November 9, 2020

Glimmers

Glimmers of hope are appearing, despite new COVID-19 cases soaring. Pfizer, a pharmaceutical company, released data from their trial regarding their vaccine today. Their early data is better than expected with 90% effectiveness at preventing COVID-19. Still early in its Phase 3 trial looking at safety and efficacy, the data is hopeful. Still, many hurdles exist before this vaccine is available. More data is needed, this vaccination requires two doses, and the logistics are daunting. It needs to be kept at -80 degrees Celsius. Yes, you read that right: minus 8o degrees (-112 Fahrenheit). Most doctors offices do not have the equipment to store this vaccine safely, so distribution will be challenging, although being planned for.

Pfizer did not accept money from the US’s WARP SPEED project, but they do have a contract with the US to supply at least 100 million doses initially and 500 million doses later. The New York Times article has a good explanation of the science, very fascinating. The contract is for 1.95 billion dollars. Remind me again which of our leaders is known for his business negotiation skills? Doing the math reminds me the “race” to have the first approved vaccine is truly a race. The initial vaccine to be approved will earn buckets of money.

But Pfizer’s is not the only promising vaccine in clinical studies out there. The New York Times is keeping track. Interestingly each vaccine has a different approach, which is wonderful since we stand a chance of having several safe effective vaccines to choose from next year. We have several clinical trials in the Seattle area that are looking for volunteers, if you want to contribute.

Another glimmer of hope is a unique nasal spray that seems to prevent the user from getting infected because it prevents the virus from attaching to the susceptible cells. Called a lipopeptide, it seems safe and effective. A good use for it might be for a spouse or family member to use it after exposure. Kind of a cool concept, really.

The last bit of hopeful glimmer is that today, our President-elect named a Coronavirus task force and called for everyone to wear masks and do social distancing. He asked for cooperation, with an emphasis on the science behind the advice. True, that the President still has not acknowledged the winner of the election. Since he has stopped addressing the pandemic, despite its intense rise lately; we desperately need leadership to guide us out of this morass. The vaccine may help, but as we wait, so many more people are at risk of death or disability, if scientific advice continues to be ignored. I feel abandoned by our present leadership.

Until any of these glimmers become reality, we still need to remember to protect ourselves in the same ways, we have been doing or the past 8 months. Wash your hands, cover your nose, keep safe six, and hang on to hope.

And finally, my caveat is that this is my experience and my opinions, which are subject to change as more information is available, and not related to the organization I work for. Thanks for reading.

https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/health/roll-up-your-sleeve-to-fight-covid-19-3-new-vaccine-trials-will-start-soon-in-the-seattle-area/

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/11/09/us/politics/coronavirus-pandemic-biden.html

https://apnews.com/article/joe-biden-coronavirus-wear-mask-vaccine-d7e64d8b270ed3bf8daf58f01775d627

https://www.seattletimes.com/nation-world/nation/as-cases-rise-states-say-theyll-work-with-biden-on-virus/

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/11/09/health/covid-vaccine-pfizer.html

https://apnews.com/article/pfizer-vaccine-effective-early-data-4f4ae2e3bad122d17742be22a2240ae8

https://www.seattletimes.com/nation-world/funding-for-pfizer-vaccine-came-from-berlin-not-washington/

https://www.seattletimes.com/business/testing-timeline-whats-ahead-for-covid-19-vaccines/

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/science/coronavirus-vaccine-tracker.html

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/11/05/health/coronavirus-ferrets-vaccine-spray.html

https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.11.04.361154v1.full.pdf