Dr. John Campbell has been the most levelheaded individual providing regular updates on the state of COVID-19 that I’ve been able to find (other than government and academic reports). Since February he’s been tracking the development of COVID-19 and our response to it. Along the way he’s been doing an excellent job of educating viewers on all he’s learned. A really great thing about Dr. Campbell is that he readily admits what he doesn’t know and if he’s wrong about something he provides an update, thankfully he rarely speculates (unlike other YouTubers who benefit from fear mongering).
Here’s his latest video and it’s all about how we’re getting better at fighting COVID-19 and understanding how our bodies respond to the virus.
The global pandemic of COVID-19 is flooding healthcare systems with more patients than they can handle. There is something you can do about this: stay home. Yes, just stay home.
One of the reasons that people (except boomers) care about the virus is that it spreads so easily by asymptotic individuals. Since we can’t outwardly tell who currently has COVID-19 (unlike most flus) we need to isolate ourselves from others and limit our contact with people outside our household. The easiest thing you can do to help fight COVID-19 is by not physically seeing other people, instead call them.
The Self-Quarantine Manifesto
With no well-studied treatment and no viable vaccine available for at least another year, the only effective way to keep the coronavirus pandemic at bay is to give the virus fewer chances of spreading. The following list of actions, ordered from easiest to implement to most effective in the fight against the pandemic, should serve as a set of loose guidelines for people who wish to join the movement and take action that can actually make a difference.
Don’t panic, but be alert.
Wash your hands often and practice good cough and sneeze etiquette.
Try to touch your face as little as possible, including your mouth, nose, and eyes.
Practice social distancing, no hugs and kisses, no handshakes, no high fives. If you must, use safer alternatives.
Do not attend concerts, stage plays, sporting events, or any other mass entertainment events.
Refrain from visiting museums, exhibitions, movie theaters, night clubs, and other entertainment venues.
Stay away from social gatherings and events, like club meetings, religious services, and private parties.
Reduce travel to a minimum. Don’t travel long distances if not absolutely necessary.
Do not use public transportation if not absolutely necessary.
If you can work from home, work from home. Urge your employer to allow remote work if needed.
Replace as many social interactions as possible with remote alternatives like phone calls or video chat.
Do not leave your home unless absolutely necessary.
For many office workers there is little reason to go to the office thanks to the advances in technology (it seems the only reason to be in an actual office is to be watched by a manager). The environmental gains from telecommuting are obvious and the cost saving for workers and the employers are also obvious, so why isn’t telecommuting more popular? Companies are looking into their work-from-home practices due to the outbreak of the most recent coronavirus. One positive thing that might come out of the bad news of the flu is that we commuting will be easier for all of us.
The carbon benefits of working from home largely depend on how a person gets to work. If you’re like me and take a train to work, staying home doesn’t do all that much to reduce your greenhouse gas emissions. If you’re among the 76 percent of Americans who drive to work alone, then staying home a couple days a week could dramatically reduce your individual carbon footprint while also reducing all the congestion and pollution that results from so many cars on the road.
In the ideal world, the positives would be enough to encourage employers to create flexible work policies. However, saving money is the real push, said Lister. Luckily for the planet, economics and the environment go hand in handthese days, so companies are also seeing the financial benefits of setting and meeting internal sustainability goals. These work-from-home measures may appeal to investors (and consumers!) that are interested in a company’s environmental and societal impact.
A team of researchers in Alberta have successfully tested a new way to treat prostate cancer with a virus. Viruses, which target specific cells, are injected into the body and seek out the mutations in cancer cells. The virus then replicates and causes the cancer cell to burst, sending thousands of viral particles into the surrounding tumour.
The six men in the study had the virus injected directly into their tumours three weeks before they had surgery to remove the prostate gland as part of standard treatment. The tumour cells are targeted by viruses in the experimental treatment, says Dr. Don Morris of the Tom Baker Cancer Centre in Calgary.
Signs of cancer-cell death were found in the removed prostate tumour, while the normal parts of the prostate showed minimal toxicity and no viral replication, Morris said.
Although this doesn’t represent a cure for cancer (tumours were very rarely completely eliminated), it may lead to cancer becoming a much more treatable illness.
A team of Canadian and American researchers have tested a vaccine for the ebola virus on primates, and it seems to be working. They hope that what they’ve learned from finding a vaccine for ebola can be applied to other viruses like HIV/AIDs.
“Ebola virus is a Biosafety Level 4 threat, along with many other haemorrhagic fever viruses”, says Dr Sanchez. “As well as the difficulty in getting the right staff and facilities, vaccines for viruses like Ebola, Marburg and Lassa fever have been difficult to produce because simple ‘killed’ viruses that just trigger an antibody response from the blood are not effective. For these viruses we need to get a cell-mediated response, which involves our bodies producing killer T-cells before immunity is strong enough to prevent or clear an infection.”
The researchers have now used several different recombinant DNA techniques, which have allowed them to trigger a cell-mediated response and produce a vaccine that is effective in non-human primates. One of the candidate vaccines is about to be tested on people for the first time, after entering Phase 1 clinical trials in autumn 2006.