Monthly Archives: April 2020

We shouldn’t worry when a virus mutates during disease outbreaks

So says a remarkably stupid article in Nature.  Of course we should. I have at least ten readers that can explain why.    

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Viruses don’t often switch species: there are many barriers.  In order to succeed, viruses must interact correctly with hundreds of proteins – ones they make use of, and immunity proteins that might destroy them.  Not easy, and so less than … Continue reading

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Best Shot

People are looking at many potential therapies for Wuflu, as they should.   However, the chance that any particular existing drug will be effective against coronavirus is not very high. I know one approach for which success is actually likely ( … Continue reading

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Viral Dose

If starting out with a high viral dose makes a difference, that must play out pretty rapidly, since an infected cell tends to produce somewhere between many and a shitload of new virions.  Influenza A and B produce 500-100 in  … Continue reading

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Boris Johnson

Now he’s in intensive care.  Why on Earth was he shaking hands with coronavirus patients?      

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IHME projections

arguablywrong has taken a look at the projections the Feds are using for planning.  He has some criticism of some features of their model: unfortunately he is almost certainly correct. First, they accept CCP data. I am not sure what … Continue reading

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Possible Pandemics

In the past, serious infectious diseases were spread in several qualitatively different ways:  by arthropod vectors like mosquitoes or fleas (malaria and bubonic plague) , via contaminated water like cholera or typhoid, sexually (syphilis and AIDS), and via respiratory transmission  … Continue reading

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Learning from Wuflu

Every crisis is also an opportunity.  In this case, we get to learn how people respond, under pressure, to a situation that ( for most) is very new.   Generally quite badly: most people  show very bad judgment.  But to what … Continue reading

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YOu can imagine a situation where R0 < 1, but only due to a strategy that includes some methods that only work  when the absolute number of infected people  is low. Something like fighting fires in California brush: everything’s flammable, … Continue reading

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Fairly often, I’ve seen people misunderstand things about life expectancy. They would talk about the olden days  ( Rome, for example ) , when the average life expectancy ( at birth !) could be as low as 25 years.  They … Continue reading

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