Friday Update for 2020-12-25: Comirnaty
Herewith three items of pandemic news you may have missed recently: Less accurate pulse oximeter readings for Black patients; the spreading mink pandemic; and a marketing name for the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine. Plus the accustomed frippery.
You may have missed it (I did), but two days ago BioNTech applied the marketing name Comirnaty to the Covid-19 vaccine they developed in partnership with Pfizer and Fosun Pharmaceutical.
It is pronounced kə-MEER-nə-tee. This was not obvious to me at first glance.
The European Medicines Agency is using the name in its authorization announcement for the EU. The brand name is still awaiting FDA approval in the US.
Fierce Pharma has the story of the name’s development in partnership with the Brand Institute. Comirnaty is meant to suggest “Covid-19 immunity,” with “mRNA” embedded within. There is a hint of “community” as well.
Comirnaty is paired with a non-proprietary counterpart, tozinameran, as the pharma industry often does (think Tylenol and acetaminophen). Fierce Pharma notes that “-meran” is the WHO-required suffix in such names for mRNA compounds, as “-mab” is for monoclonal antibodies.
Both the Washington Post and The Atlantic ran longish pieces on the pandemic situation with minks, which we wrote about last month. The Post concentrates on the continuing cull in Denmark, with heartbreaking photos. The Atlantic ranges over the history of minks’ uneasy relationship with Covid-19, in captivity and now in the wild. The rollcall of countries reporting infected farmed mink now includes the US, Denmark, the Netherlands, Spain, Lithuania, Sweden, Greece, Italy, and — very recently — Canada. The Atlantic reports on China’s claim that no infected mink exist there in the wild or in any of that country’s 5 million animals on 8,000 farms.
Black skin and pulse oximeters
Medical experts have known for 15 or more years that the ubiquitous fingertip pulse oximeter is less accurate for people with darker skin. But a recent paper in the New England Journal of Medicine seems to have abruptly woken up large swaths of the medical establishment to this inconvenient fact. The NY Times explains:
Your frippery today is a bouquet of versions of In the Bleak Midwinter, music composed by Gustav Holst early in the XXth century from a poem by Christina Rosetti. First: The English version performed by protean folkies Steeleye Span features vocalist Maddy Prior. Here are translations, with a hat tip to a posting on MetaFilter by Not A Thing.
- Scots: In The Bleak Midwinter (Iona Fyfe, pictured above)
- Scots Gaelic: Anns An Dubhlachd Gheamhraidh (Fiona Mackenzie)
- Danish: Midt I Hårdest Vinter (Renate & Morten Gjerløw Larsen)
- Swedish: Mitt i vintern var det (Rebecca Lennartsson)
- German: Mitten im kalten Winter (Kammerchor Perlmutt)
- Finnish: Keskitalvi synkkä (Dominante Choir & Seppo Murto)
Hi Keith. Thank you so much for the gorgeous frippery. I am I love with Iona Fiyfe. Her cover of Girl from the North Country is spellbinding. Sent it off to many family and friends. So lovely. Bless you and your wife! Linda
Thank you, Linda. We just listened to all the versions of “In the Bleak Midwinter” while opening presents. Now have George Winston’s “Autumn” on — his most perfect album IMO. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H3pdgEwYFpE
Yesterday while YouTube-surfing beginning with Iona Fyfe, I came across Loreena McKennitt’s version of “The Highwayman”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qI_PMcFnZZw . Thrilling.
Oh my goodness! I have her CD somewhere! Love her too. Thank you for reminding me about her. I have gotten lost in Eva Cassidy of late, and her voice and songs…
And now I am I love with Mark Knopfler! Listen to “ Sailing to Philadelphia” and you will hear the Celtic lilt in his songs and accent! So lovely. I love the music of the working folk.
Ah Eva… I discovered her in the classic way: was hanging around some clothing shop in Harvard Square and she came over the sound system… stopped in my tracks and all but grabbed the clerk by the shirt collar and demanded “WHO IS THAT?!” She had already passed when I found her, earlier that year I believe, of leukemia.
Knopfler: did you ever hear his work in a country vein, with a group calling themselves the Notting Hillbillies? Song called “Your Own Sweet Way”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=__yJN2TuBCo . Swings like nothing before or since.
I discovered her also after she died. Heard her rendition of “Over the Rainbow” on the public radio station in Grand Rapids MN. I too was STOPPED in my tracks! Couldn’t believe it! I cried softly… while listening.
Oooooh! Wonderful! Just listened. Were the Nottingham Hillbillies before or after or during Dire Straits? I will send this to my brother Vince who adores this guy! Thanks.
Notting Hillbillies were later. Dire Straits started in 1977, and the Hillbillies released their only album (“Missing… Presumed Having a Good Time”) in 1990. It gets confusing, because Dire Straits reunited in 1991 and played together until 1995, according to W’pedia (source of all knowledge).