Tai Chi
Reply Mon 3 Jan, 2022 06:45 am
Good to hear you and the Mrs. are both feeling better farmerman.
0 Replies
Reply Mon 3 Jan, 2022 07:02 am
I was with someone who became ill with the virus a day or two later. This is day ten since that ocurred and my wife and I haven't been ill as yet.
0 Replies
Reply Mon 3 Jan, 2022 02:35 pm
Emergence in Southern France of a new SARS-CoV-2 variant of probably Cameroonian origin harbouring both substitutions N501Y and E484K in the spike protein

A few days ago, I like many read about a new variant of COVID discovered in Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur. I didn't pay much attention to it at the time. Now though data from the region is starting to look quite different from the rest of France.

Oliver Alexander
0 Replies
Reply Tue 4 Jan, 2022 09:29 am
Covid Science: Virus leaves antibodies that may attack healthy tissues

Jan 3 (Reuters) - The following is a summary of some recent studies on COVID-19. They include research that warrants further study to corroborate the findings and that has yet to be certified by peer review.

Coronavirus leaves survivors with self-attacking antibodies

Months after recovering from SARS-CoV-2 infection, survivors have elevated levels of antibodies that can mistakenly attack their own organs and tissues, even if they had not been severely ill, according to new findings.

Among 177 healthcare workers who had recovered from confirmed coronavirus infections contracted before the availability of vaccines, all had persistent autoantibodies, including ones that can cause chronic inflammation and injury of the joints, skin and nervous system. "We would not normally expect to see such a diverse array of autoantibodies elevated in these individuals or stay elevated for as long six months after full clinical recovery," said Susan Cheng of the Cedars-Sinai Smidt Heart Institute in Los Angeles. Patterns of elevated autoantibodies varied between men and women, the researchers reported on Thursday in the Journal of Translational Medicine.

"We don't yet know how much longer, beyond six months, the antibodies will stay elevated and/or lead to any important clinical symptoms," Cheng said. "It will be essential to monitor individuals moving forward." Her team is investigating whether autoantibody elevations are linked with persistent symptoms in people with long COVID and planning to study autoantibody levels after infections with newer variants of the virus.

B cells' effects weakened but not defeated by Omicron

The effects of antibodies produced by the immune system's "memory B cells" against the Omicron variant of the coronavirus, while weakened, could still be significant, researchers believe.

Once the body learns to recognize SARS-CoV-2, either after infection or vaccination, B cells generate fresh antibodies against the virus if there are not already enough antibodies circulating in the blood that can neutralize it. In a study reported on bioRxiv ahead of peer review, researchers analyzed the strength of more than 300 antibodies produced by memory B cells obtained from vaccinated volunteers, including some who had a prior SARS-CoV-2 infection.

"Omicron seemed to evade a very large share of the memory B cells pool," researchers said, adding that it "seems to still be efficiently recognized by 30% of total antibodies and close to 10% of all potent neutralizing antibodies," said Matthieu Mahevas and Pascal Chappert of Universite de Paris in a joint email. Memory B cells' robust ability to proliferate and produce antibodies might compensate "in less than two days" for those antibodies' reduced effectiveness, they speculate.

In combination with other immune system components, particularly T cells, the effects of B cells likely help to explain why most vaccinated individuals who become infected do not become sick enough to require hospitalization, they said.

Virus variants' activity in cells makes them more effective

Along with spike mutations that help the coronavirus break into cells, mutations that change how the virus behaves inside the cells are a big factor in why some variants have been more transmissible, researchers have discovered.

The findings, published in Nature, show that scientists "have to start looking at mutations outside the spike," which has so far been the main focus of vaccines and antibody drugs, said Nevan Krogan of the University of California, San Francisco. Studying the Alpha variant, his team found a mutation at a non-spike site that causes infected cells to ramp up their production of a protein called Orf9B. Orf9b in turn disables a protein called TOM70 that cells use to send signals to the immune system. With higher levels of Orf9B disabling TOM70, the immune system does not respond as well and the virus can better evade detection, the researchers said.

Referring to the increase in Orf9B, Krogan said, "It's rare that mutations 'turn up' a protein. It's a very sneaky thing for this virus to do." The same mutation was identified on Delta, "and sure enough, almost the same mutation is on Omicron," he said, which suggests they may have similar effects on the immune system. The new information could spur development of drugs that target the interaction of Orf9b and TOM70.

0 Replies
Walter Hinteler
Reply Tue 4 Jan, 2022 10:53 am
A number of Germans have sought refuge on Bulgaria's Black Sea coast from what they view as dictatorial anti-coronavirus measures back home. It has developed into a kind of alternative reality for conspiracy theorists.

From a Telegram group chat: "In times of war, people have always fled!"

A Community of German Anti-Vaxxers on the Black Sea Coast
They came here to stay. Their cars with license plate numbers from the North Sea coast, Berlin and Bavaria are parked out in front of the Château Aheloy on the Black Sea coast in Bulgaria. The apartment complex in the town of Aheloy is considered a stronghold of German-speaking corona truthers and so­-called "Querdenker," that hodgepodge of anti-government conspiracy theorists who have waged an ongoing campaign against all measures aimed at combatting the pandemic.

The "C-19 Idiocy" .... ... ...

Escape from a Dictatorship ... ... ...

Freedom and Democracy ... ... ...

So far, those who have emigrated to Bulgaria have remained largely under the radar. But if the newly sworn-in government in Sofia tightens measures in the fight against the coronavirus, the mood on the Black Sea coast could quickly shift. Statistics from 2020 tell the tale of numerous failed attempts to start life anew abroad. But the number of emigrants to Bulgaria was still around 50 percent higher than the number of remorseful returnees.

0 Replies
Walter Hinteler
Reply Thu 6 Jan, 2022 12:39 pm
Some Europan countries now have general or specific compulsory vaccination: only on Wednesday, Italy introduced compulsory vaccination for people over 50. Austria is planning to introduce a general vaccination obligation. In Germany, a sector-specific vaccination obligation for all employees in clinics, old people's homes and nursing homes has been decided - the Bundestag [second chamber federal parliament] will discuss a vaccination obligation for all in February.
0 Replies
Reply Thu 6 Jan, 2022 02:21 pm
World number one, greatest tennis player of all time on the men's side, and nine time Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic has been denied entry into Australia to defend his Australian Open title due to his Covid vaccine status.
Reply Thu 6 Jan, 2022 03:47 pm
He's actually already in Australia but about to be deported.

He was granted an exemption to play in the Australian Open but failed to produce the required documents when he arrived. He was then placed in a migrant detention hotel to await deportation.

He has just launched an appeal in the Federal Court.

A lot of people here were extremely pissed off that he was allowed to come in the first place given his anti-vax stance and the fact that he refused to say whether or not he had been vaccinated.

No-one else who can't show proof of vaccination is allowed to come into the country. The rules apply to everyone.
Reply Thu 6 Jan, 2022 03:58 pm

cherrie wrote:

The rules apply to everyone.

Well, good for you.
0 Replies
Reply Fri 7 Jan, 2022 06:57 am
Calling Omicron 'mild' a mistake, warns WHO

WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus says the Omicron variant is killing people and overwhelming hospitals

The Omicron variant of Covid-19 is killing people across the globe and should not be dismissed as mild, the World Health Organization insisted Thursday.

WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the record numbers of people catching the new variant -- which is rapidly out-competing the previously-dominant Delta variant in many countries -- meant hospitals were being overwhelmed.

"While Omicron does appear to be less severe compared to Delta, especially in those vaccinated, it does not mean it should be categorised as mild," Tedros told a press conference.

"Just like previous variants, Omicron is hospitalising people and it is killing people," he explained.

"In fact, the tsunami of cases is so huge and quick, that it is overwhelming health systems around the world."

Just under 9.5 million new Covid-19 cases were reported to the WHO last week -- a record, up 71 percent on the week before.

But even this was an underestimate, Tedros said, as it did not reflect the backlog of testing around the Christmas-New Year holidays, positive self-tests not registered, and overburdened surveillance systems missing cases.

- Vaccination targets slipping away -

Tedros used his first speech of 2022 to slam the way rich nations hogged available vaccine doses last year, saying it had created the perfect breeding ground for the emergence of virus variants.

He therefore urged the world to share out vaccine doses more fairly in 2022, to end the "death and destruction" of Covid-19.

Tedros wanted every country to have 10 percent of their population vaccinated by the end of September 2021 and 40 percent by the end of December.

Ninety-two of the WHO's 194 member states missed the target set for the end of 2021 -- indeed 36 of them had not even jabbed the first 10 percent, largely due to being unable to access doses.

Tedros wants 70 percent jabbed in every country by mid-2022.

On the current pace of vaccine roll-out, 109 countries will miss that target.

"Vaccine inequity is a killer of people and jobs and it undermines a global economic recovery," said Tedros.

"Booster after booster in a small number of countries will not end a pandemic while billions remain completely unprotected."

- Omicron not the end -

The WHO's Covid-19 technical lead Maria Van Kerkhove said it was "very unlikely" that Omicron would be the last variant of concern before the pandemic is over.

In facing the more transmissible Omicron variant, Van Kerkhove urged people to step up the measures they were already taking to protect themselves against the virus.

"Do everything that we have been advising better, more comprehensively, more purposefully," she said.

"We need people to hang in there and really fight."

Van Kerkhove added that she was stunned by how sloppily some people were wearing facemasks.

"It needs to cover your nose and mouth... wearing a mask below your chin is useless," she said.

Looking ahead to this year, Bruce Aylward, the WHO's frontman on accessing coronavirus tools, added that there was "no need to finish 2022 in a pandemic".

But WHO emergencies director Michael Ryan said that without vaccine equity, "we will be sitting here at the end of 2022 having somewhat the same conversation, which, in itself, would be a great tragedy".

Reply Fri 7 Jan, 2022 05:51 pm
Yes it is a NECESSARY mistake...and if this thing keeps mutating as if in a Russian roulette game as it probably will for a long long time you better start learning hunting and foraging skills.
A pandemic on top of a Neo-liberal unfolding economic disaster is a perfect storm coming up soonish!
0 Replies
Below viewing threshold (view)
Reply Sat 8 Jan, 2022 09:22 pm
In other news...

of course! Texas.
Texas teacher charged with allegedly putting COVID-19 positive son in trunk
0 Replies
Reply Sun 9 Jan, 2022 06:38 pm
With this new variant California is on fire again! The Puerto Rican being in the medical field is back to working 12 hours a day!
0 Replies
Reply Tue 11 Jan, 2022 07:30 am
Is Omicron Really “Milder”?

We’re getting Covid-19 severity all wrong.

As Covid-19 cases in the United States soar to record highs, many are pinning their hopes on the omicron variant, however contagious, being less severe than the delta variant that came before it. Perhaps, some health care experts hope, surviving omicron could even provide some immunity against other variants. It’s a glimmer of hope in a dark time.

The problem is, it’s too soon to know how severe omicron is—and individual symptoms aren’t always the best way to talk about severity. By taking preventative measures off the table and prioritizing the economy even if it means sending people back to work and school with active Covid cases, policymakers betting on the mildness of this virus could risk toppling the health care system as we know it—and allow more death and disability to rise throughout the country.

We have more questions than answers at this point about the omicron variant, which was only identified six weeks ago: How mild is it really, does it mean we’re close to emerging from this phase of the pandemic, and what does it signal for future variants?

Here’s the evidence for the “omicron is milder” thesis: According to experiments with mice and hamsters, the variant doesn’t attack the lungs as aggressively as delta did. “The omicron variant, so far, appears to be less severe than the delta,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, chief medical adviser to the White House, said on January 5. But he added that assessment is based on “multiple sources of now-preliminary data,” and he cautioned “we really do need more definitive assessment of severity with longer-term follow-up.”

It’s possible omicron is more mild among people, Dr. David Martinez, a viral immunologist at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, told me. “There’s a lot of clues that suggest that it is, but I just think we have to think about the nuances and the limitations of, for example, the model systems.” After all, people are neither mice nor hamsters, and animals are an imperfect proxy for exactly how a virus spreads through the human body.

But it’s also possible that the virus, as it rips through millions of people, is picking up mutations that make it more efficient in humans than in animals—which means making predictions based on studies in animals could become even more fraught. “As the virus continues to evolve, are the animal models going to still faithfully recapitulate what has happened in humans?” Martinez wonders. “If the animal data potentially looks different, then you just have to think about why it could look different.”

Until now, other countries’ experiences with omicron have also been comforting. Waves in South Africa and Europe, for instance, began falling nearly as rapidly as they rose, with much lower hospitalization rates than previous surges. But the U.S. is showing signs of much worse outcomes, with hospitalizations rising quickly in the wake of surging cases—possibly because of an older, sicker population with lower immunity. And vaccination can’t entirely make up for vulnerabilities.*

It’s possible, for someone who is not vaccinated or hasn’t encountered Covid before, that omicron will be just as severe as the virus that wrought devastation throughout 2020.

Severity is also relative. Omicron may be less severe than delta—but delta was more severe than previous variants, recent research shows. It’s possible, for someone who is not vaccinated or hasn’t encountered Covid before, that omicron will be just as severe as the virus that wrought devastation throughout 2020. “While omicron does appear to be less severe compared to delta, especially in those vaccinated, it does not mean it should be categorized as ‘mild,’” Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the World Health Organization, warned on Thursday.

And even if it is a milder version of the virus, its high transmissibility cancels out those gains. “If you keep doing this every day—with infections, they can at some points go exponential,” Martinez said. “As those infections skyrocket, what is this going to do to our already-strained health care system that appears to be hanging on a thread?”

The best way to judge severity among people is still hospitalizations and deaths—but that’s becoming increasingly difficult to measure. “We currently have a health care system that is actively collapsing, if not already collapsed, in many spaces,” Dr. Rae Walker, associate professor and Ph.D. program director at the Elaine Marieb College of Nursing at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, told me. “Almost every health system is operating on fumes.”

“People keep talking about how hospitalizations are a lagging indicator of the severity of illness, right?” Walker said. “We’ve seen all these case counts spiking, but you know, ‘What we really need to look for is the number of hospitalizations to get a sense of how severe this really is.’ But the reality is, we’ve already hit the ceiling on many of these graphs.” Walker’s local hospitals are already 20 or 30 percent over capacity.

It’s not just a lack of hospital beds or ventilators: It’s having enough staff to care for everyone as the entire country lights up in bright red with cases and hospitalizations. Supply chain woes are hitting hospitals, as well, with masks and other protective gear once again running low. “One hospital had run out of saline flushes. Saline flushes are the most basic tool that you need to do I.V. therapy. That’s like the simplest technology that we have in health care,” Walker said, incredulous. “It’s human expertise and laborers, but it’s also the actual supplies themselves. And both of those things right now are at such critically low levels that even without omicron, I think we would be incredibly stressed.”

Across the country, hospitals are warning against coming to the emergency department unless it’s a true emergency, as patients wait for hours or days to be seen. Overflowing hospitals send patients hundreds of miles away and divert ambulances.

That can throw hospitalization numbers for omicron off: “They can’t even count the number of admissions because those people are not able to even arrive at the steps of the E.D.,” Walker said. “What I worry is, as people wait to see this idea of a further spike in hospitalizations or ICU admissions, is that those numbers may not play out because we’ve already hit the top of the graph,” exceeding hospital capacity, they clarified.

Relying on hospitalization data is like relying on test data early in the pandemic: It’s an incomplete picture due to a stunning lack of capacity.

At the same time, the definition for what counts as a case worthy of hospitalization is changing, Walker said. When hospitals are overloaded, the sickest patients are prioritized, which means other patients, who would normally be admitted quickly, can spend days waiting in the emergency department—a practice called “boarding” that can further strain capacity and affect patients’ outcomes.

All this adds up to a troubling realization. Relying on hospitalization data is like relying on test data early in the pandemic: It’s an incomplete picture due to a stunning lack of capacity. “I am distressed every time I see that word, ‘mild,’ because it feels like part of a narrative designed to tell us to just keep our heads down and keep on keeping on,” Walker said.

And the pandemic is causing other pressures on this system, even if the diagnosis isn’t Covid: “We’re now getting to the point where there has been so much deferred care for so long, and so little capacity to make up for that, that we’re going to see a wave of acute health problem exacerbations that may require a higher level of care, such as hospitalization,” Walker said.

The notion that omicron is “mild” might be masking another troubling phenomenon: that omicron is in fact attacking the body in a different, subtler way—one that could still result in very severe outcomes. “It’s making people really sick in a different way,” Dr. Craig Spencer, an emergency physician in New York, tweeted recently, with omicron seeming to “topple a delicate balance of an underlying illness.” Covid, in other words, could be tipping fragile patients with chronic illness, like heart disease or diabetes, into distress, said Dr. Michael Warner, a physician in Toronto—with the result that many hospitalizations may still be driven by Covid, even if it’s not the primary diagnosis.

Any discussion of disease severity must include long Covid as well, which can develop after mild or even asymptomatic cases of Covid. Research on causes and treatments for long Covid is still ongoing. “Even if it turns out to be a milder disease, which would be welcome, we still have to be cautious for it,” Martinez said. “We can’t just let it run free or burn through the population, because it could still have those devastating effects.”

The bottom line is that omicron may still pose a serious threat, and not only to the unvaccinated. It’s dangerous for vaccinated people who will get serious breakthrough infections because they are immune-compromised, older than 65, or simply unlucky. And it’s dangerous for absolutely anyone who might need to use the hospital in the next month.

One thing we do know: Omicron won’t be the last variant. It’s impossible to know if future versions of the virus will become milder or more severe. Omicron itself was a surprise, arising from a version of the virus common in summer 2020. The next one could evolve from omicron, becoming more or less severe—or it could also come out of nowhere. But with millions of cases a week in the U.S. alone, each offering millions of chances to evolve, all we know is that there will be a next one, Martinez said. “What we don’t know is, how different will a future variant be?”

Looking to the future can be a grim exercise—particularly when there is so much we still don’t know. But “there will be a day that the pandemic will end. This won’t be forever, even though it seems like it will,” Martinez reminded me. The turning point will likely come “once our health care system isn’t as strained as it is right now,” he said. When hospitalizations once again decline, when effective treatments are more widely available, when health workers have a moment to breathe, the future will look brighter.

But it’s up to us to make that happen. Counting on a variant evolving to be milder, without taking any other critical measures to prepare and respond, would be asking the very virus that got us into this problem to get us out of it.

0 Replies
Region Philbis
Reply Thu 13 Jan, 2022 05:29 am

not sure who needs to hear this, but...


0 Replies
Region Philbis
Reply Sat 15 Jan, 2022 10:30 am

Unvaccinated women with Covid are more likely
to lose fetuses and infants, Scottish data show

0 Replies
Reply Tue 18 Jan, 2022 05:45 am
PSA: COVID-19 isn’t “just a cold,” isn’t “a respiratory virus,” and “mild” doesn’t mean what you think it does.

(a pretty extensive list of risks associated with the disease)
0 Replies
Walter Hinteler
Reply Tue 18 Jan, 2022 10:02 am
A Czech folk musician has died of covid-19 after a deliberate coronavirus infection. Hana Horka, singer of the band Asonance, died on Sunday at the age of 57, her son Jan Rek told the radio station iRozhlas.cz. According to Rek, she had deliberately exposed herself to the virus because she wanted to avoid vaccination. She had decided to do so after her husband, who had been vaccinated, and her son, who had also been vaccinated, fell ill.

"She decided to just live normally with us and get infected instead of getting vaccinated," Rek described. He blamed local representatives of the anti-vaccination movement for Horka's death. They had "blood on their hands" because they had turned his mother against the Corona vaccination, he said. "I know exactly who influenced them. It saddens me that she believed strangers more than her own family," the son said.
Walter Hinteler
Reply Fri 21 Jan, 2022 12:59 pm
@Walter Hinteler,
Austria is the first country in Europe to introduce compulsory Corona vaccination. Refusers face fines of up to 3600 euros.
137 MPs, which corresponds to more than 80 percent of the Austrian parliament, voted in favour of the law.

Austria will thus be the first EU country ever to make vaccination against the coronavirus compulsory for residents aged 18 and over, unless they have a medical indication to the contrary. The law is to come into force at the beginning of February. From the middle of March, violators will face fines of up to 3,600 Euros ($ 4,100).

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