The Herman Trend Alert
August 26, 2020
COVID-19 Vaccines---Where We Are Now
Thanks to the BBC, we can think of a vaccine as a "training course for the body's immune system." The vaccines teach our immune system to recognize and fight invading viruses or bacteria. They accomplish this impressive feat by showing the body harmless pieces of the viruses and teaching it how to successfully defeat it. Later, if or when the infection appears, our bodies already know how to kill or neutralize the contagion, before it can gain a foothold and make us sick.
Many Vaccines are Under Development
Worldwide, over 165 organizations are working on vaccines. We are seeing unprecedented cooperation across countries and companies to find the most effective vaccine and find it fast. As of last Friday, there were 8 vaccines in Phase 3 trials and 2 which already had approval for early or limited use. Clearly, the planet is making progress in its search for a vaccine.
8 Vaccines are in Phase 3 Trials
Since we covered vaccines a few weeks ago, we have more than doubled the number in Phase 3 trials---now at 8. Just to refresh your memory, in Phase 3 trials, scientists administer vaccines to thousands of people, then they wait to see how many people become infected compared to those who received a placebo (pill or an injection which has no therapeutic effect.)
Highlighting 3 of the 8
Based on a chimpanzee cold virus, this vaccine is the result of a partnership between AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford and raised antibodies against the coronavirus as well as other immune defenses. Second, Moderna's vaccine (in partnership with the US National Institutes of Health) was found to be effective in protecting monkeys from this coronavirus; this vaccine is based on messenger RNA (mRNA) to produce viral proteins in the body. Finally, from the German company BioNTech in collaboration with Pfizer and Fosun Pharma comes another mRNA vaccine. These researchers developed two versions, and both worked to produce antibodies against COVID-19, as well as immune cells called T cells that responded to the virus. However, one version produced significantly fewer side effects, so they chose it to move into Phase 2/3 trials. All three of these vaccines have been supported by the current US administration as part of Operation Warp Speed and each was awarded over USD $1billion each for 100 million doses of their vaccines.
The Russian Vaccine Rushed into Service
OK, so you have probably heard about the Russia's entry into the vaccine race. The problem with vaccine development is that it should not be rushed; it's dangerous when we do not know the side effects or the right dosage or whether the vaccine might actually cause permanent damage to the body. Developed by the Gamaleya Research Institute, part of Russia's Ministry of Health, the vaccine is a combination of two cold-type viruses, both engineered with a coronavirus gene. Though this vaccine has only completed its Phase 1 trial, the country has announced it intends to start vaccine production by the end of the year---a risky move.
As I Write this Herman Trend Alert
Not to be out done by Russia, China is fast-tracking its own experimental vaccine that it started rolling out for public use last month---three weeks earlier than Russia's. As in Russia, citizens are being asked to serve as test subjects as acts of patriotism.
A Promising Newcomer: COVAxx
Last Friday, I attended a webinar, hosted by Tony Robbins and Peter Diamandis about a new "designer vaccine," called COVAxx. Designed to stimulate T-cells and other aspects of the immune system to respond to the COVID-19 infection, this vaccine is made from peptides---chains of amino acids that occur naturally in the human body. Not only are these peptides easy to manufacture, but also the immune response in the first trials is remarkable. The initial results appear to produce a 400 times higher antibody response than convalescent plasma. Inherently safer than most of the other vaccines, it will probably have fewer side effects and is expected to be effective at lower doses. Moreover, the vaccine is less likely to require multiple doses to keep you protected. I will keep you posted.
In the meantime, keep the faith, stay healthy, wear your mask, physically distance, maintain your support systems and remember, happiness is not getting what you want, happiness is appreciating what you have.
Next Week: Finally, COVID-19's Unexpected Gifts
Disclaimer: I cannot wait to cover this positive topic and I will do so, as long there is nothing else pressing, like another breakthrough I feel compelled to cover. See you next week
Special thanks to The New York Times Vaccine Tracker; for news about where vaccines are now visit the website of the COVAXX.
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