Covid 19 Breaks Apart

Promises of a COVID-19 Vaccine or Cure?

“I think that we’re going to have some degree of public health measures together with the vaccine for a considerable period of time. But we’ll start approaching normal — if the overwhelming majority of people take the vaccine — as we get into the third or fourth quarter [of 2021].”

Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the country’s top infectious disease expert and a member of the White House task force on the coronavirus, (NYT Interview Nov. 19-2020).

 

NEWS UPDATE

Pfizer Claims Early Data Shows Their Vaccine Is More Than 95% Effective

The drug maker Pfizer announced on Monday that an early analysis of its coronavirus vaccine trial suggested the vaccine was robustly effective in preventing Covid-19, a promising development as the world has waited anxiously for any positive news about a pandemic that has killed more than 1.2 million people.

Pfizer, which developed the vaccine with the German drugmaker BioNTech, released only sparse details from its clinical trial, based on the first formal review of the data by an outside panel of experts.

PfizerThe company said that the analysis found that the vaccine was more than 94.5 percent effective in preventing the disease among trial volunteers who had no evidence of prior coronavirus infection.

If the results hold up, that level of protection would put it on par with highly effective childhood vaccines for diseases such as measles. No serious safety concerns have been observed, the company said.

Pfizer plans to ask the Food and Drug Administration for emergency authorization of the two-dose vaccine later this month, after it has collected the recommended two months of safety data.

By the end of the year it will have manufactured enough doses to immunize 15 to 20 million people, company executives have said.

Wait & See

Independent scientists have cautioned against hyping early results before long-term safety and efficacy data has been collected. And no one knows how long the vaccine’s protection might last.

The data released by Pfizer Monday was delivered in a news release, not a peer-reviewed medical journal. It is not conclusive evidence that the vaccine is safe and effective, but it is certainly welcome news to a world-weary population living in a pandemic if Pfizer’s claims of more than 90 percent efficacy are independently validated — the trial goes on.

 


Covid 19 Treatments 1

There is no cure yet for Covid-19. Only one treatment, a drug called remdesivir, has been approved by the F.D.A. for the disease, and with only a modest benefit to patients. Scientists are also studying a wide range of other potential treatments, but most are still in early stages of research.

Categories of COVID-19 Treatment

Antibodies

How Antibody Tests Work - WSJ

 

Antibodies are one of your body’s natural defense systems against foreign attackers. When your body detects foreign intruders (like bacteria or viruses), your immune system makes antibodies that recognizes them. These specific antibodies attach to the foreign intruders and target them for destruction.

To treat or prevent disease, scientists can either use antibodies from the blood of people who have recovered from the infection (i.e., “convalescent plasma”) or use antibodies made in a lab that will attach to and stop (“neutralize”) the foreign intruders.

Antibodies created to attach to different molecules in the body (i.e., not foreign intruders) can also be used to treat disease, for example, by turning down your immune response to stop it from overreacting and causing damage to the body (a phenomenon known as “cytokine storm”).

 

Antivirals

BREAKTHROUGH! Boston Researchers Identify New Target For Broad-Spectrum Antiviral Treatment That Can Be Used For Corvid-19 Coronavirus. - Thailand Medical News

Viruses travel light—they usually only carry a few things they need, including the code to make more of themselves (the “nucleic acid,” either DNA or RNA) and a protective shell around them.

They can’t make more of themselves (“replicate”) on their own. They need to get into animal cells, where they hijack the replication system that those cells use.

Antiviral treatments stop viruses from making more of themselves by blocking one or more steps in the process.

 

Cell-Based Therapies

2020 Autologous Stem Cell Based Therapies Market Growth Factor By Regeneus, Mesoblast, Pluristem Therapeutics, US STEM CELL – Galus Australis

Cell-based therapies work by transferring into patients live cells to treat a specific disease. To make cell-based therapies, researchers take cells either from the patient (called “autologous” therapies) or from a donor (called “allogeneic”therapies) and either transfer the cells unchanged or change the cells in specific ways to treat a specific disease (e.g., CAR-T therapies).

Different cell types from different sources can be used (e.g., stem cells from fat tissue or bone marrow, cells from placenta, T-cells, natural killer [NK] cells). To treat COVID-19 disease, potential cell-based therapies work, in general, by helping the patient’s immune system work better (and not overreact) by releasing signals to other cells in the body to coordinate a proper reaction to the infection and help healing.

 

Devices

Brita Filter for Blood” Aims to Remove Harmful Cytokines for COVID-19 Patients - IEEE Spectrum

Not all potential therapies to treat COVID-19 are drugs. Some are devices or machines that in some way treat a disease.

These potential treatments include blood purification devices that filter patients’ blood to remove excess proteins (e.g., cytokines causing the“cytokine storm”) or toxins that are causing problems that can lead to respiratory or organ failure in patients.

 

 

 


COVID-19 Drugs or Potential Vaccines in Testing

PROMISING EVIDENCE 

 Remdesivir — made by Gilead Sciences under the brand Velkury, is the first drug to gain approval from the F.D.A. for the treatment of Covid-19. It works by interfering with the creation of new viruses, inserting itself into new viral genes. Remdesivir was originally tested as an antiviral against Ebola and Hepatitis C, only to deliver lackluster results. But a randomized controlled trial published in May concluded the drug reduced the recovery time of people hospitalized with Covid-19 from 15 to 11 days.   Updated Oct. 23


TENTATIVE OR MIXED EVIDENCE 

  • Favipiravir — Originally designed to beat back influenza, favipiravir blocks a virus’s ability to copy its genetic material. A small study in March indicated the drug might help purge the coronavirus from the airway. Larger, randomized trials are now underway.   Updated Sept. 29
  • Molnupiravir — (also known as MK-4482 and previously as EIDD-2801) is another antiviral originally designed to fight the flu. Ridgeback Biotherapeutics and Merck are collaborating to develop it as a treatment for Covid-19.   Molnupiravir produced promising results against the new coronavirus in studies this spring in cells and on animals. In October, the companies started two Phase 2/3 trials to see if it can reduce mortality and speed recovery in patients.   Updated Oct. 13   
  • Recombinant ACE-2 — To enter cells, the coronavirus must first unlock them — a feat it accomplishes by latching onto a human protein called ACE-2. Scientists have created artificial ACE-2 proteins which might be able to act as decoys, luring the coronavirus away from vulnerable cells. Recombinant ACE-2 proteins have shown promising results in experiments on cells, but not yet in animals or people.  Updated Oct. 13
  • Ivermectin — For decades, ivermectin has served as a potent drug to treat parasitic worms. Doctors use it against river blindness and other diseases, while veterinarians give dogs a different formulation to prevent heartworm. Studies on cells have suggested ivermectin might also kill viruses. In April, Australian researchers reported that the drug blocked coronaviruses in cell cultures, but they used a dosage that was so high it might have dangerous side effects in people. The FDA immediately issued a warning against taking pet medications to treat or prevent Covid-19. “These animal drugs can cause serious harm in people,” the agency warned.  Updated Oct. 13
  • Oleandrin  — It is a compound produced by the oleander shrub. It can cause irregular heartbeats, making the plant dangerous to ingest. But many plant compounds — even some potentially lethal ones — have proven to be medically useful, and so researchers have investigated oleandrin as a potential treatment for cancer. The U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases tested oleandrin on coronavirus-infected cells in May but the experiments were inconclusive.  But most compounds that kill viruses in cell cultures fail in further testing in animals or humans. Phoenix Biotechnology is considering selling oleandrin as an over-the-counter supplement. Consumers should be aware that there is no evidence that it’s safe or effective against the coronavirus in people.  Updated Aug. 21

NOT PROMISING 

  • Lopinavir and ritonavir — Twenty years ago, the F.D.A. approved this combination of drugs to treat H.I.V. Recently, researchers tried them out on the new coronavirus and found that they stopped the virus from replicating. But clinical trials in patients proved disappointing.
  • Hydroxychloroquine and chloroquineGerman chemists synthesized chloroquine in the 1930s as a drug against malaria. A less toxic version, called hydroxychloroquine, was invented in 1946, and later was approved for other diseases such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. At the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, researchers discovered that both drugs could stop the coronavirus from replicating in cells.  The World Health Organization launched a randomized clinical trial in March to see if it was indeed safe and effective for Covid-19, as did Novartis and a number of universities. Meanwhile, Trump repeatedly promoted hydroxychloroquine at press conferences, touting it as a “game changer,” and even took it himself. The F.D.A. temporarily granted hydroxychloroquine emergency authorization for use in Covid-19 patients — which a whistleblower later claimed was the result of political pressure. But more detailed studies proved disappointing. Studies on animals such as monkeys and mice found no evidence that hydroxychloroquine stopped the disease.
Covid 19 Image

COVID-19; more than a question of life or death

A study of low-risk COVID-19 infected individuals finds impairments four months after first contracting the virus.

Young and previously healthy people with ongoing symptoms of Covid-19 are showing signs of damage to multiple organs four months after the initial infection, UK study suggests.

The findings are a step towards unpicking the physical underpinnings and developing treatments for some of the strange and extensive symptoms experienced by people with “long Covid”, brain fog, breathlessness, and pain are among the most frequently reported effects.

The UK-based Coverscan study assessed the long-term impact of Covid-19 on organ health in around 500 “low-risk” individuals – those who are relatively young and without any major underlying health complaints – with ongoing Covid symptoms, through a combination of MRI scans, blood tests, physical measurements and online questionnaires.

A total of 200 COVID-19 patients in the study had undergone screening suggesting 70% have impairments in one or more organs, including the heart, lungs, liver and pancreas, four months after their initial Covid-19 illness.

There is some post-infection impairment in 25% of the people in the study,  affecting two or more organs,” said Amitava Banerjee, a cardiologist and associate professor of clinical data science at University College London.

“This is of interest because we need to know if [the impairments] continue or improve – or if there is a subgroup of people who could get worse.”


COVERSCAN STUDY FINDINGS

Between April and September 2020, 201 individuals (mean age 44 (SD 11.0) 55 years, 70% female, 87% white, 31% healthcare workers) completed assessments following 56 SARS-CoV-2 infection (median 140, IQR 105-160 days after initial symptoms).

The 57 prevalence of pre-existing conditions (obesity: 20%, hypertension: 6%; diabetes: 2%; heart 58 disease: 4%) was low, and only 18% of individuals had been hospitalized with COVID-19. 59 Fatigue (98%), muscle aches (88%), breathlessness (87%), and headaches (83%) were the 60 most frequently reported symptoms.

Ongoing cardiorespiratory (92%) and gastrointestinal 61 (73%) symptoms were common, and 42% of individuals had ten or more symptoms. 62 There was evidence of mild organ impairment in heart (32%), lungs (33%), kidneys (12%), 63 liver (10%), pancreas (17%), and spleen (6%). Single (66%) and multi-organ (25%) 64 impairment was observed, and was significantly associated with risk of prior COVID-19 65 hospitalization.


In some, but not all, cases there was a correlation between people’s symptoms and the site of the organ impairment. For instance, heart or lung impairments correlated with breathlessness, while liver or pancreas impairments were associated with gastrointestinal symptoms.

“It supports the idea that there is an insult at organ level, and potentially multi-organ level, which is detectable, and which could help to explain at least some of the symptoms and the trajectory of the disease,” said Banerjee.

The new findings could also have implications for the management of people with long-term Covid impacts, suggesting the need for closer collaboration between medical specialists. “Sending the people you need to the cardiologist, and then to the gastroenterologist, and then to the neurologist would be an inefficient way to deal with things as the pandemic continues,” Banerjee said.

For Mirabai Nicholson-McKellar, Covid-19 brought an onslaught of symptoms from chest pains to an 11-day migraine, three positive test results, and a period in hospital.

Brain Fog: the long and unclear road to coronavirus recovery

Seven months later, the rollercoaster is far from over: the 36-year-old from Byron Bay, Australia is still experiencing symptoms – including difficulties with thinking that are often described as “brain fog”.

“Brain fog seems like such an inferior description of what is actually going on. It’s completely crippling. I am unable to think clearly enough to [do] anything,” says Nicholson-McKellar, adding that the experience would be better described as cognitive impairment.

The consequences, she says, have been enormous.

“I can’t work more than one to two hours a day and even just leaving the house to get some shopping can be a challenge,” she says. “When I get tired it becomes much worse and sometimes all I can do is lay in bed and watch TV.” Brain fog has made her forgetful to the point that she says she burns pots while cooking.

“It often prevents me from being able to have a coherent conversation or write a text message or email,” she adds. “I feel like a shadow of my former self. I am not living right now, I am simply existing.”

Nicholson-McKellar is far from alone.You Can Ease Inflammatory Arthritis Brain Fog with These 12 Tips for a Sharper Mind – CreakyJoints

Dr Michael Zandi, a consultant at the UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology , says he has seen patients who have been living with brain fog for a few months. While some have been admitted to hospital or intensive care with Covid, Zandi says he is now seeing cases among people who coped with Covid at home.

“The proportion of people with cognitive symptoms for any period of time as a result of Covid-19 is unknown, and a focus of study now, but in some studies could be up to 20%,” he says.

Zandi agrees that difficulties with thinking and concentration have previously been reported by patients with other conditions, including the auto-immune disease lupus.

“Doctors and scientists wouldn’t necessarily use [brain fog] as a diagnosis as it doesn’t exactly tell you what the problem is and what could be causing that,” says Zandi.

Dr Wilfred Van Gorp, former president of the American Academy of Clinical Neuropsychology, says many Covid survivors he has seen with brain fog also have problems ranging from headaches to difficulties tolerating loud noise and controlling emotions.

 “The complaints are very much similar to [those of] post-concussion patients,” he says, adding that there are also similarities to chronic fatigue syndrome.

Zandi says there could be many causes of brain fog in Covid survivors, from inflammation in the body to a lack of oxygen to the brain – the latter is a particular concern for those who spent time on ventilators.

Dr Nick Grey, a consultant clinical psychologist at Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust said terms similar to “brain fog” have previously been used in connection with extreme tiredness, low mood and conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) – the latter of which is thought to affect about a quarter of Covid survivors who were in intensive care.

(originally published, Guardian, 10-09-20)
Cadie Ev1

Electric cars, crossovers, pick-up trucks are the future… and the future is here

National Drive Electric Week is coming to Hawaii, beginning September 26 and concluding October 3rd. Hawaii Electric Vehicle Association (www.hawaiiev.org) will host statewide activities in support of this national event and celebration.

Transportation puts more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere than any other sector in the U.S. economy. In Hawaii, the percentage of transportation-related pollution is higher, representing an excess of 40% of all local greenhouse gas emissions.  Hawaii is now following a global trend in the electrification of transportation, and off fossil fuels.

Whether you’re curious about electric vehicles or already an experienced EV owner, alternatives to gas guzzling cars, SUVs, and trucks may be closer than you think.

BeyondKona invites you to read this informative article on what’s here and just around the corner in the world of emerging electric vehicle alternatives for Hawaii’s drivers.



Billionaire value investor Mario Gabelli recently lauded Elon Musk as “phenomenal” and described electric vehicles as “the holy grail” in the current shift toward a green economy.

Meanwhile, Tesla’s competitors, the world’s automakers, are finally listening to the “silent” propulsion of electric vehicles — and have begun in earnest to chase Tesla’s taillights before its too late.

Tesla is the world leader in EV technology and vehicle production, and will likely remain so for some time into the future.  Most auto-truck manufacturers (for the time being) remain firmly lashed to fossil fuels and 20th century internal combustion engine technology, with a long overdue transition to the efficiencies battery-powered vehicles beginning to take hold a midst rising competition from companies like Tesla, and start-ups like Rivian, Lucid, and too many Chinese EV startups to count.

Every major legacy auto manufacturer is working on introducing (competitive) electric vehicles in a variety of models and formats.

What follows is a sneak preview of a new generation of electric vehicles that do not remotely resemble the half-hearted attempts at EVs of the past, mostly designed to simply off-set California’s strict air quality and regulatory emissions standards.

Buckle up your safety belt, new electric vehicle cars, SUV, and trucks are on their way and to showrooms (likely not all of the following EV models and make it to Hawaii) in the next few model years, but the list of new zero emissions vehicle options, loaded with new tech features, is impressive.


AUDI

Audi Ev1

As you might expect from its name, the Q4 e-tron will slot in between Audi’s Q3 and Q5 crossovers in size. But it will be different from both in that it will come only in an all-electric e-tron configuration.

Like many of the Volkswagen Group’s upcoming EV models, it will ride on the company’s MEB platform.

The Q4 e-tron concept pictured here offers a close look at what the production car will look like when it goes on sale in 2021.


BMW

Bmw Ev 1

 

 

 

BMW’s first “i” cars, the i3 and i8, relied upon wild, futuristic designs to make a statement. The next model in the electric sub-brand will have far more conventional styling, as it’s intended to be similar to the 4-series Gran Coupe four-door hatchback.

BMW has already announced that the i4 will have 523 hp and an 80.0-kWh battery pack, and it will start production in 2021.

The iNext (SUV), pictured here camouflaged, starts production in 2021 and should arrive in the U.S. sometime later. Europe will get it before we do. It’s intended as a flagship for BMW’s expanded “i” family of electrified vehicles. BMW says it will have a range of over 400 miles with Level 3 autonomous driving capability.


BOLLINGER

Bollinger

 

From a Michigan-based startup come a pair of utilitarian-looking high-end vehicles, including this B1 SUV and pick-up variant, each priced at $125,000.

It is likely we won’t see any of these on the Big Island or in Hawaii anytime soon.

Bollinger is expected to start delivering to customers in 2021.  Both SUV and truck are claimed to offer 614 horsepower, 668 lb-ft of torque, and a 4.5-second zero-to-6o-mph time.

The Bollinger B1’s 120.0-kWh battery pack is said to offer up to 200 miles of range. Other specs include a 5000-pound payload capacity and 15 inches of ground clearance.


BYTON (from China)

China1

 

 

 

Byton represents what is the leading edge of what’s expected to be a flood of electric vehicles from the Chinese startup, which has only been around since 2016.

European countries will get to buy them first, but we expect the M-Byte to start at $45,000 in the U.S.

 


GM:  CADILLAC – CHEVY – HUMMER

Cadie Ev1

In a major bid to compete with Tesla and other electric vehicle makers, General Motors unveiled the Cadillac Lyriq electric last month.

The Lyriq is the first fully-electric Cadillac introduced by GM, which is preparing to unveil a whole new lineup of electric cars, trucks and SUVs,

Chevrolet, whihc broke gorund in the EV space with 2011 introduced of the highly successful Chevy Volt, was fashionably late to the EV-pickup party, and only announced earlier in 2020 plans for a fully-electric Chevy pickup to go into production before 2025.

It would be different than the already teased GMC Hummer EV. Chevy can fit 24 battery modules between the frame and under the body with a battery pack that can store as much as 200.0 kWh of electricity on board.

Howver, not to be out done, Tesla’s Cybertruck will have planned 500 miles range and packing a huge 250 kWh battery pack. Also unfortunate for Chevy, Telsa’s Cybertruck will be deliveries late next year, and even startup companies like Lordstown, Nikola, and Rivian all have trucks planned to go on sale sooner that Chevy. But the real race will be a classic competition between Chevy and Ford to see who gets their EV pick-ups to market first.

The GMC Hummer EV is expected to come as both an SUV and pickup. It will be offered with a one-two-and three electric drive motor configurations, with a promised 1000 horsepower with an insane 11,500 lb-ft of torque. Although the real truck hasn’t been unveiled yet, GMC announced it would have removable roof panels. General Motors announced that although the Hummer debut was delayed to the global pandemic, they still plan to sell it sometime 2021, well ahead of the Chevy EV pick-up.

Hmmer Ev

GM – HONDA

 

Honda and General Motors are in talks over an alliance that could see them develop and sell vehicles together under their own brands, as well as cooperate in research and development, connected services and purchasing.

Chevy1The two auto giants have signed a non-binding memorandum of understanding, with plans to develop two new electric vehicles together for Honda using GM’s Ultium batteries and EV platform.

General Motors showed offed a future long-range, all-electric SUV, named the LYRIQ, is scheduled to be offered in 2024 and sold under its Cadillac luxury brand. The vehicle’s range and performance details are unavailable at this time.

CEO Mary Barra promised investors on Tuesday that would be the case—and the 2017 introduction and reception of GM’s first all-electric car since the EV-1, 20 years earlier, was the 238-mile range Chevrolet Bolt EV. The apparent sale success of the Bolt encouraged the company to accelerate its over transition plans to EV models.

Well before the Bolt EV launched, GM costs for Electric Vehicle battery packs was $145 per kilowatt-hour for the cells. The industry’s magic bullet costs for batteries, the most expensive component of EV production is $100 per kilowatt-hour, it is at this price point the major ICE car manufacturers claim profitability in producing EV’s will be achieved. The price for batteries, as measured in KWh costs has dramatically dropped over the past two decades, more than half by many measurements.

GM’s US rival Ford has teamed up with German giant Volkswagen to jointly develop electric and self-driving vehicles, and a pending merger between Fiat Chrysler and Peugeot also aims to hold costs down.


FORD

 

The company that introduced America to the first mass-market car Model T, it’s about to break ground again with its all-electric F-150 Pick-up (goes on sale next year, and all the new all electric Mustang crossover, the Mach E, available before the end of this year.

Building off its storied best-selling history and recent partnership with Rivian, Ford looks to make an all-electric pickup brawny enough to avoid alienating its central customer base while also drawing in new shoppers interested in owning a pickup, but without the carbon footprint of a gasoline engine.

The Ford F-150 electric pickup truck is expected on sale in 2021, putting it squarely in the middle of the fray when TeslaGeneral Motors, Bollinger, and others are bringing out their electric trucks.

 


JAGUAR

Jaguar Ev

 

Jaguar dove headfirst into the EV pool with the unprecedented I-Pace electric hatchback, and the company is doubling down by turning one of its most iconic models, the XJ luxury sedan, into an EV. We hear that the electric XJ will use the same platform, battery pack, and electric motors as the I-Pace, but it will surely be more elegantly styled, as is befitting a flagship luxury sedan. Expect it to arrive sometime in 2020.

The 2021 Jaguar I-Pace is a fascinating all-electric crossover that looks good and drives well. Its luxury designation and price will limit its mainstream popularity, but there’s no denying that the I-Pace’s futuristic facade captures the imagination. This iPace boasts an EPA-rated range of 253 miles plus fast-charging capability and instantaneous acceleration.

The i-Pace is available for delivery today from Oahu dealers. Auto review are unanimous on the way the crossover handles, “… more like a sports car than a five-seat crossover, with its controlled demeanor and tactile steering.”

 


HYUNDAI

Kona Ev

Hyundai introduced the Kona for the 2018 model year and followed up with the all-electric version last year. More awareness is sure to come, however, because the Kona Electric is one of the best EVs on the market.

Hyundai’s successful electric crossover, the Kona (price and model ranges from $37k to 45K), is presently not sold in Kona, Hawaii or the rest of the state at this time.  Kona has an estimated driving range of 258, standard fast-charging capability, and plenty of technology and safety features.

The Korean manufacturer current sells the Niro EV, and expected to beginning to sell in America this fall the Soul EV, but those plans have been scrapped.  Both Kia. and its parent company Hyundai. has several all-electric concept planned but specific plans for delivery to an American audience remain uncertain at this time.  Hyundai’s successful electric crossover, the Kona (price and model ranges from $37k to 45K), is presently not sold in Kona, Hawaii, but special delivery arrangements are available through KUHIO HYUNDAI in Kauai.

KIA

Kia’s Plan S, revealed in January, states that the South Korean company is committed to going electric and committing to a significant volume of electric vehicles in the future.  Under the plan, Kia will invest $25 billion by the end of 2025, with global aims to introduce 11 new Kia EVs by 2025 and sell 500,000 electric vehicles annually by that year. With that, Kia would have a projected 6.6% of the world’s electric vehicle sales.


LORDSTOWN

Loadstown Ev Pickup

 

 

The Lordstown Motors Endurance electric pickup truck, announced the same day as the Tesla Cybertruck (which is perhaps not merely a coincidence), is Lordstown’s first vehicle.

The pick-up price is said to begin at $52,500, will have a four-wheel-drive hub motor system, and it purported to have a 250-mile range, and will be built in Lordstown, Ohio, formerly the site of a GM plant.

Deliveries for the vehicle will start in late this year.

 

 


LUCID MOTORS

Lucid Ev

This California startup, founded in 2007 as a battery-technology company, announced it would build a Tesla-fighting electric four-door sedan in 2016, but the car’s actual arrival seemed in question until recently.

This year, though, Lucid Motors received a $1 billion investment in November last year, and since broke ground on its future assembly plant in Casa Grande, Arizona.

The company has also partnered with Electrify America’s network of chargers, so the promised luxury sedan looks a lot closer to reality now.

Lucid promises its “Air” model will deliver 517 miles of range, 1000 horsepower, a top speed of “over 200 mph,” and a zero-to-6o-mph time of 2.5 seconds, plus over-the-air updates and autonomous-driving technology.

Deliveries of the first Air models will begin in Spring 2021, but the car has already set several new and unheard-of records for the EV sector. Not only is the Air currently holding the benchmark for EPA-estimated range at 517 miles, but its “Dream Edition” variant also set a 9.9-second quarter-mile record, becoming just the third production car on Earth to ever accomplish that feat.

The company announced it will start production in 2021, after the factory’s first stage of construction is completed.

Lucid’s primary focus is similar to Tesla’s: Create a high-performance and efficient electric cars that help accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable transportation.

 


Mercedes-Benz

Mb Ev

 

 

The EQC400 is Mercedes’s first all-electric vehicle, a compact crossover with a not too impressive estimated range of 200 miles.

The luxury vehicle starts at $68,895 and is slated to reach showrooms in early 2021, and is said to offer the values of most Mercedes: comfort, quietness, and precision in steering.

It comes with two electric motors which offer all-wheel drive and a claimed 4.9-second zero-to-60-mph time.

 

 


Nikola and GM — teaming up to take on Tesla’s cybertruck.

Nikola Badger pickup truck. [Credit: Nikola]

The electric truck startup announced Tuesday it has selected GM to be its manufacturing partner for its electric pickup truck dubbed the Badger. The Badger will use GM’s widely acclaimed Ultium battery technology. Additionally, Nikola will hand over $2 billion in stock to GM — giving the automaker an 11% stake in the company.

GM’s CEO Mary Barra said, “What we’re focused on is creating an all electric future and this announcement is very important today because it shows another very strong validation of our technology, our hydrogen fuel cell technology as well as our ultium batteries.”

Thus far, the Badger has been a mere rendering that has lit-up social media feeds.

The company did begin taking pre-orders for the electric super pickup truck in late June. On paper, the truck stands to be a beast. It’s expected to have 906 horsepower and have a 600-mile range using both battery and hydrogen fuel cells.

Nikola has said pricing will start at $60,000 for the electric vehicle version and $90,000 for the one that also includes the hydrogen cell.

The Badger is expected to be unveiled in early December. Production has been set for 2022.


NISSAN

Nissan Ev

 

Earlier this year,  Nissan took the wraps off the Ariya in its July world debut.

Nissan, after years of successful EV experience with its initial introduce of the Nissan Leaf in 2011, the company is finally preparing to introduce to the North American market a new EV model, the Ariya, an Electric Crossover with an expected 300-Mile driving range.

The Ariya is scheduled to be introduced in 2021 and 2022 model years

Looking remarkably close in appearance to the concept version that was unveiled last fall at the Tokyo motor show, the Ariya will start around $40,000 when it goes on sale in US as a 2022 model, and that’s before any federal tax incentives.

 

 


PORSCHE

Porcheev

 

 

Porsche recently announced the full electric Macan EV, scheduled for delivery in 2023, and is based on the Premium Platform Electric (PPE) platform of Porsche Taycan sports car, now available for sale in the United States.

The Macan is being co-developed with Audi.

It will have the same 800-volt tech as the next Taycan and will probably share its electric motors and battery packs. Price and other particulars are not available at this time, but like the very expensive Taycan, the Macan it is expected to be priced north of six figures when it finally hits the showroom floor.

 

 

 


RIVIAN

Rivian Ev

 

American startup Rivian has a production-ready truck, called the Rivian R1T (Expected: 2021), is preparing to take the EV truck fight to the likes of Bollinger and Tesla.

The R1T comes standard with all-wheel drive, the ability to tow up to 11,000 pounds, adjustable air suspension, and Level 3 autonomous-driving capabilities. The three battery packs that are available are 105.0, 135.0, and 180.0 kWh, with ranges of 230, 300, and 400 miles, respectively. Rivian claims that models equipped with the 180.0-kWh pack can hit 60 mph in a supercar-like 3.0 seconds. Look for Rivian R1T to start moving toward the marketplace in 2021 with a starting price of around $69,000.

The people at the startup Rivian aren’t just making an electric truck; they’re making an electric SUV, too. Built on the same platform as the R1T, the R1S shares the same battery pack options and ranges as its truck sibling.

In fact, the main differences between the truck and SUV are that the SUV can only tow 7716 pounds to the truck’s 11,000, and that the SUV can seat up to seven compared to the truck’s five. The R1S is set to compete against the likes of the Tesla Model X and will go on sale in 2020 just after the R1T, with a starting price of $72,500.


SUBARU and TOYOTA – Future EV Collaboration

Subaru and Toyota, both companies have been late in joining the transition to all electric EV models, but are now playing catch by jointly working together to produce a pair of electric SUVs that will share a platform, details are sketchy. It is ironic that Toyota, the company that introduced a hybrid line of gas-battery vehicles starting with the Prius missed the boat on EV’s which have since made their 20 year old hybrid technology now obsolete.

The platform the two manufacturers are collaborating on will be for “mid-size and large passenger vehicles.” Neither auto maker currently offers a fully electric vehicle in the U.S., but it’s possible the new EVs built on this platform will hit the market as soon as 2021.


TESLA

Tesla Cybertruck

Tesla is the world leader in EV technology and vehicle production, and will likely remain so for some time to come. Tesla’s Model S luxury sedan set the standard for 21st century electric vehicles nearly 10 years ago, and today still holds the title of best in class, performance, and technology.

Additions to the Model S in the family Tesla of EV’s now include the company’s luxury crossover Model X, and lower priced mass market electric vehicles in the Model 3 sedan, and the most recent addition, the Model Y crossover.

To say that the design of the Tesla Cybertruck is polarizing is a massive understatement, and the Cybertruck itself is massive—a hunk made of stainless steel that is estimated to weigh upward of 9000 pounds in its production version.

CEO Elon Musk has claimed as many as 200,000 would-be buyers have put down deposits in less than a week after the Cybertruck’s unveiling on November 21st of last year.

The Cyber Truck’s dimensions are similar to those for the market-dominating Ford F-150, and its stainless-steel unibody make it a vehicle designed to last the test of time and utility. The first, lowest-range version (250-plus miles) and is claimed to be priced starting under $40,000. Production is scheduled for late 2021.

Jay Leno takes a drive in the Cybertruck with Elon Musk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=25ZuKkbHdqM

 


VW

Vw Ev1

Volkswagen’s journey from diesel crisis to the upcoming market debut of several EV models in Europe and the U.S. has not been easy, but Wolfsburg is rolling ahead and debuting several different models later this year and next.

The first on this side of the Atlantic is going to be the ID.4 electric crossover. Set to challenge several more-affordable electric crossover models including the Tesla Model Y and the Nissan Ariya when it goes on sale, the ID.4 will offer buyers an easy way into EV ownership.

VW CEO Ralf Brandstätter said, “Volkswagen has successfully completed the first phase of the Transform 2025+ strategy. The company is now embarking on the next phase“.

“The broad-based electric offensive will now become tangible with new vehicles on the roads. Volkswagen is paving the way to zero-emission mobility for everyone. By 2025, at least 1.5 million electric cars are to be sold. In addition to electrification, the brand will also forge ahead with digitalization over the coming years.”

When it comes to pricing, VW execs have hinted that the ID.4 will start in the low-$30,000 range, prior to the application of the $7,500 federal tax credit and other local discounts, and stretch to about $45,000 for the top.



Electric Vehicle Outlook – 2020

The Electric Vehicle Outlook, according to Bloomberg’s annual long-term forecast of how electrification, shared mobility and autonomous driving will impact road transport from now out to 2040.

It covers light duty passenger vehicles, commercial vehicles, buses, and two/three-wheeled vehicles.

The report draws on our team of specialists around the world and looks at how these trends will impact the automotive, energy, infrastructure, and battery materials markets over the next 20 years.

Passenger EV sales jumped from 450,000 in 2015 to 2.1 million in 2019. They will drop in 2020 (pandemic impacts on worldwide auto sales) before continuing to rise as battery prices fall, energy density improves, more charging infrastructure is built, and sales spread to new markets.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Covid 19 Image

Don’t Expect a COVID-19 Virus Vaccine, anytime soon

First published in the Guardian, UK, May 22, 2020

Why might a vaccine fail?

Earlier this week, England’s deputy chief medical officer Jonathan Van-Tam said the words nobody wanted to hear: “We can’t be sure we will get a vaccine.”

Vaccines are simple in principle, but complex in practice.

The ideal vaccine protects against infection, prevents its spread, and does so safely. But none of this is easily achieved, as vaccine timelines show.

More than 30 years after scientists isolated HIV, the virus that causes Aids, we have no vaccine. The dengue fever virus was identified in 1943, but the first vaccine was approved only last year, and even then amid concerns it made the infection worse in some people. The fastest vaccine ever developed was for mumps. It took four years.

Scientists have worked on coronavirus vaccines before, so are not starting from scratch. Two coronaviruses have caused lethal outbreaks before, namely Sars and Mers, and vaccine research went ahead for both. But none have been licensed, partly because Sars fizzled out and Mers is regional to the Middle East. The lessons learned will help scientists create a vaccine for Sars-CoV-2, but there is still an awful lot to learn about the virus.

A chief concern is that coronaviruses do not tend to trigger long-lasting immunity. About a quarter of common colds are caused by human coronaviruses, but the immune response fades so rapidly that people can become reinfected the next year.

Researchers at Oxford University recently analysed blood from recovered Covid-19 patients and found that levels of IgG antibodies – those responsible for longer-lasting immunity – rose steeply in the first month of infection but then began to fall again.

Last week, scientists at Rockefeller University in New York found that most people who recovered from Covid-19 without going into hospital did not make many killer antibodies against the virus.

“That’s what is particularly challenging,” says Stanley Perlman, a veteran coronavirus researcher at the University of Iowa. “If the natural infection doesn’t give you that much immunity except when it’s a severe infection, what will a vaccine do? It could be better, but we don’t know.” If a vaccine only protects for a year, the virus will be with us for some time.

The genetic stability of the virus matters too. Some viruses, such as influenza, mutate so rapidly that vaccine developers have to release new formulations each year. The rapid evolution of HIV is a major reason we have no vaccine for the disease.

So far, the Sars-CoV-2 coronavirus seems fairly stable, but it is acquiring mutations, as all viruses do. Some genetic changes have been spotted in the virus’s protein “spikes” which are the basis of most vaccines. If the spike protein mutates too much, the antibodies produced by a vaccine will effectively be out of date and might not bind the virus effectively enough to prevent infection.

Martin Hibberd, professor of emerging infectious diseases at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, who helped identify some of the virus’s mutations, called them “an early warning”.


Another challenge: making a safe vaccine

In the rush to develop a vaccine – there are now more than 100 in development – safety must remain a priority. Unlike experimental drugs for the severely ill, the vaccine will be given to potentially billions of generally healthy people.

This means scientists will have to check extremely carefully for signs of dangerous side-effects. During the search for a Sars vaccine in 2004, scientists found that one candidate caused hepatitis in ferrets. Another serious concern is “antibody-induced enhancement” where the antibodies produced by a vaccine actually make future infections worse. The effect caused serious lung damage in animals given experimental vaccines for both Sars and Mers.

John McCauley, director of the Worldwide Influenza Centre at the Francis Crick Institute, says it takes time to understand the particular challenges each vaccine throws up. “You don’t know the difficulties, the specific difficulties, that every vaccine will give you,” he says. “And we haven’t got experience in handling this virus or the components of the virus.”


We should ‘end up with something’ … but what does that mean?

When UK’s prime minister, Boris Johnson, in a press briefing stated that a vaccine was “by no means guaranteed”, his chief scientific adviser, Patrick Vallance, agreed, but added: “I’d be surprised if we didn’t end up with something.” Many scientists share that view.

In all likelihood, a coronavirus vaccine will not be 100% effective.

Those in development draw on at least eight different approaches, from weakened and inactivated viruses to technologies that smuggle genetic code into the recipient’s cells, which then churn out spike proteins for the immune system to make antibodies against.

Ideally, a vaccine will generate persistent, high levels of antibodies to wipe out the virus and also “T” cells to destroy infected cells. But each vaccine is different and today no one knows what kind of immune response is good enough.

“We don’t even know if a vaccine can produce an immune response which would protect against future infection,” says David Heymann, who led the response of the World Health Organization (WHO) to the Sars epidemic.

Early results from two frontrunner vaccines suggest they might have some use.

The US biotech firm Moderna reported antibody levels similar to those found in recovered patients in 25 people who received its vaccine.

Another vaccine from Oxford University did not stop monkeys contracting the virus, but did appear to prevent pneumonia, a major cause of death in coronavirus patients.

If humans react the same way, vaccinated people would still spread the virus, but be less likely to die from it.

How well a vaccine works determines how it is used. Armed with a highly effective vaccine that protects for several years, countries could aim for herd immunity by protecting at least two-thirds of the population.

Coronavirus patients pass the virus on to three others, on average, but if two or more are immune, the outbreak will fizzle out. That is the best-case scenario.

More likely is we will end up with a vaccine, or a number of vaccines, that are only partially effective.

Vaccines that contain weakened strains of virus can be dangerous for older people, but might be given to younger people with more robust immune systems to reduce the spread of infection.

Meanwhile, older people might get vaccines that simple prevent infections progressing to life-threatening pneumonia. “If you don’t have the ability to induce immunity, you’ve got to develop a strategy for reducing serious outcomes of infection,” says McCauley.

But partially effective vaccines have their own problems: a vaccine that doesn’t stop the virus replicating can encourage resistant strains to evolve, making the vaccine redundant.


So, is the virus here to stay?

The simple answer is: yes.

Hopes for eliminating the virus start with a vaccine but do not end there. “If and when we have a vaccine, what you get is not rainbows and unicorns,” says Larry Brilliant, CEO of Pandefense Advisory, who led the WHO’s smallpox eradication program. “If we are forced to choose a vaccine that gives only one year of protection, then we are doomed to have Covid become endemic, an infection that is always with us.”

The virus will still be tough to conquer with a vaccine that lasts for years.

“It will be harder to get rid of Covid than smallpox,” says Brilliant. With smallpox it was at least clear who was infected, whereas people with coronavirus can spread it without knowing. A thornier problem is that as long as the infection rages in one country, all other nations are at risk.

As David Salisbury, the former director of immunization at the Department of Health, told a Chatham House webinar recently: “Unless we have a vaccine available in unbelievable quantities that could be administered extraordinarily quickly in all communities in the world we will have gaps in our defences that the virus can continue to circulate in.”

Or as Brilliant puts it, the virus will “ping-pong back and forth in time and geography”.

One proposal from Gavi, the vaccine alliance, is to boost the availability of vaccines around the world through an “advance market commitment”. And Brilliant believes some kind of global agreement must be hammered out now. “We should be demanding, now, a global conference on what we’re going to do when we get a vaccine, or if we don’t,” he says.

“If the process of getting a vaccine, testing it, proving it, manufacturing it, planning for its delivery, and building a vaccine programme all over the world, if that’s going to take as long as we think, then let’s fucking start planning it now.”


How will we live with the Virus?

People will have to adapt – and life will change. Heymann says we will have to get used to extensive monitoring for infections backed up by swift outbreak containment. People must play their part too, by maintaining handwashing, physical distancing and avoiding gatherings, particularly in enclosed spaces. Repurposed drugs are faster to test than vaccines, so we may have an antiviral or an antibody treatment that works before a vaccine is available, he adds. Immediate treatment when symptoms come on could at least reduce the death rate.

Yuen Kwok-yung, a professor of infectious disease at the University of Hong Kong, has advised his government that all social distancing can be relaxed – but only if people wear masks in enclosed spaces such as on trains and at work, and that no food or drink are consumed at concerts and cinemas.

At restaurants, tables will have to be shielded from each other and serving staff will follow strict rules to prevent spreading the virus. “In our Hong Kong perspective, the diligent and correct use of reusable masks is the most important measure,” he says.

Sarita Jane Robinson, a psychologist who studies responses to threats at the University of Central Lancashire, says people are still adapting to the “new normal” and that without more interventions – such as fines for not wearing face masks – “we could see people drifting back to old behaviors”.

We might become indifferent to Covid-19 deaths when life resumes and the media move on, but the seriousness of the illness will make it harder to ignore, she says.

One last possibility could save a lot of trouble. Some scientists wonder whether the common cold coronaviruses crossed into humans in the distant past and caused similar illness before settling down. “If the virus doesn’t change there’s no reason to think that miraculously in five years’ time it won’t still cause pneumonia,” says Perlman. “But that’s the hope: that we end up with a much more mild disease and you only get a bad cold from it.”

Heymann says it is too soon to know how the pandemic will pan out. “We don’t understand the destiny of this virus,” he says. “Will it continue to circulate after its first pandemic? Or will it, like some other pandemic viruses, disappear or become less virulent? That we do not know.”