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Blockchains, vaccines, and a promising future

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Greetings everyone,

First, if you haven’t been following the blockchain space very closely this year - and/or if you are curious to learn more about the nuances of the Web 3.0 stack beyond DeFi - check out this week’s episode of Ventures:

What’s up with Blockchain? Web 3.0, DeFi, and scaling trust :: with Spencer Graham and Tony Little

You can also listen to this episode anywhere you get your podcasts (search for “Ventures”).

Thanks, Tony and Spencer, for guiding us to think deeply about the possibilities of a decentralized future with scaled ownership, governance, rewards, and benefits. The Web 3.0 era is looking bright!  

The Vaccine

If you haven’t yet heard, Pfizer and BioNTech announced amazing news that they have developed a vaccine that is 90% effective. While it’s terrible that the virus is spreading so rapidly around the world right now, the flip side of this is that it allows the current Phase 3 clinical trials to proceed quite rapidly. Pfizer and BioNTech’s trial is still underway, so they are waiting on more data before releasing it broadly to the public.

For those who are interested in the science, wrapping mRNA in lipid nanoparticles has been a promising, albeit challenging, new technology. Check out this informative article from a couple years ago:

Liposomes and Lipid Nanoparticles as Delivery Vehicles for Personalized Medicine

Stat News also has a great video about how mRNA vaccines work here.

Regarding the story of the vaccine development itself, Science reported that BioNTech focused on delivery to dendritic cells (i.e. antigen-presenting cells):

“We spent a lot of effort in understanding what you need to get the vaccine into dendritic cells,” Sahin says. “That’s our key differentiator.” The BioNTech team then chose the mRNA that triggered the best immune responses in early human trials.

Overall, this is extremely promising. From the press release: “Study enrolled 43,538 participants, with 42% having diverse backgrounds, and no serious safety concerns have been observed; Safety and additional efficacy data continue to be collected”

There are also a ton of other vaccine efforts underway globally that are approaching the underlying science from differing angles.  

Listening to many vaccine experts earlier this year left us appropriately concerned about the timing of vaccine development, so the data from Pfizer and BioNTech this week is extremely good news.

Have a great rest of your week,