COVID19 update, May 18, 2020: preliminary human vaccine trial results; new BCG study rules out COVID protective effect; the Swedish road alone; more YouTube censorship

Been a crazy-busy day at work, so a few quick updates:

(1) Derek Lowe at Corante reports on the first preliminary results of human trials of the Moderna vaccine. At this point, healthy volunteers were injected with three different doses of the vaccine: 25 µg, 100 µg, and 250 µg. The goal was both to see if antibodies developed (they did, even at the lowest dose) and to establish a safe dosage range. At the highest dose, three volunteers had significant adverse reactions, so that will be off the menu for further testing.

Also from Derek Lowe (hat tip, “Laura R.”) some good news on the human immune response to SARS-nCoV-2.

(2) Miscellaneous updates:

(3) Via Instapundit, YouTube again covers itself in free speech “glory” (sarcasm tag needed)? An epidemiologist who used to be head of Rockefeller U.’s department of epidemiology and biostatistic is the latest to be declared “doubleplusungood” — essentially for stridently advocating the Swedish model as an alternative to lockdowns. I vehemently disagree with him, but why not debate him in the marketplace of ideas rather than place him on the Index Librorum Prohibitorum?

(4) Instapundit’s feed is full of examples of further protracted lockdown measures being openly defied even in Manhattan (!). He calls this “Irish democracy”. I believe, and continue to believe, that short and intense lockdowns work in densely populated countries like my own — but what is currently going on in some US states amounts to perpetual moving of goalposts, and increasingly looks like a flag of convenience for agendas unrelated to epidemiology. The “Irish democracy” response then sooner or later became inevitable. As I have pointed out earlier, the active cases graphs in European countries (+Israel) that have reopened have yet to show any signs of resurgence.

(5) Finally, as a long-time admirer of Richard Fernandez’s work, I was rather amused to see him use the Cytokine Storm metaphor for blunt-instrument lockdowns that you might have seen here.

6 thoughts on “COVID19 update, May 18, 2020: preliminary human vaccine trial results; new BCG study rules out COVID protective effect; the Swedish road alone; more YouTube censorship

  1. Just tell everyone to follow the NIH’s April 2 recommendation. “To reduce the risk of infection, it is recommended that people at risk of influenza and/or COVID-19 consider taking 10,000 IU/d of vitamin D3 for a few weeks to rapidly raise 25(OH)D concentrations, followed by 5000 IU/d. The goal should be to raise 25(OH)D concentrations above 40–60 ng/mL (100–150 nmol/L). For treatment of people who become infected with COVID-19, higher vitamin D3 doses might be useful.”

    Indonesia proved this worked. D3 contains the worst effects of the virus. An Indonesian study on those hospitalized demonstrated conclusively that D3 levels upon admission pretty much determined outcome. Above serum levels of 25(OH)D of 30 ng/ml you had less than 4% chance of dying despite it being serious enough to hospitalize you. Below that was usually fatal. Instapundit had an article on this study on April 30th (

  2. I do not see that grouping Sweden with other “Scandinavian” countries would be any less arbitrary than grouping them with nations that begin with the letter “S”.

  3. statistics do not distinguish between invasive ventilators and noninvasive respirators

    *grumbles* That’s been a problem from the start, too. Makes things so much scarier if you show a picture of someone on an invasive vent, and then count the folks on oxygen.

  4. I have so far taken Wittkowski with a grain of salt; while he has relevant experience which I do not, it seems to me he occasionally either misstates or ignores some observed facts. Can you elaborate on your disagreement? (New reader/commenter here; if you elaborated in a past post I haven’t found yet, my apologies.)

  5. […] At first sight, per capita mortality is an order of magnitude higher than in adjacent countries with similar ethnic profile, climate, and sociology. (Sweden does, however, have a higher percentage of 1st-generation immigrants than Norway, Denmark, and Finland — see below.) […]

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