Before I start I’d like to state that I am pro-vaccination and have nothing personal against any drug companies or the Department of Health; but I am deeply concerned about how fast the new Covid-19 vaccination program is being rolled out. I realise there may be some people who will think I'm being irresponsible questioning the vaccination program for Covid-19 but I really am concerned about it. If you want the Covid-19 vaccine or have had it already then that’s okay, please don’t let me cause you to second guess yourselves. This is just my opinion and not that of any organisation I’m otherwise affiliated to, but I have been asked my own opinion many times so here it is.
I actually wrote this blog back on the 7th April 2020 when the Covid-19 pandemic was just starting to hot up but didn’t get around to publishing it as there were other more pressing “All-Things-Covid” to blog about. However, as we come to the end of the year, I thought I’d reflect and have another look at this blog to see if my fears materialised or not…. I’ve kept the original text and added “December 2020 notes” after as to what I think now.
Earlier this year we all went into lockdown… remember? Not like the current lockdown where most people seem to be carrying on regardless, I mean when the streets were eerily quiet, and our capital cities looked like a set from a post-apocalyptic movie.
During this time, I remember seeing news stories about the positive impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the environment as everyone moved indoors, cars stayed off the roads and heavy industry shut down. There were striking pictures of Nitric Oxide levels over China showing a massive reduction in the production of greenhouse gases. It seemed that something good may come out of the pandemic, almost as if the Earth was pressing the reset button and taking back control.
They look so cute and cuddly! I’m not talking about the Giant Microbes SARS CoV2 toys (gosh they do make great bugs, don’t they?!). No, I’m talking about mink! Well I like them…But personally, I think mink coats look better on mink!
Maybe Covid-19 is going to finally put an end to the production of fur coats… I can but hope. What am I talking about? This is a microbiology blog, not a rant against animal fur in fashion… or is it?
So last week, before all the vaccine shenanigans (Congrats to Oxford; at least their vaccine interim results are published in the Lancet not just the BBC!), I was going to write a blog about Covid-19 and mink. So, what was this all about?
Last week it was reported that there was a new strain of SARS CoV2 which had transferred from mink into humans, and that there was no protection even if you had had Covid-19. The way it was reported would have us all believing that another new pandemic was about to start….
“Today is a great day for science and humanity. The first set of results from our Phase 3 COVID-19 vaccine trial provides the initial evidence of our vaccine’s ability to prevent COVID-19,” said Dr. Albert Bourla, Pfizer Chairman and CEO on 09/11/2020. “We are reaching this critical milestone in our vaccine development program at a time when the world needs it most with infection rates setting new records, hospitals nearing over-capacity and economies struggling to reopen. With today’s news, we are a significant step closer to providing people around the world with a much-needed breakthrough to help bring an end to this global health crisis.”
Or perhaps in other words “the end of the pandemic is nigh!”
We’re all waiting for a vaccine against SARS Cov2, right? Once we have a vaccine, we can all get back to normal and 2020 will be a period of time that we look back on as a bad time in our lives. Well this is what I hear a lot of people saying… SPOILER ALERT! I think we need a reality check; the new normal is NOT going to look like the old normal.
Okay, it was almost unanimous! You want more on Covid-19… Oh well clearly no one listened to my plea for “no more”. So you asked for it and here it is, more on Covid-19…grrrrrrr….
Okay so we’re all bored of Covid-19 right, but like-it-or-not it hasn’t gone away and whilst many think we are now in the second wave I would argue it’s still the first wave… it never disappeared, we just went into hiding and now we are “out” again nothing has really changed since the last big peak of cases. Or has it? Surely, we have learned something about this new disease this year… haven’t we?
Back in the blog in August called “My pandemic is worse than your pandemic” I mentioned I might do a future blog on the ancient disease called Cocoliztli, which I had never heard of before… well for once I’ve remembered I said I would do a particular topic and here it is!
So I’ve delve into my historical medical books (and Google!) to look further into the unknown pandemic of Cocoliztli.
It is well known that imported infections from Europe with the Spanish Conquistadors caused many deaths; Smallpox for example was imported in about 1520 and killed about 8 million people. In fact during the 16th Century about 90% of the native population of Mexico was wiped out by disease. But as if Smallpox wasn’t enough, this was followed in 1545 by the first Cocoliztli epidemic which killed a further 15 million people. Local people called this disease Cocoliztli or “pest” and as pandemics go this one seems pretty bad! A further Cocoliztli epidemic in 1576 killed another 50% of the population, so by this time more than 90% of the natives had been killed in just over 50 years!
Did you know that guinea pigs cough? I didn’t… but then I’ve never had a pet guinea pig… In fact I’ve discovered that all mammals cough, who knew?! Guinea pigs apparently have a cough pathway (from something stimulating a cough through neural networks and chemical signals to the actual cough) that is the same as humans so they are a great animal model for studying coughs in humans…??
Please DO NOT advertise products and conferences on our website or blog