crop nurse with syringe ready to vaccinate patients

DAILY DOSE: New dengue vaccine, old problems; A legendary 1950s computer discovered in a basement.

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DEJA VU ALL OVER AGAIN.

A new dengue vaccine by Takeda Pharmaceuticals is set for approval by the Indonesian government and the European regulatory body is considering its approval. Unfortunately, there’s a bit of a Groundhog Day feel to it as the same mistakes that were made with Sanofi’s Dengvaxia appears to be happening again. Per Nature,

A vaccine to prevent infection from dengue — a mosquito-borne disease that kills 20,000 people a year — is poised to roll out in Indonesia next year. But the jab is stirring debate: some researchers say that important safety concerns have been overlooked.

The vaccine, called Qdenga and developed by the pharmaceutical company Takeda, headquartered in Tokyo, is particularly significant because it is the first for people who have not been exposed to dengue. The virus infects up to 400 million people a year. The Indonesian drug regulator approved use of the vaccine without testing for previous exposure in August. Europe’s drug regulator is also considering approving the vaccine without testing.

The only other approved vaccine, Dengvaxia, developed by Sanofi in Paris, can be given only to people who have already been infected. In individuals with no history of infection, Dengvaxia increases the risk of severe disease, including hemorrhagic fever, which might be caused by a rare but serious condition called antibody-dependent enhancement (ADE), in which vaccination induces antibodies that make a subsequent infection worse.

It’s really hard to understand Jakarta’s rationale here. Why move forward with no data? https://go.nature.com/3DWeKsE


WAR OF WORDS.

More words are being thrown about at COP27. This time, it’s about funding climate change projects in developing countries. Per Reuters,

Finance took centre stage at the COP27 climate talks on Wednesday, with U.N. experts publishing a list of projects worth $120 billion that investors could back to help poorer countries cut emissions and adapt to the impacts of global warming.

A $3 billion water transfer project between Lesotho and Botswana and a $10 million plan to improve the public water system in Mauritius were among dozens of projects listed, including 19 in Africa.

"We can now show that a meaningful pipeline of investible opportunities does exist across the economies that need finance most," Mahmoud Mohieldin, one of the U.N. appointed experts, known as U.N. Climate Change High-Level Champions, said in a statement to accompany the report.

In an effort to answer the argument by private sector financiers that it's too risky to invest more in emerging markets, the experts, who help the COP host-governments engage with business, pulled together a list of projects that could be funded more quickly.

U.N. Climate Change High-Level Champions? Seriously? It’s difficult to take COP27 seriously. Mind you, that isn’t to say that the issues at stake aren’t serious. They are. It’s the meeting itself that seems a bit off. https://reut.rs/3fOTr4f


CAVEAT EMPTOR.

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me? Fool me three times? Well, that’s what the world is worried about when it comes to big-time American climate change pledges made by Democratic Presidents and subsequently walked back by Republicans. Per the Associated Press,

U.S. President Joe Biden is coming to international climate talks in Egypt this week with a message that historic American action to fight climate change won’t shift into reverse, as happened twice before when Democrats lost power.

Current and former Biden top climate officials said the vast majority of the summer’s incentive-laden $375 billion climate-and-health spending package — by far the biggest law passed by Congress to fight global warming — was crafted in a way that will make it hard and unpalatable for future Republican Congresses or presidents to reverse it.

Outside experts agree, but say other parts of the Biden climate agenda can be stalled by a Republican Congress and courts.

Twice in the 30-year history of climate negotiations, Democratic administrations helped forged an international agreement, but when they lost the White House, their Republican successors pulled out of those pacts.

What happens the fourth time? https://bit.ly/3UGSAS5


BASEMENT HACKS.

Forget about dusty attics. A technological relic of mythical proportions has been discovered in basement in Germany. Per Wired,

On Monday, a German Redditor named c-wizz announced that they had found a very rare 66-year-old Librascope LGP-30 computer (and several 1970 DEC PDP-8/e computers) in their grandparents' basement. The LGP-30, first released in 1956, is one of only 45 manufactured in Europe and may be best known as the computer used by "Mel" in a famous piece of hacker lore.

Although the PDP-8/e machines are rare and valuable on their own, the LGP-30 arguably stands out as the most interesting part of the basement discovery because it's part of hacker legend. In the epic "The Story of Mel," first posted to a Usenet newsgroup in 1983, a Librascope programmer named Melvin Kaye has been tasked with porting a Blackjack program from the LGP-30 to another computer. The story's author, Ed Nather, is later tasked with finding a bug in the software, and along the way, he discovers Kaye's ingenious and unconventional programming tricks. Also, Edward Lorenz reportedly developed chaos theory (and the "butterfly effect") as a result of weather experiments conducted on the LGP-30.

It’s not quite the Holy Grail, but it will do for now. https://bit.ly/3htzjoX

Thanks for reading. Let’s be careful out there.


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