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  • Clinical Trials

    Gene Therapy, Absolutely and For Real

    This weekend brought some really significant news in the long-running effort to use gene editing to treat human disease. As most readers will have heard, Boston Children’s Hospital and a Vertex/CRISPR effort both published papers in the NEJM addressing sickle-cell anemia and beta-thalassemia. (Update: edit to fix attribution). These diseases… Read More
  • Covid-19

    Get Ready for False Side Effects

    We’re in the beginning of the vaccine endgame now: regulatory approval and actual distribution/rollout into the population. The data for the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines continue to look good (here’s a new report on the longevity of immune response after the Moderna one), with the J&J and Novavax efforts still to report. The… Read More
  • Covid-19

    Taking Two Different Vaccines?

    We seem to be heading for a world with multiple coronavirus vaccines in it, and right off, I have to say that that this is a very good situation. But it has its complications, and one that I know many people have been wondering about is, what if you get two different ones? That could… Read More
  • Drug Development

    The Big Problems

    I’ve had a lot of people ask me about yesterday’s protein folding news as it relates to drug discovery. And while I did a post on that last year, I thought it might be useful to briefly lay out the real problems with drug discovery, as I see them. Most folks in drug discovery will… Read More
  • In Silico

    Protein Folding, 2020

    Every two years there’s a big challenge competition in predicting protein folding. That is. . .well, a hard problem. Protein chains have (in theory) an incomprehensibly large number of possible folded states, but many actual proteins just manage to arrange themselves properly either alone or with a few judicious bumps from chaperones. It̵… Read More
  • Blog Housekeeping

    Thanksgiving Break 2020

    So I’ll be taking time off until probably Monday, unless we get any big news. Thanksgiving season is here, and although we don’t have as big a crowd as usual here (of course), I will soon head into the kitchen to make the same chocolate pecan pie I do every year. Every so often someone… Read More
  • Clinical Trials

    Oxford/AZ Vaccine Efficacy Data

    As of this morning, we have a first look at the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine’s efficacy in clinical trials via press releases from both organizations. The number in the headlines says about 70% efficacy, but there’s more to the story. Here’s the landscape so far: we have results from Pfizer and from Moderna, both of them developing… Read More
  • Clinical Trials

    More Vaccine Data, in Advance of More Efficacy

    I know that it’s been a run of vaccine posts around here, but the numbers just keep on coming. Today we have two more papers to look at, both published in The Lancet. – The first is from the SinoVac inactivated virus effort (the CoronaVac vaccine). In this one, the virus is grown in Vero… Read More
  • Covid-19

    Vaccine Possibilities

    Now that we’re seeing that coronavirus vaccines are indeed possible (and are on their way), let’s talk about the remaining unanswered questions and the things that we will be getting more data on. Here are some of the big issues – it’ll be good to see this stuff coming into focus. I’ll put these into… Read More
  • Clinical Trials

    Moderna’s Vaccine Efficacy Readout

    As expected, we have more vaccine news this morning. And the news is good. Moderna reports that their own mRNA candidate is >94% effective (point estimate), with 95 total cases in the trial to date, split 90/5 between the control group and the vaccinated group. 11 of those were severe infections: all 11 in the… Read More