A sober look at dexamethasone

A Covid-19 blog post for the non-expert It stared with a 16th June 2020 press release  from the University of Oxford “Low-cost dexamethasone reduce death by up to one third in hospitalised patients with severe respiratory complications of COVID-19” – which triggered the equivalent of a media cytokine storm (pun explained shortly). I do not want,Continue reading “A sober look at dexamethasone”

Covid-19 vaccine pessimism

Another blog on Covid-19 for the non-expert I’ve seen claims on social media and in the press saying a vaccine for Covid-19 may never arrive. The Telegraph, and The Guardian are two examples. The three most commonly quoted reasons I’ve seen for vaccine pessimism are: (1) vaccines take many years to make, the mumps vaccineContinue reading “Covid-19 vaccine pessimism”

Covid-19 – warnings ignored

I’ve heard it said, we have not experienced a pandemic since the Spanish flu of 1918 so how could anyone predict Covid-19? Just about everything in that statement is wrong. Everyone has heard of Spanish flu, but how many have heard of the 1957 flu pandemic, or the one in 1968? We see an annualContinue reading “Covid-19 – warnings ignored”

What is Remdesivir and how does it work?

Another Covid-19 blog post for the non-expert. Parts of the media are claiming a drug called remdesivir has arrived to save us The BBC: “Remdesivir: Drug has ‘clear-cut’ power to fight coronavirus” RFI – Radio France Internationale, live news: “US claims major breakthrough after positive trial of coronavirus drug remdesivir” The Express: “Hope of coronavirusContinue reading “What is Remdesivir and how does it work?”

Covid-19 and blood pressure

As well as a vaccine, studies are being conducted into drugs which might stop, or at least inhibit, the effects of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Modern drugs are designed to target specific sites, called receptors, in the body and the right choice of receptor is often the difference between a successful drug and a dud. IContinue reading “Covid-19 and blood pressure”

What is herd immunity?

We’ve all heard a lot recently about herd immunity (pun intended), but it’s a term which seems to cause a lot of confusion. First off, let me tell you what it’s not. It’s not about a population becoming exposed to the Covid-19 virus and those with some resistance or those being “fitter” surviving while othersContinue reading “What is herd immunity?”

What are the chances?

Another Covid-19 blog post for the non-expert, this time on what’s meant by test accuracy. Before we get started, a question to stimulate your curiosity. The percentage of the population infected with Covid-19 is uncertain but let’s assume it’s very low at 1 in a 1,000 people (yes I know it’s likely higher than thatContinue reading “What are the chances?”

Antimalarials for Covid-19

Another post concerning topics on Covid-19 aimed at the non-expert. Scientists are cautious by nature, some politicians and political journalists are not. While scientists say there’s no convincing evidence antimalarial drugs such as hydroxychloroquine have any effect on Covid-19, President Trump says, “there are some very strong, powerful signs of hydroxychloroquine as a Covid-19 therapy”.Continue reading “Antimalarials for Covid-19”

Coronavirus testing

I’m getting questions about Covid-19 testing and so another blog post aimed at the non-expert in way of explanation. Confusion appears to be coming from the fact there are two tests, one already being used and another about to be released. The one that is available at the time of writing tests for the virus,Continue reading “Coronavirus testing”

Media reporting and experts

We all have our political opinions but I have tried very hard to stay away from them on this blog, and this post is no exception. Nevertheless, I’m about to wander off the science and towards the media, so it’s bound to be somewhat opinionated – please forgive me. I’ll make one exception on theContinue reading “Media reporting and experts”