Tag Archives: Covid-19

MEDICINE: WHY LONG COVID IS STILL NOT UNDERSTOOD

Even mild COVID-19 is at least correlated with a startlingly wide spectrum of seemingly every illness. We need a much better taxonomy to address people’s suffering.

Long Covid – Whole Body Symptoms

From The Atlantic, October 5, 2022:

The cases of long covid that turn up in news reports, the medical literature, and in the offices of doctors like me fall into a few rough (and sometimes overlapping) categories. The first seems most readily explainable: the combination of organ damage, often profound physical debilitation, and poor mental health inflicted by severe pneumonia and resultant critical illness.

This serious long-term COVID-19 complication gets relatively little media attention despite its severity. The coronavirus can cause acute respiratory distress syndrome, the gravest form of pneumonia, which can in turn provoke a spiral of inflammation and injury that can end up taking down virtually every organ. I have seen many such complications in the ICU: failing hearts, collapsed lungs, failed kidneys, brain hemorrhages, limbs cut off from blood flow, and more. More than 7 million COVID-19 hospitalizations occurred in the United States before the Omicron wave, suggesting that millions could be left with damaged lungs or complications of critical illness. Whether these patients’ needs for care and rehabilitation are being adequately (and equitably) met is unclear: Ensuring that they are is an urgent priority.

Read full article at The Atlantic

Technology: How AI Can Improve Diagnostics (GAO)

Each year, medical diagnosis errors affect the health of millions of Americans and cost billions of dollars. Machine learning technologies can help identify hidden or complex patterns in diagnostic data to detect diseases earlier and improve treatments.

Several machine learning (ML) technologies are available in the U.S. to assist with the diagnostic process. The resulting benefits include earlier detection of diseases; more consistent analysis of medical data; and increased access to care, particularly for underserved populations. GAO identified a variety of ML-based technologies for five selected diseases

  • Certain cancers,
  • Diabetic retinopathy,
  • Alzheimer’s disease,
  • Heart disease,
  • COVID-19

Most technologies relying on data from imaging such as x-rays or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). However, these ML technologies have generally not been widely adopted.

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Covid-19: China Approves The First Inhaled Vaccine

The vaccine, called Convidecia Air, changes the liquid form of the vaccine into an aerosol using a nebuilzer. The vaccine can then be inhaled through the mouth using the nebulizer machine. The needle-free vaccine “can effectively induce comprehensive immune protection in response to SARS-CoV-2 after just one breath,” Cansino said in a statement.

In July, Chinese scientists published a pre-print study showing that people who received one booster dose of Cansino’s inhaled vaccine after two doses of the inactivated jab from Chinese maker Sinovac developed more antibodies than people who received three Sinovac shots. Four weeks after receiving the inhaled booster, 92.5% of people had developed neutralizing antibodies for Omicron.

Those who got three doses on Sinovac’s jab did not demonstrate any neutralizing antibodies for Omicron, either four weeks or six months after getting a booster.

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COMMENTS:

Spray vaccines will be our best chance to stop Covid.

However, there are two big problems that have to be solved.

The first problem is keeping up with the blitzkrieg mutation capacity that Covid has. Our best chance to do that is with the mRNA technology, which permits vaccine generation with minimal delay. However, mRNA vaccines are too fragile to be suitable for a nasal or oral spray. The particles would be destroyed before they could activate the mucosal immune system.

But it is still possible, using laboratory technology to convert this mRNA into peptides and proteins suitable for use as a spray. Using AI to generate three dimensional shapes, surely a  stable molecule of suitable configuration and stability could be eventually generated.

The second appears to have been partially solved by the Chinese, according to the Fortune  article, namely getting an injectable vaccine into a suitable form and dose to survive the bodies mucosal clearance mechanisms and enzymes, designed to keep foreign sprays and mists out of the body, in enough concentration to stimulate the mucosal immune system.

Our bodies have developed a parallel Defense system using a unique immunoglobulin, IGA, and  special support cells. When stimulated, immunity bristles as a first line of defense to deny incoming viruses entrance to the body. This is what is needed to prevent infection from occurring in the first place, so extremely important for a highly infectious and potentially lethal virus such as Covid.

The Chinese, with their autocratic system,  have a better chance of making everybody take this vaccine, even though it requires a cumbersome liquid nebulizer to generate the mist.

Better would be a handheld inhaler, and, hopefully, this is what some dozen pharmaceutical corporations, working on a nasal or inhaled vaccine , are aiming for.

—Dr. C.

COVID-19: HEART DISEASE RISKS RISE AFTER INFECTION

In December 2020, a week before cardiologist Stuart Katz was scheduled to receive his first COVID-19 vaccine, he came down with a fever. He spent the next two weeks wracked with a cough, body aches and chills. After months of helping others to weather the pandemic, Katz, who works at New York University, was having his own first-hand experience of COVID-19.

On Christmas Day, Katz’s acute illness finally subsided. But many symptoms lingered, including some related to the organ he’s built his career around: the heart. Walking up two flights of stairs would leave him breathless, with his heart racing at 120 beats per minute. Over the next several months, he began to feel better, and he’s now back to his normal routine of walking and cycling. But reports about COVID-19’s effects on the cardiovascular system have made him concerned about his long-term health. “I say to myself, ‘Well, is it really over?’” Katz says.

In one study1 this year, researchers used records from the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to estimate how often COVID-19 leads to cardiovascular problems. They found that people who had had the disease faced substantially increased risks for 20 cardiovascular conditions — including potentially catastrophic problems such as heart attacks and strokes — in the year after infection with the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. Researchers say that these complications can happen even in people who seem to have completely recovered from a mild infection.

Some smaller studies have mirrored these findings, but others find lower rates of complications. With millions or perhaps even billions of people having been infected with SARS-CoV-2, clinicians are wondering whether the pandemic will be followed by a cardiovascular aftershock. Meanwhile, researchers are trying to understand who is most at risk of these heart-related problems, how long the risk persists and what causes these symptoms.

COMMENTARY:

 The heart and Covid are connected from a variety of angles.

Obese people with high blood fats, diabetes, the metabolic syndrome tend to have atherosclerosis and heart problems, making them more susceptible to severe Covid and long Covid. Covid loves to involve the lining of blood vessels and the heart, the endothelium, where the number of ACE receptors are high.

The respiratory tract and lung are a particular target for Covid, and reduced oxygen from lung involvement can compromise the hard-working heart.

 Heart cells, cardio myocytes, can be directly infected with the virus. Even Covid vaccines can rarely produce myocarditis, raising the possibility that there is some antigenic similarity between the virus and heart cells, similar to the beta hemolytic streptococcus and the heart which sets up rheumatic fever. 

If this similarity is real, the tendency of Covid to compromise the immune system and produce a cytokine storm in severe cases could therefore specifically involve the heart.

The nature article indicates several different varieties of heart problems and is a recommended read. From my personal standpoint, arrhythmias were mentioned, and I already have trouble with a couple of different types, AF and NSVT.

To make definite statements about the likelihood of heart involvement in Covid is problematic. The patients reported on were infected with an earlier strain of Covid, and the present one, BA.5, seems to be milder, and  may not be as hard on the heart as previous strains. Many more people are now immunized, and the most susceptible patients may have passed away. There are medications to take, such as remdesivir, and even select immune globulins, such as an immuno-suppressed friend of mine was given when he contracted Covid recently.

The bottom line for me is that I am 90 years old and have no desire to let Covid have a crack at me, so I avoid big gatherings, and wear a mask whenever I am exposed.

—Dr. C.

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Covid-19: Can A Vaccine Be Developed That Lasts?

“Roughly two and a half years into the pandemic, White House officials and health experts have reached a pivotal conclusion about Covid-19 vaccines: The current approach of offering booster shots every few months isn’t sustainable.

Though most vaccines take years to develop, the Covid shots now in use were created in record time—in a matter of months. For health authorities and a public desperate for tools to deal with the pandemic, their speedy arrival provided a huge lift, preventing hospitalizations and deaths while helping people to escape lockdowns and return to work, school and many other aspects of pre-Covid life.”

Studies: Covid Increases Type 2 Diabetes Risk By 40%

The true disability cost of the COVID-19 pandemic is still unknown, but more and more studies are adding to the list of potential fallout from even mild COVID 19 infection. 

In this episode of Coronapod we discuss a massive association study which links COVID-19 cases with an increase in the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. We delve into the numbers to ask how big the risk might be? Whether any casual relationship can be drawn from this association? And what might be in store from future research into COVID and chronic disease?

News: Diabetes risk rises after COVID, massive study finds

COVID-19: A REVIEW OF THE BEST RAPID AT-HOME TESTS

New high-tech Covid-19 tests promise better and earlier detection of the virus—similar to a PCR test. WSJ’s Joanna Stern (and her mannequin clone) tried out the Detect Covid-19 Test and Cue Health Monitoring System to see how they compare with rapid antigen tests. Photo illustration: Ryan Trefes/ WSJ

Covid-19: Review Of Latest Treatments & Medicines