Saturday 18 July 2020

Weekend: More Authoritative Covid Stuff

A couple of months I posted some knowledgeable Covid material from an Oxford prof I'd heard speak.  It's had the most hits of anything on C@W over the past three months.

Here's the perspective from another Oxford prof - this time more conveniently available on www.  It's only 18 minutes, and entirely accessible.   The speaker is Naj Rahman, Professor of Respiratory Medicine and Director of the Oxford Respiratory Trials Unit, who is absolutely in the front line on several key aspects (Oxford being way out front in real-time research & response on Covid, and Rahman being a practitioner as well as a researcher).

His talk is at once sobering, encouraging, and in its account of the noble efforts of some medical students, uplifting.  BTW, I'm not sure he agrees with the previous prof that Covid-19 might be the last coronavirus pandemic we face.

So - only 18 mins and well worth a viewing.



E-K said...

An excellent video.

It is one facet of the debate.

Once a person is tested positive with CV19 they stay on record has having CV19 even if they recover from it.

So. When an old person croaks three months after having recovered from CV19 they go down as a CV19 death.

1.6bn jobs will go globally because of the West's response. That's a lot of hunger and a lot of death.

DJK said...

We also learn today (can't find the link) that Covid-19 has knocked two years off average life expectancy in the UK, so it sure ain't like normal flu. (I'm not sure what magic wand Boris thinks he can wave to make everything go back to normal at Christmas, without the deaths becoming uncontrolled and ramping up to 1000/day again.)

All that said, treatments are getting better, and C-19 death rates in hospital have dropped sharply since early March.

Sobers said...

"All that said, treatments are getting better, and C-19 death rates in hospital have dropped sharply since early March."

IMO the area medical science should be working on is treatment, not vaccines and preventative cures. My feeling is this virus will be around permanently, like a common cold, and we will all get it repeatedly over our lives. We need to be able to make sure that as few people as possible die from it once they've got it, rather than trying to stop anyone getting it in the first place. The latter will be a fools errand, given the nature of coronaviruses.

Don Cox said...

Thanks for the link. A very good talk.

Don Cox

Elby the Beserk said...

@Sobers 10:26am

It is indeed a Flu variant, and in fact closely related to SARS. Formal names are "severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2" (SARS-CoV-2) & SARS-CoV-1. I'm highly sceptical about a vaccine, as there is still none for SARS. 17 years on, even tho' work is still going on to find one, and COVID-19 is i gather 80% he same as SARS.

At some point sooner rather than later we need to be able to breathe near each other again. I suspect I have some natural immunity to 'flu and such like, as I have only once to my memory ever had the real thing, and do not have the annual 'flu vaccination. One should note that the vaccine of 3 or 4 winters back was totally useless as the 'flu it was to treat had already mutated. I'd rather rely on natural immunity, all the more so as it seems contaminated 'flu vaccines caused the appalling outbreaks in Wuhan, Lombardy and NYC.

Don Cox said...

I disagree with Sobers.

Researchers should be working on both treatment and prevention. These are different areas of expertise, and the work is done by different people.

The flu jab works well enough to make a big difference, so I don't see why an equally effective vaccine against Covid-19 should not be worked on.

Don Cox

DJK said...

A lot of the reporting of Covid-19 is very UK blinkered, as if this wasn't a worldwide problem with differing approaches and differing levels of success (however you define success).

I think people will find that there are many teams around the world, bringing many different approaches to this: vaccines, better treatments, prophylactics, sanitizers, air filtration systems. It's not just Boris who wishes to get back to some kind of 2019 normal, there is a huge economic incentive to find a safe way to live with the virus. There is unlikely to be one single silver bullet, rather I think there will have to be a series of measures used in combination.

Nick Drew said...

DJK - @ There is unlikely to be one single silver bullet, rather I think there will have to be a series of measures used in combination

rather like cancer, then, if you're right

there's never been found 'A Cure' per se - but a huge armoury of different types of interventions keep many sufferers going for far, far longer than was previously possible

DJK said...

ND: "rather like cancer...". Exactly so. I don't think there will be a cure, but there will be a way of living --- partially effective vaccines, high quality air filters on buses and in office heating systems, track 'n trace, better drugs --- that mean that Covid-19 ceases to be a major cause of death but just becomes a background nuisance. As you say, there is no 'cure' for cancer, but most cancers are far more survivable now than they were fifty years ago, when cancer killed my mother.

Don Cox said...

"One should note that the vaccine of 3 or 4 winters back was totally useless as the 'flu it was to treat had already mutated. "

That vaccine wasn't completely useless. I had a case of flu, but it was very mild compared to the flu that I used to get before the vaccine was invented. So at least for me, the "useless" vaccine partly worked.

Don Cox

E-K said...

Life expectancy down 2 years. I don't doubt it. Many have died of lockdown, not Covid - including a workmate of mine last month of heart attack despite being good weight and fitness, his consultation was badly delayed. And then the spike in suicides we're having.

We're now in a cold war which could quite realistically turn into a hot one.

I understand the fact that a disease started it but in the two world wars we did not spend our time analysing the thoughts of battle trauma medics.

The UN states that 1.6 billion jobs could be lost because of this crisis (our reaction to it.)

That's a lot of starvation and that's a lot of death.

You can bet that life expectancy will be falling.

Nessimmersion said...

The uncomfortable bit is Singapore managed to get its Nosocomial infection rate in hospitals down to statistical zero in April.
Clue - It was back to basics, stop pratting about with masks and be absolutely rabid about hygeine, it worked there.
Why were western health systems not prepared to copy what worked in Singapore.
Also track and trace isn't it either, that was Singapores initial reaction when they thought it was Sars 2.
Says really was leth in comparison.

Sobers said...

"Why were western health systems not prepared to copy what worked in Singapore."

In the Uk at least because the all knowing all seeing NHS couldn't possibly be wrong, and thus couldn't possibly learn anything from anyone else. Its the Wonder of the World dontcha know???

Thud said...

Between Astra, moderna etc a variety of vaccines will turn up by years end and while maybe not 100% effective they will do for now. The 2 chinese companies backed by the PLA will also come up with something, add in a couple of more from Germany etc and this will be pretty much history by next spring, something I've always believed.

Elby the Beserk said...


"Why flu vaccines so often fail..."

E-K said...

Too late. The damage is done, Thud.

And in many ways a "vaccine coming soon (maybe)" scenario is the very worst - it encourages a second lockdown which will see society implode.

And this country doesn't have the balls to make money from a vaccine if it is the first to find it - you can guarantee the Chinese or the Americans will profit handsomely though !

Sobers said...

A vaccine for CV-19 will be like nuclear fusion, always a fixed period of time ahead. In the case of fusion its always 20 years, it was when I was at school 30 years ago, and for the Vaccine it will be about 18 months. Which as E-K correctly states, will be used as a reason for more restrictions 'until the vaccine arrives'.

E-K said...

Yes, Sobers the "But we're so close to a vaccine, Prime Minister - if we don't lock down again soon you will be responsible for the unnecessary deaths of tens of thousands !"