2021-06-08 General

Vaccines

There are a fair number of studies about how many antibodies a given vaccine induces the patient to make, but this study seems to say that a lot of the antibodies which a patient produces in response to a vaccine aren’t actually useful at killing the virus. The antibodies you produce after getting a COVID-19 have a higher proportion of useful (“neutralizing”) antibodies than the proportion after getting a vaccine. This doesn’t mean that vaccines don’t produce more useful antibodies, just that the proportion is different. Disclaimer: I am not entirely sure that I understand the science, so I might be wrong about that interpretation.

To put it another way:

If you catch COVID-19, you make K useful antibodies and L not-useful antibodies. If you get a vax, you make M useful and N non-useful.
What this study says is that M/(M+N) < K/(K+L).

What we don’t know is how big M/K is. It’s probably big, given that multiple studies have shown that the mRNA vaccines gives you more immunity than catching COVID-19. (I’m not sure if studies have shown that about AZ. I think so, I just don’t remember.)

Treatments

This paper says that one way to keep old people from severe consequences from COVID-19 is give them anti-aging drugs. !!! I didn’t even know there were such things as anti-aging drugs. (Specifically, they are drugs which kill cells which are near the end of their lifespan, which has the effect of reducing age-related symptoms in general.)


In my opinion, one of the best things (behind mRNA vaccines) to come out of this pandemic is the RECOVERY program in the UK for researching treatments. They can do very large randomized clinical trials very easily and cheaply. They just finished a trial on aspirin. Aspirin is kind of a wonder drug, so maybe it would help? Alas, the study said no… but now we know and can go on to trying something else.

Variants

England is having a Delta outbreak, with Delta quickly becoming the dominant strain. Fortunately, according to this article, the vaccines seem to work: 75% of the hospitalized patients were unvaccinated. Only 2% of the hospitalized patients had had two shots, with 22% had one dose. (Remember that one dose of either Pfizer or AZ only gives 33% protection against Delta, but two doses gives good protection.)

Recommended Reading

This article talks about how just seeing someone sick can rev up your own immune system! I suspect that the immune system isn’t wired to the visual cortex, but I can imagine it being wired up to fear.

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