12 December 2020 — Moon of Alabama
In late November Debs is dead and I wrote about the ruthless vaccine competition. The cause were the ambiguous results of the non-profit AstraZeneca vaccine trials which led to delighted criticism from those who prefer commercial vaccine suppliers.
The good news today is that cooperation between vaccine developers is still possible and can lead to better results.
As Debs had opined:
In the real world that means if the AstraZeneca vaccine is more than 60% efficacious (which is better than any flu vaccine – 95% is new big pharma BS IMO) and has no major side effects (one case of MS tells us nothing for the reason I outlined above), then it will be that or nothing for a sizeable slab of the world’s population.
If everyone falls for big pharma’s transparent attempt to stop this possible vaccine in its tracks, prior to testing completion, then that will mean no vaccine for billions of our fellow humans, so rather than joining in the big pharma sabotage, it makes better sense to consider that vaccine more objectively than de Noli, that Harvard minion of corporations seems to do.
I agreed with that and discussed the most likely reason why the AstraZeneca vaccine did not create a higher efficacy:
The AstraZeneca vaccine uses an adenovirus as ‘vector’ to deliver a DNA sequence that human cells then use to create one specific (but harmless) SARS-CoV-2 protein. The immune system will then learn to attack that protein. Afterwards it should be able to protect against SARS-CoV-2 infections.
In order to safeguard against cases where an already existing immunity to human adenoviruses may impede inoculation AstraZeneca is using a chimpanzee-originated version of an adenovirus as a vector. The Russian Sputnik V vaccine, hyped by Prof. de Noli on RT, uses two doses with different human adenoviruses (Ad-26, Ad-5) as vectors to increase the chance of inoculation. Other vaccine developers, CanSino Biologics and Johnson & Johnson, are also using adenovirus vectors. Sinopharm’s vaccine uses an inactivated SARS-CoV-2 virus.
AstraZeneca found by chance that its vaccine works best when the first dose is smaller than the second one. Vector immunity can explain why this is the case.
A first high dose will create some immunity against the SARS-CoV-2 virus but also some immunity against the vector virus, the chimpanzee-originated adenovirus. When a first high dose has trained the immune system to fight the vector virus the second ‘booster’ vaccine dose using the same vector will become inefficient. A lower first dose can make sure that the second higher dose is not prematurely defeated by vector immunity but can still do its work.
Unbeknownst to me the Russian developers of the Sputnik V vaccine had come to the same conclusion:
Sputnik V @sputnikvaccine – 13:10 UTC · Nov 23, 2020
The possible reason for 62% efficacy of AstraZeneca’s full dose regiment is that immunity to chimpanzee adenoviral vector from the 1st shot makes 2nd shot not effective. #SputnikV addresses this issue by using two different human adenoviral vectors for two shots (92% efficacy)
They had offered AstraZeneca to cooperate with them:
Sputnik V @sputnikvaccine – 2:41 PM · Nov 23, 2020
Sputnik V is happy to share one of its two human adenoviral vectors with @AstraZeneca to increase the efficacy of AstraZeneca vaccine. Using two different vectors for two vaccine shots will result in higher efficacy than using the same vector for two shots.
Today the Sputnik V website announced that AstraZeneca has accepted the proposal. Trials will start immediately:
After the Sputnik V vaccine’s clinical trial preliminary results showed its efficacy at above 90 percent, the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF, Russia’s sovereign wealth fund) and Gamaleya Institute on November 23, 2020 offered AstraZeneca to use one of the two components (human adenoviral vectors) of the Sputnik V vaccine in AstraZeneca’s clinical trials.
AstraZeneca accepted RDIF’s proposal and will begin clinical trials of its vaccine in combination with Sputnik V’s human adenoviral vector type Ad26 by the end of 2020. This research will allow AstraZeneca’s scientists to study the possibility of boosting their vaccine’s efficacy through the application of this combined approach.
The British pharma company confirmed the step at the end of a somewhat squeamish statement:
AstraZeneca is also considering how it can assess heterologous combinations of different vaccines, working with industry partners, governments and research institutions around the world, and will soon begin exploring with Gamaleya Research Institute in Russia to understand whether two adenovirus-based vaccines can be successfully combined.
Reuters tauntingly headlined: AstraZeneca hitches ride with Russia’s Sputnik in vaccine race.
There will be more mockery about this cooperation and more false claims that Russia was too fast in registering its vaccine.
But frankly this is the best possible way to get the exceptionally cheap ($3-4/vaccination) non-profit AstraZeneca vaccine back on track. Hundreds of millions of people will depend on it as the fancy but high priced mRNA vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna are not affordable.
The combination of the chimpanzee-originated adenovirus used by AstraZeneca and the human adenovirus Ad26 Gamaleya uses may well be the best possible solution as it can not create vector immunity for the second booster shot. (The use of an Ad5 adenovirus as booster shot was seen by some researchers with skepticism because an earlier attempt to create an HIV vaccine on Ad5 basis had shown negative effects.)
The good news comes just as another vaccine development announced its failure:
An experimental COVID-19 vaccine of Sanofi and Britain’s GlaxoSmithKline showed an insufficient immune response in clinical trial results, the French drugmaker said on Friday, a blow to efforts to find ways to fight the pandemic.
The two companies said they planned to launch another study next year, hoping to come up with a more effective vaccine by the end of 2021.
The Russian vaccine developers reacted immediately to the news by again offering to cooperate:
Sputnik V @sputnikvaccine – 7:22 UTC · Dec 11, 2020
#SputnikV is willing to share its technology with Sanofi @sanofi and GSK @GSK to help in developing their next vaccine. A partnership of different producers is the way of the future. Together we are stronger.
This is global cooperation as it should be.
One wonders how long it will take for the Trump administration and big pharma to sabotage these efforts.
Sanctions on state owned Gamaleya Institute, and anyone who cooperates with them, may soon be coming.
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