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Posts by Derek Lowe

  • Clinical Trials

    Moderna’s Upcoming Clinical Trials

    One of the ways in which this pandemic will be looked back on as a pivot point will (almost certainly) be in the use of mRNA vaccines. It seems clear at this point that these have come through spectacularly against the coronavirus: every new study of their effects in the broad population just adds to… Read More
  • Business and Markets

    The Money Keeps On Comin’

    I enjoyed this post by Bruce Booth on the biopharma funding landscape. But I think we would all agree that. . .well, it’s been weird the last few years. This has been a long, long boom in the amount of money that’s flowed into this sector, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like… Read More
  • Chemical News

    New Electron Tricks in Synthetic Chemistry

    One of specialties of Phil Baran’s group at Scripps the last few years has been electrosynthesis, which has a traditional hmm-interesting-turn-the-page reputation among most synthetic chemists that they’re trying to change. Photochemistry was in roughly the same category at one time, and has become much more mainstream (although it alwa… Read More
  • Clinical Trials

    Merck Keeps Plowing On

    I last wrote about the small-molecule antiviral molnupiravir here, and we finally have more information from Merck and Ridgeback about its effects in clinical trials. An interim analysis of the Phase II data from trials in both outpatients and in hospitalized coronavirus patients has been completed, and the news is. . .mixed. In the outpatient… Read More
  • Covid-19

    Vaccine Side Effects Q and A

    So what’s the side effect that caused the J&J vaccine pause? Blood clotting – but not the usual kind. This appears to be the same (or very similar) to the problem seem with the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine in Europe, and both are very similar to a known syndrome called heparin-induced thrombocytopenia. That involves unusual binding to… Read More
  • Covid-19

    Vaccine Efficacy Questions

    Next up on the vaccine news front are some concerns about efficacy. In a very surprising statement, Gao Fu (the head of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention) said at a conference in Chengdu over the weekend that that the protection figures of the Chinese vaccines are “not high”. He called for research… Read More
  • Covid-19

    AZ/Oxford Calculations

    Update: the FDA has now paused use of the J&J vaccine due to 6 incidents of what appears to be VITT.  We have a lot of vaccine news to catch up on! First up is the latest on the possible clotting side effects seen with Oxford/AstraZeneca. This is looking more and more likely to be… Read More
  • Biological News

    Vaccine Manufacturing Woes at Emergent

    The New York Times has a good story on the problems at the Emergent vaccine plant in Baltimore, following up on this one. They’ve uncovered a report from last summer that warned that the facility had quality control problems: A copy of the official’s assessment, obtained by The New York Times, cited “key risks” in… Read More
  • Covid-19

    Getting Vaccinated

    So as I mentioned on Twitter yesterday, I’ve now had my first coronavirus vaccine dose (Pfizer/BioNTech). Since I’ve been writing about the mRNA vaccines for months here and cheering on the vaccine efforts in general, I can tell you that I’m very, very happy to be able to follow through and actually take one. So… Read More
  • Chemical Biology

    Watching mRNA Do Its Thing, In Living Cells

    This is a nice chemical biology paper that hits on a hot topic of the day: the uptake and function of mRNA when administered to cells. You can always look for downstream effects to show that you achieved both those goals, but it would be very useful to get images of this process in real… Read More