COVID-19 INFORMATION What you need to know about the coronavirus if you are living in Japan or planning a visit.

virusrex comments

Posted in: U.S. begins blood tests for coronavirus immunity See in context

We should have had these tests available, in the millions, months ago

There is no realistic way for this to be possible, the test require a long process of selection and testing of antigens that then can be adapted into large scale production. Even without any FDA red tape this is something that takes months to do.

Having it now is actually much faster than what is expected, there is absolutely no incompetence or narcissism involved in making something reliable so quickly.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: U.S. begins blood tests for coronavirus immunity See in context

This survey is badly needed in order to completely understand the real situation of the pandemic, but it depends very heavily on having a good test with very high specificity, the test Positive Percent Agreement is below 94%, and the Negative Percent Agreement is of 96%, for each individual tested this is not that good (6% of positive people will get negative results and 4% of negative people will get a positive result), but as a tool to get the general idea of the situation I think this is good enough.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Posted in: Masks are everywhere in Asia, but have they helped? See in context

Only irrational fear is not having/wearing a mask, amigo. People who don't wear them are certainly not afraid of using them -- they're just not under the illusion that they prevent you from getting sick.

That is exactly the irrational fear, the article already presented information that makes clear that mask do help in preventing infection when used by healthy people, but that obviously cannot stop you from being irrationally against wearing one. What would you say about someone that says that washing hands do not "prevent" you from getting sick? that he is using a well thought argument?

If you said that, and actually meant it as a comparison with wearing masks, I'd ask you to stop passing people change and holding things with your mouth, touching things with your face, and maybe asking whey you put on a mask after you go to the toilet. The comparison is moronic unless you use your face to do the things people use their hands for.

That is irrelevant, people wash their hands, they get cold and influenza, according to your reasoning that is reason enough to say that washing hands is useless and people should not try to do it.

Let's try a couple more, though... hmmm... okay! "If I said most people that get foot injuries by heavy objects dropping on their feet when they are wearing shoes, is that reason enough to say there is no point in wearing them?" That's about as valid a comparison as yours.

Exactly, the same as yours, it does help even if not perfectly, so saying there is no point in using them is, as you said, moronic.

And here's one more thing for the paranoid chin-warmers out there: you guys are taking masks away from people that actually need them, like allergy sufferers. Many are now having a hard time getting hold of these essential, medical items, because of selfish hoarders and people who don't need them but are paranoid that it protects them from sickness. If I get masks from Abe, whom I would rather uses the money for other purposes, I will be passing them directly to people who need them.

That is a very different argument, another excuse when people fail to prove that masks are useless. Nobody has said people should hoard anything. But that using masks IS useful in preventing the spread of infection.

Once again, what would you say about someone that say that germophobes that recommend washing their hands are just hoarding soap and leaving only bad quality stuff for the "people who need them"? is that a good enough reason to accept that there is no point in washing your hands?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Masks are everywhere in Asia, but have they helped? See in context

Unfortunately there will always be people with irrational fears about masks, they will use any and all excuses they can think of to avoid using them and even to recommend for other people not to use them.

Every hygienic measure has it advantages and disadvantages, and none can perfectly protect from infection. This means that there is no point on just rejecting one of those since the best approach is using and recommend using all that can be used.

If I said that most people that I know get colds and influenza even when they wash their hands, is that reason enough to say there is no point on doing it? obviously not.

19 ( +24 / -5 )

Posted in: Fujifilm says new coronavirus test can produce results in two hours See in context

While globally there’s 5 min tests that’s easier to use. This is what you get with amakudari.

No, test for antibodies in blood (which obviously require taking blood) are faster, but also require more time to become positive because the antibody response comes later than the virus replication.

There is not much information but if this test detects directly the virus it can be done with a swab and it becomes positive earlier during infection, it is also usually much more sensitive because it works by amplifying the virus RNA, so even a very small amount can be detected.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Posted in: Can blood from coronavirus survivors treat the newly ill? See in context

Giving passive immunity by plasma transfusions is a terribly inefficient way to treat the disease, and not exactly free of risks. It is interesting to see how much useful it can be to treat exceptional cases, but nobody is expecting it to be a treatment in general.

Maybe after the peak of the pandemic is already gone and there are much more convalescent cases than new infections.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Japanese comedian Ken Shimura dies from coronavirus-caused pneumonia See in context

not necessarily. Shimura was not exactly a walking example of all things healthy. He was a heavy smoker and drinker, with reduced lung capacity Im sure.

That is why the comparison, the canary was terribly fragile and died quickly from the toxic fumes, therefore alerting the much more resilient humans that it was dangerous long before they were poisoned themselves.

11 ( +15 / -4 )

Posted in: What we don’t yet know about the coronavirus See in context

Idon't understand the last sentence here. If we define "safer" as "less likely to die" then I thought all the statistics so far supported the premise that yes, younger people (say under 40) are indeed safer than older people.

Have I missed something?

That is an answer for a different question

Just how much safer they are is still unanswered.

Without a proper epidemiological analysis it is very little what you can say. Yes, it appears young people are "safer" but we still can't say how much. two times? three? ten? We will have to wait until everybody can be tested and we know exactly how many people got infected without giving symptoms.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Posted in: 13-year-old donates over 600 handmade masks amid shortage in Japan See in context

...but seeing as how most experts question the utility of professionally made masks, I don't think I would trust one made by a 13 year old girl.

Professionals only question how big the utility is, not if it is useful or not. It is very difficult to assess exactly how much healthy people wearing a mask properly decreases the contagion rates but data from related SARS epidemic show a very clear effect.

If the masks are made properly (layered, with materials that are hydrophobic, etc.) they will help reducing the risks, specially if compared to using nothing at all.

Absolutely nothing reduces the risk to 0, not even self isolation and frequently washing your hands properly, but that is very different from not being useful.

only problem is masks don’t stop the virus. They do stop pollen, and double insulated with the interior mask moist, can limit radioactive dust particles

Masks (3ply or better) are perfectly capable of stopping the virus, that is because the pathogen is NOT flying around by itself like pollen does and instead it is contained in the much bigger droplets of secretions that do not penetrate the masks, secondarily mask can help avoiding transmission by touching your face in those cases where washing your hands is not an option for a long time (like when riding the train).

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Posted in: UK scientists to track mutations in coronavirus to map spread See in context

Finding mutations sets back vaccine development

Not necessarily, if you have a protein that is a good target for the antibodies but find a lot of mutations in one part of it, research can focus in the part where the mutations are not happening.

Instead of blindly trying with something that changes all the time the vaccine is produced with the part that does not and it will be more likely to produce useful results.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Posted in: What is herd immunity and will it affect the pandemic? See in context

Where is the proof of herd immunity?

Not a single case is nentioned

Do you ask for proof also for the microbial origin of infections? Herd immunity is a well characterized phenomenon described for infectious diseases after natural and man-made immunization. Countless cases can be found where outbreaks finish even if some percentage of people are still susceptible to infection.

Also, viruses continually mutate so even if it were a proven phenomenon, it would have little bearing on Nocov-19, a continually mutating virus.

That is irrelevant, RNA viruses mutate all the time, but vaccines still work against them because not all mutations alter the effect of antibodies, if you take a sample of Yellow Fever viruses from a single patient you would find dozens of variants with many different mutations, an all of them would be neutralized by a single vaccine.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: Coronavirus drugs: Who's doing what, and when they might come See in context

The spike vaccine is the easier, faster option. But at the same time its the one that is more likely to be less effective or even produce undesirable side-effects as seen with other coronaviruses.

On the other hand the chimeric-virus is going to take much longer time to be approved (since its much more difficult to show that a completely new, artificial virus is safe) but is much more likely to be effective since it stimulates the immune system more strongly.

The DNA vaccine is supposed to be in the middle, more effective than just the spike protein and easier to show as safe than the chimeric virus, but it needs a good way to get introduced into the cells safely and efficiently, which is the big problem with this kind of vaccines.

Anyway, for options to be used this same year the real candidates are antiviral drugs or synthetically produced antibodies, the antivirals are usually much more cheaply produced, but the antibodies have a much more stronger effect. Probably we will end up using several antiviral drugs in combination and maybe antibodies for very serious cases.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Tokyo Olympics chief Mori attended meeting with official who now has coronavirus See in context

Meanwhile in any other "advanced " country Japan like to compare itself to , all the officials that sat on a meeting with a coronavirus positive person would be tested immediately.

That makes no sense since the test take several days to become positive, what is recommended is to begin isolating themselves instead of waiting for symptoms.

Anyway, if he is already on dialysis 3 times a week, a coronavirus infection is more likely to end tragically than on a recovery.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Posted in: On mission to eradicate virus germs, Chinese firms see the UV light See in context

UV disinfection for rooms is effective, but for vehicles it is a quite more complicated matter. Any surface inside a shadow is not disinfected by the UV, so something as big and "closed" as a bus can have a lot of blind spots. I guess as long as the commonly touched surfaces are properly irradiated it would not be a problem, but with something as contagious as the COVID-19 it feels still a little risky.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Posted in: COVID-19 and beyond: World 'nowhere near' ready, expert says See in context

Then we need to find patient zero and find the connection to that.

"Patient zero" is a concept coming mostly from bad movies, for real epidemiological studies there is no special importance to find it, nor a realistic expectation that it is possible to accomplish this.

In biology everything is about probabilities, and nothing can be "proved" to absolute certainty but that does not mean the conclusions are "preliminary" for ever.

The virus is a failure as a bioweapon and it would be easy to predict it if you knew the changes before hand (as it would happen if it was designed), the mutations are perfectly coherent with the known variability of coronaviruses and would be terribly inefficient if introduced artificially (because there are much more efficient sequences that even a postgraduate student could have inserted that would make infection more efficient or the pathology much more severe). It also lacks any kind of fingerprinting that all artificially produced organisms have (restriction enzyme sequence sites for manipulation of the sequences, optimization for growth in certain cells or bacteria, etc).

On the other hand it is completely inside of what is expected from the variability inherent to RNA viruses, its closely related to other viruses and as an explanation a natural zoonosis is simply much more likely.

As a comparison, if you see a puddle of dirty water in the street after a night of rain, would you think some scientific genius invented a way to produce water at random spots of the planet?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Most coronavirus patients recover, still anxiety, fear loom See in context

If there is an economic collapse brought on by the panic over this new strain of virus, it will be much more harmful, in terms of job losses and suffering, than the virus itself.

That only applies if you have an infinite amount of health services. Up until now this outbreak makes 10 to 20 percent of the patients visit the hospital. That is a much higher percentage than influenza and it can easily swamp the capacity of the health services of any place, if that happens then mortality rates would increase much more (because lots of people that could be saved by being hospitalized would not have proper medical care) bringing loses both economical and in lives.

People simply forget too easily that doctors and hospitals are a limited resource.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Kurabo to sell kits to detect new coronavirus in 15 minutes See in context

Fast detection kits depend on detecting antibodies and if properly tested they can be very specific and sensitive, but they have a very strong disadvantage and that is that they take more time from the infection to become positive, they need not only time for the virus to reproduce importantly but also extra time for the immune system to recognize it and produce antibodies that are the ones being detected.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Posted in: Food deliverers split on whether to wear masks amid virus spread See in context

And you, can you provide data? Do you own a mask factory? Seems like you want everybody to wear a mask... when is not needed.

Data that mask are useless? no I can't, nobody can, that is my point. Not that everybody has to wear one, but that pushing a baseless opinion as if it were a fact is not valid. Not even a single time I have said anybody should wear a mask, but that is saying that they are just magical thinking is not valid. Its the same as saying that washing hands is useless because some people don't do it properly.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Posted in: Food deliverers split on whether to wear masks amid virus spread See in context


Medical experts have urged people to stop panic buying face masks, warning that such equipment is not an effective way to protect yourself from the fast-spreading coronavirus.

Do you even read what you post? it says clearly that they are necessary and effective, but not recommended for the general population that are not exposed because they are not in not long and close contact with patients. That is completely different from being ineffective if you do. It should be a big hint when they say that health providers DO need them.

Also, opinions are NOT data, so if somebody ask for data to prove what you believe and you cannot provide such data you should re-think your beliefs.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

Posted in: Food deliverers split on whether to wear masks amid virus spread See in context

Those masks are not effective

Present your evidence, that has not been demonstrated and there is plenty of indirect evidence that mask are part of the hygienic measures that actually protect from infection. It does not matter how much you wash your hands if droplets enter directly your mouth and nose.

Staying 2 meters from an infected person to prevent infection is also something that has "no evidence of protecting people" against this coronavirus, it does not mean it is magical thinking. Same as with mask use it perfectly logical to expect it to have a role, even if not a perfect protection.

-5 ( +8 / -13 )

Posted in: U.S. airport screeners, health workers plagued by fear and anger as coronavirus spreads See in context

The workers are giving too much importance to the things that don't have it, the type of mask has a very tiny importance compared with the rest of the infrastructure that simply is not there, failing to have good stock of personal protective equipment, a well practiced procedure to evaluate thousands of possibly infected people, defined protocols to deal with known exposure of the staff, etc.

Too many countries simply depend too much on everybody else taking care of the outbreaks so they can have it easy, and throwing money at the problem now is not going to improve things by much.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: World failed to learn SARS lessons for coronavirus fight See in context

Scientists and research institutes are all about developing constantly things against emerging pathogens. Academic meetings related to infectious diseases always have at least one or two expositions about it, researchers work very hard if they can have their name included in a scientific paper reporting any kind of advance that can help future outbreaks.

The problem is that governments and funding agencies simply don't share that enthusiasm. It is very hard to find something useful if grant applications about it only get approved immediately after an outbreak and as soon as things go back to normal the money stops coming and laboratories have to switch into research that is easier to get funded.

Unfortunately its very likely this time will not be any different, lots of very promising papers published this year, a few the next, almost nothing from there on until the next big outbreak.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Takeda Pharmaceutical says it is developing coronavirus drug See in context

Better they work together to find a vaccine, but they wont, because all of them are just interested in the profits!

Not really necessary, these companies do not actually need to collaborate to do as much as they can, and competition can be the stimulus for each of them to invest as much as possible to be the first in developing something.

Each company has their own specialization, if one focus on simply adapting the most primitive approach (kill the virus, purify it and test it) another will focus on characterizing viral proteins to identify the most effective target for the antibodies, yet another will simply try tens of thousands of fragments of those proteins and see which one gives results protecting laboratory animals.

Any company making these kind of announcements means money dedicated to it, and pressure for anybody that is working on it.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Posted in: Angry confrontation breaks out after man coughs on Yamanote Line train in Tokyo See in context

The the US Surgeon General himself said that wearing a mask or not prevent you from Catching the Coronavirus. The best way to protect yourself Is frequent hand-washing.

Nothing will prevent to a 100% catching the virus, specially by itself, but each measure has it advantages. Frequent hand-washing is not a useful advice for people that have to take a packed train for long time during their daily commute, but appropriate use of a mask can help you from getting infected secretions to your nose or mouth, directly by blocking a lot of what floats around after a sneeze or a cough and indirectly by interrupting the contact from your contaminated hands at least until you can go out of the train and disinfect them properly.

People simply tend to fall into false dichotomies, where something has to be perfectly protective or else is useless, in reality every hygienic measure is in the middle, not perfect but useful anyway.

0 ( +7 / -7 )

Posted in: Another death from coronavirus in Hokkaido; in-hospital infection suspected See in context

Abe does not want testing done. They do not want real numbers to come out and spook the general population(too late for that) but especially the international community, all in an effort to save their precious Tokyo Olympics!

That makes absolutely no sense, its quite obvious that not testing would ensure more cases in the very near future, so it would ensure a much more negative response, delayed only a few days. Olympics are not next week, so it takes no effort to see that hiding cases would mean higher chances of cancellation.

The real reason do not require conspiracies and it is well know to anybody that deal with health services in Japan, lawmakers simply exaggerate protective measures to a degree that makes fighting diseases unnecessarily complicated.

Sometimes this means rejecting safe vaccines because of rumors of antivaxxer organizations, other times is making impossible to develop gene therapies by exaggerating the ethical problems. This time the problem is that testing can only be done in tiny numbers because of the draconian rules on infectious diseases make it impossible to handle new pathogens except on very limited places thanks to the huge public uproar every time any laboratory or university wants to build a BSL3 or BSL4 laboratory.

-2 ( +7 / -9 )

Posted in: Self-preservation strategies for Japan's train commuters have their limitations See in context

The recommendations make sense but as usual nothing is a perfect protection, specially if done wrong, unfortunately you can see lots of people not covering their nose and mouth properly or constantly touching the outside of the mask, etc. Doing that and now wearing the mask in the first place is the same thing.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Parents, teachers scramble to cope after Abe urges school shutdown See in context

Partners of health workers should be ordered home to take care of the kids. Nurses were not forced to stay home if their spouses were responsible.

What if the spouses are also working in health services (as frequently happens)?

As long as parents have to stop going to work to take care of the children some services will be interrupted, specially in those jobs where telecommuting is simply not an option.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

Posted in: Riken, Kanagawa Pref create test to detect coronavirus in 30 minutes See in context

And how is it that in South Korea they can do a test, in their "drive through" testing locations, that have results in about 10 minutes?

That may have to do with reliability or even price, maybe they consider a low specificity or sensitivity test just "good enough" if they can do the test on 10 minutes, it appears good on principle but even a test 85% specific is considered worse than doing nothing for testing the general population.

Seems to me that countries around the world MUST openly share research information here!

In infectious diseases this is the norm, Japan China and Korea have very close relationships in this kind of research so it would not be surprising that everything is already shared, not being open to the general population is not the same as not being shared between researcher.

So now that Japan can supposedly cut the test results times from 6 hours to 30 minutes will they be able to test more than 1000 people every two weeks?

The bottleneck is not the time for each test but where it can be done, Japanese regulations are extremely strict compared with other countries because every time a university or research institute wants to open a facility to deal with emerging diseases properly the public reacts with horror saying that it is not necessary and that Japan can just buy tests from overseas etc. Relaxing the rules would multiply the number of tests that can be done a huge lot, but realistically speaking there is no chance of that happening.

Not sure if anyone should trust a "super quick" test from Riken.... they have been caught producing fakes before

The test is not really super-science, just applying known technologies (likely loop-mediated isothermal amplification) to this particular virus. It is also terribly simple to do test runs in any place with LAMP machines to corroborate specificity and sensibility. One thing is for one scientist to publish fake results about something difficult to replicate (something that happens in all places where research is done) another completely different is to announce something that takes a day or two to prove fake by any minimally prepared laboratory.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Posted in: Woman confirmed as coronavirus case for 2nd time, weeks after initial recovery See in context

Also a link to article on how reinfection can mean really bad news:

The article is full of baseless assumptions and things that make no sense, I am not sure if this is a terrible news source or they got pranked by someone that have no knowledge of medicine but I would not trust anything they said.

They keep repeating the "problem" with false negative as if it were something that only happens with this infection, then about "damage by the antibodies" when right now nobody even knows what kind of antibodies or to what levels are produced after the infection, hearth failure is not a diagnostic for deaths (because it does not say the reason behind the hearth failure) etc.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: Woman confirmed as coronavirus case for 2nd time, weeks after initial recovery See in context

Covid-19 is arguably worse than Anthrax, as the corona virus is transmissible from person to person while Anthrax is not.

And the common cold is also "arguably worse" than both, because has killed more people in the history of humanity. That still means your terrible misinterpretation is wrong, being bi-phasic have no relationship with the ability of the immune system to fight the infection. The infection (not the virus itself) could be tri-phasic and you would still be wrong. More than 90% of the patients have successfully defeated the infection.

And why give any importance to the vaccine at this stage? how many diseases you know that had vaccines in the first 3 months of being discovered?

5 ( +15 / -10 )

Recent Comments


Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.