2023-03-23 General


This report on seroprevalence in blood donors says that, by mid-January:

  • slightly more than 75% of Canadians had had COVID-19 infections;
  • among 17-24 year-olds, 89% had had COVID-19 infections;
  • racialized groups had a higher rate of infection than whites, 82% to 75%;
  • all blood donors in their sample, 100%, had COVID-19 antibodies, either from vaccination or infection or both;
  • anti-spike antibody concentrations started to decline in January, probably from waning vaccination effectiveness.

This means that almost a quarter of Canadians had not had COVID-19 by mid-Jan 2023.


This article says that Long COVID isn’t as common as the press makes it out to be.

This study says that COVID-19 causes lingering symptoms in ~1% to 2% above what is seen in people who did not have COVID-19. This study also found that Long COVID is less common in people who got Omicron than earlier variants. However…

this thread has a discussion of some glaring limitations of the study. The study tried to control for the fact that sometimes people get lingering symptoms completely separately from COVID-19 — maybe from a different viral infection, maybe from getting older, maybe stress, who knows. However, the way they tried to control was to ignore people who had symptoms both before and after COVID-19. I’m not sure whether they ignored people who had different symptoms before and after or not, but it’s possible that someone who had headaches before and now had loss of smell got ignored, which is clearly not appropriate. Even if they only ignored people who had the same symptoms before and after COVID-19 infections, that would still undercount: someone who had one headache per year pre-infection and one headache per day would be ignored.

But even undercounting, it says that 1-2% of people who get COVID-19 infections develop Long COVID.

This article (from Oct 2021) says that some people have had major personality changes as part of Long COVID. (I can imagine that if my body stopped working and everybody told me I was fine, I’d also get less mellow.)

This article from the US talks about using low-dose naltrexone (yes, the overdose rescue drug, but in MUCH lower quantities) to treat Long COVID. There’s anecdata to say it is helpful to some patients, but — because naltrexone is old enough to be out of patent — no drug company is going to pay to run a randomized clinical trial. The article reports that the Canadian Institutes of Health are running a small (160 people) trial, but results won’t be ready until 2024. The article says the US NIH is starting up trials of Long COVID drugs, but they haven’t decided which to study yet, so maybe they will study low-dose naltrexone (LDN).

There has been one small study (36 participants who finished) of LDN for Long COVID in Ireland published in July 2022. LDN helped some people, but

  • there wasn’t a striking change across the board (and they didn’t have a control group, so people might have gotten better on their own),
  • the nine people who had personality changes all got better, and
  • at least half of the people with cough, joint pain, or nausea saw improvement in those symptoms.

I couldn’t tell from the paper if improvement was concentrated in a few people — like Bob got better in cough AND joint pain AND brain fog AND nausea while Jill, Carmen, and Blake didn’t get better or if Bob got better in cough, Jill got better in joint pain, Carmen got better in brain fog, and Blake got better in nausea.

This preprint from Italy found that professional soccer players who had had COVID-19 were significantly more likely to get muscle injuries than those who had not: 3.7 times more for Serie A players (the top Italian league) and 5.1 times more for LaLiga players (the top Spanish league).

This paper from UK found that the risk of Long COVID has fallen from 46% for pre-Delta variants to 35% for Delta and 14% for Omicron. The paper says that it can’t tell if that’s because Omicron is milder or because of vaccines.

This press release from Canada (from July 2022) says that ArtemiC Support(TM) drops (taken orally) helped people with Long COVID. It looks like they haven’t published a study yet, but the press release makes it look good, e.g. this chart on brain fog:

This article says that ArtemiC Rescue(TM) oral drops have just been granted FDA approval as an OTC medication, even though I couldn’t find any Phase 3 studies on it. It is made up of Artemisinin (derived from sweet wormwood and used as an anti-malaria drug), Curcumin (derived from turmeric), Boswellia Serrata (AKA frankincense) and Vitamin C. Maybe the fact that it’s plant-derived makes the licensing easier?


This paper from Canada says Staphylococcus aureus bacteria as AKA Staph A — which shows up in about 25% of severe (i.e. hospitalized) COVID-19 cases (i.e. you catch Staph A in the hospital) — enhances CoV-2 replication by 10 to 15 times, yow! (Moral of the story: don’t get hospitalized!) The study also tracked down the biochemistry of why Staph A revs up SARS-CoV-2, which could lead to ways to stop that from happening, yay!


This article reports that the FDA found that COVID-19 rebound wasn’t significantly higher in people who took Paxlovid than people who did not, and that rebound didn’t have any affect on the risk of severe disease.

This article reports that the number of women seeking platelet-replacement therapy for hair loss has gone way up in the pandemic. It also interviews someone who says they never use PRP as a first step, because the kind of hair loss which comes with COVID-19 (elogen effluvium) frequently resolves on its own.


This paper says that neutralizing antibody levels are a good correlate of protection for a vaccine, and that injecting people with monoclonal antibodies (like was done with Evusheld) is likely to be able to give protection of up to like three years one the small matter of finding a good antibody is solved.

This paper says that people who got a COVID-19 infection before they got vaccinated had a weaker response to vaccination than people who had not been infected.

This paper from the USA says that researchers have found some neutralizing antibodies which work well against SARS-CoV-2, SARS1, and MERS. This could lead to a pan-betacoronavirus vaccine, though that would be a few years away.

This paper from the USA found that babies whose mothers were vaccinated while pregnant did better than those who were not. Unfortunately, while the maternal vaccine effectiveness was 84% for babies against Delta, it dropped to 21% for Omicron. (This study was only through May 31, 2022, so they didn’t have the bivalent vax yet.)