Tuesday, April 06, 2021

Scientists reworking abandoned University of Queensland COVID-19 vaccine

University of Queensland scientists are secretly reworking their cancelled COVID vaccine after a new study revealed it could have been the world’s best weapon in the fight against the deadly virus.

The University of Queensland’s abandoned COVID vaccine could have been the world’s best weapon in the fight against the deadly virus, with a new study revealing it was effective after just one jab and could be stored at fridge temperature.

Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines, which are being relied on to protect the nation, require two doses each – a huge logistical challenge which is further complicated by Pfizer needing to be stored at -70C.

UQ’s crack vaccine team is now working behind the scenes to move the vaccine technology forward after the research, released today, showed if it was reworked and problems ironed out it could still be a boon in the fight against COVID-19 and future global novel viruses.

“We are working day to day and moving the technology forward but we are trying to stay under the radar as the focus needs to be on the AstraZeneca vaccine that is being rolled out as it is our best line of defence,” the professor said.

The local vaccination trial was unceremoniously terminated last year after some patients recorded false-positive HIV results.

This was due to the trial’s unique ‘clamp’ technology that fused two fragments of a protein found in HIV.

When the vaccine was administered these proteins prompted the production of antibodies that were picked up in HIV tests.

But the release of new “success” data shows the technology is highly effective after just one jab and is stable at fridge temperature – something the successful Pfizer vaccine doesn’t achieve.

The research Clinical & Transitional Immunology was published on behalf of the Australian and New Zealand Society for Immunology.

All of Queensland was behind the UQ team who worked night and day to fast-track their COVID-19 vaccine.

Human trials began last July with 120 volunteers in Brisbane.

Due to the race for time to find a protective vaccine, in December CSL decided to cancel further development of the vaccine.

Then Prof Young said that while his team was “devastated”, they would pick themself up and keep going.

Dr Russell Basser from Seqirus, a CSL company, said then that public confidence was a big driver in the decision to shelve development of the UQ vaccine.

“We have come to a mutual agreement with the Government. Public confidence is critical and if there were no other vaccines in the works we may have persisted. Even though the vaccine was safe “the burden to move forward was too great,” he said.

The UQ vaccine was one of four the Federal Government had committed to purchasing with plans to produce 51m doses.

The study findings were from the university’s original animal trials.


Malcolm Turnbull is DUMPED from his new climate change job after widespread public outrage at the unpopular ex-PM's plum new gig

Malcolm Turnbull has been dumped from his new job as the NSW government's climate change tsar after widespread public ridicule at the appointment.

NSW Climate Change minister Matt Kean was forced into an embarrassing backflip on Tuesday over his decision to appoint the unpopular former prime minister as chair of the Net Zero Emissions and Clean Economy Board.

Mr Kean said in a statement that the position should be 'focus should not be on personality'.

'It is important that the focus is on achieving these outcomes, based on facts, technology, science, and economics,' he said in a statement on Tuesday.

'The focus should not be on personality,' he said.

Mr Turnbull had 'contributed much to our country ... however, no person's role on the board should distract from achieving results for the NSW people or from the government's work in delivering jobs and opportunities for the people of NSW'.

'For this reason, I have decided not to proceed with his appointment as chair.' The NSW Chief Scientist and Engineer will act in the role until a new chair is named.

The announcement comes hours after The Daily Telegraph published a letter Mr Turnbull wrote to the NSW government objecting to the expansion of a coal mine in the Upper Hunter near his family's 2,700 acre property.

Mr Turnbull last week said there was 'massive devastation' being caused in the area as a result of the continuation and extension of mines.

'I think [approvals for new mines are] out of control,' Mr Turnbull told Fairfax. 'It's like a lunar landscape ... There is massive devastation that's going [on].'

Deputy Premier and Nationals Leader John Barilaro was the first person to declare Mr Turnbull had been axed. 'We are not proceeding with the appointment of Malcolm Turnbull as chair,' he told Sydney radio 2GB ahead of Mr Kean's statement.

'You need someone who brings people together and not divides and unfortunately Malcolm has done the opposite.


To be righteous is one thing, to be right another

The Liberal staffers who videoed themselves masturbating in Parliament House are morons, not monsters. And if we gasp at Andrew Laming’s conduct, it is less because it was manifestly unethical than because it shows, all too clearly, that while you are only young once, you can be immature forever.

That such things occur is hardly surprising. As Carlo Cipolla, a great historian, concluded in his marvellous book on The Basic Laws of Human Stupidity, there is in every human subpopulation — be they philosophers or pole dancers, members of parliament or members of criminal gangs — a constant proportion who are idiots. And precisely because they are and act like idiots, the sole aspect of their behaviour that is utterly predictable is that it will astonish those who are not.

But those obvious facts didn’t stop the leaks from provoking howls of outrage, as if they proved that the Morrison government had plunged from the thunderbolts of Sinai to the insensate debauchery of the Cities of the Plain. In an already overheated atmosphere, the opposition was able to raise the temperature to boiling point, further eroding the government’s standing.

To some extent, the pressures, which have intensified steadily since Brittany Higgins’s allegations emerged, reflect factors that were apparent in the response to the bushfires of 18 months ago.

Convinced a new age was about to dawn, large sections of the left, and its allies in the media, never accepted their election defeat, accumulating reserves of rancour that the COVID crisis suppressed but hardly diminished. As that crisis ebbed, the claims of pervasive misogyny allowed the rancour to explode in righteous anger.

But to be righteous is one thing, to be right another. In reality, far from deteriorating, the core indicators of gender equality have improved, in many cases spectacularly, under the Coalition.

For example, the gender pay gap soared during the Rudd-Gillard-Rudd years from 15 to nearly 19 per cent, as Labor’s splurge on pink batts and school halls compounded the mining boom’s boost to earnings in male-dominated occupations; but since the Coalition took office, the earnings differential between men and women has shrunk to an unprecedented low of 13.4 per cent.

And just as women’s relative earnings have risen towards those of their male counterparts, female labour force participation has reached record highs, aided by policy changes that make working more worthwhile.

None of that implies that the problems have disappeared. But the contrast between the progress and the protests underscores Alexis de Tocqueville’s observation of nearly two centuries ago that revolutions are triggered not by dashed hopes but by mounting expectations.

Noting that the devastating famines of 1693-94 and 1709-10 had caused barely a murmur, Tocqueville argued that the measures the French monarchy adopted in 1730 to ensure relief was widely available meant that it came to be viewed as being responsible for food supplies, setting the scene for the uprisings that occurred in the wake of the much milder short­ages of 1788-89.

In other words, the government’s expanding role, instead of assuaging expectations, boosted them, creating a vicious spiral in which outcomes could never keep up with what public opinion believed it had been promised.

Compounding the tensions, the economic and social progress that followed the monarchy’s successive reforms had instilled an entirely new sense of limitless possibility. The eternal “tomorrow” of utopian political visions suddenly seemed to move closer, fuelling the belief that — come the revolution — injustice, superstition and poverty could all be eradicated in the next glorious hour.

The Revolution was therefore the progeny of the ancien regime’s achievements rather than the symptom of its failings. But while the revolutionaries stormed to power under the banner of freedom, they delivered the exact opposite. That, said Tocqueville, was no accident.

Inevitably, those who want to drastically reshape social arrangements find themselves strengthening the apparatus of repression, as if “liberty, like a child, had to go through a stage of tears and weeping in order to reach maturity”.

And equally inevitably, so as to justify the greater coercion, they adopt a “grotesquely distorted account of reality” in which they portray themselves as “wholly good”, while attributing “demonic power to the adversary”.

Ignoring “the ineluctable imperfections of human existence”, they come to hold others to moral standards they could never live up to themselves, thereby preparing the ground for those excesses of rage and frenzy that, in Edmund Burke’s words, “pull down more in half an hour than prudence, deliberation and foresight can build up in a hundred years”.

To say that is not to suggest that the guillotine beckons, although there is a distinct whiff of burning in the air. It would, however, be a mistake to think the mechanisms Tocqueville identified have lost any of their relevance.

On the contrary, today’s upheavals have all the hallmarks of those that preceded them: the reluctance to acknowledge how much has already been achieved; the relentless demonisation of real or imagined adversaries; the thirst for what Yeats grimly called “the blood-dimmed tide”.

And even if they are not as deadly, they are no less vitriolic, insisting, as did the Jacobins, the Bolsheviks and the Maoists, that any alleged perpetrators (or their presumed accomplices in the government) must be in bad faith, with the only way of proving good faith being for the “enemies of the people” to concede what their assailants seek — that is, abdication or self-annihilation.

The changes that have occurred in our culture only aggravate those dynamics. As the traditional Australian virtues of stoicism, and a laconic, somewhat disabused, realism, have given way to the glorification of uninhibited emotions, the nation’s capacity to distinguish tantrums from traumas seems to have completely disappeared.

And with it has vanished the capacity to distinguish sanctimonious grandstanding from serious consideration of the difficult questions — including those related to sexual assault and to our political culture — that do need to be addressed.

Unfortunately, simply understanding the processes at work doesn’t make them much more tractable: merely to cry, as Dostoevsky famously did in The Possessed, that “the fire is in the minds of men and not in the roofs of houses” does not quell the flames, any more than psychosis can be relieved purely by being diagnosed. And with no shortage of stupidity left to surface, the hysteria isn’t about to abate.

But the worst response would be to cave in. Rather, we remember our Kipling: keep your head when all others about you are losing theirs. And as the crowds swirl and the howls mount, make sure you hold it tight.


Also see my other blogs. Main ones below:

http://dissectleft.blogspot.com (DISSECTING LEFTISM -- daily)

http://snorphty.blogspot.com (TONGUE TIED)

http://antigreen.blogspot.com (GREENIE WATCH)

http://pcwatch.blogspot.com (POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH)

http://edwatch.blogspot.com (EDUCATION WATCH)

https://heofen.blogspot.com/ (MY OTHER BLOGS)


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