Covid 19: The Science explained
Coronavirus, how it works and its history
About the author
Dr. Jay Gralla is emeritus professor of Biochemistry at UCLA. He has done research at Yale, Harvard, The Pasteur Institute, MIT and of course at UCLA.
NOTE: to read the whole blog beginning with Post 1 click here.
In the month since my post on Omicron we have learned a great deal more about it. The big news is the discovery that Omicron has developed a way to get inside cells never seen before in COVID viruses. Because some types of cells allow this entry and others don’t, the course of the pandemicContinue reading “22. Omicron news: current risks, future prospects”
You’ve heard it all about Omicron. It’s twice as contagious. No, it’s 20 times more contagious. It evades the antibodies induced by vaccines. No, the vaccines work fine. Omicron’s symptoms are milder than those of other variants. No, they’re just the same. Breakthrough infections are rampant. Or maybe not. So, what’s really going on? WeContinue reading “21: Omicron: the real science and when to test for it.”
Yes, Covid-19 pills really are coming. And they really do work. This post contains the scoop on the 2 pills and what it will take to make them a truly effective way of stopping us from getting seriously ill from Covid. I’ll tell you about the evidence that the pills are both safe and effective.Continue reading “20. Pills and an end-game preview”
In the 2 months since I gathered information for the last blog post the COVID-19 landscape has changed dramatically. In June, the Delta variant was just arriving on our shores. Now, it has taken over. If you follow the news at all you have heard that Delta is way more dangerous. Is this true? Well,Continue reading “19. All about the Delta variant”
Now that you’re vaccinated, what happens next? Do you need to worry about getting COVID, especially in light of news about the appearance of ever scarier variants? Are the reports about your immunity slowly losing the fight against these variants true? If you get COVID can you spread it? Is it best to continue wearingContinue reading “18. Vaccinated – Now What?”
Mutant virus variants have been much in the news lately. Breathless reporters look serious as they pronounce that mutants are coming. Scary headlines shout the dangers. The internet is full of dire predictions. Will they spread uncontrollably? Make you sicker? Render the vaccines useless? These variants are no fantasy and are indeed beginning to dominateContinue reading “17. Variant viruses: should we worry?”
December marks the first birthday of COVID-19. Just a year ago, in the dark days near the Winter Solstice, a lethal combination of exotic genes emerged from the Wuhan wild animal market. Somehow, coronaviruses from bats, pangolins and humans mixed, exchanged genes and caught hold in a human. Doctors started seeing cases of “atypical pneumonia”Continue reading “16. COVID turns one: how it spread and killed”
A number of you have asked me to write a post on the new m-RNA vaccines, so here goes. Obviously, the announcement that 2 such vaccines appear to be more than 90% effective is great news. But an m-RNA vaccine has never been used, which means there are many unknowns. So I will cover theContinue reading “15. m-RNA vaccines: the very good, the bad and the ugly”
This update covers the science behind the extraordinary treatment that President Trump is receiving for his infection. In addition, at the end of this post there is a link to a slide show talk about the spread of COVID-19. I presented this show 2 days before he was diagnosed. As I write this, the presidentContinue reading “14. Trump’s extraordinary treatment: the science behind it”
I’ve heard that kids are resistant to COVID-19. What’s going on? No, kids are not resistant, but the young ones do get sick much less often. Recently, a huge study of over 60,000 people in Korea told us how kids fared in that country. First of all, those roughly 10 and older didn’t fare muchContinue reading “13. FAQs: kids and COVID; vaccines and antibodies”
Some questions have come up during the month since the last post. So here is a bit of an update. Is it safe to travel or go back to an office? Of course, it’s better to stay home where you have worked out a routine that has kept you safe so far. If you mustContinue reading “12. FAQs: safe to travel or return to work?”
A number of readers have asked questions and so here I will try to answer some of them. I will also give brief science updates where a bit more has become clear during the last month. Q1: I want to be careful. Do we know anything more about how the virus spreads? Think of itContinue reading “11. FAQs and updates on Covid-19 science”
In Iran, the imams told them to drink toxic methanol and many did. In India it was cow urine, drunk in parties organized by clerics. A U.S. televangelist touted the curative powers of colloidal silver and sold plenty of it. In the UK, people toppled 5G cell phone towers in the belief that their radiationContinue reading “10. Will there be a cure? Or at least a treatment?”
Until nearly the 20thcentury 1 in 4 infants didn’t reach their first birthday and 1 in 2 never reached adulthood. In parts of Asia, even today, some infants are not named until they are 100 days old. In a ritual cave near Dunhuang, China, for centuries newborns were passed through 4 symbolic gates, each representingContinue reading “9. The race for Covid-19 vaccines”
The two Foreign Service officers were brolly-carrying, buttoned-up, career diplomats, not health experts. Who knows what they thought upon disembarking in Shanghai, an 11-hour flight from London. They had been sent by Boris Johnson, the increasingly desperate British Prime Minister. Johnson, like his role model Trump, had mostly dismissed the dangers of Covid-19. But nowContinue reading “8. Antibodies try to come to the rescue”
During the deadly 1918 flu pandemic the hospitals filled up with young people. Soldiers, having survived the horrors of trench warfare, were laid out, lifeless, on gurneys in hallways. Their sweethearts were there too, girls and young women in their prime. Who was missing? Old people. But in the morgues holding victims of the 2020Continue reading “7. Covid-19 vs. your immune system: the first few days”
During the last week in February, when thousands had already died of Covid-19 overseas, the President appeared to be unconcerned. His administration had disbanded the White House office that was supposed to warn about incoming epidemics and to prepare for them. On the 24th, speaking from the White House in Washington DC, he said “theContinue reading “6. The virus is here and we are not ready”
In early Winter the virus left Wuhan in cars and trains, carrying infected people to visit far-flung relatives in China. It left on short flights bound for warm holiday spots in Asia and on long-haul flights to the U.S., Europe and the Middle East. It made its way to cruise ships that stopped in thoseContinue reading “5. The virus spreads, and mutates again”
After the Wuhan market was shut down, legions of health inspectors, clad in white protective suits, looking as if they had just landed on the moon, scurried around the dirty corridors. They swabbed pretty much everywhere, floors, walls, abandoned tables and cages, wherever there was a surface. They wore respirators and probably didn’t take themContinue reading “4. The mutant takes over cells and multiplies”
A lot of what we know about coronaviruses comes from experience with the SARS epidemic of 2003. The Chinese government tried to suppress knowledge of that epidemic and in a sense the world was lucky; that coronavirus was not as infectious as the one causing Covid-19. Indeed, their initial response to Covid-19 was also denial.Continue reading “3. A mutant is born”
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