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:
- Israeli doctors report that patients who recovered after being on ventilators for extended periods of time face a long, uphill battle to rehabilitation. (H/t: Mrs. Arbel) Aside from lung muscle atrophy due to being artificially “respirated” for so long, permanent lung tissue scarring often results. At this point, we have fewer than 50 patients on artificial respiration (the Ministry of Health statistics do not distinguish between invasive ventilators and noninvasive respirators). Here are three articles in JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association) on prone positioning and other noninvasive techniques: one, two, and three.
- Mark Feldman, CEO of Ziontours, looks at the post-COVID19 travel landscape, . Note that this is one sector of our economy that would have taken the same pummeling with or without lockdown.
- An earlier hypothesis that BCG tuberculosis vaccination in childhood might confer some immunity against COVID-19 seems to be refuted by a study from Tel-Aviv U. The original research paper article can be read in JAMA.
- In an article entitled (in German) The isolated Swedish patient, Die Welt once again the Swedish Sonderweg (“special road”). Swedish officials extrapolate that about 30% of the population of Stockholm has antibodies — still some distance to herd immunity in the usual first-order model. [In the second-order “differential susceptibility” model, apparently 30% is already ‘getting there’.] Mortality per 100,000 is much higher than the other Scandinavian countries (see graph below): to be fair, however, there’s another big wave coming in the winter, Sweden may pay the ferryman less then than the other countries.
(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.