Jun. 26, 2020

VACCINE AND TREATMENT UPDATE

  • There are more than 100 projects around the world developing a COVID-19 vaccine, 8 are currently being tested on people.
    • Large scale testing could begin as early as July
    • Vaccine for seasonal flu tops out at 60% effective
  • Once a vaccine has been approved, it will need to be manufactured in large volumes. Some of the considerations are:
    • Global population is 7.8 billion; manufacturing enough vaccine will be biggest medical feat in history
    • Manufacturers are looking at 1-2 billion doses in the first year, maximum capacity for 4 billion
      • Need enough glass vials, syringes etc
      • Vaccines based on mRNA (messenger Ribonucleic Acid) need to be kept at -80C to be viable, so cold chain (temperature controls) cannot be broken (currently does not exist in most pharmacies or doctor’s offices)
      • It is common to lose 25% of vaccines due to broken cold-chains
  • Treatments are generally based on existing drugs or combinations of drugs.
    • Many of the new drugs being developed are antivirals. These target the virus in people who are already infected
    • Other treatments include monoclonal antibodies, convalescent plasma, immune modulators and stem cells
  • So far, the best cure is prevention, especially physical distancing and wearing masks.

OTHER COVID-19 DEVELOPMENTS

  • Texas, California, Florida and other states are experiencing record infection rates.
  • State governments are slowing down reopening but not re-imposing “stay-home” orders.
  • Washington State made mask-wearing mandatory.
  • Apple is closing 10% of their US stores.
  • Australia says their borders may be closed to international visitors until mid-2021.

TIDBITS

  • CN is investing $305 million in Alberta, focused on safety and capacity to strengthen the rail network, help reduce emissions and support economic growth.
  • Next generation of Apple Watch will track your hand-washing and sleep patterns.
  • Verkhoyansk, Siberia, located above the Arctic Circle, hit a record 100.4F (38C) last week vs record low of -90F (-68C) giving it the world record for extreme temperature range.
  • Amazon purchased the naming rights for the new NHL stadium in Seattle, calling it “Climate Pledge Arena”, it will be first ‘net-zero carbon certified arena’.