Pfizer-BioNTech are making a mRNA vaccine, but what is that?

Covid-19 blog for the non-expert The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for Covid-19 is all over the media. What hasn’t been in the headlines so much, is that this is a mRNA vaccine and if successful, it’ll be the first of its type. Some say they will not take it because it’s “rushed” but this misses the pointContinue reading “Pfizer-BioNTech are making a mRNA vaccine, but what is that?”

90% effective Covid-19 vaccine

The headlines are jubilant with “Covid-19” vaccine 90% effective. As one of those skeptical scientists, I’m in a difficult position because I don’t want to dampen any hope, but at the same time it’s worth questioning the headline to see what’s really behind it. The announcement was from Pfizer and BioNTech, and the media areContinue reading “90% effective Covid-19 vaccine”

What is interferon and is it effective against Covid-19?

A blog post for the non-expert Our best hope against Covid-19 is an effective vaccine, and efforts in that direction are galloping along like no other time in history. There are so many vaccines being investigated, it’s hard to keep up with the numbers, but at the time of writing there appear to be wellContinue reading “What is interferon and is it effective against Covid-19?”

Covid-19 vaccine pessimism

Another blog on Covid-19 for the non-expert I’ve seen claims on social media and in the press saying a vaccine for Covid-19 may never arrive. The Telegraph, and The Guardian are two examples. The three most commonly quoted reasons I’ve seen for vaccine pessimism are: (1) vaccines take many years to make, the mumps vaccineContinue reading “Covid-19 vaccine pessimism”

What is herd immunity?

We’ve all heard a lot recently about herd immunity (pun intended), but it’s a term which seems to cause a lot of confusion. First off, let me tell you what it’s not. It’s not about a population becoming exposed to the Covid-19 virus and those with some resistance or those being “fitter” surviving while othersContinue reading “What is herd immunity?”

Media reporting and experts

We all have our political opinions but I have tried very hard to stay away from them on this blog, and this post is no exception. Nevertheless, I’m about to wander off the science and towards the media, so it’s bound to be somewhat opinionated – please forgive me. I’ll make one exception on theContinue reading “Media reporting and experts”

SARS-CoV-2 : the virus

I’ll say one thing for the coronavirus outbreak, it has prompted a lot of curiosity. Whether you believe we are going back to the days of the plague pit, or it’s nothing but a severe cold, I have been asked a lot of questions about viruses in general and the coronavirus in particular. I’m notContinue reading “SARS-CoV-2 : the virus”