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The Peter Attia Drive

Nov 16, 2020

Paul Offit is a pediatrician specializing in infectious diseases and an expert in virology and vaccine development. He currently serves on the FDA committee overseeing and evaluating COVID-19 vaccines. In this episode, Paul discusses the strategies and major companies pursuing a vaccine against the SARS-CoV-2 virus. He gets into the nuances of the vaccine approval process and its implications for COVID-19 vaccine outlook. Paul also explains potential risks, reveals his own confidence level in safety, and gives insight into protection against reinfection with vaccination. Please note that this episode was recorded 11/05/2020, prior to the 11/09/2020 news release of the Pfizer vaccine update.
We discuss:
  • How Paul’s experience as a child in a chronic care hospital as child informed his path in pediatrics and vaccine development (3:30);
  • Addressing the anti-vaccination sentiment and explaining the fraudulent origins of the anti-vaccination movement (8:00);
  • Lessons and insights from 26 years studying rotavirus and creating a successful rotavirus vaccine (17:00);
  • Developing a new vaccine: the different phases of clinical trials, overall timeline, and financial costs (27:15);
  • Operation Warp Speed: the expedited process of creating a coronavirus vaccine (32:30);
  • Various vaccine strategies—RNA, DNA, virus vector—and the challenges associated (35:00);
  • The Moderna and Pfizer mRNA vaccines: strategy, timeline, and Emergency Use Authorization (41:15);
  • Paul’s confidence level in the safety of the first coronavirus vaccines (48:30);
  • The risks associated with different types of vaccines, and updates on the Johnson & Johnson and Astrazeneca coronavirus vaccines (52:15);
  • What we know about the coronavirus vaccines approved in Russia and China (55:45);
  • The latest on the Merck coronavirus vaccine (57:15);
  • The recombinant/purified protein vaccine approach for coronavirus—big players, risks, and the best vaccine for the elderly (57:45);
  • Attenuated and inactivated vaccine strategies for coronavirus (1:02:00);
  • The genetic drift of SARS-CoV-2: Impacts for protection and vaccine development (1:02:30);
  • Paul’s take on the hypothesis that a previous coronavirus infection offers protection against the novel COVID-19 (1:06:45);
  • Addressing the concern that antibodies fade over time (1:09:15);
  • Blood type and protective against coronavirus (1:13:00);
  • Distribution: the challenge of prioritizing the limited doses of vaccines after approval (1:13:15);
  • Paul’s perspective on COVID-19 vaccine safety (1:16:15);
  • Considerations regarding vaccinating children for coronavirus and the role of a fever immune response (1:21:45);
  • Why vaccine development can be challenging and risks of current COVID-19 strategies (1:29:45); and
  • More.

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