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Silversea Water Cooler: Welcome! Part Five


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Sounds just like here to me, mysty.  Thank goodness the darkness, from about 4 p.m. to 8 a.m. is shortly  to improve.  When I was young I hated the dark evenings, now it is the dark mornings I hate more.  I suppose there is a reason?

 

We are reaching the final throes of the Brexit struggles - I wonder if there will be a 'miracle' at the very last moment, to make everyone look good?

 

Lola

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Good morning coolers, well, vaccinations start this morning. Ironic, the first day of the shots

is the day we go over 300,000 deaths here in the states☹️.......the good and bad of our times.

 

JP, is your hospital getting a small amount of the vaccines as well?  Are you able to get one?

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1 hour ago, Lois R said:

JP, is your hospital getting a small amount of the vaccines as well?  Are you able to get one?

 

YES!!  Interested in hearing more details and specifics from J.P.  Tell us more from your perspective and background.  Good news with the start of the vaccine use here in the U.S.

 

THANKS!  Enjoy!  Terry in Ohio

 

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Well, Terry did ask for it...

 

Yes, the VA has ordered some Pfizer and some Moderna doses. Rumor has it that we will start getting jabbed next week because Albany is slated to get an allotment of Moderna vaccine. Not privy as to why.

 

As someone who works in ICU and is in super short supply, I will probably be at the head of the line. There are only 3 of us ICU MDs here so they are really keen to keep us from getting sick. In fact they may just have the FedEx truck chase me down upon arrival and throw the box at me.

 

Seriously though, I will wait outside with my sleeve rolled up the day the vaccine arrives. This virus is just nasty and I want no part of it. Chris may wait a bit longer than I, but we will see. 

 

The technology which brought this vaccine to market in under a year is nothing short of amazing. What a testament to science! And all that DNA research. It really paid off. This is a totally synthetic vaccine that probably could not have been made even 10 years ago. 

 

Historically most vaccines have been made by purifying a bit of protein from a pathogenic virus, then injecting it into a human to trigger an immune response. That technology takes a lot of time and your technique has to be precise. You don't want the rest of the virus sneaking into the vaccine.

 

You can speed it up by splicing the DNA segments for that protein into a bacteria or yeast and letting them manufacture it for you. Less risk of contamination. But even that can be slow, and you need advanced DNA splicing technology (like CRISPR).

 

Trying to inactivate or attenuate a whole virus to make a vaccine is even more work, and more risk. Hopefully the mRNA technique is the beginning of the end for that.

 

This new mRNA technique is brilliant but it is the end result of about 30 years of background work. Messenger RNA is a "working copy" of the organism's DNA blueprint to assemble a particular protein. The organism uses the mRNA to build the protein using ribosomes; the original DNA doesn't get used to directly synthesize protein. The protein is assembled one amino acid at a time, with the recipe read sequentially from the piece of mRNA. The process can be repeated as long as the mRNA is there.

 

So, in the last decade or so, DNA/RNA synthesis has become possible on a large scale,, and nowadays you can write instructions on a computer to string together a custom strand of DNA, or RNA. It's awesome. So "all" they had to do here was sequence the gene for the spike protein (child'splay), write the corresponding RNA sequence, and feed it into an RNA synthesizer. Remember GCAT(U)? Voila! An instant vaccine!

 

Once the mRNA is injected, human ribosomes pounce on it and manufacture some COVID-19 spike protein. Ribosomes just follow the plans. They don't care what they are making. The human body recognizes the foreign protein and forms antibodies. Now you're immune.

 

This is the stuff we learned about in school. And we thought it was just too far-fetched to ever happen. But supercomputers and molecular biology FTW. And it's only because of this technology that we don't have to wait a decade for a vaccine. It's the fastest vaccine in history. Because it's been done with this novel technology. 

 

Ok, school is out for the day. Have to eat lunch. Happy Monday all!

 

 

 

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35 minutes ago, silkismom said:

jp, quick questions--will people be tested for covid before getting the shot? Would being positive make a difference?

 

Probably no, on both counts. But somewhat unknown and may change over time.

 

The recommendation so far is that you get the vaccine, whether or not you had COVID-19 in the past. Maybe if you recently recovered (maybe in the past 3 months) it's ok to wait, but that's more to conserve doses for others who have no immunity. 

 

The immune response differs based on how the infection/ vaccine is administered. If you get a natural infection from droplets up your nose, you will make "mucosal" antibodies but likely not as many blood-borne antibodies. If you only get the vaccine you probably won't make mucosal antibodies but your blood-borne antibody response will be more robust. 

 

The mucosal antibodies are probably more important at preventing carriage but the blood-borne immunity is more important for preventing severe illness. The mucosal antibodies are a weak first line of defense that can sometimes prevent the infection from ever entering the body,, but the blood-borne stuff is the ultimate backup plan. The latter is what prevents real illness.

 

So a vaccinated person might get a little sick if exposed to a big slug of COVID-19, but should almost never get severe illness. And the trials so far have borne this out.

 

We also hope that immunity from a robust vaccine lasts longer than immunity from natural infection. There is theoretical reason to believe this may be the case.

 

If I had a positive nasal swab and knew I was brewing an infection, I'd still take the vaccine to give my blood-borne immunity a head start.

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29 minutes ago, zqtchas said:

JP:  Thanks for the information. Your answers are briefer and more understandable than what they dance around on/in the news. 

 

AGREED!!  Great and helpful, as always, information from J.P.  Keep it coming.

 

THANKS!  Enjoy!  Terry in Ohio

 

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JP, thank you for your explanations above.   Scientists (& I comfortably include MDs in the category) who can explain a technical topic in simple terms, understandable to most, are the ones who best command knowledge of the topic.

Separately, I'm trying to decide if Chas has identified a potential solution to another national issue we are seeing on the news all too often lately here.

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Super helpful JP.  Thanks for taking the time to share your perspective with us.

Now, once these Covid-19 vaccinations are done, any chance you can convince the good folks who understand and use this new fangled technology to create a fat burning vaccine?  I've got some stubborn belly fat that I keep adding to each year that I'd like to lose without having to change my lifestyle. 😉

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7 minutes ago, Stumblefoot said:

Super helpful JP.  Thanks for taking the time to share your perspective with us.

Now, once these Covid-19 vaccinations are done, any chance you can convince the good folks who understand and use this new fangled technology to create a fat burning vaccine?  I've got some stubborn belly fat that I keep adding to each year that I'd like to lose without having to change my lifestyle. 😉

 

Yes, but the vaccine might prevent you from cruising with Silversea from now on. Not worth it!

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True or False

 

Santa's Reindeer---

According to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, while both male and female reindeer grow antlers in the summer each year, male reindeer drop their antlers at the beginning of winter, usually late November to mid-December.  Female reindeer retain their antlers till after they give birth in the spring.  Therefore, according to every historical rendition depicting Santa's reindeer, every single one of them, from Rudolph to Blitzen---had to be a female.  We should've known.  Only women, while pregnant, would be able to drag a fat man in a red velvet suit all around the world in one night and not get lost.  !!!

 
 
--
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Anybody in the NE now preparing for the big storm and snow coming your way?  Below is the map from AccuWeather.  In our area, we will only get 1-3".  Parts of the east to get a foot and a half of snow!!

 

Be prepared and safe!!

 

THANKS!  Enjoy!  Terry in Ohio

 

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