Summer Students at VIC

VIC continues to be committed to the training of young scientists and this photo shows the many students and young researchers successfully working in the VIC lab, or remotely, under the supervision of senior scientists

As Delta variant spreads, Americans wonder about vaccine booster

Mark Poznansky raises the issue with his co-authors, of whether to give a third booster shot of a covid vaccine against the threat of the Delta variant and discusses the risks and benefits of balancing scientific understanding on safety with humane decisions on global equity.

“The unvaccinated may ask whether they should now get vaccinated to protect themselves and their families. Meanwhile, some who have been vaccinated wonder whether a booster shot is in order, sooner rather than later, especially given the rise in the delta variant. The answer is not yet clear. Data from Israel, the U.S. and elsewhere suggest that the current COVID-19 vaccines offer less protection against the delta variant than earlier versions of the virus. Early reports from Pfizer support the effectiveness of a booster shot against the delta variant while a review of safety data is pending. In the meantime, we must avoid jeopardizing the effectiveness of the first vaccine doses against original variants as well as the delta variant. The timing and efforts become a balancing act. What has been glaringly clear throughout the pandemic is the need to trust and follow the science in real-time. That means, in part, don’t jump the gun and make assumptions. Yet, it also means making the most informed public health decisions possible at any given moment.”

co -written by Mark C. Poznansky, MD, PhD, Marc Seigel, MD and Jacqueline A. Hart, MD.  

Freedom from restrictions means COVID is free to run rampant

Dr. Hart talks about why vaccine refusal perpetuates the emergence of new COVID variants (like delta) and prevents our progress toward ending the current pandemic.

“Millions of researchers, clinicians, public health officials, volunteer EMTs and vaccinators have devoted innumerable hours to developing and deploying a solution to the COVID-19 pandemic at an astoundingly rapid pace — not only in vaccine discovery and production, but also in complicated systems and processes established and nimbly adapted as necessary to deliver on a vaccination timetable. This work is rooted in evidence-based information. That means clinical and public health decisions rely on the best data we have at any given time to deliver the best care for individuals, communities and the population at large. That principle fosters the most edified management possible.”

The VIC team working with Pinpoint Science, Inc scientists to assess a new rapid point of care COVID test.

The team at VIC enjoyed hosting Michelle Shimberg and Jack Cox from our collaborators Pinpoint Science in California in June and July. This was the first stage in the validation of Pinpoint’s highly sensitive, 15 minute diagnostic test for active COVID infection. We look forward to welcoming them back for the next phase of the collaborative study in a few weeks. Dr. Poznansky states “ we are very excited to collaborate with the team at Pinpoint Science given the potential of their technology to transform our approaches to rapid COVID testing”.

Mark Poznansky in Roxbury on Juneteenth as one of the MGB doctors helping to promote COVID vaccine confidence.

In an effort to promote COVID vaccine confidence and dispel harmful myths and misinformation, Mass General Brigham (MGB) doctors and other healthcare providers are bringing answers and information directly to residents in our hotspot communities. By meeting people where they are at, we aim to address longstanding, well-earned mistrust of the medical community and encourage them to receive the vaccine as soon as they are eligible.