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June 12, 2020

Moderna Set to Begin Its Final Phase of Trials for Its Covid Vaccine, Beginning in July

The current trial is to determine the vaccine's "robustness" -- how much, if at all, it really protects you from covid.

Previous trials were mainly about the safety of the vaccine only, and to see if it produces the antibodies it's intended to produce. Apparently it's safe and does prompt antibody creation.

But we don't know if it'll work yet -- if those antibodies will actually stop covid.

I heard a report that they're hoping to test the vaccine in high-outbreak areas, because... I don't think they vaccinate you and then expose you to covid, to see if you get infected. I think they just innoculate a large number of people and then see if, naturally, they contract covid in their everyday lives.

(Look, if I were a few years younger than 29, I'd gladly just take $10,000 to both get vaccinated and then be deliberately infected with covid. Why can't we do this? I know it's expensive but getting an answer within weeks, not months, would save the world economy trillions. As for health risks: We already know that young, health people have a very low chance of suffering serious effects due to covid. So the risk here isn't of death; it's of getting a nasty flu. Is that worth $10,000? It would be to a 25 year old me.)

If none of the innoculated contracts the illness, or if some people contract it but the symptoms seem dampened/amelioriated, I guess that means that the vaccine is ready for deployment.

Some details from Techcrunch:

[T]he last stage of its study will include 30,000 people and be conducted in partnership with the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).

The aim of the study will be to show definitive clinical proof that Moderna's vaccine actually does prevent people from developing COVID-19, and, secondarily, that it prevents at least severe symptoms and cases that require hospitalization from materializing. Moderna's second-stage clinical trial kicked off last month, and the company has previously said that it could potentially begin offering experimental doses available to healthcare workers in limited capacities as early as this fall.

This isn't your usual kind of vaccine, which I think consists of introducing only the protein shell of a virus -- all of the nucleic codes inside it, the stuff that actually gets you sick by fucking with your own DNA codes, hollowed out of it like a jack-o-lantern -- into your body. Your body notes the protein coat is a hostile intruder and produces antibodies to bind with the "keys" that stick out of the protein coat that permit entry into healthy human cells. With the keys jammed up with antibodies, actual live viruses can't infect cells.

Moderna works differently. They're not injecting the shell of the covid virus into you. Instead, if I have this right, they've figured out the messenger RNA (mRNA) that would be produced if you were exposed to covid. This mRNA would be the instructions for producing antibodies.

So the idea is that they just inject you with the genetic instructions for producing antibodies, insead of the protein coat that would prompt the body to produce those instructions.

Shit, I might sign up to get this dose even without $10,000.

Meanwhile, other companies are readying their own vaccines. Johnson & Johnson has one in the testing phase, and the US Army has started testing its own.

Researchers began looking at developing a COVID-19 vaccine candidate in January, and identified one approach with about two dozen different versions, he said. They tested different versions on mice to see which did the best job of prompting an immune response to COVID-19.

This first human testing phase will start with about 50 participants.

"Key results will be obtained in less than two months, but the trial will extend beyond that to look at long-term immune responses," Deshpande said. "If the results are positive from the first two months, they will trigger a much larger scale trial before phase one ends."

Michael Bloomberg's foreign controller, China, is also working on a vaccine, but I wouldn't trust a damn thing coming out of that country. Everything coming out of China is viruses to take control of your electronics or get you deathly ill.

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posted by Ace at 05:00 PM

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