Blog update!

It’s been a quite a while since I made a blog post for Microbe Musings. Almost two months in fact. A lot has happened since my last blog post, all of which I’ll get to here! A lot of my time was spent working towards defending my PhD thesis this summer. I’ve been working from home trying to characterize what are called “hypothetical proteins”. These are proteins that computer programs predict to exist with an organism, but their characteristics have not been confirmed experimentally. I’m currently parsing through over 900 of these proteins in P. aeruginosa to see if there’s an untapped component of its plethora of proteins that enables it to grow in the CF airways. Aside from my thesis, other significant events have occurred since the blog’s syndication with Science Borealis.

First, I’m delighted to announce that I will blog for Cystic Fibrosis Canada in addition to Microbe Musings. With CF Canada, I will be sharing the work that Canadian CF researchers have been doing to help improve the quality of life for CF patients. More specifically, I will share pioneering work done towards understanding microbial infections in the CF airways, optimizing drug therapies for CF patients, and surveying aspects of CF patient care that can be further improved. I will adapt each of the articles I write for CF Canada in Microbe Musings for you all and link the CF Canada articles to this blog.

Most recently, I got the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine today at St. Joseph’s Hospital West 5th. I was eligible to get a COVID-19 vaccine as a healthcare worker (being a researcher in a medical lab counts!) since mid-March. At the vaccination clinic, I was given the Pfizer vaccine which I took without incident. I have to admit that I was a bit nervous before taking the vaccine. It was the first time I got a vaccine for anything in over a decade when I got my measles and Hep-B shots in Indonesia. That being said, I am still doing well, aside from a swollen, cramped-up left arm – which is normal.

For those wondering about the COVID-19 vaccine and the procedures, there’s a few things I know. When I arrived, the workers there told me that over 1500 people were scheduled today to have their vaccinations at West 5th alone. Many of them are seniors, but I am sure that as more vaccine supply is available, everyone will have a chance to be vaccinated soon. Second, I can confirm that the vaccines are safe to take. I’m still alive and well, and I haven’t felt any side effects from the first shot aside from the swollen arm. Third, any side effects would come with fatigue, chills, and mild fever at worst. That’s par for the course according to Canada.ca1. Finally, my second shot will take place in July, despite the CDC’s recommendations for the two shots to be taken at 30-day intervals2. The lead epidemiologist at BC, Danuta Skowronski, suggested that the vaccine’s first dose was so effective that the second dose could be deferred until all priority groups successfully received the vaccine3. I can understand the logistical reasons behind the strategy, but at the same time, I understand that hope is needed when modifying the time between the shots.

Well, those are the two big announcements from my end. I will come out with a primer on the COVID-19 vaccines very soon, along with blog posts about cystic fibrosis. My post about kefir milk still stands too, so look out for those in the near future! In the meantime, be well and stay curious!

References

  1. https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/drugs-health-products/covid19-industry/drugs-vaccines-treatments/vaccines/pfizer-biontech.html#a4
  2. https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/70/wr/mm7011e2.htm
  3. Skowronski, D., and De Serres, G. (2021). Safety and Efficacy of the BNT162b2 mRNA Covid-19 Vaccine. New England Journal of Medicine.

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