Good news about the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine for the SARS-CoV-2 virus

British scientists at the NIHR Oxford Biomedical Research Centre had previously used the glycoprotein spike on the surface of coronavirus—which allows them to anchor at a target cell—to produce a chimpanzee adenovirus—vectored vaccine against the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) They had called it ChAdOx1 MERS and represented many hours of study, research and hard laboratory work that would have hardly ever been funded by a private company—often only myopically seeking quick profits in detriment of the larger public good. When the Chinese authorities published the genome of the SARS-CoV-2, the Oxford scientists immediately started working on their template with messenger RNA.

The Oxford team partnered with other institutions in the United Kingdom and eventually got financial support from Astra Zeneca, a Big Pharma conglomerate. The ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccine uses a replication-deficient simian adenovirus vector ChAdOx1 that contains the full-length structural surface glycoprotein of SARS-CoV-2 with a tissue plasminogen activator leader sequence. They had observed that one single dose of that vaccine had induced good humoral and cellular immune responses in monkeys; after high-dose vaccine challenges, there was a notable protection against the lower respiratory infection, a hallmark of the disease. They set up a combined phase 1 and 2 single-blind, randomized controlled trial, comparing it with a Meningococcal group A,C, W-135 and Y conjugate vaccine.

They recruited healthy adult participants aged 18-45 years old, excluding all those volunteers that had positive COVID-19 tests, had symptoms of acute respiratory distress, or were exposed to the disease like health care workers or first responders. The participants were randomly assigned to receive either the ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccine or the meningococcal vaccine—they used an active vaccine because the lack of symptoms from normal saline injections could eventually “unblind” the controls. The participants were divided into four major groups:

  1. Group I: they had intensive early follow-up visits the vaccine’s safety and immunogenicity.
  2. Group II: they had higher blood volumes of humoral and cellular immunogenicity assessment than group 4.
  3. Group III: it consisted of only 10 participants that received a booster shot 28 days after the first injection.
  4. Group IV: participants that had a serum sample drawn for humoral immunology assessments only.

The median age of participants was 35 years old, 49.8% (536) were female and 50.2% (541) were male; the majority (9 or 90.9%) were white. Some received prophylactic paracetamol and some others did not; 328 (67%) of participants in the vaccine group and 180 (38%) of participants in the control group reported pain after the injection. The most reported systemic reactions were fatigue and headache. “In the ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 group, antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 spike protein peaked by day 28 (median 157 ELISA units EU) and remained elevated to day 56 (119 EU) in participants who received only one dose, and increased to a median of 639 EU (360-792) at day 56 in the ten participants that received a booster dose)”

Researchers concluded that one single dose of the ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 was safe and well tolerated, without any major reactions. A single dose of it produced an increase in the spike-specific antibodies by day 28 and the neutralizing antibodies in all the participants after a booster dose. Some studies showed that neutralizing antibodies in the dawn of the disease protected the rhesus macaque monkeys. Antibodies capable of neutralizing live SARS-CoV-2 were induced by day 28 and after a booster dose. T-Cell responses—considered essential for the ultimate defeat of the virus—were evident by day 7 after the dosage and peaked at Day 14. However, the booster dosages did not elicit a similar immunological response.

The researchers admitted that this study had serious limitations, foremost of all that it involved all healthy individuals that were not fully representative of their society. They designed Phase 2 and 3 trials that include older individuals and those at high risk of infection for the efficacy, safety, and immunogenicity of ChAdOx1 NCoV-19 given at a single or two-dosages in the United Kingdom, Brazil, and South Africa. Once they have enough data with adults, they will set up a study with children too.

Stay distant. Stay safe. Stay beautiful.

What do you think? Please tell us.

Don’t leave me alone.

George Orwell’s relevance for us—part II

Right in the middle of your biologically needed pause of sleep, in the intimacy of your bedroom, some savvy operators are scurrying into all your digital devices—especially the infamous little screens—to carry on their dubious task: data mining. They are actively spying on all your lifestyle, buying and entertainment choices to gather critical information that they will sell to vendors for targeted advertisement. And what is worse, it is facilitated by the trust you put on some companies to handle your personal information for an e-mail address, shop, contact other people, etc.

In his novel 1984, George Orwell narrated the story of Winston Smith, a wretched middle-age bureaucrat from the imaginary nation of Oceania where its governance is assured by the constant surveillance of all its citizenry at all times, everywhere. In order to achieve this logistics nightmare, the authorities count on a technological marvel: the telescreen. It is a device where citizens get their news and entertainment but that also actively spies on them , sending their private information back to the authorities. We have to remember that Orwell wrote his novel in the late 40s, when the television was just an experimental device used in exclusive circles of USA, Great Britain, and France.

Winston Smith works in the Ministry of Truth where all the previous day’s news is being daily re-written to conform to the authorities’ political discourse. The actual facts are mendaciously manipulated to design a lot of fake news for the gullible; the bureaucrats use newspeak to conceal the true facts from the common citizenry and create “alternate realities” for the social, political and economic developments of their repressive State.  There is a constant disinformation campaign that leaves the citizenry fully confused; Winston Smith knows that his nation has been in constant war with Eurasia but he has doubts if the nation of Eastasia, a former foe, is now really his nation’s ally. The police finally arrest Smith and torture him to get a confession of a non-existent crime.

In a 1984 article, Mark Crispin Miller argued that the famous slogan “Big Brother is watching You” had been really turned into “Big Brother is you, watching television.” Contrary to the role of TV in 1984—where it abets a total conformity with the ruling party—Miller argued that television in our modern societies is used to promote an unrestrained consumerism through aggressive advertising and focus on celebrities. At the same time, he argued, it transmits a message of “material success” to the larger masses, duping them into believing only hard work and civic virtues matter. The viewers derive their “satisfaction” by measuring themselves against what they see on TV, such as dress, relationships, and conduct—the standard of habitual self-scrutiny. Aware that any “faux paus” will not pass unnoticed by the authorities, prods the viewers to take a very passive attitude while watching their telescreens.

Miller stated that the same paranoid obsession about not conforming to “the official story” in Orwell’s novel has mutated into our present-day infatuation with the social messages being peddled in our “little screens” (Not even Orwell could imagine this) Joshua Meyrowitz showed that the majority of the network programming in the USA is based on the premise that people like to engage in a scandalous voyeurism; it is a rational explanation why many millions of people spend hours watching Reality TV. Meyrovitz argued that television has totally changed the very nature of our social interaction by pushing some hitherto private behavior out of the backstage into the very center of the stage, which exposes our intimate truths to tough public scrutiny. The video surveillance of strangers was “commoditized” by commercial television to render that snooping “acceptable” for the whole family to gawk at it, guilt-free.

There were multiple Social Psychology experiments during and after World War II—conducted by the Allied and the Axis nations as well—to study crowd control. The “internalization” of TV images that makes us copy attitudes and acts alien to our feelings/thoughts might be the ultimate success of those intent on controlling us.

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What do you think? Please tell us.

Don’t leave me alone.

 

 

 

Does the BCG vaccination protect against Covid-19?

The incidence and mortality rates of the COVID-19 infections vary widely across the countries, depending on their availability of human and material resources, level of Public Health preparedness and the authorities’ local and national responses. Also there might be differences in ethnic composition, dietary habits, climate differences, social determinants, genetic material, and civic institutions to consider. One of the latest influencing factors that caught the scientific attention is the degree of anti-tuberculosis immunization of the population with the BCG vaccine.

The Bacille Calmette—Guérin vaccine was prepared with a Mycobacterium bovis strain of the TB producing organism in the famous Institut Pasteur of Paris in 1921. Since then several variants have been produced in the developed and developing world. Those of us not born in the USA, still harbor the memory of the painful injection given in our primary school years that left a little scar on our right shoulder. The initial strain was distributed to several laboratories of the world and six major variants were produced: Pasteur 1173 P2, Danish 1331, Glaxo 1077, Tokyo 172-1, Russia BCG.I and Moreau RDJ. At present almost 100 million children are still been vaccinated worldwide; as the vaccine provides little immunity for adult pulmonary tuberculosis, it has been largely discontinued in most fairly developed countries.

The examples of Spain and Portugal are relevant for the vaccine’s importance. Spain, which never adopted the BCG vaccination nationwide, has a mortality rate of 336 people per million inhabitants. Portugal—a neighboring country that shares many of the Spanish societal and cultural features—adopted the BCG vaccination in 1965 and only has a mortality rate of 56 people per million inhabitants.

Abhibhav Shama et al., mathematical researchers from the School of Computer and System Sciences of Jawaharlal Nehru University of New Delhi, studied the COVID-19 data from countries that had either had vaccination or discontinued schedules or never had any vaccination. They said that: “disease incidence and morbidity are reduced in countries with universal BCG immunization compared with those that have not adopted the vaccine. The finding also applies to countries in which variables such as climate, dietary habits, and genetic origin essentially coincide.”

During its long utility, the BCG vaccine has shown protective benefits for patients with other diseases associated with mycobacteria like Leprosy. Being a strong immunomodulator, it has been used to treat bladder cancer and other neoplasias.

The researchers divided their morbidity results according to the BCG penetration:

  1. Countries without a universal BCG policy (Belgium, Italy, the United States and the Netherlands) have an increased incidence of 9 +- 497.1.
  2. Countries with an ongoing BCG policy have an incidence of 9+-155.6.
  3. Countries that discontinued the BCG policy have an intermediate value of67 +-509.89.

The mortality results were divided as follows:

  1. Countries with an active BCG policy have 4 +- deaths per million people.
  2. Countries that discontinued the BCG policy have 5+- 33.6 deaths per mil.
  3. Countries with no BCG policy had 1 +- 56.8 deaths per million people.

Considering that the COVID.19 infection affects the older individuals more than the younger ones, the researchers studied its incidence among different age groups. They found that: “The results indicate three significant features as follows: (i) the disease incidence is very low for subjects less than 15 years of age and does not show significant dependence on the presence or absence of universal BCG vaccination policies. (II) The number of infected cases across the age groups is always higher for countries without universal BCG vaccination policy. (III) The differences between countries with universal BCG vaccine policy and countries without such a policy increase and reach their peak for age groups 45-64 and 65-79 years old.”

The researchers found significant differences in countries that had used different variants of the vaccine or combinations of them. The Brazilian and Russian variants of the BCG vaccine were not deemed to work effectively against the coronavirus; in contrast the Australian variant of the vaccine seemed to confer more protection.

Stay distant. Stay safe. Stay beautiful.

What do you think? Please tell us.

Don’t leave me alone.

A morfar una buena raviolada con salmón en un tuco de tomates San Marzano, avocado y nueces

Dear readers and fellow bloggers:

Good evening. We were firmly determined to follow the much needed diet to lose a lot of weight (don’t even ask how much) that we had started this week-end (didn’t you notice that we did not upload any photos of sizzling meats or delicious pasta this week-end?) However the passing away of Alan Parker shook us deeply and we decided to take a break in his honor, besides lifting our spirits. what better choice than a raviolada?

We just prepared a sauté Alaskan Sockeye salmon with spinach ravioli in a tomato sauce with the original San Marzano tomatoes (which grow in the ashy soil at the foot of Mount Vesuvius in Campania)  plenty of veggies, avocado and walnuts. If this does not lift our spirits, well then…What do you think?

Raviolada con salmon

We will now lift a glass of wine in honor of Alan Parker, thanking him for all the great cinematic moments he provided us and to beg God Almighty for his soul’s salvation.

Salud!

Stay distant. Stay safe. Stay beautiful.

What do you think? Please tell us.

Don’t leave me alone.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thank you very much, Sir Alan Parker

Dear readers and fellow bloggers:

Good afternoon. One of the strongest sensory experiences of our life happened when we watched together with Mary (the “mother of our children”, mind our delicate naming) the film Midnight Express in the small cinema of her native city of General Belgrano, in Buenos Aires state. It happened in the 1980 Southern Hemisphere’s winter, under the military dictatorship that had taken power in 1975, cowering everybody into submission.

MidnightExpress

The epic escape of Willy Hayes, an American college student condemned for drug smuggling in Turkey, from that hellish prison had an outstanding surrogate effect on us. Watching him outsmart his captors and elope to the street made us all very happy; we were enjoying by proxy the collective dream of escaping our “Ottoman-like prison.”

We know that we should not be mentioning this…But we have always been so un-PC. When Billy managed to unlock the embrace of the sadistic prison warden, who was intent on raping him, and he pushed him against a mounted wall hanger, where he died, many in the audience rose to their feet, stomping their feet and wildly applauding. Did we participate in that spontaneous outburst of contained primal rage…We can’t remember.

Parker worked in many diverse genres, including the great musical Fame, with the New York’s School of Performing Arts, Mississippi Burning, the fictionalized exposé of the murder of three civil rights activists in 1964 and Evita, the film adaptation of the Broadway musical. He received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the British Director’s Guild in 1998 and was knighted by Queen Elizabeth in 2002. Even though he was twice nominated for the Academy Awards for Best Director, he never won an Oscar.

Alan Parker receives an award

The super-acrobatic dance sequences in New York City’s streets, the playback singing of Madonna at the balcony of La Casa Rosada and the big jump of Willy after he checked over his shoulder that the incoming police jeep had passed by him, will stay in our retinas to relish again and again. He passed away last Friday at the age of 76 years old.

Thank you very much, Sir Alan Parker, for so many moments of cinematic ecstasy.

Stay distant. Stay safe. Stay beautiful.

What do you think? Please tell us.

Don’t leave me alone.

Une belle soupe campagnarde pour épouvanter tous les mauvais esprits

Dear readers and fellow bloggers:

Good afternoon. As if we did not have enough human tragedy and worries in this battered region of  Florida, last night they announced that Isaias, a tropical storm-hurricane category 1 entity, would pass by our shores, with the always present threat of making landfall. Luckily we were spared the worst scenario, but it has been raining since the wee hours with some occasional gales of wind. Only now has the sun timidly appeared. In honor of that deliverance, we did what our ancestors (poor sharecroppers and sheep herdsmen that toiled in the fields of absentee landlords from Paris or Roma) would have certainly done to celebrate with their families and thank God Almighty.

And to scare away the ghosts and maleficent spirits that they felt came out in the storm.  

We prepared a thick soup with plenty of vegetables, some alphabet pasta, potatoes and two scrambled eggs (any kind of meat was an unaffordable luxury for any of them) We could count on all the healthy and well-priced ingredients from “our” Whole Foods.

Soupe campagnarde II

Of course you are all invited to share a healthy bowl with us. Let’s sit at the table now.

Soupe campagnarde I

The only concession to our modernity is that big dollop of Parmesan cheese on top of it.

Bon apétit!

Stay distant. Stay safe. Stay beautiful.

What do you think? Please tell us.

Don’t leave me alone.

George Orwell’s relevance for us—part I

In 1949, Walter Wellesley “Red” Smith, an influential American sportswriter that won a Pulitzer Prize, was asked if doing a daily column was exhausting. “Why, no,” he said. “You simply sit down at the typewriter, open your veins, and bleed.”

Recently someone asked us if, even though we have always wanted to write, we only seriously sat down to carry it on at the supposedly “late age” of 55 years old. We paused for a few seconds to rummage through the dark attics of our Subconscious, clandestinely peeking at the long litany of emotions that tough circumstances provoked in our spirit. “Well,” we replied, “it was the inevitable moment…Memories finally got the best of me.”

Eric Arthur Blair—better known for his pen name of George Orwell—was born on June 25th 1903 in Moltihari, Bihar, British India, as his father worked in the Opium Department of the Indian Civil Service and passed away on January 21st 1950 in University College of London, a victim of Chronic Tuberculosis. He had a very tumultuous and exciting life that spanned several countries and political realities. As he could not afford to continue studying at the prestigious Eton School, he joined the Indian Imperial Police force in Burma—now the country is called Myanmar. While he was still very young, he had multiple policing responsibilities in the Burmese countryside, and he got a firsthand exposure to the exploitation of farmers. He had a reputation of “a loner” that preferred the company of books and church services.

After returning to England in 1927, he lived in the city of London where he continued his writings; in 1928 he moved to Paris where he settled in a working-class quarter. He contracted tuberculosis and was admitted to the Hôpital Cochin where medical students received clinical training—still operational to this day. Like Jack London, his hero, he liked to explore the down-trodden sections of the cities.  He returned to England in 1929. Based on these experiences he published The Spike, an essay, and his first book titled Down and Out in Paris and London in 1933. He wrote reviews for Adelphi and he worked as a private tutor for children. In 1932 he became a teacher at The Hawthorns High School, a preparatory school for boys. After finishing A Clergyman’s Daughter—based on his experience as a rural teacher—he moved to London and took up a job as an assistant in the Booklovers’ Corner, a second-hand bookshop. He traveled to Northern England to study the working people’s plight and in 1937 he published a book on the subject titled The Road to Wigan Pier.

Blair sympathized with the Socialist cause but abhorred the excesses of Stalinism. In June 1936 he married Eileen O’Shaughnessy and when the Spanish Civil War broke out, he traveled to Barcelona as an international volunteer against Fascism. There he saw first-hand the bitter divisions of the leftist organizations and how they manipulated the information to justify their violent methods and sectarism; he was incensed at the strong elbowing of the Communist Party against the P.O.U.M.—the acronym of Partido Obrero de Unificación Marxista—a more moderate formation. They were falsely accused of collaborating with the Fascists by the Communist press. Caught in the middle of that factional fighting, he retreated to a roof to read . He was sent to the relatively quiet Aragón front but, in May a sniper’s bullet almost killed him; with a serious wound to the throat, he was referred to a Lérida hospital. He returned to England in July 1937 and published Homage to Catalonia in 1938.

At the beginning of the Second World War, his wife Eileen started to work in the Censorship Department of the Ministry of Information; Blair applied for a similar position, but he was rebuffed to his delicate medical condition. In 1939 he wrote Inside the Whale, a collection of essays, and collaborated with several publications by reviewing plays, books, and films. The death of Lawrence, Eileen’s brother, in France, shocked them both. He joined the Home Guard, a people’s militia that started civilian training  for a possible Nazi invasion of the island. In 1941 he started writing for the Partisan Review, an American magazine of like-minded socialists that became anti-Stalinists after the Molotov-Ribbentrop (or Hitler-Stalin) pact.

In 1941, Blair was finally accepted in the Eastern Service of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) to do what he actually was longing for: “war work.” The Joseph Goebbel’s Propaganda Ministry in Berlin was actively broadcasting to India to sow dissent in the civic institutions against the British occupation; he supervised the counter-Nazi propaganda cultural programs, committed to its military mission. He became active in leftist intellectual circles and started writing for The Tribune—a leftist weekly publication, directed by the Labour MPs Aneurin Brevan and George Strauss; Brevan was the mastermind of the National Health Service (NHS)

The Blair couple moved to a better apartment with a basement in a middle-class neighborhood; unfortunately, a few months later, a V-I flying bomb totally destroyed it. Blair resigned to the BBC in 1943 in order to have more time to focus on writing his new book, Animal Farm, which became ready in April 1944. As the Communists considered that book an open attack on the repressive Soviet regime, they pressured the British government—allied in the fight against Hitler—to block its publication. In March 1945, Eileen was surreptitiously admitted for a hysterectomy in a London hospital and she did not give proper notice to her husband due to financial worries. She did not survive the anesthesia and Blair was devastated by the abrupt loss.

Blair continued to take care of Richard Horatio, the child they adopted in May 1944. After the war ended, Animal Farm: a fairy story was published on August 17, 1945.

The publishing success of Animal Farm opened the doors of the English literary establishment for Blair, which enabled him to contribute to several newspapers and magazines. He started to write Nineteen Eighty-Four but felt distracted by the city bustle. His friend David Astor helped him secure a farmhouse in the isolated island of Jura in the Inner Hebrides (Scotland) where he settled down with his young son. Before Christmas 194 he became seriously ill and was admitted to Hairmyres Hospital in the outskirts of Glasgow where they made the clinical diagnoses of tuberculosis. His physicians secured the help of Aneuris Bevan, then UK’s Minister of Health, to obtain a much-prized schedule of streptomycin to treat his infection. In July 1948 he was able to return to his seclusion in Jura and finished the manuscript of 1984 by December. Extremely weakened, he was escorted by his friends for an extended admission to a hospital in Cranham, Gloucestershire, in January 1949.

In June 1949, Nineteen Eighty-Four was finally published, becoming a great success. In mid-1949 he announced his engagement to Sonia Brownell before entering University College Hospital in London for further treatment. On January 21st ,1950, a small artery burst in his chest and he passed away at age 46. Following his wishes, he was interred following the Anglican Rite in the churchyard of All Saints’ in Sutton Courtenay, Oxfordshire. His gravestone has the following simple epitaph:

“Here lies Eric Arthur Blair, born June 25th 1903, died January 21st 1950.”

In a follow-up article, we will discuss the precious literary legacy of George Orwell.

Stay distant. Stay safe. Stay beautiful.

What do you think? Please tell us.

Don’t leave me alone.

 

 

 

 

Good news about the Moderna/NIAID vaccine for the SARS-CoV-2 virus

In a previous blog we discussed the ongoing clinical studies about the development of a safe and effective vaccine against the virus producing the Covid-19 infection. Thanks to the decades-old research efforts to design and develop a vaccine against AIDS—so far without results due to the complexity and mutations of that virus—there was a significant body of scientific work by the time the SARS-CoV-2 genome was published on March 16, 2020. Immediately several groups started working on the vaccine development and a few of them—counting on the “generous” pockets of Big Pharma and Uncle Sam—could even develop the industrial capacity in a parallel way to make the process faster.

The biotechnology company Moderna, located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, teamed up with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) to create a novel vaccine candidate that uses a tiny bit of messenger RNA from the infecting virus to provoke an immunological response in the host. The researchers recently published an initial report in the New England Journal of Medicine. They said that:  “The candidate vaccine mRNA-1273 is a lipid nonparticle-encapsulated, nucleoside-modified messenger RNA (mRNA)-based vaccine that encodes the SARS-VoV-2 spike (S) glycoprotein stabilized in its prefusion conformation.” The basic idea is to safely get a tiny amount of highly coated virus mRNA inside a living being to elicit an immunological  response without triggering symptoms like respiratory distress. “The mRNA-1273 vaccine candidate, manufactured by Moderna, encodes the S-2P antigen, consisting of the SARS-CoV-2 glycoprotein with a transmembrane anchor and an intact S1-S2 cleavage site.”

The researchers have developed a phase 1-dose escalation-open clinical trial in the Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute in Seattle and Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta. The 45 participants were healthy adults whose age ranged from 18 to 55 years of age that received two injections of trial vaccine 28 days apart at dosages of 25 ug, 100 ug or 250 ug; they were not previously vetted for the presence of the SARS-CoV-2. The deltoid muscle was injected with 0.% ml on days 1 and 29; follow-up visits were scheduled at days 7 and 14, after each vaccination plus four other appointments, being 394 the last one. For safety reasons there were four sentinel participants in the 25-ug group followed by four others in the 100-ug group. The participants were charged with recording any local and systemic symptoms and could not use acetaminophen or similar drugs.

There were no serious adverse effects in all the participants except in one of them who developed a transient urticaria after the first vaccination and had to withdraw. None of them reported fever after the first dose; after the second dose, none of the participants in the 25-ug reported feverish symptoms. In the 100-ug group, 6 participants had fever and in the 250-ug group 8 did—only one had severe fever. “Binding antibody IgG geometric mean titers (GMTs) to S-2p increased rapidly after the first vaccination, with seroconversion in all participants by day 15. Dose-dependent responses were evident. For both assays, the median magnitude of antibody responses after the first vaccination in the 100-ug and 250-ug dose groups was similar to the median magnitude in convalescent serum specimens, and in all dose groups the median magnitude after the second vaccination was in the upper quartile of values in the convalescent serum specimens.” The titers of both binding and neutralizing antibodies produced by the vaccine were similar to the ones found in the convalescent serum of patients that had been infected by the SARS-CoV-2. They found that S-P2—the antigen inside the vaccine—induced the activation of high-quality functional antibody responses and Th1-biased T-cells that block the replication of the virus in the respiratory system—one of the leading causes of death.

The researchers considered that the 100-ug dose of the mRNA-1273 vaccine is the best shot to neutralize the virus and at the same time promote the activation of the  immunological system. In a CNN interview, Dr. Tal Zaks, Moderna‘s Chief Medical Officer, said that they need to make sure that the benefit/risk ratio of the vaccine candidate warrants its deployment in a population that is still largely free of the virus. They have recruited thousands of volunteers for a big phase 3 efficacy trial this month.

Last April Moderna received U$ 472 million from the U.S. government’s Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) to contribute financially for the development of their promising vaccine. On July 26 the company announced that it had received an additional U$ 472 million to prop their project. As we said in a previous blog, the  governments of the richest countries are already positioning themselves for the pole position to claim priority for the precious vials of a functioning vaccine. Less financially endowed countries (like Argentina, Brazil and South Africa) that also have a significant pool of qualified scientists and a basic Public Health infrastructure became enthusiastic hosts of the trials (providing volunteers and services) to leapfrog to the queue’s front.

On July 27, both Moderna Inc. and Pfizer Inc. announced the start of their decisive and separate clinical trials that will involve thousands of participants in many countries.

May God Almighty grant wisdom and determination to these researchers and volunteers.

Note. The featured image is a reproduction of the oil painting of William Jenner, the English physician that designed the smallpox vaccine in the early 19th century.

Stay distant. Stay safe. Stay beautiful.

What do you think? Please tell us.

Don’t leave me alone.

Buona Domenica con una bravissima fettuccineada alla Mare ed Terra

Dear readers and fellow bloggers:

Good afternoon and Happy Sunday. We hope that you are doing well, following the Public Health guidelines of Social Distancing for the sake of everybody’s health. Today we woke up with a lot of fiacca (Italian word that means “unwillingness to do anything”) but we still wanted to follow our family tradition and prepare a pasta dish for our family. What to do? Remember that last Sunday we prepared a fettuccineada alla Dotta? Remember that we prepared a saumon fumée á la Croix de Lorraine last Wednesday? We still had remnants of the two sauces in the refrigerator and the temptation was big…

Fettuccineada Mare ed Terra

How about if we mixed the two leftovers to produce a “pink sauce” with added shrimp and scallops (it’s never too much) to produce a combination of earthly and sea savors? This awful Social Isolation has sparked many crazy ideas in our mind and this might be one of the worst ones so far. We will let you to be the judge of it…

Buon apetitto! 

Fettuccineada Mare ed Terra II

As you can see this crazy idea has turned our head (and this picture) upside down. To crown this invention, we placed a big ball of Buratta cheese to regal its creaminess.

Stay distant. Stay safe. Stay beautiful.

What do you think? Please tell us.

Don’t leave me alone.