One of the pleasures of blogging, especially in the difficult worlds of science and biotechnology, is coming across guides who know their stuff backwards, have the contacts, and can explain difficult topics clearly in real time. Phew, that’s a big ask. One such is Daniel Mediavilla of El Pais. We have been following Dan for years-he’s sound on things like antibiotics as well. Here we are just going to summarise his state of play article on where humanity is on this sunny Sunday in May 2020. And then get out of his way. You really should read this for yourselves.
Firstly, we have two vaccines now at stage two trials-and that’s a lot better than we were in 2002 with SARS. Among the best runners and riders are Moderna of the US where a vaccine trial with 45 volunteers is throwing up antibodies just like those in patients who are recovering from Covid-19. Well, eight of the 45, anyway. Then there is the Beijing Institute of Biotechnology and Cansino Biologics, currently trialling with 108 volunteers. It looks promising-it looks safe, they are getting antibodies, and the vital T lymphocytes, with theirs. Around the world, there are at least 100 candidate vaccines. Feel better?
We hope so, because now for the bad stuff. Firstly, even Dr Wei Chan, who heads up the exciting Chinese project above , admits that there is going to be a very long march until we get to a safe vaccine. Generally speaking, it looks as if phase 11 and phase 111 trials will run this summer and into the autumn, That’s a long, long time, and a lot of people may have to “die for the Dow” as New York Times columnist Paul Krugman puts it.
Here’s a daunting list of the mountains we have to climb.
The earth has about 7600 million residents at the time of writing. How many doses will we need? And how much in each dose? Will it be a one off dose-or will you need one every year, like the flu?Are some vaccines easier to produce than others? Are companies going to do it on their own? Or will countries do it, pooling resources where necessary? All of these questions are considered in a second article by Dr Elisa Sicuri, whose CV and titles are so long and impressive we will simply extract: Institute of World Health, Barcelona, and Imperial College, London.
Anyway you can find all three pieces below. My English language followers will need a translation app.
#danielmediavilla #coronavirus #sarscov2 #covid19 #imperialcollege #paulkrugman