Saturday, July 18, 2020

Dr. Osterholm Speaks

Merck CEO warns warns against vaccine promises. 

Since you have nothing better to do on a Saturday morning, feel free to listen to Dr. Michael Osterholm's weekly podcast on the Covid-19 virus that is posted below.  He discusses school reopenings, current transmission rates, and possible vaccines.   Posted below as well are excerpts from an interview with Merck CEO Ken Frazier about developing a vaccine for the virus.  Enjoy.





Dr. Osterhold mentions Merck CEO Ken Frazier warned against politicians over-promising on a vaccine.  Mr. Frazier said in an interview with the Harvard Business School:

Well, first of all, it takes a lot of time. I think the record for the fastest vaccine ever brought to market was Merck in the mumps vaccine. It took about four years. Our most recent vaccine for Ebola took five and a half years. And why does it take so long? First of all, it requires a rigorous scientific assessment. And here we didn't even understand the virus itself or how the virus affects the immune system. We're starting there. We're starting with a spike protein as the antigen. What we're hoping to be able to do with these different approaches is to create a vaccine that we can study quickly that can be both safe and effective and can be durable. Those are three different issues. No one knows for sure whether or not any of these vaccine programs will produce a vaccine like that. What worries me the most is that the public is so hungry, so desperate to go back to normalcy, that they are pushing us to move things faster and faster. But ultimately, if you're going to use a vaccine in billions of people, you better know what that vaccine does.

 There are a lot of examples of vaccines in the past that have stimulated the immune system, but ultimately didn't confer protection. And unfortunately, there are some cases where it stimulated the immune system and not only it didn't confer protection, but actually helped the virus invade the cell because it was incomplete in terms of its immunogenic properties. We have to be very careful.

Let me just give you one data point. In the last quarter century, there have only been seven, truly new vaccines introduced globally at the clinical practice. When I say new, that means that they were effective against a pathogen for which there had previously been no vaccine. They're only seven in the last quarter century, Merck has four, the rest of the world has three. I don't mean to boast. And there are lots of things that we've been working on since the eighties. We've been trying to get an HIV vaccine since the 1980s and we've been unsuccessful. 

 Let me start by saying, I think when people tell the public that there's going to be a vaccine by the end of 2020, for example, I think they do a grave disservice to the public. I think at the end of the day, we don't want to rush the vaccine before we've done rigorous science. We've seen in the past, for example, with the swine flu, that that vaccine did more harm than good. We don't have a great history of introducing vaccines quickly in the middle of a pandemic. We want to keep that in mind. 

The second point that I think is very important is I think when we do tell people that a vaccine's coming right away, we allow politicians to actually tell the public not to do the things that the public needs to do like wear the damn masks. Okay? We were so unprepared for this pandemic. It's not even funny on so many levels. 

I learned about it in mid-January or so, but fortunately our researchers who engage in disease surveillance knew about it before that. So it was known to the scientists before, but generally speaking, we've done a bad job in being prepared from the disease surveillance, to having the kind of protective equipment that we need to have. To having the kind of testing and tracing that we need to have. To scale up of our critical care centers that were overwhelmed immediately. And right now, it's critical for people to understand that while we hope to have a vaccine post-HSCT, that they are the protection against the spread of this virus right now by good hygiene, using your mask, social distancing, etc. 

 So you're actually touching on something that is in my view, a bigger challenge than the science challenge of coming up with a safe and effective vaccine. For example, Merck gives away a drug called Mectizan for river blindness. That's one pill per person per year. And we found it's really hard to get that the last mile to the people who really need it. Okay? So I would say there are two big issues with respect to global distribution. First of all, we're living in a time of ultra-nationalism where countries want to take whatever is available and say, "I'm going to use it first in my own population," rather than using it first in the populations globally that are at the greatest risk.

The second issue is this issue around manufacturing at scale. There's seven and a half billion people on the planet right now. And we've never had a vaccine that's been used in that larger population. So even if you have a vaccine, scaling it up to manufacture at those kinds of numbers, and then being able to figure out how to distribute it particularly in the areas of the world where people can't afford the vaccine, where the last mile challenge is greatest. That's going to be a huge issue for us. So what we're committed to is broad, equitable, affordable access, but that's a mouthful.  Rest of interview.



17 comments:

Anonymous said...

Yep. The vaccine hopium and the antiviral hype are no good.

There are promising antibodies being developed though. Regeneron, Cytodyn, and Humanigen among many others all have potentials in the pipeline. Some already have good safety data like Cytodyn's Leronlimab, so hopefully these helps us in what is likely to a very long meantime.

Anonymous said...

After reading this, we better get used to the "new normal". That "two weeks to flatten the curve" message in March seems like years ago. Anyone want to buy a slightly used condo in Oxford?

Anonymous said...

It is a race to get a vaccine and you can bet it will be released sooner than later. China is already giving their candidate to their military members. You think if it was widely harmful they would do something like that? The U.S. won't be able to sit idly by while China, Russia, and various European countries are distributing it to their citizens.

I'm fully expecting the vaccine to be available to front-line medical workers and high at-risk individuals by the first of November and to anyone that wants it by January. The big question is effectiveness. If it is only 70% effective then we are going to need a lot of the younger crowd to get vaccinated so we can achieve herd immunity. I don't know if they care enough to do that.

I do agree with the statement focusing on treatments that aren't here yet give people the idea they are free to do nothing to mitigate the spread now. We need to be doing everything we can to ensure protective measures are enforced and unnecessary risky behaviors (like going to nightclubs and bars) are 100% prohibited until the spread is effectively controlled.

Anonymous said...

Just some light reading. While it's not MS, you never know how much of this goes on here as well.

https://libertyhorn.com/fl-lab-inflates-cases-by-over-1000/

Anonymous said...

Well, not only did I need to fold a week's worth of laundry, but I also felt a sudden urge to rearrange my sock drawer - anything better than listening to your latest fascination with Dr. Osterhold and his opining of all things and everything that he feels he knows about.

But, as an offset, the CEO of Merck was worth spending time reading, so after getting the whites, browns and black lined up I did enjoy reading his thoughts that might actually have some value.

Anonymous said...

I'll admit.

I'm so sick of listening to all the conflicting shit since March, I don't listen to any of these clowns. And before some freek out, I do wear a mask.

However, I've been watching more Nick Jr. & Disney with my Grand Daughter than the local / national news.

I know more about "Pepa Pig" and "Victoria Justice" than I do about the latest Doctor Fauci narrative.

Anonymous said...

https://libertyhorn.com/fl-lab-inflates-cases-by-over-1000/

No wonder COVID-19 is spreading like wildfire. Morons are providing information to other morons. The labs didn't "inflate" anything, they only reported the positive tests and didn't report negative tests to the state health department. While that isn't proper procedure, it is meaningless as to the number of cases. Claiming it is "inflating" the numbers is like saying the fact that doctors who don't report patients that didn't have heart attacks, but do report the patients who have them, means that the number of people who have been reported by doctors to have had a heart attack is "inflated." Anyone who can't see the difference is a moron. I'm sorry to be so blunt, but there just isn't any other way to say it.

And someone mentioned Ivermectin in another thread. Ivermectin is an anti-parasitic drug that, when used to "treat" COVID-19 is either doing nothing whatsoever or harming (or even killing) the patient. The short answer is that in doses high enough to possibly do anything at all for COVID-19 patients, it is toxic, and even at those doses, there is scant evidence of its efficacy. It caught on in central and South America for a time, but all sorts of warnings have been issued about it. Cremating someone who is ill will "kill" the SARS-CoV-2 virus and they will no longer be suffering from COVID-19, too, but no one but a moron would suggest that as a safe and effective "treatment." All anyone needs to do is Google it to find all sorts of information about why it is not an effective or safe treatment for COVID-19.

Which brings me to my last and most important point, and I'm going to be...blunt. It is mind-motherfucking-boggling that people will hear one person, even one doctor, make some claim, and most (most, not all) is pure unadulterated bullshit, about how this or that "cures," "treats," or prevents COVID-19. They immediately say to themselves, "Aha! THIS person REALLY knows their stuff! Of course! A anti-parasitic and zinc makes perfect sense to deal with ANY virus. I don't know shit about any of this virus stuff but that makes perfect sense to me " However, when nearly every doctor, epidemiologist, etc. on the entire planet tells them to wear a mask when they are out in public and distance from others, they lose whatever tiny little mind they might have thinking it is some commie-socialist-fascist-Democratic-government plot to turn them into a "sheeple" and take away their guns or some other mindless nonsense. It is well beyond confirmation bias because the people spreading the nonsense don't have the knowledge to actually have a even partially-knowledgeable opinion. It is sad and it is dangerous. Medical and healthcare professionals, from doctors to nurses to research scientists are getting more and more fed up and frustrated with it every minute of every day. And when choices have to be made, and they will have to be made at the current rate of transmission, most of us won't hesitate to yet your dumb no-mask-wearing ass die in the fucking parking lot if it means trying to save someone who at least tried to act like a sensible person.

Anonymous said...

"Cremating someone who is ill will "kill" the SARS-CoV-2 virus and they will no longer be suffering from COVID-19". Rather drastic and painful way to treat Covid I must say.

Anonymous said...

959 PM.

1st paragraph - Amen
2nd paragraph - Amen, Amen
3rd paragraph - Amen brother. Amen. Preach on!

Anonymous said...

9:59, Scared much? Just take a breath and get a grip, life will go on until you die from something, which is inevitable.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad he's lost the initial optimism that made him the naysayers' darling.

Anonymous said...

9:59PM responding to 9:25AM,

"Scared much?" Yes, every day. Go spend several months in a hospital dealing with this, all the while talking to friends and colleagues who have also been dealing with it for the last several months. Everything from older people dying alone to young people who can't catch their breath and seeing the terror of dying in their eyes. Then, each and every day, when you have a few down minutes, read several scholarly articles, research studies, etc., as well as see and hear the nonsense and bullshit spread by people who don't know anything about any of it. And then, go home (hopefully) every day to your family, except before you go into your home you've got to strip down, put every stitch of clothing and shoes in a garbage bag, and decontaminate yourself just so you feel mostly certain you won't harm your wife and kids (or basically living in your backyard in a tent and seeing your family through the windows). Oh, and let's not forget things like worrying that the PPE needed to protect you, your friends and colleagues, and 1000s of others you don't know will run out or that you'll wind up with more patients than your hospital can effectively and safely treat. When you do all of that and the myriad other things that scare sensible people every day, then come back and tell us all about how you are a big-rough-tough-rootin-tootin redneck dumbfuck who ain't scared of nuthin. Put another way, if you aren't scared just hearing about it all, without having to actually do any of it, you are even more willfully ignorant then your moronic post makes you appear.

Oh, PS - fuck you. And in the likely event you're just some sad little troll, fuck you twice.

And for the rest of you, you basically have one job in all of this: don't make it worse. Just wear a mask and maintain a few feet of distance from others when out in public. Good lord, how hard is that? It is as much for your benefit as your fellow citizens or anyone else's. I can assure you that you don't want to take your chances with this and I can absolutely promise you that you don't want to be in the hospital with it - ever - and if these numbers keep rising, you will be triaged and dealt with accordingly. On the current trajectory, that means some number of you who might have been saved in May will die in the coming months and more of you will either spend one or more weeks hovering near death, with life-altering effects, or will have someone you truly care about die or go through it. But hey, what's all that compared to what your bartender told you Sean Hannity said about what Ivanka and Jared know about it all...

Anonymous said...

9:59 / 1:34 Gosh, all that cussing in your post makes you look impressive....and edgy, too! I'm thinking you must REALLY know what you're talking about!

Anonymous said...

Why does the left assume everyone that disagrees with them watches fox news? I don't even have cable TV.

@1:34 I would be more impressed if you looked good in a TikTok video shaking your behind. You aren't a protagonist in a movie.

Anonymous said...

Hey. 9:59/1:34, the elastic on your cuck muzzle has cut off the circulation to your cerebral cortex.

Anonymous said...

Do you feel better 1:34?

I'm still not scared of the SCAMDEMIC so you can keep playing up the hoax if you want.

I'm going to keep taking off my face covering as soon as I walk past the gestapo at the entrance of the grocery store.

Anonymous said...

2:25 - I think it is frustration by somebody that is having to actually deal with this stuff, and after reading all the idiocy that shows up on blogs like this one, and those that refuse to use common sense. I'm surprised Dr. Dobbs and Tater haven't done the same thing in their daily press conferences yet - how many times do some folks need to be told that some simple steps could help stem the tide of this virus (get KF's Rt # below 1) but they start quoting something they 'read somewhere' and are worried about their 'liberties' and the red communist threat.

Rant on 9:59/1:34 - and cuss all you want. Some of these idiots probably don't understand the type English you probably speak while treating folks who are likely to have long term neurological issues IF they survive the initial fight.

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If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

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