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  • Covid-19

    The Russian Vaccine Data

    An open letter has appeared about the recently published data from the vaccine development effort at Russia’s Gamaleya reseach center. This is of course the one that the government announced had been “approved” before even going through any Phase III trials, an even that I characterized at the time as a “ridiculous publicity… Read More
  • Clinical Trials

    Serious Adverse Event Time

    Lots of uncertainty in the vaccine world today: as many will have heard, the Oxford/AstraZeneca trial in the UK, the US, and Brazil has been paused due to a serious adverse event. The New York Times, citing a source with knowledge of the event, reported last night that this was transverse myelitis. And Nature has… Read More
  • Covid-19

    Bradykinin and the Coronavirus

    There’s a new paper that a lot of people are talking about recently that presents a rather large unifying hypothesis about the effects of the coronavirus (and suggests some new modes of treatment as well). This is the “bradykinin hypothesis”, and before digging into it, it might be worth a paragraph to talk about what… Read More
  • Covid-19

    Coronavirus Vaccine Roundup, Early September

    It’s been a while since I went through the whole vaccine landscape (I’ve been putting it off!), but there’s a lot to catch up on. I’m going to incorporate some slightly reworked material from my July post in the introduction to each vaccine class, for reference, but everything on the candidates themselves is updated informat… Read More
  • General Scientific News

    It’s Weird Down There

    It’s not easy – especially when you’re a mere chemist – to picture what’s really going on inside a cell. The sorts of pictures that most of us tend to use (two blobs to represent a ribosome, little snakey line curving out from it to represent a new protein) are helpful memory devices, but have… Read More
  • Covid-19

    Cold Chain (And Colder Chain) Distribution

    OK, it looks like we’re finally going to be talking about a vaccine logistics issue that many people (including me) have been worried about. Specifically, how are these things going to be transported and stored? If you’re not in the biomedical field, that question might seem a bit boring and bring up mental pictures of… Read More
  • Covid-19

    Thoughts On a New Coronavirus Test (And on Testing)

    Word came yesterday that Abbott received an Emergency Use Authorization for a new coronavirus test, one that is faster and cheaper than anything currently out there. The two types of tests that we see in use now are RT-PCR, the nasal-swab test that detects viral RNA, and various antibody tests, that tell you if you… Read More
  • Covid-19

    Preparing For the Vaccine Results

    So let’s take a few minutes to think about what happens when the vaccine trials start to read out. I’m making the assumption that the data will be freely available in a timely manner (which means before any decisions are made), because the alternative to that is Not Real Good. Another not-real-good alternative would be… Read More
  • Covid-19

    Convalescent Plasma: The Science and the Politics

    I suppose that I’m going to have to say something about yesterday’s convalescent plasma announcement. First, the medical aspects: in my view, for what that’s worth, convalescent plasma is likely to be at least somewhat helpful to hospitalized coronavirus patients. I think that its safety profile is likely to be good as well, and I… Read More
  • Clinical Trials

    More Pfizer/BioNTech Data On Their Actual Vaccine Candidate

    When we last heard from the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine program, they had picked a different candidate than the one that they had already published on (BNT162b1). Today they’ve released more data about the actual candidate, BNT162b2. And it seems pretty clear why they went with it. This preprint describes a head-to-head study (NCT04368728) betwe… Read More