RNA COVID Vaccines; Down Syndrome Guidelines: It’s TTHealthWatch!

TTHealthWatch is a weekly podcast from Texas Tech. In it, Elizabeth Tracey, director of electronic media for Johns Hopkins Medicine, and Rick Lange, MD, president of the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center in El Paso, look at the top medical stories of the week. A transcript of the podcast is below the summary.

This week’s topics include two RNA SARS-CoV2 vaccines, an inactivated vaccine, a look at who’s willing to be vaccinated, and guidelines for managing Down syndrome manifestations.

Program notes:

1:06 RNA vaccines

2:00 Similar immune responses young or old

3:00 Inactivated virus

3:10 Vaccine hesitancy

4:10 Vaccine attributes multiple

5:12 Suggests ways to address hesitancy

6:13 Rigorously tested even for an EUA

6:41 An inactivated viral vaccine

7:42 Inactivated vaccines must be made properly

8:44 Not a narrow vaccine

9:12 Guidelines for managing Down syndrome manifestations

10:13 Literature survey

11:12 Congenital heart disease common

12:45 End

Transcript:

Elizabeth Tracey: When a SARS-CoV-2 vaccine comes across the transom, will you take it?

Rick Lange: Report on a promising inactivated whole-virion COVID vaccine.

Elizabeth: What’s the best care for people with Down syndrome?

Rick: And the safety and immunogenicity of two RNA-based COVID vaccines.

Elizabeth: That’s what we’re talking about this week on TT HealthWatch, your weekly look at the medical headlines from Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center in El Paso. I’m Elizabeth Tracey, a Baltimore-based medical journalist.

Rick: And I’m Rick Lange, president of Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center in El Paso, where I’m also dean of the Paul L. Foster School of Medicine.

Elizabeth: And right now in the nation’s hotspot, I would say, relative to battling COVID-19. How’s it going?

Rick: You know, it’s really tough here. I think we have the highest number of cases per capita across the U.S. and increasing. It’s a really tough time in El Paso right now, so some of the stuff we’re talking about is very relevant.

Elizabeth: Yeah. Let’s turn, then, to… why don’t you talk about the first vaccine candidate that you’d like to illustrate?

Rick: Okay. This is a report from Pfizer and a company called BioNTech that is one of those vaccines that’s in phase III trials, so this is the initial report of their phase I and phase II trials. BioNTech and Pfizer launched a coordinated program to compare four RNA-based COVID-19 vaccine candidates. They did it in Germany initially and then brought it to the U.S.

This is a report on two of those RNA-based vaccines and how they decided for one over the other. I’m going to call them B1 and B2, because that’s what they call them. B1 is a RNA vaccine directed towards the receptor-binding domain. They took three of these domains and actually bound them together, which could be more antigenic, and the B2 was they took the whole spike protein.

They tested these in individuals 18 to 55 and those 65 to 85, and they did multiple different doses of these. What they discovered is

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