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September 2020 News
Regarding Operation Warp Speed or the fast-tracking of the COVID vaccination: This vaccination scares me to death. Hopefully, not literally. One thing to remember when we are all confronted with an available vaccine for COVID are these words: High-binding antibodies. These high-binding antibodies are associated with paradoxical immune enhancement and could be deadly. "Previous attempts to create coronavirus vaccines have failed due to coronaviruses triggering production of two different types of antibodies: The one antibody that we want fights disease and the antibody that we don't want is the one that triggers the paradoxical immune response which results in very serious disease and/or death when the VACCINATED PERSON is exposed to the wild coronavirus." So if you see the words high-binding antibodies associated with the touted vaccination du jour, please be careful and explore further. (Mercola.com, 9/8/2020)
I have been watching the Astrazeneca/Oxford trials for awhile now and they seemed very promising to me. Then one of the volunteers came down with transverse myelitis in early September and as I am writing this, no one knows if this person was part of the control or actually got the viral vaccination. If she was in the control group, then it's not due to the vaccine. If she actually got the test vaccination and got transverse myelitis, then this is quite serious. Astrazeneca is back on line so I imagine that she was part of the control group and just got the placebo. But, based on historical coronavirus vaccine failures, a fast-tracked and unsafe vaccine could be one of the biggest public health disasters in history and I don't want us to be part of that debacle.
Also to be considered: Only healthy people are enrolled in the COVID trials, yet only 4 in 10 Americans are free of chronic diseases like obesity, high blood pressure, metabolic disease and diabetes. What's more, 87.8% of Americans are "metabolically inflexible" which impairs their immune system. Then there is vitamin D: Deficiencies are rampant yet health officials (and probably your MD) are not stressing the importance of getting your D levels in the range of 60-80. (My patients have to beg for vitamin D tests. And by the way, I have a place where you can send away and self-order.) And what about the elderly whose immune systems simply become more compromised with age no matter how many supplements are swallowed in a day? I have a lot of questions and will keep you posted with what I find out.
Fear Factor: I have never been afraid of COVID, but I do have a healthy respect for it and I am very careful. However, there is something scary and dark and out-of-control as I think about the possibility of asymptomatic transmission. My Q's to myself: What if I am insanely careful and get COVID anyway? What if I run into an infected droplet floating in the air at Vitamin Cottage and my mask is loose and in that one freaky careless moment I become infected? I could be an asymptomatic carrier. You could be an asymptomatic carrier. The neurosis list goes on and on.
However, you and I may be able to relax a bit because a study in China (Annals of Internal Medicine, August 13, 2020) has found that the more severe your case of COVID-19 is, the higher the chances of transmitting it to someone else. And the converse is true as well. "Asymptomatic transmission is not only rare.... but it supports the strategy of quarantining the sick as opposed to mass quarantining everyone."
Furthermore, my hero, the highly credentialed Dr. Anthony Fauci (MD, Epidemiologist, Immunologist and director of the Nat'l Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease [NIAID]) said way back in January that. "Asymptomatic transmission has never been the driver of outbreaks. The driver of outbreaks is always the symptomatic person and even if there is a rare asymptomatic person that might transmit, an epidemic is never driven by asymptomatic carriers". (WaPo July 13, 2020)
Now about the seasonal flu shot: I visited my PCP at Kaiser a few days ago for a routine thing, and I was asked 3 times in that 15 minute visit whether she could "give me my flu shot." My answer was no, no and really? I was seriously considering having a flu shot due to our unusual circumstances this year, but the following changed my mind: "People who received the trivalent [seasonal] influenza vaccine during the 2008-2009 flu season were between 1.4 and 2.5 times more likely to get infected with pandemic H1N1 in the spring and summer of 2009". And, a double blind, placebo controlled study on ferrets (Yeah, I know we're not ferrets! Nonetheless...) confirmed those results showing that the seasonal flu vaccine did worsen symptoms after subsequent exposure to H1N1.
But here's the kicker and the one that pushed me over the edge into "NO": A 2020 study found people were 36% more likely to get some form of coronavirus infection if they had been vaccinated against influenza. (Jour Vaccine, 1-10-20) I probably will not get the flu shot this year, but please, do some research and make up your own mind about this.
"Winter is coming", as every character seemed to intone in Game of Thrones. Well, it's coming for us, too, and very soon. But let's look at the bright side... because as it turns out, "exposing your body to less-than-comfortable temperatures is another very effective way to turn on your longevity genes." (Lifespan David. A. Sinclair, Ph.D. 2019). Or getting out of the thermoneutral zone where our bodies are not expected to do much of anything and they become lazy bodies lying around on the Barcalounger watching GoT with a beer in hand. So, run outside in your shorts in 40 degree weather, end your shower in cold water, and wear less clothes in general. Tough it out because the cold weather switches on sirtuins which in turn activate brown fat in our back and shoulders which in turn activates our mitochondria which in turn allows us to add a few extra years to our lives. Is it worth it? I'm going to try it.
"Who you are will always be frightened of change. But it doesn't make any difference to who you truly are." Ram Dass
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