Medicine Science

Escaping zombies in order to develop better vaccines

As you might be aware, I’m (almost) always willing to help a blogger out, particularly when that blogger is a regular commenter here who’s gotten down and dirty battling antivaccine pseudoscience in the trenches of the comments right here on this very blog. Regular readers might have noticed that I rarely comment much on my own posts. The reason is that it takes a lot of time and effort to produce these daily pearls of Insolence, both Respectful and not-so-Respectful. Similarly, it takes a lot of effort to swat away the turds of pseudoscience flung into the comments by the monkeys of woo. I can do one or the other. I can’t do both. Of course, if I tried to delve into the comments a lot, my blogging would suffer.

So it is that I have a great deal of gratitude to my regular science-based commenters who man the fort while I’m at work or otherwise working on fresh Insolence. To quote a 20 year old movie, “I’m not worthy! I’m not worthy!” So when one of them, namely Todd W., asks a favor, I’m inclined to grant it happily, and this is what Todd W. asked:

A zombie apocalypse is coming. The dead will rise, forcing people to run for their lives. On May 5, 2012, the Amesbury Sports Park will be transformed into a 5K obstacle course…with zombies! Runners will need to make it past twelve natural and man-made obstacles, all while trying to avoid being eaten. And I am going to be among them. The runners, that is, not the zombies. At least, I’m going to try to not become a zombie.

But I need your help. “How?” you ask? Read on.

Most of the people running the 5K are probably just doing it for fun or to test their mettle. That’s what first attracted me to it, but as I got to thinking about how zombies procreate by infecting others, it seemed like a good opportunity to raise money for infectious disease research. So that’s what I’m doing.

I’ve suggested that people support research before, but this time I’m making a more formal appeal. My goal is to raise $3,000 for the Vaccine and Immunotherapy Center (VIC) at Massachusetts General Hospital. Specifically, there are two projects for which I am trying to raise money.

the projects sound worthy to me. The first is the development of a different kind of vaccine adjuvant, and the second project is the development of a better cholera vaccine. I’m sure if I put this appeal up on my blog that not only you, my readers, will help Todd out, but that maybe–just maybe–our pharma vaccine overlords will shower but a fraction of their lucre upon such a deserving minion as Todd.

By Orac

Orac is the nom de blog of a humble surgeon/scientist who has an ego just big enough to delude himself that someone, somewhere might actually give a rodent's posterior about his copious verbal meanderings, but just barely small enough to admit to himself that few probably will. That surgeon is otherwise known as David Gorski.

That this particular surgeon has chosen his nom de blog based on a rather cranky and arrogant computer shaped like a clear box of blinking lights that he originally encountered when he became a fan of a 35 year old British SF television show whose special effects were renowned for their BBC/Doctor Who-style low budget look, but whose stories nonetheless resulted in some of the best, most innovative science fiction ever televised, should tell you nearly all that you need to know about Orac. (That, and the length of the preceding sentence.)

DISCLAIMER:: The various written meanderings here are the opinions of Orac and Orac alone, written on his own time. They should never be construed as representing the opinions of any other person or entity, especially Orac's cancer center, department of surgery, medical school, or university. Also note that Orac is nonpartisan; he is more than willing to criticize the statements of anyone, regardless of of political leanings, if that anyone advocates pseudoscience or quackery. Finally, medical commentary is not to be construed in any way as medical advice.

To contact Orac: [email protected]

11 replies on “Escaping zombies in order to develop better vaccines”

BTW, I just remembered that if you have donated or are planning on doing so, see if your employer has a matching gift program. If they do, it’s very likely that your donation could qualify to be matched, doubling the impact of your gift!

Finally managed to get my act together and donate. Unfortunately, my employer does not match for out of state events (unless they are national or universities). But, good luck, Todd!

Well, it’s not really the event you are supporting with the gift, but rather the research at Massachusetts General Hospital. The hospital, as I understand it, is registered as a 501(c)3 in all states. I’m using the run as a way to get people to donate, considering how well zombies and infectious disease/vaccine research go together.

Just a quick update for everyone that’s interested. I’ve been informed that my total raised so far is $1,000! A third of the way to my goal, thanks to all of you that gave. The race is just 8 days away, and I’m trying to get in regular runs. Right now, I’m getting 5K in about 25-30 minutes, depending on how many hills I put in my way. I’m sure my pace will drop a lot once all the other runners, obstacles and zombies get added to the mix.

Anyway, thanks to everyone that has helped me out by making a gift, telling others or just offering encouraging words. It means a lot to have all of your support.

@ Antaeus Feldspar: I would be only too happy to share my PERSONAL experiences with operations of hospitals and ambulance services…here in the USA, Eastern seaboard.

We have my son to thank for my experiences…for a variety of hospital experiences in a number (I reckon ~ 7-8) hospitals…and hundreds of trips in ambulances…with a few trips in police cars, sirens blaring.

Orac, of course, has my Email as does Todd W. (I wrote to Todd W. a while back with some information about new ACIP guidelines regarding egg allergies).

So Antaeus, just let me know if you want to contact me and maybe we can figure out a way to be in touch with each other.

@ Todd W: Make sure you are in shape and we expect a full report about the race 🙂


Will do. As a quick update, the race is just four days away. I’m at about $1,000 toward my fundraising goal. I put up a new post today letting everyone know that if my fundraising hits $2,000 by Saturday, I will double my personal donation. So, if you haven’t made a gift, go make one before Saturday. If you have, tell people you know.

Only one day until the zombie run. Gotta say, I am really getting excited. Thank you, again, to everyone who made a gift and helped spread the word about my fundraising. You have really helped, and I appreciate all you’ve done.

If you haven’t made a gift, please visit my giving page for more information about the projects I’m supporting and see if it’s something you could help move forward.

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