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U.K. variant isn't linked to more severe disease or death, study finds

lab tech
© Unknown
People infected with the more contagious coronavirus variant first identified in the United Kingdom did not experience more severe symptoms and were not at higher risk of death, according to a new study published Monday.

Scientists are struggling to pin down the nature of the U.K. variant, which has become the dominant strain across Europe and, as of last week, in the United States. Chief among the questions: Is the variant more deadly?

The study, published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases, looked at data from last fall in the U.K., shortly after the variant was first detected. It soon spread rapidly, eventually becoming the dominant strain circulating in the country.

The new findings add to scientists' ever-evolving understanding of the U.K. variant, known as B.1.1.7, at a crucial time in the pandemic, as it and other variants are circulating widely in other countries.

Researchers looked at Covid-19 patients who were admitted to University College London Hospital and North Middlesex University Hospital from Nov. 9 to Dec. 20. The scientists sequenced virus samples from 341 patients, finding that 58 percent were positive for the U.K. variant and that 42 percent had been infected with a different strain.

The researchers then compared the severity of symptoms between the two groups and found that patients infected with the B.1.1.7 variant were not at increased risk of becoming severely ill or dying. The study zeroed in on a time when the U.K. variant was just gaining a foothold in London — and as the U.K.'s vaccination program was getting underway.

Syringe

More blood clots: US govt pauses rollout of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine


Comment: How many blood clots, cytokine storms, and anaphylactic reactions will it take for people to stay away from these things?


vaccine
© Unsplash / Steven Cornfield
U.S. federal health agencies on Tuesday recommended pausing the use of Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine for at least a few days after six women under 50 given the shot developed rare blood clots, dealing a fresh setback to efforts to tackle the pandemic.

Following the news, Johnson & Johnson (J&J) said it was delaying the rollout of the vaccine to Europe, a week after regulators there said they were reviewing rare blood clots in four recipients of the shot in the United States.

Janet Woodcock, acting commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said the agency expected the pause to be a matter of days, and it was aimed at providing information to healthcare providers so they can diagnose, treat and report such blood clots.

Comment: How is it not common sense that injecting foreign material into a human body is not a good idea?


Roses

Three Things Most People Don't Know About Physician-assisted Death

physician assisted death
© ThinkStock
The cadence is increasing of jurisdictions introducing, normalizing and expanding laws allowing doctors to help people commit suicide.

Is this purely in the service of relieving unbearable physical or mental suffering? Or do other factors predominate?

I used to believe the former, but my recent re-examination of the issue suggests the latter is more likely.

Syringe

Israel COVID-19 study finds South Africa variant able to 'break through' Pfizer vaccine

virus
A new study from Israel indicates the South Africa variant of the coronavirus can "break through" the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine to some degree.

A team from Tel Aviv University and Clalit Health Services found that the prevalence of the South Africa variant among patients who received both doses of the vaccine was around eight times higher than those unvaccinated - 5.4% versus 0.7%.

The study compared over 400 people who received at least one shot of the vaccine and contracted the coronavirus with the same number who were infected and unvaccinated.

"We found a disproportionately higher rate of the South African variant among people vaccinated with a second dose, compared to the unvaccinated group," said Tel Aviv University's Adi Stern. "This means that the South African variant is able, to some extent, to break through the vaccine's protection."

Attention

DARPA working on COVID vaccine - Implantable microchip to detect virus

DARPA Vaccine
© Screenshot

The Pentagon's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is working on a COVID vaccine that will work on all variants and has developed an implantable microchip that it says will continuously monitor the human body for signs of the virus.


Retired Colonel Matt Hepburn, an army infectious disease physician heading up DARPA's response to the pandemic, appeared on 60 Minutes to demonstrate the technology.

Holding up a vial of green tissue-like gel, which contains the chip, Hepburn proclaimed "You put it underneath your skin and what that tells you is that there are chemical reactions going on inside the body, and that signal means you are going to have symptoms tomorrow."

"It's like a 'check engine' light," Hepburn added, noting that those with the chip "would get the signal, then self-administer a blood draw and test themselves on site."

"We can have that information in three to five minutes," Hepburn continued, adding "As you truncate that time, as you diagnose and treat, what you do is you stop the infection in its tracks."

Bomb

Masks are a ticking time bomb

Toxic Masks
The planet may be facing a new plastic crisis, similar to the one brought on by bottled water, but this time involving discarded face masks. "Mass masking" continues to be recommended by most public health groups during the COVID-19 pandemic, despite research showing masks do not significantly reduce the incidence of infection.1

As a result, it's estimated that 129 billion face masks are used worldwide each month, which works out to about 3 million masks a minute. Most of these are the disposable variety, made from plastic microfibers.2

Ranging in size from five millimeters (mm) to microscopic lengths, microplastics, which include microfibers, are being ingested by fish, plankton and other marine life, as well as the creatures on land that consume them (including humans3).

Ambulance

New analysis finds UK in grip of mental health crisis, with children worst affected

Isolated child
© Mental Health Foundation
Children and young people are bearing the brunt of the mental health crisis caused by the pandemic, new analysis by the Royal College of Psychiatrists has found.

A year on from the first lockdown and after warnings from the mental health sector about the impact of the pandemic on the country's mental health, NHS Digital data shows that while the crisis is affecting people of all ages, it is under-18s who are suffering most.

Syringe

European regulators are watching J&J's vaccine for unusual blood clots

covid vaccine

European regulators are watching J&J's vaccine for unusual blood clots.
The European Medicines Agency is investigating reports of clots in people who received J&J's vaccine. The shot has not yet been given out in Europe.

European regulators are investigating whether Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine caused unusual blood clotting after four cases were reported in vaccine recipients, including one fatality.

The European Medicines Agency's Pharmacovigilance Risk Assessment Committee disclosed Friday that they are reviewing the vaccine after three people who received J&J's vaccine in the US and another who was involved in a clinical trial developed blood clots. It's currently not clear if the vaccine caused these clots.

Comment: It's interesting that any bad press coming out about the Covid vaccines is focusing specifically on the non-mRNA varieties. We know there are potentially problems with the Pfizer vaccine given what is happening in Israel, but this not receiving much press. It seems clear the PTB would like steer as many people as possible into getting the mRNA variety by publicizing the adverse reactions in the non-mRNA vaccines (keeping in mind there are undoubtedly adverse reactions in all vaccines), making them appear less safe. Wonder why?

The same appears to be happening to the AstraZeneca vaccine, also not an mRNA vaccine. From RT:
Five cases of a very rare blood disorder in people who have received the Covid-19 vaccine developed by AstraZeneca are being reviewed by the European Medicines Agency (EMA), the EU's drug regulator has said.

The cases of "capillary leak syndrome," which can cause leakage of fluid from blood vessels, tissue swelling and a drop in blood pressure, were reported from across the European Economic Area, the EMA said on Friday.

The regulator said it is "not yet clear" if there is a causal association between AstraZeneca's Vaxzevria jab and the condition, which can cause organ failure if it is not treated.

The EMA said the five cases, all reported in the European Economic Area, warrant further investigation and potentially an update to the vaccine's product information, if deemed necessary by its Pharmacovigilance Risk Assessment Committee (PRAC).

The reports of capillary leak syndrome are the latest blow for AstraZeneca's vaccine after the EMA said this week that "unusual blood clots with low blood platelets" should be listed as very rare side effects of the jab.
See also:


Sun

Sunlight and Vitamin D: They're not the same thing

sunlight
  • Sulfate synthesis in the skin captures the sun's energy. Adequate sunlight exposure to both the skin and the eyes is vital to our long-term health.
  • Among other functions, sulfate supports blood vessel health, the body's electrical supply and the delivery system for important molecules such as cholesterol, vitamin D, dopamine and melatonin.
  • Evidence indicates that sunlight protects against cancer, heart disease, hypertension and bone fractures.
  • The benefits of sunlight exposure are about much more than vitamin D.
  • Many studies show that vitamin D supplementation cannot reproduce sunlight's health benefits. Moreover, excessive vitamin D supplementation can aggravate systemic sulfate deficiency, which will drive calcium buildup in the arteries.
  • Both sunscreen and glyphosate interfere with synthesis and production of melanin — the body's natural mechanism of sun protection. Aluminum in sunscreen disrupts sulfate synthesis. These disruptions may explain why melanoma prevalence has steadily risen in tandem with the increased use of higher sun-protection-factor sunscreens over the past two decades.

Comment: Sunlight for optimal health


Sherlock

Lancet: COVID-19 infection and subsequent mental health and neurological conditions revealed in largest study to date

head jigsaw puzzle
© CC0 Public Domain
One in three COVID-19 survivors received a neurological or psychiatric diagnosis within six months of infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus, an observational study of more than 230,000 patient health records published in The Lancet Psychiatry journal estimates. The study looked at 14 neurological and mental health disorders.

Professor Paul Harrison, lead author of the study, from the University of Oxford, UK, said: "These are real-world data from a large number of patients. They confirm the high rates of psychiatric diagnoses after COVID-19, and show that serious disorders affecting the nervous system (such as stroke and dementia) occur too. While the latter are much rarer, they are significant, especially in those who had severe COVID-19."

Comment: The strange make-up and behaviour of the coronavirus has lead numerous researchers to conclude that it has rather suspect origins, which also may explain why it's having this effect on neurological health: Compelling Evidence That SARS-CoV-2 Was Man-Made