Novak, Wnyc Studios, President Biden discussed on Science Friday

Science Friday


Talking about the nova vacs. It's it's a much more traditional vaccine. Than the m are rene ones right. I mean it's akin the whooping cough vaccine. Could that make more people feel safe. Taking it knowing that i think it really could and The the novak's clinical trial results were incredibly encouraging It does seem to be a very effective vaccine as well. It's what's called a protein sub unit vaccine so it is actually making the spike protein. Before it goes into your arm was knew about this. Is it actually uses a different protein expression system. that's derived from moth cells. They can make quite a bit of protein. They've coupled with a compound that stimulates your immune system it makes vaccine response is more effective. It really does appear that it works very very well. I think for a lot of people who are unsure about the a or the adenovirus vector technology might feel more comfortable. Getting a protein sub unit vaccine. Because as you pointed out these have been used for the cellular protests vaccine. They've been used for the hepatitis b. Vaccine most people are familiar enough with those vaccine technologies that they might feel comfortable taking that protein sub unit vaccines are very temperature stable And they're easy to transport. So i think the novak's vaccine is also going to be really huge For vaccinating other parts of the world where it may be more difficult to bring the marnie vaccines in particular and novak has pledged more than a billion doses to the global kovacs program. Yes and that's going to be absolutely crucial because With the clotting issues that have come up. These are still very rare. Side effects with johnson and johnson and with astrazeneca A lot of people in other countries have rightly wondered. If they're getting the short end of the stick. Why are we getting these great marnie. Vaccines that wealthier. Countries are getting and I think that having a very effective vaccine that is not on an adenovirus vector platform will do a lot for global vaccine confidence as well as just for getting the vaccine out to the rest of the globe and it's hard to see this from the. Us where now we have so many vaccines vaccines are expiring on. Freezer shells that you. There are parts of the world where people have not been vaccinated against kovin. They have not gotten access to those vaccines including healthcare workers including high risk people. So i think that it's absolutely crucial to get this vaccine out as soon as possible because a pandemic is by definition a global public health crisis. We need to make sure that we're vaccinating the world. This is science friday from wnyc studios at one weight into a discussion. That's been happening about where the virus came from. We mentioned a few weeks ago. That president biden had ordered an investigation into the origins of cova nineteen. And now we're getting some pushback against the idea that this was created intentionally in the laboratory someplace in china pushback coming from some very well known scientists. Yeah so this has been A really contentious topic and it's really unfortunate a lot of times. What people do need to understand is that most of the time it takes a long time to figure out where a virus came from in many cases even though we know where from viruses come from. We still haven't actually proved it. Any bowl is a great example of that. We know that it's it's transmitted by bats We know that it's carried by bats. There it's national reservoir but don't even really know what species. We've never isolated lives bulla virus from bat. We've only just started basically isolating sequences of ebola viruses from bats. He bala came onto our radar. Nineteen seventy six. So it's been around for almost fifty years and we still don't. We still don't have a solid answer definitive answer on that on that viruses origin But nobody thinks it came from a lab obviously So the the situation with covert or with stars corona virus to is that the first outbreak that was observed was in wuhan china Where there is a major virology institute where they were working on back corona viruses. Then we know that these are beco- viruses that's sub genus. That stars current virus to is in the sars-like krona viruses Is is normally in the wild in bats We also know that it can infect a number of different intermediate species and sars coronavirus to is also quite promiscuous in terms of the number of other species that it can that can infect so. There's a lot of different possibilities including the possibility that it came out of a accident. I think everybody does agree. That that analyzing the genome of this virus suggests that it wasn't a biological weapon in my opinion. I think that a natural origin remains the most likely. But it's true that we have not ruled out the possibility that it could have come from a lab. But i think one point that i'd like to make your ira is that people have been talking about this lately. As though these are equivalent possibilities nature or the lab in my opinion as a virologist Looking at the genome looking at the number of other species that this virus can infect the the weight of the evidence points toward in animal natural origin. And one of the reasons for that that we can look at and see in real time. Is that this. Virus was not properly adopted to human hosts that suggests that it was a very very recent spillover events. That still doesn't exclude again. A lab exposure but that does suggest this virus was in no way pre adopted Or passage to make it more effective as a human pathogen And the the evidence for that is right in front of our eyes. it's the variance. The reason why variants are emerging is because this virus has spread through the human population to the point that now it is beginning to evolve. Adapt to us if this virus was pre adopted. Or if it was already being passage through human cells or being developed into a human pathogen for research purposes not not even necessarily for malicious purposes We would see those those variants in the first viruses that were circulating. but we have not So i think that it is important to investigate all potential origin hypotheses and as i said none of them have been ruled out But in my opinion again. I think that the the natural origin hypothesis is by far the most likely well. I think that's a good place to stop. You have certainly filled us in on a lot of questions. We've all been having in our own minds. Thank you angela. It's always a pleasure. Ira dr angela. Rasmussen a research scientist at veto into vac. That's the university of saskatchewan's vaccine research institute in saskatoon and we have to take a break. And when we come back exploring edgar. Allan poe's lifelong fascination with science and from the alfred p sloan foundation working to enhance public understanding of science technology and economics in the modern world. This is science. Friday my roof. Plato leave my loneliness unbroken. Quit the bust above my door. Take by.

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