TWiV 756: Precluding problematic polio prophylaxis

May 16, 2021

TWiV returns to the 2012 brouhaha over transmission experiments with avian H5N1 influenza virus, re-examines the claim of SARS-CoV-2 RNA integration into human DNA, and reviews the engineering and testing of a genetically stable version of the attenuated type 2 Sabin poliovirus vaccine.

Hosts: Vincent Racaniello, Dickson Despommier, Alan Dove, Rich Condit, and Amy Rosenfeld

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Download TWiV 756 (80 MB .mp3, 134 min)
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Intro music is by Ronald Jenkees

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3 comments on “TWiV 756: Precluding problematic polio prophylaxis

  1. Philip Thomson May 18, 2021

    I just listened to the comments at the tail end of the show about vaccine production in Canada. It should come as no surprise that he comments made are wrong. You should realize that the Canadian economy and population is small in comparison to the USA and the North American market is just that: North American. It is easier to scale up production in the US and serve the Canadian market from US plants because of economies of scale and that pesky border between our countries.

    Despite ordering enough vaccine early enough the limitations imposed by producing countries (the Defense Production Act etc.) deliveries have been until recently less, sometimes much less, than the amounts contracted for. Additionally there is politics at play in the form of regional/provincial issues and free-market ideas that devalued public ownership of these kinds of industries.

    The Connaught plant in Toronto produces the diphtheria and tetanus vaccines and packages polio vaccines from French plants. The Canadian plants could not be upgraded or expanded quickly enough to help with production for this pandemic. The waiving of patents could allow production in Canada but the scale of production in the plants might be insufficient to interest patent holders.

    There have already been billions of dollars worth of agreements (Sanofi/Pasteur, Novavax etc. made with companies to create production capacity within Canada.

    There are no universal travel restrictions between provinces of from the US for that matter. The quarantine regime described is for travellers arriving by air; persons arriving at land borders are still exempt which is a point of contention. Essential workers can still cross the border: nurses to work Detroit, truck drivers etc. US travellers driving to Alaska and some US territory landlocked in Canada are also able to cross without having to quarantine which is also a point of friction when some people chose to use that excuse to go on vacation.

    Finally, self quarantine restrictions may be enforced by screening officers or the police but that is only a part of the enforcement regime. The competence and performance of our public and elected officials have been uneven; unfortunately they have had to learn on the job and some, like everywhere else in the world, have been found wanting but most have not been criminally awful.


    P.S. I think I heard one of your group talk about going down the Nahanni: The following is insane but inspiring:

  2. Susan Latchem May 18, 2021

    Hello. Thanks for your discussions. I noted some discussion on Canada’s lack of vaccine manufacturing capacity. Here are several news links including comment attributed to Prime Minister Trudeau from February 2021 on future vaccine manufacturing. Also a link to a GSK affiliate current covid vaccine manufacturing product.
    I also recall Canada getting a lot of grief in the 2920 press for having bought into so many foreign COVID vaccine manufacturing projects that they were considered to be hoarding the world’s supply. As for interprovincial travel it was permitted for many months except to the Atlantic provinces. All the provinces that permitted travel have had very high COVID numbers so they limited travel- except that airlines still fly interprovincially. Health care is under provincial jurisdiction – and provincial insurance so it stands to reason that decisions as to pandemic measures should be taken by the provincial governments. However the purchase of vaccine was at the federal level so that there was a greater chance to have a price based on a larger order. For example Pfizer BioNTech was purchased alongside the Eupopean Union and so was to be supplied by the Pfizer BioNTech factory in Belgium. Subsequent problems in that facility left Canada hanging until Pfizer agreed to allow sales to Canada of the Kalamazoo Michigan covid vaccine.
    Unfortunately before any vaccinations were available international truck traffic across the USA Canada border and across interprovincial borders continued without adequate isolation of personnel without testing or tracking and has been problematic.. At least one border state recognized this problem along with the problem of a huge delay in vaccine supply to Canadians and provided vaccine for incoming Canadian truckers..
    I agree that Canada should have more in-house vaccine manufacturing capacity along with their own in house supplies of other necessities s was the status before the post war international trade increase with giant countries who are of course interested in their own population and their own economic growth .
    Partly due to this dependence on “essential trade “ Canada failed to protect its society with a proactive real shutdown.
    Now Canada is stuck with taking extensive measures to suppress the number of covid cases while they wait for vaccine delivery from all those many many researchers and manufacturers ( some Canadian) with whom the government contracted.
    Hopefully they will learn a lesson from this pandemic and make a decision to support the growth of essential domestic supplies..

    Note regarding Trudeau’s comments:

    Note regarding current Quebec , Canada manufacturing partnership