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February 2021

Wearing Glasses Might Protect Against COVID-19

A new report summarizing several studies claims that wearing glasses can protect you from COVID-19. The investigators reviewed multiple studies that have shown that glasses wearers contract COVID-19 at greatly reduced levels compared to those who do not wear glasses. It has been long known that respiratory viruses can infect people through the eyes, so this finding is not a surprise. If a virus lands in your eye, it can go through the tear duct and down into your nose and infect your upper respiratory system.

One study published this month in India, looked at 304 COVID-19 patients. About 40% of India’s adult population wears glasses, but only 19% of the people infected with the coronavirus wore glasses leading the researchers to conclude that the risk of COVID-19 was about 2 to 3 times less for folks who wear spectacles compared to non-wearers. These results mirror an earlier study from China.

All of this raises the question of whether wearing glasses to protect against COVID should be called nerd immunity?

One Shot Is Effective And The Vax Does Not Need To Be Stored At Ultra-Cold Temperatures

The mRNA Covid-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech generates robust immunity 2-4 weeks after one dose and can be stored in ordinary freezers instead of at ultracold temperatures as previously believed, according to new studies conducted by the Israeli Sheba Medical Center and published in the Lancet medical journal.

The Phase 3 trials completed in December only assessed the efficacy of the first shot two weeks after it was given. This showed that at two weeks, a single dose was about 52% effective. However, the recent study assessed the vaccines efficacy 2-4 weeks after the single shot. This showed that that the vaccine is 85% effective in preventing symptomatic disease. That is impressive. The second shot adds an additional 10% protection.

Learning that a single shot approaches the efficacy of the two-dose regimen supports spreading the first dose as widely as possible around the world and delaying the second shot. This strategy would ensure that more people around the world would be protected before the second shot was rolled out. The UK has adopted this approach and there is some support for it in the US. However, the FDA and Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, are not budging from the two shot regimen. The argument is that adding the second shot might lead to a more durable immune response

Your humble blogger believes that this strategy is a mistake. It seems more prudent to get the vaccine out to as many people as possible as soon as possible, especially if the second dose only adds 10% additional protection to individuals.

In separate news, research also showed that the Pfizer vaccine can be safely stored and transported at temperatures found in your freezer, rather than the ultra-cold temperatures as first believed. This greatly simplifies the logistics of delivering the virus around the world. No longer needed are the sophisticated ultra-cold freezers that are not often found in the third world, or even in your local pharmacy or clinic. Simple freezers, like the one you have your home will suffice, enabling ordinary pharmacies and clinics to handle the vax, thereby facilitating its distribution.

Just don't confuse the vaccines with the ice cream.


The Coronavirus Might Not Have Originated In Wuhan Or Even In China

About 90 people were hospitalized with an unusual respiratory disease in central China two months before COVID-19 was first identified in Wuhan on Dec. 8 2019, according to the World Health Organization. Preliminary indications are that this could have been COVID-19, but that remains uncertain at this time since China is not cooperating with international health scientists.

More recently, Italian researchers found CoV-2 infection in a 4-year-old boy who was treated for respiratory symptoms and vomiting on Nov. 30, 2019—also before the disease was first noticed in Wuhan. And, as reported earlier in these pages, the UCLA medical center recently reported that they had an unexpected 50% spike in patients with respiratory illness beginning in December, 2019, about the time COVID-19 was first recognized in Wuhan. It is not certain that these UCLA cases were due to COVID-19, but it is suspect.

Together, these findings, especially the Italian observation, suggest that the virus was already across China and even around the globe before the Wuhan outbreak was recognized. All this raises anew the question whether COVID-19 actually originated in Wuhan. Did it even begin in China?  

There has been much speculation, from both serious and unserious commentators, that the virus originated, either on purpose or by accident, in the Wuhan Laboratory of Virology, a world-class research laboratory that studies coronaviruses. But, if it was spreading in other parts of China and in Italy before it was noticed in Wuhan that would raise a strong possibility that the virus did not come from the lab. Unfortunately, the Chinese government refuses to release data on their early repiratory patients  that is needed to definitively determine whether the respiratory symptoms were due to COVID-19. For example, it would be enormously helpful if international researchers could review the records of the 90-some people in central China who had COVID-like symptoms. Even more helpful would be for international scientists to test stored biological samples from these patients, if available, for the virus, like the Italian investigators did.

Meanwhile, the CCP has floated the idea that the virus did not originate in China. One would think that if that was true, and they wanted the world to believe that, they would be more transparent with their evidence.

We will see....maybe.

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