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Covid 19, novel corona virus. Split from off-grid thread


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24 minutes ago, PeteStupps said:

Behind a paywall but there's a column in today's Times from Labour backbencher Rupa Huq about vit D3 and covid. He's trying to persuade the government to take a more active approach recommending supplements. 

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/comment/telling-the-public-to-take-vitamin-d-would-save-lives-bngzt6nkj

He's a she. Good to see the Opposition and David Davis joining forces. A letter to ediotor of Times yesterday promoted 1000 IU pd, but one of the signatories, Hewison, himself takes 2000 ! - do as I say not as I do ................

Peter

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Well I’m still spamming because I think it’s important...... and this seems to bear it out Pity he takes half an hour when it needs 10 minutes tops but anyway..... Trial in a 

Earlier, I posted a link to the Royal Society symposium where several global experts spoke about Covid  and the vaccine.  They only had an hour and the speakers could answer a few questions from their

My work are very much blazing their own trail on this one: we've just been told that, unless pregnant or high risk, everyone must be in the office or will be marked as 'unauthorised leave' with subseq

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Copied from the Times page

 

As the nights draw in, government sloganeering gets more and more mysterious: “Check, Change, Go” has replaced “Get Brexit Done” and the latest wisdom to combat coronavirus is “Hands, Face, Space”. Both have an air of scissors-paper-stone about them, woefully failing to spell out specifics that are so badly needed in a period of extreme uncertainty.

With no Covid-19 vaccine on the horizon any time soon, an obvious bit of advice the government ought to communicate to us all is to take vitamin D supplements. Research has repeatedly demonstrated the benefits for our immune system of vitamin D, but unlike other nutrients it’s rarely found in food and comes via the action of UV rays on our skin — all the more reason to publicise supplement-taking now, given that the days are drawing in.

Yet when both David Davis (Tory grandee, ex-Brexit secretary) and I (an independent-minded Labour Remainiac backbench MP) have tried to bend the ear of health secretary Matt Hancock on this, flat rejection has followed — most recently in parliament last Monday. This week, despite our differences, we’ve teamed up together and been granted an audience with him to discuss our reasoning in a (socially distanced) sit-down dialogue that questions in the chamber preclude.

We are all armchair epidemiologists now. But since I’ve started championing this issue, scores of eminent medics have emailed in a slew of studies from far and wide showing evidence of the role of vitamin D in reducing the risk of respiratory infections, including Covid-19. Even where samples are small the results are so overwhelming that they cannot be ignored.

Recommending vitamin D is not a panacea but it is a potentially powerful additional tool in our armoury against coronavirus, near-halving the need for intensive care in hospitalised Covid-19 patients in a recent Spanish randomised controlled trial.

It’s no coincidence that in countries where vitamin D levels are high, such as Finland and New Zealand, cases and deaths have been rare, whereas in Britain our R number is rocketing. Urging people to up their intake of something that can be bought cheaply over the counter at pharmacies would be a low-cost, low-risk, high-outcome intervention to help us ward off the worst of the dreaded second surge.

In a global pandemic, an injection of honesty wouldn’t go amiss. Recommending vitamin D and even prescribing it would be inexpensive and far-reaching. With the worst death toll in Europe, what do we have to lose?

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58 minutes ago, mpbarrett said:

Copied from the Times page

 

As the nights draw in, government sloganeering gets more and more mysterious: “Check, Change, Go” has replaced “Get Brexit Done” and the latest wisdom to combat coronavirus is “Hands, Face, Space”. Both have an air of scissors-paper-stone about them, woefully failing to spell out specifics that are so badly needed in a period of extreme uncertainty.

With no Covid-19 vaccine on the horizon any time soon, an obvious bit of advice the government ought to communicate to us all is to take vitamin D supplements. Research has repeatedly demonstrated the benefits for our immune system of vitamin D, but unlike other nutrients it’s rarely found in food and comes via the action of UV rays on our skin — all the more reason to publicise supplement-taking now, given that the days are drawing in.

Yet when both David Davis (Tory grandee, ex-Brexit secretary) and I (an independent-minded Labour Remainiac backbench MP) have tried to bend the ear of health secretary Matt Hancock on this, flat rejection has followed — most recently in parliament last Monday. This week, despite our differences, we’ve teamed up together and been granted an audience with him to discuss our reasoning in a (socially distanced) sit-down dialogue that questions in the chamber preclude.

We are all armchair epidemiologists now. But since I’ve started championing this issue, scores of eminent medics have emailed in a slew of studies from far and wide showing evidence of the role of vitamin D in reducing the risk of respiratory infections, including Covid-19. Even where samples are small the results are so overwhelming that they cannot be ignored.

Recommending vitamin D is not a panacea but it is a potentially powerful additional tool in our armoury against coronavirus, near-halving the need for intensive care in hospitalised Covid-19 patients in a recent Spanish randomised controlled trial.

It’s no coincidence that in countries where vitamin D levels are high, such as Finland and New Zealand, cases and deaths have been rare, whereas in Britain our R number is rocketing. Urging people to up their intake of something that can be bought cheaply over the counter at pharmacies would be a low-cost, low-risk, high-outcome intervention to help us ward off the worst of the dreaded second surge.

In a global pandemic, an injection of honesty wouldn’t go amiss. Recommending vitamin D and even prescribing it would be inexpensive and far-reaching. With the worst death toll in Europe, what do we have to lose?

Thanks, had not seen it. Fingers crossed the two of them persuade Mutt Hancock to suspect he is being misled by his advisors. If he does not budge I can see the Leader of the Opposition making mincemeat out of him, the evidence is all in favour of using D3. But they could stiill compromise by advising too low a dose, that wont work, and we end up with even more antagonism to D. And more deaths and long covid.

Peter

 

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Hi Folks,

I think the only way the Gov't could do a U-turn would be for them to sack Matt Hancock and then the new Health minister coming in all guns blazing in support of VitD3.

The beauty of any medication that reduces the seriousness of the virus but still allows you to catch it is that it helps the 'herd immunity' .  The more people that get it the better.

It would then be no worse than seasonal flu.

Roger

 

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Indeed.  This paper, published 1st October, reported on the search for antibody markers in the spleen and lymph nodes of victims of C19 and failed to find any.

The summary on page 1 (the only bit I have any chance of understanding, truth be known) concludes that:

"... achieving herd immunity through natural infection may be difficult."

Not only that, but incidences of re-infection are reported to be increasing and that the second episode is often considerably worse than the first.

We're in for a long and rocky ride, it seems.

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2 hours ago, JohnD said:

 If you think the answer if that simple  you don't understand the problem.   

 

Hi John,

if the medical and Gov't think it is that difficult then we will never find a solution.

The scarce D3 testing shows repeated positive results. Where is the harm in issuing it to the whole country as a stop gap measure.  This in itself could be part of a very large study for the future.

 

Roger

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Roger,

They can't even organise getting the results of Test & Trace back to where it matters.   

The effort to support small businesses by Gov backed loans was similarly well-intentioned, but the national Audit Office had found that between 20 and 60% of the £38 BILLION paid out will never be repaid, as it the businesses will still fail, or the loans were taken fraudulently.    It appears to have been a scheme 'organised' completely ad hoc, with no prior planning or safeguards.    Remember that next year, when taxes are increased and the NHS gets zilch to keep it going.

John

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2 hours ago, PaulAA said:

Not only that, but incidences of re-infection are reported to be increasing and that the second episode is often considerably worse than the first.

I hadn't heard this, about it being worse 2nd time. From some brief googling it looks like more re-infection cases were mild, but certainly some were worse. This link has a good summary (not many cases cited):

https://www.ecdc.europa.eu/sites/default/files/documents/Re-infection-and-viral-shedding-threat-assessment-brief.pdf

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10 minutes ago, JohnD said:

Roger,

They can't even organise getting the results of Test & Trace back to where it matters.   

The effort to support small businesses by Gov backed loans was similarly well-intentioned, but the national Audit Office had found that between 20 and 60% of the £38 BILLION paid out will never be repaid, as it the businesses will still fail, or the loans were taken fraudulently.    It appears to have been a scheme 'organised' completely ad hoc, with no prior planning or safeguards.    Remember that next year, when taxes are increased and the NHS gets zilch to keep it going.

John

Alternative way of looking at that: to close the loopholes would have taken longer, many businesses would have gone under in the meantime. Rush to do something big you've never done before and it's going to go wrong in some way, probably a big way. The politicians get all the flack of course but the detail is worked out by civil servants. There will be a lot of ordinary people at HM Treasury who worked like mad putting that scheme together. Let's hope the reality is at the low end of the NAO's estimate, and that fraudulent claimants are all tracked down and poked in the eye. 

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In fact, in true Tory style and in even truer Bozo Tory style, they outsourced it.   So the CS didn't tben get a chance to use the "On the other hand, Prime Minister, we have a duty to be careful with the public's cash" arguement.     Instead, the Gov told the banks to, as you say, get the money out there!    And the loans came with a Gov guarantee, so the banks couldn't care less about probity or false representation.   No caution or control from either.    Is it any surprise that every grifter on Earth rubbed their hands and filled in the application forms.    Easy money!

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19 hours ago, PeteStupps said:

I hadn't heard this, about it being worse 2nd time. From some brief googling it looks like more re-infection cases were mild, but certainly some were worse. This link has a good summary (not many cases cited):

https://www.ecdc.europa.eu/sites/default/files/documents/Re-infection-and-viral-shedding-threat-assessment-brief.pdf

Pete

Interesting. This paper studied reinfection amongst Indian health workers and the indication is that the second occurance is more severe:

https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/Delivery.cfm/17b5cdc9-d7f9-4c47-8700-abfaec970b2e-MECA.pdf?abstractid=3688220&mirid=1&type=2

As seems to be the case, different studies from different scientific communities give different conclusions for the under-informed layman (like me) to alight upon to make a point in a discussion. I have no real idea whether this study is accurate or relevant, even though the publication is clearly pukka. Question is, does anybody right now?

Back on the subject of herd immunity, there has been a bit of coverage of a pro-herd study by an Oxford professor, Sunetra Gupta. Looks convincing. Except she is sponsored by a right-leaning think tank, Barrington Group, which supports Trump's scattergun policy and minimal govt engagement. So how reliable is any study sponsored by a political interest group, whichever way it leans?

Paul

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I think Prof.Gupta's argument, and perhaps that of her sponsors, is that the treatment so far is worse than the disease.  Yes, we can inhibit virus spread by total lockdown, but as the NHS has found, that adds to those killed and damaged by the virus, and the same effect cripples the economy.   The Gov has no other ideas, except by struggling towards a more measured approach (Hah! when they can't even count the number of the infected!), regulating human activity  and intercourse in response to viral progression.      But so far, it's not working.      Local areas where lockdown has been intensified have not controlled the infection any better, unhelped by the wholesale and unplanned resumption of Unversity life, because who on Earth would expect that thousands of freshers, released like rampant stoats into their new campuses would raise the infection rate?     

More thought and support is needed to keep education running than "the hospitality industry".       Which is more important, schools and universities, or the local pub?     Both to control the infection and keep the country going into the future?

John

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4 hours ago, PaulAA said:

Pete

Interesting. This paper studied reinfection amongst Indian health workers and the indication is that the second occurance is more severe:

https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/Delivery.cfm/17b5cdc9-d7f9-4c47-8700-abfaec970b2e-MECA.pdf?abstractid=3688220&mirid=1&type=2

As seems to be the case, different studies from different scientific communities give different conclusions for the under-informed layman (like me) to alight upon to make a point in a discussion. I have no real idea whether this study is accurate or relevant, even though the publication is clearly pukka. Question is, does anybody right now?

Back on the subject of herd immunity, there has been a bit of coverage of a pro-herd study by an Oxford professor, Sunetra Gupta. Looks convincing. Except she is sponsored by a right-leaning think tank, Barrington Group, which supports Trump's scattergun policy and minimal govt engagement. So how reliable is any study sponsored by a political interest group, whichever way it leans?

Paul

Paul,  Interesting Indian study, tks for posting. The virus had mutated before the second infection, similar to a Houston study revealing mutationg virus. The big concern is that the Indian study might hint at antibody  response induced by the first virus  was not effective against the second. The implication for a vaccine are potentially serious, the mutations could out-pace vaccine development/testing/production. And out-pace herd immunity.

If those Indian HCW had serum 25(OH)D above 75 nmol/L thay would have amuch reduced probability of testing positive. At that level of  D3 the innate immune system inactivates the virus before it can replicate, and destroys its RNA so effectively it cannpt be detected  by rt-PCR.

The anti-microbial peptides eg cathelicidin,  defensins that inactivate virus are not tuned to any specific virus ( or bacterium or fungus)- they kill them all. Including SARS-CoV-2. However SARS-CoV-2 has much higher affinity for ACE2 the receptor it uses to gain entry inot lung and blood vessels. We do however know thta ACE2 is raised in D3-deficiency. It follows that being low on D3 is not a good idea,

Peter

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This is the worry with any vaccine that is developed.   The other four corona viruses already endemic, like the Common Cold, have proved impossible to vaccinate for, as they mutate frequently.     Covid-19 is mutating, the rate is described as "sluggish" but there has been at least one chnage that has replaced almost all example seen of the virus now from what it was at the start.     It is described as a 'major' chnage and clearly it has  a major effect, but is in ONE amino acid in the sequnce of the spike proteins that enable the virus to enter cells.      This may be because it allows the spike to exist in two forms, 'open' and 'closed':

An animation showing the subunits of the coronavirus spike protein opening, and the position of the D614G mutation.

See https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-02544-6

and 

https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.04.29.069054v2

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Oh, good.    Another effect of VitD is postulated in the latest New Scientist (10/10/2020) on the Last word pages.

MIke Follows suggests that more time spent indoors than our foremothers, and consequent lower levels of VitD, influence dopamine induced changes in the develpment of the eyeball.     A greater incidence of myopia has resulted.

Is there no limit to the effects of this wonder substance?

John

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7 hours ago, JohnD said:

Hah! when they can't even count the number of the infected!

I'm going to pull you up on this one, John!

All the figures for the infected come from NHS Information services (maybe a different name in England), who are employed full time to take and analyse all sorts of data, and pass it on to whomever needs it. All the cancer data for Cancer Research, analysis of deaths, beds taken, comparisons of death rates year on year, all done by these guys as a full time occupation.

With the advent of Covid-19, they formed teams in all countries/regions to collate, analyse and forward the data to various people, of which the government is only one recipient. New programs have had to be written and tested to do this, all by people who are doing this on top of their usual work. It is not a small job, these teams are now essentially doing two full time jobs simultaneously. They are not IT professionals, they simply have a knowledge of programs such as R, and excel. Not being frontline NHS they don't attract major funding, and the result is they are running older servers and equipment which struggles at the best of times, and since lockdown most of them are working from home, VPN'ing into the servers, which were not configured for that level of outside access. A lot of the issues have been resolved, however the recent issue with "missing data" was due to certain file sizes not being compatible with the program written to deal with it. The IT resources they have often don't properly understand the software and languages used, which makes it harder for them to fix the issues.

My partner is one the Covid team members up here in Scotland, and also one of four people who take turns each morning to try and ensure that the data coming from NRS (National Records Scotland) flows to the right people, the government being one of the primary recipients for the First Ministers daily briefing. This includes now having to work one weekend out of four (this is additional to their contracted hours) to keep an eye on the program, which does fall over every so often.

These guys resources and programs are not designed for this kind of job. They are producing data on a daily basis in a manner they never set up to do.

Incidentally, the issues with the Track and Trace app and the missing alerts is nothing to do with the analysts, that's a different department entirely. The various new outlets have lumped both issues together, incorrectly!

Yes, the analysts made mistakes, but they are also trying to perform statistical miracles with the limited tools they have been provided with under a lot of pressure!

Cheers,

Phil

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On 10/8/2020 at 4:45 PM, JohnD said:

In fact, in true Tory style and in even truer Bozo Tory style, they outsourced it.   So the CS didn't tben get a chance to use the "On the other hand, Prime Minister, we have a duty to be careful with the public's cash" arguement.     Instead, the Gov told the banks to, as you say, get the money out there!    And the loans came with a Gov guarantee, so the banks couldn't care less about probity or false representation.   No caution or control from either.    Is it any surprise that every grifter on Earth rubbed their hands and filled in the application forms.    Easy money!

And to be fair, what was teh alternative? Spend 2 years going around departments/consultations etc etc and then fudge a decision? That's what govts usually do. This pandemic has meant stuff has had to happen fast, bypassing many of the usual safeguards. Outscourcing has been a mainstay of all govts since the 80's, Tony and Gordon loved it (think of all those massive PFI contracts that are draining the cash from the NHS)

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1 hour ago, JohnD said:

Oh, good.    Another effect of VitD is postulated in the latest New Scientist (10/10/2020) on the Last word pages.

MIke Follows suggests that more time spent indoors than our foremothers, and consequent lower levels of VitD, influence dopamine induced changes in the develpment of the eyeball.     A greater incidence of myopia has resulted.

Is there no limit to the effects of this wonder substance?

John

There is good evidence that in utero shortage of D3 has wider effects on brain development,eg autism. Its no surprise with the hormone influencing expressin of hundreds of genes. Autism is unknown in Somalia, but has high incidence in children born to Somalis migrated to Canada, so much so it is called the 'western disease'. Clues are everywhere that D3 is very important thoughout life. But NICE want RCTs.....................

Peter

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3 hours ago, JohnD said:

This is the worry with any vaccine that is developed.   The other four corona viruses already endemic, like the Common Cold, have proved impossible to vaccinate for, as they mutate frequently.     Covid-19 is mutating, the rate is described as "sluggish" but there has been at least one chnage that has replaced almost all example seen of the virus now from what it was at the start.     It is described as a 'major' chnage and clearly it has  a major effect, but is in ONE amino acid in the sequnce of the spike proteins that enable the virus to enter cells.      This may be because it allows the spike to exist in two forms, 'open' and 'closed':

An animation showing the subunits of the coronavirus spike protein opening, and the position of the D614G mutation.

See https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-02544-6

and 

https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.04.29.069054v2

Terrific find tks John

Amazing to be able to show a whole molcule responding to one amino acid change.

Peter

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4 hours ago, thebrookster said:

 

Phil,

I no way did I intend to criticise those working on this - that your partner is one makes no difference, I knew that they would be doing their best.     I hope the rest of that post indicates where I think the blame lies, and it's confirmed by your post:     

"Whatever it takes" said Sunak and Johnson, meaning the funding that would be needed to keep the country running, but Track & Trace is "running older servers and equipment which struggles at the best of times"  and having to use  "resources and programs are not designed for this kind of job".   Just like the NHS, "they are also trying to perform [... miracles with the limited tools they have been provided with under a lot of pressure!"

I absolutely agree with you, "the missing alerts is nothing to do with the analysts".     It is to do with a Government that has proved itself to be incompetent in planning for an emergency and in excuting any cohesive managment of it.      

John

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