Commentary Video Podcast


Coronavirus Vaccines

[PODCAST] It's a new ball game for vaccine development based on genetic technologies. This video explains the principles underlying the leading DNA, mRNA, and viral vector vaccines. 

, JAMA Network

TWiV 670: Coronavirus vaccine preparedness with Kizzmekia Corbett

[PODCAST} A winde-ranging talk among health care researchers including development and testing of a coronavirus spike-encoding mRNA vaccine, and then veering into a review of the Nobel Prize fordiscovery of the hepatitis C virus.

, This Week in Virology (TWiV) from Oct. 8

Why are scientists obsessed with the coronavirus G strain?

[PODCAST] Why mutations in coronavirus may make a vaccine less effective or even negate its efficacy. And if natural antibodies wane after infection, could some people still be protected against the virus?

, ABC Radio (Australia)

These Coronavirus Trials Don’t Answer the One Question We Need to Know

Will vaccine trials answer the most important question: Will the vaccines prevent moderate and severe COVID disease? The trials look only at mild disease as the endpoint. And nothing will be known abouut their efficacy in children, adolescents, and pregnant women because these populations are excluded from trials.

, The New York Times

Paul Offit's Biggest Concern About COVID Vaccines

Interview with Dr. Paul Offit, Professor of Pediatrics at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, co-inventor of the rotavirus vaccine, and director of the Vaccine Education Center at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

, Medscape 

Guidelines for Covid-19 Vaccine Deployment

A podcast with editors of NEJM covering how COVID-19 vaccines are being developed, discussing a recent setback of one case of a possibe neurological adverse effect, and then talking about vaccine global deployment -- how and to whom first. 

, New England Journal of Medicine

Pfizer's Latest Stealthy Move Could Help It Win the Coronavirus Vaccine Race

With multiple SARS-CoV-2 vaccines in testing, Pfizer may be betting that positioning itself to prevail in the long run will be a better strategy than necessarily being first to market. With multiple vaccine candiates in its portfolio, one may emerge later as more efficacious than what comes first. 

, The Motley Fool

A cross-reactive human IgA monoclonal antibody blocks SARS-CoV-2 spike-ACE2 interaction

A very technical paper showing that a secretory IgA monoclonal antibody (the kind of antibody secreted from mucosal surfaces, such as in the lungs) bound with higher affinity and neutralized SARS-CoV-2 better than did an IgG monoclonal (IgG is typically found in blood). SInce the virus typically enters the body through the lungs, one implication of the paper is whether vaccines to induce IgA should be developed (& possibly administered via inhalation?).

, Nature Communications

FDA to Authorize Convalescent Plasma for Covid-19 Use

The emergency-use authorization, expected Sunday, would come after preliminary studies supported the benefits of the antibody-rich plasma taken from recovered Covid-19 patients

, Wall Street Journal

Encouraging News About Coronavirus Immunity

Excellent, inciteful compilation of and commentary on reports regarding natural and vaccine-induced immunity to SARS-CoV-2 in not-too-technical language (with links to reports)

, In the Pipeline by Derek Lowe

What if ‘Herd Immunity’ Is Closer Than Scientists Thought?

To achieve so-called herd immunity scientists have suggested that perhaps 70 percent of a given population must be immune, through vaccination or because they survived the infection. Now some researchers are wrestling with a hopeful possibility that the threshold is likely to be much lower: just 50 percent, perhaps even less.

, New York Times

U.S. to make coronavirus strain for possible human challenge trials

U.S. officials organizing the fight against the pandemic have been under pressure from advocacy groups such as 1 Day Sooner and others that see challenge trials as a way to speed up tests of a COVID-19 vaccine. Most vaccine trials rely on inadvertent infection, which can take time to occur.

, Reuters

The Treatment That Could Crush Covid

One of the most promising therapies uses “medicinal signaling cells,” or MSCs, which are found on blood vessels throughout the body. Early trials show signaling cells eliminate the virus, calm the immune response and repair tissue damage.

, Wall Street Journal Opinion/Commentary

Selective and cross-reactive SARS-CoV-2 T cell epitopes in unexposed humans

T cells from blood samples stored since before SARS-CoV-2 react to current epitopes - T cells presumably induced by past coronavirus (CV) exposures. So it appears CV-specific T cells have some longevity, with implications for making vaccines that induce T cell immunity.

, Science magazine

Single-shot COVID-19 vaccine proves successful with primates

A single-shot vaccine for COVID-19 has proven successful in tests on primates and could begin phase 3 trials as early as September. The results of the tests on the vaccine, developed at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in collaboration with Johnson & Johnson, showed that it promoted creation of protective antibodies and built on the team’s previous results. It is published in the journal Nature.

, Harvard Gazette

FDA Insight: Vaccines for COVID-19, Part 2

Podcast and transcript: FDA's Dr. Peter Marks explains Operation Warp Speed and how it intends to speed up COVID-19 vaccine development without sacrificing assurances of safety and efficacy.

, U.S> Food and Drug Administration

Pandemic vaccine trials: expedite, but don’t rush

The article argues for adherence to existing structures for drug/vaccine development in the quest for a SARS-CoV-2 vaccine. "...consent is not suficient  for the justification of additional risk," the author asserts.

, Research Ethics

Comment: Next-generation vaccine platforms for COVID-19

An overview of classic vaccine technologies and next-generation vaccine platforms, which will accelerate COVID-19 vaccine development and development of vaccines to future infectious threats.

, Nature Materials

Pfizer reports strong T-cell response to COVID-19 vaccine

Pfizer and BioNTech have shared (PDF) phase 1/2 data suggesting their COVID-19 vaccine triggers stronger CD8 T-cell responses than Moderna’s rival candidate. Four-fifths of subjects who received BNT162b1 had vaccine-induced CD8 T-cell responses and researchers classed most of the responses as strong.

, Fierce Biotech

Decades of research on an HIV vaccine boosts the bid for one against coronavirus

Those decades of research into HIV have taught scientists an enormous amount about the immune system, honed vaccine technologies now being repurposed against the coronavirus and created a worldwide infrastructure of clinical trial networks that can be pivoted from HIV to the pathogen that causes the disease covid-19.

, Washington Post

Even without a Covid-19 vaccine, there's reason for hope

... even without a vaccine, there is reason for hope that a medical solution to the crisis will soon be at hand. It will likely take the form of anti-Covid drugs that will be able to treat patients newly infected and prevent others from becoming ill. These drugs can likely help us bridge the gap between where we are today -- with only masks, hand hygiene and physical distancing to protect us -- to where we hope to be tomorrow -- with a vaccine in hand.



Moderna’s vaccine protects against variant COVID-19 viruses, and the company will make a “Booster” shot to protect against all future SARS-CoV-2

Probably the biggest news from Moderna was that they are going to begin to develop booster immunizations specifically for variant COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2) viruses. The booster can be used with any vaccine. They can do this easily because, unlike other vaccines, they can simply change the sequence of the RNA and swap it out or add it to the current vaccine. This will allow them to change the vaccine in response to changes in the virus within weeks rather than years without further testing.

, Pandemic Pondering blog

Four reasons for encouragement based on Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine results

The article explains why early indications of success for Pfizer's COVID vaccine is also good news for its competitors, many of which base their development efforts on similar mRNA platforms. One impediment (but not a deal breaker) is the need for a cold chain to protect the fragile mRNA molecules. 

, STAT New

Coronavirus Vaccines

[PODCAST] It's a new ball game for vaccine development based on genetic technologies. This video explains the principles underlying the leading DNA, mRNA, and viral vector vaccines. 

, JAMA Network

Scientists see downsides to top COVID-19 vaccines from Russia, China

These vaccines, using modified adenovirus type 5 (Ad5) viral vectors, could potentially have limited efficacy. Many adenoviruses commonly circulate in the population to cause the common cold. Thus, many people may have immunity to Ad5, eliminating the vector carrying the SARS-CoV-2 genes before it could insert its payload into cells. A group at McMaster University is developing an inhaled Ad5 COVID vaccine, "theorizing it could circumvent pre-existing immunity issues." But isn't the respiratory tract exactly where a cold virus would induce immunity?

, Reuters

COVID-19 vaccine tracker

Candidate vaccines by sponsor, trial phase, institution, & funding as of 13 August (click green "Study Design & Details" box to see those items)

, Regulatory Affairs Professionals Society (RAPS)

Comment: Next-generation vaccine platforms for COVID-19

An overview of classic vaccine technologies and next-generation vaccine platforms, which will accelerate COVID-19 vaccine development and development of vaccines to future infectious threats.

, Nature Materials

Encouraging results from phase 1/2 COVID-19 vaccine trials

The results of two early phase COVID-19 vaccine trials are reported, one from investigators at the Jenner Institute at Oxford University (Oxford, UK), with support from AstraZeneca, and the second from investigators supported by CanSino Biologics in Wuhan, China. Both groups used an adenoviral vector, and both report the vaccine achieving humoral responses ...

, The Lancet

More evidence emerges that a TB vaccine might help fight coronavirus

More research emerged this week in potential support of using the tuberculosis vaccine Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) as a tool in the fight against coronavirus. Researchers found that countries where many people have been given the vaccine have had less mortality from Covid-19.