Year of the Rat fears over new Corona Virus

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Re: Year of the Rat fears over new Corona Virus

Postby Lomax on March 18th, 2020, 3:11 pm 

Wish I'd tuned in sooner. The comparisons to seasonal flu won't do, because that's already had centuries to dig in. The doubling rate of COVID-19 is about three or four days globally. People struggle to visualise logarithmic functions, so "it doubles every three days" doesn't sound very serious when we're still dealing with small numbers. But actually that means it increases thousandfold every month; millionfold every two months. We also don't know how many people have it already, and it's likely to be massively more than the number of reported cases. Harvard Medical School estimates fifty infections per reported case. It's the specially contagious status of the thing that makes it an unusual threat, despite its mildness in the young. For death tolls we might end up comparing it to the Spanish Flu rather than the seasonal one.
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Re: Year of the Rat fears over new Corona Virus

Postby BadgerJelly on March 18th, 2020, 10:05 pm 

There is scant evidence for that Lomax. In fact the serious problem is fear and paranoia that spreads like wildfire across the internet.

This won’t get near Spanish Influenza as far as I can tell. In China it’s pretty much stopped now. A few million at worst (4-5 million). To be frank, that really isn’t that big a deal. This is just a fie drill that is going to be extremely costly for the poorest people - more will die due to the economic fallout than to this virus.

Again, 1 million die of malaria, around 10 million die of cancer, and 20 million of heart disease. Spanish influenza is a poor comparison given you’re talking about a population of war torn people susceptible to disease in a time where healthcare wasn’t exactly flourishing on a global scale.

It’s going to hit crazy levels of paranoia now the US is involved. The European craziness is going to be nothing in comparison - just wait for the first case of someone being shot for sneezing in the US!
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Re: Year of the Rat fears over new Corona Virus

Postby bangstrom on March 19th, 2020, 3:19 am 

BadgerJelly » March 18th, 2020, 9:05 pm wrote:It’s going to hit crazy levels of paranoia now the US is involved. The European craziness is going to be nothing in comparison - just wait for the first case of someone being shot for sneezing in the US!


Go ahead, make my day.
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Re: Year of the Rat fears over new Corona Virus

Postby Lomax on March 19th, 2020, 6:02 am 

BadgerJelly » March 19th, 2020, 3:05 am wrote:There is scant evidence for that Lomax.

It maintains a doubling rate of three days, and that's just the confirmed cases, most of which my country has stopped testing for due to inadequate resources. What kind of evidence are you looking for?

The fact is most people struggle to grasp logarithmic growth. Burying your head in the sand won't make it go away. Pandemics often have real and serious death tolls, and they often surpass those of wars.

Elsewhere, you yourself pointed out the economic consequences, which will fall on the already-needy, as crises usually do. Poverty kills, too.
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Re: Year of the Rat fears over new Corona Virus

Postby doogles on March 19th, 2020, 6:26 am 

I'm not sure why Toucana made this incorrect correction about my post when he said "The twelve principal authors listed at the end of the article all have stated affiliations to the Department of Epidemiology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA.

The only connection to Wuhan in China appears to be a reference to another academic journal article by Chinese scientists Xing-Yi Ge & Zhengli-Li Shi who wrote about the possibility of zoonitic viral infections circulating within horse-shoe bat populations inside China."

Both of these paragraphs are incorrect.

This challenges my credibility to some extent, so I apologise to bystanders while I waste time defending myself. The following involves 'copying and pasting', so that there will be no misunderstanding.

The article I cited listed 15 authors (not 12) and the list included Xing-Yi Ge and Zhengli-Li Shi from the Key Laboratory of Special Pathogens and Biosafety, Wuhan Institute of Virology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Wuhan, China -- in the following order:
Vineet D Menachery,
Boyd L Yount Jr,
Kari Debbink,
Sudhakar Agnihothram,
Lisa E Gralinski,
Jessica A Plante,
Rachel L Graham,
Trevor Scobey,
Xing-Yi Ge,
Eric F Donaldson,
Scott H Randell,
Antonio Lanzavecchia,
Wayne A Marasco,
Zhengli-Li Shi &
Ralph S Baric

The list of Author Affiliations includes "Key Laboratory of Special Pathogens and Biosafety, Wuhan Institute of Virology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Wuhan, China - Xing-Yi Ge & Zhengli-Li Shi, as well as Institute for Research in Biomedicine, Bellinzona Institute of Microbiology, Zurich, Switzerland - Antonio Lanzavecchia."

The acknowledgements for funding included, in addition to USA funding, "the National Natural Science Foundation of China awards 81290341 (Z.-L.S.) and 31470260 (X.-Y.G.)"

I would not normally bother correcting an incorrect correction, but in this case, it may have had the effect of removing credibility from my post. I do not like such misrepresentation.
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Re: Year of the Rat fears over new Corona Virus

Postby BadgerJelly on March 19th, 2020, 7:44 am 

4 days ago they estimated that 20,000 people in the US had died of the flu this year. They updated that estimate today to 46,000.

So did the number of flu deaths double in four days or were the figures poor estimates?

Note: the UK doesn’t even bother to record the numbers for flu deaths.

Currently we’re approaching 10,000 worldwide deaths from Corvid. Already the US has reached 46,000 flu deaths, or is it more? Worldwide how many people have died of the flu? Given that the estimates have doubled in four days does that mean they cannot count or that the flu has a doubling rate of 4 days (which would go against the 1:1.3 ratio).

Yeah, for sure, Corvid is more dangerous than the flu. It may compete with cancer deaths this year (around 10 million) but certainly not with heart disease (around 20 million a year). Again, there is no global panic about heart disease and selling unhealthy food.

The panic is likely going to take more lives than the virus itself - westerners don’t have too much to worry about whereas other poorer nations are seeing the poor slip further into poverty where inequality is already a big social problem.
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Re: Year of the Rat fears over new Corona Virus

Postby toucana on March 19th, 2020, 10:17 am 

Doogles wrote
I'm not sure why Toucana made this incorrect correction about my post when he said "The twelve principal authors listed at the end of the article all have stated affiliations to the Department of Epidemiology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA.

I commented on the post because it contained phrases like "ominous excerpt" and other negative mood music which seemed to me to be clearly aimed at conveying a misleading impression that there might be some sinister connection between the appearance of COVID-19 and the work of Chinese virologists based in Wuhan.

In actual fact, a cursory reading of the article referenced shows that all the scientific laboratory work referred to was conducted entirely within the USA at a university in North Carolina. The Chinese scientists are mentioned well down the list or credited sources, and their sole contribution as far as I could tell from reading that article was to supply some additional information on the subject of pathogens circulating within Chinese bat populations, a topic which they had already written about professionally.

There is a good deal of mendacious misinformation being circulated by some Republican politicians and GOP affiliated entities at present, and much of it seems to be aimed at trying to characterise the COVID-19 pandemic as something created and inflicted on the world by Chinese scientists. A favourite conspiracy theory seems to revolve around the suggestion that a weaponised virus supposedly 'escaped' from a virus research laboratory based near Wuhan.

There is not one single reputable scientist (to my knowledge) who supports any such explanation. It has been roundly denounced by a large number of contagious disease specialists as an irresponsible conspiracy theory.

All too often suggestions of this type are being spread on social media with a prologue that runs something like - "A well informed friend has sent me this frightening email about a sinister connection to..."

To avoid any misunderstandings, I would suggest that you avoid this type of presentation in future.
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Re: Year of the Rat fears over new Corona Virus

Postby TheVat on March 19th, 2020, 11:32 am 

BadgerJelly » March 19th, 2020, 4:44 am wrote:
Yeah, for sure, Corvid is more dangerous than the flu. It may compete with cancer deaths this year (around 10 million) but certainly not with heart disease (around 20 million a year). Again, there is no global panic about heart disease and selling unhealthy food.

The panic is likely going to take more lives than the virus itself - westerners don’t have too much to worry about whereas other poorer nations are seeing the poor slip further into poverty where inequality is already a big social problem.


There are multiple issues in your posts, Badge, so I'll just respond on your point about cheeseburgers etc. I would guess that human psychology is always tending to be more spooked by things that are (a) invisible, and (b) something over which we have no personal control. Stuff like Chernobyl leakage and nano-bastards like viruses. (Corvid, like a raven or crow, less of a worry...) We don't panic about junk foods so much because it's widely presumed that everyone has a choice as to what they eat in a developed country, so bad food consequences are more seen as ones that a person could have chosen to avoid. The choice to trade off one's health for some sensual pleasure is one that many societies defend, and so panic at the onslaught of fried or sugary or fiberless crud is less common.
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Re: Year of the Rat fears over new Corona Virus

Postby TheVat on March 19th, 2020, 11:57 am 

Lomax » March 19th, 2020, 3:02 am wrote:
BadgerJelly » March 19th, 2020, 3:05 am wrote:There is scant evidence for that Lomax.

It maintains a doubling rate of three days, and that's just the confirmed cases, most of which my country has stopped testing for due to inadequate resources. What kind of evidence are you looking for?

The fact is most people struggle to grasp logarithmic growth. Burying your head in the sand won't make it go away. Pandemics often have real and serious death tolls, and they often surpass those of wars.

Elsewhere, you yourself pointed out the economic consequences, which will fall on the already-needy, as crises usually do. Poverty kills, too.


I get confused when people argue that the panic response drives economic harm, rather than the virus itself. Even in a completely calm and calculating mood, any country would take measures to limit personal contact and those measures will inevitably cause economic slowdown and benched workers and such. Does that slowdown cause fatalities? That's a conjecture that, while having a "truthy" ring to it, needs some support. If we're just saying the poor in the world are vulnerable, that's true at all times. If economic slowdowns in developed countries impact the poor in developing countries (I don't really like those terms, developed and developing, as if there's just one model for how to have a good life), and that impact increases deaths, then there are many things we should be doing right now, from massive distribution of mosquito netting to sinking billions into water treatment to sending most of our military to the tropics with medicines and mobile hospital units, all in addition to sending direct cash payments to peasants and artisans worldwide who make local crafts for tourists or overseas export.

IOW, if a lofty moral goal is to minimize harm and death to all humans, then the richest nations are operating in a longstanding way that's antithetical to that goal.
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Re: Year of the Rat fears over new Corona Virus

Postby Lomax on March 19th, 2020, 12:52 pm 

BadgerJelly » March 19th, 2020, 12:44 pm wrote:4 days ago they estimated that 20,000 people in the US had died of the flu this year. They updated that estimate today to 46,000.

So did the number of flu deaths double in four days or were the figures poor estimates?

Note: the UK doesn’t even bother to record the numbers for flu deaths.

Currently we’re approaching 10,000 worldwide deaths from Corvid. Already the US has reached 46,000 flu deaths, or is it more?


This is why I keep stressing the importance of understanding logarithmic growth rates. Seasonal influenza did not begin in January 2020; it was already everywhere. The CDC's stats seem to imply that the doubling time for seasonal influenza in the US has recently been once every 1.5 years. If you run the maths you will see how quickly COVID-19 will overtake its absolute death toll.

BadgerJelly » March 19th, 2020, 12:44 pm wrote:The panic is likely going to take more lives than the virus itself

Quite possibly. As you said, the war torn status of the world in 1918 exacerbated the death toll of Spanish Flu (which incidentally has an r-value only a little higher than that of COVID-19, and is estimated to have killed 17,000,000 people). Poverty and pestilence are not independent variables and their death tolls will weigh on each other. I work for the welfare state in the UK and can confirm that panic isn't helping the poor. The alternative to frenzy isn't denial; it's preparation.
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Re: Year of the Rat fears over new Corona Virus

Postby Lomax on March 19th, 2020, 12:59 pm 

TheVat » March 19th, 2020, 4:57 pm wrote:I get confused when people argue that the panic response drives economic harm, rather than the virus itself. Even in a completely calm and calculating mood, any country would take measures to limit personal contact and those measures will inevitably cause economic slowdown and benched workers and such. Does that slowdown cause fatalities?

Great questions. We won't have the stats on this yet but it's intuitive to argue that the panic buying occurring in supermarkets will adversely impact the poorest - who struggle from week to week to put food on the table - simply because they cannot afford to panic buy. It also causes market inefficiencies, because the majority of people have to buy their second or tenth choice product.

As for whether the economy must shut down either way, that is to some extent true, but it matters when. This article does a great job of explaining why a quicker loss is a smaller loss - again, it comes down to the spread rate.

Staggering the effects may have the advantage of developing herd immunity in those of us of healthy working age, which means eventually the elderly can come outdoors again and not risk catching it off the rest of us. It also buys time for vaccine production (there are already vaccines being tested, but how long will it take to produce enough to vaccinate the world? Swine flu hit a billion people) and to understand the pathogen better, because we still don't fully.
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Re: Year of the Rat fears over new Corona Virus

Postby TheVat on March 19th, 2020, 6:34 pm 

Lomax » March 18th, 2020, 12:11 pm wrote:The doubling rate of COVID-19 is about three or four days globally. People struggle to visualise logarithmic functions, so "it doubles every three days" doesn't sound very serious when we're still dealing with small numbers. But actually that means it increases thousandfold every month; millionfold every two months...


Meant to ask about something earlier: the growth you are describing is geometric (which is basically exponential increase within a discrete domain of constant intervals). So when you mention "logarithmic" in this context, it may confuse readers who understand logarithmic growth as much slower, it being the inverse of exponential growth. I guess you mean logarithmic in the sense that the described doubling is an inverse function of a logarithmic one. I. e. exponential.

Great blog from Jason Warner. Our federal government could use a few more of him. And sorry for what I realize is sort of a nitpick. We're a little restless here.
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Re: Year of the Rat fears over new Corona Virus

Postby toucana on March 19th, 2020, 7:49 pm 

In epidemiology, scientists often use a form of semi-logarithmic graph of the type below to track the progress of a pandemic.

Image

This one tracks the exponential progress of the 2009 outbreak of influenza A (H1N1).
The horizontal time axis is linear with the dates evenly spaced, but the vertical scale is effectively logarithmic to the base 2, with the evenly spaced divisions being labelled with successive powers of two.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Semi-log_plot
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Re: Year of the Rat fears over new Corona Virus

Postby TheVat on March 20th, 2020, 12:16 am 

Right, if the scale is logarithmic, then the growth being plotted is exponential. IOW, the relationship of time and change in population values is the inverse function of the vertical scaling. That's why the earlier post to Badger that referred to "logarithmic growth" drew my prior comment. Exponential growth and logarithmic growth are quite different processes.
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Re: Year of the Rat fears over new Corona Virus

Postby BadgerJelly on March 20th, 2020, 12:33 am 

TheVat » March 19th, 2020, 11:32 pm wrote:
BadgerJelly » March 19th, 2020, 4:44 am wrote:
Yeah, for sure, Corvid is more dangerous than the flu. It may compete with cancer deaths this year (around 10 million) but certainly not with heart disease (around 20 million a year). Again, there is no global panic about heart disease and selling unhealthy food.

The panic is likely going to take more lives than the virus itself - westerners don’t have too much to worry about whereas other poorer nations are seeing the poor slip further into poverty where inequality is already a big social problem.


There are multiple issues in your posts, Badge, so I'll just respond on your point about cheeseburgers etc. I would guess that human psychology is always tending to be more spooked by things that are (a) invisible, and (b) something over which we have no personal control. Stuff like Chernobyl leakage and nano-bastards like viruses. (Corvid, like a raven or crow, less of a worry...) We don't panic about junk foods so much because it's widely presumed that everyone has a choice as to what they eat in a developed country, so bad food consequences are more seen as ones that a person could have chosen to avoid. The choice to trade off one's health for some sensual pleasure is one that many societies defend, and so panic at the onslaught of fried or sugary or fiberless crud is less common.


Address the points then? So you seriously think people are choosing not to go to work? People have no control over cancer. Just as much control over contracting the flu. I’ve seen it multiple times in my life where they warn the elderly to get flu jabs because there is a nasty virus around. Now this is MUCH worse but it does effect the elderly FAR more. Basically if you’re not healthy them you’re more at risk (ergo, it’s your own fault right? That is what you said about heart disease). If you’re unhealthy you’re more likely to die. This shouldn’t be a shock to anyone.

Millions of fit and healthy people will suffer and die because of economic fall out. If I was 60+ I’d take that as a good innings and stay inside rather than selfishly make the world come to a complete standstill causing untold suffering for generations to come.

I don’t quite think you understand what I’m saying here. In many countries they simply CANNOT afford to go on lockdown which will drive inequality in countries where it is already high and push people out of their homes and children onto the streets. A young women I spoke to yesterday had tears in her eyes because she’s been ordered to close her coffee shop in a week - she cannot afford to pay the rent and her business will collapse for sure. That is someone who is regarded as ‘wealthy’ in Vietnam. The poorest of the poor will seriously suffer as a consequence of overreaction.
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Re: Year of the Rat fears over new Corona Virus

Postby Mossling on March 20th, 2020, 4:55 am 


Younger doctors who have had a lot of exposure to the covid-19 virus have died from it.

There are as yet many unknown factors about covid-19's nature - a lot of science still needing to be done, and governments are thinking it prudent to err on the side of caution.

It can only be called an "overreaction" when all the major factors at play are known.

How much infection; prolonged attack from the virus surrounding one, does it take to kill one no matter one's age, for example?

If a UFO came down in front of your house right now, how would you know what an "overreaction" would or would not be?

Only in hindsight would you know, it seems.

Italy's deaths have apparently already exceeded China's. Was it because China eventually "overreacted" that they prevented the scale of Italy's suffering? At this point, I think it is too difficult to say.
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Re: Year of the Rat fears over new Corona Virus

Postby BadgerJelly on March 20th, 2020, 5:49 am 

Funny, 99% of deaths in Italy are reported to have been age/health related. Of course some healthy people will die. The fact that doctors and nurses working around the clock are susceptible to infection isn’t exactly a shock is it?

I’m not making this up: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles ... italy-says

That said, it is higher than flu - I’m not denying this and I haven’t once. The proportional reaction to this looks extreme no matter how I view it. 10 times worse than flu deaths and we’re looking at 6 million deaths (relatively speaking not huge compared to other health issues), if it’s 20 times worse, then it will pass cancer deaths per year.

It’s also too early to tell the effect of the economic/mortal fallout for those around the world who were already living from hand to mouth. If you’re over 60, or around people over 60, be careful. Closing schools will burden parents, in many countries children will be left unattended at home. Queuing at supermarkets is utterly ridiculous. Surely I don’t need much evidence to point out the stupidity of humanity en masse?

If several people highly qualified in both viral diseases and global economics says the status quo is best I’ll start listening. Until then, I think we’re just guessing and causing needless harm for millions and millions of people.

The very fact that people are being fined for walking in the street in some countries should be ringing alarm bells. I’d rather not live than tiptoe around scared of arrests/fines simply because I don’t regard this virus as being as much of a risk as cancer and/or heart disease.

If you think that heart disease is a ‘choice’ then I’m afraid the very same argument goes for Corvid, given that it is the unhealthy that are highly susceptible. Both my parents are at risk btw. I’m not trying to down play the seriousness of this, just trying to stop the needless hysteria in an age where anything written online is blown out of proportion and many believe the first report they read on the subject - tough given that journalism isn’t exactly at a high point due to the internet among other political machinations.
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Re: Year of the Rat fears over new Corona Virus

Postby doogles on March 20th, 2020, 6:28 am 

One piece of good news over the last few days is that several groups worldwide have discovered that a combination of two drugs, one that treats HIV, and one that treats malaria, will kill coronavirus in vitro. One Australian research team has received the funding to commence trials on human corvid-19 cases and expect to commence trials within a week and have results within a few months. The drugs have been in medical usage for years, so require no NRA approval. It will be full steam ahead with immediate testing on patients.

There is no doubt in my mind that we will learn much in hindsight about this Corvid-19 pandemic after the virus becomes endemic in the manner of many other viruses in the world.

I posted an article earlier indicating that widespread genomic research is being conducted on coronaviruses.

We've known since the 1950s that viruses can be attenuated and that infection with some species of viruses can protect against infection with other species. This happened when Jenner (or farmer Jesty?) discovered that infection of human beings with cowpox would prevent smallpox infection.

My own personal experience on this was back in the 1950s with the vaccination of dogs against distemper.

It was known as far back as the 1940s that the canine distemper, rinderpest and human measles viruses were antigenically related and that the human measles virus injected into dogs would immunise them against distemper infection. An attenuated measles vaccine was developed in the 1950s and became the vaccine of choice for decades from the 1960s when a virulent strain of measles was found to grow on hens' eggs and chicken embryos in a cooler environment. After a number of serial passages it was found to be immunogenic but not pathogenic to monkeys.

The following is anecdotal, but may give an idea of a potential approach for the future. Back in the 1950s, the way we used to vaccinate dogs against distemper was to first inject them with a virulent strain of distemper, and then to inject them with a dose of antiserum (acquired commercially from horses injected with the virus). Dogs vaccinated in that way had to be free from stress for the next three weeks. Distemper was rife amongst unvaccinated dogs in those days. I have a suspicion that the dogs we 'vaccinated' were possibly excreting virus and actually spreading distemper in the dog population.

Later it was found that virulent dog distemper virus would grow on hens' eggs. After 40 serial passages, the virus became attenuated and as far as I know, is still used to vaccinate dogs today.

After the introduction of attenuated measles and distemper viruses, although not all dogs were vaccinated, I did not see a single case of distemper after the 1970s. As I said, this is anecdotal, but is it possible that some dogs were excreting the attenuated viruses and producing herd immunity?

By extrapolation, is it possible that by introducing attenuated viruses via widespread vaccination, that we could achieve something similar with our own (human-being) long list of viral respiratory infections?

I realise that some viruses, such as the influenzas, are subject to constant change and mutation, but the above suggests long term stability with some species of viruses.

We need to take a long-term view of our collective susceptibilities to a host of human pathogens.

Since the 1950s, a huge amount of work appears to have been conducted on attenuation and on genomic characters associated with attenuation. The following are just a few examples of such encouraging research.

Meyer et al (1991; https://www.microbiologyresearch.org/co ... -72-5-1031) in Mapping of deletions in the genome of the highly attenuated vaccinia virus MVA and their influence on virulence

Tulman et al (2002; https://jvi.asm.org/content/76/12/6054.short) in The Genomes of Sheeppox and Goatpox Viruses found

Calenoff et al (1990; https://www.pnas.org/content/87/3/978.short) in Genomic regions of neurovirulence and attenuation in Theiler murine encephalomyelitis virus.

Le Nouen et al (2019; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6558635/) in Attenuation of Human Respiratory Viruses by Synonymous Genome Recoding.

Tretyakova et al (2019; https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/a ... 0X19305602) in Novel DNA-launched Venezuelan equine encephalitis virus vaccine with rearranged genome

Tretyakova et al (2020; https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/a ... 0X20301730
) in Venezuelan equine encephalitis vaccine with rearranged genome resists reversion and protects non-human primates from viremia after aerosol challenge.

Ye Zhao et al (2019; https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/a ... 221930114X) in S gene and 5a accessory gene are responsible for the attenuation of virulent infectious bronchitis coronavirus.

Sun et al (2019; https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/a ... 2219302661) in Attenuation of a virulent swine acute diarrhea syndrome coronavirus strain via cell culture passage.

I see it as a promise of hope for the long-term future.
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Re: Year of the Rat fears over new Corona Virus

Postby TheVat on March 20th, 2020, 9:51 am 

BadgerJelly » March 19th, 2020, 9:33 pm wrote:
TheVat » March 19th, 2020, 11:32 pm wrote:
BadgerJelly » March 19th, 2020, 4:44 am wrote:
Yeah, for sure, Corvid is more dangerous than the flu. It may compete with cancer deaths this year (around 10 million) but certainly not with heart disease (around 20 million a year). Again, there is no global panic about heart disease and selling unhealthy food.

The panic is likely going to take more lives than the virus itself - westerners don’t have too much to worry about whereas other poorer nations are seeing the poor slip further into poverty where inequality is already a big social problem.


There are multiple issues in your posts, Badge, so I'll just respond on your point about cheeseburgers etc. I would guess that human psychology is always tending to be more spooked by things that are (a) invisible, and (b) something over which we have no personal control. Stuff like Chernobyl leakage and nano-bastards like viruses. (Corvid, like a raven or crow, less of a worry...) We don't panic about junk foods so much because it's widely presumed that everyone has a choice as to what they eat in a developed country, so bad food consequences are more seen as ones that a person could have chosen to avoid. The choice to trade off one's health for some sensual pleasure is one that many societies defend, and so panic at the onslaught of fried or sugary or fiberless crud is less common.


Address the points then? So you seriously think people are choosing not to go to work? People have no control over cancer. Just as much control over contracting the flu. I’ve seen it multiple times in my life where they warn the elderly to get flu jabs because there is a nasty virus around. Now this is MUCH worse but it does effect the elderly FAR more. Basically if you’re not healthy them you’re more at risk (ergo, it’s your own fault right? That is what you said about heart disease). If you’re unhealthy you’re more likely to die. This shouldn’t be a shock to anyone.

Millions of fit and healthy people will suffer and die because of economic fall out. If I was 60+ I’d take that as a good innings and stay inside rather than selfishly make the world come to a complete standstill causing untold suffering for generations to come.

I don’t quite think you understand what I’m saying here. In many countries they simply CANNOT afford to go on lockdown which will drive inequality in countries where it is already high and push people out of their homes and children onto the streets. A young women I spoke to yesterday had tears in her eyes because she’s been ordered to close her coffee shop in a week - she cannot afford to pay the rent and her business will collapse for sure. That is someone who is regarded as ‘wealthy’ in Vietnam. The poorest of the poor will seriously suffer as a consequence of overreaction.


You have completely missed or misunderstood my point. I was answering the psychological question of why people panic. I was making an observation on why viruses cause more fear than junk foods, not in any way suggesting that panic is justified or that economic fallout shouldn't be mitigated in every way humanly possible. Please take a deep breath and read what I am writing.
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Re: Year of the Rat fears over new Corona Virus

Postby TheVat on March 20th, 2020, 10:44 am 

https://slate.com/business/2020/03/the- ... -poor.html

An example of how stated intentions to help, and actual implementation, do not match up.
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Re: What's in a name?

Postby Faradave on March 20th, 2020, 12:52 pm 

The last few days have seen some promising reports regarding the antimalarial drug chloroquine to accelerate clearing of corona virus from circulation and clinical recovery. Yesterday, Trump ordered FDA to fast-track approval of this medication for prevention & treatment but in the meantime MD's can prescribe it "off-label" if they wish. Though generic (been around 70 years), I believe it is only manufactured by Bayer (so, it still sells like a brand drug for $5 US/tab). Still, not bad if it works and Bayer immediately donated 3 million tabs to the US government.

There is still the need for a prescription and most MD's in US are still discouraging office visits for suspected cases.

Interestingly, the origination of chloroquine is quinine, the original anti malarial drug. Back when the British East India Co. dominated world trade, they were loosing so many expatriates to malaria, they demanded that everyone drink quinine solution daily as a preventive. It worked pretty well but the bitter taste was off putting so, "Gin & Tonic" and "Vodka Tonic" were born to help the medicine go down. Quinine water is the "tonic" in the mix. It became so popular that tonic water gained its own place in mixology which stands to this day. Quinine is also an ingredient in lemon bitters.

Thus, cheap and plentiful tonic water is available over-the-counter at your favorite distributor right now. The amount of quinine is low (regulated as a "flavoring") but not insignificant and I don't see how it could hurt, since people with virus need to stay hydrated anyway. If you serve drinks, you may even have some around the house.

Tonic water is not the same as seltzer. Real quinine fluoresces under black light (and is of course, listed as an ingredient).

Image

I'm also happy to see interest in antibody treatments, either as collected from the serum of patients who have survived covid-19 (available essentially now -depending on # volunteers) or engineered in the lab (by this November). The latter process is actually 2 years ahead of schedule, having developed antibody treatments after the very similar SARS epidemic some years ago. Those antibodies need only minor tweaking, which is nearly finished as the lab workers have been working overtime. These will potentially neutralize corona virus immediately upon administration (going from death's door to cure) and confer passive immunity for about a month. As far as I'm concerned, that spells "victory".
Last edited by Faradave on March 20th, 2020, 2:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Year of the Rat fears over new Corona Virus

Postby TheVat on March 20th, 2020, 1:40 pm 

Doogles also posted on the French study where Zithromax and chloroquine were combined.


 Gautret et al. (2020) Hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin as a treatment of 
COVID‐19: results of an open‐label non‐randomized clinical trial. International Journal of 
Antimicrobial Agents – In Press 17 March 2020 – DOI : 10.1016/j.ijantimicag.2020.105949

As for the amount of quinine in tonic water being "not insignificant," I'd vote for more info on that, before we unleash bands of thirsty SPCF readers on liquor stores and supermarkets. (for one thing, stockpiling tonic water isn't like stockpiling canned beans -- if I get tired of beans, I can take them to the local Food Bank... I doubt they would, if tonic water proves worthless, accept mass quantities of the stuff)
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Re: Year of the Rat fears over new Corona Virus

Postby Lomax on March 20th, 2020, 6:23 pm 

I ran some math earlier when taking bets with a colleague as to how many new cases of COVID-19 the UK would see today. The daily r-value / spread rate of the disease if left to spread without resistance is 1.26 (the doubling time is three days, so take the cube root of two). The mean incubation period in an individual case is 5 days, which I took to follow roughly a Normal distribution. The quarantine measures were announced on Monday night, so I took a stab at everyone within two standard deviations of the mean, plus everybody with much slower-showing symptoms, still not showing their symptoms by the fourth day, and therefore still contaminating others at the r-value rate (it's mostly only people with symptoms going into isolation, as opposed to merely practicing social distancing). That comes to 84%. Yesterday's total number of cases was 3269, so my formula for today's total was:

((3269 x 0.84) x 1.26) + ((3269 - (3269 x 0.84)) = 3983

which was exactly right. Is this a fluke or does it imply the quarantine measures are working? I don't actually know whether people have to show symptoms before getting tested, or how long it takes to get the results, so it may be a fluke. Or perhaps 0.84 represents something else - the proportion of people actually honouring the quarantine, for example. Curious to know if my figures work again for tomorrow - assuming a day's lag in case-confirmation from testing, and therefore an increase of another half a standard deviation, my (surely over-simplistic) formula predicts 4,677 cases. If the quarantine's not working and today was just a good day, we would expect approx. 5,019 cases. If the formula's good enough to work with but 0.84 is the people not ignoring the quarantine: 4,853.
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Re: Year of the Rat fears over new Corona Virus

Postby doogles on March 20th, 2020, 6:23 pm 

Faradave and TheVat, I found both of your posts informative and constructive, and would give you the thumbs-up if I could.

I liked the anecdote about quinine being supplied in gin and tonics because it was bitter to take. There is a doubt of course that tonic waters contain enough to be therapeutically effective.

It brought back memories of WWII when entire armies (those who went to Pacific areas late in the war) had to take quinine or 'atebrin' (mepaquin?) prophylactically to protect against malaria. The fact that entire armies took it for at least months at a time was an indication of its safety, as a side issue.

The outstanding memory was that ALL soldiers who went to the Pacific, and who came home on leave, had distinctly yellow skin, identical with a severe jaundice, from the quinine tablets.
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Re: Year of the Rat fears over new Corona Virus

Postby TheVat on March 21st, 2020, 10:36 am 

https://blogs.sciencemag.org/pipeline/a ... nd-present

Some useful facts and history.

You might wonder how an antiparasitical drug might do that, but the problem is that the mode of action of all these drugs against malaria parasites is still being argued over. And there are almost certainly several modes of action at work, which will go on to have different effects in different human tissues, etc. Both chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine are used off-label for rheumatoid arthritis and for lupus, but how they work in these areas is another shoulder-shrugger, and there are side effects in the eye. It’s been suggested as an adjunct in some cancer therapy regimes, but there are problems there, too, in the kidney.

So if you see someone confidently explaining just how chloroquine exerts whatever antiviral activity it may have, feel free to go read something else. No one’s sure yet. Viruses certainly have fewer moving parts than trypanosomes, so it might be easier to figure out what’s going on, but anyone who’s done “target ID” will tell you to settle in for some work. There are all sorts of suggestions, some of which are recycled from antimalarial hypotheses. One that I find particularly amusing, for personal reasons, is the idea of complexing zinc ions...


Also mentions Atebrine, the yellowing and other side effects, as Doogles was reminiscing about. I'd heard about the soldiers coming back from the Pacific theatre in a yellowish hue from my father in law, who had served out there in the Corps of Engineers.
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Re: Flattening the curve

Postby Faradave on March 21st, 2020, 11:31 am 

Thanks doogles & TheVat,

I don't mean to suggest people stockpile the stuff but Schweppes bitter lemon tastes pretty good anyway. Quinine supplies bitter to it the way hops do to beer so it's not a kid's lemonade but it is sweetened. People also swear it relieves nighttime leg cramps (stop tucking those sheets in so tightly).

The soldiers would have been getting 10-20x the dose so it can be argued that quinine flavoring is merely homeopathic. But any, flattening virus growth curve would give more time for immune system to ramp up.
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Re: Year of the Rat fears over new Corona Virus

Postby Lomax on March 21st, 2020, 2:51 pm 

Lomax » March 20th, 2020, 11:23 pm wrote:If the quarantine's not working and today was just a good day, we would expect approx. 5,019 cases.


Cumulative total for today: 5,018. Not looking good.
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Re: Year of the Rat fears over new Corona Virus

Postby doogles on March 21st, 2020, 5:31 pm 

That was also an informative link you provided in your last post TheVat.

Although it was 40 to 60 years ago now, we also used mepacrine against coccidiosis in cattle. Coccidia are a protozoa that go through an encysted phase. We had at least two species of the condition in cattle, mainly calves. I always carried a microscope with me, so was able to distinguish the differences in species. There was another drug in use. It's trade name was 'Zoaquin'. I remember it as a large 5-gram tablet, and my memory tells me that its active ingredient was hydro-chloro-anthroquinone. I'm not sure whether it belongs to the quinine family or not.

I also used quinine tablets for open-pyometron in dogs, based on anecdotal evidence from an English veterinary journal. It was a rare condition. Before using quinine, surgical hysterectomy was the only successful treatment. But quinine sulphate worked very well. The English believed that it contracted the uterus, but now it has me wondering whether it had an anti-microbial effect.

I used to do bacterial cultures on blood agar for all infectious conditions, but I was never able to culture anything from pus. So the causative organisms could have been anything.

But that's all anecdotal.

I'm also intrigued about Lomax's statistics. I would have thought that if you got anywhere near +/- 95% confidence limits, that it would be remarkable, but to be 'spot-on' one day and out by 1 in 5000+ the next is unbelievable. Congratulations. Now I'll be looking out for the daily score.
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Re: Year of the Rat fears over new Corona Virus

Postby Lomax on March 21st, 2020, 7:07 pm 

doogles » March 21st, 2020, 10:31 pm wrote:I'm also intrigued about Lomax's statistics. I would have thought that if you got anywhere near +/- 95% confidence limits, that it would be remarkable, but to be 'spot-on' one day and out by 1 in 5000+ the next is unbelievable. Congratulations. Now I'll be looking out for the daily score.

I'd actually made a rounding error. The infection toll doubles every three day so I multiplied yesterday's by 1.26. If I'd multiplied it by cube-root-2 I'd have got the right number.

But one of those correct guesses must have been a fluke, because I calculated Friday's figures as if the quarantine were working, and Saturday's as if it weren't. I've looked back over the last couple of weeks (this website is very useful for tracking the trend) and there's nothing special about Friday or Saturday. If the quarantine isn't working and we see the same surprising lack of variance tomorrow, then I'd expect 6,322 cases in the UK.

The UK's bars were ordered to close doors as of last night. They were unusually busy, as people went out for "one last drink before the quarantine". So there'll probably be an uptick from Thursday-Saturday (the Express tells me it takes a day or two to get the test results) followed, hopefully, by a flattening of the curve. As a DWP employee I'm classified as a "key worker" so I'm still out and about - the streets were as thriving as usual today, the parks full of children. I guess this blissful ignorance is what we Brits like to call the "stiff upper lip".
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Re: Carrier or Barrier?

Postby Faradave on March 22nd, 2020, 10:45 am 

Those are interesting calculations to track early rate of spread Lomax. However, as things progress beyond ten days it will be important to adjust the numbers if you want to track how many are actually contagious. The vast majority of those who get covid-19 survive and become immune. At the very least they should then be subtracted from the number "infected" because they can no longer get or spread the virus. They are actually barriers to spread and should be encouraged to return to normal activity (perhaps even issued a visible pass).

That may seem a trivial adjustment but I can assure you it's not. Consider health care workers. Those who have recovered from covid-19 can, in principle, care for the sickest of these patients with impunity - no mask, no gown, no gloves. In fact, their plasma has antibodies which can immediately neutralize covid-19 in the acutely ill.

The same will be true of those vaccinated, presuming it proves effective. What about all those who have been infected but remained dangerously asymptomatic (or mildly sick) carriers? That doesn't last forever - they become immune too in about 14 days. So, even as we ramp up containment measures, society needs a plan to return to normal and such considerations must be part of it.
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