A Conversation for Ask h2g2

Is anyone betting on who will be first to find a vaccine againat Covid-19

Post 1

pauh, still writing

This is a very serious pandemic that can end only when a cure or a vaccine is developed. There are some partial cures, which seem to be used for important people like Boris Humphrey or Donald Trump. Fine, but it would be better still to make sure that people don't get the virus in the first place.

Johnson and Johnson seem to be among the contenders. What are the other promising ones?


Is anyone betting on who will be first to find a vaccine againat Covid-19

Post 2

Baron Grim

A hunch occurred to me that a good way to know who's working on vaccines is to look up who has announced a HOLD or PAUSE on their vaccine trials.
Here's a list of companies who've had to pause their trials due to complications like patients developing severe health issues.

Johnson & Johnson
AstraZeneca
Eli Lilly
Inovio


Is anyone betting on who will be first to find a vaccine againat Covid-19

Post 3

pauh, still writing

Ouch!

smiley - yikes


Is anyone betting on who will be first to find a vaccine againat Covid-19

Post 4

Bald Bloke

A number of Vaccines have already been found, now they need to prove they are safe and effective for most people.
Trials being paused, is common, one person in the trial reports somthing (might be a rash or any other potential symptom) and the trial is paused while they check if what was reported had anything to do with the vaccine being tested.
Having some pauses is not unusual, provided it is only oneperson reporting something, much more of a problem if a lot of people report the same thing.
From the press reports we don't know if it is one isolated report or more significant.


Is anyone betting on who will be first to find a vaccine againat Covid-19

Post 5

Orcus

OK so I'm not at trained virologist, vaccine expert or immunologist... but I do have *some* knowledge of medicinal chemistry and infectious disease control.

The trouble with a vaccine here is that vaccines tend to be a way of stimulating your immune system to generate antibodies both long and short term against a pathogenic virus.
I've been saying this privately to my wife for a while. Coronaviruses tend not to be one of the viruses where you get a long term immune immune protection from memory B-cells. Only lasts a few months at best. There are at least 4 coronaviruses out there already that are endemic as part of the ensemble that causes the common cold.

Unless they're doing something VERY clever with these vaccines - I do hope so smiley - smiley - then a vaccine is no likely to protect you against the Covid-19 for very long. So it's either going to be fairly useless - or... you'll need a new injection every few months. Just doing it once worldwide is a a major undertaking. Doing it multiple times...

Sorry but I'm a fairly major sceptic on the chances of a vaccine being viable personally.

I would be delighted for someone with more expert knowledge of immunology to shoot me down here smiley - ok


Is anyone betting on who will be first to find a vaccine againat Covid-19

Post 6

Baron Grim

This "article" would seem to agree with you.
http://www.iflscience.com/health-and-medicine/antibody-response-to-covid19-falls-over-time-study-indicates/

It mentions that studies in the UK are showing the percentage of people with antibodies is dropping.


But immunology and epidemiology are way more complicated than I can understand. A few months ago, I listened to an actual expert in the field discussing similar study results (possibly earlier results from the studies mentioned in the above story). And she made a good point that is often overlooked in similar stories.

Antibody levels ALWAYS drop after infection. What's more important is the cells that trigger the creation of those antibodies.


Yeah, I'm absolutely no expert on any of this. Like you, I have suspicions about herd immunity. I completely disagree with President Bigbrain's favorite new expert, Dr. Scott Atlas who now seems to be dictating this administrations response to the pandemic, that being do nothing and rely on naturally acquired herd immunity to develop on it's own as the virus washes over the masses. It should be noted Dr. Atlas is a radiologist, not an immunologist nor epidemioligist and has no expertise on communicable diseases.

Conservative estimates indicate that such a policy will result in somewhere between 2 million and 5 million dead Americans before anything close to herd immunity is achieved.


Is anyone betting on who will be first to find a vaccine againat Covid-19

Post 7

Bald Bloke

As far as I can see all "Natural Herd Immunity" means is that the disease doesn't wipe out the whole herd.
Not a great result from our point of view.

On the vaccine front, Covid seems rather like the flu, it changes all the time and new vaccines are needed every year.


Is anyone betting on who will be first to find a vaccine againat Covid-19

Post 8

pauh, still writing

That is not comforting.


Is anyone betting on who will be first to find a vaccine againat Covid-19

Post 9

Orcus

No, it's not like the flu. The influenza virus mutates at a far more rapid rate. We do get new vaccines for that (at least the worst strains) but we need a new one each season. But they do work.

The problem here is, as stated above that the memory white blood cells (B-cells) are the ones that give the long term memory for producing new antibodies when re-infection gets caused.
Yes, the antibodies themselves drop off quite rapidly once infection is cleared and it's the B-cells that 'remember'. As I understand it, the B-cells for remembering coronaviruses don't last too long either.

But yes, the immune system is incredibly complex and I'm no expert. It is of some comfort to me that the big Pharma firms are trying very hard on this - if it was as useless a game as I appear to be saying then they probably wouldn't be bothering as it would be a waste of (a lot of) money. So I am not bod's truth on this. Just my opinion, albeit from someone who is a trained and experienced biological chemistry scientist by trade. I DEFINITELY hope I am wrong.


Is anyone betting on who will be first to find a vaccine againat Covid-19

Post 10

Baron Grim

The money is something to keep an eye on as well. I doubt the pharma companies see the pandemic as a waste of money, but rather a goldmine. As I understand it, the US government is wagering on one or more vaccines being developed and are basically purchasing them before they are developed. We're funding huge stockpiles to be manufactured even before testing is complete. This seems like a prudent move under the circumstances, but it leaves open a lot of room for corruption. I don't know that any price controls are being implemented and I'm sure there's no price competition. I assume these are basically "no-bid" contracts. I also don't know if a company's vaccine ends up not being approved if they'll still be paid for those stockpiles. I suspect they will be. Basically I suspect the pharma companies are being bankrolled regardless of results.


Is anyone betting on who will be first to find a vaccine againat Covid-19

Post 11

pauh, still writing

It's a crapshoot, any way you look at it.

In Massachusetts, Governor Baker is scolding the udner-30 population for the recent spike of cases. I regularly see young people going around as if they had nothing to fear from the virus. This may be true for them, but viruses can pass from people to people regardless of age.


Is anyone betting on who will be first to find a vaccine againat Covid-19

Post 12

Baron Grim

Yeah, that's the glaring error in the so called "Great Barrington Document" that proposes developing naturally acquired herd immunity by letting the pandemic wash over the greater public while somehow protecting the more vulnerable. There's simply no way to effectively protect the more vulnerable. The elderly are in contact with younger people, whether it's in multigenerational households or in retirement homes staffed with... you know... younger healthier workers. Also, it completely ignores the fact that not all young healthy people survive and some who do acquire "long covid" as did one of our former hootoo researchers.

http://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2020/oct/27/facebook-posts/great-barrington-herd-immunity-document-widely-dis/


Is anyone betting on who will be first to find a vaccine againat Covid-19

Post 13

Orcus

Very good points about the money side there.


Is anyone betting on who will be first to find a vaccine againat Covid-19

Post 14

Orcus

I see the 'young blaming' as modern politics to be honest.

It's a rather nicely coordinated media campaign that has great success in everybody blaming each other rather than the governments themselves who have reacted badly, too late. Cunning and has worked beautifully to this cynic here.

Really of course there is no real blame, people are people and governments are made up of flawed people too. It's a *highly* infectious virus, almost impossible to stop - possible to slow down (squash the curve), but not stop. Lockdowns cause great harm too. Terrible conundrum, I'm glad I'm not in charge frankly.

I've been really more or less in isolation at home with my wife since mid-March (we think we caught the Covid - but who knows, fever and a very distinctive dry cough certainly). We still haven't really done much socialising at all since the main lockdown in the UK was ended in late June.

I caught a cold not long ago - how the smiley - bleep did I get that under those circumstance? It's another highly infectious disease.... sooooo easily picked up.


Is anyone betting on who will be first to find a vaccine againat Covid-19

Post 15

pauh, still writing

I hope you'll be all right going forward. smiley - hug


Is anyone betting on who will be first to find a vaccine againat Covid-19

Post 16

Icy North

A bit late to this discussion..

Politicians were very wrong to keep maintaining a vaccine would be forthcoming. They have scientific advisers who will have told them of significant studies carried out at the start of this epidemic showing that antibody prevalence was low. Clearly they are also being lobbied by drugs manufacturers who have their eyes on all the money they seem to be splashing around.

The eventual solution will be to develop early and effective treatments for those why suffer the acute symptoms. We may have to learn to live with this virus, but there’s every chance we can get society operating again in the future.


Is anyone betting on who will be first to find a vaccine againat Covid-19

Post 17

Baron Grim

I agree. I believe effective treatments will do more to alleviate the situation than vaccines will. I suspect that, at best, vaccines will mitigate the spread and severity of infection, much as flu vaccines do currently, but it won't stop the pandemic or control it. With some effective treatment regimens we'll learn to cope with CoVID-19 as we do influenza. It will remain a major cause of death, but it won't keep us in lockdown.

Maybe we'll learn something from this in preparation for the next, much deadlier pandemic. (Think of one that spreads like CoVID-19 but kills like ebola. That combination could likely be TEotWaWKI.


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