Jews in the News: Gal Gadot, Albert Bourla and Tal Zaks

Wonder Woman, Wonder Guys

 “Wonder Woman: 1984”, the sequel to the 2017 mega-hit “Wonder Woman”, starts streaming (Dec. 25) on HBO Max at the same time it is released to theaters and it will remain streaming on “Max” for a month. AT&T owns Warners and HBO and it decided that getting more cable subscribers was more important now than anemic theater revenues. 17 more Warners’ new movies will be released in 2021 in the same way. Many filmmakers are not pleased with this decision. However, Israeli actress GAL GADOT, 35, offered another perspective in a recent “Digital Spy” interview: "Look, if you would have told me a year ago that that's gonna be the case, I would flip out and be super angry. But the truth of the matter is we just didn't have other better options. We felt like we were sitting on this movie for such a long time, we shot the movie in 2018, we started promoting the movie in 2019, we pushed [re-scheduled] the movie four times. We felt like the movie was so relevant to what's happening in the world right now that you come to a place at a certain time where you're like, 'OK, I just want people to watch the movie'. "The idea of having people be able to watch the movie on a Christmas morning just warmed my heart."

Gadot said she was open to doing another sequel if the script was “right”. She also recalled how she felt when she first saw the opening sequence of the first film: "I got so emotional. And for the first time I didn't feel like I was 'Gal the actress' or 'Gal Wonder Woman', I felt like Gal, the 8-year-old, watching another 8-year-old doing something out-of-worldly and being so good at it. And she's doing it in her way, it's, it's her own, and it moves me so deeply and so much that I just, you know, I got emotional."

It was a great moment when, last week, the first doses of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine were given to front line health care workers. As I previously noted, Dr. ALBERT BOURLA, 59, the CEO of Pfizer is Jewish, as is their chief scientist, Dr. MIKAEL DOLSTEN, 62. As I write this, the Moderna Company’s Covid vaccine is on the cusp of full approval and national distribution. Dr. TAL ZAKS, 54, is their chief medical officer and vaccine “point man.”

The Moderna and Pfizer vaccines are mRNA vaccines. What does that mean? I came across this amazingly succinct explanation in a Dec. 12 CNBC article: “Messenger RNA vaccines, called mRNA for short, aren’t like your normal flu vaccine. Typically, a vaccine puts a weakened or inactivated virus into our bodies to trigger an immune response, which then produces antibodies. Those antibodies are what ultimately protect us from getting infected if we ever encounter the real thing. An mRNA vaccine, on the other hand, is essentially just a piece of genetic code that contains instructions for our body. The mRNA tells our cells to make a protein — the same protein that is the spike on top of the actual coronavirus. This is what triggers the immune response in these types of vaccines. So even though some trial participants reported Covid-like symptoms, it is impossible to contract the coronavirus from the vaccine, because the mRNA vaccines that Pfizer and Moderna are making don’t use the live virus.”

It takes a lot longer to produce a “traditional” vaccine than an mRNA vaccine. That’s why the Pfizer/Moderna vaccines were “ready-for-injection” in an astonishing 10 months. However, these vaccines were the culmination of over 60 plus years of scientific research. I have neither the space nor the scientific training to relay the whole “Messenger” history. However, I can refer you to the excellent article “Who Discovered Messenger DNA” (Science Direct—on-line--June 2015). At the close of this article, the author lists the milestones (1947-1961) in the discovery of mRNA and the 12 scientists most associated with these discoveries. Frankly, I was proud to learn that six were Jewish: LAZARUS ASTRACHAN (1925-2003); SYDNEY BRENNER (1927-2019; Nobel Prize, 2002); FRANÇOIS JACOB (1920-2013, Nobel Prize, 1965), MATTHEW MESELSON, 90; MARSHALL NIRENBERG, 82, Nobel Prize, 1968; and ELLIOT VOLKIN, 1919-2012. (‘Google’ them).

Most of us don’t know if the work of a top--often Nobel Prize winning scientist--will have a profound effect on our lives. Well, the mRNA vaccines show that it may take decades to find out, but the answer is usually “yes.” Next week—just entertainment newz!


Add Comment