Vaccines

It normally takes 10 year period to trial and develop an effective vaccine against disease. in 2020, scientists managed to develop multiple vaccines within the time frame of a single year.
Some clarity is needed in regards to fighting disease. 70% effective vaccines (in clinical trials) such as AstraZeneca and the Johnson & Johnson are effective in stopping COVID-19. While both the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines are 94 to 95% effective, the AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson are none the less sufficient in combatting the disease. In this regard the percentage effective argument is irrelevant. Their benefits over the Pfizer and Moderna are outlined below.

The first vaccines receiving EUA (emergency use authorisation) in the US are the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines and are mRNA vaccines. Both require two doses.
AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson vaccines in contrast are viral vector vaccines. AstraZeneca has received EUA in Australia and Johnson & Johnson has now received EUA in the US.

mRNA stands for messenger ribonucleic acid and could be described as giving your body instructions to construct a particular protein. mRNA is not able to modify a person’s genetic makeup or DNA. mRNA from the vaccine never enters the nucleus of the cell (location of the DNA). Instead, the COVID- 19 vaccines that use mRNA work with body’s natural defence to develop immunity to the disease.

Viral vector is a gene code unique to SARs-CoV-2 and helps produce a spike protein and displays it on the cell’s surface. Once on the surface of the cell, it causes the immune system to begin producing antibodies and activating T-cells to fight off what ‘it thinks’ is an infection.

Like the AstraZeneca, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine does not require ultra low temperature storage and can cater for innumerable situations where sub zero storage is unfeasable.
Obvious advantages especially for developing countries and for increased rates of vaccination and ultimately potential for herd immunity in population.
Prior war efforts in converting factory floors to accomodate and ramp up production is analogous to recent pharmaceutical companies in their effort to combat COVD- 19. Known as second-source agreements, smaller companies in developing countries have paired up with vaccine companies in rich countries to produce faster rollout times.

Diary entry

Western light streams through the window and the plane lunges left into heavy cloud and over rugged mountain ranges. We pop out the other side over the sea and I can see the coast line all the way up. It looks superb in the afternoon light. Strangely idyllic as the vegetation meets the deep beach. The sea looks restful as the waves break on the shore. Sky is dark with rain as it smothers the mountain peaks to the west with orange light breaking through. I imagine this is what it must have been like with the first tall ships. It looks stunning.

Continue reading Diary entry

Unhinged

I found myself watching Unhinged at the local cinema and wondered why I was there. Its the first time I could actually visit the cinema after the covid lockdown but it felt anticlimactic. A lawyer friend recommended the flick but it wasn’t until a critical scene that it ‘clicked’. Here is a lawyer on celluloid who is subject to the wrath of a road raging psychopath. The ‘unhinged’ Tom Cooper (Russell Crowe) manages to track them down on his victim’s phone. The grizzly scene is set in a suburban diner and ends quickly enough when Cooper reveals his intent. Continue reading Unhinged

Alexander Calder

As you enter the exhibition you are immersed in space and colour. But this is unexpected because the exhibits are all around you and some in motion. A great array of forms in all shapes and sizes. Some of these are vast as they tower above you while others appear weightless and almost float away. You are made aware of your human scale.
The effect is perhaps more akin to a child’s first impression. It’s not surprising mobiles are used to adorn baby’s cribs.
There are many stabiles on exhibit and some are as arresting as the mobiles. Their shapes are similar while their colours are limited to primaries. Continue reading Alexander Calder