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Saudis have the money and quite a bit of logistical capacity, too. It actually makes a lot of sense to go to them, even if that's unusual politically. 

30 days is a bit short for a vaccine test, but it might have been the right call in the current circumstances. However, I'd still be careful about that one. Other developers seem to be taking it a little more slowly. While efficacy standards can be lowered (protection for any length of time would be useful at that point), safety standards can't. For all intents and purposes, the initial distribution a vaccine developed this quickly should be thought of as a Phase III test. Also, I have a feeling that they're basing their decision on Ab and T-cell results, and not on clinical outcomes. This is also risky, if every vaccine that generates an immune response actually protected from the disease it's been designed against, we wouldn't have so many failures in this field. Yes, data is looking good, and yes, SARS-CoV2 is an easy target as far as viruses go, but that doesn't mean every vaccine effort against it is guaranteed to work.

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2 hours ago, Dragon01 said:

However, I'd still be careful about that one.

To put it very mildly. They have a sample size of dozens, and with a certain bias: all subjects are active military personnel.

Nevertheless, this vaccine has permitted a parliamentarian whose surname is pronounced 'Slootskyi' but is spelled with a 'u' to proclaim that we're ahead of the planet and don't need no hacking.

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Well, if nothing else, we'd have something to send our military back to work. Right before the winter, too. :) I bet they just can't wait to get back to standing post for hours, running around in rain, snow and sleet, being yelled on by NCOs and punished for things they didn't do...

Quite frankly, they're no further than Pfizer and Moderna, whose vaccines have been shown to work more or less as expected in a small, relatively healthy group. Time will tell if they're actually any good against the wild-type virus, though, and the same applies to the Russian vaccine. That's the problem with laboratory tests, including all animal models. They're pretty good at telling you what definitely doesn't work, and absolutely suck at determining what does. Many a promising drug looked great in the lab, only to turn out to have no therapeutic effect whatsoever. Some of them even did what they were expected to do in humans, which generally forces us to reassess what we though we knew about pathology of the disease being treated.

My hope is that, as a respiratory virus with a stable genome, SARS-CoV2 will be susceptible to most if not all vaccines currently under development. "Difficult" viral diseases tend to involve viruses that are either very complex or unstable (or, as with retroviruses, both), and are seldom airborne. 

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It's nice to see this kind of cooperation. Oxford vaccine seems particularly suited to being made in Russia, since it uses completely different technology than the indigenous one. This means the two won't compete for resources (except syringes and delivery trucks, but that's kind of unavoidable). This is something to keep in mind when looking for partnerships, the rate that every single working vaccine will have to be produced at boggles the mind.

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On 7/17/2020 at 2:55 PM, DDE said:

To put it very mildly. They have a sample size of dozens, and with a certain bias: all subjects are active military personnel.

Hold the presses...

Quote

Russian Elite Given Experimental Covid-19 Vaccine Since April

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-07-20/russian-elite-got-experimental-covid-19-vaccine-from-april

Tangentially confirmed on the record by the former surgeon-general: https://radiosputnik.ria.ru/20200720/1574593274.html

Well, that's a more varied sample, at least. Given the lacklustre health of some of these people, we might as well thank them for the risk they took.

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Posted (edited)
On 7/17/2020 at 4:55 AM, DDE said:

To put it very mildly. They have a sample size of dozens, and with a certain bias: all subjects are active military personnel.

The US military has a long history of using military personnel as unwitting test subjects. Is Russia the same?

I have a friend who was a captain in the US army during the 1990-91 Gulf War. (Or possibly he was lieutenant then -- when he left the army he was a captain.) They instructed all the soldiers to take some pills that were supposed to protect them against nerve agents, but my friend was kind of leery. He and his people got together and decided not to pass the pills out to those in his command. Funny thing is, none of them ended up with "Gulf War Syndrome", as far as he ever heard. Maybe not taking the pills made a difference. Maybe they just got lucky. Who knows?

Edited by mikegarrison

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9 minutes ago, mikegarrison said:

The US military has a long history of using military personnel as unwitting test subjects. Is Russia the same?

Possibly. But there doesn't seem to be room for ambiguity this time - those guys are getting paraded on TV, complete with branded shirts.

AjW-kn9_ALg.jpg

12177385rc640x360

Uhm, red shirts...

That, and the Russian military seems to have no issues getting volunteers for moderately risky assignments. I mean, how would you explain a case of bribery where troops gave $1k or more to go to Syria?

https://www.kommersant.ru/doc/4416774

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Spoiler

  

17 hours ago, mikegarrison said:

They instructed all the soldiers to take some pills

maxresdefault.jpg

 

17 hours ago, mikegarrison said:

to protect them against nerve agents

matrix-04.jpg

 

17 hours ago, mikegarrison said:

Maybe not taking the pills made a difference. Maybe they just got lucky. Who knows?

1.jpg

They were offline.

 

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So I wanted to comment on some recent "studies" that tangentially have links to the tobacco industry.

https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.06.10.20127514v1.full.pdf

This one suggests that smoking tobacco has a protective effect, by comparing smoking rates in French COVID-19 patients, with smoking rates of the general French population.

It is not peer reviewed, but has already been cited by another paper (with an overlap in authors).

Anyway, my 2 cents:

The comparison to the general French population is not appropriate, as the statistics show considerable variation in smoking rates with age, and the Covid-19 patients do not have the age distribution of the general French population.

I checked the statistics for the general french population, and looked at the % of former smokers. In the study, the % of former smokers with Covid-19 was approximately double the % of former smokers in the general french population. So, does this imply that smoking and then stopping doubles your risk of Covid-19, or is it just that the rates of active smoking are higher among young people, and the % of "former smokers" is higher among old people? Seems like bad science to me.

Also, I think we need some studies on transmission of SARS-CoV-2 by cigarette smoke:

There are numerous studies showing a link between poor air quality, and an increase in COVID-19 deaths. Those studies only showed correlations, and don’t establish causes (they could both be due to high population density, in many locations).

 

Then there is this report from Italy:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7260575/

Where they report finding SARS-CoV-2 on airborne particulate matter (PM), by using PM10 filters. There are, of course, numerous other studies reporting potential pathogens being found on airborne PM.

 So I was wondering how much this airborne PM contributes to transmission of SARS-CoV-2. It seems that in order to transmit SARS-CoV-2, you’d need PM to first come into contact with SARS-CoV-2. It seems the obvious location where this would happen is in infected lungs – still, the concentration of PM in inhaled air should normally be quite low, and likely even lower when exhaled.

 But this isn’t the case with smokers. One would expect that they’d inhale a high concentration of PM, and there’d be an excellent opportunity for the PM to pick up SARS-CoV-2. Research (again in northern Italy) has shown that pedestrian areas where people smoke have more PM pollution than areas with vehicular traffic (https://erj.ersjournals.com/content/48/3/918), so clearly people smoking generate significant amounts of PM.

 It seems reasonable to wonder if SARS-CoV-2 can be transmitted by PM, not just respiratory droplets, and if so, if smoking a cigarette can increase dispersal of the virus. I can’t find any studies that explore this subject. Most discussion about smoking relates to the increased risk to the smoker, or the increased transmission risk from smoking due to an uncovered mouth and the fact that smokers are bringing their hands close to their faces.

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The French study seems dodgy, especially given the conflict of interest. Besides, given how much long-term damage smoking does, COVID-19 would probably be the lesser evil. :) I wouldn't be surprised if smokers were actually more at risk of COVID-19, seeing as, for one, you can't smoke while wearing a mask. 

In other news, we've got some primate challenge (they vaccinated monkeys who were then exposed to SARS-CoV2) results. Well, if nothing else, monkeys can commence reopening now. :) 
https://blogs.sciencemag.org/pipeline/archives/2020/07/30/coronavirus-challenges-in-primates-compared

The vaccines tested look good, although not perfect. Of course, monkeys are not humans, and primate challenge studies have historically not been best at predicting the efficacy of a vaccine, but it's something. It could still swing either way, if humans react in a similar way, these vaccines would protect the person being vaccinated, though not all of them (particularly the vaunted Moderna effort) did so well when it came to rendering them non-infectious. One interesting thing is new information about Inovio vaccine, which was mostly in the background, but had shown good results here and, interestingly, is administered intradermally. It's a DNA vaccine, and it's quite different from the others frontrunners, which is good.

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Posted (edited)

 

So I roll up into my favorite ice cream parlor amd learn I cannot have my favorite chocolate nut dipped waffle cones anymore.

All because of COVID-19!

This has to stop... in the ever so timely words words of Quark, "The line must be drawn here!"

 

 

If I were a billionaire I would be pouring billions of dollars into a cure... this is... upsetting me.

 

Edited by Spacescifi

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5 minutes ago, Spacescifi said:

 

So I roll up into my favorite ice cream parlor amd learn I cannot have my favorite chocolate nut dipped waffle cones anymore.

All because of COVID-19!

This has to stop...

As people where I come from say: If you don't hear, you feel.  At least since more people are experiencing this, they are realizing the widespread effects of the virus.

 

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Turkmenistan introduces a lockdown, mask-wearing, and social distancing.

But it's not COVID. There is no coronavirus in Turkmenistan. It's the dust.

Praise be to wisdom of the Bulwark of the Nation, Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, for finally realising the threat that comes from dust storms in an arid country.

https://iz.ru/1035856/igor-karmazin/borba-s-pustotoi-pochemu-zhitelei-turkmenistana-obiazali-nosit-maski

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Ah, this dastardly, infectious dust! :P

But, really - why are governments lying to citizens in such stupid way? It's not Middle Ages anymore - most people do have access to media and education. Such blatant, badly thought out lies serve only as fertilizer for conspiracy theories.

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49 minutes ago, Scotius said:

But, really - why are governments lying to citizens in such stupid way? It's not Middle Ages anymore

Not in "hereditary republics". There's at least one dynastic marriage between the children of Middle Asian presidents-for-life.

49 minutes ago, Scotius said:

most people do have access to media

Ha-ha, Internet blocklist goes "click"!

49 minutes ago, Scotius said:

and education

That bears no relevance for independent thought. If anything, it's a vehicle for indoctrination into the society's officially prescribed values, whichever they are.

49 minutes ago, Scotius said:

Such blatant, badly thought out lies serve only as fertilizer for conspiracy theories.

Yeah, they do, but are they wrong about the nefarious elites ruling this particular society with an iron grip? )

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Welp, one of Russia's four vaccines bas completed clinical trials and will be registered and cleared for deployment in the coming days.

https://tass.ru/obschestvo/9101317

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Posted (edited)
On 7/29/2020 at 4:28 PM, KerikBalm said:

The comparison to the general French population is not appropriate, as the statistics show considerable variation in smoking rates with age, and the Covid-19 patients do not have the age distribution of the general French population.

So, they have a chance to find a correlation between particular TV series watching and covid.

Also, music styles.

Edited by kerbiloid

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On 7/20/2020 at 10:47 PM, DDE said:

Possibly. But there doesn't seem to be room for ambiguity this time - those guys are getting paraded on TV, complete with branded shirts.

That, and the Russian military seems to have no issues getting volunteers for moderately risky assignments. I mean, how would you explain a case of bribery where troops gave $1k or more to go to Syria?

https://www.kommersant.ru/doc/4416774

This make plenty of sense. It's an pretty low risk operation and it give you combat pay and combat experience who might well be carrier critical. 
At the end of the second war in Iraq as lots of  soldiers wanted into Iraq for the same reasons, you wanted Iraq on your list even if not needed for your position it was needed for your carrier-

But yes the Soviet Union took this to 11. Now the post Stalin USSR rulers was not very nice people but to their credit they escape the top 50 list of evil ones.
Look mom I'm not on the most damage done while drunk list, I want an new car.
Modern Russia is much better still the same rules apply.
And yes Sweden joined the war against Libya  as their first war in 100 years to sell their fighter plane. And Gripen is nice  fighter plane if your enemies are not Russia or nato. 
 

 

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TBH, infantry (especially US marines, but ) are the sort of people who'd jump at the chance of getting "a piece of action". :) Career matters, too, but I have it on good authority that plenty of marines also wanted to go do what they were trained to do, that is, kicking terrorist backsides. :) I imagine Russian soldiers are no different in that matter (only, if the authority in question is to be believed, more responsible financially. A bribe would actually be better spending than some of the things these marines get up to on payday...).

I suppose testing an experimental vaccine would be a similar sort of thing. Service to the nation and all that, plus you get a free dose of the thing early, and if it works out, you're protected, and if it doesn't, well, it's probably not gonna kill you, so no harm done. 

12 hours ago, DDE said:

Welp, one of Russia's four vaccines bas completed clinical trials and will be registered and cleared for deployment in the coming days.

https://tass.ru/obschestvo/9101317

Any papers on what their numbers were? It'd be interesting to compare this to the other data we have. I think they're moving too quickly, but OTOH, maybe the data back up this course of action. Also, does "deployment" mean full-on rollout, or the beginning of a large-scale Phase III trial? The latter would sound much more reasonable at this point.

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Posted (edited)

The military volunteers have just one disadvantage: they are young, healthy, and men.

While the tested substance is for everybody.

Edited by kerbiloid

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8 hours ago, Dragon01 said:

Any papers on what their numbers were?

While they no longer advertise it as much, the vaccine was developed by the biodefense experts from the 48th Center of the Ministry of Defense. Not gonna find papers there, just vague slides )

8 hours ago, Dragon01 said:

Also, does "deployment" mean full-on rollout

Yes, with observation as the vaccine is applied to the general population. Ministry of Health is already preempting any protests by promising it will be free.

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, DDE said:

Yes, with observation as the vaccine is applied to the general population. Ministry of Health is already preempting any protests by promising it will be free.

Well, that's something like rolling Phase III and IV (that is, clinical observation) into one. :) Given that manufacturing the thing will be the bottleneck, anyway, it might actually be a good approach. At this point, the worst thing that could happen is to give people a vaccine that's no good, and given the benefits of getting the vaccine out, it might . TBH, I think it will provide at least some protection, though they need to watch out for viral loads, not just symptoms. Nothing worse than a bunch of complacent, asymptomatic carriers going around without any masks, because they can't get the disease. Some vaccines mentioned in the blog post I linked to earlier suggest that this may be a concern.

I wonder how the Russian way of doing things will compare to the others. They did a high risk, high reward approach, with very aggressive pacing. Admittedly, the risk was mitigated by the virus being nothing special from a biological standpoint, and the reward will be very high indeed, but it's still an unusual, some would say reckless way to develop a medicine. If it works, though, it might make some people reevaluate their own way of approaching the crisis. Then again, ultimately it''ll be manufacturing that's going to bottleneck things, even if there are some doses of western vaccines sitting in warehouses waiting for Phase III trails to end, once they do, they'll soon be gone anyway. No amount of authoritarian power can make vials and syringes appear out of thin air.

Edited by Dragon01

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