Monday, May 18, 2020

Time supermarket booklet: "The Science of Epidemics" (as of March 2020)


About a month ago I picked up the special Time edition 96 page booklet, “The Science of Epidemics”, 96 pages. It did not give as many credits as other Time supermarket books. Bryan Walsh seems to have edited it.

The secondary titles are “What we have learned: Fighting the World’s most challenging outbreaks” with a special yellow tag, “Coronavirus: The facts and truth about Covid-19”.

The booklet has 17 short chapters.

The eighth chapter, “The 9 deadliest viruses” starts with Smallpox, influenza and HIV; it does not include any SARS virus or Ebola/Marburg.

However it discusses Ebola (the outbreak in 2014) separately. Oddly, graduate students sent as Truman scholars to Sierra Leone the past summers did not get the new Ebola vaccine (they should have), and it is endemic again in the Congos.

It mentions dengue, as a mosquito born virus in the tropics, one with unusual problems in vaccination because of ADE, antibody-dependent enhancement reinfection or reactivation.

The last chapter discusses Zika, which produced birth defects, and could have produced a moral paradigm reminiscent of HIV. It didn’t.

I wasn’t aware that in 1916, babies with polio were taken away from families and isolated.

The booklet explains why the 1918 H1N1 influenza was so deadly to young adults, who had missed having the antibody protection of older generations, but instead had been exposed only to H3.

The information on COVIDE-19 is current as about late March, and it is still changing.

The chapter on p 20 discusses Moderna Therapeutics in Massachusetts, which has developed an nMRA vaccine for Sars-Cov-2.  Today the media announced some success in finding neutralizing antibody in vaccine subjects, with larger doses (with side effects) resulting in more antibody.

One think that is curious:  Sars coronaviruses are single strand RNA viruses but are not retorviruses (like HIV).  Yet the Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test looks for reverse transcriptase anyway.  Could this provide a clue for prophylactics?  Could something biochemically like a Truvalda drug (for HIV) work for Sars viruses? Call it “gay medicine”.


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