COVID-19 vaccines are here!

….Well that is if you are up for home brew vaccines out of either Russia or Harvard Professor George Church’s lab. They have only been tested on Putin’s daughter and some scientists, respectively.

Two days ago Vladimir Putin announced to the world that he had the first registered COVID-19 vaccine. He is tauntingly calling the vaccine, Sputnik-V, a reference to the Russian surprise 1957 launch of the first man-made object into space, the satellite Sputnik 1. This terrified the US for security reasons and kicked off the space race and the cold war.

Putin says the vaccine has “passed all the necessary tests”. He said he knows this because one of his daughters has been vaccinated

“Let’s just say, she took part in the experiment. After the first injection, she had a temperature of 38C, the next day, 37C. And that was it.”

-V. Putin

He plans to next test it out on healthcare workers and teachers starting in October. If that goes well, it will be ready for the world by January.

Meanwhile in Cambridge…

I am really not sure what’s happening but a group of “citizen-scientists” connected to the giant, weird, and wonderful Church lab at Harvard seems to have made their own vaccine. Professor George Church, who hasn’t left the house in 5 months, has taken it himself according the MIT Tech.  “I think that people are highly underestimating this disease” says Church.

That, I can definitely agree with.

So what is going on? This group of scientists formed a 501-C3 called RADVAC (Rapid Deployment Vaccine Collaborative). This seems to me like some scientists that are friends getting together to make home brew vaccine that might or might not work, but is worth trying, and they are having a lot of fun doing it. I asked the three people I know that are formerly of that lab about it and they declined to comment… or they just weren’t on facebook (I tagged them in a post).

The vaccine they made is composed of peptides (not live virus) that is inhaled through the nose. Like twenty people have tried it (no clinical trials or animal data or anything like that). They don’t know if it works- they say other vaccines like it have worked and been safe. You can’t buy it, but you can order the individual components off the internet and with these simple steps make your own vaccine:

So yeah I cut this off because it was really long- if you are actually interested you can see it all here: https://radvac.org/materials-and-equipment/.

Ok, so basically they made a DIY vaccine that only molecular biologists can actually get the ingredients for and put together, haha.

Some people might be up for the risk of either of these almost entirely untested vaccines in theory so…. How risky are they?

I will give Sputnik-V a grade of quite likely dangerous and sketchy.

The TL/DR of what Science Magazine had to say is: we don’t know much about it but what we do know is that it is a combo of Adenoviruses carrying spike proteins, a clinical trial has been halted of a similar vaccine for safety reasons, and some scientists in Russia are speaking out against it.

But time will tell. The earliest we could get it in the US would be January anyway.

The DIY RADVAC vaccine from Church lab affiliates? Ok so in short, I gave it as much energy as I wanted to figuring this out and then gave up without fully answering the question. I have enough doubts about both my ability to make this thing- especially since MIT isn’t letting anyone in the labs haha- and it’s safety to know I’m not taking it. They have a 50 page white paper and some review articles on their site if you want to go deep, and they say this:

“Nasal vaccines have been shown in previous studies to be generally very safe, but we cannot guarantee safety.

In our project, short-term safety has been demonstrated on a small scale (as of mid-July 2020, our cohort includes >20 researchers) in people ranging in age from 20s to 80s. The most serious side effect reported in the first few months of vaccine use is a noticeable temporary increase in sinus congestion in the hours after booster doses are administered.”

I’ll get into all the vaccine types in another post in the future and how they work. In the meantime, happy Pandemicing!

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