Vol. 248 January 15, 2021 A COVID update

“We can see the light at the end of the tunnel,
but we are still IN the tunnel.”


Another Study of No Benefit from Convalescent Plasma Treatment
A study of over 300 hospitalized patients with COVID pneumonia for a week showed no benefit from intravenous infusion of high antibody plasma obtained from other  patients that had recovered from COVID. All study patients required supplement oxygen, but none were so sick as to be in an ICU. This is the second controlled study that shows that the use of convalescent plasma does NOT improve recovery from COVID. An editorial hedges a bit on the timing of the treatment within the context of that single most famous person receiving the convalescent plasma EARLY in his hospitalization and then pronouncing that he was cured.

Antibodies to COVID May Last Only a Short Time
A study of about 200 front-line U.S. health workers who had detectablr antibodies against COVID after natural infection at baseline had a significant decline in antibody level when retested 60 days later. Almost a third of them had ZERO antibodies left after 60 days. The duration of protective antibodies after vaccination is not known at this time and is the target of many current studies. One concern is that if a “positive antibody level”  test 3 months after the COVID illness becomes a ticket to return to work, to travel, or receive workman’s compensation benefits, the patient may be falsely labeled as never having COVID.

COVID Marches On
Besides causing nearly 400,000 deaths in the U.S. so far, it is becoming obvious that COVID symptoms can linger for a prolonged time in many cases. Seventy-five per cent of patients hospitalized with COVID in one Chinese study still had some symptoms six months later:  fatique, insomnia, anxiety, depression, and/or reduced pulmonary function . These were not the sickest patients. None had to go on a ventilator, and their median age was 57 yrs. In fact some of the sickest patients were not included in the study. Even 25-30% of patients who had NOT needed supplemental oxygen had reduced tolerance of a 6 minute walking test  six months after discharge.

A Rose By Any Other Name . . . “That which we call a rose / By any other name would smell as sweet.” Act II, Scene II Romeo and Juliet.
The nonproprietary name for the COVID vaccine is “tozinameran” with the accent on “na” and the ending signifying it is a mRNA vaccine.  Obviously Pfizer and Moderna wish to come up with a more sellable name. Enter Brands Institute, responsible for 75% of the names of pharmaceutical products in the world (over 3,300 healthcare brands for 950 clients). It usually takes two years to develop and approve a name for a new medicine. The race was on to do it in a few months for the COVID vaccines.

Moderna is considering “KoviMerna” and “SpikeVax”.  “WuhanVax” was dropped early on. Pfizer was considering “RnaxCov” and “CovidVax” among others. The Brand Institute just recently boasted about its development of the final Pfizer vaccine brand name in the U.K., “Comirnaty”, (coe mir NA tee). “Naming a product that will have such a profound global impact is humbling, and an opportunity for which we are truly grateful.”, said CEO James Dettore. Presumably the name will be the same in the U.S. once the vaccine gets full FDA approval.

Most vaccines actually become familiar to us as the “flu vaccine”, the “shingles vaccine”, or the “measles vaccine”, and that becomes their name despite the vast amount of time and money spent by pharmaceutical companies on brand name. development.

FYI: other famous brand “roses” have changed during the pandemic, their logos at least. The McDonald’s golden arches are now distanced from each other. Burger King added “STAY” in front of “HOME OF THE WHOPPER”. Chiquita is missing from the Chiquita Bananas logo with the tag line, “I’m already home.” The Coke sign in Times Square has spaces between each letter of “Cocoa Cola” with the tag line “It’s better to stay apart.”


2 Responses to Vol. 248 January 15, 2021 A COVID update

  1. Jim McSweeney says:

    Hi Hub
    Your bimonthly reports/comments are interesting and informative as well as entertaining.
    I’m very hesitant to receive the mRNA vaccines because of the rush job and pressure put on Tony Fauci and Hahn. (warp speed/ Thalidomide)
    What do you think?

    • hubslist says:

      Jim, it is a new vaccine but we have decades of data on mRNA uses, the short term side effects are minimal , and at age 80 I am not worried about long term effects. For me the short term effect of NOT getting vaccinated could be ain tensive hospitalization, or even death. I am getting shot #2 on Feb. 20, expect to wear a mask through June, and then burn all my masks on July 4th. Cheers

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