Monday, December 21, 2020

IgG IgA and sniffing a virus which stinks

Just a quick post, possibly the last for a while as I have quite a lot going on off-blog at the moment and time will be scarce over the next couple of months.

I have downloaded this graph from the UK government website which can be accessed at

Obviously it will be out of date within 24h but, unless you are Whitty or Vallance, you will not be expecting the line to suddenly spike upwards to give (sarcasm warning) 4000 deaths per day for the whole of the UK next week.

These are the figures for London:

London is at herd immunity. Even with the second wave.

I'd like to perform a thought experiment. Let's imagine Fred. Fred lived in Lewisham and was a typical victim of the lipid hypothesis, but had not progressed to frank diabetes or significant metabolic syndrome. He contracted SARS-CoV-2 in mid February, coughed for three days and recovered. He wasn't tested, didn't go to A and E and was not a Spring peak statistic. He has 1) T cell mediated immunity 2) mucosal surface IgA immunity and 3) possibly some antibodies, neutralising, though these may not be at a level detectable in routine serology. He is, absolutely, not on the graph for the April peak in deaths.

Here comes the sad bit.

Fred has had recurrent stomach pain throughout the Summer. He keeps taking the Gaviscon and it does a bit of good but not much. The pain is never quite bad enough to go to A and E, certainly not in the face of the then current viral pandemic.

Fred's problems continue on and off until early November at which point he collapses with incapacitating stomach pain and profuse vomiting. He is still immune to SARS-CoV-2.

He is admitted to hospital and worked up for acute pancreatitis. It is difficult to describe how appalling this is as a medical emergency, and yes, it is triggered by polyunsaturated fatty acids, thank your cardiologist. After a day or so on a medical ward he is transferred to the ITU, just after his SARS-CoV-2 PCR result comes back positive.

Fred is immune to SARS-CoV-2. His respiratory system is covered in IgA. Any SARS-CoV-2 he picks up in the hospital will simply stay there, bound and unable to invade.

But if you take a swab from his throat/nasopharynx, especially in a hospital area with even minor exposure to SARS-CoV-2, the fact that that some viral particles are bound by IgA in a fully immune person makes no difference to a PCR machine running at 40 amplification cycles. He will come up positive.

Pancreatitis comes with a significant death rate. Fred dies (he's imaginary, no need to be sad, for Fred anyway) on the 28th of November 2020. What did he die of? Obviously he is in the stats for COVID-19, second wave, London. At the right hand end of the graph at the top of the post.

Here in the UK deaths at home have been running at 1000/week above normal levels since the lockdowns started in March and this has not diminished. Over 75% of these do not get COVID-19 mentioned on their death certificate. Fred made it to hospital, bound a few stray SARS-CoV-2 particles to his IgA and so died with COVID-19 by PCR amplification, which does get mentioned on his death certificate.

The chances of London not having reached herd immunity in the Spring seems vanishingly small. Certain pockets appear to have been missed and are catching up at the moment, the virus is, absolutely, still around and, absolutely, still making some people very, very ill.

But I think Fred is also common.

It is easy for anyone with a smattering of immunology and basic knowledge about PCR technology to access the data for London, which make this clear.

I'm loathe to attribute motive but SAGE has been after an extended full lockdown ever since before lockdown 2 started and they needed more than genuine infection figures, or even deaths, to get it.

I got three rapid sequential texts at 11pm on Saturday night explaining about the "new, 70% more contagious" strain of virus spreading in the South East and the essentially total shutdown of the area, just to the south of us here on the Norfolk/Suffolk border, which was going to happen at midnight.

I couldn't get back to sleep.

I was angry.

I'm well aware of the state of COVID-19 around the UK and how areas spared in the Spring are catching up now. Norfolk will be one of these. This is not trivial.

But those late night texts about a massive change in policy based around a mutation and what I guess is garbage modelling (you think that the 70% increase in transmission rate comes from some sort of data? Haha. I would bet Ferguson modelled this. It will be as good as his previous models. And then it won't be a prediction, just a "scenario", when it turns out to be bogus) are frank psychological manipulation using fear. Bullying on a national scale.

I'm left wondering if those people who control the Prime Minister and used this "tweak" to force the lockdown they so desperately wanted were actually expecting the channel crossings to be immediately closed?

They should have been, given that we are living through times of a global pandemic of stupidity. But then, they are part of the problem.



Dr. Rob said...

You are right to feel angry Peter - we are dealing with immunity deniers who are asking us to view all healthy asymptomatic people as potentially infectious, akin to some kind of bioterrorist!

Ferguson and a range of behavioural psychologists that make up the NERVTAG modelling group are responsible for this 70% increase in transmission narrative that makes no allowance for T cell immunity.

Meanwhile, I have a rural practice which during this pandemic has seen suicides outnumber covid deaths (all over 80) and trying to persuade a patient with cardiac chest pains to dial 999 has become increasingly difficult.

I know of a local care home that was hit by covid in March because a covid positive resident was sent back from hospital without the home being informed of their infection - subsequent antibody testing has established that 20 of the staff still have antibodies 8 months later and the weekly PCR testing has produced 4 positive tests (3 staff and 1 resident) all without symptoms - presumably false positives, and even those with antibodies have to isolate!

The local hospital is under pressure because it has over 10% of it’s workforce off - either sick or self isolating due to track and tracing and all routine ops have been cancelled. The current wait for an urgent x-ray is 2-4 weeks and 8 - 12 wks for a routine x-ray.

Moreover, I strongly suspect this virus has been circulating since last December, as I saw one patient with severe flu-like symptoms shortly after Christmas and they now have antibodies despite no subsequent illness.

Peter said...

Yes, my wife spent a day in London in late February for a meeting. The journey involved sudden tube train closures with 1000s of people being crammed on to platforms for other routes past the blockage. Four days later she developed an isolated, very peculiar cough, where you cough until your lungs are empty but still can't stop. One day of severe fever. The kids had low grade upset tummies over the following week or so. With hindsight we are suspicious but in rural Norfolk recurrent re exposure is rare (which I think might increase antibody counts) so we were unwilling to shell out for seropositivity testing out of our own pockets, given how relatively insensitive for infection it is (or was in those days).

Actually we too know of a very elderly suicide around the corner in the village in October, partially COVID-19 related. I'm told it was awful, wasn't personally involved.


Eric said...

The Fred scenario might well be possible for London, haven't seen any reports from there.

However, I have seen plenty of on-the-ground reporting from ICUs from the Stockholm (!) area who have had to fly out patients with manifest Covid (not just positive test) to Finland and Norway, from the Netherlands, France, Spain, i.e. all countries which had plenty of cases in spring, as well as from areas of Germany that were hit early (Bavaria) or have been running highish numbers throughout the summer (Berlin). I am pretty sure those clinicians interviewed can distinguish a pancratis with positive test from a real Covid case.

That being said, I have wondered about the 70% claim and how London could still have enough of a reservoir. Drosten says he hasn't seen the new variant in his lab yet.

Myself, I flew into Newcastle end of February for two days of meetings in an industrial villa that was about 100 years old. The room barely held the 20 people, and the only ventilation was a 10 cm circular hole in one window pane that one could half open by twisting a star shaped thing, windows did not open at all. And here I was thinking England was very keen on work safety rules. On top of that, I spent more hours in crowded meeting rooms in the Frankfurt area and in cars with colleagues who had just returned from Spain or the Silicon Valley. Only noticible effect a few days on was feeling under the water (extremely fatigued) for two days while running a temperature just shy of a fever and a strange rash two weeks later. Could have been Covid, could have been any other strange bug.

LA_Bob said...

Fred's big OUCH. Both his pancreatitis and the pain of miscounting COVID cases. And the "New and 70% Improved" super-spreader virus variant.

Would the Antigen Test suffer the same "false positive" as "Fred's" false (or meaningless) positive PCR?

This post is one big scary OUCH.

LA_Bob said...

Oh, and this could conceivably happen to a successfully vaccinated person as well, could it not?

Peter said...

Bob, absolutely.

Eric, running out of ICU beds with the need for inter hospital transfer happens in bad flu years in the UK. It's just standard practice. Running out of mortuary space in bad flu years is also commonplace. You need to pitch where current problems lie in context and for that you need far more info than I have about Sweden. I look at how well Germany did in the Spring and how badly they seem to be doing now (as a distant outsider without your access to understandable German data) and it just seems to me that seasonality and weather may have more influence than an solid test and trace process. Maybe I'm just cynical. You get that way living in the UK nowadays.


Mr and Mrs Strong said...

I am raging. The ‘new variant announcements seem to be lining the ducks up for Covid 21. More talk of shutting schools (my son suffered during the first 6mth lockdown). Anecdotally, Fred’s are happening everywhere- just spoke to someone last week whose friend’s son died in a traffic accident, had tested positive for covid and bingo, recorded as a covid death. Beggars belief. I’ve never been a conspiratorial type but reading all the links between Ferguson and Gates etc etc can’t help but make you suspicious of the allies and money and influences. I’m livid. I’m grateful for all the educated people such as yourself brave enough to continue speaking out from your professional viewpoints.

Peter said...

Hi Mr and Mrs Strong, thanks. I try to stay with incompetence as the core explanatory variable. I have always despised our current Prime Minister, so I may be a little biased in my view of his actions. But the whole late night text episode was awful. If you were wanting to frighten a population this is the way you would do it. Premeditated, deliberate bullying. Using tactics which are utterly transparent.

In some ways it is particularly insulting to be viewed as being gullible enough for such an attempt to work. Johnson thinks I (as a generic for any educated person) am stupid enough to believe this?



Peter said...

Bob, late thought. Sarcasm warning: We know the vaccine will be perfect, so once we all get our vaccine passports no one will ever need to PCR test us ever again. It will probably be verboten. This will certainly improve the apparent efficacy of the vaccine!


cavenewt said...


"Would the Antigen Test suffer the same "false positive" as "Fred's" false (or meaningless) positive PCR?"

At this point I can make a comment based on personal experience both was a rare autoimmune disease and Lyme disease.

People with rare ("orphan") diseases often spend many years searching for a diagnosis. In my case it took 10 years, but in the subsequent 10 years of running an online forum for this disease (MMN), and thereby having a lot of communication with people all over the world who struggled with it, I've learned never to consider a diagnosis as final. MMN very closely resembles ALS, which in Britain is called motor neurone disease. There is no definitive lab test for either. But what's amazing to me is that almost nobody can wrap their head around the fact that there's no definitive lab test for some diseases.

In 2017 I got Lyme disease. I was one of the lucky 30% to actually get the rash, so diagnosis was easy. In the course of researching diagnosis and treatment, I learned that at least in the United States tests for Lyme disease have pretty low accuracy (both ELISA and PCR). Never mind the CDC's official guidelines for screening tests, as a result of which the prevalence of Lyme disease is probably underestimated by 100x. (As a result of this experience I started the Covid-19 year with a healthy skepticism of the CDC, but Donald Trump has actually made them look good.)

My point is that the average citizen has a highly inflated confidence in medical lab tests. And possibly in vaccines. Anybody showing any skepticism at all is tarred with the dreaded anti-vaxxer brush. Compounding that is the extreme polarization in today's society, where everything is either one extreme or the other, and no gray areas are even acknowledged, much less discussed. We react by sorting everything we hear into one extreme or the other. Intelligent discussion seems impossible.

LA_Bob said...


We seem to be on the same page regarding conspiracy vs incompetence. 2020 has made this a trickier bet though.

I'm very convinced of large organizational incompetence as expressed at the nation-wide level. The right and left hands have no concept of each other's existence, never mind not knowing what the other is doing. However perfect or imperfect the vaccine is, there will still be PCR testing, because, you know....reasons, mainly organizational inertia (and cockups like poor record-keeping). And vaccinated people without IgA antibodies (and former COVID patients with IgA antibodies) will be swabbed. And shown to be positive.

I'm seriously concerned over the perceived integrity of the vaccination regime under these circumstances. Some elderly, obese diabetic might get the vaccine, catch a "cold", test COVID positive, die three weeks later of a heart attack (they're elderly obese diabetic after all), and the euphoria over the vaccine will melt like Frosty the Snowman on a warm spring day.

And "the lockdowns will continue until the vaccine improves".

LA_Bob said...

Hi, cavenewt. I do remember looking at your forum a year or two ago and learned something about your situation. It helped me understand why you as a lay person could provide such interesting references on this blog.

"My point is that the average citizen has a highly inflated confidence in medical lab tests."

Well, uh, yeah! You know, Marcus Welby, MD, Dr Kildare, House, and so on...

I think the medical establishment has done a bang-up job getting the public to trust Modern Medicine. Wiping out the threat of polio and other infectious diseases brought doctors immense prestige. So when they took on metabolic disease (CVD, cancer, diabetes, etc), they did so with a lot of public confidence and goodwill. And press support, too.

From Gary Taubes, I learned the cholesterol skeptics never just packed their bags and went quietly into the night. They labored on in obscurity. It took Atkins's diet book in 1972 and Taubes's "Big Fat Lie" article 30 years later to thrust the skeptic views into the popular mind. That's certainly how I eventually found Hyperlipid and others. And I suppose people who have "orphan diseases" learn pretty quickly medicine ain't all it's cracked up to be. So do older people, who learn that the "good" doctors did them years ago was probably more due to the healing powers of youth.

Yeah, I agree with you that people (and doctors) trust lab test results too much. And a lot of other things about medicine.

Eric said...


yes, complacency and seasonality is what gave us this mess in Germany. I have no way of knowing what the situation is in the UK, as in Freds or hit by a bus vs. real severe covid cases, but I can assure you there are plenty of real cases in Germany, as told by a nurse couple we are friends with as well as newspaper accounts of medical personel from regions which are newly hit as well as those that have had their share already. And I do think they can distiguish.

So either those regions that had been running higher number throughout the year just didn't get enough for herd immunity or this immunity thing does not work as advertised. And just looking at Israel in September or France or Spain in October, all of which had numbers comparable or beyond those experienced in the UK, tells us it is not all about seasonality.

Peter said...

Eric, to me Germany looks very simple. You largely missed out in the Spring. The virus goes on vacation in the Summer. It gets to work in the Autumn. It's real now for you, you're playing catch up. This is why I worry slightly about our elderly relatives here in Norfolk as we largely missed out in the Spring wave.

What makes a virus seasonal is a deep, deep unknown to me. Especially what decides when the season starts and ends. I buy in to the D3 idea somewhat but I doubt it is all of the story. But anyone thinking that their interventions are responsible for the Summer's near-disappearance of cases in the UK is delusional or lying. Probably both.


E-S said...

Anyone else notice the EU-wide travel ban from the UK happens exactly on the day of the ultimate deadline stated for a post-Brexit EU trade deal ?

@bob "And I suppose people who have "orphan diseases" learn pretty quickly medicine ain't all it's cracked up to be."

Oh gawd, nothing sobers you up faster than being told your periodic kalemic paralysis and abnormally high aldosterone levels are all in your head... I've been deeply appalled at the widespread lack of curiosity from so many M.D., even clinicians allegedly focusing on diagnosis.

@Peter Have a look at the Irish curves if you want a good predictor of the UK and France's own curves to come, with approximately 2 weeks advance. Based on those I'd say you will start seeing a sharp uptick in positive tests in a week.

By my reckoning Ireland has been at herd immunity from late September at the latest, with death numbers that have been remarkably flat and low, same with ICU numbers hovering around 30, and those curves fit seasonal flu from last years - up to last week. So working from analogy on past flu curves I was expecting the case numbers to go steadily down, to just one-fifth of the peak by the end of January 2021.

Any idea what can explain this so-called "third wave" uptick ? It's being used in Ireland to justify a new 2-month-long lockdown from the 26th.

Peter said...

Hi E-S,

Seasonal respiratory virus mortality should peak in January, so I guess that will happen this year, whatever label is placed on the death certificate. There is often a dip around Christmas, oddly enough. Part of the reason I struggle with the vit D concept is that all cause mortality from influenza peaks well before anyone makes any new vit D from the sun at the UK latitude...

To explain a third peak you really would need to know how many are real cases. If you go in for a new hip, test positive, never become ill and get sent home a few days later (probably with your old hip) you are a hospitalised case. Except you were never ill. Obviously "Fred" is only what happens if you die.


Passthecream said...

' The virus goes on vacation in the Summer. It gets to work in the Autumn. '

There are weird things about this that I don't comprehend. From local experience the Victorian outbreak looked like a winter version of an outbreak, infections went from zero to something like 700 a day in almost no time at all when it escaped. Then the end of that outbreak coincided with the advent of warmer and sunnier spring weather. I don't think we have too low a level of vit D in the Aus population at any time of year except for stupid modern sunlight avoidance practices. But this new outbreak in Sydney just last week is in the middle of summer, maybe has taken off in more vulnerable types who sit around in pubs drinking and playing the pokies?

We do have skin searing levels of sunlight atm even at 35' S although the weather has been cooler than usual. Temperature, dark and dampness and being inside in closed environments with stale air lots of other people may have a lot to do with seasonal viral variation?

Reminds me of the old concept of 'miasma' used as an explanation long ago for malarial outbreak, a foul damp marshy atmosphere. Perfect for mosquitoes obviously.

LA_Bob said...


A reader of Malcolm Kendrick's blog submitted this graph of daily UK deaths. "Ashe" said the dip in late December was because death registrations fall behind, not because deaths actually fall. Wonder if this explains your observation.


Here in SoCal we had a very warm fall after an extremely hot late summer. Even last week it exceeded 80 degrees near LA a couple of days. About 70 this week. Plenty of sunshine. Cases and infections in LA County skyrocketing. The "deep, deep unknown" of seasonality rolls on.

Peter said...

Bob, yes, probably so. Same happens with bank holidays at other times of the year.

Pass, yes, lots of unknowns. You do have to consider that each Winter peak, in the UK at least, might represent a simple Gompertz curve where susceptible people are ill/die until we reach herd immunity to that particular influenza. Because influenza changes every year it can simply do this repeatedly, annually. But it only takes out the susceptible each time. For the 'ronavirus there are a lot of susceptible people around who haven't been exposed yet so "unusual" events can occur. But I really don't know.

As the virus is still clearly endemic in Aus then the next winter in southern latitudes will be interesting, to say the least. I think the vaccine had better work!


Passthecream said...

Bob, E-S, I only followed the links to Cavenewt's alter-ego/web-blog for the first time last night after you mentioned it. It's amazing! It clarified something for me too, about leg muscle tics and cramps but that's another story. I don't trust gp's judgement much and they never seem to be interested in all the strange things that really worry you.

Dr. diy is now my personal physician.

karl said...

I've wondered as well as to how much of the seasonality is vit-D. There is a lot of poor research - correlative bits that confuse causation (sick people don't go outside as much - thus can have lower D ). There are a few controlled studies that showed taking D reduced RI - but not great work - there is no money to be made if you show D3 works. Most of the studies don't use a high enough dose - assume linearity - ignore the higher blood levels of native people that live close to our ancestors.

I dug fairly hard to find other photo-chemicals made in the skin - I think there likely are some - just no one did any systematic looking (that I could find) after the D/UV connection was discovered in 1925. There are narratives about NO being generated in the skin - we know melanin increases - and a touch of evidence that it circulates. The absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. Really strange no one has been interested - we are the 'naked-ape' - I think there are possible stories as to why other than the parasite nonsense..

There are other changes to our metabolism during winter - we sweat less, fluids and electrolytes change. We reduce circulation to cold limbs. I think D likely plays a role - I am not convinced it is all of it - I wonder if it would be better to get it from the sun - yank off my shirt on warm winter days(the angle means a MUCH lower dose of UV)? Sunlight is broad spectrum - what if some other frequency matters in some other photo-chemical process? Might rule out mercury lamps as the best source?

Here in Kansas, we have passed Sweden's population death rate (817 vs 840 as of today) - in spite of the differences in policies. We had a small hump in the spring - and have caught up rapidly this fall. The knowledge of seasonality of corona-viruses is well known - despite the mantra. Where did the idea that this virus evolving new strains is unexpected come from? It is as if no one read any of the papers on viruses from the last decades..

It is possible, that if they had lifted the policies - people would have gotten exposed faster and during the summer - with likely less severe cases - and the fall hump would be smaller? I don't think likely because I don't think these polices have had much effect at all.

I am appalled that these public policy tyrants are unable to see the harms they are causing.


I did find this re vit-D dogs and cats

cavenewt said...

Karl—"I wonder if it would be better to get it from the sun - yank off my shirt on warm winter days(the angle means a MUCH lower dose of UV)? Sunlight is broad spectrum - what if some other frequency matters in some other photo-chemical process?"

Based on no detailed scientific knowledge, I am absolutely sure this is the case. Just like taking any number of supplements is not a complete substitute for eating real food, a D3 supplement is better than nothing but actual sunshine would be the best way.

It was in another thread that Dr. Rob (I think) mentioned that as a fat soluble vitamin, D3 may be stored in the adipocytes and released in the winter during fat mobilization. A fascinating concept especially when looked at evolutionarily, when wintertime pickins were slim and people depended on their fat stores. From what I've read about winter sun, it provides almost no vitamin D if you don't live near the equator. So seasonal vitamin D storage makes perfect sense.

Many here are familiar with Tucker's writing about how avoiding polyunsaturated fat makes pale skin more sun tolerant. Five years ago I moved from the Wyoming mountains to the Utah desert where the sun is fierce. I'm building a house and spend hours out in the hot sun, sans sunscreen, and have not had a single sunburn. I'm a true believer.

Maybe planet earth is practicing apoptosis on a species-wide scale — between our "science" telling us what to eat, and to avoid the sun, and myriad other self-destructive behaviors, it will rid the rest of the planet of our toxic presence.

Passthecream said...

Karl, people here like to keep local lizard types as pets, shinglebacks: Tiliqua rugosa and bluetongues: Tiliqua nigrolutea. Giant skinks. Permits are required and special lighting is mandatory if they aren't out in the sun. Lizard lighting comprises a basking heat lamp plus a UV-B bulb in close proximity. Without both ends of the spectrum they get pale and listless and die.

I spent some time researching the effect of longer solar frequencies on people. There is is a lot of interesting research about the physiological effects of red and near infrared light (n.i.r) and there are various enzymes in cells which have absorption peaks in this band. It is cheap and easy to cobble together a few square inches of red LEDs plus NIR leds at around 780 to 800 nm to make the experiment --- the resulting energy density at that wavelength is easily the same or higher than that portion of sunlight. Unlike UV, red to infrared light penetrates flesh. You can emulate this artificial light (making artificial artificial light!) by filtering natural sunlight through a couple of inches of water.

It has a beneficial effect on wound healing and infections such as ulcers, recent cuts, and burns surprisingly although not the most serious ones, only the ones that would heal ok in their own more slowly. Not so good for old injuries although the warmth is pleasant on sore muscles. Maybe well developed repair tissue attenuates the effect? Inflamed tissues are more opaque to NIR wavelengths. Does that mean they absorb it or scatter it?

A recent review paper found that the dosage of NIR was critical. Up to a certain point it was useful but beyond that it started to be harmful. It's obviously much better to get the unfiltered natural sunlight for as long as you can stand it since it is inherently self limiting - too much is painful. I think we are probably well adapted to all of it.

Passthecream said...

'longer frequencies'
Lower frequencies, longer wavelengths!

Passthecream said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Passthecream said...

Photochem Photobiol. 2018 March ; 94(2): 199–212. doi:10.1111/php.12864.

Mechanisms and Mitochondrial Redox Signaling in Photobiomodulation. Hamblin.

Justin said...

Shorter wavelengths are higher energy. Interesting comments about the potential importance of exposure to ir and near ir.

Passthecream said...

Justin, yup directly, as E = Bright blue light can be very dangerous for your eyes and we all know about welding flash.
UV vs IR: interesting that the hearth was invented long before the arc light!

Cavenewt, George Henderson wrote a good summary of skin cancer vs pufa here:

altavista said...

Been spending $10trillion/year on healthcare for 50 yrs and we can't even get an accurate test 1 year later, for a mild disease. We are not ready.

I blame ze veterinarians

Justin said...

Pass, I remember when the first blue laser DVD writers came out. They had overheating problems from the increased temps caused by the higher energy wavelengths relative to red laser. Lol!

As someone who does GTAW welding on a regular basis, I am intimately familiar with dangers of arc light. Thank god I don't do it day in and day out.

Btw, that was a great summery by George. I spend a lot of time outside shirtless in the summer doing farm work and I have noticed I don't really get burnt like I used to after switching to mostly traditional fats well over 10 years ago. Good stuff! As someone who does oil degredation studies, it makes total sense. Oils that have higher levels of unsaturation definitely need considerably more AO to stabilize them. Cyclic compounds are even worse. That's why fuel dilution causes so many problems.

cavenewt said...

Pass, yes, Great article by George. I do follow him as well as Tucker and Peter and others.

Passthecream said...

Briefly returning to the Topic that Peter was writing about in this post, the title of it at least, I heard that 'sniffer dogs' are being trained to detect people infected with this CV in airports before the symptoms become manifest. It gives rise to an smell which they can recognise.

Justin, I just realised that the energy per photon is roughly 2:1 from the top of the visible range down to the other end --- a whole octave of frequencies.

Eric said...

So how are these monoclonal antibodies differerent from those trialled in the US where results where somewhat underwhelming AFAIR?

karl said...


Interesting paper - I will want to know what Pedro thinks about the mitochondria bit.. I'm a bit hesitant - Photobiomodulation (PBM) also known as low-level laser (light)
therapy (LLLT) has been put in question - not sure fairly - but the paper at first blush seems a bit long on narrative.

There are other papers where they use bone penetrating frequencies and claim effects on the brain - I sure would like to see some of this replicated.

But there is another bit besides the connection of PUFA and sun irritation. When I was a boy, it was not possible to walk a block or two without seeing a cobbled together tree-house. After school, we were outdoors. I remember when my children were little, I thought that by taking them for walks around the block, that they would meet other kids to play with - but it didn't work - almost all the children were all inside watching screens - lowering their Vit-D levels and not enjoying other photo effects..

What I just gained here are two key search terms - 'Photobiomodulation' and 'low-level laser therapy'.

There is another bit here - we assume - we want to believe that our medical system is wise and all knowing. The truth is they haven't even systematically studied what happens if we go out an get some sun..

Passthecream said...

Natural sunlight is probably the best source of E.M. energy in a well balanced form which we have evolved to be adapted to! More so as relatively naked apes. We are sunlight gathering organisms especially in the paler varieties.

It's a stupid human trait to find a single thing out of a multitude of things which is 'good for you' and then overconsume that one good thing outside of its original balanced composition. I remember being very cold one winter and sitting on the ledge before a giant fireplace enjoying the warmth until I realised that I had set the back of my jumper alight. So it is with foodstuffs, narrowed ranges of light and heat, and many other things. Once you go beyond enough, the next step is far too much and you can burn from infrared more literally than from UV wavelengths.

There is a strangely addictive and compulsive streak in human nature.

Btw it's quite alarming to view your own skin with a camera having a UV passing filter on it. I thought I had a nice smooth tan until I did that and found huge freckled areas, some very dark bits and a generally splotchy appearance. If I could work out how I would try the same thing for near IR.

cavenewt said...

@passthecream "It's a stupid human trait to find a single thing out of a multitude of things which is 'good for you' and then overconsume that one good thing outside of its original balanced composition"

I'm inclined to think this is a result of Western reductionism.

Puddleg said...

That a new SARS-CoV-2 variant has appeared in the UK matches earlier predictions that RNA virus mutations are more likely to occur in selenium-deficient populations and that new strains are more likely to arise and become established there.[1]
For example, benign forms of both CVB3 and influenza virus type A rapidly mutate to virulence in hosts with Se-deficient status, and a blood selenium level above 1 μMol Se/L deterred rapid mutation of a live, attenuated poliomyelitis virus given as vaccine.[2,3.4]
A high frequency of inadequate selenium intakes in the UK population was noted in 2003 and a 2010 survey of UK women found that 80–90% of Caucasians and 83–95% of South Asians did not meet the recommended nutrient intake of 60 μg/d and that 60% of Caucasians and 60–70% of South Asians did not meet the low threshold of 40 μg/d.[5,6]

It should also be noted that selenium deficiency is associated with mortality risk from COVID-19, and that selenium intake strongly correlates with COVID-19 in-hospital mortality and cure rates in China, where a wide range of soil selenium concentrations can be found.[7,8] Selenium is required for both immune function and antioxidant defence, and the immune effects of both vitamin D and dexamethasone are mediated by changes in selenoprotein expression and selenium distribution.[9,10,11,12]

Scandinavian soils can also be selenium-deficient, and the government of Finland has mandated the supplementation of fertilizer with selenium to a level optimising population selenium status – the low COVID-19 death rate in Finland has been, in part, attributed to this policy.[13]

Selenium deficiency is a critical environmental factor influencing the virulence and mutation rate of SARS-CoV-2, as it has influenced the course of previous RNA virus outbreaks.

Puddleg said...


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cavenewt said...

Adding Brazil nuts to my shopping list...

Justin said...

Having my soil tested ASAP and amending based on results. Grow lambs/goats/etc on grass and assume it's relevant.

Puddleg said...

Yes, have a look at the Finnish data to determine optimal selenium status.
In New Zealand, with similarly low soil Se to UK, large bolus doses of selenium are added to occasional sheep drenches, and salt licks are supplemented with selenium and sometimes also boron.

Passthecream said...

Seafood provides good dietary selenium and doesn't have that nasty tang of the supplements. Sardines, Tuna etc. Probably seaweed too?

Aus. soils, in some areas some of the oldest and deepest soils on the planet, are deficient in lots of trace elements. This varies by region of course, more often the case in my state of SA.

Boundless said...

Se toxicity is a thing, so don't over-do the intake. Somewhere between 100 and 400 µg per day might be ideal. That's very few Brazil nuts. Being Se replete is only one of many low-hanging fruits in coronavirus self-defense. My view of the whole mess.

LeenaS said...

I do not know London hospitals at all, but back here some friends in the field (and media in Sweden) have told that mortality in the spring was much, much higher on the hospital admissions than what it is now. They claimed that reason to this was that more knowledge has helped them to keep people alive and even from ICU (blood thinners, cortison, the way patients are put to lie in bed, and possibly agressive blood sugar manipulation) - even if one excludes the sad cases of seniors given to pallitative care only.

So, I do not know how well the spring figures are comparable to the fall numbers in London, but up here they are not. Still, in spite of the better care practices and in spite of Swedes being generally healthier than Finns, the ICU numbers and fatalities in Sweden are roughly tenfold if compared with Norway/Finland. I would say that something went (and is still going) terribly wrong in Sweden.

Could it be just the politicians/leaders without a clear message (and with no responsibility whatsoever). It would be hard to follow fresh Swedish rules, as they are now changing from day to day, like local rules - or from no masks to ordering masks on public transport at rush times 7-9 and 15-17, starting (maybe) on Jan 7th?

Peter said...

Hi Leena,

It’s hard to fathom the logic to advice which comes from politicians or medics under pressure from politicians. Nothing will make sense, why should it? It certainly doesn’t in the UK.

The spilt here in the UK seems to be between which areas got infected before the Summer hiatus occurred and those getting it now. London was hit in the Spring, currently we are being hit in Norfolk. Friends at the Great Yarmouth hospital feel that there is a lot of pressure on them and their ITU. Their impression is that they are dealing with genuine COVID cases. This certainly does not apply evenly over the whole UK.

I’m waiting to see what happens in Norway and Finland. From what you have said previously they have not locked down particularly hard, is that correct? But they are doing OK. Did they do anything particularly better than Belgium? Did Belgium do things worse than Sweden? At the moment Norway and Finland look like the outliers for Europe… I notice Denmark is looking like Norfolk, but a little ahead of us!

Personally I think it largely comes down to the timing of the first wave and the end of Winter, with Finland and Norway being the anomalies. That is, luck plays a large part.

But, as we both realise, none of us can really know.


Puddleg said...


long-term Se supplementation in the 100-200 mcg range is safest and should be adequate. the average brazil nut sold in NZ has 19 mcg Se.
However, doses of selenite around 1g/day as infusion are perfectly safe for short-term use (weeks) in critical illness; there are many RCTs of this, but none so far that isolate viral causes of critical illness.

Another SARS-CoV-2 variant has appeared in South Africa, another low-selenium population.
"94% of South African Maize samples were selenium-deficient, even those grown in high-selenium soils."

Puddleg said...

It's worth asking why selenium, a well-researched factor in previous illnesses caused by RNA viruses, has been neglected in COVID-19 nutrition protocols compared with vit D, C, zinc.

The answer seems to be that Se has missed out on the amplifying effects of pseudoscience. Understanding its role involves knowing about UGA-stop codons, GPx-1, and so on. And there are some known risks of chronic excess making it less easy for supplement manufacturers to promote indiscriminately. The essentiality of Se was only discovered, by Klaus Schwartz, in 1975, meaning it has missed out on some very important periods of nutritional pseudoscience development.

The lesson here is that nutritional pseudoscience has sometimes been able to compensate for defects in nutritional science communication. Cherry picking has helped to detect the useful truths and convince others of them. Pseudoscience has helped save lives.

And yet Sally Fallon, of the Weston A Price Foundation, previously a reasonably good source of scientifically accurate nutritional pseudoscience, is now convinced that SARS-CoV-2 isn't real but is a product of 5G toxicity.

Peter said...

Thanks for the input George,

I note that USA industrial 30% fat beef mince contains Se at around 13mcg/100g, making anyone eating half a kilo per day pretty well covered... The UK certainly has grossly selenium deficient soils in places, so grass fed beef may be more of a lottery. Selenium deficiency is well recognised in large animal veterinary practice so commercial rations are probably well supplemented. Having said that UK beef is as outdoor reared as practical as grass is cheaper than concentrates.


Too many typos, re commented!

Eric said...

Re: far infrared

Eric said...

Peter, I don't think Finland and Norway are outliers. They simply prove the fact that it takes low prevalence to be able to keep infections and deaths among the elderly down. While you have a low prevalence, you can afford relatively relaxed restrictions. Once you get above a certain level, infections percolate and boil over, and it is hard to reign them in even with very strict restrictions.

There are plenty of examples. The German East, Slovakia, Poland come to mind. They were doing extremely well into the summer and things turned very ugly much faster than they could adapt. Part of that, you will say, is lack of immunity. True. But the other part is really the incredible acceleration you get once you are over a tripping point.

LeenaS said...

I agree with Eric, mostly. But population density and cultural trends may help, too. And the way message (such as social distancing) is delivered to citizens. So, in my eyes Sweden is much more of an outlier. It shares many of our advantages: large country with sparse population, older generation mostly living on their own, sort of natural social distancing and a high standard of living, including madicare. All this should help a lot.

We did have different strategies, though: in Sweden there was a strong belief in epidemiological experts who boldly claimed to know the virus and the risks (which they did not, as prediction after prediction failed), while in Norway/Finland the message was rather that this is an unknown risk that we must be careful with, until more is known.

Covid has taken its toll on older generation also here, and especially in senior care, but the rate is order of magnitude less than in Sweden. There has been outbursts in some senior housing, but here that has been tackled with testing and isolation (and masks) so that casualties are much smaller. With much smaller virus spread in the population there has been more resources to do this, but the chosen strategy may have helped in protecting/neglecting the vulnerable, too. Business has not been as usual in any of these countries - but so far the careful policies have worked better. And maybe the vaccines will work - or at least save most of the hospital staff from burnout.

karl said...

Selenium is part of the enzyme that converts T4 into T3. The effects on thyroid function are well known - and transient unless quite deficient. All three isoforms of the deiodinases are selenium-containing enzymes.

There has been a long and fruitless debate on what the optimal thyroid levels should be. Lots of papers - the only one I remember even getting close was out of Australia - they found hypothyroid people subjectively felt better on a combination of T4 + T3 .

There is no money in this field - nothing to patent - the use of T4 + slow-release T3 has never been investigated in any serious way. My take is our body produces both T4 and T3 - thus a conservative approach would be to try to mimic what our bodies do.

Lots of people were exposed to PCBs - I think likely causative of hypothyroidism - not sure.

The key point is that thyroid effects every cell in your body - if it isn't right - neither is your immune system..

Passthecream said...

Sorry to distract, this is a link for Justin since he was talking about GC vs lipids etc. at one point. This team built their own CO2 tunable laser to make a photoacoustic cell for gas analysis:

JOURNAL OF OPTOELECTRONICS AND ADVANCED MATERIALS Vol. 9, No. 12, December 2007, p. 3655 - 3701 Review Paper Laser photoacoustic spectroscopy: principles, instrumentation, and characterization D. C. DUMITRAS*

" CO2 laser photoacoustic spectroscopy offers a sensitive technique for detection and monitoring of trace gases at low concentrations."

cavenewt said...

An immunologist and a cardiologist are kidnapped. The kidnappers threaten to shoot one of them, but promise to spare whoever has made the greater contribution to humanity. The cardiologist says, “Well, I’ve identified drugs that have saved the lives of millions of people.”

Impressed, the kidnappers turn to the immunologist. “What have you done?” they ask. The immunologist says, “The thing is, the immune system is very complicated …”

And the cardiologist says, “Just shoot me now.”

Justin said...

Thanks a lot for the info! Can't wait to check out the tech/methods used. Interested to see what my bosses thoughts are too!