COVID19 update, February 3, 2021: Sputnik vaccine trial in The Lancet; mouthwash and colchicine

(1) Interim results from a Phase 3 trial of the “Russian vaccine”, a.k.a., “Sputnik V”, were published in The Lancet. This is a “viral vector vaccine” like Oxford/AstraZeneca.

http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(21)00234-8

Quoting the results paragraph from the abstract:

Between Sept 7 and Nov 24, 2020, 21 977 adults were randomly assigned to the vaccine group (n=16 501) or the placebo group (n=5476). 19 866 received two doses of vaccine or placebo and were included in the primary outcome analysis. From 21 days after the first dose of vaccine (the day of dose 2), 16 (0·1%) of 14 964 participants in the vaccine group and 62 (1·3%) of 4902 in the placebo group were confirmed to have COVID-19; vaccine efficacy was 91·6% (95% CI 85·6–95·2). Most reported adverse events were grade 1 (7485 [94·0%] of 7966 total events). 45 (0·3%) of 16 427 participants in the vaccine group and 23 (0·4%) of 5435 participants in the placebo group had serious adverse events; none were considered associated with vaccination, with confirmation from the independent data monitoring committee. Four deaths were reported during the study (three [<0·1%] of 16 427 participants in the vaccine group and one [<0·1%] of 5435 participants in the placebo group), none of which were considered related to the vaccine.

Assuming these data are genuine and not cherry-picked (remember: this was the same journal that was forced to retract hydroxychloroquine studies based on fabricated data), this looks quite good. As for why these data look much better than those for the similar Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine: I quickly skimmed through the paper and found two possible reasons. (1) the participants in the trial appear to have been stringently screened and may have been a healthier population, on average; (2) the ethnic composition of the sample is that of the Moscow population, i.e. over 98% white, while the Oxford/AstraZeneca trials had a more ethnically diverse sample, including dark-skinned individuals who, at least at high Northern latitudes with barely any sun in winter, are known to struggle more with COVID than Caucasians. (Moscow is at 55°46′ North, i.e., roughly at the same parallel as the English-Scottish border region.)[*]

(2) Dr. John Campbell interviews the Canadian host of the Friendly Pharmacy channel. He and Lindsey (who is located in British Columbia) discuss both the usefulness of mouthwash as a prophylactic for COVID19 infection (and respiratory infections more generally), and promising clinical trial data with the ancient anti-inflammatory drug colchicine, used for tamping down on severe COVID19.

Full disclosure: I have taken colchicine for gout in the past — for which it is very effective. (Plus, it costs a pittance.)

(3) I had my second Pfizer jab today. There were no lines at the vaccination station: this is in part the result of past success, as so many people in the priority groups (Israel started with age 60+, then gradually moved the age limit down until it is now at 35+, in addition to HS juniors and seniors) either already had both shots, or are sitting out their three weeks between the first and second shots.

The dark green bars are people in the 21 days between first and second shot. The light green bars are people who got both doses.

So at this point, in order not to waste doses, the HMOs (at least Clalit and Maccabi) will vaccinate all comers regardless of age, unless screened out for past allergic reactions. (I again had to convince the nurse that the notations in my chart about a suspected cross-reaction to an IV antibiotic had nothing to do with vaccinations. Still, it’s good that they screen out anyone at elevated risk to have an adverse event.)

Six and a half hours after the shot, I am not noticing much of anything except mild sensations at the injection site. I will update this if anything noteworthy changes. [NB: on a lark, I took 50mg zinc rather than my usual 25, as I suspected my immune system would be doing overtime.]

[*] It’s all about Vitamin D, as I’ve belabored here over and over. Even though somebody with my skin type should get enough vitamin D from sunshine alone, here at the 32nd parallel, I have been taking a few thousand units of vitamin D daily since the beginning of the pandemic.

One thought on “COVID19 update, February 3, 2021: Sputnik vaccine trial in The Lancet; mouthwash and colchicine

  1. I am trying to reconcile what seems to be a well organized effort (as reported in https://www.discoursemagazine.com/culture-and-society/2021/02/03/why-israel-leads-the-world-in-vaccinating-its-population/ for example) with this thread by Alex Berenson https://twitter.com/AlexBerenson/status/1357337162706993152 that indicates despite good vaccine coverage Israel’s published health statistics don’t show improvement. I don’t have an axe to grind either way–although I believe that the US could learn a lot from Israel’s approach to vaccine distribution. But since you have written about this topic and I respect your ability to follow the facts where they lead and do detailed analysis I am curious what your perspective is on the actual impact of what appears to be a well executed vaccine rollout.

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