2021-05-19 General


This preprint found that patients with COVID-19 made a bunch of antibodies which attacked their own innate immune system. Putting those antibodies into mice with a human ACE2 receptor made them more susceptible to COVID-19.

Remember yesterday, how I talked at length about how live attenuated virus vaccines (LAVs) appear to rev up the innate immune system for a bit? I’ve been thinking about that.

In this article, also from yesterday (but which, um, sorry, was from last year, oops) about summertime not giving a respite , they make kind of an off-hand comment about past pandemics: “All had a peak second wave approximately six months after emergence of the virus in the human population, regardless of when the initial introduction occurred.” Maybe six months is how long a virus revs up the innate immune system?

I have been struck at how many times there has been a jurisdiction which has been doing great, doing great, doing great, doing great, ooops they are in the shitter. India is the poster child for this, going from “how are they doing so well??” in February to “oh FUCK!” in May.

Obviously restriction fatigue and variants are part of it, but I also note that it’s about six months from the peak of India’s first wave to the start of their second wave. A bunch of countries were hit hard in October — six months after starting the pandemic in April. Maybe the distancing measures that served countries so well also served to reduce the number of mild respiratory virus infections (*cough* flu *cough), which meant that our immune systems all over our communities stopped getting revved up as a community, which made it easier for COVID-19 to spread.

It is probably a coincidence, and probably my pattern-matching brain seeing patterns where there are none, but it was interesting to think about.

It does seem unfair that the longer we struggle with COVID-19, the harder it gets, due to variants, mitigation fatigue, and maybe innate immune system relaxation. I am soooo grateful for vaccines!

I have seen several articles saying that we won’t reach herd immunity, like it is a surprise and/or meaningful. Look, herd immunity only runs the case count to zero and keeps it there if you have a closed community, which doesn’t exist in this interconnected world. However, it’s still a useful concept because it tells you how much vaccination you need to do to get the best protection possible.

In the interest of fairness, I point you to this essay saying that we should at least consider the possibility that SARS-CoV-2 escaped from a lab in China. Basically:

  • There’s a virus lab in Wuhan, where they were working on a virus that is 94.6% similar to SARS-CoV-2 called RaBtCoV/4991, which had sickened some miners.
  • There’s evidence that the lab was sloppy.
  • Nobody has found the animal reservoir where the progenitor virus came from (yet).
  • The Chinese are acting suspicious.

I think that’s very circumstantial, weak evidence, but if you want to see what people are talking about, there you go.

Huh. Adults can get multisystem inflammatory syndrome also! I did not know that; I thought it was just for kids. Apparently the “C” in “MIS-C” is for “Children”; there is also “MIS-A” for Adults. Yet another reason to get vaccinated…


Remember yesterday I said that Canadians could travel to the US for vaccinations? Well, today it’s getting reported that the US doesn’t consider vaccinations essential travel, so will turn Canadians back.


Health Canada has approved keeping the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for up to a month in a normal refrigerator. I expect that means we’ll start seeing Pfizer shots available in pharmacies and, more importantly, it should make it much easier for less-wealthy countries to distribute!

(I believe superfridges are still useful for keeping vax around for longer. I hope that Canada will donate some of our the superfridges to other countries once we are mostly done with our vaccinations.)

This paper, basically a literature review, says that vaccines work (quelle surprise!) and that they also greatly reduce transmission (which I knew, but I wasn’t sure if I had posted that here).

I’m not sure we are ever going to get the J&J vaccines. They have been in Canada for a while, but the feds are sitting on them until they are sure of the quality. Well, this article says that the US is sitting on ONE HUNDRED MILLION doses from the crappy Emergent factory in Baltimore. It’s… scary.