2021-11-10 General


Okay, this preprint is wild — if I understand it correctly. My understanding is that the authors made a thing — a Therapeutic Interfering Particle or TIP — which looks just like SARS-CoV-2 except it has a vastly stripped-down genome, one that doesn’t have all the instructions needed to make the enzymes and proteins to enable replicating itself. Instead, it grabs the enzymes and proteins floating around in the soup of the cell which SARS-CoV-2 made, and bogarts them for its own use. Essentially, the TIP is a parasite onto SARS-CoV-2. It depends upon SARS-CoV-2 to make its building blocks, so when SARS-CoV-2 dies out, TIP dies out too.

They packaged TIPs into a nasal spray and spritzed it up the nose of syrian golden hamsters, and saw a big decrease in the viral load of SARS-CoV-2.

I suspect that the important thing that the TIPs do is give the immune system time to figure out how to attack.

I do not know if the TIPs cause disease themselves. It seems like they would, but the paper never mentions that.


This article reports on a study where they looked at health care workers who showed evidence of having been exposed to SARS-CoV-19 but who never tested positive. They found that those people had T cells which targeted a different part of the virus, a part associated with replication. The study authors think that a vaccine made to target that piece of the SARS-CoV-2 machinery could be more successful at preventing infection AND transmission AND might give broad immunity to many coronaviruses.

I read the original preprint, and I don’t understand the mechanics of how the vaccine would work, as I believe the target — the replication transcription complex — is inside the cell, and I don’t know how T cells know what is going on inside the cell. But I am not a biologist.


This article says that people with sleep disorders which reduce blood oxygenation are no more/less likely to catch COVID-19, but 31% more likely to have severe disease.


This article says that the US government makes COVID-19 testing free in various places, so some Canadians got their return-to-Canada tests for free!


This article talks about two mutant Delta strains called AY.25 and AY.27 which people are paying close attention to. There is not strong evidence that it’s more transmissible or more lethal, but AY.25 is now the dominant strain in Saskatchewan.

Recommended Reading

If you are Canadian, read this article to make yourself happy to live in a country with publicly funded healthcare. If you are American, don’t read it, it will just make you sad and/or frustrated.

If you are a glutton for punishment, you could read this very long paper documenting the timeline of the pandemic in excruciating detail and talking about how to do better next time.

This article talks about the new pill-based treatments from Merck and Pfizer.