Thursday, May 9, 2024

Funding Applicable Covid Research

Almost a year ago, the WHO put out a report clarifying the unpredictability of the viral evolution of SARS-CoV-2. But there's so much that remained unsaid.

The report doesn't mention the economic burden of Long Covid, despite that it's linked to a worsening labour shortage or costing the US economy up to $200 billion/year. This morning, David Joffe, respiratory physician, wrote:

"We are being outpaced by the virus. Doing nothing is proving to be very costly indeed!! . . . The WHO are nothing more than the paid mouthpieces of the governments that fund their largesse provide troughs for their snouts. Assuming they have any interest in those, other than themselves... Nah!!" 

Daniel Brittain Dugger points out that Covid is more similar to HIV+ than ME/CFS:

"Those who drew parallels to a condition for which a Treatment-as-Prevention strategy does not exist, ME/CFS, can be blamed, as they can be blamed for children reactivating Tuberculosis and dying an AIDS death. Has history not repeated itself in just about every single way possible? Not the first time we have observed a virus that depletes CD4 cells; it is persistent; there is an aversion to non-pharmaceutical interventions; vaccines are not protective, and there is forward transmission. 

A vaccine has yet to be developed for HIV. As is seen with masks, folks are not fans of condoms. It is through a pill-based strategy that the forward transmission of HIV has been greatly reduced. We have long known of persistence of Covid, including the work of Dr. Daniel Chertow in December 2021, implicating the two most well known reservoirs in HIV, that of the Central Nervous System and Gut Associated Lymphoid Tissues. Despite this fact, there has been zero effort to create a viral load test that would allow for meaningful drug repurposing. There are in fact a number of potential candidates that belong to the same class China repurposed, the Nucleoside Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitor. With a viral load test and efficacious medications, we could have endeavoured to replicate the Partner I & II studies, replacing semen with respiratory secretions, endeavouring to learn the length and level of suppression required to prevent disease progression and forward transmission. 

Our failure to engage in drug repurposing removes all hope of this kid escaping the death of an AIDS patient, diagnosed with Tuberculosis, which does not even reactivate in ME/CFS patients." 

My response to this, however, is Can't it be BOTH?  The Covid/HIV+ comparison is necessary to hep understand what it more and less likely to work to prevent it, which is vitally important. But the Covid/ME/CFS comparison is also necessary to better help connect. the virus and the hugely variable symptoms that follows sometimes months after recovery from the acute illness. 

Another person noticed a correlation between Covid cases and Cryptosporidium Parvum cases that cause severe diarrhea with dramatically increased cases of C. Parvum since the start of the pandemic from a baseline of near zero.

At least the WHO has come to their senses enough that useful research grants might become possible -- from this Scientific American article:

"WHO now admits the Covid virus and other germs spread 'through. the air.' This plain language may help improve research and action to fight disease. . . . just maybe governments, retailers, school authorities and others can now start to get solid information about ways they can clean indoor air. While it is going to take more than a wordy WHO statement to persuade gym owners that fogged-up windows mean too many people are huffing out potentially infectious air, the new wording does provide a better explanation of why it’s gross and unhealthy. . . . In the battle over what 'aerosol' and 'airborne' meant, public health officials lost sight of what was right in front of them: people were catching COVID by breathing contaminated air. 'It’s terrible that it took them years,' José-Luis Jiménez, a chemistry professor and aerosol expert at the University of Colorado, said. 'By the end of March 2020, a lot of scientists had contacted them. It’s not like they didn’t have access to the information,' added Jiménez, who has detailed the history of mainstream public health resistance to the idea of airborne spread. . . . . 

This should clear the way for funding more and better research on the transmission of infectious diseases—not just COVID, but influenza, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and viruses that cause the common cold. That, in turn, should give managers of schools, retailers, airports and other public spaces the information they need to help keep air and surfacers cleaner. Because if people understand the physics of disease transmission, they can find ways to safely keep schools, shops and restaurants open during outbreaks and epidemics with better practices in ventilation, air and surface cleaning and foot traffic control. . . . Ananya Iyengar of the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security and colleagues took a look at how one New York school kept infections down during the pandemic, for example, and found better ventilation improved indoor air quality. The cost? Along with a suite of other measures, about $880 per student per year. Word matter. When people heard that Covid might spread on surfaces, they wasted time wiping down groceries. . . . 

An understanding of how viruses can drift out of an infected person’s nose or mouth and then transmit infections for more than four hours can encourage a teacher to air out a classroom in between classes or a bar owner to serve drinks on the patio instead of forcing customers to jam together inside. Another potential benefit: clearing air of germs will also cleanse it of pollen, spores, and other particles that cause allergies and worsen asthma. Better circulation can also help clear out potentially toxic chemical fumes and dust. . . . 'It’s now respectable to do this research,' Jiménez said. 'People can get funding to do some research about indoor air and engineering systems. They are stepping into fields that they really wouldn’t work on before. So you see some encouraging changes.'

It's curious that they talk about wiping down groceries as a waste of time and then suggest we need to improve air and surface cleaning. The surface cleaning we were doing at the beginning was onerous and has less effect than ventilation. I still wear a mask everywhere, don't give a second thought to all the door handles I touch because I also wash my hands whenever I walk in the door - a practice I started decades ago. Now maybe people can access the funding and the willpower to clean the air in all public buildings and transportation. At the very least, it costs very little to crack a window! 

But we also need research into anti-virals and people tracing other effects and correlated illnesses to get a better handle on many new variants and viruses we're facing. We have the technology and knowledge base, now maybe the money will follow.

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