Rapid Vaccine Development – Covid-19

One common objection to receiving Covid vaccinations is the perception that researchers developed the vaccines too quickly. Knowing the scientific reasons for this triumph of timing and the rigors of testing and production quality controls ought to alleviate this concern. I recently viewed a PBS program on American Experience entitled The Polio Crusade. Even though the testing of the new polio vaccines and the quality controls for the production of the vaccines were not as rigorous in the 1950s, the vaccines proved to be effective. Today two of the three types of poliomyelitis viruses have been eradicated from the globe. The third type is on the verge of being completely conquered. 

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Here’s a link to the program The Polio Crusade: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ySXF4BXsaz0

Being a teacher who enjoys alliteration, here are my four “Fs” of rapid Covid vaccine development:

Foundation

Decades of scientific investigation and discovery provided the platform for the rapid development of safe vaccines. 

Funding

Research institutions worldwide received billions of dollars in funding for the fight against the coronavirus. Just one example here in the US is the federal program Operation Warp Speed. This program provided $18 billion in funding to enable the rapid development of Covid vaccines.

Focus

The designation “pandemic” alerted the global community to the imminent threat to humanity from this coronavirus. This “pandemic” alert encouraged researchers and immunologists worldwide to focus their resources and efforts on defeating this imminent threat to society. 

Forums

A94AA9B9-5F4E-49F0-BA37-EB11D06340B7_1_105_cA global pandemic requires a global response. Fortunately, many experienced international forums such as WHO and NIH have stepped into the breach. A forum I recently discovered is “The COVID-19 High-Performance Computing Consortium.” This consortium brings together government, industry, and academic institutions to provide access to the world’s most powerful high-performance computing resources in support of COVID-19 research. This network provides 600 Petaflops, 6.8 million CPU cores, and 50 thousand GPUs of computing power for coronavirus research.

600 Petaflops

A Petaflop is a unit of computing speed equal to one thousand million million (10¹⁵) floating-point operations per second.

6.8 million CPU cores (Central Processing Unit)

A core can work on one task, while another core works on a different assignment. Most processors can use a process called simultaneous multithreading, also called Hyper-threading. This process splits a core into virtual cores, called threads. 

50K GPUs (Graphics Processing Unit)

GPUs can process many pieces of data simultaneously, making them useful for machine learning, video editing, and gaming applications.

For more information about this consortium, click on this link:

https://covid19-hpc-consortium.org

1316FC69-88D5-4304-B3F8-1E570791CE70_4_5005_cThe rapid development of Covid vaccines is good news for humanity. We should celebrate this achievement. Vaccines save lives and alleviate potential human suffering. Timely vaccinations prevent viruses from mutating. Do society a favor. Get yourCovid vaccination if you have not already done so!


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