inDemic Perspectives

Expert commentary on COVID-19 challenges and solutions

AstraZeneca’s vaccine does not protect against the South African variant of SARS-CoV-2

| Sam Sun |

Will other vaccines provide long-term protection against this variant?

The AstraZeneca vaccine offers essentially zero protection against the South African variant of SARS-CoV-2, dubbed B.1.351. In contrast, the JNJ vaccine and Novavax vaccine offer some protection against B.1.351.

inDemic News Coverage on Vaccine Hesitancy

inDemic Foundation and our director, Dr. Sam Sun, have recently been featured by several news sources to discuss topics on vaccine confidence and vaccine hesitancy.

Watch these discussions on:

  • Medical News Today: How did we develop a COVID-19 vaccine so quickly?
  • KRGV 5 News: Side effects, misinformation leave some Americans hesitant to be vaccinated against COVID-19
  • KOLD News 13: Why some Americans will opt out of getting the vaccine, doctor says
  • The Texas Tribune: Some Texans are hesitant to get vaccinated for COVID-19. Here’s how health officials are countering skepticism.

inDemic Livestream: The State of Vaccine Confidence

Join inDemic Foundation Director Dr. Sam Sun and Professor Bernice Hausman of Penn State University’s College of Medicine for a discussion about vaccine hesitancy. A substantial portion of the population may be hesitant about receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. Dr. Sun and Dr. Hausman will offer insight into the rational, emotional and social factors that may be influencing the decision-making process—and what will happen if too many people refuse the vaccine.

Vaccine Hesitancy with Dr. Abram Wagner

In this video interview, we discuss vaccine hesitancy, first in measles as a historical backdrop, then for a potential or soon-to-be FDA authorized COVID-19 vaccine. Dr. Abram Wagner, research assistant professor of epidemiology at the University of Michigan, joins us to discuss recent research on vaccine hesitancy. His research looks at evidence-based programs and policies to control vaccine-preventable diseases. He currently holds a grant from the National Science Foundation that looks at behaviors and acceptance of a COVID-19 vaccine over time and across several regions, including the United States, India, and Taiwan. 

SARS-CoV-2 Evolution and Genetics with Dr. Niema Moshiri

In this video interview, we are joined by Dr. Niema Moshiri, assistant teaching professor of computer science & engineering at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD). He discusses how scientists are using the genetic sequences of SARS-CoV-2 to study viral transmission patterns and the evolution of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. He currently holds a grant from the National Science Foundation to develop novel software and hardware systems that can quickly analyze massive amounts of genetic data from COVID-19 labs around the world. 

The CDC can prevent tens of thousands of deaths by prioritizing vulnerable Americans for COVID-19 vaccination

| Sam Sun |

Last week, the UK’s regulatory agency approved Pfizer/BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine (BNT162b2) for emergency use. Quietly, the UK’s Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization (JCVI) also published priorities for populations to be vaccinated.

Like the United States, the UK is in a unique position. It will be among the first countries to roll out the highly effective Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine. However, it will be unable to vaccinate its entire populace with the first, or even the entirety of its Pfizer/BioNTech supply agreement in 2020-2021. Eventually however, many months from now, with a combination of Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna, and possibly other vaccines currently undergoing phase 3 trials, the USA and the UK will be able to vaccinate its entire population.

inDemic in the News

Over the past week, inDemic Foundation’s Director, Dr. Sam Sun, was featured on several news channels to discuss and compare the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.

Watch his discussions on:

  • 11Alive: Can you take both COVID-19 vaccines? Why experts say to stick with just one
  • NBC-25 Flint: Doctor compares Moderna and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine
  • WTOL Channel 11 Toledo: Expert says second generation of COVID-19 vaccines could approach 100% efficiency
  • 8 News Now Las Vegas: Las Vegans participate in Moderna COVID-19 vaccine trial
  • CBS Austin: Austin Moderna trial participant shares excitement about vaccine’s success
  • WXYZ-TV Detroit: What challenges lie ahead following possible approval of COVID-19 vaccine
  • FOX-17 West Michigan: Moderna vaccine may be ‘beginning of the end’ for COVID-19 pandemic
  • KOAA Colorado Springs: State bought freezers in preparation of COVID vaccine

1st and 2nd-generation COVID-19 Vaccines with Dr. Deborah Fuller

In this video interview, we discuss the strengths and limitations of COVID-19 vaccine candidates with Dr. Deborah Fuller, Professor of Microbiology at University of Washington. Her lab, which studies influenza, HIV, and Zika virus, is currently focused on immunity against COVID-19 and the development of novel vaccination strategies against SARS-CoV-2. Her lab’s work has resulted in over a dozen patents and two startup biotech companies. 

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