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Covid-19

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Online Roger

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IMO Cummings has a lot to answer for - stimulating the ungovernable Brits :-

"The main reason people do not follow coronavirus restrictions is those who run the country don't stick to them, according to a new poll. An Ipsos MORI study asked 1,067 adults aged 18-75 how convincing several arguments were against following restrictions. In total 47% of people said they felt the lack of adherence to rules from authority figures contributed to people breaking them."

https://uk.yahoo.com/news/breaking-covid-rules-reason-dominic-cummings-ipsos-mori-poll-183418387.html
''If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough'' - Albert Einstein


Online Roger

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"Immunity to coronavirus may only last a matter of a months, according to new research that could hinder the rollout of a successful vaccine. A study by Imperial College London, which involved 365,000 people, showed that antibodies in the population fell by more than a quarter in just three months. Scientists said the findings suggested a "rapid" decline in immunity – which could mean that even if a successful vaccine is found, it might have to be administered twice a year.

The mass research indicated that, by last month, fewer than one in 20 people had developed antibodies to Covid. Commissioned by the Department of Health, it is part of the largest piece of a research programme informing Government policies. Its findings showed that by June, after the first wave of the pandemic, just six per cent of the population had developed antibodies, which suggest some level of protection against the virus. Three months later, that figure had dropped to 4.4 per cent, with most of the decline happening within just six weeks.

Scientists said the findings showed Britain is "miles off" achieving herd immunity, which they warned might never be reached without a vaccine. However, the research did not examine the role played by other forms of immunity. SOME SCIENTISTS BELIEVE THE PART PLAYED BY T-CELLS – a type of white blood cell that helps the immune system fight off viruses and is linked with prior infections by common colds – could be more crucial in fighting the virus.

Scientists analysed home fingerprick test samples from hundreds of thousands of adults to establish "detectable antibody levels" over a period of three months, and found levels fell by 26.5 per cent overall. The largest fall was among those most vulnerable to serious illness from Covid. Among those aged 75 and over, antibody levels fell by 39 per cent, while a drop of only 15 per cent was seen in those aged between 18 and 24.

Researchers stressed that it is not yet known what level of antibody response is required to protect against reinfection – meaning it is possible that even levels of antibodies that were not found by the tests were offering some protection. But they said the findings suggested a significant rapid decline in immunity, raising the prospect that those infected by Covid could suffer repeat infections in further waves.

The possibility that a vaccine may have to be administered as often as every six months increases the scale of the challenge ahead. However, the researchers said vaccines may prove more powerful than natural immunity. The sharpest fall was seen in those most in need of protection, with antibody levels among the over-75s reducing by close to 40 per cent between June and September
."

The CAPS etc. are mine . . . .

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/10/27/covid-immunity-may-last-months-study-finds/
''If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough'' - Albert Einstein


Online Roger

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The limitations of antibody immunity were known months ago. Sky News - June 11th

https://m.youtube.com/watch?feature=youtu.be&v=q_DAkPMpTuw
« Last Edit: October 27, 2020, 04:24:34 PM by Roger »
''If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough'' - Albert Einstein


Online Roger

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The D Mail is often decried, (rightly IMO), for the dominance of salacious personal stuff but while many other Newspapers concentrate on analysis and comment, the D Mail does quite well and deals more fully with the stats . . . and the stats are not good.

Europe and the UK are into dire straits again . . .

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8886519/PM-new-pressure-second-lockdown-SAGE-scientists-predict-second-wave-deadlier-first.html
''If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough'' - Albert Einstein


Online Roger

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My Friend from Denmark, alerted me to this a few days ago. Astonishing  ::)  that minks are farmed to make coats, employing 10,000 or more. I thought fur coats were old news.

BBC today say 200 people have contracted a new strain of CV-19 from 2 mink farms. 17 million minks are to be culled. A coat anyone? Bl**dy Vikings   ;)
''If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough'' - Albert Einstein


Online Roger

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Thanks to Thaiga for this . . .

"Painkiller aspirin will be evaluated as a possible treatment for COVID-19 in one of Britain’s biggest trials, which will assess whether it might reduce the risk of blood clots in people with the disease. The scientists behind the RECOVERY trial, which is looking into a range of potential treatments for COVID-19, said it would include the drug, which is commonly used as a blood thinner. “There is a clear rationale for believing that it (aspirin) might be beneficial, and it is safe, inexpensive and widely available,” said Peter Horby, co-chief investigator of the trial. Patients infected with the coronavirus are at a higher risk of blood clots because of hyper-reactive platelets, the cell fragments that help stop bleeding. Aspirin is an antiplatelet agent and can reduce the risk of clots, the RECOVERY trial’s website said on Friday."

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-recovery-aspirin/aspirin-to-be-tested-as-potential-covid-19-drug-in-uk-study-idUSKBN27M1C0

. . . . Aspirin has been comprehensively discredited by big Pharma - it is effective and inexpensive - in the UK many Chemists have stopped selling it at all - it can be hard to find - but you can get 100 for less than a Pound on the internet ! Going back to 50's and 60's the standard tablet was 250 mg - Folks would often take more than one. The standard tablet is now 80mg, taken as a blood thinner, a tiny dose which I took without any problem for years as a blood thinner. Under pressure from Doctors both  in Thailand and the UK, I was put on 'Dabigatran / (Pradaxa), a new generation drug, now costing me Baht 4,000 monthly as an alternative to 'Warfarin'. (The list of side effects for Dabigatran is daunting and all to reduce 'risk' by just 25%). . .  AIMHO.

''If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough'' - Albert Einstein


Online Roger

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"There are growing concerns about the impact of post-viral inflammation and long-term damage to organs and the cardiovascular system.

On Facebook and Slack thousands of people in the UK and abroad have joined long Covid support groups where mothers and fathers, sons and daughters describe an enduring medley of symptoms including shortness of breath, fevers, heart palpitations, gastrointestinal problems, headaches, sore throats and chronic fatigue. Many of those on the groups were formerly healthy and active and don't fit the demographic of those we were told would face the greatest danger from the virus.

Many are in their 30s, 40s and 50s. There are marathon runners, cyclists and gym-goers, parents talking about young children with long Covid, and students in their 20s. Most are struggling to get support. Some tested positive for Covid-19. Others, like me, fell ill when there was no testing available
."

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-54793726
''If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough'' - Albert Einstein


Online Roger

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We don't hear too much about CV-19 hardship in Thailand - 3 million plus are unemployed. Mahesak's story . . . .

"Mahesak used to taxi the skies, crisscrossing the globe as a pilot. Today, he’s taxiing the streets of Bangkok as a driver for a ride-hailing application.

Former first pilot Mahesak Wongpa, 50, is just one of the many victims in Thailand’s aviation business, which has been devastated by the coronavirus pandemic. Speaking to Khaosod during his shift, Mahesak said the epidemic forced him to take up a very different kind of driving job, and overcome his pride in the process. “Since my status has changed due to reality, I decided to get out of my comfort zone,” Mahesak said. “I don’t think of it as replacing the income I had as a pilot. It’s much less money, but it’s still money. Mahesak declined to say in the interview which airline he worked for, but said that all of his flights were grounded back in March. He could no longer fly. Soon enough, he was let go from work
". . . . . "Mahesak is among the three million Thais – at least – who are said to have lost their jobs since the virus struck in January. Almost a fourth of Thais still employed also feel insecure about their employment, a survey found".

https://www.khaosodenglish.com/news/crimecourtscalamity/2020/11/12/grounded-by-the-pandemic-this-pilot-is-now-a-grab-driver/
''If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough'' - Albert Einstein


Online Roger

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BBC R4 'The World Tonight' (13/11) - worth a listen at 40 minutes 25 secs on. Taiwan's Health Minister during the Sars epidemic in 2004. Chai Chen was later Vice President until May 2020.

CV-19 . . . Taiwan now 23 million people, has had just 9 deaths which he attributes to 'Govt. Authority through professionalism and political neutrality', it being 'very essential to gain the trust of the public to follow the rules'. 'Good citizenship is the key but a different lifestyle, culture and customs' (to the UK) was acknowledged as a factor.

Apparently Taiwan shut the borders to China mid February and have had controlled quarantines for all entering and self isolation requirements were observed well. A 'communicable disease 'AP' deployed.

It seems early and 'high intervention' has worked in Taiwan (and Thailand).

Going back to the UK discussion, at the height of April's horrors, the UK had 20 flights or more landing daily from the USA, 6-10 from then stricken New York alone. So I'm banging that drum again - the UK Govt hadn't the guts or wit to implement any meaningful border controls and it was very late in the game, that masks were required on public transport. Yes a minimum of 10,000 people a day landing at LHR alone from hotspots almost everywhere, throughout - madness. Adherence to self-isolation has been estimated at 20% ? Madness.

And then, at the first sign of a UK lull, all off to Spain and other hotspots for hols  >:(  And let's party too - Police tried to close 300 illegal raves on just one Saturday. Fair to conclude that the UK population didn't get the message - who was in charge ? BJ was obviously too busy shaking hands and not wearing a mask to play that role.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/m000p8z4 (at 40 minutes 25 seconds)

« Last Edit: November 14, 2020, 08:29:36 AM by Roger »
''If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough'' - Albert Einstein


Online Roger

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BioNTech's vaccine - duration of immunity

" . . Sahin . . . . . . said he believes it could work for up to a year. “We only have indirect clues so far [immunity duration]. Studies of COVID-19 patients have shown that those with a strong immune response still have that response after six months. I could imagine we could be safe for at least a year,” he told the paper. More research about the level of protection the vaccine offers to different age groups is expected to be released in three weeks, he said." http://hTTps://nypost.com/2020/11/13/man-behind-covid-19-vaccine-says-it-will-bash-the-virus-over-head/

Well a year is nice to 'imagine' but it's fair to surmise that, before we KNOW that is true, 'Covidity', (or some other vaccine), may be in sight offering much more ? I'm not diminishing BioNTech's amazing efforts - they may have met the urgent need and together with say, the Oxford/AZ vaccine, CV-19 can be slowed in it's tracks.

But IMHO, 'way to go' ! We're not there yet by the longest chalk. GLA
''If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough'' - Albert Einstein



Online Roger

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RDRO - maybe, maybe not  8)

Prof. Lindy Durrant CSO of Scancell - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q_DAkPMpTuw

Scancell's 'Covidity' developed from the Immunobody cancer vaccine platform, is a DNA rather than an RNA construct, cheaper to manufacture, just one injection, longer lasting immunity from T-Cells and potentially covering successive mutations. A second generation vaccine coming along a bit later . . .

Prof. Lindy again in this at 28 minutes for 'Covidity' - stick with it for a few minutes - it's fascinating and 'making very nice progress' https://www.scancell.co.uk/agm-presentation-2020-
''If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough'' - Albert Einstein


Online Roger

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An excellent review (IMO) on vaccines atm :-

"This past week was an action packed in terms of COVID-19 vaccine news from Moderna (NASDAQ:MRNA), Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) and The University of Oxford-AstraZeneca (NASDAQ:AZN) - Bloomberg. All of them have reported positive data on their vaccine safety and efficacy, raising hopes of availability of a potential safe COVID-19 vaccine by end of December or January next year. Oxford-AstraZeneca's vaccine also showed a strong immune response in older adults in Phase-2 clinical. Findings from the final stage of AZN's vaccine studies are due to be released shortly.

While wealthy nations are targeting first supplies of the Pfizer and Moderna shots, many other regions are depending heavily on the following front-runners, especially AstraZeneca, Novavax (NASDAQ:NVAX) and Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ). Oxford-AstraZeneca shots accounts for more than 40% of the supplies going to lower and middle-income nations, based on deals tracked by London-based research firm Airfinity Ltd. The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine costs a fraction of Pfizer vaccine and will be manufactured in multiple countries, from India to Brazil. It should be easier to deploy far and wide than other shots that need to be stored at ultra-cold temperatures.

AstraZeneca has earlier said it won’t profit during the pandemic and that the vaccine will cost between $4 and $5 a dose compared to the Pfizer/BioNTech shot priced at $19.50 a dose, or $39 for a two-shot immunization. Moderna intends to charge $32 to $37 a dose for smaller deals and less for bigger purchases. “There’s a lot riding on the Astra vaccine,” said Suerie Moon, co-director of the Global Health Centre at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva. For lower-income countries, “it’s huge.”

Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine also has advantages beyond cost. Their product is said to be easier to transport and store. The vaccine can be kept at refrigerator temperatures, while those from PFE and MRNA, require freezing for longer-term storage and transport. AstraZeneca has reached an agreement to supply the initiative, while a collaboration including the Serum Institute of India agreed to accelerate the production of Astra or Novavax shots for low and middle-income countries. If approved by the U.K. government, Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine may get emergency use authorization (EUA) in India. The Phase 3 clinical trials of Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine should be over by January/February 2021, said Dr VK Paul chairman of the National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for COVID-19
."

https://seekingalpha.com/news/3638538-all-eyes-on-astrazeneca-oxford-shot-after-strong-pfizer-moderna-results?
''If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough'' - Albert Einstein



Online Roger

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Thanks RDRO - as the article says, "rejoining the world of international travel, even local travel, could become restricted to only those who are vaccinated" - that's the way forward. Thailand will insist on a vaccination certificate for incoming travellers and if you happen to be of the 'anti-vaxxer' fringe, that's just tough  ;)

As the vaccination program gets going there's hope for a significant uplift in tourism next year.
''If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough'' - Albert Einstein


Online Roger

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More on the Oxford / AZ vaccine - very interesting.

""The vaccine also appears to protect against hospitalisation and severe disease in people who do get the virus, and researchers said they were seeing early signs that the jab prevented people transmitting the virus to other – which would make it the first vaccine to show it also stops the spread.""

Let's see  8)  https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/11/23/oxford-vaccine-works-half-dose-regime-surprised-scientists/

Looks like it might be time to sell your BioNTech shares   ;)
''If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough'' - Albert Einstein


Offline Coolkorat

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Interesting listening to the Today programme on BBC Radio 4; much talk on how the vaccine is to be delivered (i.e. physically injected) and the groups to be priority for receipt.

The G20 went to great lengths to stress how there should be a 'level playing field' and poorer nations should not be at the bottom of the list. Weasel words?


Online caller

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The G20 went to great lengths to stress how there should be a 'level playing field' and poorer nations should not be at the bottom of the list. Weasel words?

The Oxford team and Pascal Soriot (CEO of AstraZeneca) have made the following joint undertaking:

"A key element of Oxford’s partnership with AstraZeneca is the joint commitment to provide the vaccine on a not-for-profit basis for the duration of the pandemic across the world, and in perpetuity to low-and middle-income countries."

"...the vaccine’s simple supply chain and our no-profit pledge and commitment to broad, equitable and timely access means it will be affordable and globally available supplying hundreds of millions of doses on approval."

According to the Oxford/AstraZeneca briefing, there are already 30 international agreements and partner networks in place to supply 3 billion doses of the vaccine globally.


Online Roger

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"SAGE admitted early virus modelling based on figures from online encyclopedia   :o
Committee of scientists advising PM also had no expert on human coronavirus   ::)
Dubious data formed the basis for the group's calls for first national lockdown   :(
Experts predicted that the peak would be in June - but it actually came in April 
Impact of care home staff spreading Covid by working in multiple sites not considered"   >:(

A BBC docu this week - shameful that SAGE apparently lacked even one specialist Virologist amongst it's ample numbers. If true, a really shocking indictment of BJ's Govt.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8961245/SAGE-used-dodgy-data-WIKIPEDIA-model-Covid-crisis-spring-BBC-documentary-reveals.html
''If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough'' - Albert Einstein


Online Roger

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As Isghl and other Austrian ski resorts gear up for Christmas, preparatory no doubt, to sending another cocktail of CV-19 around Europe, the UK Govt still has no real border controls and reportedly, just 10-20% of incoming travellers are conforming to 'self-ISO'. I'm sure, if the UK Govt. had had the balls to close the borders, Thai style, we would have had a better situation now.

These vaccines had better do the trick because this Govt. won't. The consequences become clearer . . . "Britain is facing ruin, but deluded Tories are still refusing to accept it. Rishi Sunak knows the dangers, but his party has embraced a destructive economic illiteracy, Allister Heath 25 November 2020

"Britain is permanently poorer, and the British state weaker, as a result of Covid, the collapse in GDP and the gargantuan debt binge that has kept us going. Our economy is the most socialised it has ever been outside of war, and we have resorted to the printing presses to finance spending in a shockingly unprecedented way, pushing the great fiat money experiment close to breaking point. We will spend a lot more every year even after the virus is gone, which will necessitate tens of billions worth of tax hikes or spending cuts merely to stabilise the debt.

That, in summary, is the economic devastation described or implied by the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) in what is easily the most terrifying official economic assessment from a developed nation I have ever read. The fact that much of the spending was necessary, that we can “afford” it (in the sense of being able to borrow more), that interest rates are dementedly low and that growth will bounce back with the vaccine, is no consolation.

We remain in what the Chancellor correctly described on Wednesday as an economic emergency, one which will scar our private sector and society, damage our long-term economic performance, shift us further towards a social-democratic European economic model and leave us stuck with a debt level of over 100 per cent of GDP.

In fact, the scale of the catastrophe is even worse than the official forecasters admit. Nobody knows what the impact of extreme QE will be on the structures of the financial system. The cultural damage is unquantifiable, with a return to welfarism, statism, an exodus of foreign workers and a growing sense that money is free, that government doesn’t really suffer from a budget constraint. The OBR is optimistic in other areas: it thinks the economy will only be 3 per cent smaller permanently than it would otherwise be, which as Pantheon Macroeconomics says, implies that “scarring” will be less than half the scale seen after the previous three recessions.

Yes, incredibly, the total cost of servicing our debt will fall to a new historical low of 1.7 per cent of government revenues next year, and yes we have been able to borrow longer-term than other countries, locking in this cheaper financing, but what happens if and when interest rates go up? We are, to paraphrase Bill Gross, writing at the time of the financial crisis, lying on a bed of nitroglycerine. In a crucial line, the OBR explains that the impact of each 1 percentage point rise in short-term interest rates on the deficit has doubled from £6 billion (0.2 per cent of GDP) to £12 billion (0.5 per cent of GDP).

Rishi Sunak understands all of this, and can surely barely sleep as a result: what if a future banking or trade or military crisis sends interest rates up by 3 per cent? The deficit would jump by £36 billion immediately. And what if rates shoot up even higher?

Every big economic crisis overshadows politics for at least a decade, changing everything for better or worse: the crisis and stagflation of the Seventies, in which I include the recession of 1982; the boom, bust and ERM crisis, culminating in the nightmare of 1992; the financial crisis of 2008; and now the Great Pandemic.

Set against the economic carnage, it is therefore staggering that our political landscape remains stuck in an absurd state of suspended animation. Our political classes seem to believe that they can continue as if nothing had happened. The Government clings to an obsolete manifesto predicated on the very opposite of a Covid shock: an assumption that we were richer than we thought, that the supposedly austere 2010s were over, that we could afford to live beyond our means.

Hence why, incredibly, it is sticking with its promise of years of French-style, debt-fuelled public binging on grands projets – some useless (HS2), others worthwhile (roads, hospitals and broadband) – and lots more cash on day to day spending, not least the levelling-up fund, despite the radically changed economic backdrop.

The only cuts unveiled at the Spending Review were symbolic: the welcome reduction in the foreign aid budget from 0.7 per cent to 0.5 per cent of GDP, and a botched public sector pay freeze which will see most public workers’ wages rise at a time when the private sector is being furloughed or fired. Sunak rightly didn’t extend the increase in universal credit, but that was always meant to be temporary.

The aid cut was red meat for the Right, dismantling one of the last vestiges of Cameroonism, but it should have gone further. Why wasn’t there a public sector recruitment freeze (ex-NHS)? Why not “build back better” by using this crisis as an opportunity to fundamentally reform the public sector? Why not scrap public sector defined benefits pension schemes? Why no war on waste? Why no cuts to various departments? Why no delays to spending promises? Why is the living wage shooting up again, guaranteeing more job losses in hospitality?  . . . . "

The Chancellor, a free marketeer and fiscal conservative, perhaps couldn’t convince Boris Johnson that now was the time to tackle the public sector; instead, he set the scene for a future ideological reckoning in the Tory party, one which will determine whether we become more like Italy or more like Singapore.

As Sunak knows full well, the challenge isn’t just about the deficit: it’s also about growth and competitiveness. Brexit needs to be accompanied by radical cuts and changes to tax and regulation, as well as longer-term reforms to training and education, to succeed. Massively increasing taxes would kill that dream, and Johnson’s legacy, stone dead.

This spending review didn’t tell us what Rishinomics looks like. The Chancellor will soon have to put his cards on the table, and stake his career on his vision. Meanwhile, he must explain to his increasingly economically illiterate party that it cannot continue its debilitating descent into proto-socialist stupidity. The Tories must get real, or else they will never be forgiven for ruining the economy.
. . . . . . . . . ."

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/11/25/britain-facing-ruin-deludedtories-still-refusing-accept/
''If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough'' - Albert Einstein