The first coronavirus vaccine to be tested in people appears to be safe and able to stimulate an immune response against the virus, its manufacturer, Moderna, announced on Monday.
The findings are based on results from the first eight people who each received two doses of the vaccine, starting in March.
Those people, healthy volunteers, made antibodies that were then tested in human cells in the lab, and were able to stop the virus from replicating — the key requirement for an effective vaccine. The levels of those so-called neutralizing antibodies matched the levels found in patients who had recovered after contracting the virus in the community.
The company has said that it is proceeding on an accelerated timetable, with the next phase involving 600 people to begin soon. But U.S. government officials have warned that producing a vaccine that would be widely available could take a year to 18 months. There is no proven treatment or vaccine against the coronavirus at this time.
If the trials go well, a vaccine could become available for widespread use by the end of this year or early 2021, Moderna’s chief medical officer said. [Note the contradiction between the company projection and the government statement.]
Ever wished your partner would spend more time with you? How quaint! This is the universe’s way of testing our relationships. And if the data from China is any indication, we’ll be seeing a wave of divorces once people can get to their lawyers.
Not me, though; one nasty divorce was enough for a lifetime. But since 24-hour togetherness can strain any partnership, I’m trying to follow a few rules.
Spend time apart. Encourage separate activities to create some alone time; for instance, I’ll bake or write while my husband paints or works on his computer. And if you live in a studio apartment, try to at least identify separate work spaces. With luck, this will give each of you something to talk about every evening besides the virus.
Share a laugh: a book, video, joke, photo or film. We’ve just gone through all three Cage Aux Folles movies (note: the subtitled versions are funnier than the dubbed ones).
Plan things to look forward to once life returns to normal — a trip, dinner at a special restaurant, going out with friends, etc. Fantasizing encouraged.
Connect with others. We enjoyed a Zoom cocktail hour with two of our favorite couples the other night and are going to make this a regular routine. Cheers!
Make a big bowl of popcorn and find something fun on TV. We’ve been watching old Nick and Nora movies from the ’30’s and adventure films such as the James Bond, Kingsman and Indiana Jones franchises. Pretty much anything that bears no resemblance to today’s world is a good choice.
Stop obsessing over the news. It helps nothing and makes both parties depressed, which isn’t conducive to a happy home. Being informed is one thing; worrying about anything outside your own control is counterproductive.
Go for a walk. It’s reassuring to see the flowers blooming and hear the birds chirping as if the whole world weren’t going to hell in a handbasket.
Take deep breaths whenever your beloved is getting on your last nerve.
My mantra: “Whatever doesn’t make you want to kill your partner makes you stronger.”
If the word “drone” conjures negative thoughts of spying and remote warfare, here’s something cheerful to contemplate.
Drones and digital tags are helping scientists study humpback whales in remote areas of the Antarctic, where in-person access is limited.
A partnership among Duke University Marine Robotics and Remote Sensing Lab (MaRRS), Friedlaender Lab, California Ocean Alliance, and the World Wildlife Fund is using drone photography to study how the whales feed, how healthy they are, and how they’re being affected by climate change. Drone images are also used to count local populations.
13-year old techie Amanda Southworth had suffered from anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts for most of her young life. When she couldn’t find an easy, affordable alternative to traditional modes of therapy, this brilliant coder invented it.
Three years later, her app AnxietyHelper has helped more than 68,000 people. The app provides information on mental health conditions, links to hotlines, and tools such as a stress relieving game to help its users cope with daily challenges.
Southworth hasn’t stopped there. She’s created a safety app for the LGBTQ+ community, an app to help psychosis patients manage their hallucinations, and a social media platform for protest groups so they can mobilize more safely and efficiently.
The Nature Conservancy recently reported survey results indicating that Hawaiian coral reefs are showing signs of growth and stabilization after devastating bleaching occurred in 2015. The healthier reefs were generally further away from excessive exposure to “human influences”, but even the most vulnerable species are starting to recover.
What’s more, there’s good news for fish living on coral reefs impacted by climate change*. A new study suggests that these reefs can still be productive, as the fish get most of their food from the currents which flow past them.
Yes, the first hurdle is getting people to actually admit there is such a thing, and that it poses a major threat.
But here’s reason for guarded optimism: According to recent reports, a new technique can convert carbon dioxide back into coal. In theory, this could make huge inroads into eliminating the global dangers of greenhouse gases.
Of course, a massive undertaking would be enormously expensive. But where there’s money to be made, there’s a way.
That alone might convert some skeptics.
Coal: It’s not just for barbecues anymore! Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com