Dr Richard Maurer April 17th 2020
I read about coronavirus incessantly a few hours a day—It fascinates me. There is so much unknown but some great questions out there and answers are trickling in. What is evident right now is that this particular virus is with us for a long time, so best to understand it, and ourselves, a little better. I bet one of these four sections will be a pearl for you or someone you love.
#1 – A word about the vaccine development.
I learned a lot on this hour-long webinar, but for immunity check out minute 29 and go to 35 (https://postgraduateeducation.hms.harvard.edu/continuing-education/covid-19-resources-providers?utm_source=SFMC&utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=covid19ce-wk4-em4%20&utm_term=#April%2016)
Many successful vaccines are done with kids in mind, but a vaccine does not statistically help that demographic for COVID-19 as risk of death in the US is <1 per 20,000, or 0.0049%. The population who needs this vaccine are those with some associated conditions-of-risk for COVID-19. For them, a quick vaccine is not the goal. A safe and effective vaccine as quickly as possible is required. Unfortunately, attempts at vaccines for prior ubiquitous coronaviruses have not effectively rendered persistent immunity. It is easy to assume that viruses are kind of the same…but different viruses are, well…different. I could run a test in a seventy-year-old person and detect antibodies indicating prior exposure to measles and rubella antigen (from either prior infection or vaccine). But many other coronaviruses are more like the common cold (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/types.html),even though SARS-CoV-2 can cause uniquely severe respiratory illness in some.
The realistic hope I have for those for whom a vaccine would be beneficial lies in the unprecedented level of collaboration and speed currently in our scientific global community involving governments, businesses and universities—If there is a time to create a novel vaccine, this is it. My take home message about a vaccine is for you to have another strategy active, while waiting.
#2 – What about the antibody test?
Yes – it is here. There is a IgG antibody test that has been deployed for purchase. It is the best one, because it is the only one right now, but I expect a few of the other four to be released in the next couple weeks. As for the one current test that is available, it will be tough to interpret. Primarily for example in the case of a prior coronavirus exposure, perhaps a cold like viral infection from many years prior, that gave the positive result.
For a better test…
I would like the test to have IgM, not just IgG. IgM can indicate a more recent exposure compared to IgG which can linger for many years/decades.
I would like quantitative measurement. If a very high IgG was present, it would again indicate more recent viral activity.
But I am with you, and if the follow up tests do not show more promise, but I think they will, I’ll be recommending what we have…stay tuned.
#3 – Short term blood sugar control makes a difference?
Eat to control your blood sugars!
This week showed some “diabetes and high blood sugar” news as it collided with Covid-19 in the hospital. Of 1000 people hospitalized with Covid-19 in Georgia, those who DID NOT have diabetes but had high blood sugar while in the hospital had 7 times higher death rate than those with lower blood sugars. The same showed up with people with diabetes, as in people who displayed better control of blood sugar there were substantially fewer complications and deaths. And it was linear.
Does this mean the supermarket runs on flour, chocolate chips and baker’s yeast are an omen? Perhaps it wasn’t you, but I do wonder who took the baking isle and cleared it. If I go back in time ten years, and resume eating 2 fruits and 2 pieces of bread every day, I suspect I would resume being prediabetic. I think I’ll skip that experiment right now and keep with a carb restriction for one with slight/moderate insulin resistance
If you think you may have some blood sugar issues – run this ULTA panel on yourself—labs around the U.S. are open for business – but call ahead to make an appointment as we try to eliminate the use of waiting rooms.
If you think you may have some blood sugar issues – run this ULTA panel on yourself, labs around the U.S. are open for business – but call ahead to make an appointment as we try to eliminate the use of waiting rooms.
#4 – The respiratory distress linked to serious COVID-19 disease is best measured with O2 saturation early, not fever.
Public health advocates have put the kibosh on measuring fever as means of declaring or staging illness. People can suffer a catastrophic drop in oxygen in their blood before or without any fever. Respiratory vulnerability plays a huge role in hospitalizations for many reasons, but one is revealed from more recent testing where data on milder and asymptomatic cases become evident. It appears fitness, not just youth, is associated to less severe illness with COVID-19.
So,Work out hard – like really hard for you, a few times a week!
WORKOUT: I think it’s time for everyone to get a HIIT workout 2-3 times a week, especially those with one or more of the “complicating underlying conditions” such high blood pressure, high blood sugar, asthma and obesity. Remember, you have heard me say it before, the workout can be short – like 5-10 minutes total. It just needs to be challenging…for you.
I am a metrics guy, so for respiratory fitness, I just ordered this equipment for myself to measure my FEV1 FEV1 you ask? I recently wrote about it here.
Let me know if it this is helpful for you too. – RM