Developing the Covid-19 vaccine

Covid-19 discussion, bring your own statistics
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Bird on a Fire
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Re: Developing the Covid-19 vaccine

Post by Bird on a Fire » Sat Nov 21, 2020 2:30 am

EACLucifer wrote:
Fri Nov 20, 2020 8:24 pm
Herainestold wrote:
Fri Nov 20, 2020 7:51 pm
AMS wrote:
Fri Nov 20, 2020 4:36 pm
Not saying it's wrong, but there's still a big question of trust when it comes to a Chinese state-owned firm.
I agree that they should be more forthcoming with their hard data. I expect that will change in coming days.

Would you rather trust profit seeking Big Pharma statistics?
Yes, because there is a robust system of oversight, including a free press that can highlight violations.
I mean, no there isn't. Our curly-haired forefather (Ben Goldacre - amongst many, many others) is quite clear that the problems like publication bias, failures of peer review, weak adoption and enforcement of trial registration, ghostwriting, paper mills, predatory journals, pay-to-play publication, weak peer review, regulatory capture, outright corruption and so on and so on, make it very difficult to trust results coming out of the pharmaceutical industry. He wrote a whole book called Bad Pharma and everything, but people don't seem as keen to accept its arguments as they were when chuckling at those wacky chiropractors back in the Bad Science days.

Pharmaceutical companies have at least as bad a track record at covering up problems and exaggerating successes as the Chinese government.
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Re: Developing the Covid-19 vaccine

Post by EACLucifer » Sat Nov 21, 2020 4:00 am

Bird on a Fire wrote:
Sat Nov 21, 2020 2:30 am
EACLucifer wrote:
Fri Nov 20, 2020 8:24 pm
Herainestold wrote:
Fri Nov 20, 2020 7:51 pm


I agree that they should be more forthcoming with their hard data. I expect that will change in coming days.

Would you rather trust profit seeking Big Pharma statistics?
Yes, because there is a robust system of oversight, including a free press that can highlight violations.
I mean, no there isn't. Our curly-haired forefather (Ben Goldacre - amongst many, many others) is quite clear that the problems like publication bias, failures of peer review, weak adoption and enforcement of trial registration, ghostwriting, paper mills, predatory journals, pay-to-play publication, weak peer review, regulatory capture, outright corruption and so on and so on, make it very difficult to trust results coming out of the pharmaceutical industry. He wrote a whole book called Bad Pharma and everything, but people don't seem as keen to accept its arguments as they were when chuckling at those wacky chiropractors back in the Bad Science days.
And compared to a fascist regime that has decided that all publications relating to coronavirus must go through specific censors, it is still robust. Are pharmaceutical companies perfect? Hell no, but the scrutiny they face over a vaccine right now is fairly intense, whereas China announced the specific censorship of scientific papers to do with COVID, covered up the original pandemic, and used violence against a doctor for merely mentioning it in a private chatroom.

And consider also the role of a free press. Investigative journalism is a powerful tool. A tool that China is almost entirely missing due to its fascist government.
Pharmaceutical companies have at least as bad a track record at covering up problems and exaggerating successes as the Chinese government.
You need to pay more attention to the Chinese government, then.

Though its an older case, I suggest looking up how the disparity between official amounts of grain produced and what was actually in storage drove China into famine under Mao. The complete lack of oversight meant local officials competed to "produce" as much grain as possible by exaggerating how much had been produced in order to gain status within the party. Distribution decisions based on the official numbers were a large cause of one of the greatest humanitarian disasters in human history. The same party, with the same restrictions on independent oversight, is still in power.

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Re: Developing the Covid-19 vaccine

Post by Herainestold » Sun Nov 22, 2020 1:57 am

Should Big Pharma profit off a covid vaccine?
Rather than being a PR triumph for big pharma, coronavirus should serve as a reminder of the disastrous consequences of leaving a life-saving industry in the hands of a profiteering monopoly. Britain has it better than most countries: the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) has considerable leverage over pharmaceutical companies by being able to judge whether their drugs are value for money for the NHS. But, while the US pays on average nearly four times more for drugs than other countries, everybody is being ripped off.

With a successful vaccine, herd immunity could be possible without resulting in millions more dead. This is a global catastrophe, after all: up to 150 million more people will be driven into extreme poverty by next year as a consequence of the pandemic. Hundreds of thousands have died, from New Delhi to Rio de Janeiro, while entire economies have been ravaged. But a pharmaceutical industry that has long made exorbitant profits by free-riding on public-sector research has been granted its most lucrative money-spinner yet. So yes, rejoice that a vaccine may well be coming, but don’t give kudos to a pharmaceutical industry that is as dysfunctional as it is morally bankrupt.
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfr ... lic-sector

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Re: Developing the Covid-19 vaccine

Post by Millennie Al » Sun Nov 22, 2020 6:19 am

EACLucifer wrote:
Sat Nov 21, 2020 4:00 am
Though its an older case, I suggest looking up how the disparity between official amounts of grain produced and what was actually in storage drove China into famine under Mao. The complete lack of oversight meant local officials competed to "produce" as much grain as possible by exaggerating how much had been produced in order to gain status within the party. Distribution decisions based on the official numbers were a large cause of one of the greatest humanitarian disasters in human history. The same party, with the same restrictions on independent oversight, is still in power.
That was the Communist Party in the days when it was a communist party. Since then it has mutated into the Capitalist Party, while strenuously pretending that it is still communist.
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Re: Developing the Covid-19 vaccine

Post by Millennie Al » Sun Nov 22, 2020 6:21 am

Herainestold wrote:
Sun Nov 22, 2020 1:57 am
Should Big Pharma profit off a covid vaccine?
I would certainly hope so. If people save millions of lives through strenuous efforts, they should surely be rewarded. Do you think they should be happy to merely get a round of applause?
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Re: Developing the Covid-19 vaccine

Post by AMS » Sun Nov 22, 2020 8:31 am

Herainestold wrote:
Sun Nov 22, 2020 1:57 am
Should Big Pharma profit off a covid vaccine?
Rather than being a PR triumph for big pharma, coronavirus should serve as a reminder of the disastrous consequences of leaving a life-saving industry in the hands of a profiteering monopoly. Britain has it better than most countries: the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) has considerable leverage over pharmaceutical companies by being able to judge whether their drugs are value for money for the NHS. But, while the US pays on average nearly four times more for drugs than other countries, everybody is being ripped off.

With a successful vaccine, herd immunity could be possible without resulting in millions more dead. This is a global catastrophe, after all: up to 150 million more people will be driven into extreme poverty by next year as a consequence of the pandemic. Hundreds of thousands have died, from New Delhi to Rio de Janeiro, while entire economies have been ravaged. But a pharmaceutical industry that has long made exorbitant profits by free-riding on public-sector research has been granted its most lucrative money-spinner yet. So yes, rejoice that a vaccine may well be coming, but don’t give kudos to a pharmaceutical industry that is as dysfunctional as it is morally bankrupt.
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfr ... lic-sector
Free-riding on public sector research? The industry as a whole spent $186bn on R+D in 2019.

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Re: Developing the Covid-19 vaccine

Post by shpalman » Sun Nov 22, 2020 9:00 am

It's hardly a "profiteering monopoly" when there are more than 170 different teams with vaccines in various stages of development.

Partnership between academia and industry can work to the benefit of both, and I certainly prefer it to the spin-off model.
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Re: Developing the Covid-19 vaccine

Post by jimbob » Sun Nov 22, 2020 9:49 am

bolo wrote:
Fri Nov 20, 2020 8:21 pm
Herainestold wrote:
Fri Nov 20, 2020 7:51 pm
AMS wrote:
Fri Nov 20, 2020 4:36 pm
Not saying it's wrong, but there's still a big question of trust when it comes to a Chinese state-owned firm.
Would you rather trust profit seeking Big Pharma statistics?
Yes, of course. (Dammit why do I keep reading this sh.t.)
Exactly.
Have you considered stupidity as an explanation

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Re: Developing the Covid-19 vaccine

Post by Bird on a Fire » Sun Nov 22, 2020 12:29 pm

It's easy to say that from wealthy countries with a strong public health service.

In most of the world, people aren't going to be able to afford the vaccine, as already happens with other medications. I assume that governments, intergovernmental organisations and NGOs will have to pick up the slack as usual, but I'd be very interested to hear of any cases where big pharmaceutical companies voluntarily reduce the amount of money they make to improve uptake of the vaccine.
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Re: Developing the Covid-19 vaccine

Post by Bird on a Fire » Sun Nov 22, 2020 12:49 pm

AMS wrote:
Sun Nov 22, 2020 8:31 am
Herainestold wrote:
Sun Nov 22, 2020 1:57 am
Should Big Pharma profit off a covid vaccine?
Rather than being a PR triumph for big pharma, coronavirus should serve as a reminder of the disastrous consequences of leaving a life-saving industry in the hands of a profiteering monopoly. Britain has it better than most countries: the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) has considerable leverage over pharmaceutical companies by being able to judge whether their drugs are value for money for the NHS. But, while the US pays on average nearly four times more for drugs than other countries, everybody is being ripped off.

With a successful vaccine, herd immunity could be possible without resulting in millions more dead. This is a global catastrophe, after all: up to 150 million more people will be driven into extreme poverty by next year as a consequence of the pandemic. Hundreds of thousands have died, from New Delhi to Rio de Janeiro, while entire economies have been ravaged. But a pharmaceutical industry that has long made exorbitant profits by free-riding on public-sector research has been granted its most lucrative money-spinner yet. So yes, rejoice that a vaccine may well be coming, but don’t give kudos to a pharmaceutical industry that is as dysfunctional as it is morally bankrupt.
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfr ... lic-sector
Free-riding on public sector research? The industry as a whole spent $186bn on R+D in 2019.
And? It's hardly a secret that research into global health priorities is lead by public and charitable sectors (according to The Who, anyway).

According to The Who, again, "Two years into the Sustainable Development Goals era, global spending on health continues to rise. It was US$ 7.8 trillion in 2017, or about 10% of GDP and $1,080 per capita – up from US$ 7.6 trillion in 2016."

There's loads of money in health. Pharma revenue is about US$1.25 trillion a year, suggesting they're getting about a sixth of spending. Your figure suggests big pharma R&D is equivalent to about 15% of revenue. Is that enormously unusual in a technological field?

I'm surprised to see so much pushback against the idea that the pharmaceutical industry is an amoral, profit-seeking enterprise which has an undesirable amount of power over global health outcomes.

You guys do realise you can criticise an industry without having to be a Maoist, right?
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Re: Developing the Covid-19 vaccine

Post by Bird on a Fire » Sun Nov 22, 2020 12:58 pm

I mean, paying fines for malpractice is 1% of that R&D figure in the USA alone. Is that unusual in a technological industry?

Some fun figures:
From 1991 through 2017, a total of 412 settlements were reached between the federal and state governments and pharmaceutical manufacturers, for a total of $38.6 billion. For 2016 and 2017, 38 settlements for a total of $2.9 billion occurred.
The continued low levels of financial penalties in 2016-2017 were primarily due to a continued decrease in financial penalties (almost all federal) from settlements involving unlawful promotion of prescription drugs. Such penalties have declined drastically, by 94%, since their peak in 2012-2013 – from $8.7 billion then to just $527 million in 2016-2017.
From 1991 through 2017, overcharging of government health programs (mainly drug pricing fraud against state Medicaid programs) was the most common violation, but the number of settlements involving this violation has decreased dramatically in recent years, with just three federal or state settlements involving overcharging of government health programs in 2016-2017 and eight settlements in 2014-2015, compared with 78 such settlements in 2012-2013.
Qui tam (whistleblower) revelations, brought mostly under the False Claims Act, were responsible, at least in part, for 92 of 170 (54%) federal settlements, and $24.7 billion of $34.8 billion (71%) in federal penalties, from 1991 through 2017.
From 1991 through 2017, GlaxoSmithKline and Pfizer paid more in financial penalties — $7.9 billion and $4.7 billion, respectively — and reached more settlements (32 and 34, respectively) with the federal and state governments than any other companies. Johnson & Johnson, Teva, Merck, Abbott, Eli Lilly, Schering-Plough, Novartis, Mylan, and AstraZeneca were the other companies that paid more than $1 billion in financial penalties from 1991 through 2017, with Teva and Mylan having joined the $1 billion list over the past two years. Thirty-seven companies have entered into multiple settlements with the federal government from 1991 through 2017, with Pfizer (14), GlaxoSmithKline (9), Novartis (9), Bristol-Myers Squibb (8), Teva (7), and Merck (7) finalizing the most federal settlements.
I'm sure I recognise some of those names from press releases about covid vaccine trials.

So, can we stop the make-believe? The pharmaceutical industry is run by shady sleazy fuckstains who lie and kill people to increase their profits. We all know that, and normally accept it. There's no need to close ranks and circle the wagons just because the link to valid criticism made in a major UK newspaper was posted by an account that also posts pro-China b.llsh.t and general trolling. FFS.
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Re: Developing the Covid-19 vaccine

Post by jdc » Sun Nov 22, 2020 3:19 pm

Bird on a Fire wrote:
Sun Nov 22, 2020 12:29 pm
It's easy to say that from wealthy countries with a strong public health service.

In most of the world, people aren't going to be able to afford the vaccine, as already happens with other medications. I assume that governments, intergovernmental organisations and NGOs will have to pick up the slack as usual, but I'd be very interested to hear of any cases where big pharmaceutical companies voluntarily reduce the amount of money they make to improve uptake of the vaccine.
Some have promised not to profit during the pandemic, but there's a "but" - at least in the case of AZ: https://www.ft.com/content/c474f9e1-880 ... 4af145b686
AstraZeneca, which has promised not to profit from its Covid-19 vaccine “during the pandemic”, has the right to declare an end to the pandemic as soon as July 2021, according to an agreement with a manufacturer.

The UK pharmaceutical company, which is developing a vaccine candidate with Oxford university, has said it would provide doses on a cost basis for at least as long as the pandemic lasts.

However, a memorandum of understanding between AstraZeneca and a Brazilian manufacturer, which has been seen by the Financial Times, defines the “Pandemic Period” as ending on July 1 2021. The period could be extended but only if “AstraZeneca acting in good faith considers that the SARS-COV-2 pandemic is not over”, it says. 

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Re: Developing the Covid-19 vaccine

Post by jdc » Sun Nov 22, 2020 3:25 pm

This says Johnson & Johnson also made some kind of non-profit pledge: https://www.ft.com/content/0b18aac0-50a ... bc44debcb2 and also gives a bit of info on the approach from pharma generally; there's also a nice chart showing price of a shot, funding received by the company etc.

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Re: Developing the Covid-19 vaccine

Post by AMS » Sun Nov 22, 2020 8:31 pm

Bird on a Fire wrote:
Sun Nov 22, 2020 12:49 pm
AMS wrote:
Sun Nov 22, 2020 8:31 am
Herainestold wrote:
Sun Nov 22, 2020 1:57 am
Should Big Pharma profit off a covid vaccine?



https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfr ... lic-sector
Free-riding on public sector research? The industry as a whole spent $186bn on R+D in 2019.
And? It's hardly a secret that research into global health priorities is lead by public and charitable sectors (according to The Who, anyway).

According to The Who, again, "Two years into the Sustainable Development Goals era, global spending on health continues to rise. It was US$ 7.8 trillion in 2017, or about 10% of GDP and $1,080 per capita – up from US$ 7.6 trillion in 2016."

There's loads of money in health. Pharma revenue is about US$1.25 trillion a year, suggesting they're getting about a sixth of spending. Your figure suggests big pharma R&D is equivalent to about 15% of revenue. Is that enormously unusual in a technological field?

I'm surprised to see so much pushback against the idea that the pharmaceutical industry is an amoral, profit-seeking enterprise which has an undesirable amount of power over global health outcomes.

You guys do realise you can criticise an industry without having to be a Maoist, right?
Well my point was that the quoted part accused the industry of "free-riding", when in fact they are spending 100s of billions of their own money on R+D. It's not Maoist or "circling the wagons" to suggest that that specific criticism is unfair. I'm not defending everything about the industry, and accept it gets things wrong, but let's keep it grounded in reality. (Your next post accuses the leaders of the companies of being sleazy fuckstains who are happy to kill people for profit, which is quite an accusation...)

Yes, there are problems with how the industry focusses on 1st world problems - that's because they can see what will make a return on the huge investment needed. To solve the other problems requires some way of funding the work - what do you suggest, given the 100s of billions needed?

Also, don't confuse revenue with profit. It's an industry with big numbers, but also big operating costs. I looked up the numbers for AZ, given that it's the example quoted a few times - 2019 figures are $24bn revenue but "only" $3bn net profit, and an R+D budget of $6bn, so 25% of revenue. Big numbers I agree, and I don't know how typical it is compared to others, but it does show that revenue is misleading if your suggesting that money could be spent in a different way.

(By the way, the fines look they are mostly related to the f.cked up way the US healthcare system is funded, rather than anything to do with patient safety issues.)

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Re: Developing the Covid-19 vaccine

Post by Millennie Al » Mon Nov 23, 2020 4:43 am

Bird on a Fire wrote:
Sun Nov 22, 2020 12:29 pm
It's easy to say that from wealthy countries with a strong public health service.

In most of the world, people aren't going to be able to afford the vaccine, as already happens with other medications. I assume that governments, intergovernmental organisations and NGOs will have to pick up the slack as usual, but I'd be very interested to hear of any cases where big pharmaceutical companies voluntarily reduce the amount of money they make to improve uptake of the vaccine.
Without rich countries and wealthy companies doing research there would be no vaccine - as would be the case for very many other treatments.

What do you think should happen? That those who do the work should not profit from it? What reward should they get?
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Re: Developing the Covid-19 vaccine

Post by Woodchopper » Mon Nov 23, 2020 7:14 am

The vaccine developed by the University of Oxford stops 70% of people developing Covid symptoms, a large scale trial shows.
It is both a triumph and a disappointment after vaccines by Pfizer and Moderna showed 95% protection.
However, the Oxford jab is far cheaper, and is easier to store and get to every corner of the world than the other two.
So it will still play a significant role in tackling the pandemic, if it is approved by regulators.
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-55040635

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Re: Developing the Covid-19 vaccine

Post by Woodchopper » Mon Nov 23, 2020 7:47 am

On Monday, Oxford and AstraZeneca said two different dosing regimens showed different levels of efficacy in late-stage trials in the UK and Brazil.

When the vaccine was given as a half dose, followed by a full one at least one month later, efficacy was 90 per cent. When the jab was given as two full doses at least one month apart, efficacy was 62 per cent. The average efficacy was 70 per cent.

[...]

The difference in efficacy between the two Oxford vaccine doses was unexpected. The scientists speculate that the lower first dose may have primed the immune system in a way that made it more receptive to the second jab but more research will be needed to confirm this.
https://www.ft.com/content/2da97a56-23d ... c8ec322c69

Yes, it is an odd result.

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Re: Developing the Covid-19 vaccine

Post by bob sterman » Mon Nov 23, 2020 7:56 am

Woodchopper wrote:
Mon Nov 23, 2020 7:47 am
https://www.ft.com/content/2da97a56-23d ... c8ec322c69

Yes, it is an odd result.
Uninformed speculation - maybe it's got something to do with the extent to which the first jab stimulates immunity towards the adenovirus vector vs the spike protein?

Too much of an immune response towards the adenovirus vector might make the second dose less effective at producing the spike protein.

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Re: Developing the Covid-19 vaccine

Post by lpm » Mon Nov 23, 2020 11:21 am

They really f.cked up their announcement. bl..dy scientists giving the official result. Should have let the PR team handle it and declare the 90%1 result.











1 Providing a tiny mention of the 70% in the footnotes.
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Re: Developing the Covid-19 vaccine

Post by shpalman » Mon Nov 23, 2020 12:14 pm

There are two results from the trial of more than 20,000 volunteers in the UK and Brazil.

Overall, there were 30 cases of Covid in people who had two doses of the vaccine and 101 cases in people who received a dummy injection. The researchers said it worked out at 70% protection, which is better than the seasonal flu jab.

...

However, protection was 90% in an analysis of around 3,000 people given a half-sized first dose and a full-sized second dose.
Is there any statistical legitimacy behind the 90% result?

To get 90% in the 3000 people and 62% in the remaining 17,000 you could have 30 vs. 3 cases in control vs. vax in the 3000, and 71 vs 27 in the remaining 17,000 for example.
molto tricky

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Re: Developing the Covid-19 vaccine

Post by PeteB » Mon Nov 23, 2020 12:34 pm

Yeah, you would end up with quite wide bands at that level. Having said that, this is obviously a different category to the post hoc sub group analysis you sometimes see. They had some sort of hypothesis they wanted to test with the 1/2 dose first shot. Be interesting if they thought it might be more effective or they were just checking if they could get away with 1/2 dose to eek out the vaccine

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Re: Developing the Covid-19 vaccine

Post by shpalman » Mon Nov 23, 2020 12:42 pm

I would have expected that the dose would have been finalized in an earlier phase.
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Re: Developing the Covid-19 vaccine

Post by Herainestold » Mon Nov 23, 2020 2:22 pm

bob sterman wrote:
Mon Nov 23, 2020 7:56 am
Woodchopper wrote:
Mon Nov 23, 2020 7:47 am
https://www.ft.com/content/2da97a56-23d ... c8ec322c69

Yes, it is an odd result.
Uninformed speculation - maybe it's got something to do with the extent to which the first jab stimulates immunity towards the adenovirus vector vs the spike protein?

Too much of an immune response towards the adenovirus vector might make the second dose less effective at producing the spike protein.
I do remember some speculation that pre existing immunity to adenovirus could affect the results. I dont remember the details.

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Re: Developing the Covid-19 vaccine

Post by shpalman » Mon Nov 23, 2020 2:29 pm

molto tricky

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