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COVID-19

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Re: COVID-19
« Reply #330 on: August 12, 2020, 07:31:05 AM »
More of a science-oriented article from Ed Yong this time. A look at the state of immunology in relation to SARS-CoV-2.

"Immunology Is Where Intuition Goes to Die" | The Atlantic

Quote
There’s a joke about immunology, which Jessica Metcalf of Princeton recently told me. An immunologist and a cardiologist are kidnapped. The kidnappers threaten to shoot one of them, but promise to spare whoever has made the greater contribution to humanity. The cardiologist says, “Well, I’ve identified drugs that have saved the lives of millions of people.” Impressed, the kidnappers turn to the immunologist. “What have you done?” they ask. The immunologist says, “The thing is, the immune system is very complicated …” And the cardiologist says, “Just shoot me now.”

The thing is, the immune system is very complicated. Arguably the most complex part of the human body outside the brain, it’s an absurdly intricate network of cells and molecules that protect us from dangerous viruses and other microbes. These components summon, amplify, rile, calm, and transform one another: Picture a thousand Rube Goldberg machines, some of which are aggressively smashing things to pieces. Now imagine that their components are labeled with what looks like a string of highly secure passwords: CD8+, IL-1β, IFN-γ. Immunology confuses even biology professors who aren’t immunologists—hence Metcalf’s joke.

Even the word immunity creates confusion. When immunologists use it, they simply mean that the immune system has responded to a pathogen—for example, by producing antibodies or mustering defensive cells. When everyone else uses the term, they mean (and hope) that they are protected from infection—that they are immune. But, annoyingly, an immune response doesn’t necessarily provide immunity in this colloquial sense. It all depends on how effective, numerous, and durable those antibodies and cells are.

Immunity, then, is usually a matter of degrees, not absolutes. And it lies at the heart of many of the COVID-19 pandemic’s biggest questions. Why do some people become extremely ill and others don’t? Can infected people ever be sickened by the same virus again? How will the pandemic play out over the next months and years? Will vaccination work?

To answer these questions, we must first understand how the immune system reacts to SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus. Which is unfortunate because, you see, the immune system is very complicated.

[Continues . . .]
"Religion is fundamentally opposed to everything I hold in veneration — courage, clear thinking, honesty, fairness, and above all, love of the truth."
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Randy

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Re: COVID-19
« Reply #331 on: August 12, 2020, 02:54:25 PM »
As someone with a compromised immune system due to chemo lowering my white blood cell count well below normal, they give me a patch thing that injects me 27 hours later with some kind of protein to boost it up so that I'll be ready for my next chemotherapy session. I don't get out much except to clinics or radiology. As a result I haven't had a cold or the flu in a few years now. The last thing I need is something like that to add to the problems I've got. Now, I did get my flu, pneumonia, and shingles prevention shots recently. I don't like to take chances.
"Maybe it's just a bunch of stuff that happens." -- Homer Simpson
"Some people focus on the destination. Atheists focus on the journey." -- Barry Goldberg

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Re: COVID-19
« Reply #332 on: August 12, 2020, 07:38:14 PM »
Glad to hear your inoculations are up to date, Randy:thumbsup:




I came across the article below by a woman who describes herself as "Korean-ish/American-ish," and it reminded me of a comment I made here last year, before the Thing. It was my perception at the time that mask wearing in Asian countries seemed to be as much about fashion as anything to do with health. I was wrong about that, though fashion does play into it in a peripheral way.

"What a Korean Teenage Fashion Trend Reveals About the Culture of Mask-Wearing" | Politico

Quote
If you want to understand how the United States is faring so badly in the fight against Covid—even compared with denser countries that got hit earlier—it helps to understand Americans’ deeper public attitudes toward health, and why those attitudes are so different in other parts of the world.

Part of the resistance to mask-wearing in the United States has to do with the fact that it’s become a partisan political issue. But what I saw growing up in South Korea is how cultural norms can play an important role in the way a country approaches a public health crisis like the coronavirus. I also saw how those norms can change over time, which means they might just change some day in America—too late for this pandemic, but maybe not for the next one.

[. . .]

The good news for the United States is that attitudes about masks and other health measures can change over time. I saw this in South Korea. Even when Korea was faced with the threat of SARS in 2003, masks weren’t widely used, partially because the government was able to keep the virus at bay. During the ensuing years, Koreans wore masks as fashion statements or to protect from dust particles, but they weren’t solidified as part of Korean culture until the swine flu outbreak in 2009 and MERS in 2015. Consistent messaging from experts on the benefits of mask-wearing stuck. By 2015, Koreans automatically turned to masks during the MERS outbreak, leading to a 709 percent increase in sales.

This past February, before Koreans understood the severity of Covid-19, it was still common to see people roaming the streets without masks, says Kim Jae Hyung, a Korean sociologist at Seoul National University. But once the number of cases exploded to more than 800 a day in the span of a few weeks, people quickly relearned old habits to protect not only themselves but others from the virus.

The United States, however, has been able to dodge most epidemics in recent history. And those that the country couldn’t avoid, such as the H1N1 virus, turned out to be less deadly than experts expected. This record has contributed to a sense of American exceptionalism when it comes to health and safety, [Josef] Woodman [CEO of Patients Beyond Borders, a company that provides resources for people who seek medical treatment abroad] says: It’s much harder for Americans to grasp the widespread harm a pandemic can cause, making them less enthusiastic about group sacrifices that can curb the disease.

[Link to full article.]

"Religion is fundamentally opposed to everything I hold in veneration — courage, clear thinking, honesty, fairness, and above all, love of the truth."
— H. L. Mencken


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Re: COVID-19
« Reply #333 on: August 13, 2020, 02:45:05 PM »
Being filled with entitled, willfully ignorant, utterly moronic asshats is what is the issue in America.

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Re: COVID-19
« Reply #334 on: August 17, 2020, 04:43:14 AM »
An excellent and I thought rather readable article from the New Scientist on the virology of SARS-CoV-2 and its associates.

"An uncommon cold" | NewScientist

Quote
IN 1889, a disease outbreak in central Asia went global, igniting a pandemic that burned into the following year. It caused fever and fatigue, and killed an estimated 1 million people. The disease is generally blamed on influenza, and was dubbed “Russian flu“. But with no tissue samples to check for the flu virus, there is no conclusive proof.

Another possibility is that this “flu” was actually a coronavirus pandemic. The finger has been pointed at a virus first isolated in the 1960s, though today it causes nothing more serious than a common cold. In fact, there are four coronaviruses responsible for an estimated 20 to 30 per cent of colds. Only recently have virologists begun to dig into these seemingly humdrum pathogens and what they have found suggests the viruses have a far more deadly past. Researchers now believe that all four of these viruses began to infect humans in the past few centuries and, when they did, they probably sparked pandemics.

The parallels with our current crisis are obvious. And it turns out that our growing knowledge about these other coronaviruses could be vital in meeting the challenge of covid-19. Insights into the origins, trajectories and features of common cold coronaviruses can provide crucial clues about what to expect in the coming months and years. Understanding these relatively benign viruses may also help us avoid another pandemic.

[Continues . . .]
"Religion is fundamentally opposed to everything I hold in veneration — courage, clear thinking, honesty, fairness, and above all, love of the truth."
— H. L. Mencken


Tank

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Re: COVID-19
« Reply #335 on: August 17, 2020, 07:41:05 AM »
That was interesting.
If religions were TV channels atheism is turning the TV off.
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Remember, your inability to grasp science is not a valid argument against it.

Dark Lightning

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Re: COVID-19
« Reply #336 on: August 17, 2020, 02:18:16 PM »
Yes, quite interesting. Looks like I'll be wearing a mask for the rest of my life. I don't wear one at home, though. Maybe I should start doing that.

Randy

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Re: COVID-19
« Reply #337 on: August 17, 2020, 03:46:24 PM »
I finally got around to reading the article. So many viruses and so little vaccine it seems. Like DL I feel like wearing a mask all the time. I don't wear one in the house because everyone wears a mask when they go out including me. I keep thinking about the asymptomatic ones and what if one of the members of my household is like that.

Scary times we are living in right now.
"Maybe it's just a bunch of stuff that happens." -- Homer Simpson
"Some people focus on the destination. Atheists focus on the journey." -- Barry Goldberg

Dark Lightning

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Re: COVID-19
« Reply #338 on: August 17, 2020, 06:40:08 PM »
And now, some really hopeful good news- an inhalable anti-viral that defeats Covid. I'm just going to lay low while this stuff develops, though. If it truly works, just think- if everybody lines up for it and takes it every day for a week, Covid-19 could be history. It would be enough if just most people did it. It could be done for any coronavirus, and maybe even the common cold. Wouldn't that be nice?

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/08/200811234951.htm

Essie Mae

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Re: COVID-19
« Reply #339 on: August 18, 2020, 12:18:11 AM »
And now, some really hopeful good news- an inhalable anti-viral that defeats Covid. I'm just going to lay low while this stuff develops, though. If it truly works, just think- if everybody lines up for it and takes it every day for a week, Covid-19 could be history. It would be enough if just most people did it. It could be done for any coronavirus, and maybe even the common cold. Wouldn't that be nice?

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/08/200811234951.htm

Incredible. I wonder if there would be side effects though? (Not wanting you rain on anyone’s parade). I like being pessimistic; it’s so good when proved wrong.
Hell is empty and all the devils are here. Wm Shakespeare


Dark Lightning

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Re: COVID-19
« Reply #340 on: August 18, 2020, 02:14:20 AM »
And now, some really hopeful good news- an inhalable anti-viral that defeats Covid. I'm just going to lay low while this stuff develops, though. If it truly works, just think- if everybody lines up for it and takes it every day for a week, Covid-19 could be history. It would be enough if just most people did it. It could be done for any coronavirus, and maybe even the common cold. Wouldn't that be nice?

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/08/200811234951.htm

Incredible. I wonder if there would be side effects though? (Not wanting you rain on anyone’s parade). I like being pessimistic; it’s so good when proved wrong.

You're not raining on my parade at all! I won't be using it until some enterprising individuals brave enough to volunteer have tried it. If it works, it will be such a triumph for scientific endeavor!

And then all those maskholes will refuse to use it, because god.  >:(

Randy

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Re: COVID-19
« Reply #341 on: August 18, 2020, 01:38:34 PM »
If the trials are successful I wonder how long it will take to get it on the shelves? We're probably still talking 2021. I hope everything works out.

I wondered about the side effects. Usually a medicine comes complete with those. Hopefully they are mild but I think at this point we'd rather have anything and suffer with them than to get the virus.
"Maybe it's just a bunch of stuff that happens." -- Homer Simpson
"Some people focus on the destination. Atheists focus on the journey." -- Barry Goldberg

Dark Lightning

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Re: COVID-19
« Reply #342 on: August 18, 2020, 02:32:57 PM »
If it were up to me, it would be something administered to the sick first, since they need it most (depending on how sick they are). In those dire straits, the risk of side effects are outweighed by its efficacy, which is yet to be proved in people.

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Re: COVID-19
« Reply #343 on: August 22, 2020, 10:59:44 AM »
Yesterday I was in the shopping mall to wire some money to my sister and I saw a shop attendant (not where I was, thankfully) lift his mask so that he could sneeze.   :picard facepalm:

:wtf:

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Tank

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Re: COVID-19
« Reply #344 on: August 22, 2020, 05:26:37 PM »
Yesterday I was in the shopping mall to wire some money to my sister and I saw a shop attendant (not where I was, thankfully) lift his mask so that he could sneeze.   :picard facepalm:

:wtf:

:wtf:
If religions were TV channels atheism is turning the TV off.
“Religion is a culture of faith; science is a culture of doubt.” ― Richard P. Feynman
'It is said that your life flashes before your eyes just before you die. That is true, it's called Life.' - Terry Pratchett
Remember, your inability to grasp science is not a valid argument against it.