32 Comments
founding
Oct 3, 2023Liked by Katelyn Jetelina, Edward Nirenberg

Quite serendipitously Dr. Kariko’s memoir is coming out next week. I had the honor of reviewing the manuscript and it is incredible. The book is called Breaking Through: My Life in Science and it hits the shelves Oct 10.

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Oct 3, 2023Liked by Edward Nirenberg

Once again, a very clear and simple explanation. Thanks! And congratulations to Katalin and Drew! At last the Nobel Committee got out of the ice and awarded these two in record time. Well done.

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Grants cancelled or applications repeatedly rejected. Being demoted by the "wise heads" at Penn in the midst of the struggle. A lesser scientist would have given up and moved on. Katalin Kariko is an inspiration to us all, and richly deserves the Nobel. One wonders what other breakthroughs have been crushed by research administrators who see only the immediate dollar signs and don't appreciate the value of the research goal.

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This is an excellent description of vaccine development.

Far from being "rushed", the discovery and design of mRNA vaccines started when I was just about to enter high school, involving over SIX DECADES of research in multiple fields.

I wish I had had such an easily understandable graphic to show to the vaccine-hesitant parents of my patients while I was in practice.

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I live in a place where I am much more fearful of Lyme Disease than of COVID now that we have a vaccine for the latter, so I am excited to see tick-borne diseases on the list of things the technology might be used for.

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founding

Thrilling to see the Nobel go to these two. So well-earned!

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Oct 3, 2023·edited Oct 3, 2023

It would have been helpful [later edit—“for the media in 2020/21”] to have emphasized how longstanding the mRNA tech was. My impression is that the corporate hype of Radical Revolutionary Newness backfired.

Then again, the willfully deluded are just that and probably unreachable.

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author

We hyperlink multiple sources discussing the history at length.

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Sorry, that comment wasn’t directed at your essay. I meant that back in 2020/21, it might have been helpful for the media to have continually emphasized the long history. I recall seeing some but not enough to swamp “it’s brand new!”

But, again, I doubt anything would have been enough. Too many people are post-rational.

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Katelyn, Thanks so much for helping non-scientists like me understand something so complex. You continue to amaze with your ability to do so. Also enjoyed your interview with Andy on "In the Bubble." You two are my Covid heroes!

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THANKS goodness they were decades into the research. 10s of millions would have died otherwise!

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I’m really just asking for links to the clinical trials that showed the safety of the mRNA method. I appreciate anyone’s help with that. Thank you.

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Oct 3, 2023·edited Oct 3, 2023

Fase 3 Trial publication Pfizer

"Safety and Efficacy of the BNT162b2 mRNA Covid-19 Vaccine"

https://nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/nejmoa2034577

Fase 3 Trial publication Moderna

"Efficacy and Safety of the mRNA-1273 SARS-CoV-2 Vaccine"

https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/nejmoa2035389

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Reading this brings up questions on the safety concerns. Can you address how the safety of this method was tested so we can explain it to those who are hesitant? Thank you for your work!

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author

The safety testing is done with the clinical and preclinical trials. You give the vaccines and you watch what happens to people (or animals) who get them and you compare that to an appropriate reference group. We had over 70,000 people in the prelicensure studies for the 2 approved mRNA vaccines and we have data on hundreds of millions of doses (if not billions) from post marketing surveillance.

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I think her question is to address the "hesitants" and this data has been available for a while. Sadly, mis/disinformation have obscured this information.

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Oct 3, 2023Liked by Edward Nirenberg

Safety is tested during clinical trials. That's why we do them.

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Not sure we can address the "hesitant". We got safety records from not only from well powered RCT but we have real world data on billions of doses. Sure, there are risk as there is with any medical or natural treatment. However, the misinformation mill is churning with things like "died suddenly." Harkens back to the day of Jenner's vaccine. https://blogs-images.forbes.com/tarahaelle/files/2015/02/The_cow_pock.jpg

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Many clinical trials in humans and BILLIONS of doses worldwide. These were the largest clinical trials in the history of research.

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Such gratitude for these scientists. Currently pretty uncomfortable from the vaccination I was lucky enough to get today. Focusing on gratitude helps.

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Finally, a clear explanation of mRNA-based vaccines. Thanks!

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This is a stunning achievement, CONGRATULATIONS! Wonderful, clear article. I get emotional when I know about the incredible, dedicated, challenging work that scientists and others do in the service of humanity.

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I and millions of lives that she helped to save Thank her.

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