germs

The freaks of chance

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{ Seventy-seven cases of a new variant linked to a surge in Covid-19 cases in India have been found in the UK | FT | full story }

‘Film making is the process of turning money into light and then back into money again.’ –John Boorman

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Stanford scientists saved drops of the COVID-19 vaccine destined for the garbage can, reverse engineered them, and have posted the mRNA sequence that powers the vaccine on GitHub for all to see.

The GitHub post is four pages long. The first two are an explanation by the team of scientists about the work, the second two pages are the entire mRNA sequence for the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.

{ Vice | Continue reading }

The triple Fates and unforgetting Furies

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The U.K.’s B.1.1.7 variant has spread to more than eighty countries and has been doubling every ten days in the U.S., where it is expected to soon become the dominant variant. […] new evidence also suggests that people infected with it have higher viral loads and remain infectious longer, which could have implications for quarantine guidelines. […]

“The fact that different variants have independently hit on the same mutations suggests we’re already seeing the limits of where the virus can go,” McLellan told me. “It has a finite number of options.”

Over time, SARS-CoV-2 is likely to become less lethal, not more. When people are exposed to a virus, they often develop “cross-reactive” immunity that protects them against future infection, not just for that virus, but also for related strains; with time, the virus also exhausts the mutational possibilities that might allow it to infect cells while eluding the immune system’s memory. “This is what we think happened to viruses that cause the common cold,” McLellan said. “It probably caused a major illness in the past. Then it evolved to a place where it’s less deadly. But, of course, it’s still with us.” It’s possible that a coronavirus that now causes the common cold, OC43, was responsible for the “Russian flu” of 1889, which killed a million people. But OC43, like other coronaviruses, became less dangerous with time. Today, most of us are exposed to OC43 and other endemic coronaviruses as children, and we experience only mild symptoms. For SARS-CoV-2, such a future could be years or decades away.

{ New Yorker | Continue reading }

‘Cannot wait to get the COVID vaccine so I can touch my face again.’ –Scott Shapiro

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Higher airborne pollen concentrations correlated with increased SARS-CoV-2 infection rates, as evidenced from 31 countries across the globe

[…]

We found that pollen, sometimes in synergy with humidity and temperature, explained, on average, 44% of the infection rate variability. Lockdown halved infection rates under similar pollen concentrations. […]

Pollen grains act on the very site of virus entry, the nasal epithelium, by inhibiting antiviral λ-IFN responses.

{ PNAS | Continue reading }

previously { We conclude that pollen is a predictor for the inverse seasonality of flu-like epidemics including COVID-19 }

wax crayon on paper { Jean-Michel Basquiat, Dog Shit in the Head of the Pope, 1981 }

A planet where apes evolved from men?

Veterinary techs distribute food every morning to more than 5,000 monkeys at the Tulane University National Primate Research Center outside New Orleans. […] Mr. Lewis, the chief executive of Bioqual, was responsible for providing lab monkeys to pharmaceutical companies like Moderna and Johnson & Johnson, which needed the animals to develop their Covid-19 vaccines.

Unable to furnish scientists with monkeys, which can cost more than $10,000 each, about a dozen companies were left scrambling for research animals at the height of the pandemic. […] The latest shortage has revived talk about creating a strategic monkey reserve in the United States, an emergency stockpile similar to those maintained by the government for oil and grain. […]

No country can make up for what China previously supplied. Before the pandemic, China provided over 60 percent of the 33,818 primates, mostly cynomolgus macaques, imported into the United States in 2019.

{ NY Times | Continue reading }

related { Drunk monkey sentenced to life behind bars after attacking 250 humans }

hey yayo, beep the air horn

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{ South Africa is back to its pre-B.1.351 baseline in covid cases. There’s no proof this variant is more infectious. Its immune evasion is enough to explain how it took off. And the descent occurred without vaccines. | Eric Topol }

If you see me in the club, nothin’ but Cris poppin’

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California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Friday revealed the most expensive budget in state history — a $227 billion spending plan highlighted by a $15 billion one-time surplus. How is it possible? […]

The Democratic governor and state lawmakers passed a budget last year with deep spending cuts to cover what they expected to be a $54.3 billion pandemic-induced shortfall. That estimate was wrong, as the recession was not as deep as they had anticipated […]

job losses have been concentrated among low-wage workers, who pay relatively little taxes […] wealthy residents have continued to make money and pay taxes, leading to much greater tax collections than officials predicted in early summer. 

{ AP | Cal Matters }

photo { Sheron Rupp, Mansfiled, OH, 2001-2002 }

Every day, the same, again

55.jpgrats, with holes in their knee joints drilled by the researchers to mimic cancer pain, who where exposed to Mozart K448 Sonata, consumed more food, gained more weight, and expressed lower amounts of p38a and p38b than the control group.

Many people may not have noticed yet but a few months ago, a kind of unassuming little pickup truck emoji appeared on most peoples’ electronic devices. The story behind that little truck is actually a window into the shadowy corporate cabal behind emoji and the big and sometimes dare we say DARK MONEY that companies are pushing around behind the scenes to shape our keyboards and influence how we communicate every day. [NPR]

What Is Rough Sex, Who Does It, and Who Likes It?

What makes a good question? What principles govern human information acquisition and how do people decide which query to conduct to achieve their goals?

This study uses the unprecedented changes in the sex ratio due to the losses of men during World War II to identify the impacts of the gender imbalance on marriage market and birth outcomes in Japan.

Bitcoin uses more electricity than Argentina

Jamaica faces marijuana shortage as farmers struggle and Louis Vuitton pulls “Jamaican Sweater” from online store after using wrong flag colors

Food sharing has become quite popular over the last decade, with companies offering food options specifically designed to be shared. As the popularity has grown, so too has concerns over the potential negative impact on consumer health. Despite companies’ explicit claims to the contrary, critics maintain that food sharing may be encouraging excessive caloric intake. The current article provides the first systematic exploration of why this may be happening. […] Our findings suggest that food sharing may be encouraging excessive caloric intake by leading consumers to underestimate the fattening potential brought on by shared food consumption.

We argue that Internet search reduces the likelihood of information being stored in memory.

Scientists are working on a shot that could protect against Covid-19, its variants, certain seasonal colds — and the next coronavirus pandemic. [NY Times]

In evolutionary terms, SARS-CoV-2 is an ‘evasion-light’ pathogen. It has not had to acquire an armamentarium of molecular features to outwit immune responses in general and neutralizing antibodies in particular. This is because it currently transmits from one person to another before immune responses have developed — and, in many cases, before disease symptoms are noted. Other pathogens are ‘evasion-strong’. The extreme example is HIV. It frequently co-exists with human immune systems, possibly for years, before onward transmission. […] The emergence of another pathogen with the evasion capabilities of HIV might be the worse-case scenario for a pandemic. […] A special class of protective antibodies called broadly neutralizing antibodies acts against many different strains of related virus — for example, of HIV, influenza or coronavirus. Such antibodies could be used as first-line drugs to prevent or treat viruses in a given family, including new lineages or strains that have not yet emerged. More importantly, they could be used to design vaccines against many members of a given family of viruses. [ Nature]

Israel’s swift vaccination rollout has made it the largest real-world study of Pfizer Inc’s COVID-19 vaccine. Results are trickling in. […] Among the first fully-vaccinated group there was a 53% reduction in new cases, a 39% decline in hospitalizations and a 31% drop in severe illnesses from mid-January until Feb. 6, said Eran Segal, data scientist at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel. In the same period, among people under age 60 who became eligible for shots later, new cases dropped 20% but hospitalizations and severe illness rose 15% and 29%, respectively. […] “We’ve so far identified the same 90% to 95% efficacy against the British strain […] It’s too early to say anything about the South African variant.” [Reuters]

The index case was a symptomatic patient in whom isolation was discontinued after 2 negative results on nasopharyngeal polymerase chain reaction testing. The patient subsequently infected multiple roommates and staff, who then infected others.

Susceptibility to infection such as SARS-CoV-2 may be influenced by host genotype. We found heritability of 49% (32−64%) for delirium; 34% (20−47%) for diarrhea; 31% (8−52%) for fatigue; 19% (0−38%) for anosmia; 46% (31−60%) for skipped meals and 31% (11−48%) for predicted COVID-19.

The idea was to provide medicines preventing or treating COVID-19 at a low cost or free of charge, the British university said. […] “We actually thought they were going to do that,” James Love, director of Knowledge Ecology International, a nonprofit that works to expand access to medical technology, said of Oxford’s pledge. […] A few weeks later, Oxford—urged on by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation —reversed course. It signed an exclusive vaccine deal with AstraZeneca that gave the pharmaceutical giant sole rights and no guarantee of low prices—with the less-publicized potential for Oxford to eventually make millions from the deal and win plenty of prestige.

Covid reinfections may be more common than realized. In Washington state, health officials are investigating nearly 700 cases that meet the criteria for possible reinfection. In Colorado, officials estimate that possible reinfections make up just 0.1 percent of positive coronavirus cases. In Minnesota, officials have investigated more than 150 cases of suspected reinfection.

During the second wave, in autumn 1918, cantonal authorities initially reacted hesitantly and delegated the responsibility to enact interventions to municipal authorities [..] A premature relaxation of restrictions on mass gatherings was associated with a resurgence of the epidemic. Strikingly similar patterns were found in the management of the COVID-19 outbreak in Switzerland.

Vitamin D supplementation to the older adult population in Germany has the cost-saving potential of preventing almost 30,000 cancer deaths per year

The rectal depth to which the thermistor is inserted affects measurement of rectal temperature. Clinicians should insert flexible rectal thermistors 15 cm (6 in) into the rectum.

McKinsey Settles for Nearly $600 Million Over Role in Opioid Crisis — The consulting firm has reached agreements with 49 states because of its sales advice to drugmakers, including Purdue Pharma, the manufacturer of OxyContin.

The Shocking Meltdown of Ample Hills — Brooklyn’s Hottest Ice Cream Company — They had $19 million, a deal with Disney, and dreams of becoming the next Ben & Jerry’s. Then everything fell apart.

Facing deficit (a potential shortfall of $150 million because of the pandemic), the Metropolitan Museum of Art has begun conversations with auction houses and its curators about selling some artworks to help pay for care of the collection. [NY Times]

People often use short timezone abbreviations like EST and PST to refer to timezones. If you’re doing this in a computer program, you are almost certainly making a huge mistake.

America’s Most Hated Office Jargon — Synergy, Teamwork, Thinking outside the box…

The Uni boxing Glove

almost a new virus

Ice cream tests positive for coronavirus in China

mutant strain in South Africa strongly resistant to past immunity. almost a new virus.

Smartwatches can help detect COVID-19 days before symptoms appear (subtle heartbeat changes)

Almost a third of recovered Covid patients return to hospital in five months and one in eight die — Research has found a devastating long-term toll on survivors, with people developing heart problems, diabetes and chronic conditions

Evidence is growing that self-attacking ‘autoantibodies’ could be the key to understanding some of the worst cases of SARS-CoV-2 infection.

That’s for us to know and you to find out

bulls.jpg A couple in Canada have been fined for breaking Covid curfew rules after the woman was caught “walking” her husband on a leash

We are currently faced with the question of how the CoV-2 severity may change in the years ahead. […] once the endemic phase is reached and primary exposure is in childhood, CoV-2 may be no more virulent than the common cold

First detection of SARS-CoV-2 spike protein N501 mutation [B.1.1.7/UK variant] in Italy in August, 2020

We have detected a new variant circulating in December in Manaus, Amazonas state, north Brazil

Japan has found a new Covid variant

How Dangerous Are New COVID-19 Strains?

These results provide evidence for the neuroinvasive capacity of SARS-CoV-2 and an unexpected consequence of direct infection of neurons by SARS-CoV-2

mRNA vaccines, what are in those injections and what happens once the shot is given

The Importance of Face Masks for COVID-19

The best masks remain N95s, which are designed with ultrahigh filtration efficiency. Layering two less specialized masks on top of each other can provide comparable protection.

N95 mask with RGB LEDs and voice projection. Each of the respirator-meets-amplifier rings can glow in the color of your choosing. Microphones and amplifiers embedded in the ventilators project your voice through the mask.

The virus will evolve fast enough to keep itself going

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UK scientists worry vaccines may not protect against South African coronavirus variant Vaccine makers are testing shots against new variants

In southeastern England, where the B.1.1.7 variant first caught scientists’ attention last month, it has quickly replaced other variants “One concern is that B.1.1.7 will now become the dominant global variant with its higher transmission and it will drive another very, very bad wave”

E484K (South African lineage) worrying for immune escape; RBD mutations in UK lineage less so (1/n).

In-Flight Transmission of SARS-CoV-2 Despite Predeparture Testing

“Even if we rolled out the best vaccine coverage program ever, we’re not going to vaccinate everybody. We can’t do it simultaneously. The virus will evolve fast enough to keep itself going. I think it’s endemic.”

Transmission Dynamics of Sars-CoV-2 Are More Complex Than Previously Believed

Breathing techniques from declassified CIA documents

‘There’s not a joy the world can give like that it takes away.’ –Lord Byron

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The pandemic is conventionally marked as having begun on 4 March 1918 […] The first wave of the flu lasted from the first quarter of 1918 and was relatively mild […]

The second wave began in the second half of August 1918 […] much more deadly than the first […]

In January 1919, a third wave hit Australia […] then spread quickly through Europe and the United States, where it lingered through the Spring and until June 1919. […] It was less severe than the second wave but still much more deadly than the initial first wave. […]

In spring 1920, a fourth wave occurred in isolated areas including New York City, Switzerland, Scandinavia, and some South American islands. […] Peru experienced a late wave in early 1920, and Japan had one from late 1919 to 1920, with the last cases in March. In Europe, five countries (Spain, Denmark, Finland, Germany and Switzerland) recorded a late peak between January–April 1920. […]

Scientists offer several possible explanations for the high mortality rate of the 1918 influenza pandemic […]

Studies have shown that the immune system of Spanish flu victims was weakened by adverse climate conditions which were particularly unseasonably cold and wet for extended periods of time during the duration of the pandemic. This affected especially WWI troops exposed to incessant rains and lower-than-average temperatures for the duration of the conflict, and especially during the second wave of the pandemic. […] The climate anomaly has been associated with an anthropogenic increase in atmospheric dust, due to the incessant bombardment; increased nucleation due to dust particles (cloud condensation nuclei) contributed to increased precipitation. […]

Some analyses have shown the virus to be particularly deadly because it triggers a cytokine storm, which ravages the stronger immune system of young adults. In contrast, a 2007 analysis of medical journals from the period of the pandemic found that the viral infection was no more aggressive than previous influenza strains. Instead, malnourishment, overcrowded medical camps and hospitals, and poor hygiene, all exacerbated by the recent war, promoted bacterial superinfection. This superinfection killed most of the victims, typically after a somewhat prolonged death bed.

The 1918 Spanish flu was the first of two pandemics caused by H1N1 influenza A virus; the second was the 2009 swine flu pandemic.

{ Wikipedia | Continue reading }

‘What see’st thou else in the dark backward and abysm of time?’ –Shakespeare

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By mid-December, the Northern Hemisphere is usually well into the start of its annual cold and flu season — but so far this year, even as the COVID-19 pandemic surges in dozens of countries, the levels of many common seasonal infections remain extremely low. […] In the Southern Hemisphere — now past its winter — seasonal influenza hardly struck at all. That looks as though it might happen in the north, too.

Conversely, some common-cold viruses have thrived, and tantalizing evidence suggests that they might, in some cases, protect against COVID-19. One study of more than 800,000 people, for example, showed that adults who had had cold symptoms within the previous year were less likely to test positive for SARS-CoV-2 — although why this is so remains a mystery. […] One possible explanation is that previous infection with a coronavirus (another cause of the common cold) could confer some immunity to SARS-CoV-2. […] Previous coronavirus infections do seem to generate T cells and B cells — immune-system cells that help to attack and remember pathogens — that can recognize SARS-CoV-2. These pre-existing cells might provide some partial cross-protection against the new coronavirus. A few studies have shown that, because of other coronavirus infections, about one-quarter of people have antibodies that can bind to the SARS-CoV-2 virus. […]

Another way that seasonal colds might be contributing to COVID-19 immunity is that a current rhinovirus infection might interfere directly with SARS-CoV-2 — perhaps by kicking off interferon responses, part of the immune system that inhibits viral reproduction. A study6 by Ware and his colleagues, for example, shows that someone with a rhinovirus infection is 70% less likely to also get a common coronavirus infection, compared with someone who doesn’t have the sniffles.

{ Nature | Continue reading }

Never did the one neighbor understand the other

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{ Covid-19 death rates per 100,000 population by country | Wikipedia }

While still alive, they both were hurled into the fiery lake that burns with sulfur

fake drive-through coronavirus testing sites have been cropping up in recent weeks […] scammers are dressing up like medical professionals and conducting fake, unsanitary tests for money and identity theft, while possibly spreading the virus. […] Reports about such sites have emerged in Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, New York, and Washington state.

{ two cents | Continue reading }

related { Amplification-free detection of SARS-CoV-2 with CRISPR-Cas13a and mobile phone microscopy }

the very water was eviparated and all the guenneses had met their exodus

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Restaurant A was located on the first floor of a six-story building totaling 96.6 square meters in size (9.2 × 10.5 m) without windows or a ventilation system. […] The index case was infected at a 6.5 m away from the infector and 5 minutes exposure without any direct or indirect contact.

{ Journal of Korean Medical Science | Continue reading }

related { New Orleans swingers’ convention led to 41 Covid-19 infections, event organizer says }

Every day, the same, again

34.jpgWife blows thousands on vet bills after husband blames his farts on the dog

Confusion about left and right occurs in 14.6% of the general population

Thai coconut suppliers accused of using monkeys as forced labor

A new study demonstrates a method for deciphering the timing of a deceased person’s death using a lock of hair.

New research suggests that nightmares prepare us to better face our fears

More people are getting COVID-19 twice, suggesting immunity wanes quickly in some

Immunity to the coronavirus may last years, maybe even decades, according to a new study [NY Times]

Dr. Fauci: “I think that we’re going to have some degree of public health measures together with the vaccine for a considerable period of time. But we’ll start approaching normal — if the overwhelming majority of people take the vaccine — as we get into the third or fourth quarter [of 2021].” [NY Times]

Medical literature suggests vitamin D protects against respiratory infections. Humans exposed to sunlight produce vitamin D directly. A 10% increase in relative sunlight decreases fall influenza by 1.1 out of 10.

Thanksgiving Dinner during COVID: Overview of Aerosol Transmission Risk Modeling

Steak-Umm Against COVID-19 Misinformation

Rules for strong passwords don’t work, researchers find. Here’s what does

Using two-factor authentication, or 2FA, is the right thing to do. But you put yourself at risk getting codes over text. We explain why.

The Bodies Of Dead Climbers On Everest Are Serving As Guideposts More: The Story Behind ‘Green Boots’

The cyanometer, a device invented in 1789 to measure the blueness of the sky

A portable pillow that you wear as a sleeve. Patent No. 10835062

And how can an immaterial thing like a mind or soul, which does not have motion, put a body (the human body) into motion?

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Artificial intelligence model detects asymptomatic Covid-19 infections through cellphone-recorded coughs

The researchers trained the model on tens of thousands of samples of coughs, as well as spoken words. When they fed the model new cough recordings, it accurately identified 98.5 percent of coughs from people who were confirmed to have Covid-19, including 100 percent of coughs from asymptomatics — who reported they did not have symptoms but had tested positive for the virus.

The team is working on incorporating the model into a user-friendly app, which if FDA-approved and adopted on a large scale could potentially be a free, convenient, noninvasive prescreening tool to identify people who are likely to be asymptomatic for Covid-19.

{ Technology Review | Continue reading }

also { Detection of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein in saliva with Shrinky-Dink© electrodes }

oil on canvas { Tom Wesselmann, Smoker #11, 1973 }

776 HEAD AND EYE MOVEMENTS

“A STUDENT IN 6 MINUTES HAD 776 HEAD AND EYE MOVEMENTS” Cheating-detection companies made millions during the pandemic.

Early analysis finds Moderna’s vaccine nearly 95% effective. The biotechnology firm announced that in addition to the high rate of disease prevention overall, the shot reduced severe cases of illness. Moderna’s vaccine, co-developed with Fauci’s institute, is being tested in 30,000 people. [Washington Post]

55 people attended the Aug. 7 [wedding reception. But one of those guests arrived with a coronavirus infection. Over the next 38 days, the virus spread to 176 other people. Seven of them died. None of the victims who lost their lives had attended the party. [LA Times]

Now the autumn is here, and hospitalisations from Covid-19 are currently rising faster in Sweden than in any other country in Europe […] The number of patients hospitalised with Covid-19 is doubling in Sweden every eight days currently, the fastest rate for any European country for which data is available. [Financial Times] _+ Deaths now tracking >40% USA equivalent

Study claims 18% of Covid patients later diagnosed with mental illness such as anxiety, depression or insomnia

Message to Coronavirus from the Tarzan of TikTok [Thanks Tim] +TikTok says the Trump administration has forgotten about trying to ban it, would like to know what’s up

‘Only when he has suffered does the fool learn.’ –Hesiod

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previously { 15 days ago Slovakia tested almost its entire population, and people who tested positive were quarantined | CNN | Politico }