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Native Answers Coronavirus Related Basic Science Questions

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Native

ToungeInCheek since 2010
Staff member
10 Year Member
Pfizer Briefing for FDA Meeting on Thursday. A few salient points.


  • Youth, HIV+, pregnant women(dropped from trial if became pregnant) data are non-existent or lack robustness due to lack of numbers and follow-up period for those limited #’s isn’t complete.
  • Fatigue, muscle pain, chills, and fever are definitely potential side effects. The majority of the data is centered on the 18-55 yr old population but looks good with lesser numbers for the older groups.
  • Figure 2 showing cumulative incidence of disease is powerful and indicates that protection kicks in on day 10 post initial injection.
  • Pfizer, in this briefing, was very careful to state that they don’t know long term protection and kept their claims at the length of the follow-up period of 2 months. This is potentially concerning to me, but I understand they are only presenting what they can definitively show. The negative is that we can’t even repeat a guess/calculation on the durable immunity aspect of the vaccine from this briefing. I would add that you aren’t seeing incidence pop up in the vaccinated control group through the 2 month follow up at all, suggesting to me that protection isn’t waning at all at that point.
 

Native

ToungeInCheek since 2010
Staff member
10 Year Member
Q: What are the differences between Pfizer and Moderna vaccines?

A: The Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines are similar in composition, effectiveness, and safety. The differences between the two vaccines for storage and handling (-70 vs -20 C), time between shots (3 vs 4 weeks), and amount per shot (30 vs 100 micrograms of mRNA) are minimal and do not change vaccine effectiveness.

Q: Is the London Covid strain more dangerous and will it stop the vaccine from working?

A: Small genetic changes have been noted in SARS-CoV-2 throughout the course of the pandemic. Anytime a “new strain” appears scientists have to carefully examine and determine if the strain is more dangerous, or the most likely result, a strain was part of a superspreader event, and has become commonly seen due to predominance in an area. There have literally been thousands of mutations that have been identified in SARS-CoV-2 and these small changes are often “silent” and do nothing to change the virus. These small changes, even if they were to occur in the Spike protein are not going to stop the effectiveness of either vaccine, as they are both causing our bodies to make many antibodies to lots of different regions (epitopes) of the spike protein.
 

Native

ToungeInCheek since 2010
Staff member
10 Year Member
There are some Illinois specifics in this FAQ and some areas that aren't of interest to all, but there is a lot of good basic simplified information provided in this FAQ.

Another fun fact about this FAQ is that I was the leader of team who wrote portions of this. ;)

 

Native

ToungeInCheek since 2010
Staff member
10 Year Member
1) My understanding is there vaccine won't necessarily prevent infection, but should prevent severe cases. Is that correct?
2) if correct.... suppose a vaccinated person contracts a mild case, then they're still capable of passing it on to others, right?

I can see how these are confusing. Many answers in science aren't 100% and then we are only really able to comment on what the data actually shows. The vaccine trials looked at symptomatic covid and severe covid as endpoints of their study. So both vaccines had protection against symptomatic covid and that is where the 94-95% comes from. There weren't enough people that got severe covid for Pfizer to say with statistical significance that severe covid was prevented, while there were enough cases for the moderna vaccine. (This is all due to the number of people within the placebo group that got severe covid, and likely has nothing to do with the actual vaccines. Other than they both are likely going to achieve that with time. I say all of that, to state the vaccine trials did not really look at asymptotic cases. (moderna a bit at 2nd shot, but wasn't really part of the study design - and again, was promising, but not high enough numbers to make claims). All this is why we don't have statements on asymptomatic infection in the vaccinated population. To me it stands to reason, and makes sense that there could be some underlying infection going on, however, it is going to be at a much reduced rate, No data on transmission, but likewise, the reasonable assumption is that it is going to be limited as well. So while technically, and given the number of people and their varied immune responses, there is going to be some mild, underlying cases of covid still passed around in the vaccinated population, they are going to have reduced transmission, decreased disease severity, and are going to be extreme outliers, (not frequent at all) and with the total numbers of illness inevitably dropping, the likelihood of this rare event is going to decrease as well.
 

Native

ToungeInCheek since 2010
Staff member
10 Year Member
As always, feel free to shoot me PM's and I'll post question and answers here.
 
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