Covid19 developments

The emerging picture seems to be that most nations have not taken measures strict enough to nip the epidemic in the bud. New Zealand and Iceland being notable exceptions. In most countries the number of new cases declines, but not fast enough to actually eliminate the virus within a realistic timeframe. Re-openings will likely happen before the remaining cases can be controlled with tracing and testing, leading to a resurgence of the epidemic.

By now, judging from the results of serological studies in NYC where likely between 10% and 20% have been infected, it is even conceivable that large parts of the US will have „achieved“ herd immunity by the end of the year. Paid for with hundred of thousands of deaths.

On the other hand there are still a lot of things that could be done. Germany now has the capacity to test 800.000 people per week, but uses only 400.000 tests. Pooled randomized testing in every municipality could give a very fine-grained picture of what is going on. At risk populations could be tested monthly. Masks are now starting to be mandatory. Measuring body temperature before being allowed to enter shops or offices is a possibility. As we learn how and where the virus spreads targeted measures might become much more effective than general lockdowns.

And of course treatment will continue to improve. Apparently Covid19 trashes the lungs ability to absorb oxygen without similarly reducing the ability to remove CO2 from the bloodstream. Because high CO2 is responsible for the feeling of needing air, patients tend to visit the hospital too late for optimal outcome. This can be counteracted with automated oxygen measurement, which might reduce mortality in a significant way.

The other big development seems to be that the theory that the virus originated in the Wuhan Institute of Virology starts to become mainstream. As I understand it [1], the virus is very similar to a known bat virus, except for two positions in the genome. These two positions determine which cells can be entered. One position is very similar to the same section in a known pangolin virus. The other position has a nucleotide sequence that is known to make the virus more dangerous, which does not occur in either the pangolin or the bat virus.

Now the kicker is that both the pangolin and the bat virus where found by the WIV and the same institute has conducted gain of function experiments changing exactly these positions in viruses to study the increased virulence in humans. This makes it extremely plausible that there was yet another gain of function experiment conducted at WIV, which unfortunately couldn’t be contained.

The alternative is that these very specific and purposeful combinations of virus sequence happened by chance, because somehow a pangolin virus, a bat virus and some third virus exchanged just the right sections of their genome to create a virus that is especially dangerous to humans. Then this new virus started an epidemic in Wuhan, not known to be home to bats or pangolins, with or without wet market (the bat virus was isolated roughly 1000 miles away from Wuhan).

For once I side with intelligent design.

[1] Lab made cov2 genealogy

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s