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Brain damage of patients with Covid-19



In an in-depth study, NIH researchers consistently found blood vessel damage in the brains of COVID-19 patients but no signs of SARS-CoV-2 infections. Here is a high-resolution scan of a patient's brain stem. Arrows point to light and dark spots that are indicative of blood vessel damage observed in the study. Credit: NIH/NINDS.

In an in-depth study of how COVID-19 affects a patient's brain, National Institutes of Health researchers consistently spotted hallmarks of damage caused by thinning and leaky brain blood vessels in tissue samples from patients who died shortly after contracting the disease. In addition, they saw no signs of SARS-CoV-2 in the tissue samples, suggesting the damage was not caused by a direct viral attack on the brain. The results were published as a correspondence in the New England Journal of Medicine.

"We found that the brains of patients who contract infection from SARS-CoV-2 may be susceptible to microvascular blood vessel damage. Our results suggest that this may be caused by the body's inflammatory response to the virus" said Avindra Nath, M.D., clinical director at the NIH's National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) and the senior author of the study. "We hope these results will help doctors understand the full spectrum of problems patients may suffer so that we can come up with better treatments."

Although COVID-19 is primarily a respiratory disease, patients often experience neurological problems including headaches, delirium, cognitive dysfunction, dizziness, fatigue, and loss of the sense of smell. The disease may also cause patients to suffer strokes and other neuropathologies. Several studies have shown that the disease can cause inflammation and blood vessel damage. In one of these studies, the researchers found evidence of small amounts of SARS-CoV-2 in some patients' brains. Nevertheless, scientists are still trying to understand how the disease affects the brain.


In this study, the researchers conducted an in-depth examination of brain tissue samples from 19 patients who had died after experiencing COVID-19 between March and July 2020. Samples from 16 of the patients were provided by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in New York City while the other 3 cases were provided by the department of pathology at the University of Iowa College of Medicine, Iowa City. The patients died at a wide range of ages, from 5 to 73 years old. They died within a few hours to two months after reporting symptoms. Many patients had one or more risk factors, including diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular disease. Eight of the patients were found dead at home or in public settings. Another three patients collapsed and died suddenly.


Initially, the researchers used a special, high-powered magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanner that is 4 to 10 times more sensitive than most MRI scanners, to examine samples of the olfactory bulbs and brainstems from each patient. These regions are thought to be highly susceptible to COVID-19. Olfactory bulbs control our sense of smell while the brainstem controls our breathing and heart rate. The scans revealed that both regions had an abundance of bright spots, called hyperintensities, that often indicate inflammation, and dark spots, called hypointensities, that represent bleeding.


The researchers then used the scans as a guide to examine the spots more closely under a microscope. They found that the bright spots contained blood vessels that were thinner than normal and sometimes leaking blood proteins, like fibrinogen, into the brain. This appeared to trigger an immune reaction. The spots were surrounded by T cells from the blood and the brain's own immune cells called microglia. In contrast, the dark spots contained both clotted and leaky blood vessels but no immune response.

"We were completely surprised. Originally, we expected to see damage that is caused by a lack of oxygen. Instead, we saw multifocal areas of damage that is usually associated with strokes and neuroinflammatory diseases," said Dr. Nath.

Finally, the researchers saw no signs of infection in the brain tissue samples even though they used several methods for detecting genetic material or proteins from SARS-CoV-2.

"So far, our results suggest that the damage we saw may not have been not caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus directly infecting the brain," said Dr. Nath. "In the future, we plan to study how COVID-19 harms the brain's blood vessels and whether that produces some of the short- and long-term symptoms we see in patients."


Source: Brain damage of patients with Covid-19

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From what I am seeing for past few months I feel that this is a disease of blood, i.e. COVID-19 affects the blood and what else we see happening the result of it.

Specifically speaking it thickens the blood and the patients whose any of the organ is weak gets affected. If any one has problems with his/her heart then the thickened blood causes heart attack, higher blood pressure and things like that, people having problems with their lungs get pneumonia.  Same is the case with people having kidney problems, problem of ulcers in their stomach etc. Its just aggravating the disease that people already have. And people whose organs are more or less okay get away easily without having any symptoms. This is also the reason that children are not getting effected much unless they are very sick already.

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China moves to stamp out virus outbreak in city of 11 million


Travel has been restricted to a northern Chinese city of 11 million people and schools closed as authorities Wednesday moved to snuff out a cluster of COVID-19 after dozens were infected.


Ten major highways leading into the city of Shijiazhuang, around 300 kilometres (200 miles) south of Beijing, have been closed and a bus terminus was closed in an attempt to prevent the virus spreading beyond the city in Hebei province.


There have been 117 cases in the city—including at least 63 more reported Wednesday—78 of which were asymptomatic, prompting mass testing across the affected area.


Unlike much of the world, China has largely brought the virus under control through strict lockdowns and travel restrictions.


But there have been a series of local outbreaks in recent weeks, prompting mass testing and targeted lockdowns.


The village of Xiaoguozhuang within the city boundary has been classified as a "high risk" district and sealed off.


Health authorities said all 40,000 residents in that district have been tested for the virus.


State TV showed villagers being tested by staff in full hazmat suits and protective wear, with roadblocks staffed by police and medical workers.


All schools in Shijiazhuang have been closed.


State broadcaster CCTV showed teams of health workers spraying disinfectant across streets and said an emergency team of medical workers had been sent to the city.


More than 400,000 residents of another nearby city, Nangong, have also been tested, authorities said.


Beijing is also racing to vaccinate millions ahead of the country's Lunar New Year travel rush next month.




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Covid-19: Health Ministry approves ‘deep throat saliva’ method as alternative to swab test



PUTRAJAYA: The Health Ministry has approved the usage of “deep throat saliva” as Covid-19 test samples.


Using this method, those taking their Covid-19 test will have to draw out saliva from within their throat, which will then be spat out into a specimen cup.


This is an alternative way to collect samples from a patient, other than the usual “swab test” method.


“This deep throat saliva sampling method is safe and not invasive if compared to the nasopharyngeal (nose) and oropharyngeal (throat) swab.


“It will also speed up testing and increase the number of Covid-19 screenings.


“This method is also ‘self-collected’, and therefore it will save on the use of personal protective equipment, ” said Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba in a statement Thursday (Feb 18).


The minister said many countries have been using the deep-throat saliva samples for Covid-19 testings, adding that it is “cheaper” and “consistent”.


Dr Adham said the Institute for Medical Research (IMR) has completed a study on saliva sampling and has concluded that it is suitable for the ministry’s RT-PCR (reverse transcription-poymerase chain reaction) tests.


“The IMR is also in the midst of evaluating the usage of saliva samples for RTK-Ag (antigen rapid test kits) tests, ” he said.


The ministry, said Dr Adham, will begin deep-throat saliva sampling at its hospitals, before spreading to other health facilities.


Source: Covid-19: Health Ministry approves ‘deep throat saliva’ method as alternative to swab test (via TheStar Online)

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The Mysterious Link Between COVID-19 and Sleep


The coronavirus can cause insomnia and long-term changes in our nervous systems. But sleep could also be a key to ending the pandemic.


The newly discovered coronavirus had killed only a few dozen people when Feixiong Cheng started looking for a treatment. He knew time was of the essence: Cheng, a data analyst at the Cleveland Clinic, had seen similar coronaviruses tear through China and Saudi Arabia before, sickening thousands and shaking the global economy. So, in January, his lab used artificial intelligence to search for hidden clues in the structure of the virus to predict how it invaded human cells, and what might stop it. One observation stood out:


The virus could potentially be blocked by melatonin.


Melatonin, best known as the sleep hormone, wasn’t an obvious factor in halting a pandemic. Its most familiar role is in the regulation of our circadian rhythms. Each night, as darkness falls, it shoots out of our brain’s pineal glands and into our blood, inducing sleep. Cheng took the finding as a curiosity. “It was very preliminary,” he told me recently—a small study in the early days before COVID-19 even had a name, when anything that might help was deemed worth sharing.


After he published his research, though, Cheng heard from scientists around the world who thought there might be something to it. They noted that, in addition to melatonin’s well-known effects on sleep, it plays a part in calibrating the immune system. Essentially, it acts as a moderator to help keep our self-protective responses from going haywire—which happens to be the basic problem that can quickly turn a mild case of COVID-19 into a life-threatening scenario.


Cheng decided to dig deeper. For months, he and colleagues pieced together the data from thousands of patients who were seen at his medical center. In results published last month, melatonin continued to stand out. People taking it had significantly lower odds of developing COVID-19, much less dying of it. Other researchers noticed similar patterns. In October, a study at Columbia University found that intubated patients had better rates of survival if they received melatonin. When President Donald Trump was flown to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center for COVID-19 treatment, his doctors prescribed—in addition to a plethora of other experimental therapies—melatonin.


Eight clinical trials are currently ongoing, around the world, to see if these melatonin correlations bear out. Few other treatments are receiving so much research attention. If melatonin actually proves to help people, it would be the cheapest and most readily accessible medicine to counter COVID-19. Unlike experimental drugs such as remdesivir and antibody cocktails, melatonin is widely available in the United States as an over-the-counter dietary supplement.


People could start taking it immediately.


Yet Cheng emphasizes that he’s not recommending that. Like any substance capable of slowing the central nervous system, melatonin is not a trifling addition to the body’s chemistry. Its apparent benefit to COVID-19 patients could simply be a spurious correlation—or, perhaps, a signal alerting us to something else that is actually improving people’s outcomes. Cheng thinks that might be the case. He and others suggest that the real issue at play may not be melatonin at all, but the function it most famously controls: sleep.


In fact, several mysteries of how COVID-19 works converge on the question of how the disease affects our sleep, and how our sleep affects the disease. The virus is capable of altering the delicate processes within our nervous system, in many cases in unpredictable ways, sometimes creating long-term symptoms. Better appreciating the ties between immunity and the nervous system could be central to understanding COVID-19—and to preventing it.


Throughout the pandemic, the department of neurology at Johns Hopkins University has been flooded with consultation requests for people suffering from insomnia. Rachel Salas, one of the team’s neurologists, says she initially thought this surge in sleep disorders was merely the result of all the anxieties that come with a devastating global crisis: worries about health, the economic impact, and isolation. Indeed, patterns of sleep disruption have played out around the world. Roughly three-quarters of people in the United Kingdom have had a change in their sleep during the pandemic, according to the British Sleep Society, and less than half are getting refreshing sleep. “In the summer, we were calling it ‘COVID-somnia,’” Salas says.


In recent months, however, Salas has watched a more curious pattern emerge. Many people’s sleep continues to be disrupted by predictable pandemic anxieties. But more perplexing symptoms have been arising specifically among people who have recovered from COVID-19. “We’re seeing referrals from doctors because the disease itself affects the nervous system,” she says. After recovering, people report changes in attention, debilitating headaches, brain fog, muscular weakness, and, perhaps most commonly, insomnia. Many don’t seem anxious or preoccupied with pandemic-related concerns—at least not to a degree that could itself explain their newfound inability to sleep. Rather it is sometimes part of what the medical community has begun to refer to as “long COVID,” where symptoms persist indefinitely after the virus has left a person. When it comes to sleep disturbances, Salas worries, “I expect this is just the beginning of long-term effects we’re going to see for years to come.”


Her colleague Arun Venkatesan has been trying to get to the bottom of how a virus could cause insomnia. He focuses specifically on autoimmune and inflammatory diseases that affect the nervous system. Initially, Venkatesan says, the common assumption among doctors was that many post-COVID-19 symptoms were due to an autoimmune reaction—a misguided, targeted attack on cells of one’s own body. This can happen in the nervous system after infections by various viruses, in predictable patterns, such as that of Guillain-Barré syndrome. In the days after an infection, as new antibodies mistakenly attack nerves, weakness and numbness spread from the tips of the extremities inward. Disconcerting as it can be, this type of pattern is at least identifiable and predictable; doctors can tell patients what they’re dealing with and what to expect.


By contrast, the post-COVID-19 patterns are sporadic, not clearly autoimmune in nature, says Venkatesan. The symptoms can appear even after a mild case of COVID-19, and timescales vary. “We’ve seen a number of patients who were not even hospitalized, and felt much better for weeks, before worsening,” Venkatesan says. And the findings aren’t limited to the brain. At Northwestern University, the radiologist Swati Deshmukh has been fielding a steady stream of cases in which people experience nerve damage throughout the body. She has been looking for evidence that the virus itself might be killing nerve cells. Hepatitis C and herpes viruses are known to do so, and autopsies have found SARS-CoV-2 inside nerves in the brain.


Still, she believes, symptoms are most likely due to inflammation. Indeed, the leading theory to explain how a virus can cause such a wide variety of neurologic symptoms over a variety of timescales comes down to haphazard inflammation—less a targeted attack than an indiscriminate brawl. This effect is seen in a condition known as myalgic encephalomyelitis, sometimes called chronic fatigue syndrome. The diagnosis encompasses myriad potential symptoms, and likely involves multiple types of cellular injury or miscommunication. In some cases, damage comes from prolonged, low-level oxygen deprivation (as after severe pneumonia). In others, the damage to nerve-cell communication could come by way of inflammatory processes that directly tweak the functioning of our neural grids.


The unpredictability of this disease process—how, and how widely, it will play out in the longer term, and what to do about it—poses unique challenges in this already-uncertain pandemic. Myalgic encephalomyelitis is poorly understood, stigmatized, and widely misrepresented. Medical treatments and diagnostic approaches are unreliable. General inflammatory states rarely respond to a single prescription or procedure, but demand more holistic, ongoing interventions to bring the immune system back to equilibrium and keep it there. The medical system is not geared toward such approaches.


But this understanding of what is happening may also offer some hope. Although the technical details are clearly thorny, there is some reassurance in what the doctors are not seeing. When nerves are invaded and killed, the damage can be permanent. When nerves are miscommunicating—in ways that come and go—that process can be treated, modulated, prevented, and quite possibly cured. Although sleep cycles can be disturbed and damaged by the post-infectious inflammatory process, radiologists and neurologists aren’t seeing evidence that this is irreversible. And among the arsenal of ways to attempt to reverse it are basic measures such as sleep itself. Adequate sleep also plays a part in minimizing the likelihood of ever entering into this whole nasty, uncertain process.


A central function of sleep is maintaining proper channels of cellular communication in the brain. Sleep is sometimes likened to a sort of anti-inflammatory cleansing process; it removes waste products that accumulate during a day of firing. Without sleep, those by-products accumulate and impair communication (just as seems to be happening in some people with post-COVID-19 encephalomyelitis). “In the early stages of COVID-19, you feel extremely tired,” says Michelle Miller, a sleep-medicine professor at the University of Warwick in the U.K. Essentially, your body is telling you it needs sleep. But as the infection goes on, Miller explains, people find that they often can’t sleep, and the problems with communication compound one another.


The goal, then, is breaking out of this cycle, or preventing it altogether. Here the benefits of sleep extend throughout the body. “Sleep is important for effective immune function, and it also helps to regulate metabolism, including glucose and mechanisms controlling appetite and weight gain,” Miller says. All of these bear directly on COVID-19, as risk factors for severe cases include diabetes, obesity, and sleep apnea. Even in the short term, getting enough deep, slow-wave sleep will optimize your metabolism and make you maximally prepared should you fall ill. These effects may even bear on vaccination. Flu shots appear to be more effective among people who have slept well in the days preceding getting one.


All of this leads back to the basic question: Is one of the most glaring omissions in public-health guidelines right now simply to tell people to get more sleep?


The only health advice more banal than being told to wash your hands is being told to sleep more. But it’s a cliché for a reason. Sleep fortifies and prepares us for any given crisis, but especially when the days are short and cold, and people have little else they might do to empower and protect themselves. Monotonous days can slip people into depression, alcohol abuse, and all manner of suboptimal health. It may well turn out that standard pandemic advice should be to wear a mask, keep distances, and get sleep.


That’s easier said than done. Asim Shah, a psychiatry and behavioral-sciences professor at Baylor College of Medicine, believes sleep is at the core of many of the mental-health issues that have spiked over the course of the year. “There’s a complete lack of structure. That has caused a huge disturbance in the sleep cycles,” he says. “Usually everyone has a schedule. They get sunlight and they generate melatonin and it puts them to sleep. Right now we’re seeing people losing interest in things, isolating, not exercising, and then not getting sleep.” Depression and anxiety make insomnia worse, and the cycle degenerates.


This may be where melatonin—or other approaches to enhancing the potent effects of sleep—could be consequential. Russel Reiter, a cell-biology professor at the University of Texas at San Antonio, is convinced that widespread treatment of COVID-19 with melatonin should already be standard practice. In May, Reiter and colleagues published a plea for melatonin to be immediately given to everyone with COVID-19.


If the world of melatonin research had a molten core, it would be Reiter. He has been studying the hormone’s potential health benefits since the 1960s, and tells me he takes 70 milligrams daily. (Most bottles at the pharmacy recommend from 1 to 10 milligrams.) After we spoke, he sent me some of the many journal articles he has published on melatonin and COVID-19, at least four of which appeared in Melatonin Research. He blithely referred to them as “propaganda” and noted that he has been studying melatonin since before I was born (without asking when that was). “I know melatonin sideways and backwards,” Reiter said, “and I’m very confident recommending it.”  


The majority of sleep scientists, though, seem to agree that the most crucial interventions that facilitate sleep will not be medicinal, or even supplemental. The general recommendation is that getting your body’s melatonin cycles to work regularly is preferable to simply taking a supplement and continuing to binge Netflix and stare at your phone in bed. Now that so many people’s days lack structure, Shah believes a key to healthy pandemic sleep is to deliberately build routines. On weekends, wake up and go to bed at the same time as you do other days. Take scheduled walks. Get sunlight early in the day. Reduce blue light for an hour before bed. Stay connected with other people in meaningful ways, despite being physically distant.


Even small daily rituals can help, says Tricia Hersey, the founder of a nap-advocacy organization called the Nap Ministry. Light a candle. Have a cup of tea in a specific place at a certain time. “Repetitive rituals are part of what makes us human and ground ourselves,” she told me. They’re also perhaps the most attainable intervention there is. Wherever you are, Hersey says, “you can daydream. You can slow down. You can find small ways to stop and remember who you are.”


To her, feeling in control over sleep is important precisely because order is lacking in so many other parts of life for so many people. Year over year, there are significant sleep disparities across the U.S. population. The amount and quality of sleep we get depend on our environment as much as, if not more than, our personal behavior. Socioeconomic status and quality sleep chart on parallel lines. The most effective way to improve sleep is to ensure that people have a calm and quiet place to rest each night, free of concerns about basic needs such as food security. The pandemic has brought the opposite assurances, exacerbating the uncertainties at the root of already-stark disparities.


As the quest for sleep falls only more to individuals, many are left to think outside the box. That has included, for some, dabbling in hypnosis. Not the kind of hypnosis where you’re onstage and told to act like a chicken, but a process slightly more refined. Christopher Fitton is one of a number of hypnotherapists who have spent the pandemic creating YouTube videos and podcasts meant to help put people to sleep. Fitton’s sessions involve 30 minutes of him saying empowering things to listeners in his pleasant, semi-whispered voice. He tells me he is now getting more than 1 million listens a month.


Hypnotherapy is meant to slow down the rapid firing of our nerves. Similar to guided meditation or deep breathing, the intent is to stop people from overthinking and allow sleep to happen naturally. As you listen to Fitton saying banal things about the muscles in your back or asking you to envision a specific tree in a specific place, “the aim is to get into a relaxed, trancelike state, where your subconscious is open to more suggestion,” he says. Then, when he tells you to sleep, your brain is less likely to argue with him about how you’re too busy, or how you need to worry more about why someone read your text message but didn’t reply.


Hypnotherapists such as Fitton provide tools to ground yourself, ultimately in pursuit of being able to do it unassisted, sans the internet. (It’s better not to bring your phone into your bedroom anyway.) Focusing involves practice; the trancelike state rarely happens easily, and no single way works for everyone. Some experimentation is usually needed. Apparently it still is for me. While listening to one of Fitton’s recordings, I couldn’t fully escape the image of him in his home office speaking softly into his microphone, reading an ad for Spotify, just as alone as everyone else.


But regardless of whom you trust to help relieve you of consciousness, now seems like an ideal time to get serious about the practice. Draw boundaries for yourself, and sleep like your life depends on it. Hopefully it won’t.




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For many, COVID-19 vaccines come with a side of side effects


Most reactions are mild — here’s what you need to know


Getting a COVID-19 vaccine comes with a lot of benefits. There’s the protection against a world-altering virus, the ability to travel more safely, and hanging out in people’s houses again. There are also doughnuts. But there’s also a pretty good chance that a vaccine will be accompanied by a few unwelcome side effects. Most of these are pretty benign — like a sore arm or fatigue. Some are more serious, but those are also extremely rare.


What are some common side effects?


Your arm might feel sore after you get the shot, and there might be some redness or swelling near the injection site. There’s also a chance that you could develop a headache, fever, muscle pain, chills, fatigue, or nausea.


This is all according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) which has a helpful page about side effects.


A newsletter highlighting the COVID-19 research, developments, and stories that matter. Subscribe here!


What if I notice something else, not on that list?


The CDC’s list is of the most common side effects — there may be others that occur less frequently, or that haven’t shown up in studies yet. Researchers are still gathering data on vaccines and their side effects. In fact, one brand-new study is looking for a possible connection between vaccines and irregular menstrual cycles.


As with any medical treatment, take note of your symptoms and if any concern you, talk to your doctor.


If you’re in the US and you want to help researchers gather data about vaccine side effects, you can also enroll in the CDC’s v-safe program once you get your shot. It’s a smartphone-based system that asks you about your side effects after you get vaccinated.


I’ve heard it’s the second shot that gets you — is that true?


Yes, if you get a two-dose vaccine like Pfizer or Moderna, your symptoms may be more intense after your second shot than they were after your first. It’s not inherently a bad thing — it means that your body has learned its lesson from the first dose, and your immune system is now ready to fight off the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.


“Your body is primed by that first dose of vaccine.” said Melanie Swift, co-chair of the COVID-19 Vaccine Allocation and Distribution Work Group at Mayo Clinic in a Q&A. “The second vaccine dose goes into your body, starts to make that spike protein, and your antibodies jump on it and rev up your immune system response. It’s kind of like they’ve studied for the test. And it’s acing the test.”
L.A. Churches Act As COVID-19 Vaccination Sites To Reach Minority Communities
A person gets their first shot of a COVID-19 vaccine in Los Angeles on April 9. Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images


Who is more likely to get side effects?


Younger people are more likely to see side effects. The immune system gradually weakens as you get older, this is called immunosenescence. Younger people’s immune systems are more likely to react strongly to a vaccine, making them more likely to feel side effects as their bodies go through a practice run of fighting off an infection.


Women are also more likely to report side effects after getting a shot. Many women tend to have stronger immune responses to vaccines in general, and the COVID-19 vaccines are no different. But other factors, including gender bias in trial design, and inconsistent reporting might also play a role.


I know I’m going to be sore — should I take something ahead of time?


No. “It is not recommended you take over-the-counter medicine – such as ibuprofen, aspirin, or acetaminophen – before vaccination for the purpose of trying to prevent vaccine-related side effects.” the CDC’s page on preparing for your COVID-19 vaccination says. Researchers aren’t sure if those medications might change how well the vaccines work, so they ask that people hold off, and don’t take those pain relievers, or antihistamines ahead of your appointment.


After your appointment is a bit of a different story. While the CDC still recommends talking to your doctor before you decide to take medicine, it also says that you can take over the counter medications “to relieve post-vaccination side effects if you have no other medical reasons that prevent you from taking these medications normally.”


If you are sore after your shot, the CDC recommends putting a cool washcloth over the site and moving your arm around.


Are some vaccines more likely to cause side effects than others?


Looks like it. A study published this week found that people who got Moderna’s vaccine were more likely to say they experienced side effects than people who got the Pfizer/BioNTech shot.


Both vaccines are still considered to be safe and effective.

Agriculture Workers In California Receive COVID-19 Vaccination

People wait in a medical observation area after getting their shot. Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images


What about the rare, scary side effects?


There have been some instances of people having a severe allergic reaction to their shots — severe enough that they need to take epinephrine or go to a hospital. That’s one reason why people are asked to hang around for medical observation for about 15 minutes after they get their vaccine.


Other people might have what is still considered an ‘immediate’ allergic reaction (hives, wheezing, swelling) within four hours of their shot. In those rare cases, or if you are allergic to something in the shots, doctors may advise you to get a different vaccine.


Outside the US, some researchers have noticed that in very rare instances, some people who get AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine develop serious blood clots. This may be because of an unusual antibody reaction, but it’s still not certain what’s causing the clots, or who is at highest risk, though it does appear to be safer in older people. This particular vaccine is not authorized for use in the US.


When should I worry about side effects?


The CDC recommends that you talk to a doctor if your side effects don’t go away after a few days, or they start worrying you.


If I don’t have side effects, does that mean that it’s not working?


While it is true that side effects are a sign that your body is building up its COVID-19 defenses, if you don’t have them, that doesn’t mean that the vaccine isn’t working. You’re still protected, you just happen to be one of the lucky people whose immune system isn’t being a total jerk to you.


Here’s what else happened this week.


Antivirus will be taking a break next week, April 17th. We’ll be back on April 24th.

What are we waiting for?


This week, my colleague Monica Chin asked a host of experts what kinds of measures we were looking for in order to resume activities like travel, theater, and other things that have been considered high risk for the past year. It’s well worth the read. (Monica Chin/The Verge)


Has the Era of Overzealous Cleaning Finally Come to an End?


This week the CDC updated its cleaning guidelines, emphasizing that the chance of catching the virus from a surface is just 1 in 10,000. That’s a big change from earlier in the pandemic, when we were all washing everything that came into our homes. Cleaning is still important — especially around someone with an active infection, but many experts now think the bigger risk of transmission is through the air. (Emily Anthes/The New York Times)



Researchers Are Hatching a Low-Cost Coronavirus Vaccine

Some scientists are starting trials of a low-cost vaccine that’s easier to make than alternatives. If it works, it could make a big difference in the push for global vaccination. (Carl Zimmer/The New York Times)


Scientists work toward an elusive dream: a simple pill to treat Covid-19


Antiviral drugs are incredibly difficult to develop, but some researchers are still hoping they can find “a Tamiflu for SARS-CoV-2.” It’s a highly complicated mission that is definitely easier said than done. (Damien Garde/STAT)


    She grew up in Hungary, daughter of a butcher. She decided she wanted to be a scientist, although she had never met one. She moved to the United States in her 20s, but for decades never found a permanent position, instead clinging to the fringes of academia.


— In a moving profile for The New York Times, journalist Gina Kolata describes the extraordinary life of Katalin Kariko, an mRNA researcher whose work has been critical to the current push to develop COVID-19 vaccines.
More than Numbers


To the people who have received the 748 million vaccine doses distributed so far — thank you.


To the more than 134,719,328 people worldwide who have tested positive, may your road to recovery be smooth.


To the families and friends of the 2,915,972 people who have died worldwide — 561,074 of those in the US — your loved ones are not forgotten.


Stay safe, everyone.




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I whispered on Friday 09/04 AstraZeneca vaccine. two days I sucked in bed with fever and chills. today the third day is good. a second vaccine in June

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On 4/12/2021 at 11:18 AM, bolo33 said:

I whispered on Friday 09/04 AstraZeneca vaccine. two days I sucked in bed with fever and chills. today the third day is good. a second vaccine in June

I had my second in April, the second does does not help. First was just like yours

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I had my first Pfizer vaccine shot in January which gave me a fever and a sore arm.  In February, the second Pfizer vaccine shot only gave me an extremely sore arm.  So, for me, the first vaccine shot was much worse than the second.

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1 hour ago, rasbridge said:

I had my first Pfizer vaccine shot in January which gave me a fever and a sore arm.  In February, the second Pfizer vaccine shot only gave me an extremely sore arm.  So, for me, the first vaccine shot was much worse than the second.

When i had my first Pfizer vaccine jab recently my upper right arm felt sore locally after 6 hours from taking the jab. The soreness went after 50 hours. However, my neck skin was more sensitive after my electric shave and i came out with an unpleasant looking rash, which disappeared ( thank God) after further 48 hours. My second jab is due in August.

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Got my first shot of  AstraZeneca 26/05/2021, must admit i was a bit wary because of all the bad publicity.......

14 hours later i developed flu like symptoms, treated with a few Panadol every 4 hours, was good to go after about 12 hours :)

Dam i didn't know about the second shot!......lol


At the end of the day it's a no brainer, get vaccinated!, save your life and others!, this thing is going to be around for years, so if you want to increase your chances of surviving this pandemic roll up that sleeve and take one for the team :)


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Covid-19 origin: Fresh life to Wuhan lab-leak theory

The mystery around the origin of the virus has remained far from resolved. The virus was first reported in the Chinese city of Wuhan and since then China has been chided for its lack of transparency.

Eighteen months since China reported the first patient with Covid-19 like symptoms, the deadly SARS-CoV-2 virus has spread like wildfire in more than 180 countries.

Moreover, multiple waves of the pandemic overwhelmed health care systems worldwide and led to the worst global economic crisis since the Great Depression.

Amid all this, the mystery around the origin of the virus has remained far from resolved. The virus was first reported in the Chinese city of Wuhan and since then China has been chided for its lack of transparency.


In the absence of any evidence, several theories for the origin of the virus were put forward. Among them, a few possibilities, such as the theory which said that the virus originated in nature, have received more traction than others.


Meanwhile, other theories raised questions on China's intentions and handling of the dangerous virus. These include possibilities of an accidental leak of the Covid-19 virus from a Wuhan lab and Beijing deliberately manufacturing the virus as a bioweapon.


On December 31, 2019, China disclosed to the World Health Organization (WHO), the existence of an outbreak of pneumonia cases in Wuhan.


For an entire year, China did not heed calls for an independent investigation into the origin of coronavirus, raising further suspicion.


Moreover, when a team of WHO experts early this year visited the Huanan Seafood Market, the site of an early cluster of cases in late 2019, doubts were raised on the investigation's credibility and the validity of the eventual findings.


Now, calls for a fresh investigation into the origin of the virus have brought the matter to the fore. In recent months, the idea that the virus emerging from the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) has gained new credence.


Speaking to ANI, Nicholas Wade, a former science writer and editor for the New York Times said that, in his view, the escape scenario provides a better explanation for the available facts than does the natural emergence scenario.


Developments in recent weeks have turned the media's focus around the lab in Wuhan namely Wuhan Institute of Virology.


The developments, which include a report by an Australian daily on China's plan for a bio-weapon and revelations in a US intelligence report, comes at a time when a 74th World Health Assembly, the decision-making body of WHO, is underway.


Wade suggested that member countries of the WHO should politely ask "China to unseal the records of the Wuhan Institute of Virology and other virology labs in Wuhan."

Addressing the World Health Organization's main annual meeting of member states, the United States and other countries called on Tuesday for a more in-depth investigation of the pandemic origins after an international mission to China earlier this year proved inconclusive.


Australia, Japan and Portugal were among other countries to call for more progress on the investigation, while the British representative urged for any probe to be "timely, expert-driven and grounded in robust science".


How did the lab-leak theory start?


The lab-leak theory is not new. It came into existence last year just after China reported the first Covid-case.


Nearly a month before the World Health Organisation declared coronavirus a pandemic in March 2020, Botao Xiao, a molecular biomechanics researcher at South China University of Technology published a paper citing that "the killer coronavirus as originated from the laboratory in Wuhan". The paper was published on Feburary 6, 2020.

However, he withdrew his paper a few weeks later after Chinese authorities insisted that no accident had taken place.


In the following weeks, many in the scientific community dismissed the lab-leak theory.


On March 27, 2020, however, the US Defense Intelligence Agency updated its assessment of the origin of the novel coronavirus to reflect that it may have been accidentally released from an infectious diseases lab.


A month later on April 27, 2020, President Donald Trump told reporters: "You had the theory from the lab. ... There's a lot of theories. But, yeah, we have people looking at it very, very strongly."


On the same day, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence released a statement saying that the Intelligence Community will continue to "rigorously examine emerging information and intelligence to determine whether the outbreak began through contact with infected animals or if it was the result of an accident at a laboratory in Wuhan."

As coronavirus wreaked havoc across the US, the Trump administration became more vocal about the possibility of the leak from the Wuhan lab.


However, for a long time, Trump's remarks on the issue were considered merely a way to avoid criticism by blaming China for the deteriorating COVID-19 situation in America.

Then-US secretary of State Mike Pompeo on May 3 said in an interview to ABC that there is "enormous evidence" regarding the origin of the virus.


He added that: "China has a history of infecting the world, and they have a history of running substandard laboratories"


As the coronavirus continues to spread, countries closed their borders and imposed lockdowns to prevent the surge in infections. Meanwhile, more evidence emerged indicating the non-natural origin of the virus.


A report was published in the Times of London in July that a virus 96 per cent identical to the coronavirus that causes Covid-19 was found in an abandoned copper mine in China in 2012.


The bat-infested copper mine in southwestern China was home to a coronavirus that left six men sick with pneumonia, with three eventually dying, after they had been tasked with shovelling bat guano out of the mine.


After months of negotiations with China, a WHO team, which includes experts from 10 countries, visited in January the Huanan Seafood Market, the site of an early cluster of cases in late 2019.


This came following the tremendous international pressure as China continued to resist calls for a strictly independent investigation.


The inquiry did not conclusively establish how or when the virus began spreading and did little to address Western concerns that the Chinese Communist Party bent the investigation to its advantage.


Beijing was accused of delaying access to international investigators for months after the initial outbreak, virtually guaranteeing that the lab had been deep-cleaned before any forensic analysis could be done.


On February 11, WHO Secretary-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus refused to rule out the lab-leak scenario. "Some questions have been raised as to whether some hypotheses have been discarded," he said. "I want to clarify that all hypotheses remain open and require further study."


What's new?

A few days ago, an article was published in the Wall Street Journal which revealed that three researchers at China's Wuhan Institute of Virology fell ill in November 2019 and had to be hospitalized. The report was based on previously undisclosed US intelligence.


The researchers were admitted into the hospital a month before China reported the first case of COVID-19.


The revelation has sparked debate and raised questions about whether China knew of the deadly virus way before it apprised the world.


Author and former NYT science journalist Nicholas Wade said that if the reports are true it shows that the pandemic started several weeks earlier than the given by the Chinese authorities.


"The importance of the report, if true, is that it shows the pandemic started several weeks earlier than the date given by the Chinese authorities, and therefore that the Chinese had longer to prepare for it. Had they shared this information with the rest of the world, many lives could perhaps have been saved," he said in an email interview.


Recently, Wade published an article in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists where he argues that evidence is stronger than the virus leaked from a lab than that it occurred naturally.


In an elaborate report, Wade said that much of the work of Chinese virologists on gain-of-function in coronaviruses was performed at the BSL2 safety level lab, which requires taking fairly minimal safety precautions. The pandemic broke out in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December 2019."For the lab escape scenario, a Wuhan origin for the virus is a no-brainer.


Wuhan is home to China's leading centre of coronavirus research where researchers were genetically engineering bat coronaviruses to attack human cells. They were doing so under the minimal safety conditions of a BSL2 lab.


"If a virus with the unexpected infectiousness of SARS2 had been generated there, its escape would be no surprise," he said.

Wade, who has worked on the staff of Nature, Science, and, for many years, the New York Times, talked about lack of access to evidence from the Wuhan Institute of Virology, or related labs in Wuhan.


Bernard Roizman, a University of Chicago virologist told WSJ: "I'm convinced that what happened is that the virus was brought to a lab, they started to work with it...and some sloppy individual brought it out," said .."They can't admit they did something so stupid."


Another head-turning development that shocked experts and scientists was the report in an Australian daily which revealed that Chinese scientists were thinking about bioweapons, visualising a World War-III scenario.


The Weekend Australian newspaper cited a Chinese government document that discussed the weaponisation of SARS coronavirus.


Titled the Unnatural Origin of SARS and New Species of Man-Made Viruses as Genetic Bioweapons, the 2015 paper was authored by Chinese scientists, Chinese public health officials and members of the People's Liberation Army (PLA).


Moreover, Anthony Fauci a top adviser to US President Joe Biden on the coronavirus pandemic and long time sceptic of the lab-leaked theory, said he's "not convinced" the deadly virus developed naturally and has called for further investigations into where it emerged.


Recently, a group of leading UK and US scientists called for more investigation to determine the origin of the COVID-19 pandemic, including the theory of an accidental release from a lab in the central Chinese city of Wuhan.


In a letter published in the journal 'Science' early this month, the experts from world-leading universities such as Harvard, Stanford and MIT said knowing how COVID-19 emerged is critical for informing global strategies to mitigate the risk of future outbreaks.


In March, WHO Director-General Tedros Ghebreyesus also called for further studies after the release of an inconclusive report on an international team's field visit to Wuhan, China to research the origins of COVID-19, citing difficulties accessing raw data.


Source:  https://www.hindustantimes.com/lifestyle/health/covid19-origin-fresh-life-to-wuhan-lab-leak-theory-101622033434214.html

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Families of Wuhan COVID-19 victims claim China is monitoring them

Key points:

  • Families of Wuhan victims say they are monitored by authorities and warned against speaking to foreign media
  • Some are marking the first anniversary of a loved one's death due to COVID-19
  • China denies the WHO expert team is conducting an "investigation", saying it has to follow           


Families of people who died from the coronavirus in China's former epicentre Wuhan say they have been monitored and silenced by local authorities, and are calling for a meeting with World Health Organization investigators.


Multiple residents say they are desperate for answers about the origin of COVID-19 after the death of their loved ones, although Wuhan hasn't reported any new deaths from the virus since April last year.


The residents also told the ABC they demanded officials who covered up the city's initial outbreaks be held to account, as their "lies and obtuseness" led to the spread of the then-unknown virus in the city.

Zhang Hai, 51, a Wuhan resident who now lives in the southern city of Shenzhen, this week marked the first anniversary of his father's death. 


Mr Zhang's father, a patriotic veteran who was honoured for his involvement in China's first nuclear test in the 1960s, contracted COVID-19 in a military hospital in Wuhan after receiving bone-fracture surgery in mid-January.


One week later, the 77-year-old passed away due to respiratory failure caused by COVID-19, according to an official death certificate seen by the ABC.

"The Government's first priority is to protect the people's health and safety, but it failed to inform the public as soon as the coronavirus outbreak happened," Mr Zhang told the ABC.

"My father, a very patriotic soldier, had devoted his youth to the nation … but he was killed by COVID-19 in his later life.


"The epidemic would never happen if the Government had truly put the people's interest [as their] first priority."


Mr Zhang said he was extremely keen to meet with World Health Organization (WHO) experts who were in Wuhan to investigate the origins of the deadly virus. 


Last Friday, the WHO said on its official Twitter account that the team would visit hospitals, virus laboratories and markets in Wuhan, and speak with early responders and some of the first COVID-19 patients.


However, China's Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Zhao Lijian, denied the WHO's field work was an "investigation", and said it had to follow "the prior consensus".


"The exchanges and cooperation on origin-tracing between WHO experts and Chinese professionals are part of a global study, not an investigation," Mr Zhao said.


But Mr Zhang said he wouldn't trust visits organised and limited by the Chinese Government, and thought the information patients gave could be "highly suspicious".


"They could have been trained many months ago, and been ordered to stage and repeat the Government's narrative," Mr Zhang said.


"I am highly concerned that the WHO experts in Wuhan are not a match for these counterfeiters."

Families fight against being silenced

Mr Zhang had established a chat group on Chinese social media platform WeChat, where he united more than 100 Wuhan residents who lost their families during the epidemic and wanted an explanation.


The WeChat group was censored on January 16, and three members were temporarily banned from posting comments, according to multiple group members who spoke to the ABC.


Three families told the ABC they were warned to keep silent, and their daily activities were closely monitored by authorities in Wuhan. They requested that the ABC not disclose their identities, in order to avoid persecution.

"[I had] police interviews, cameras pointing at home, and dismissal from work. They pressured my families, stalked my activities, which is completely unscrupulous," one parent, who lost their only child, told the ABC.

"[I am told] don't contact the foreign media, because it will be used by anti-China forces, which is detrimental to our country.


"I just want everyone to know that the Government is a murderer for hiding the epidemic.


The ABC has approached WeChat for comment. 


Another family told the ABC they felt very scared to ask for an answer from the WHO's investigation, because their demands had been ignored and denied by authorities since last year.


"I hope the WHO experts can understand that victims and their families want an explanation from the Government … but we feel very hopeless," they said.


The ABC has approached the WHO and one expert in the investigation team for comment.


Mr Zhang ignores almost every phone call from strangers on his phone, because he believes it could be 'greetings' from authorities, asking him to stop speaking out online.


But he continued to voice his views, because he feels deep grief after his father's death.


He is using his personal experience, he said, to highlight how China's media censorship has helped to cover up other social justice issues after the epidemic.


Lawsuit rejected by court

Last November, Mr Zhang's lawsuit against the Government of both Wuhan city and Hubei province was rejected by the Hubei Higher People's Court, which told Mr Zhang he was ineligible to sue the Government.


The Wuhan Government hung up on the ABC when called for comment and did not respond to emails. The Hubei Higher People's Court was contacted several times but did not respond. 


Mr Zhang said he had requested the court provide an official notice of not filing the case, but was rejected by the court.


His story was never reported by media in mainland China, and five of his accounts on Chinese social media Weibo were permanently banned. Weibo has been approached for comment. 


"I am an ordinary citizen in this country, but I have my dignity and rights," Mr Zhang said.

"However, the more you speak out and criticise the Government, the stronger surveillance and persecution you receive."

Mr Zhang said the WHO's investigation was the "only hope" for him. He said he wants the experts to understand "how significant their work and responsibility" is for the families of over two million victims around the world.


"I will never forgive myself if I don't speak out for my father, who could be a victim forever," he said.


Source:  https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-02-02/china-wuhan-coronavirus-victim-families-who-investigation/13109968




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pretty much 100 percent certain China  IS hiding the truth of the origin.  BUT that being said this most likely was a leak of  virus they were studying because of te fact it was an in the wild strain related to what is 3ell known to be one virus dangerous to humans...if it was military OR  released on purpose china would already have been wiped off the face of the earth...economically not militarily,]..


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  • 3 weeks later...

The American news service NPR reported news 6/18/2021

on a plan to make a pill to counter measure  Covid

 expected in the Fall of this year...

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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...
On 7/9/2021 at 3:03 AM, MagicSahar said:

Delta variant of Covid-19 becomes dominant in Germany: What does it mean?


The Delta strain is causing Havoc in Australia at the moment,  most new cases seem to be of this new highly contagious variant Delta!!, and what do you do to combat it?

You have 3,500 people march under the banner of a freedom  march, i.e.......people complaining about lockdowns.....

As stated above Corvid-19 causes brain damage,  Australia has now 3,500 cases of brain damage!......i would laugh if it wasn't true


Who would believe only a few months ago, most of Australia had very low numbers, the envy of most country's around the world, fingers crossed we can but the genie back in the bottle!



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  • 2 weeks later...

It will be really interesting to find out how  this will come to an end and more interesting how will it end. I hope to be still alive at the end. :)

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Featured • News
‘Covid-22’ could be more deadly than Delta, expert claims


An expert has warned that a new variant dubbed “Covid-22” could be more lethal than the

world-dominating Delta.


Professor Doctor Sai Reddy of the federal technology institute ETH Zurich, an

immunologist, believes that combination of existing strains could result in a new and more

dangerous phase of the pandemic.


“It is very likely that a new variant will emerge and that we will no longer be able to rely on

vaccinations alone,” immunologist Sai Reddy said.


Prof Reddy told the German newspaper Blick that Delta, dubbed COVID-21, was the most

contagious variant of all.


He cited coronavirus variants from South Africa (Beta) and Brazil (Gamma) that have

mutated, allowing them to evade antibodies to some extent. Delta, on the other hand, is far

more contagious but has yet to develop such mutations.


“If Beta or Gamma becomes more contagious, or if Delta develops mutations, then we

could be talking about a new phase of the pandemic,” said Reddy. “This would become the

big problem of the coming year. Covid-22 could be even worse than what we are

experiencing now.”


Professor Doctor Sai Reddy noted that recent scientific findings show that the viral load of

the Delta variant is so high that anyone who contracts it who is unvaccinated can become a


“Since children under 12 cannot be vaccinated, they represent a large group of potential

super-spreaders,” said Reddy.


He noted that the Delta variant can avoid vaccinations due to its extremely high viral load.


“We need to counter this with a high level of antibodies, and that is exactly what a third

booster dose of vaccine does,” he explained.


Breaking Headlines

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lasting symptoms rarer in children than in adults – Study Mink, dogs, and cats are ‘likely’

asymptomatic carriers of disease-causing pathogens: Study AI: A Useful yet Paradoxical

Solution to Climate Change Viral video shows even monkey following the mandate by

wearing a face mask Bernie Sanders Vows To Tax Billionaires Including Musk, Bezos,

Zuckerberg Who Grew Richer During Pandemic Kamala Harris trip to Vietnam delayed by

possible Havana syndrome case Former Minister of Afghanistan is now delivering Pizza in

Germany What Minority Business Owners Face in the Country West Nile Virus detected in

mosquitoes in Meriden, Connecticut

Our Mission

Insider Paper is your source for Breaking News from around the world.



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