All of eillasti's Comments + Replies

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.

1SimonM16dI just ball-parked the numbers from a the tightest call spread currently tradable in the market. If precision was important I'd do something more sophisticated. Yeah not really sure why you'd divide the option price by current spot?
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 wa... (read more)

4johnswentworth2moDosage was the same as the (gen 9) vaccine: ~120 ug total, divided by 9 peptides. The point of the exercise was to test whether I had acquired an immune response, not to act as a vaccine, so your last paragraph is on-point.

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.

It shouldn't cause an immune response if you snort them without having snorted peptides + chitosan previously. If you have immunity because you snorted both of them previously I would expect a immune response. 

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 mo... (read more)

2jacobjacob2moThat's false, they got several positive anitbody results in ~June or so last year. See a comment elsewhere on this post.
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 r... (read more)

5gjm2moIt seems as if there's a real shortage of actual evidence that RaDVaC does anything useful.
4johnswentworth2moDo you know whether the ELISA tests were against the radvac peptides specifically, or against full proteins?
2ChristianKl2moHave you asked why that resulting data isn't public? Is it fear of legal issues of being accused to run clinical trials?
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 info... (read more)

1Telofy5moThank you! I’d like to keep it simple, so I’m considering some volatility ETFs, but they seem to come in the shape of short-term and mid-term futures ETFs. Which ones would you recommend for this purpose?
1Annapurna5moThis is sound advice.
8PeterMcCluskey5moI do trade oil and VIX futures. This is competent advice, close to what I would have written if I'd found the time. I don't expect much reaction to this news, but if I did, I'd short March oil futures, maybe hedging by buying September oil futures.
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.

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

Regarding "how do you verify that it works?", specifically regarding the concerns whether the generated antibodies will bind to the virus and antibody enhanced disease concerns. , Right now there is a $600 test selling online (at a reputable source) that can verify whether the antibodies are neutralizing (=block the virus replication). It tests whether the generated antibodies bind to the RBD (Receptor Binding Domain) of the virus and block it from binding to the ACE2 receptor of the human cell (this is how the virus gets into the cell). It does so in a ex... (read more)

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

I don't know, this is simply what they state for all peptides and this is what actually took them to deliver.

2Jayson_Virissimo5moI asked around about this on the ##hplusroadmap irc channel [http://gnusha.org/logs/2020-12-23.log]:
How Hard Would It Be To Make A COVID Vaccine For Oneself?

If you really want to know that it works for sure, challenge trials are not that hard. Of course, you should probably check for immune response (T-cells and antibodies) and do some animal studies before going for a challenge trial. You don't need to infect 200 people at once, you can do one-by-one from a healthy cohort with low infectious dose so that in the worst case it works as variolation. You can get volunteers from https://www.1daysooner.org/. You can do it anonymously. You can pay people in darknet with BTC/Monero for the experiments. You can only r... (read more)

2Jayson_Virissimo5moAre there any English language sources where I could learn more about the legal issues surrounding human experimentation in Russia such as the one you mentioned?
How Hard Would It Be To Make A COVID Vaccine For Oneself?

My bad, I forgot about testing for immunity. There are 2 testable types of immunity mentioned in the paper: antibodies and T-cells. They explicitly suggest testing for antibodies before and after. However, they say that it is going to be essentially tricky with their vaccine. Firstly, the biggest effect is expected to come via cellular immunity, not via antibodies, and testing for it is not as easy as for antibodies. Secondly, the biggest effect is expected via mucosal immune system, so even the antibodies testing should be done on a nasal wash and not on ... (read more)

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

The closest real life example that I know of is RaDVaC. They are professionals in this area, but they are a group of enthusiasts, not a big institution. You can read their white paper to get a basic understanding regarding what was needed to make their vaccine. The rest of the answer is for a peptide vaccine, specifically RaDVaC vaccine, this is the only class of vaccines that I know about in details.

What information is needed for design, and is any non-public?

The most crucial information is the amino acid sequences (peptides) of the virus that are 1)... (read more)

5eillasti5moYou 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.
4eillasti5moRegarding "how do you verify that it works?", specifically regarding the concerns whether the generated antibodies will bind to the virus and antibody enhanced disease concerns. , Right now there is a $600 test selling online (at a reputable source) that can verify whether the antibodies are neutralizing (=block the virus replication). It tests whether the generated antibodies bind to the RBD (Receptor Binding Domain) of the virus and block it from binding to the ACE2 receptor of the human cell (this is how the virus gets into the cell). It does so in a extremely simple way: it contains RBD and an ACE2 proteins plus some stuff to detect when they bind. There exist other ways to do so, but they are more expensive and not widely available. This is how advanced the science actually is, we can commercially create somewhat arbitrary parts of human cells and viral particles for a $600 price and <1 year of development. So you can test whether the vaccine should work via antibodies IF it elicits a sufficient immunity response measured by high antibody titer. There are already widely available antibody tests to measure the antibody titer. So if you have a candidate vaccine, you order corresponding antibodies for it (also available online), test that they block the ACE2 binding, give it to humans once you are sure that it is kind of safe (peptide vaccines are) and measure the antibody titer. If it is high enough, it is very likely that the vaccine works. You don't need challenge trials. You still need to check for safety, but after this is done, you can simply distribute it to people, measure their antibody response and monitor whether they get sick. If they do at a substantial rate and there are no explanatory circumstances (e.g. weak immune system, very high viral load), well, something went wrong... Otherwise, all good!
2Jayson_Virissimo5moWhat explains the 4-5 weeks delivery time for special lab peptide synthesis?
2TheSimplestExplanation5moI guess you could also test for antibodys, that should give you some evidence.
4johnswentworth5moWell, this is looking way better than I expected. Looking at the RADVAC docs, I agree, this is dead simple. Required expertise is near-zero. Regarding the cost: a few hundred dollars sounds like the right ballpark, and I'll point out that making more doses costs next to nothing once it's all set up. The protocol on the RADVAC site is for "10 to 15 doses", and peptide cost is more about how many amino acids are in the sequence than how much of it you want to order. Should be quite cheap to make a lot. On the FDA front, that sure sounds like they go after people who sell the stuff, but don't care when it's given away for free. So that's pretty much ideal for a "make a thousand doses and vaccinate a whole community" scenario. I didn't forget that, I guessed the answer. I could imagine the rationalist community scraping together a 200-person challenge trial, but that would be a big project. (At least the vaccine-making part wouldn't be too hard or expensive, though.)
What price would you pay for the RadVac Vaccine and why?

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 i... (read more)

3bgold3moI'm sorry I didn't see this response until now - thank you for the detailed answer!
Anti-EMH Evidence (and a plea for help)

Market efficiency doesn’t come from the magic all-knowing Omega, it comes from a lot of traders looking for inefficiencies, exploiting them and thus closing them. Broadly speaking, there are 2 ways to do it: manually and algorithmically.

Manual trading is slow. A person has to find some information, reason about it and make the trade. This happens at the days/weeks/months scale, so for some non-negligible time the opportunity persist. If you have the proper mindset that allows noticing inefficiencies like those in the examples and you happen to notice them ... (read more)

2rxs5moI'm bit confused about the Deribit trade. I can see that you can hedge your position with this trade, but I don't understand how you get the return? The futures price will converge to the spot price as expiration draws near, but this is not necessarily the spot price you paid... I must be missing something... Any pointer?