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Scott Alexander 2021 Predictions: Market Prices

How did you get the implied probabilities from the vanilla option markets? I don't know an obvious way to do it, perhaps the simplest (and wrong) approximation would be to take the BS IV of traded vanillas at the strike price and plug it into binary BS formula? 

Dividing the option price by the current spot or future underlying price is definitely not a correct way to do it.

Another RadVac Testing Update

Snorting peptides directly is hilarious! I should do lines of peptides at the next corona party :)

Theoretically, it shouldn’t cause an immune response, as peptides shouldn’t be immunogenic on their own, that’s why you need chitosan as a delivery mechanism and adjuvant. However, who knows? Was it actually researched and proven that peptides on their own do not cause an immune response no matter how big is the dose and route of administration? I could well imagine that this is simply a theoretical conclusion that was never empirically verified, or that it was only verified by an injection, but not by snorting, and peripheral immune system is triggered by pure peptides, while systemic is not, or that it was only tried in much lower doses. Even if a 10-100 times higher dosage of peptides is equivalent to chitosan+peptides, this is likely of little commercial interest as chitosan “enhancement” is cheaper and more scalable at commercial scale than peptides production. So it might actually work and it is cool that you’ve tried it and there is evidence that “you were congested for a few days like after previous vaccine applications and it looks like nothing really bad had happened”.

What dose of pure peptides did you use per 1 peptide and totally? The currently recommended dose is ~200ug in total, no matter how many component peptides are there. If you do 5 peptides like in the v10, then  this is 40ug per peptide. If you do 1mg=1000ug of pure peptide, then this is 25 time more dakka and it might well trigger the same response as 40ug of peptide+chitosan.

I think the currently recommended does is likely to be too low for average human risk preferences. Organisations are extremely risk averse, the negative side effects are given much more weight than unrealised benefits, so the recommended dose is likely to be “the smallest one that kind of works without any side effects” rather than the optimal one. There is almost no evidence for the efficiency of different doses and this is all guesswork based on guesswork of others in slightly related cases, e.g. the 500ug cancer peptide vaccine dosage.

Congestion after vaccine/peptides administration could be due to many factors, so I consider it only a very weak evidence. This can be purely psychosomatic. The vaccine is acidic, so it irritates your nasal mucosa. When you put anything in your nose, it may irritate it and cause congestion. You have applied pure peptides after receiving several doses of vaccine and after enough time has passed for developing an immunity, so congestion may indeed be an immune response, but it may only happen when you already have an immunity, but it won’t be triggered if you have no immunity. Actually, this is what your data suggests. “Previously, on doses 3-6 of the vaccine, I had consistently been congested for a couple days after”. I understand this as you having no congestion after doses 1-2 and getting it after all further doses. If this is so, then this looks like the actually important immune response of a naive immune system happens without congestion, but the immune response of a trained immune system happens with congestion.
 

Making Vaccine

Yes, exactly. "None of us has tested positive using insensitive commercial point-of-care tests"

RadVac Commercial Antibody Test Results

I haven't. Firstly, there is no proper data, just some bits of evidence. Secondly, yep, I am pretty sure that they would get in trouble if they did anything that looked like a trial, so I assume that they stay on the safe side and well, don't do anything like a trial.

Making Vaccine


> The radvac vaccine will have serious side effects (i.e. besides stuffy nose for a day) for >50% of people who try it

It should be well below 1%. Firstly, if it were that bad as to cause serious side effects for >50% of people who try it, would the RaDVaC team risk promoting it? Secondly, if it were that bad, wouldn’t we hear bad stories about side effects? Thirdly, getting serious side effects accidentally in >50% cases sounds pretty hard on its own.

> The radvac vaccine induces antibodies detectable in a standard commercial blood test in most people, using the dosage in the paper with 2 booster shots

<1%, because RaDVaC team has tried it and didn’t manage to get any positive result.

> The radvac vaccine induces antibodies detectable in a standard commercial blood test in most people, using "more dakka", for some reasonable version of "more dakka"

This greatly depends on what “more dakka” and “reasonable version” means. I assume that “reasonable version” implies "doesn't cause too much harm due to immune system overstimulation”. If “more dakka” means simply a higher dosage, then I think, that this is unlikely (5%), because 1) RaDVaC team experimented on themselves quite a bit, they received a lot of dakka, but no commercial blood test detection, 2) RaDVaC team seems reasonable enough to try this approach if it looked promising. If “more dakka“ includes stronger adjuvants (chitosan is considered a weak, but safe one), then it is much more likely (20%?), because RaDVaC team didn’t investigate those (for a reason) and it sounds plausible that you can get an immune response by irritating the immune system really, really strongly.

RadVac Commercial Antibody Test Results

It is always good to have additional data, but this result is totally expected, so I don’t update much based on it. When I’ve discussed the efficiency evidence with RaDVaC team, they mentioned that:
- they have tried commercial tests and didn’t manage to get even one positive result
- they have tried ELISA to measure the blood antibody titers and got some good results (part awesome, part good, part not so good)
- they have tried ELISA to measure the saliva antibodies, there are more of them than in blood samples, but there is no methodology to translate the raw data into titers for saliva
- they focus on B-cell target mechanism, not ACE2 binding and definitely not serum antibodies, so they don’t care that much about the serum antibody titers

What trade should we make if we're all getting the new COVID strain?

You are right. Hedging with a long term future makes it a very targeted bet on "the real economy, especially travel halts in X months" and this is exactly what you can expect from COVID gone bad. You can see if this is priced in by comparing spring and autumn futures prices: March vs September or I would rather say May vs December. I took a look and the market is in backwardation (longer term is cheaper than short term)! The markets expect everything to be fine, it doesn't look like COVID disaster is priced in. 

I would say that it looks like a pretty good trade. Sell May, buy Dec, hold till May expiry (or till the shock is priced in) and then close both. 

What trade should we make if we're all getting the new COVID strain?

/tldr short spring oil futures, long volatility, but this is not a sure bet.

I don't think that you can get significant expected profits from betting on devastating COVID scenario. Professional market participants are not all-knowing, but neither they are ignorant. They didn't understand that COVID is important in early 2020, but they do understand it now and they do follow the news now and they should understand what the new COVID mutations mean. It is not that difficult if you know where to look.

Don't go for the equities. Even if you assume that this information is not priced in yet, it is not that important for the equities market. Even if the economy tanks for a year and corporate profits tank for a year, everything will recover once it over and it won't make a difference for the share prices. The share price theoretically equals the sum of the lifetime profits discounted by the current risk adjusted interest rate. The risk adjusted interest rate is very low now, so profits 20 years ahead matter almost the same as profits in 2021, so yearly profits in a specific 2021 year don't matter much. Equities shouldn't tank mid-term in the scenario of COVID disaster.

Central banks and governments will compensate for the shock with expansive monetary and fiscal policies. This will bring down the interest rates even further, so asset prices should actually rise as they did in 2020, especially tech stocks, but this is a risky bet, as they might go down first due to panic. 

Perhaps, your best bet is to short commodities (except gold) and oil specifically. The storage is probably filled up (please check it, I just assume that it is, but I didn't check), so the currently produced oil should be consumed now. So if there is a demand shock, the prices should drop like they did in spring. You can make use of it by shorting the oil futures with expiries when you expect the economy to be at its lowest. I guess it is in spring. 

It is also a good idea to be long volatility, so you can try buying options or VIX, but options are not a good idea for a retail investor.

If the monetary and fiscal policy is aggressive and it is going to be aggressive, you can bet on interest rates going even lower and inflation going up in a few years (but not now!), so going long long-term TIPS sounds good. The issue here is that you won't be able to get a lot leverage as a retail investor and without leverage it is not worth it. If I could, I would buy long-dated TIPS options (is it even a thing?). 

I don't trade and have never traded any of these markets, so please take it as a random internet opinion, not as a competent investment advice.

How Hard Would It Be To Make A COVID Vaccine For Oneself?

You can order online not only peptides, but also the antibodies. So if you get sick, you can theoretically inject yourself an antibody cocktail like the one that Trump received. This is obviously not a medical advice, I haven't even researched it in depth and don't have a plan to do so on my own.

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