Nel's New Day

March 23, 2020

Real Information about Covid-19

Filed under: Health Care — trp2011 @ 2:46 PM
Tags: , , , , , ,

People tired of hearing nothing about covid-19 except washing hands, keeping six feet from other people, and lying from Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) might want to read the following information.

People at Risk and Why

From experts (aka not DDT): Rachel Graham, an assistant professor in the department of epidemiology at the Gillings School of Global Public Health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; Nathan Grubaugh, an assistant professor of epidemiology of microbial diseases at the Yale School of Public Health; and John Swartzberg, a clinical professor emeritus specializing in infectious diseases and vaccinology at UC Berkeley’s School of Public Health.

Symptoms of covid-19 can be from a body’s response to the virus, not only the virus. Coughing gets pathogens out of airways. Inflammation in lung tissue fights off the virus but can cause tissue damage and make breathing difficult. Bodies heal after the tissue destroys the virus. Some healthy people are predisposed to getting sick, perhaps from genetic factors or lack of activity. Older people may have “immunosenescence,” a gradually declining immune system that over-responds to pathogens from a respiratory infection. [Photo: Viral particles, colored yellow, emerge from the cell surface, colored blue and pink.]

People with minor symptoms such as slight cough, headache, or low-grade fever may get better—or much worse. People in the first phase, called a “slow burn, may also get better before have rapid development of severe symptoms—serious fatigue, chest pains, and extreme shortness of breath. That’s the time to call a doctor. One doctor said most of his critically ill patients have a combination of obesity, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes.

The elderly are not the only people at risk. Originally, covid-19 affected the elderly more than other ages, but younger people ages 20 to 54 comprise 38 percent of hospitalizations. Twenty percent of those aged 22 to 44. Hospital workers are at higher risk for severe disease than would be expected for their age. Newer studies show that babies are also affected, and males are dying at twice the rate as females. Although children have been known to die, most of them have milder reactions, which means that they can be passing on the disease. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said that 53 percent of the 17,000 confirmed cases are under 50 years old

Increased or prolonged exposure to the virus may lead to more severe disease. Perhaps that’s the reason for the higher rate of illness among healthcare workers. Researchers find that an animal develops a worse disease based on the level of exposure.

A source giving differences among allergies, colds, flu, strep throat, and covid-19.

Vaccine Research

Researchers developing vaccines are looking for answers to the unknown, such as if people become immunity from having covid-19 and, if so, how long it will last. Their hope comes from two rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta) did not seem to become re-infected after they recovered from SARS-CoV-2 infection. As for length of time, immunity to colds doesn’t seem to last long whereas SARS and MERS antibodies may stay in an infected body for up to 15 years. No one knows if these antibodies protect from infection. Nine companies are working on vaccines.

Trials are already beginning. This week saw the beginning of Phase 1 trial on the safety of Moderna, a vaccine developed by a Cambridge (MA) company, designed to train the immune system to make antibodies blocking the spike protein used by the virus to enter human cells. Instead of waiting for trials on animal testing for safety and effectiveness, Moderna is tested on humans at the same time. Another vaccine being developed by Inovio Pharmaceuticals in Plymouth Meeting (PA) is following the same practice with its first human trial planned in April. Inovio’s tests on mice and guinea pigs have produced both antibodies and T cells against the virus.

Vaccines usually have a higher bar for safety than drugs for sick people. Researchers’ main safety concern for SARS-CoV-2 vaccines was “disease enhancement,” giving a more severe form of the disease to vaccinated people who get infected than unvaccinated people.

Treatment Research

Remdesivir: Gilead Sciences, known for Hep-C and HIV therapies, is testing a treatment in Wuhan (China) for pneumonia in people with the virus. The company’s Phase 2 trial for 394 hospitalized patients will conclude April 1, 2023, and enrollment of patients for Phase 3 begins this month with results in May. Only patients experiencing severe symptoms are eligible for the trial. Remdesivir blocks the activity of new covid-19 in cells, and it’s effective against the other coronaviruses MERS and SARS.    The drug remdesivir was studied in 2014 for an Ebola treatment.

Chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine: DDT has hyped these two drugs for a solution, but chloroquine requires high dosages for any success which results in serious toxicities. Non-human primates with chikungunya did worse with chloroquine. The drugs work by decreasing the acidity in endosomes, compartments inside cells that they use to ingest outside material and that some viruses can co-opt to enter a cell. The main entryway for SARS-Cov-2 is different by using its spike protein to attach to a receptor on the surface of human cells. The French study treating 20 covid-19 patients with hydroxychloroquine reduced viral load in nasal swabs, but it wasn’t a random text and didn’t report clinical outcomes such as deaths. Side effects from hydroxychloroquine might do more harm than good because it can damage the heart and heart conditions make people at higher risk for the virus. [Photo: the spikes on the surface of the virus gives the coronavirus its name, meaning crown.]

Ritonavir/lopinavir: Sold under Kaletra, this combination drug was approved for lopinavir to inhibit the protease of HIV and ritonavir keeps its companion drug working longer. The first trial with covid-19 showed no difference between patients given the drug and the control group.

Ritonavir/lopinavir + interferon beta: Adding the molecule to regulate inflammation, interferon beta, to the combination drug, could be risk because of worse tissue damage late in the disease. Saudi Arabia is testing this group of drugs in MERS patients.

Favipiravir: This influenza drug, as well as others, may be added to trials.

Public health non-profit the Milken Institute has developed a covid-19 treatment and vaccine tracker, updated daily, that gives the type of treatment or vaccine studied or developed, source of the researcher, their stage, source of fund, timetable, and FDA approval status. (None has yet been yet approved for treating covid-19 yet.) The table, currently listing almost 60 treatments and 43 developing vaccines, also gives credible media sources, journals, and the World Health Organization.  

The government is ignoring an excellent chance to track the increase of illness across the United States by ignoring the possibilities of the Kinsa thermometer. By now, hundreds of thousands of “smart” thermometers across the nation connect to the internet and reflect clusters of illnesses with fever. A 2018 study by the University of Iowa found that the Kinsa Health company could anticipate flu outbreaks three weeks before they happen, and Clorox used Kinsa results to target ads. Now the company’s owner says the predictions are 12 weeks out. Except for California, the Kinsa map of fever below generally follows the track of covid-19 across the United States.

The most dangerous virus to the United States, however, may be the man who starts the White House covid-19 briefings. Former White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci, who defended DDT even after “The Mooch” was fired, now calls his former boss “the virus” and described DDT as “very insane”:

“At the end of the day what he has done is, he’s effected and replicated through the executive branch and he’s destroyed the crisis management elements of the executive branch that we need right now, not only here in the United States, but globally.”

Scaramucci said that DDT needs to be put under “verbal communication quarantine to help out the nation.”

As of 3:00 pm (PST) on March 23, the world has 374,725 confirmed cases, 37,295 since 9:00 pm yesterday, and 16,350 deaths, 1,712 since 9:00 pm yesterday. These numbers include 195 countries and territories.

The United States has 42,443 confirmed cases—50 percent of those in China and 75 percent in Italy, with 8,897 since 9:00 pm yesterday. The total number of deaths, 517, includes 98 since 9:00 pm yesterday. These numbers include all 50 states and DC. U.S. territories: Guam, 29 cases and 1 death; Puerto Rico, 31 cases, and 1 death; and Virgin Islands, 29 cases.


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