Archive for November, 2020
On the 9th November 2020 promising results from a vaccine candidate against Covid-19 were announced by Pfizer and its partner, the German company, BioNTech. They stated that their candidate vaccine (BNT162b2 (modRNA)) was “more than 90 percent effective in preventing Covid-19 in participants”.
Whilst there have been substantive funds poured into vaccine development in the UK, EU and USA, Pfizer were quick to clarify that they funded the research with their partner independent of governments’ support. In July, Pfizer negotiated a $1.95 billion deal with the US government’s Operation Warp Speed, the multiagency effort to rush a vaccine to market, to deliver 100 million doses of the vaccine. The arrangement is an advance-purchase agreement, meaning that the company will not be paid until they deliver the vaccines. Delivery itself appears to be a significant challenge as the Pfizer vaccine needs to be kept at minus 70 degrees Celsius (-94 F) or below.
A week later, the 16th November, Moderna presented similarly promising preliminary results. Moderna recruited 30,000 volunteers across the United States to participate in its trial. A quarter of the participants are 65 years or older. White people make up 63 percent of the volunteers; 20 percent are Hispanic; 10 percent are Black; and 4 percent are Asian Americans. The United States government provided $1 billion in support for the design and testing of the Moderna vaccine and an additional $1.5 billion in exchange for 100 million doses if the vaccine proved to be safe and effective. They have proposed that theirs requires less stringent temperature controls. Read the rest of this entry »
Microbes are big news, bigger than any other health related story for decades including Aids and Ebola. The Coronavirus (Sars-Cov-2 and Microbe No 1) has dominated popular, political, and scientific discourse for months.
The related pandemic as defined by the WHO on the 11 March 2020 is also challenging our bodies and minds in obvious and hidden ways. For, while protecting ourselves from unwanted exposure to the Sars-Cov-2 virus and limiting risk of infection, some people have begun to fear all microbes, regardless that many are beneficial for human health.
Humans, as we already know face rising rates of allergies, food intolerances, inflammation, auto-immune diseases, metabolic disorders and gut-brain conditions – negative health trends that are already entrenched in most societies and linked to a changing relationship with our various microbiomes and diet. Read the rest of this entry »