Also on the agenda was how this year’s flu season — a “big unknown” in this scenario — will feed into the severity of potential second spikes. Thanks to advancements in our understanding of the virus and effective treatments, we are in a stronger position overall to deal with a second wave of infections. However, some communities with lower exposure to COVID-19 are likely to be hit harder than those that bore the brunt of the first wave. “The way the epidemiological dynamics look we are getting teed up for a perfect syndemic in December, January, February, as little spikes of coronavirus transmission will coincide with the onset of the flu season,” the expert said.
A vaccine is “probably the least painful way to get control of the pandemic” but the specialist sounded a note of caution that, currently, all vaccine efforts are based on the same component of the virus, the spike protein. Although this approach is certainly “not unreasonable”, we are essentially putting all our eggs in one basket. He referred to a phenomenon where the spike protein, or a portion of it, induces antibodies that facilitate viral infectivity. This was the case in an attempt to produce a vaccine against SARS and MERS.
Regarding mRNA candidates, “we have no large-scale, long-term safety data at all, they’re really very new platforms”. Although mRNA vaccines are said to be easier to produce, facilities would need to be built for a level of production that has never been contemplated or achieved before.
“Really, the challenge here is not so much the proof of concept and the small-scale data and reporting. It is the scale-up. It’s the implementation,” the expert said. His ultimate forecast is widespread vaccine deployment across the US by Q3 2021.
The Interview concluded with an overview of best and worst-case scenarios in the coming months as the world continues to battle the virus.
To access all the human insights in Third Bridge Forum’s COVID-19 potential second wave Interview, click here to access the full transcript.
The information used in compiling this document has been obtained by Third Bridge from experts participating in Forum Interviews. Third Bridge does not warrant the accuracy of the information and has not independently verified it. It should not be regarded as a trade recommendation or form the basis of any investment decision.
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