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Physician working in data-driven infectious disease research php Programmer aspiring Effective Altruist & Rationalist


Hey Matt,

thanks for your thoughts! 

1. I generally agree with your point on experience (wrote this in my reflection as well). Your specific examples do not track for me though. We knew that an mRNA omicron vaccine was coming. The point was, that no booster for LMICs was in the pipeline and mRNA vaccines were basically inaccessible in most parts of the world. We also were very aware of the low efficacy of plasmid vaccines but boosting with plasmid vaccines in the context of a new variant was something not tested before and the hypothesis was that it might be sufficient for significant additional protection against Omicron. The latter was certainly the riskiest bet but a valid scientific hypothesis worth testing.

2. It seems a general problem of start-ups that they are not as attractive to settled individuals. I can see how the sprint mentality might have contributed here. Luckily we eventually were able to attract a lot of mid-career professionals. And some people really appreciated the initial 3-month sprint plan, i.e. not having to commit to something in the long term.

3. Again, as far as I could tell no one was working on a COVID-19 booster optimized for LMICs. At the time there were valid concerns that Omicron might cause a lot of trouble for the world. How did we planned to outcompete Pfizer/Moderna? We didn't plan to compete with them on their target audience, but have a vaccine that is shelf stable for 6-months at room temperature (which we achieved), that could be potentially be manufactured nationally, and hopefully sufficiently effective. I think it is worth pointing out that despite not being as amazing as mRNA vaccines, AZ for instance seemed to have saved the most lives during the pandemic because it was more accessible to the global south: https://www.economist.com/graphic-detail/2022/07/13/which-covid-19-vaccine-saved-the-most-lives-in-2021

Jan's enthusiasm triggered me to start with coaching. I second  deeper changes as the truly important ones to my personal coaching journey. I started coaching without having particular "issues" but quickly realized how much space between current me and best-possible me there is. Among other things ,coaching helped me to get in the habit of deliberate practice on minimizing this space. Nowadays I regularly do self-coaching sessions that have many elements of the previous "two brain" coaching sessions. 

in the application form we state

Target group:
- EA aligned
- Ambitious to contribute to GCBR reduction
- Applicants from diverse backgrounds welcome

Very much appreciate the time and effort you put into this analysis. This sort of investigative journalism within the EA community seems worth funding ;)

Is there a plan to make an audio book out of the handbook? I think many people would find that useful.

Are there any plans to translate the handbook into the let's say 10 most popular EA languages? (thinking of spanish, german, french, russian, ...)? If not this should be a major part of the Handbook v3

We might record the event and publish the files. Besides I do not know of any events like this anywhere soon.

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