TWiV 694: Mitigating COVID-19

December 17, 2020

On this episode, TWiV makes Bloomberg Business News 2020 Jealousy List, crushing of CDC revealed by insiders, seasonal influenza during the COVID-19 pandemic, FDA briefing documents from Moderna, and three-quarters attack rate of SARS-CoV-2 during an unmitigated epidemic in Brazil.

Hosts: Vincent Racaniello, Rich Condit, Kathy Spindler, and Brianne Barker

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Intro music is by Ronald Jenkees

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5 comments on “TWiV 694: Mitigating COVID-19

  1. Thanks for all the wonderful information, and particularly for the scientific rigour and scepticism you maintain. I posed a question in the comment section of yesterday’s TWIV but thought this might be a better venue.
    Should the coronavirus spike protein mutate enough to make the current mRNA vaccines impotent, can they be easily tweaked with new mRNA? Would they then need to go through the entire testing process again or can the new vaccine be expedited in any way? They must update influenza vaccines without the full testing process as that seems to happen annually.

  2. I have one more question, please. Do both mRNA vaccines contain polyethylene glycol 2000? That ingredient does seem to be associated with anaphylaxis in a small number of cases according to my quick lit search. Do you know if it is present in other common injections? I’ve read it is found in cosmetics or in pre-colonoscopy prep (a 3350 molecular weight version) but these are claimed not to be absorbed. Unlike injections.
    Thanks again

  3. JJackson Dec 18, 2020

    re. the discussion about why the Manaus population never hit the R(0) therotical limit I do not think there is ever no mitigation. Regardless of official edicts humans, and other animals, will change there behaviour around sick individuals. I am sure that I am not alone in changing my behaviour in the winter months when I wear gloves and a scarf and up my hand hygine and give anyone with cold or flu symtoms a wide birth. Herd immunity is the point at which the R(t) is reduced to below one due to not enough viral challanges causing infection as enough of the population are immune but even if only 1% of the population are immune then one in a hundred challanges fail. As the percentage goes up so the R(t) goes down until R(t)<1. It is gradual and continuous process with herd immunity being the end point.

    • JJackson Dec 18, 2020

      What I should have pointed out is the glove wearing and mask are due to TWiV. Some years ago Vincent was interviewing a researcher who worked in a BSL3 lab and, unusually for the time, it was filmed. A viewer had counted the number of times Vincent and his guest has touched their face Vincent having done so far more. Scatching an itch or eubbing your eye is a largely subconcious act and difficult to train yourself not to do. By wearing a glove, of any sort, your brain stops you putting it in your eye making conscious. The scarf is worn over the nose and mouth.
      Herd immunity as described above probably only really works if you get long lasting immunity and as the research from Brazil, and from the common cold paper recently covered on TWiV, may not be achiveable if the the antibody levels fall below a protective level and memory B cells are not able to quickly redress the balance before enough of the population have been infected or recently vaccinated.