31 Comments
Nov 27, 2021Liked by Noah Smith

“Supervaccine” seems to be a scary name for the anti-vaxxers. Maybe something like "Omecron-3 Triple Strength, Supports Brain & Heart Health" is better.

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Just call it Ivermectin

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Topol's mentioned intranasal vaccines before as another good idea. Apparently they reduce transmission more than regular intramuscular vaccines. Did you talk at all about intranasals with Topol? I didn't see it in the interview.

I'd be interested whether he and other experts think "funding for intranasal vaccines" should be on the list with "genomic surveillance", "aggressive booster trials and rollout" and "pansarbecovirus vaccine funding and coordination".

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It seems to me that a vaccine that you squirt up your nose instead of needing a needle would get rid of half the anti-vax sentiment right away, too!

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Moderna issued a release this afternoon (Friday 3 pm) saying that the mutations seen in Omicron were two things seen in Beta and some other stuff that had appeared with Delta. They then say they have stuff in early testing that responds to both sets of changes. Have you got a path to find out how much of these "forward-looking" statements are likely to prove true? What is the path to release of updated vaccines that were lucky in anticipating the omicron mutations or that are rapidly revised in the light of the current few weeks of analysis?

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Good to know that all that teeth-pulling to get people to take the vaccine was a waste of time. Honestly why even bother at this point? Eventually we all die.

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I mean, it saved hundreds of lives in America alone

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ehh, i guess, but now we are back at square one. i dont think anyone will want to re-do the last two years.

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We are not back at square one.

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but the variant evades immunity doesnt it?

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It isn't a 1 or 0 kind of thing. It'll evade immunity somewhat, but not entirely.

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so it doesnt ignore the vaccine we have now?

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Probably, but we have much more vaccine manufacturing capacity now.

So it's more like "back to January 2021, waiting four months till you can get your (updated) vaccine shot."

That's still nasty, of course. I'm hoping that *some" immunity carries over. We'll know soon.

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man all that work down the drain. we cant escape our fate, it was foolish to think we could. the virus will eventually get us all.

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If I can get a shot every year or two and avoid most of the virus risk for most of the time in between, that seems much better than just living with full virus risk always. That's why I would bother.

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This variant, from weak evidence so far, seems much less virulent (fatal). Which is what you’d expect eventually.

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Universal vaccine is considered pie in the sky by leaders in vaccine development. What persuades you otherwise?

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Topol.

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I asked what, not who.

You're banking on one player at the table. But there are other giants seated next to him, and at some point it will be they who review whatever proposals he submits to NIH, or Bill &/or Melinda, or whatever.

So I'm always interested in knowing what the skeptics of an idea think are its odds in my children's lifetime before I get very excited about it.

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author

The science as described by Topol and others.

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But are you equipped to evaluate that description?

Why do you think other major players are skeptical?

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From my perspective we've had too few pandemic vaccine failures, not too many. It looks to me like we're not funding enough moonshots.

In an emergency situation, it makes sense to fund unusual as well as proven approaches. Topol may be wrong, but he's not alone or a crank. As moonshots go it's a good one.

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I don't think Topol is a crank! Not at all. But I do think moonshots are difficult to organize and pay for, and don't necessarily make sense given that academia, governments, pharma and biotech are all working together synergistically pretty well lately. Also, time is of the essence. I think this panvaccination idea is coming out of an academic mindset that wishes away the difficulty (and/or slowness) of translating what look like brilliant ideas into applicable ideas and then products.

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This was super helpful and interesting, thanks!

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A question - does the term transmissability refer to transmission between (or to) unvaccinated people? Would transmissability between (or to) unvaccinated people be transmissability x vaccine eludability? Thank you for your help.

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Apologies - in the second sentence I meant vaccinated people, not unvaccinated.

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Heck. 8 billion people need to be quickly vaccinated, to overcome this endless evolution of new covid variants.....an political, economic, and logistics problem as much as a medical emergency.

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What’s this all about? A new halo game mode?

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Jeez, watch the interview, skeet skeet!

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