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Reblogged:Friday Hodgepodge

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Four Things

Three on corona, one on looting...

Editor's Note: I plan to take Monday off from blogging due to family obligations. Happy Labor Day!

1. Derek Lowe of In the Pipeline has been doing invaluable work keeping his readers abreast of COVID-19 vaccine developments, even including logistical issues that aren't on many people's radar. His latest update is no exception, as exemplified by his summary of the status of Johnson and Johnson's vaccine:
Image by the CDC, via Unsplash, license.
[T]hese folks have another obscure adenovirus (Ad26) in an attempt to avoid ... problems [inherent to the viral vector approach]. They've announced a Phase III trial starting this month that looks like the largest in the field (up to 60,000 patients) in locations all around the world. They've also been signing deals for reserving hundreds of millions of doses, should things work out, and continue to expand their manufacturing capacity. From what I can see, they're the only ones at present who are not running a booster-shot trial, which could be an interesting logistical advantage for them. [links omitted, minor edits]
If I count correctly, Lowe has updated us on 40 vaccines grouped together under six broad types. In addition to this being great news in terms of putting a stop to this pandemic, Lowe concludes by noting that our knowledge and capabilities in the field of vaccination are going to end up vastly improved after all this work.

2. High doses of Vitamin D show great promise in reducing the severity of COVID-19, according to a pilot randomized clinical study:
Our pilot study demonstrated that administration of a high dose of Calcifediol or 25-hydroxyvitamin D, a main metabolite of vitamin D endocrine system, significantly reduced the need for ICU treatment of patients requiring hospitalization due to proven COVID-19. Calcifediol seems to be able to reduce severity of the disease, but larger trials with groups properly matched will be required to show a definitive answer.
Of fifty treated patients, only one required admission to an intensive care unit. Of twenty-six untreated patients, half did.

I am not a physician and strongly suspect that regularly mega-dosing vitamin D would be a bad idea, but I have heard about the possibility that it can help against the disease. So, a month or so ago, I started taking a daily supplement to ensure that I wasn't deficient in Vitamin D.

3. A big problem with a new disease whose symptoms look like the flu is figuring out if you are coming down with it or might have had it. You can make more educated guesses now, based on order of symptom onset in the first case and seven signs in the second. In neither case is everything hard and fast.

4. Over at The Grumpy Economist is a very interesting review of a review of In Defense of Looting, in which John Cochrane highlights many entertaining and valuable points, in addition to making many himself. Here is one of his excerpts from the review:
If [author Vicky] Osterweil's defense is a bad one, she has now given other pro-looters a chance to reply to it and say why. If they do not, we can assume that they agree with Osterweil, and her argument is the pinnacle of looting apologia. A week ago, you could have said that looting might not be so bad, and I might have wondered what you meant by that. Now I will ask you if your reasons are the same as Osterweil's, and I will make fun of you if you say yes. This is progress. For that, thank [NPR's program,] Code Switch.
Cochrane adds: "[Reviewer Graeme] Wood wisely sees wisdom in a book that one is simply tempted to trash. This is a deep and wise point about many bad but authoritative books."

-- CAV

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