I am providing links to several articles that I thought were interesting. As you know, I like articles in highly reputable, peer reviewed journals because the information that they publish is much more likely to be true.
- The importance of safe vaccines
- Vaccines have a history of disasters
- Antibodies last at least 4 months
- Steroids save lives
- Face shields are not as good as masks
- Beware of buses
The importance of safe vaccines
Many people avoid vaccines out of fear. Many others who would normally be eager to get a Covid-19 vaccine will be less eager this time. This is because lots of scientists are expressing concerns over safety.
They are afraid that the White House is going to pressure the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) into reducing the safety requirements so that a vaccine will be out before the election.
I personally am eager for a vaccine, but I do not trust some of the government’s scientists to do what is right for the public. Several have demonstrated that they are willing to lie to keep the White House happy.
For example, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) told governors this week (see below) that they need to be prepared for a vaccine being available by the end of October. I bet every medical expert in the country believes they were forced to say that by the White House.
Why? Because it is very unlikely to be true. Is there a reason other than political pressure from the White House to say something untrue? This falsehood will generate a lot of hope and enthusiasm in the week before the election, which will benefit the president.
The leaders of the CDC and FDA know that the White House has an extensive history of punishing people who did not help it politically. People who should be non-political are put in a difficult position. They have to choose between keeping their jobs and tarnishing their reputations. Many have made a choice to benefit their careers at a cost to the rest of us.
CDC says vaccine might be available in late October
There are currently 2 clinical trials in stage 3 of testing. Each has 30,000 patients and they should conclude by the end of the year. Dr. Fauci said that an independent board has the authority to end the trials several weeks early if the results are overwhelmingly positive or negative.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) sent a letter to governors to have their public health officials prepared to distribute a Covid-19 vaccine in late October. States will have to alter their current guidelines to allow the use of vaccines that are still in clinical trials.
The CDC release says, “Limited COVID -19 vaccine doses may be available by early November 2020, but COVID-19 vaccine supply will increase substantially in 2021.”
The CDC is not saying that a vaccine will be available in the week before the election. All they are saying is that the states need to be prepared for a vaccine just ahead of the election.
Once there finally is an approved vaccine, it will be 1st available to high risk people, which includes 1st responders, nursing home residents and staff, essential workers. After that, presumably other at risk people will get priority. These include those over 65 and those pre-existing conditions.
Then, finally, it will be available to anyone who wants it. Since we need hundreds of millions of doses, the first widespread vaccinations will probably be in late winter at the earliest. And again, this is true only if a vaccine is safe and effective.
The FDA might approve a vaccine before safety tests are complete
Suppose the FDA and the CDC announce that they are extremely concerned about nearly 200,000 dead Americans. What if they then say that this is such an urgent problem that they revised the safety requirements so that the FDA could approve vaccines much earlier than possible under the current guidelines?
I and a lot of other medical scientists will not believe that this is in the public’s best interest. We will conclude that it is only being done because of political pressure to help the President. If I feel that the vaccine has not been fully tested, I will wait.
Vaccines have a history of disasters
Why wait? Because there is a track record of serious problems with vaccines. In 1955, we used a polio vaccine from Cutter Labs on 200,000 kids. It turns out that one batch contained live polio vaccine and 40,000 of the kids got polio.
Over the next decade, scientists used monkeys to create polio vaccines. What they did not know is that many of the monkeys had a virus (simian virus 40), and 10 – 30% of the polio vaccines contained that monkey virus.
In 1976, there was a swine flu. President Ford believed the scientists who said that this flu could turn into a pandemic. They therefore rushed a vaccine through and gave it to 40 million people. About 1 in 100,000 people came down with Guillain-Barre syndrome, which is a type of paralysis.
Is rushing a vaccine worth it?
So what if the FDA rushes through a vaccine this time to help the president? Dr. Howard Markel, the director of the Center for the History of Medicine at the University of Michigan has a simple answer… “It would be colossally stupid.”
Vaccine testing goes through 3 stages. The 3rd and final one is the most important. It typically involves tens of thousands of volunteers and the FDA needs it to confirm the safety and effectiveness of a vaccine.
However, the FDA is talking about approving vaccines before stage 3 is complete. Dr. Markel warned, “This is one of the most ridiculous things I’ve heard this administration say. All it takes is one bad side effect to basically botch a vaccine program that we desperately need against this virus. It’s a prescription for disaster.”
Some news is just not interesting
Johnson and Johnson reported that a single dose of their vaccine prevents infections in hamsters. They exposed the hamsters to the virus 4 weeks later and the vaccinated hamsters did not appear to get sick.
We are already late in clinical trials on humans. I’m not that interested in rodent studies. Also, this is annoying because this should have been done before testing it on people. My take-away is that I will make sure to vaccinate the next hamster that I buy so that he won’t get Covid.
Antibodies last at least 4 months
There was a large study from Iceland in this week’s New England Journal of Medicine that found that level of antibodies did not decline 4 months after a Covid-19 infection. This is important because that would indicate that a person would probably be free from a 2nd infection for at least 4 months.
It is important to note that the level of antibodies after a vaccine will probably be at least 1.5 to 2 times higher than after a Covid infection. Therefore, I would assume that that protection would last at least 6 – 12 months.
I don’t mind getting a repeat vaccine every 6 months, but I doubt that I would get it more often. This study makes me think that I will not need a booster shot for at least 6 months. With some luck, we might need it only once a year. If that is true, they probably can combine it with the annual flu shot. I have written a few times that I am hoping that this will be the case.
No one wants to change their life forever because of the pandemic. This study makes me believe that life will be essentially totally back to normal within a year or two.
Steroids save lives
The World Health Organization looked at pooled data from 7 randomize trials and concluded that steroids save lives in severely ill Covid-19 patients. This confirmed an unpublished study that showed the effectiveness of steroids in very ill Covid-19 patients.
Face shields are not as good as masks
You sometimes see people wearing face shields. The shields look good and cover your entire face, and it is easy to breathe. A group of scientists tested their effectiveness compared to that of ordinary face masks and concluded that face masks are much better than shields.
This is because of the obvious issue that air easily flows around the shield. This is unlike a face mask. If a mask is worn properly, most of the air goes through the mask. The mask traps the tiny water droplets containing the virus particles, greatly reducing the transmission of the virus.
They concluded, “The research suggests that to minimize the community spread of COVID-19, it may be preferable to use high-quality cloth or surgical masks that are of a plain design instead of face shields and masks equipped with exhale valves.”
They went on to say, “Overall, the visuals presented here indicate that face shields and masks with exhale valves may not be as effective as regular face masks in restricting the spread of aerosolized droplets. Thus, despite the increased comfort that these alternatives offer, it may be preferable to use well-constructed plain masks.”
Beware of buses
There was a report of 2 buses in China, each with about 60 passengers. One bus had a Covid-19 patient. Afterwards, 24 of the people on that bus tested positive, but none of the people on the other bus tested positive.
Also, sitting far from the infected person did not provide protection. They therefore concluded that the spread was through the ventilation system, and not simply direct spread from sitting near the infected person.
They observed, “Within bus 2, individuals in high-risk zones had moderately, but nonsignificantly, higher risk for COVID-19 compared with those in the low-risk zones. The absence of a significantly increased risk in the part of the bus closer to the index case suggested that airborne spread of the virus may at least partially explain the markedly high attack rate observed… The investigations suggest that, in closed environments with air recirculation, SARS-CoV-2 is a highly transmissible pathogen.”
With this in mind, NPR had a an article this week about how to protect yourself from virus particles lingering in the air.
Dr. Brooks’s earlier special reports on the Covid-19 pandemic:
- CDC report, immunity, HCQ, pseudoscience and patient care
- Covid-19: Heart disease, Russian vaccine, and the end of the hydroxychloroquine hoax
- Many Covid vaccines and treatments, and less flu
- Covid-19 pandemic vaccine and its euphoric market impact