When Covid-19 first emerged a little over two years ago, Nicholson’s first thought was to look at what was known about the most-similar existing disease, SARS-CoV-1, which caused the original Sars disease in the early 2000s.
He says of the roughly 1000 people who contracted that disease, 50 percent of those who survived were still suffering long-term effects 15 years on.
Covid-19, he says, appears to be behaving similarly.
“Other viral diseases can cause long-term effects … but Covid seems to be very good at doing it even when the disease is quite mild, and that’s what sets it apart.”
His team is working with multiple universities around the world – including Harvard and Cambridge – to try and understand the long term cardiometabolic and other systemic effects of Covid-19, as well as the impact of the disease in children.
Among their findings are a new set of biomarkers for increased risk of cardiovascular disease in patients with Covid-19 infections.
In fact, it was the discovery of these biomarkers that helped him to realise he had contracted Covid-19 himself.
Following a trip to Italy in February 2020, Nicholson believed the lingering fatigue he was experiencing upon his return to Australia was just jetlag.
When he continued to feel tired several weeks later he went to his GP and got “tested for everything”, though in early March 2020, no test for Covid-19 yet existed.
The tests revealed he had diabetes, some abnormal liver function and “a few other bits and pieces, but no infection of any sort that could be detected”.
It wasn’t until his team began building the diagnostic tests for Covid-19 biomarkers and he submitted to a test himself that he had any inkling he may have had the disease.
“My biochemistry was like [that of] a Covid patient and this was three or four months after I’d actually had the episode (of fatigue),” he says.
Subsequent antibody testing confirmed he had been exposed to Covid-19.
“We detected it in my own laboratory using our own tests and I wasn’t one of the controls, I was one of the patients!”
Nicholson’s experience gave him an early insight into the fact that people who contract Covid-19 could still be suffering biochemical abnormalities months after their initial infection with the disease.
Sally Thompson, The University of Western Australia; Débora Corrêa, The University of Western Australia; John Duncan, The University of Western Australia, and Octavia Crompton, Duke University Forests directly cool the planet, like natural evaporative air conditioners. So what happens when you cut them down? In tropical countries such as Indonesia, Brazil and the Congo, rapid […]Deforestation can raise local temperatures by up to 4.5℃ – and heat untouched areas 6km away — Palm Oil Detectives
Almost 5 million people in the UK are now believed to have Covid-19, it was estimated last week – an all-time high figure for the disease which first struck the nation two years ago. Hospital admissions and deaths are also rising but not nearly so sharply, scientists added.
This sharp jump in case numbers is being driven by the virus variant BA.2 which is even more transmissible than the original Omicron version that swept the UK at the beginning of the year.
The latest wave comes just as the government has ended free testing for the virus and as the nation prepares to enjoy its Easter holidays. This prospect raises the fear that further increases in case numbers, followed by rises in hospital admissions and deaths, could afflict the UK.
But as other researchers have pointed out, spring has arrived and warmer weather will allow more and more people to mix out of doors where they are less likely to infect each other. The outcome is unclear, in short. So what is the likely trajectory of the disease for the rest of the year? And what key measures should be taken now to limit the spread of Covid-19?
Should mask-wearing regulations remain strict?
“I don’t think so, unless you are someone who is particularly vulnerable,” says Professor Paul Hunter, of the University of East Anglia. “The latest ONS characteristics survey doesn’t find much benefit of mask wearing any more – though that does not mean masks don’t work. It is probably just that people who haven’t been wearing masks are more likely to have had the infection already and so are less susceptible.”
This point was backed by Professor Rowland Kao, of Edinburgh University. “With all other restrictions pretty much removed, we have very little evidence that cloth masks, such as commonly worn, have much effectiveness against Omicron, due to its higher transmissibility.”
However, the vaccine expert Peter English argues that mask-wearing still has an important role to play in limiting the spread of Covid. “Masks are particular effective for source control – at preventing an infectious person from infecting others. And there are people who remain at high risk from Covid-19. They cannot protect themselves as well as they need to by wearing a mask themselves. They rely on others to protect them by masking up in enclosed public spaces.”
Z is for Zen
“I have lived with several Zen masters – all of them cats” -Eckhart Tolle–
Zen Buddhism holds many truths and philosophies about living and having the best human experience on this planet. However, one philosophy resonates with my soul over any other about awakening. It teaches us that awakening or enlightening if it comes in this life, comes in two ways.
The first way is called Satori, and that is when something clicks. You have an “aha” moment, some form of intuition slams into the back of your head, and you know you have just unearthed a truth that is aligned with your soul and your reasons for being. After that moment, things can never be the same because what you have just learned or witnessed can not be unseen.
The second moment, the one that happened for me, is called Kensho. Kensho happens…
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We had met Dmitri a year earlier when we were at the same guest house on Lake Victoria, Uganda. He built wells in several northern villages and we taught there. We knew his work kept people healthy.
“If you visit Ukraine, you must come to our out of the way house.” He said with his deep accent.
We had kept in touch over the past year talking about friends in common and our families.
“This is no military practice.” He had emailed us.
Dmitri and his wife Nikita were excellent hosts. We had a rousing snowball fight with the entire family after dinner.
“Tomorrow, you must see what is just over the ridge.” We bundled up early and got in his truck.
“No that is not merely exercises,” My ex-army husband noted. “They look serious.”
Our mood was sober as we drove back to their home.
“This land has…
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