As we plan back to school with COVID-19, this is a key question.
The data isn’terribly univocal. Here’s an article from the US with some international data which says they are spreaders.
And here’s one from UK telling us that they aren’t. I suspect US more closely mirrors Canada, but I don’t know why there’s this broad disparity.
In medicine, as in life, nothing is perfect.
This is true of vaccines. No vaccine is 100% effective. Yet, vaccines have produced massive declines in many serious illnesses, and succeeded in eradicating two such illnesses (smallpox in humans and rinderpest in cattle).
Since COVID-19 has come along, everyone is talking about herd immunity. This is a straightforward idea. Let’s say I’ve never had smallpox. I’ve never been vaccinated against it. But, if you put me in a group of people who are immune to smallpox, I’ll never catch smallpox. Why? Because they can’t catch it to spread it to me.
New study may well explain why hydroxychloroquine doesn’t work in humans.
Unlike the tissue cultures, human lung cells don’t have the proper enzymes, so virus enters by different receptors that hydroxychloroquine can’t affect.
Remember, the 2005 study that everyone claims is a conspiracy was done in Vero E6 cells. These are green monkey KIDNEY cells, not lungs.
Social media is one again a-twitter (pun intended) over hydroxychloroquine as a supposed COVID-19 therapy that is (for some reason) being suppressed by a variety of evil actors: physicians, Big Pharma, Anthony Fauci, etc.
This is a modest effort to explain why these arguments don’t make sense, or are misleading.
Newsweek published an article by a doctor who doesn’t (so far as I know) believe that reptilians run the US government and alien DNA is being used in scientific experiments.
He does, however, claim hydroxychloroquine helps COVID-19.
As far as we know, this is false. My brief note on this is here.
And his article is terrible. If you want a point by point analysis, see here. A quote:
The rest of Prof. Risch’s AJE article is a veritable Gish gallop of cherry-picked studies. Hilariously, he relies heavily on uncontrolled “studies” and case series from two grifters, Didier Raoult and Vladimir Zelenko….
I had a hard time believing that an actual professor of epidemiology at a school as reputable as Yale could write such drivel. The study he is referring to is Gautret et al., a study so awful, so full of flaws (and maybe even fraudulent), that it was quite properly dragged on science and medical Twitter for days and weeks afterward. That Prof. Risch would cite such an abomination of science tells you all you need to know about him.
I’ve seen complaints that a recent hydroxychloroquine video has been blocked from Facebook.
I don’t think Facebook is always fair in how it censors information.
In this case, though, they have cause.
The medical information is bogus, as I’ve explained here.
But it gets worse. Way, way worse.
A video is making the rounds touting the merits of hydroxychloroquine. The doctors in the video claim there’s evidence in helps in humans (citing a 2005) paper. That paper was in tissue culture (i.e., a petri dish), not real live humans.
You and I are not petri dishes. Bleach will kill bacteria in a test tube. You should not drink bleach to kill bacteria in you.
No current guidelines recommend the use of hydroxychloroquine in the treatment of COVID-19. Here’s Canada. And the CDC.
Hydroxychloroquine can cause heart issues, especially in combination with some other drugs. All drugs have potential side effects, and so using a drug “just because” is not always a risk-free undertaking. See here. And here. And here. That’s especially true with COVID, given that there is good evidence that at least some patients have COVID-related heart problems.
It’s bad to pour gas on a fire.
CDC recommends against its use except in a clinical trial (which I suspect will become less and less common as the evidence against it mounts).
Some have worried that COVID-19 cases are being over diagnosed. This almost certainly isn’t true. A useful tool is the excess mortality tracker that measures how many more deaths there ate currently compared to past years.
I’ve posted on this before, but there’s now a running total tracker here.
This has a good graph showing risk of SARS-CoV-2 exposure by group size depending on community prevalence.
This is an interesting article on a possible approach to long-standing COVID-19 immunity here.
One of the problems with other approaches is that other coronavirus immunity is not typically long-lasting, and fades. Thus, even herd immunity may not give us long-term protection, and standard vaccine approaches might need to be repeated frequently.
This approach, if feasible, would be a game changer. And its written by someone who actually knows what they’re talking about.