journal. He also emphasized that they are not part of the government’s “Operation Warp Speed” effort, saying “We don’t take the money because we don’t need the money”, and believes that doing so would just slow down the company’s own efforts. They’re also planning for about 30,000 patients in their eventual Phase III trial, with about 100 sites (US and international). The number of drug companies that can organize (and pay for) something like that with cash-on-hand can be easily counted on your fingers, and Pfizer is certainly one of them. The company has also said that their best-cast timeline has a possible emergency use authorization in October (!), which will also require everything to ring the bells exactly on time. Not everyone believes that’s possible, but hey, we’ll find out pretty damn soon, won’t we?

Inovio: this DNA vaccine candidate (INO-4800) is getting messy. The company had sued their manufacturing partner, VGXI, claiming that they were in breach of contract and holding up Inovio’s program because they could not fulfill their targets for delivery. A judge has just ruled against Inovio’s request to force disclosure of VGXI’s proprietary manufacturing techniques. For my part, I was already out of sympathy with Inovio after their announced early on in the pandemic that they had produced a vaccine in about three hours, when what he was actually talking about – as people who know any molecular biology whatsoever realized instantly – was a candidate construct for a possible vaccine. That brought on shareholder lawsuits, as the shares were whacked back and forth like a tennis ball between enthusiastic dice-rolling long investors and you-gotta-be-kidding-me short-sellers. I should note that the company has a stock market following that is need of therapy all by itself. Anyway, at this stage, a serious vaccine player should be talking about where they’re going to round up all the glass vials, where the sterile production lines are, how they’re going to handle the logistics for tens of thousands of clinical trial doses, and so on. Not off hammering on their contractual partners in the Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas.

CureVac: hey, remember these guys? Back in March, there was a flare of a story about how the US had allegedly tried to buy up the company (or the rights to any mRNA vaccine they produced), with sourcing of the news to irate members of the German government. There hasn’t been anything quite that lively around them since, but they recently got a 300 million Euro investment from the German government (who now own 23% of the company). They have continued to state that they expect to go into Phase I human trials before the end of June, which means that they have about 28 hours to go (Central European Time), as I write this.

Imperial College: this is another mRNA candidate, but it’s a self-amplifying one, like one of the four Pfizer/BioNTech variations – these are the only two that I know of using this technique. The vaccine went into human volunteers just a few days ago. The way these things work is to deliver messenger RNA that codes not only for the antigen protein of interest, but for an RNA polymerase enzyme (there’s a useful one that’s been borrow from alphaviruses) that will turn around and make more copies of the mRNA itself. The idea is that you can then dose with much smaller amounts of material, since it’s going to go out and make more of itself anyway.

Sanofi/Translate: this one is still scheduled to go into human trials in December. Sanofi has recently expanded their collaboration with Translate in this area, but I haven’t been able to track down details on the vaccine itself. There are an awful lot of ways to deal with the problem mentioned in the intro to this section, though, and I would expect this to be a different run at them than the other mRNA players have taken. Given that we have no idea how these things are going to perform in human subjects, a diversity of opinion is no bad thing.

Genexine: this South Korean company’s DNA vaccine, GX-19, has started human dosing. These folks and Inovio seem to be the front-running DNA vaccine players for now; everyone else in this category is RNA. I would assume that none of this testing is going to be done in Korea itself, though, since COVID-19 levels are so low there (and good for them).

AMMS/Abogen/Walvax: this is the first mRNA coronavirus vaccine in China, and was recently approved for human trials there. An interesting feature is that it’s said to be stable at room temperature for up to a week – rather surprising for an mRNA construct, but something to keep an eye on.

 

Recombinant protein vaccines

Here we get to a technique that really is used for human vaccines. The previous two categories force your own cells to make viral antigen proteins, but here you’re making them industrially and just injecting them directly. The advantage can be that such protein production can be accomplished in many different ways and is already done on a large scale. That said, every new protein is a new project, with its own idiosyncrasies. A disadvantage is that this technique sometimes does not produce enough of a robust immune response by itself (at reasonable doses of protein, anyway), and needs added “adjuvants” as part of the vaccine formulation. These are substances that increase immunologic reaction – through mechanisms that honestly have not always been so well understood over the years (more here) and you’ll see these in the entries below.

Novavax: The company has been raising significant amounts of money as they push on with their recombinant vaccine (a Spike protein produced in an Sf9 insect cell system). Otherwise, there’s very little news – now everyone waits to see their Phase I results!

Clover Biopharmaceuticals: These folks are also teaming up with GSK to use their adjuvant, as well as testing their recombinant glycoprotein with another adjuvant from Dynavax. Dosing of these trial arms has already started; they were the second effort in the recombinant protein space to go into humans after Novavax.

Sanofi/GSK: This one, a recombinant version of the Spike protein along with GSK’s own adjuvant, has also had its timeline pushed up. Dosing was scheduled to start in December, but’s now slated for September, with rollout in mid-2021 if everything works. The GSK adjuvant is the one used in their shingles vaccine, and even before the pandemic the company had planned to make this the centerpiece of their vaccine programs. It’s a mixture of a bacterial lipid from a strain of Salmonella and an extract of the Chilean soapbark tree. “Saponin” compounds of that sort have long been known as adjuvants, but this one really seems to ring the bells. I certainly noticed a reaction when I got the shingles vaccine myself (particularly the second dose).

Zhifei Biological Products: Basically, all I know about this one is that it’s just been approved to go into human trials. There’s a lot of stuff going on in China – some of it (like CanSino’s) being well published, and some of it almost totally in the dark.

Queensland/CFL/GSK: Back at the end of April, the team at the University of Queensland announced preclinical results on antibody response to their vaccine candidate. They’re also looking at adjuvants from both GSK and Dynavax, and have partnered with several other companies for production and logistics so far. From what I can see, they’re recruiting patients now to start dosing next month. I’m not sure what the coronavirus situation is in Queensland itself, though – where will the majority of dosing be done?

Stabilitech: Here’s another small company working on oral vaccines, in this case with recombinant proteins (from what I can see). Their web site seem to claim to have formulations that have been through animal dosing, and says that they are ready to start human clinical trials “pending secured funding”. With all the money sloshing around in this area, I would have to assume that they have knocked on some doors, so we’ll see if this goes anywhere.

 

Attenuated Virus Vaccines:

This is another well-precedented vaccination technique. It involves producing a weakened form of the actual infectious virus, one that is not capable of causing damage but can still set off the immune system. There are several ways to do this, and it’s a bit of an art form involving taking the virus through a huge number of replications in living cells as you select for variants that are less and less harmful. An advantage is that such vaccines can be quite effective at raising a response – ideally, the immune system reacts exactly as it would to the real pathogen, except you avoid all the getting-sick part. A disadvantage is that part about it being an art form: balancing the lack of harm with immunogenicity is not something that can always be achieved. Some viruses have a wider window for this sort of thing than others, and it’s not easy (or possible, really) to know if this is a feasible pathway up front. That may well be one reason why (at the moment) I know of no candidate vaccines for this coronavirus that are using this method.

 

Inactivated Virus Vaccines:

This is also one that’s also been used in medical practice for many years, and it’s another inactivation step beyond the attenuated viruses. Heat or chemical agents are used to damage the virus to the point that it can no longer infect cells at all, but the plan is for there to be enough of the viral material left unaltered to still raise an immune response. Not the most high-tech approach, but it can definitely work. Many times, though, vaccines of this don’t provide enough of a response in a single shot, so you may be looking at a booster vaccine schedule. Interestingly, the Chinese groups seem to have this field to themselves; I’m not aware of any inactivated-virus vaccine for the pandemic that’s in serious development anywhere else.

SinoVac: When last heard from, the company had released positive Phase II data – well, some data. The full report on the trial is not out yet, but two weeks ago they issued a statement saying that over 90% of the participants had neutralizing antibodies at 14 days after dosing. That’s good news, but you’d want to see a lot more detail, such as actual antibody titers, and it hasn’t shown up yet (although SinoVac says it’s coming). Their Phase III trial will be starting shortly in Brazil – which given the epidemic situation there at the moment seems like (sadly) a good choice of venue. More on this one when more data show up.

SinoPharm/Wuhan Institute of Biological Products: This is the one that’s already being given to employees of Chinese state-owned companies who are traveling to high-risk areas overseas, so hey, why bother with clinical trial results? Well, anyway, the organization has announced that antibody titers were “high” in the initial trials, and the the seroconversion rates (at 28 days) were a flat 100%. One would like to see a full paper on these data, but I don’t know when (or if) that will ever show up; SinPharm seems to like to announce these things on Weibo and move on. The Phase III trials will take place in the United Arab Emirates, (and likely other locations as well?)

SinoPharm/Beijing Institute: This is the other SinoPharm vaccine, and just today the company has announced that it also passed safety trials and generated neutralizing antibodies. But this was another Weibo posting, so that’s all we have. I also have no clear idea about the differences between this one and the Wuhan-originated vaccine – all I know is that they’re both some form of inactivated coronavirus.

Institute of Medical Biology (China): Last week there was an announcement that this one had moved into Phase II testing, but we don’t know much more. There was a Phase I trial in May (China Daily link) with 200 people, whose results (as far as I can tell) have not been reported, either. Nor do we know anything about the method used to inactivate the virus in this candidate (just like the other two, actually).

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13 minutes ago, kevwun said:

The Chinese vaccine will probably contain lead, asbestos and just a hint of melamine.

Look, man, do you want to kill the virus or not?

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45 minutes ago, Captainant said:

Hoo wee, just imagine a timeline in which there's a viable vaccine out there that's withheld from the American people due to the complete abrogation of all of our diplomatic ties and international relationships. Sounds pretty 2020 if you ask me

 

I just want to give you points for using the word "abrogation."  

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12 hours ago, BradInATX said:

 

To UT_OB's last sentence, has anyone come across any data for fatality rates by age group, trended over time? I'm interested in this as well. I'd love to see CFR going down across all age groups and not just more young people getting sick. 

It’s not fatalities, but Nueces stopped reporting age data with the new cases and it’s pissing me off.

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