The Anonymous Widower

Velocys’ Fischer–Tropsch Tech Picked For E-fuels Project In Japan

The title of this post is the same as that of this article on Renewables Now.

Fischer–Tropsch technology has a chequered history, as it has been used by regimes like Nazi Germany and South Africa under apartheid to create the fuel they need.

But now Oxford University spin-out company; Velocys have improved the process, so that it can turn rubbish destined for landfill into sustainable aviation fuel.

This is the last paragraph from the article.

The developer says its FT reactor can enable the production of SAF from household waste and woody biomass. The end product is a high-quality version of existing fuels, requiring no changes to engines or infrastructure, Velocys says on its website.

This is surely a viable alternative to keep airlines flying, until  hydrogen-powered planes are developed.

August 29, 2021 Posted by | Energy, Transport/Travel | , , , , | 3 Comments

Technology Company Announces Deal That Could Produce Nearly 30 million Gallons Of Aviation Fuel In Mississippi

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on magnoliastatelive.

This is the first two paragraphs.

A technology company that has developed technology to turn household waste and forest waste into aviation fuel says it has signed an agreement that will help it produce 30 million gallons of fuel in Mississippi every year.

Velocys officials announced this week that they have signed a framework agreement with Koch Project Solutions to develop their biorefinery project which produces standard aviation fuel, in Natchez.

That all sounds good for the spin-out of Oxford University,

July 4, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , | Leave a comment

Blood Clot Risk Eight Times Higher From Covid Than AstraZeneca Vaccine, Study Finds

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on The Telegraph.

This is the first two paragraphs.

The risk of a rare brain clot from coronavirus is approximately eight times greater the risk presented by the AstraZeneca jab, a University of Oxford study has found.

The research, which is yet to be peer-reviewed, and compared blood clot rates among 500,000 coronavirus patients with data from the roll-out of 34 million vaccine doses across Europe.

I will certainly be having my second AstraZeneca jab next Monday.

This press release on the Astra-Zeneca web site is entitled Oxford Phase III trials interim analysis results published in The Lancet.

This is an extract.

In addition to the Oxford led programme, AstraZeneca is conducting a large study in the US and globally. In total, Oxford University and AstraZeneca expect to enrol more than 60,000 participants globally.

The Telegraph article also says this.

The incidence of rates for cerebral venous thrombosis (CVT) – a rare blood clot on the brain – is 39 per million coronavirus patients, while it is five per million recipients of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

Note that five per million is 0.3 per 60,000.

Any participant, who got a blood clot in the AstraZeneca Phase III trial would have been a very unlucky person.

Those who say, that the AstraZeneca vaccine was rushed and that many more people should participated in the trials may have a point.

But countering that is my belief that data analysis has improved so much in the last twenty years that all the data on all the vaccines has been so thoroughly analysed by some of the best data analysts and analytic software, that most more common problems have been identified.

 

 

April 15, 2021 Posted by | Health | , , , , | 8 Comments

University Of Oxford To Study Nasal Administration Of COVID-19 Vaccine

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on the University of Oxford web site.

These two introductory paragraphs outline the structure of the tests.

The Phase I trial, which will enrol 30 healthy volunteers aged 18–40, will investigate the level of immune system responses generated by the vaccine using this delivery technique, as well as monitoring safety and for any adverse reactions.

All of the volunteers will receive the same vaccine that is currently being delivered by intramuscular injection as part of the national roll out of the ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccine. The volunteers, who will be drawn from the local Oxford region, will be followed for a total of four months.

This is surely a very worthwhile study.

March 27, 2021 Posted by | Health | , , | 1 Comment

Fergus Walsh On The AstraZeneca Vaccine

I have just watching a ten-minute interview on BBC Breakfast with Fergus Walsh, who is the BBC’s Medical Editor.

If you are worried about Covid-19 vaccination and the AstraZeneca vaccine in particular, I suggest you find the interview on iPlayer. It took place at 0815.

He is undoubtedly well-connected to healthcare in the UK, as during the pandemic, he has had deep-access to doctors, researchers and patients, so anything he says, should surely be taken seriously.

Clots Caused By The AstraZeneca Vaccine

On this he said, it was at the same rate as the Pfizer vaccine. Now there’s a thing!

The rate of those, who broke their ankle after being vaccinated is also probably the same for both vaccines.

Fergus Has Had The AstraZeneca Vaccine

This happened on Sunday.

His endorsement of the vaccine, is probably as well-reasoned as anyone.

Conclusion

Why are politicians and others rubbishing the AstraZeneca vaccine, when respected agencies say there is no problem?

Is it just jealousy?

Given the success of the vaccine with AstraZeneca, I doubt Oxford will be looking for another partner.

March 16, 2021 Posted by | Health | , , , , , | 7 Comments

Velocys Signs Agreement For Commercial-Scale Biomass-To-Jet Fuel In Japan

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on the Chemical Engineer.

I am very hopeful about Velocys, who are a UK public company, that were spun out of Oxford University and do clever things in the area of chemical catalysts.

Velocys’ Fischer-Tropsch technology does seem to be a good way of creating sustainable aviation fuel from household rubbish and biomass.

February 18, 2021 Posted by | Energy, Transport/Travel | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sarah Gilbert Is On Andrew Marr Today!

Sarah Gilbert is the leader of the team behind the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine.

Should be a must-watch!

February 7, 2021 Posted by | Health | , , , | 2 Comments

Oxford Vaccine Could Substantially Cut Spread

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on the BBC.

This is the first two paragraphs.

The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine could lead to a “substantial” fall in the spread of the virus, say scientists.

The impact of Covid vaccines on transmission has been a crucial unknown that will dramatically shape the future of the pandemic.

The article also says you get this after one dose.

This study – on 17,000 people in the UK, South Africa and Brazil – showed protection remained at 76% during the three months after the first dose.

This rose to 82% after people were given the second dose.

It will be interesting to see, what figures drop out of the data, when millions have been vaccinated twice in the UK.

Conclusion

It looks like very good news to me!

February 2, 2021 Posted by | Computing, Health | , , , , | Leave a comment

A Way Out Of The AstraZeneca Vaccine Row With The EU

This article on the BBC is entitled Brexit: EU Introduces Controls On Vaccines To NI.

These are the introductory paragraphs of the article.

The EU is introducing controls on vaccines made in the bloc, including to Northern Ireland, amid a row about delivery shortfalls.

Under the Brexit deal, all products should be exported from the EU to Northern Ireland without checks.

But the EU believed this could be used to circumvent export controls, with NI becoming a backdoor to the wider UK.

The row involving AstraZeneca, the UK and the EU is now getting serious,

I think, the EU are missing an opportunity.

My Experience Of The AstraZeneca Vaccine

Yesterday, I received my first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine, which I wrote about in Job Done – I’ve Now Had My First Covid-19 Vaccination.

As I am an engineer, who helped to finance a drug-delivery system, I know a bit about the subject of drug delivery.

My jab yesterday seemed to have been administered very quickly and painlessly, without fuss. I regularly have B12 injections as I’m coeliac and this AstraZeneca one was certainly less painful for me.

Have AstraZeneca designed the vaccine and its delivery system so that it will have application in mass vaccination situations like refugee camps, where thousands may need to be vaccinated quickly?

Consider.

  • It can be transported and stored at easy-to-manage temperatures.
  • I suspect that a skilled vaccinator can vaccinate more patients per hour, than with other vaccines.
  • I didn’t feel a thing, which must help those with needle phobia.
  • The vaccinator didn’t need to apply a plaster, just using a cotton wool pad and pressure. This must save time.

This looks to me, like disruptive innovation is at work.

Surely, though by streamlining the vaccination process, this will increase the number of patients vaccinated by a well-trained team. This will be what doctors ordered.

The Real Problem With The AstraZeneca Vaccine

I have worked a lot in the design of project management systems and very often, when projects go awry, it is due to a lack of resources.

It strikes me that the problem with the AstraZeneca vaccine, is that there are not enough factories to make the vaccine.

As it is easier to distribute and AstraZeneca are making it without profit, perhaps the EU should approach the UK about creating a couple of large factories to make the vaccine in suitable places across the UK and the EU.

A proportion of this increased production could be distributed to countries, that couldn’t afford a commercial vaccine or didn’t want to get ensnared by the Chinese in a Vaccines-for-Resources deal.

It should also be remembered that Oxford are at the last stages in the testing of a vaccine for malaria. That would surely be a superb encore for Oxford University and AstraZeneca. I suspect the UK will back it, but it would surely be better, if the EU backed it as well.

January 29, 2021 Posted by | Health | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Coronavirus: Why Combining The Oxford Vaccine With Russia’s Sputnik V Vaccine Could Make It More Effective

The title of this post is the same as that of this article on The Conversation.

The Oxford–AstraZeneca COVID-19 Vaccine

This paragraph from the Wikipedia entry for the Oxford–AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, gives the basic details of the vaccine.

The Oxford–AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine (codenamed AZD1222) is a COVID-19 vaccine developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca given by intramuscular injection, using as a vector the modified chimpanzee adenovirus ChAdOx1. One dosing regimen showed 90% efficiency when a half-dose was followed by a full-dose after at least one month, based on mixed trials with no participants over 55 years old. Another dosing regimen showed 62% efficiency when given as two full doses separated by at least one month.

It puzzles me and I suspect it puzzles experts, that the two different vaccination regimes gave different answers.

The article on the Conversation says this.

This was intriguing. Why would giving people less of the vaccine lead to a more effective immune response? The answer to this may lie in the design of the vaccine, and could mean that there are ways to make this vaccine – and others that use the same design – more effective.

I will attempt to answer this question, in the rest of this post.

The Russian Sputnik V Vaccine

This paragraph from the Wikipedia entry for the Oxford–Russian Sputnik V vaccine, gives the basic details of the vaccine.

Gam-COVID-Vac, trade-named Sputnik V, is a COVID-19 vaccine developed by the Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology, and registered on 11 August 2020 by the Russian Ministry of Health.

In most countries following guidelines of the World Health Organization, vaccine candidates are not approved for regular use until safety and efficacy data from Phase III trials are assessed and confirmed internationally by regulators. Gam-COVID-Vac was initially approved for distribution in Russia on the preliminary results of Phase I-II studies eventually published on 4 September 2020.

The quick approval of Gam-COVID-Vac was met with criticism in mass media and precipitated discussions in the scientific community whether this decision was justified in the absence of robust scientific research confirming the safety and efficacy of the vaccine.

In December 2020, interim analysis from 22,714 participants in a Phase III trial were published, claiming 91% efficacy with no unusual side effects.

Wikipedia says, that a medical citation is needed for the Phase III trial.

Both Vaccines Are Viral-Vector Vaccines

The Oxford vaccine is based around a modified chimpanzee adenovirus ChAdOx1, whilst the Russian vaccine is based on two human adenoviruses.

Adenoviruses are a family of viruses, that include the common cold.

The two shots of the Oxford vaccine are identical in composition, but the two shots of the Russian vaccine use a different adenovirus.

Both vaccines are what is known as viral vector vaccines.

Both vaccines would appear to deliver the same details of the spike protein of the virus to prime the body’s immune system to fight the real virus.

A Possible Problem With Viral-Vector Vaccines

This is a paragraph from the article on the Conversation, which talks of a problem with viral-vector vaccines.

When a person is given a viral-vector vaccine, as well as generating an immune response against the coronavirus’s spike protein, the immune system will also mount a response against the viral vector itself. This immune response may then destroy some of the booster dose when it is subsequently delivered, before it can have an effect. This has long been recognised as a problem.

It looks like a case of shoot the messenger to me.

The Russian Solution To The Problem

The Russian vaccine appears to get round the problem, by using two different adenoviruses in their two shots. There are fifty adenoviruses that affect humans, so they have a wide choice.

The first shot would only prime the immune system to the spike protein and one adenovirus, which could mean that the second and different adenovirus gets through without being attacked.

Co-Operation Between AstraZeneca And The Russians

This is the last sentence from the article on the Conversation.

This has now led to AstraZeneca testing a new hybrid vaccine schedule, comprising one dose of its vaccine and one of the Ad26-vector Sputnik V, to see if this makes the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine more effective.

I like the thinking behind this idea.

The priming for the immune system gets delivered by two totally unrelated delivery systems.

Conclusion

I wouldn’t be surprised to see this type of hybrid vaccine developed.

Surely, if we need to vaccinate every year against an ongoing Covid-19 threat, eventually, a succession of viral-vectors can be developed to fool the immune system.

The negotiation with the Russians could be tricky.

January 23, 2021 Posted by | Health | , , , | 1 Comment