Bill Harvey: Bostin’ Steve Austin
Author: Bill Harvey
Good news, at last. News of over 90% efficacy with the Pfizer vaccine should be celebrated. And at last we can tell patients, family and friends alike that there is light at the end of what previously seemed to be an endless tunnel.
Now, I am not going all ‘world-beating’ or over-promising Churchillian on you. But the challenges remaining to the roll out of this first vaccine are primarily logistic. Usefulness of an RNA-based vaccine seems confirmed, and it is elegant that it is the spike proteins that have so characterised the SARS-CoV-2 virus that have also proved to be its Achilles heel. So, even if the need for two injections, <80ºC storage, and lengthy pre-injection preparation may limit universal access by next February, we should remember that other RNA type vaccines are in the pipeline for later next year. The one from Imperial, for example, which induces RNA-replication that should get rid of the need for multiple dosing. And addressing the challenges of storage and transport stability should be possible soon. With a more global and scientific approach to health care now likely from the US, I suggest this is a good time to raise a glass of something.
Though the safe behaviours we have adopted will need to continue for years to come, there is even room for optimism here. For example, at the excellent virtual BCLA event last week, we heard that the current most likely reason for wanting to try contact lenses is to stop fogging with mask wear (55% of those surveyed); a pandemic opportunity. Also, a lovely paper in the latest AJO has shown that mindfulness, as is increasingly practised by ECPs during these stressful times, can help to lower IOP and reduce the risk of glaucoma.
Call me the optimistic optometrist.