Drudge Retort: The Other Side of the News
Monday, April 27, 2020

(S)cientists at [Oxford] University's Jenner Institute had a running start on a vaccine, having proved in previous trials that similar inoculations " including one last year against an earlier coronavirus " were harmless to humans. That has enabled them to leap ahead and schedule tests of their new coronavirus vaccine involving more than 6,000 people by the end of next month, hoping to show not only that it is safe, but also that it works.



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Scientists at the National Institutes of Health's Rocky Mountain Laboratory in Montana last month inoculated six rhesus macaque monkeys with single doses of the Oxford vaccine. The animals were then exposed to heavy quantities of the virus that is causing the pandemic " exposure that had consistently sickened other monkeys in the lab. But more than 28 days later all six were healthy, said Vincent Munster, the researcher who conducted the test.

"The rhesus macaque is pretty much the closest thing we have to humans," Dr. Munster said, noting that scientists were still analyzing the result. He said he expected to share it with other scientists next week and then submit it to a peer-reviewed journal.

Immunity in monkeys is no guarantee that a vaccine will provide the same degree of protection for humans.

I think the preceding sentence should have us all pumping our brakes, but to call this fantastic news is an understatement. Even if this research doesn't prove to be fully viable in humans, it will still provide needed information for other researchers looking for a silver bullet to slay the coronavirus.

#1 | Posted by tonyroma at 2020-04-27 03:46 PM | Reply

Isn't this the same thing Sinovac did?

#2 | Posted by snoofy at 2020-04-27 03:48 PM | Reply

Isn't this the same thing Sinovac did?

Not as I read it.

The institute's effort against the coronavirus uses a technology that centers on altering the genetic code of a familiar virus. A classic vaccine uses a weakened version of a virus to trigger an immune response. But in the technology that the institute is using, a different virus is modified first to neutralize its effects and then to make it mimic a targeted virus - in this case, the virus that causes Covid-19. Injected into the bloodstream, the harmless impostor can induce the immune system to fight and kill the targeted disease, providing protection.
However there is this, but the name is different from Sinovac.
A Chinese company, CanSino, has also started clinical trials in China using a technology similar to the Oxford institute's, using a strain of the same respiratory virus that is found in humans, not chimps. But demonstrating the effectiveness of a vaccine in China may be difficult because Covid-19 infections there have plummeted.

#3 | Posted by tonyroma at 2020-04-27 04:14 PM | Reply

More than 28 days later...

Probably not the best time frame to choose...

#4 | Posted by jpw at 2020-04-27 04:34 PM | Reply | Funny: 2

Isn't this the same thing Sinovac did?

No. They did what is classically done-inactivate virus (usually with formaldehyde) and inject that with an adjuvant.

The vaccine mentioned in the article, I suspect, is a modified gorilla adenovirus. It's a live virus so it induces a more "normal" immune response but is replication defective so it doesn't cause overt disease itself. The desired SARS-CoV-2 epitopes (immune targets) are inserted into the adenovirus so they're expressed and targeted by the immune response.

The description was pretty poorly written.

#5 | Posted by jpw at 2020-04-27 04:45 PM | Reply

The description was pretty poorly written.

I see how you feel that way, but I think it was written for the scientifically illiterate like myself. Your description is far more technical and detailed - and it does reveal much more than the article's.

But for us unwashed, the first paragraph in #3 tries to impart the gist of your post without diving deeper into the science itself. But personally, I appreciate your more thorough walk thru.

#6 | Posted by tonyroma at 2020-04-27 04:57 PM | Reply

Thanks guys! Six macaques is where the similarity ends, then.

Could it really be as simple as inserting a key chunk of coronavirus sequence into a rhinovirus, then giving everybody a cold from rhinovirus which protects you from covid? Is that even close, JPW?

#7 | Posted by snoofy at 2020-04-27 07:17 PM | Reply

Could it really be as simple as inserting a key chunk of coronavirus sequence into a rhinovirus, then giving everybody a cold from rhinovirus which protects you from covid? Is that even close, JPW?

#7 | Posted by snoofy

It's a gorilla adenovirus.

The desired vaccine target is inserted in the place of one of the adeno genes. That makes it expressed when the virus infects a cell in the lungs after vaccination and prevents a second round of infection by the vaccine vector (the gorilla adeno).

The single round infection means it doesn't spread and cause disease.

Because it's an infection it activates the immune system more completely than a vaccine would.

And because it's a gorilla virus there's no immunity in people that would make the vaccine ineffective.

The graphical abstract of that paper show how the virus is modified and how you can insert multiple types of desired vaccine targets.

#8 | Posted by jpw at 2020-04-27 10:05 PM | Reply

#6 | Posted by tonyroma

Sorry about that. LOL

It's pretty elegant work and the details are really cool.

#9 | Posted by jpw at 2020-04-27 10:11 PM | Reply

I'm more scientifically illiterate than Tony, but I'm concerned about the reporting I'm reading of people testing positive for COVID a second time after they've already recovered from it. Is that a function of the Coronavirus or the disease? If we have an immunity to the virus, then I'm assuming we don't get the disease, but do the double positives mean that the virus can lay dormant our systems and then re-infect us like a herpes virus? If so, doesn't that mean that some/all of us even after we've had the virus don't have immunity and a vaccine won't provide the herd immunity we're looking for?

#10 | Posted by _Gunslinger_ at 2020-04-28 01:39 PM | Reply


That's some of the things they're trying to figure out. Right now, no one knows if there is any immunity nor how long any immunity might protect that person from reinfection. They don't know whether "recovered" patients are simply reshowing the virus that never actually left their bodies or if their new positive testings are a reinfection unrelated to the first.

Same with antibody testing at present. There is no test with an accuracy rate high enough to draw firm conclusions from at this point and many have high false positive rates which render extrapolations almost statistically meaningless for drawing conclusions from.

Basically, all we(they) know is that no one knows enough yet.

#11 | Posted by tonyroma at 2020-04-28 02:36 PM | Reply

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