I have been following with interest the RadVac team and their synthetic peptide based intranasal vaccine. They have published a protocol for making and taking the vaccine as well as a list of potential risks (on pg. 9 of the white paper).

How much would you pay for the RadVac vaccine? If you wouldn't use it - e.g. because you feel it's ineffective/risky - please say so and optionally put a negative number. And why would you pay that amount? An example of the type of model I'm looking for is $XX because you expect it would be effective at cutting your risk of COVID-19 by YY%, or because you think it might be dangerous you wouldn't take it at all.

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I would have probably paid at most ~$5k per dose, both for myself and close people in more high risk groups. This is based on a gut estimate, not on some calculations.

But I have a better answer. I made it having about 10 close people in mind. I've spent smth like 2-4 full-time working weeks on research research and sourcing the ingredients plus <$1.5k (this is worth much less than my time). This ended up a marginal call, considering that I finished it quite late, but it is still somewhat justified on the basis of learning a lot of things and having an interesting experience.

I estimate its safety as very safe (roughly as safe as the commercial ones) and its expected efficiency as ~30% (90% if it ends up immunogenic enough). The expected efficiency is so low, because peptide vaccines have low immunogenicity. Thinking about it now, adding an adjuvant like alum would be a good idea.

I'm sorry I didn't see this response until now - thank you for the detailed answer!

3 comments, sorted by Click to highlight new comments since: Today at 3:12 AM

Thinking about this is somewhat interesting. I noticed I was going to gloss over it after reading and then noticed, no, wait, given the costs I'm currently paying to avoid getting sick I shouldn't dismiss something like this due to status quo bias etc. On looking at the white paper, the potential benefit drops a lot for me since the benefit is uncertain enough that it wouldn't enable changed behaviors. So this would purely be the case of trading off the concrete costs for tail risk reductions. I think the next step would be to establish some sort of reference class in order to try to make it comparable to other risks like in the covid risk calculator.

Man in retrospect pretty sad this didn't get more attention.

hah yes - seeing that great post from johnwentsworth inspired me to review my own thinking on RadVac. Ultimately I placed a lower estimate on RadVac being effective - or at least effective enough to get me to change my quarantine behavior - such that the price wasn't worth it, but I think I get a rationality demerit for not investing more in the collaborative model building (and collaborative purchasing) part of the process.