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Coronamonomania Thrives in Darkness, Part 31

By March 24, 2021Commentary

Lest we forget the bad effects of suppression efforts, I always like to start with that bad news.  This research found a fourfold increase in the rates of stress cardiomyopathy during the epidemic, related to all the anxiety, depression, etc. imposed on people.  (JAMA Article)   The effects on health of the campaign of terror will last far longer than CV-19.

Several organizations have launched reviews of face masks, all finding little to no evidence of stopping spread in the community.  The Swiss Policy Research group updated its review, worth a quick read, as it summarizes the complete lack of evidence of effect.  (Swiss Review)

I have mentioned that in general the immune system and the adaptive immune response is weaker in older people.  This study looked at the effect of vaccination on nursing home residents.  The study compared the antibody response of nursing home residents who had never had a CV-19 infection, those who had been infected and health care workers.  The nursing home residents who never had CV-19 had a substantially lower antibody response than did the health care workers following vaccination.  On the other hand, nursing home residents who had been infected and who were vaccinated had an equivalent antibody response to the health care workers.  (Medrxiv Paper)

I have also noted several times that antibody surveys alone do not give a full picture of adaptive immune responses or of prior infection status.  This study looked at T cell as well as antibody responses.  (Medrxiv Paper)   Individuals with varying levels of disease were tracked for several months past infection with both antibody and T cell assays.  The T cell assays were able to detect prior infection more frequently and accurately than an antibody assay alone.  This extra sensitivity was especially noticeable for people with mild or asymptomatic disease, where low antibody levels may exist.

The authors in this study attempted to examine back to school policies in Canada’s three largest cities and the effect on cases among children.  (Medrxiv Paper)   It is so poorly written that I literally couldn’t follow it.  The authors appeared to be attempting to say that reopening schools without extensive mitigation measures may contribute to more community spread but the data they present doesn’t suggest that at all.  In fact, it looked to me like having in-person schools didn’t affect case levels in either children or other groups.

A couple of interesting studies on the viral interference theory.  People have wondered what happened to flu this year, since it clearly has been pushed out by CV-19.  This study examined the interaction between rhinovirus infection and CV-19.  Rhinovirus is another one of the common cold viruses.  (EP Paper)    The authors examined the effect of infection with rhinovirus versus no infection upon the replication activity of CV-19.  They found that rhinovirus infection generated an interferon response that blocked CV-19 replication.  May be another factor explaining why some people have such mild disease.  Not a stretch to think that infecting people with rhinovirus might slow CV-19 spread.

A related study from Japan finds that rhinovirus infections increased in children during the epidemic.  (Wiley Study)   The authors found that the presence of most respiratory viruses was significantly reduced, but that rhinovirus infections were up.  They paint this as an item of concern but it sounds to me like a good thing, based on the previous study.  The charts in the study do a good job of imparting the remarkable disappearance of many respiratory viruses as CV-19 emerged.

Getting old sucks, as I can testify to.  A number of changes happen in our bodies, few of them good.  This study examined changes in the respiratory tract microbiome as we age and whether those changes might affect CV-19 infection.  (Medrxiv Paper)   We all have a zillion pathogens present in our bodies.  They do a variety of good things for us and occasionally bad things.  The authors found substantial differences in the type and extent of different bugs in the respiratory tract of children versus adults and that those differences were likely linked to disease severity.  There were particular bacterial species whose absence or presence seemed more correlated with severe disease.

Join the discussion 4 Comments

  • Ajax Dahgue says:

    Hi Kevin, I love your work and read your updates daily. Today, I must take issue with “We all have a zillion pathogens present in our bodies. They do a variety of good things for us and occasionally bad things.”

    A ‘pathogen’ by definition causes disease which is always, not occasionally, a bad thing; again, by definition. Perhaps “…zillion microorganisms…” would be better.

    just my $0.02

    Thanks for all the work you do.

    – a –

    • Kevin Roche says:

      you are correct, I should not have used pathogen for the general set of bugs present in our bodies.

  • The Dark Lord says:

    I posited a theory last year that of the 2 main annual diseases (cold and flu) that corna fit right in between the cold and the flu as far as infectiousness … corna could be shorting out the flu (along with some lockdowns) … also lockdowns could explain the less colds … nobody knows including the virus “experts” who haven’t bothered to study anything as far as I can see …

  • SteveD says:

    ‘A couple of interesting studies on the viral interference theory. People have wondered what happened to flu this year, since it clearly has been pushed out by CV-19.’

    The most likely explanation in science is usually the most mundane. In this case it may have to do with changes we’ve made in testing and/or reporting for influenza, because of our focus on CV-19. For example the influenza test has a very short time window and is prone to false negatives. If visits to the doctor and testing were delayed for any reason (such as CV-19 stress), it would substantially reduce the number of influenza positives. If my hypothesis is correct, the test for rhinovirus will have a longer window and/or be more robust than the test for influenza.

    FYI: The general set of microorganisms in our body is usually referred to as our microfauna (as in our gut microfauna). Most of these are completely neutral to our well being but a small number are symbionts (help with digestion etc.). Interestingly some organisms are perfectly harmless in one part of our body but deadly if they happen to invade another part. (opportunists)

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