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Luftmensch

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I think the development of a vaccine has been expedited because:
  • suddenly people are interested in science and willing to pour rivers of money into a problem they believe they can make money out of
    • The deals going on behind the scene would probably boggle the mind. Countries are betting certain vaccines under development will work and have places orders for millions of doses.
  • medical technology has advanced in the past 10-20 years
  • scientists were studying similar viruses and problems before the pandemic
For background, medical trials occur in three phases. Briefly:
  • Phase I studies are done on small numbers (~10s) of people to identify any major problem with safety and determine a safe dosage range.
  • Phase II studies are done on mid-sized numbers (~10s-100s) of people to determine the efficacy of response and to further verify its safety.
  • Phase III studies are done on large groups of patients (~100s-1000s) and compared to other standards of treatment. Again these studies are designed to determine the efficacy of response and monitory safety. Due to the larger number of participants rare but serious side effects might be observed. You can also increase your confidence that no adverse immune reactions are sparked (Immunopathology - like a cytokine storm) when patients are exposed to the virus .
Promising vaccines have only recently reached phase-III. The historical success rate in phase III is pretty much a toss of the coin. So I wouldn't bet the family farm we'll even have the privilege of forcing people to take a vaccine by the end of the year...
 

ian

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In other news, a quick google search indicates that 3,000 people died from polio in 1952. Compare that number to 10. Maybe vaccines are a net good, especially considering that now polio is gone?

Disclaimer: I haven’t independently verified the stats in the above pic, nor have I done much research about my own stats besides looking at google. But I’ll say it again, NOT taking a vaccine is a risk too!
 
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juice

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Disclaimer: I haven’t independently verified the stats in the above pic, nor have I done much research about my own stats besides looking at google. But I’ll say it again, NOT taking a vaccine is a risk too!
I'm all for proven vaccines, but I'm not so sure I'm as enthusiastic about ones developed at "warp-speed" and insufficiently tested.
 

ian

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I'm all for proven vaccines, but I'm not so sure I'm as enthusiastic about ones developed at "warp-speed" and insufficiently tested.
The speed itself is not a problem. It’s a pandemic, so we damn well should be working on things at warp speed. As I was saying above somewhere, I’m currently unaware of any vaccine that’s actually jumping over any of the usual tests. Are you? I’m happy to be skeptical of any that are, for sure.
 

jacko9

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I'm all for proven vaccines, but I'm not so sure I'm as enthusiastic about ones developed at "warp-speed" and insufficiently tested.
I agree there is a procedure that has been proven over time and there are too many people getting fired if they don't show the right results. (I didn't mention anyone so I hope this fits in the rules).
 

ian

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I just worry that so many people will
think like that that the eventual vaccine will be less effective, no matter if its development was politically compromised or not... (and so far, there is to my knowledge no sign that it is.)
 

jacko9

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I just worry that so many people will
think like that that the eventual vaccine will be less effective, no matter if its development was politically compromised or not... (and so far, there is to my knowledge no sign that it is.)
I'm trying to walk the line of being non-political but, when you say that it's a pandemic and we should be working on it at warp speed please remember that this pandemic was known as early as 12/2019 or 1/2020 and nothing was done about it for months. So forgive my skepticism and the latest warp speed development. I want this crap to be gone as much as anybody else after all I'm going on 76 years old and I find a lot of the rest of my life is sitting at home when I'm physically able to be quite active.
 

ian

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I'm trying to walk the line of being non-political but, when you say that it's a pandemic and we should be working on it at warp speed please remember that this pandemic was known as early as 12/2019 or 1/2020 and nothing was done about it for months
There’s nothing political about this argument, and I think you’re imagining my political views are different from what they are. Saying that we should work super fast to get a vaccine to end the global pandemic seems.... uncontroversial.... to me, as long as you’re not skipping steps. The unfortunate fact that nothing was done in the US in the early months of the pandemic is beside the point.
 
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ian

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On the other hand, there are articles like this one that are worrisome. Maybe the thing to worry about is if a vaccine is given "emergency approval"? It seems from the article that mostly people are worried that the administration WILL do something like that, not that it already has. Anyway, eyes open and all that.
 

jacko9

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On the other hand, there are articles like this one that are worrisome. Maybe the thing to worry about is if a vaccine is given "emergency approval"? It seems from the article that mostly people are worried that the administration WILL do something like that, not that it already has. Anyway, eyes open and all that.
I tried to point that out in my earlier posts (but I guess I got too political) and they were deemed against the rules. Alright I won't go there but, as you have noted that there is a healthy skepticism with this current approval process and at my age I'm not sure I want to take that calculated risk.
 

juice

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I’m currently unaware of any vaccine that’s actually jumping over any of the usual tests. Are you? I’m happy to be skeptical of any that are, for sure.
I am worried about things like this - once the money is invested, they will want a return on it. And it would be fair to say that India doesn't have a stellar rep in terms of pharmaceuticals.


I'm also worried that the final-stage testing - which is the one that takes the longest, as they're past the "does it kill people straight away?" part of testing - is the bit that's going to be rushed, because that's where the biggest time gains can be made.

this pandemic was known as early as 12/2019 or 1/2020 and nothing was done about it for months.
It wasn't actioned in the US by the administration, but certainly work was being done elsewhere by countries and companies that were acting on the reality of the situation.

On the other hand, there are articles like this one that are worrisome. Maybe the thing to worry about is if a vaccine is given "emergency approval"?
Yeah, agreed. Or if it's given emergency approval and it's reported as being fully tested because the end of the year and events surrounding that are approaching so good news is required, as you say.
 

Michi

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Here is a well-written and very informative article about polio and its history. It contains the picture that @Dave Martell posted, too. It also contains a graph of the number of polio cases in the US over the years:
reported-paralytic-polio-cases-and-deaths-in-the-united-states-since-1910.png

The sharp drop in polio cases coincides with the introduction of the polio vaccine.
 

Dave Martell

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daveb

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@ JackO

More opinion presented as fact.

Scientists (today) are like dog trainers - the only thing two of them will agree on is that a third doesn't know what he's talking about.
 

juice

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More opinion presented as fact.
Article quotes reputable sources (Offit, Fauci, etc.) and has plenty of context. It's a well-written article, IMHO.

Scientists (today) are like dog trainers - the only thing two of them will agree on is that a third doesn't know what he's talking about.
This, unfortunately, is all too true. On a related note, I remember when "peer-review" used to mean something. Well, it seemed to, maybe the process has just become more transparent over time.
 

ian

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It’s always possible for an incorrect article to get through a peer review process, since reviewers are not infallible and don’t have all the time in the world to think about an article for months. Just ask me... often I find I have to devote an entire week of research time to reviewing an article if it’s sufficiently long and complicated. And this is uncompensated, anonymous labor for the good of the field. Even so, there are always things I miss.

If a paper is particularly important, though, its results will be studied more generally, and/or reproduced. So things that are false are generally exposed before too long. I imagine it’s hard for people studying covid because

1) there’s great urgency to post even partial results quickly,
2) the situation is so urgent that everyone keeps looking at these papers like right after they’re posted
3) there are so many unknowns about covid

and also importantly, because politicians and the media keep picking up these papers and coloring the presentation of the findings.
 

juice

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Math, so pretty far away from covid.
So cool (said absolutely non-ironically :) My dad did his PhD in civil engineering (back before it was all made easy by "computers" 😂) so that was pretty maths intensive (I think it was called "motion of a wheel in clay" or similarly exciting), but pure maths is something that fascinates me, probably because I can't even start to get my ADHD-head around it 🙃

I do apologise if it seemed above that I was bagging all scientists, that was certainly not the intent. I'm just a bit jaded as a result of "nutrition science" (which isn't really a science at all, it seems) and its "peer review" process, and I REALLY need to remember that. Anyway, my apologies.
 

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The sky isn't falling. Not everything you hear is true. Not everything you hear is false. Some things don't fall in the absolute category and can change as more is known.

Be sceptical but don't stick your head in the sand.
 

WildBoar

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So cool (said absolutely non-ironically :) My dad did his PhD in civil engineering (back before it was all made easy by "computers" 😂) so that was pretty maths intensive (I think it was called "motion of a wheel in clay" or similarly exciting), but pure maths is something that fascinates me, probably because I can't even start to get my ADHD-head around it 🙃
Too funny. My 7-year-old son wanted me to teach him multiplication today so he can sign up for online computer courses and come work for my civil engineering company later this summer. He made it 3 columns through writing up a multiplication table and decided to go play video games on his tablet instead.
 

McMan

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The sky isn't falling. Not everything you hear is true. Not everything you hear is false. Some things don't fall in the absolute category and can change as more is known.

Be sceptical but don't stick your head in the sand.
🤜🤛
 

Luftmensch

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While science is undoubtedly the best system for information acquisition, like many facets of modern society, bean-counting is chipping away at its integrity.

Globally, universities are finding ways to monetise their institutions. This can mean a re-prioritisation from fundamental research to churning out fee-paying students. In research a "publish or perish" paradigm has emerged - basically academics have to keep up their research KPI's if they want to keep their increasingly insecure jobs. Publishers are having a field day with this. So many rubbish journals are bubbling out of the wood work.

While high quality, fundamental research has not declined, it is being swamped by mediocre research. It is not necessarily that this research is wrong or of zero value... but now that the publishing market is so big, there is an explosion of incremental research where academics are choosing to "slice the salami thin". This is done, in part, to get findings out early (because the fields are so competitive). And in part, to game the KPIs to make themselves look more prolific (better to publish 4 times a year rather than once right? even if the research content is the same).


Don't read this wrong... I don't doubt academia as a process at all. I am just disappointed in the system academics find themselves in.
 
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