Let’s end the week on a C-19 high note…

Some reasons to be optimistic
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WaPo ran an op-ed by Joseph Allen — a Harvard prof specializing in “exposure assessment science”.

Prof. Allen offers up 6 “positive developments to remind us that there is hope in this crisis”.

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Here’s Prof Allen’s list:

1. Therapeutic treatments

in addition to what we already have for most sick patients, more targeted therapeutic treatments will arrive — probably before vaccines.

Scientists have now engineered synthetic clones of coronavirus antibodies —  called monoclonal antibodies — and they are showing to be effective both therapeutically and to prevent infection.

2. Rapid, low-cost saliva tests.

Rapid, low-cost saliva tests are are a game-changer.

These are like home pregnancy tests but for covid-19.

Imagine a test you could take at home every day, that gives you an answer in a few minutes after spitting into a vial and costs only $1 to $5.

Such a test would change our ability to spoy outbreaks, help consumer confidence and slow down this economic crisis.

These tests are not perfectly accurate, but the counterintuitive part is that they don’t have to be.

More important than accuracy are speed and frequency of testing [which minimizes the statistical risk of  false negatives].

3. Consensus that airborne spread is happening.

The CDC and WHO have consistently failed to recognize this.

Last week, the tide turned when 239 scientists signed a letter to the WHO urging it to acknowledge airborne transmission.

And that’s exactly what the WHO did.

[So, there will be more emphasis on outdoor activity, indoor air quality & filtration and mask-wearing].

4. Near-universal mask wearing.

Mask-wearing is catching on.

What was once awkward and unusual (in the United States, anyway) has now become more accepted.

[Major retailers are even starting to require that all in-store employees and customers wear masks].

5. Pre-existing immunities

There is some science showing that past exposure to coronaviruses (including the common-cold  might be playing a protective role for some people.

Several studies are now showing that 20 to 50 percent of people who had never been exposed to the novel coronavirus have immune cells — known as memory T cells — in their body that react to this new virus.

6. Lightning-fast vaccine development.

Early-stage clinical trials are showing positive signs is encouraging.

Vaccine trials seem to be working, and drug manufacturers have already said they might be able to deliver doses as early as October.

If we get a vaccine within 12 months, that will be the quickest vaccine ever developed — by several years.

And, Prof. Allen points out:

For the first time in history, nearly every scientist in the world is focused on the same problem. This should start to pay real dividends.

Have a nice weekend.

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