Coronavirus Tidbits # 19 3-26-20


This is very exciting to me and the best news of the day. I met David Fajgenbaum at a conference to launch CURE ID, the Drug Repurposing program I’ve been excited about. Go watch this video, starting at ~3:42:14 of his remarkable story. He’s translated that drive into #COVID19 research now and his team has done remarkable work extracting data in just 6 days!

Also go watch ~31:40” for a 10 minute talk from Shira Strongin (I’ve written about her and rare diseases before) on her life before and after a repurposed Hail Mary drug for her rare disease.

I’ve been excited about drug repurposing for years for its potential to treat nearly untreatable infections (many of them “Neglected Tropical Diseases” (NTDs) and antibiotic resistant infections. And proud mama moment–daughter is the project lead for this.

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One of today’s WTH??? While health care workers are using garbage bags for PPE, the Government has 1.5 million expired #N95 masks sitting in an Indiana warehouse and won’t share w hospitals #COVID19 #PPE #CBP

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This is a must watch video: PSA Safe Grocery Shopping in COVID-19 Pandemic – 

Dr. Jeffrey VanWingen does a terrific job showing how to handle groceries and packages safely. Highly recommend this, with too small caveats. One, his information about the “17 days” of virus on the Diamond Princess is misleading. These were small pieces of viral RNA, not infectious virus. The other is that after you wash your fruits and vegetables, be sure to rinse them in running water. More below


Reminder: We don’t know the accuracy of the Covid tests, so a

Negative test should not rule out Covid if clinical symptoms are right


Trials of passive antibody, or plasma antibody trials are beginning in NYC – theory behind it

FDA approves use of convalescent plasma to treat critically ill patients

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Dr. William Haseltine says:

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A Woman With Lupus Said Her Health Care Provider (Kaiser Permanente) Is Stopping Her Chloroquine Prescription And Thanked Her For The “Sacrifice”

“The fact that they thanked me for my ‘sacrifice’ is disturbing,” she told BuzzFeed News. “I never agreed to sacrifice my health and possibly my life and cannot believe that I am being forced to do so.”

NOTE: This decision was made based on no evidence that these drugs work for Covid.

That’s why we need clinical trials. Many patients with Lupus or other autoimmune diseases rely on these drugs and this decision may be life-threatening for them.


Epidemiology/Infection control:

Why reopening businesses by Easter is insane and deadly:

We need that time to not overwhelm our hospitals and health care workers. They already don’t have supplies.

Reusing masks:

“DO NOT use alcohol and chlorine [bleach]-based disinfection methods,” they wrote. “These will remove the static charge in the microfibers in N95 facial masks, reducing filtration efficiency. In addition, chlorine also retains gas after de-contamination, and these fumes may be harmful.”

“70 C / 158 F heating in a kitchen-type of oven for 30 min, or hot water vapor from boiling water for 10 min, are additional effective decontamination methods.”

Tips, general reading for public:

StateFoodSafety has launched a free online training course for volunteers

Safe Grocery Shopping in COVID-19 Pandemic:

Steps in

Before you go: Don’t go if ill.

Plan what you need for 2 weeks

Wipe down cart handle

Commit to what you are buying – and don’t handle products unnecessarily

At home: 

Sanitize your working table/counter so you have a “Clean” and “Dirty” areas of the counter

(Think of it as keeping kosher–meat and dairy remain separate)

Get rid of packaging (e.g., cereal) and put inner bag on clean counter, discarding the outer cardboard

For fruits and vegetables, Dr. VW wipes the outside of veg package with disinfectant wipe before putting it in the refrigerator. You could also dump the veggies into the crisper. Be sure you wash the produce thoroughly w soapy water to disrupt the viral membrane.

Dr. VW dumps bread out of the plastic wrap into a clean container

Sprays packages with disinfectant

For Frozen foods: Dr. VW notes that Coronavirus can live frozen for up to 2 years. (We used to freeze our influenza research samples, too). So be sure to wash and sanitize the surface before putting  the container into the freezer

For Take Out: (starts at ~10:45″)

Hold wrapper and dump food onto plate, incl sauces, condiments

Microwave or heat as well.

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Trump team failed to follow NSC’s pandemic playbook

The 69-page document, finished in 2016, provided a step by step list of priorities – which were then ignored by the administration. Good article by Dan Diamond

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the state of Mississippi announced Wednesday that it would supersede any local orders to shelter in place and order businesses to reopen, putting thousands of people at risk.

Feel good du jour:


Perspective: Ethics

Many discussions now on who is more “deserving” of care and how to ration care since we don’t have enough. Two thought-provoking reads:

an older article:

Fair Allocation of Scarce Medical Resources in the Time of Covid-19

It’s not that health care workers are necessarily more “deserving,” but that if you don’t prioritize them, you won’t have anyone to take care of you.

Comic relief:


Bits of beauty:

Stunningly beautiful day today: Lots of wildflowers and bulbs popping up

If anyone wants more pics, my online galleries are here. Feel free to browse and enjoy.

Spring beauties are up!  and Puschkinia.
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