Many attempts at making a vaccine – some reaching initial trials phase

Meanwhile, at home we remain self isolating

We are still self-isolating at home. The Missus makes the occasional shopping trip, including a couple of neighbours’ requirements. Meanwhile, about once a week, I make the short trip to the bottlebank 300 yards away to get rid of cans and bottles. The rest of the rubbish cannot be dealt with currently, since we have no collection and the Tip is closed. The Missus is baking fruit pies and the neighbours are baking cakes. Nobody is starving!

Social Distancing – some observations

We are not ONS or National Census but we have noticed a few changes resulting from social distancing and lock down. We overlook both the Beach and the Harbour so see everyone out and about during the day. It is nice to see folk enjoying the marvellous sunny weather, exercising and keeping well apart from each other. However, there may be increased accidents as cyclists fail to negotiate the old railway tracks along the Harbourside.

  • Roughly 5 times as many cyclists
  • About 3 times as many joggers
  • A few more gull and crow feeders on the beach
  • Similar numbers of rough sleepers and “drinkers”
  • Initially, twice as many pensioners, now normal numbers
  • Fewer families and groups

Weymouth- business almost as usual

It is quite encouraging to see life in Weymouth carrying on unperturbed, despite self-isolating. People are still able to walk on the Beach, exercise their dogs and make short journeys for essential purposes. Of course, the pubs and restaurants are suffering badly from abruption of cash flow, as are guesthouses, hairdressers, nail salons, cafes, etc. Most have had to spend many £1000’s to prepare for the season and now find there is no income on which to survive till Winter. Nationally, we have seen a number of major restaurant chains collapse into administration, along with high street shopping outlets.

Even worse, the Fishing Charter captains are finding they still need to pay mooring fees, insurance, fuel and maintenance costs with no Government or insurance payout to help. (#Unsurance !) At least the commercial fishing fleet can still continue, to supply Weymouth with top quality fresh seafood daily. We are among many guesthouses facing expensive cancellations by groups of fishermen but at least most of us can claim the small business rate relief payment.

Making a Vaccine – the Global effort

According to ABC News from last month, there are 6 leading contenders for vaccine development, with varying timescales for implementation.

  • mRNA-1273 – Moderna Therapautics, codes for “spike” proteins, skipped straight to human trials, Phase 1 safety trials expected to end June 2021
  • Ad5-nCoV – Beijing Institute, viral vector (carrier) method, Human testing underway in Phase 1, hoping to be as successful as similar Ebola Vaccine, already in Phase 2, safety testing December 2020
  • ChAdOx1 – Oxford University, simultaneous Phase 1/2 testing underway, inactivated carrier vector virus from Chimpanzees, said to be closer to human genome, prognosis May 2021
  • BNT162 – Pfizer/BioNTech, mRNA type, Pre-clinical trials, similar to Flu vaccine, human trials start in USA/Germany this month.
  • INO-4800 – Inovio Pharmaceuticals, “Cellectra” device injects DNA coding immuno-generative proteins. Earlier work on similar MERS and HPV vaccines well advanced. Human trials start this month.
  • Sanofi Recombinant DNA – Engineered DNA, similar to SARS vaccine work. Successes with Flublock and Fluzone vaccines for flu. Human trials may start this month.
  • Around 40 drug treatments are being investigated Worldwide but with no promising candidates as of March 31st.

South West UK has been lucky so far