CORONAVIRUS --> HE KNEW; HE LIED; & at Least 523,852 HAVE DIED

QueEx

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United States cases
Updated Jan 22 at 7:22 AM local

Confirmed = 24,861,388 (+427,902)
Deaths =
413,259 (+8,447)
Recovered = 10,845,438 (+283,356)


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QueEx

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UNITED STATES CASES
Updated Jan 29 at 12:32 AM local

Confirmed. = 26,027,106 (+196,039)
Deaths = 437,743 (+4,879)
Recovered = 11,166,500
 

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Can the arrival of new coronavirus variants scare Americans into better pandemic behavior?


By Maggie Fox, CNN
Sat January 30, 2021


(CNN) A new forecast from the University of Washington's pandemic forecasting team is frightening. Even in a best-case scenario, close to another 200,000 Americans are likely to die between now and May 1.


More than 430,000 Americans have already died in the pandemic, and even if the entire population started doing everything right -- wearing masks, avoiding gatherings, staying two arms' lengths away from one another -- the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluationpredicts at least 130,000 more people would die in the next three months.

And now the new variants are here. Virologists predicted from the beginning that the coronavirus would change, and two more contagious variants are now spreading in the US.

"This virus will continue for certain to evolve and mutate," Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said during a call with reporters on Friday.


 

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Deadly COVID Mutations Can’t Stop the Party in Florida
Extra-contagious variants and a messy vaccine
rollout meet plenty of booze-fueled mayhem.



MIAMI—On Tuesday evening, a trio of young women approached the back gate of Lagniappe, a tree-lined, outdoor patio wine bar near Wynwood, a trendy neighborhood of Miami that has served as Florida’s COVID-19 epicenter since the pandemic washed over the state. From the sidewalk, it was easy to see the popular drinking spot was full. Nearly all of Lagniappe’s circular patio tables were packed with maskless people sharing bottles of pinot grigio, rose, and merlot.

On Monday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control reported that 92 out of 293 known U.S. cases of the B.1.1.7 variant, or the “U.K. variant,” a potentially more contagious strain of the coronavirus, were found in Florida. For comparison, California, which has nearly double the population, had identified 90 cases of the same variant. As the Miami Herald reported Wednesday, the U.K. variant had been identified in 19 Florida counties, but the highest incidence of known cases was in Miami-Dade and neighboring Broward. Researchers with Miami’s Jackson Health Systems have also begun analyzing positive samples for the P1 strain of the coronavirus, known as the Brazilian variant, given that Miami International Airport has two daily direct flights from Brazil, according to the paper.

Yet 25-year-old Amy Baez and her two pals at the bar didn’t seem fazed.

“I just don’t think COVID should keep me from enjoying myself and going out,” Baez said. “I definitely don’t want to catch it. But I only see a small circle of friends, we all wear masks, and meet up in places that have outdoor seating.”

The bar scene here is emblematic of why efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19 in Florida keep failing, infectious disease experts say. Gov. Ron DeSantis’ cowboy approach of refusing to enact a statewide mask mandate, blocking local jurisdictions from enforcing COVID-19 rules with monetary fines, and insisting on a libertarian pandemic philosophy has turned Florida into a coronavirus petri dish.


Deadly Coronavirus Variant Mutations Can’t Stop the Party in Florida (thedailybeast.com)
 

QueEx

Rising Star
Super Moderator
UNITED STATES CASES
Updated Feb 13 at 12:57 AM UTC

Confirmed = 27,746,122 (+96,887)
Deaths = 484,930 (+5,429)


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QueEx

Rising Star
Super Moderator
United States cases
Updated Feb 13 at 11:17 PM local

Confirmed = 27,837,755 (+91,633)
Deaths = 488,364 (+3,434)
Recovered = 11,166,500
 

QueEx

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Super Moderator
United States cases
Updated Feb 15 at 3:38 PM local

Confirmed = 27,939,592 (+101,837)
Deaths = 490,672 (+2,308)
 

QueEx

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Anti-Immigrant Hate Snarls the South’s Vaccine Rollout

THE OTHER EPIDEMIC - Inoculating the millions of undocumented workers who produce America’s agricultural bounty will be key to herd immunity. But gaining their trust is proving complicated.

Kaiser Health News
Published Feb. 15, 2021



Peter.Zelei

By Sarah Varney, KHN


In eastern Tennessee, doctors have seen firsthand how a hard-line immigration policy can affect the health and well-being of a community.

In 2018, federal agents raided a meatpacking plant in Morristown, a manufacturing hub in the Tennessee Valley, and detained nearly 100 workers they suspected of being in the country illegally. In the weeks that followed, scores of immigrant families who had found work in the meat-processing plants dotting broader Hamblen County scrambled to find sanctuary in churches—and scrupulously avoided seeking medical care.

The reason? Immigration agents were staking out clinics.

“We did not want people to come in for care because there were ICE officers in our parking lot,” said Parinda Khatri, chief clinical officer at Cherokee Health Systems, a nonprofit provider in Hamblen County.

As Tennessee, like other states, embarks on the daunting task of inoculating millions of residents against COVID-19, many health officials find their mission complicated by a pervasive mistrust of government and law enforcement among unauthorized immigrants, a population estimated at 11 million across the U.S.

The challenges are particularly acute in the South, where large populations of immigrants living there illegally help maintain the region’s thriving agricultural and food-processing industries even as many state and local Republican leaders, emboldened by the Trump administration’s four years of anti-immigrant vitriol, denounce unauthorized residents as criminals and call for more limited paths to citizenship.

The confluence of those aggressive attitudes and a highly contagious virus has prompted concerns in some states that lackluster vaccination of people in the country without legal permission will short-circuit efforts to achieve herd immunity for the broader community.

“We will never get on top of this pandemic if the undocumented are left out,” said Dr. Sharon Davis, chief medical officer at Los Barrios Unidos Community Clinic in Dallas, which serves 28,000 patients, the majority of them in the country without authorization.

She acknowledged the challenge that poses in a state such as Texas, where the state Republican Party platform calls for the immediate expulsion of all “illegal aliens.” Echoing clinic directors in many Southern states, Davis said rolling out vaccination plans in immigrant communities is a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.

“We live in Texas, so you don’t bring it up, you don’t mention it,” she said. “We talk about the uninsured, and we talk about the Latinx population with the highest morbidity and mortality—that’s who we’re trying to serve.”

In the Dallas-Fort Worth area, home to one of the nation’s largest populations of unauthorized immigrants, the COVID death rate for middle-aged Latino men is eight times higher than for white males of the same age.

Epidemiologists say the disparity is not surprising, given vast numbers of Central and South American workers in the country illegally are doing jobs deemed essential in the pandemic, including farm labor, meat-processing and food service; and most have no health insurance.

Compounding the risks, many of these workers labor in conditions ripe for viral spread, standing shoulder to shoulder along conveyor belts in vegetable-packing houses, washing dishes in restaurant kitchens, stocking grocery shelves and cleaning hotel rooms. At day’s end, many return to bunkhouses or cramped homes housing multiple generations of family.

“It’s going through the whole house, and if the whole house doesn’t work, they don’t eat,” Davis said. “We’ve had patients begging us not to test them, because then they can’t go to work.”

Davis was among the medical directors who said the mass vaccination sites many states are using in the rollout—giant tents staffed by uniformed National Guard troops and iPad-toting medical personnel—have spooked immigrant families.

“They are asking, ‘What documentation do we have to show at the mass vaccination sites?’” said Davis. “Fear of deportation is just huge, and very real.”

And not unfounded, advocates noted, coming off four years in which former President Donald Trump sharply curtailed both legal and illegal immigration through mass detention and deportation, travel bans and severely restricting asylum. President Joe Biden has pledged to undo many of Trump’s policies, but immigrant advocates say support for more drastic measures runs strong among some immigration agents and local law enforcement officers, who could make life difficult for immigrants they suspect are in the country illegally.

Beyond fear of harassment or arrest, Davis said, public health officials are dealing with misinformation, including widespread rumors about government surveillance efforts secreted in the vaccine. “They are hearing horrible stories on social media,” she said. “They believed there was a microchip in the vaccine and they would be tracked.”

Even some immigrants living in the U.S. legally have reservations about receiving a government-provided vaccine. The Trump administration pushed to derail citizenship for any immigrant who used taxpayer-funded public services, including health care. In December, the Department of Justice withdrew the rule, but confusion abounds, and clinic directors say patients will prioritize their green cards above almost all else.

Sluggish vaccination rates among immigrant populations are already apparent. In Mississippi, for example, the Department of Health reported this week that fewer than 2,800 Latinos have been vaccinated—about 1 percent of all vaccinations administered so far.

Tennessee offers a prime example of the tensions underlying the vaccine rollout.

The state’s governor, Bill Lee, a Republican, made headlines in May when he allowed the state Department of Health to share the names and addresses of those who tested positive for the virus with police. The city of Nashville’s health department separately provided local police with the addresses of people who tested positive or were quarantining.

Both efforts came under criticism and eventually ended, but Lee defended the effort, saying the information was “appropriate to protect the lives of law enforcement” and permitted by federal health privacy laws. The city later sought to reassure its “diverse immigrant communities” that the information would not be shared with federal immigration authorities.

Alabama, like Tennessee, has a history of tough rules regarding immigration, including a sweeping 2011 law that bars unauthorized immigrants from receiving nearly all public benefits, including most nonemergency medical care.

Velvet Luna, a 26-year-old registered nurse, has built her life in Ozark, Alabama, a small city in the Wiregrass, a region known for its poultry-processing facilities and large populations of Hispanic and Vietnamese immigrants. Luna enrolled in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, an Obama-era program that granted temporary status to unauthorized immigrants brought across the border as children. According to the National Immigration Law Center, nearly 500,000 DACA-eligible immigrants are essential workers.

Luna, who speaks with a soft Southern accent, once freely shared her immigration status, she said, but in recent years men who flirted with her “would find out my status and they would immediately change their attitude toward me. They would say ugly, ugly hurtful things. ‘You are the reason our country is declining. You need to get out of here.’”

As a nurse at an area hospital who volunteered in the COVID unit, she has received both doses of vaccine, but she understands the risks undocumented families weigh; neither of her parents, who live close by, are authorized to be in the U.S. “It’s OK to be scared, and it’s a courageous move to go get the vaccine and protect your family,” she said.

Even hard-line immigration opponents acknowledge the pandemic has tied together the fates of everyone living in the U.S., regardless of how they arrived.

“The main thing is to get shots into as many people’s arms as possible,” said Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, a conservative think tank that strenuously advocates for restricting immigration. “Your immigration may catch up with you someday, but that’s not today.”

The Biden administration has said U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement will not conduct enforcement operations at or near vaccine distribution sites. “ICE does not and will not carry out enforcement operations at or near health care facilities, such as hospitals, doctors' offices, accredited health clinics, and emergent or urgent care facilities, except in the most extraordinary of circumstances,” according to a Feb. 1 statement issued by the Department of Homeland Security.

State health commissioners also have tried to calm rattled nerves. “We are not denying vaccine to anyone who shows up at our sites and is in a phase,” said Dr. Lisa Piercey, commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Health. “This is a federal resource, and if you’re in this country then you get a vaccine.”

Advocates, however, said hurdles remain in convincing wary emigres that the personnel information collected as part of the vaccination process will not be used against them. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention expects providers administering COVID vaccines to upload patient information to state registries, including TennISS in Tennessee or ImmTrac2 in Texas. The tracking systems allow providers to ensure patients return for their second dose, and to identify any adverse reactions.

The use of such information for health initiatives, not immigration crackdowns, is a nuance that providers are struggling to explain.

“Patients, particularly those of immigrant origin, are highly sensitive to sharing family details,” Brian Haile, executive director of Neighborhood Health, a community clinic in Nashville, wrote to Tennessee health officials in December. “If we ask them to provide this information to providers they do not know, they will be even more reticent to have their families get vaccinated.”

In Hamblen County, Khatri said she’s trying to persuade those laboring on tomato and tobacco farms and in meat-processing plants — hot zones of coronavirus outbreaks — to trust her clinic to not only administer the vaccine but to handle sensitive data.

“They want to go to a trusted group,” said Khatri, whose clinics have received approval to distribute the vaccine but have not yet received any doses.

Helena Lobo, who coordinates Hispanic outreach at Cherokee Health, echoed that, saying, for some immigrants, the choice may come down to choosing their health or choosing to remain hidden.

“If they have to risk their immigration status to have the COVID vaccine, they will not have it. I don’t blame them,” said Lobo. “They go by risk: ‘What is my biggest risk? Being deported or to have COVID?’”

KHN (Kaiser Health News) is a nonprofit news service covering health issues. It is an editorially independent program of KFF (Kaiser Family Foundation) that is not affiliated with Kaiser Permanente.


Anti-Immigrant Hate Snarls the South’s Vaccine Rollout (thedailybeast.com)


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QueEx

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Most People Who Get COVID Have This in Common

NEW RESEARCH HAS FOUND ONE MAJOR COMMONALITY IN THOSE WHO GET INFECTED.

BestLife
By KALI COLEMAN
FEBRUARY 17, 2021


  • Friends greeting with elbow bump wearing face protection – New normal lifestyle concept with young people covered by disposable mask – Selective focus on middle left woman
    iStock

The coronavirus can present itself with almost every symptom in the book, from vomiting to pink eye. But while you've probably been overanalyzing your cough and that sense of fatigue that comes over you at the end of a long day, the truth of the matter is your symptoms may not be the strongest indicator you're sick—and that's part of why COVID is so alarming. A new study from the University of Chicago's Department of Ecology and Evolution has determined that the one thing the wide majority of COVID patients share is that their illness comes with no symptoms at all or symptoms that are so subtle, you'd hardly even notice them. Read on to find out more about how common asymptomatic cases really are, and for more on what's to come with the pandemic, see why The U.K.'s Top Scientist Has a Chilling COVID Warning for Americans.

80 percent of those who contract COVID have incredibly mild symptoms or none at all.

For the new study, which was published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on Feb. 10, the researchers reviewed cases recorded in New York City from March to June. They concluded that only around 13 to 18 percent of COVID cases end up yielding significant symptoms, -- which means that around 80 percent of those who get infected with COVID are asymptomatic, or at least, experience such mild symptoms that they don't realize they are infected.

"There are a lot of asymptomatic people—much larger than many studies have assumed," study author Rahul Subramanian, a graduate researcher of epidemiology at the University of Chicago, told Insider. And for one subtle sign that could evade you, check out If You're Over 65, You Could Be Missing This COVID Symptom, Study Says.


Asymptomatic COVID patients are responsible for nearly half of all transmitted cases.

A lack of symptoms doesn't mean you aren't able to spread the virus, either. According to the study, asymptomatic cases and pre-symptomatic cases (those who are infected but have not yet started showing symptoms) "substantially drive community transmission."

"We can tell that more that 50 percent of the transmission happening in the community is from people without symptoms
—those who are asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic," senior author Mercedes Pascual, PhD, the Louis Block Professor of Ecology and Evolution at the University of Chicago, said in a statement.

And for more up-to-date COVID news delivered right to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

An asymptomatic case could also still affect you long-term. In fact, several studies have shown that long-term health issues arise in those who had COVID but had no symptoms. Eric J. Topol, MD, founder and director of Scripps Research Translational Institute, told The Wall Street Journal that at least four studies so far have analyzed the lung scans of asymptomatic individuals, finding that "half have significant abnormalities consistent with COVID pneumonia but without symptoms." And a July study published in JAMA Cardiology discovered abnormal cardiac MRIs in both symptomatic and asymptomatic COVID patients, concluding that heart damage due to the virus is possible no matter how mild or severe your case is.


"There is a risk of internal hits to these people that they are unaware of," Topol said. "When things happen slowly in a person, below the surface, you can end up with a chronic situation." And for more on how the virus can progress, If You've Done This, You're Twice as Likely to Develop Severe COVID.

The University of Chicago researchers say the study proves how much importance should be placed on testing non-symptomatic people, especially given the "ambiguity in recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines regarding the testing of asymptomatic individuals." According to the CDC's latest guidelines, most people without symptoms don't need to get tested for COVID unless they have knowingly been in close contact with someone who is infected, which is within six feet for at least 15 minutes.

But study co-author Qixin He, PhD, now an assistant professor at Purdue University, cautions that the research proves "it's crucial that everyone—including individuals who don't show symptoms—adhere to public health guidelines, such as mask wearing and social distancing, and that mass testing is made easily accessible to all." And for more from the nation's leading health agency, If You're Layering These Masks, the CDC Says to Stop Immediately.


Most People Who Get COVID Are Asymptomatic, New Study Finds (bestlifeonline.com)


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International Member

Why We Can’t Make Vaccine Doses Any Faster

President Biden has promised enough doses for all American adults by this summer. There’s not much even the Defense Production Act can do to deliver doses before then.


President Joe Biden has ordered enough vaccines to immunize every American against COVID-19, and his administration says it’s using the full force of the federal government to get the doses by July. There’s a reason he can’t promise them sooner.

Vaccine supply chains are extremely specialized and sensitive, relying on expensive machinery, highly trained staff and finicky ingredients. Manufacturers have run into intermittent shortages of key materials, according to the U.S. Government Accountability Office; the combination of surging demand and workforce disruptions from the pandemic has caused delays of four to 12 weeks for items that used to ship within a week, much like what happened when consumers were sent scrambling for household staples like flour, chicken wings and toilet paper.

People often question why the administration can’t use the mighty Defense Production Act — which empowers the government to demand critical supplies before anyone else — to turbocharge production. But that law has its limits. Each time a manufacturer adds new equipment or a new raw materials supplier, they are required to run extensive tests to ensure the hardware or ingredients consistently work as intended, then submit data to the Food and Drug Administration. Adding capacity “doesn’t happen in a blink of an eye,” said Jennifer Pancorbo, director of industry programs and research at North Carolina State University’s Biomanufacturing Training and Education Center. “It takes a good chunk of weeks.”

And adding supplies at any one point only helps if production can be expanded up and down the entire chain. “Thousands of components may be needed,” said Gerald W. Parker, director of the Pandemic and Biosecurity Policy Program at Texas A&M University’s Scowcroft Institute for International Affairs and a former senior official in the Department of Health and Human Services office for preparedness and response. “You can’t just turn on the Defense Production Act and make it happen.”

The U.S. doesn’t have spare facilities waiting around to manufacture vaccines, or other kinds of factories that could be converted the way General Motors began producing ventilators last year. The GAO said the Army Corps of Engineers is helping to expand existing vaccine facilities, but it can’t be done overnight.

Building new capacity would take two to three months, at which point the new production lines would still face weeks of testing to ensure they were able to make the vaccine doses correctly before the companies could start delivering more shots.

“It’s not like making shoes,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said in an interview with ProPublica. “And the reason I use that somewhat tongue-in-cheek analogy is that people say, ‘Ah, you know what we should do? We should get the DPA to build another factory in a week and start making mRNA.’ Well, by the time a new factory can get geared up to make the mRNA vaccine exactly according to the very, very strict guidelines and requirements of the FDA ... we already will have in our hands the 600 million doses between Moderna and Pfizer that we contracted for. It would almost be too late.”

Fauci added that the DPA works best for “facilitating something rather than building something from scratch.”

The Trump administration deployed the Defense Production Act last year to give vaccine manufacturers priority in accessing crucial production supplies before anyone else could buy them. And the Biden administration used it to help Pfizer obtain specialized needles that can squeeze a sixth dose from the company’s vials, as well as for two critical manufacturing components: filling pumps and tangential flow filtration units. The pumps help supply the lipid nanoparticles that hold and protect the mRNA — the vaccines’ active ingredient, so to speak — and also fill vials with finished vaccine. The filtration units remove unneeded solutions and other materials used in the manufacturing process.

These highly precise pieces of equipment are not typically available on demand, said Matthew Johnson, senior director of product management at Duke University’s Human Vaccine Institute, who works on developing mRNA vaccines, but not for COVID-19. “Right now, there is so much growth in biopharmaceuticals, plus the pinch of the pandemic,” he said. “Many equipment suppliers are sold out of production, and even products scheduled to be made, in some cases, sold out for a year or so looking forward.”

In the meantime, the shortage of vaccines is creating widespread frustration and anxiety as eligible people struggle to get appointments and millions of others wonder how long it will be before it is their turn. As of Feb. 17, the U.S. had distributed 72.4 million doses and administered 56.3 million shots, but fewer than 16 million people have received both of the two doses that the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require for full protection.

The Biden administration has said it is increasing vaccine shipments to states by 20%, to 13.5 million doses a week, and encouraged states to give out all their shots instead of holding on to some for second doses. But now that second-dose appointments are coming due, many jurisdictions are having to focus on those and stepping back from vaccinating uninoculated people. Even as the total number of vaccinations increased last week, the number of first doses fell to 6.8 million people, down from 7.8 million three weeks ago, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data.

At best, it will take until June for manufacturers to deliver enough doses for the roughly 266 million eligible Americans age 16 and over, according to public statements by the companies.

That includes expected deliveries of Johnson & Johnson’s one-dose vaccine, which is widely expected to win emergency authorization from the FDA shortly after a public advisory committee meeting on Feb. 26. But Johnson & Johnson has fallen behind in manufacturing. The company told the GAO it will have only 2 million doses ready to go by the time the vaccine is authorized, whereas its $1 billion contract with HHS scheduled 12 million doses by the end of February. It’s not clear what held up Johnson & Johnson’s production line; the company has benefited from first-priority purchases thanks to the DPA, according to a senior executive close to the manufacturing process. A Johnson & Johnson spokesman declined to comment on the cause of the delay, but said the company still expects to ship 100 million U.S. doses by July.

Moderna declined to comment on “operational aspects” of its manufacturing, but “does remain confident in our ability to meet contracted quantities” of its vaccine to the U.S. and other nations, a spokesperson said in a statement. Pfizer did not respond to ProPublica’s written questions.

Ramping up production is especially challenging for Pfizer and Moderna, whose vaccines use an mRNA technology that’s never been mass-produced before. The companies started production even before they finished trials to see if the vaccines worked, another historic first. But it wasn’t as if they could instantly crank out millions of vaccines full blast, since they effectively had to invent a novel manufacturing process.

“Putting together plans 12 months ago for a Phase 1 and 2 trial, and making enough to dose a couple hundred patients, was a big deal for the raw material suppliers,” said Johnson, the product manager at Duke University’s vaccine institute. “It's just going from dosing hundreds of patients a year ago to a billion.”

Raw materials for the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are also in limited supply. The manufacturing process begins by using common gut bacteria cells to grow something called “plasmids” — standalone snippets of DNA — that contain instructions to make the vaccine’s genetic material, said Pancorbo, the North Carolina State University biomanufacturing expert.

Next, specific enzymes cultivated from bacteria are added to cause a chemical reaction that assembles the strands of mRNA, Pancorbo said. Those strands are then packaged in lipid nanoparticles, microscopic bubbles of fat made using petroleum or plant oils. The fat bubbles protect the genetic material inside the human body and help deliver it to the cells.

Only a few firms specialize in making these ingredients, which have previously been sold by the kilogram, Pancorbo said. But they’re now needed by the metric ton — a thousandfold increase. Moderna and Pfizer need bulk, but also the highest possible quality.

“There are a number of organizations that make these enzymes and these nucleotides and lipids, but they might not make it in a grade that is satisfactory for human consumption,” Pancorbo said. “It might be a grade that is satisfactory for animal consumption or research. But for injection into a human? That’s a different thing.”

Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine follows a slightly more traditional method of growing cells in large tanks called bioreactors. This takes time, and the slightest contamination can spoil a whole batch. Since the process deals with living things, it can be more like growing plants than making shoes. “Maximizing yield is as much of an art as it is a science, as the manufacturing process itself is dependent on biological processes,” said Parker, the former HHS official.

The vaccine developers are continuing to find tweaks that can expedite production without cutting corners. Pfizer is now delivering six doses in each vial instead of five, and Moderna has asked for permission to fill each of its bottles with 15 doses, up from 10. If regulators approve, it would take two or three months to change over production, Moderna spokesman Ray Jordan said on Feb. 13.

“It helps speed up and lighten the logistical side of getting vaccines out,” said Lawrence Ganti, president of SiO2, an Alabama company that makes glass vials for the Moderna vaccine. SiO2 expanded production with $143 million in funding from the federal government last year, and Ganti said there aren’t any hiccups at his end of the line.

Despite the possibility of sporadic bottlenecks and delays in the coming months, companies appear to have lined up their supply chains to the point that they’re comfortable with their ability to meet current production targets.

Massachusetts-based Snapdragon Chemistry received almost $700,000 from HHS' Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority to develop a new way of producing ribonucleoside triphosphates (NTPs), a key raw material for mRNA vaccines. Snapdragon’s technology uses a continuous production line, rather than the traditional process of making batches in big vats, so it’s easier to scale up by simply keeping production running for a longer time.

Suppliers have told Snapdragon that they have their raw materials covered for now, according to Matthew Bio, the company’s president and CEO. “They’re saying, ‘We have established suppliers to meet the demand we have for this year,’” Bio said.
 

QueEx

Rising Star
Super Moderator
UNITED STATES CASES
Updated Feb 21 at 2:46 AM UTC

Confirmed = 28,325,091 (+85,850)
Deaths = 502,493 (+2,202)
Recovered
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QueEx

Rising Star
Super Moderator
UNITED STATES CASES
Updated Mar 4 at 8:53 AM local

Confirmed = 29,066,212 (+66,142)
Deaths = 523,852 (+2,348)
Recovered

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