2021-05-24 General


Dear Readers, go get yourself a pulse oximeter. A study showed that frequently people with COVID wait until they are short of breath to go to hospital. Unfortunately, with COVID, frequently you feel like you can breathe fine, but your blood oxygen actually is quite low. If your pulse oximeter is reading low and you are breathing fast, GO GO GO to the hospital right away. (I hope that public health delivers a pulse oximeter to people who test positive, but I bet they don’t…)


This article talks about why we still don’t know where SARS-CoV-2 came from. Spoiler: it’s a difficult problem.

SARS-CoV-2 structure

Over a million people donated computer time to folding@home and came up with some very detailed models of SARS-CoV-2, which should really help in developing therapeutics. Go humans!

Oh crap, they have found some antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 which actually make it easier for the SARS-CoV-2 spike to dock, making it more infectious. Maybe this isn’t an awful problem, because everybody who makes antibodies will make a lot of different antibodies, and it’s only a few specific antibodies which enhance infectivity — if there are more good antibodies than bad antibodies in a person, then it looks like they will be okay.


Note: I have a discussion of vaccines/R/mitigation measures in today’s BC post. It is highly applicable to General post (I almost put it here) but there are a few BC-specific things in it.

I think I’ve said this before, but I’ll say it again more bluntly: there are people out there who vaccines don’t work for (e.g. solid organ transplant recipients). This preprint says some T-cell immunity is detectable, but I don’t think anybody knows exactly how much use T-cells are without B-cells. It is important for all of us who can get a shot to do so for the people who can’t.

There are also people who don’t get much protection from one shot, but do from two (e.g. some cancer patients).

This preprint says that a recent dose of BCG vaccine — a live attenuated virus vaccine against tuberculosis — gives protection with 68% efficacy against COVID-19.

  1. 68% is very good.
  2. Maybe this is another example of live attenuated virus stimulating the innate immune system, like I talked about last week?


This essay argues that the US CDC’s releasing vaccinated people from almost all mitigation measures (most importantly, masks) is a good thing. Basically, it argues that the unvaccinated pose little risk to the vaccinated and vice-versa; really the only significant risk comes from the unvaccinated to the unvaccinated, and thus the unvaccinated ought to be allowed to make their own choices. They think the rights of the vaccinated outweigh the rights of the immunocompromised and children.

I disagree.

  • I pay for the hospital stays of the unvaccinated.
  • I don’t want kids and immunocompromised to get sick.
  • The vaccines are not perfect, and the vaccinated are at risk from the unvaccinated. (Say it with me: you are safer being unvaccinated in New Zealand than vaccinated in India.)