Dr. Peter Jay Hotez on COVID-19 Transmission and Vaccine; Mike Brampton from the UK on WGN
Listen HERE to undisputed expert, Dr. Peter Jay Hotez on WGN Radio talking about the novel coronavirus pandemic, separating fact from fiction and discussing vaccines. Dr. Hotez is Endowed Chair in Tropical Pediatrics, Texas Children’s Hospital; Dean for the National School of Tropical Medicine, Baylor College of Medicine; Professor Departments of Pediatrics and Molecular Virology & Microbiology; Baylor College of Medicine Faculty Fellow; Hagler Institute for Advanced Study at Texas A&M University, College Station, TX and University Professor Department of Biology Baylor University.
We talk the truth – the tragedy of America leading world, 330,000 lives lost by the end of the year, by “letting it (the virus) get out of hand.” He says COVID-19 numbers are not being combined with flu death numbers or exaggerated by doctors for money or for any other reason….etc. This is truly a preventable national tragedy of monumental proportions.
We discuss what may be acceptable – realistically – as a positivity rate. He says his plan to get that rate down to one percent was rejected by the Trump White House for whatever the reason. He’s contacted by the Biden White House on occasion but so far little interaction.
We talk about the virus mutations and changes – and the strain getting all the buzz in the UK. Should we be concerned? One thing we know for sure is what we don’t know because you can’t find mutations if you don’t or can’t search for those alterations in the virus. The U.S. is sadly is not sequencing and not searching for those changes. Dr. Hotez says he’s at a loss for why the U.S. isn’t doing this, and has some harsh words for the Centers of Disease Control.
The vaccine did come about with remarkable speed, but not exactly as fast as most suggests. Dr. Hotez explains there was a head start that goes back 18 years to the first identified SARS (Sudden Acute Respiratory Syndrome) Coronavirus. The initial models and understanding of SARS viruses date back well before this current novel coronavirus was discovered.
We also discuss side effects or adverse responses – and regarding some of those, interestingly people with the placebo had statistically about the same number of adverse effects. Regarding fever and fatigue, there is more reported from those who received the actual vaccine. Interestingly, adverse events are actually fewer among senior citizens. We discuss how important it is for health workers and volunteers at nursing homes and assisted living facilities to be vaccinated, even MORE important than the residents themselves (because they are out in the world and have more potential exposure to bring the virus inside the community).
What about allergic responses to the vaccines? In truth, the rate may be slightly higher than the influenza vaccine, but it is still a very rare event perhaps one to 50,000. Given how dire things are now with COVID-19, it is certainly worth that risk, he says, for most individuals.
We discuss therapeutics, which there aren’t so many. Dr. Hotez is a fan of using monoclonal antibody therapy. But you have to find it in the first place, and this must be given early on in the infection and it has to be administered intravenously. I tease – and it’s true, we can thank cats for antiviral treatment called Remdesivir.
Discussion on the Other Side of the Pond
How is life now in the UK? I talk HERE on WGN Radio with Mike Brampton, physiologist, inventor and bio mechanic as well as the co-host of a veterinary videocast Veterinary Ramblings (which I have been honored to appear as a guest). He reveals his son and his sons flatmates very recently came down with the newest and presumably more infectious form of COVID-19. We talk about how sick his son got (he’s okay now) and that his son’s friend actually traveled to Sweden before he became ill. We know this new strain has now been identified in many EU nations, and in Canada – so there’s no reason not to believe it’s in the U.S. Though we should know how prevalent that strain is, as Dr. Hortez explains above – we don’t know. We just don’t gene sequence here as we should, though Mke explains the UK leads the world in gene sequencing.
Mike says New Year’s Eve is off in the UK. Citizens in the UK, he says, are frustrated with the inconsistent mitigations mandated by the government there.
He says it is believed the Pfizer vaccine – which was the first rolled out in the UK, is as effective against the new strain. AstraZeneca’s vaccine should be approved in a week or two in the UK. He articulates in a great way how and why the virus constantly evolve. One theory is that the new strain everyone is talking about is more infectious but actually less damaging to most people, but no one really knows for sure.