Ten Myths About Covid-19 That Most People Don’t Know are Myths (Part 2)
Yesterday we brought you Part 1 of what Darrell Brookstein views as “myths” surround Covid-19. Click here for Part 1. Below is Part 2, the conclusion of the 10 "myths" surrounding Covid-19.
We publish ideas. This is not health or medical advice. Please consult your physician.
Yours in profits,
Editor, Resource Stock Digest
August 6, 2020
Part 2 (Click here for Part 1)
By: Darrell Brookstein
(See caveats, disclosures, bonafides and CV below)
Myth #5 - A Vaccine is Coming Soon
Today, most educated people in the media, government and financial services, et al. (who know nothing about the drug development process OR the FDA process) think it is likely that an approved vaccine will be widely available sometime between September 2020 and March 2021.
That has a ZERO chance of happening.
I know, Dr. Fauci himself said last Friday that he was “cautiously optimistic” we would have a safe effective vaccine within 3-8 months.
All that proves is that super-research scientist and physician, Dr. Fauci, is definitely not a drug development expert. No one should expect him to know anything about it.
Please see my disclosures to the side to understand my bonafides and limitations in this area, but you will NEVER hear Fauci, Dr. Gottlieb, or the head of any major biopharma company answer the question, “Will we have a vaccine before year end? Or early in 2021?” with anything other than something like “That would be great!”
There are four vaccine candidates in the clear lead now, and two are going into 30,000 person Phase III studies.
This, in itself, is extraordinary beyond words.
Don’t laugh, but any safe, working vaccine, ever, is not guaranteed. Not even in 10 years.
Drug development is hard. These 4 drugs have had a GREAT start, but that’s all it is. Literally the end of the 1st inning for all these drugs.
Imagine your team is up 3-1 at the end of the first inning. How positive are you that they’ll win the game? That’s a pretty accurate approximation of what’s happening now.
The RNA vaccine (one of the 4) being developed uses a technology that has never, in over 30 years, produced a single vaccine that successfully made it through Phase III. And it’s been tried MANY times. There have been, ALWAYS, in Phase III, very serious side-effects.
Until now, not one of these four (or 130, take your pick) vaccine candidates has proven to provide ANY protection against this coronavirus in humans, EVER.
They make antibodies, and in some cases, even the appropriate T-Cells appear, but that’s not the same as proving they provide protection against this coronavirus infection.
Let’s look at somewhat extreme “best cases”, based on FDA process and experience:
- No more than one of the four will be approved (usually about 1 in 10)
- 30,000 appropriate subjects in multiple international institutes will take 3 months to enroll (can take a year or more).
- It will take 1-2 months to “immunize” the groups with two “doses” each and provide the appropriate initial data (can take 6 months).
- The subjects must go through at least one seasonal cycle before analysis can begin; let’s end March 15th (can take a year or more from the first dose).
- Early data analysis to report to FDA at end of Phase III trial. Another two months (can take a year).
- Analyze whether the vaccine candidate significantly beat the placebo with good tolerance and low side effects. Another two months (can add 6+ months to the early data in #5 above).
- Side effects one year after first dose? and analysis? (can take 2 - 3 years).
So, we haven’t even talked about testing over 55 year olds with co-morbidities, so no doc will approve the vaccine for them, but we’re fast-tracking, BEYOND fast-tracking, above, and the earliest approval by the FDA looks like around October/November of 2021.
Even with the advance manufacture of hundreds of millions of doses, now underway, it will border on a miracle to have a safe, working vaccine available to the healthy, under 55 American public in February 2022.
Am I saying all four lead vaccine candidates might fail in Phase III?
That is what I’m saying.
Myth #6 - Without a Vaccine, We’ll Never Have Herd-Immunity or a Handle on This Disease
Not so fast.
You heard it here, first. We should have herd-immunity (simplified: 50%+ of the US population has either had Covid-19 or is otherwise immune to it) sooner than most people think.
Work at the prestigious Karolinska Institutet indicates T-Cell immunity, caused by previous exposure to other coronaviruses and asymptomatic Covid-19s (several “common colds” and seasonal flus over the last 20 years have been coronaviruses) seems to appear in 25-50% of the public. These people and anyone who has had coronavirus have this T-Cell immunity.
In fact, T-Cell immunity is much more persistent than antibodies, maybe for life. The T-Cell immunity is likely more important than any drug/vaccine in the arsenal. The media and our government leaders are not communicating this, or are ignorant.
The great, early therapies for Covid: remdesivir, dexamethasone and antibody-rich plasma have already revolutionized treatment for the severely ill compared to where we were in April, and we may have a successful monoclonal antibody (MAB) treatment as a preventative and/or therapy to add. Whether we have a vaccine or not, a successful MAB might even be better than any vaccine. There is a scientific basis to believe that.
As early as the end of this year, we should expect treatment of Covid-19 to take at least as big a leap as we’ve had the last 4-5 months. This is really great news. Less sickness, less hospitalizations, less death.
The truly best “treatment” start would be to focus on susceptible populations with education and recommendations - NOW. Nursing Homes, prisons, public housing, the sick and immune-compromised, and inner city largely Latino and/or largely African American neighborhoods).
Myth #7 - There is a Racial Element to Infection and Outcomes
There is nothing of the kind.
Latinos are suffering disproportionately. African Americans are suffering disproportionately. Native Americans are also suffering disproportionately.
There is no scientific evidence to date (there may be something found in the future related to these or any other race or group) that there is ANY racial pre-condition to the disease — positive or negative.
There are many examples of disease for which there is a racial preference. Two terrible, inherited diseases come to mind:
- Black Africans can get sickle cell anemia if both parents carry the gene mutation.
- Ashkenazi Jews (and some Irish and Cajuns) can get Tay-Sachs if both parents carry the gene mutation.
All of the racial disproportion in Covid, evidenced by infection rates, hospitalizations or deaths, is 100% attributable to cultural or lifestyle or demographic/geographical differences.
Higher percentages than average of these groups live in multi-generational homes, live in close proximity to each other, live in situations that require use of public transport, have significant distrust of doctors and clinical trials, and have higher rates of obesity, diabetes and heart disease, etc.
There is one very unusual circumstance that impacted the African American community.
Unreported, but a verifiable fact, is that besides what are noted above, the FIRST African American leaders to really call-out and shout-out against the MYTH that blacks or those with African blood could not get coronavirus (that was rampant in the African American community) were Van Jones and Trevor Noah in early/mid April.
That was a month or two too late.
Oprah’s interview of Idris Elba in mid-March should have raised the flag, but did not. Without actually hearing these three thought leaders shows in the inner cities, most inner city African Americans were left to the thoughts of other leaders who decried the disproportionate outcomes as due to racial inequities, without commenting on the Myth in their midst.
Myth #8 - You Can be Infected with this Coronavirus More Than Once
Despite 3 or 10 claims to the contrary, there has been no scientific proof to date that a person (not one) can be reinfected. Given that there have been about 17 million cases, that’s a pretty solid expectation.
The science is not done for all time, but science leads us to believe that this is quite unlikely, for at least eight months after infection.
Check in again in a year.
Myth #9 - So Far, Not Many Children Have Been Infected
Here’s where I go to the anecdotal evidence in favor of the actual count. To wit:
- Coronavirus started circulating in WA, CA and NY in December 2019 (despite claims it was not until January)
- Kids in school (2 - 22 years old) essentially lived their lives in the bliss of ignorance from mid-December to mid-March (these dates are prior to many folks’ spring break outrage).
- That’s pretty much the better part of 3 months open to infection with then unbelievably bad virus hygiene; and 4-6 weeks of being surrounded in several big cities with the pandemic beginning to rage.
- I think it’s reasonable to assume that under these conditions, 10%+ of all 2-22 years have been infected already and have had Covid-19 with little or no symptoms.
That’s over nine million children ALREADY infected!
This is not a fact, but I believe it will be found to be true.
Look for group testing of classrooms, families, church groups, et al., via pooled samples to go “big-time” over the next 45-90 days. This technology is at the edge of approval now, and it will revolutionize diagnostic testing for Covid.
Also, we will see more and more testing of city and town sewage for identifying Covid outbreaks, as the virus can be found in feces.
Myth #10 - Other Myths and Facts You Should Know
Beneficial for coronavirus protection? - (Seriously, depend on scientific research - Mayo and Cleveland Clinic, Johns Hopkins, CDC, UCSF, Duke are all excellent)
- Vitamin C - no way
- Echinacea - don’t make me laugh
- Colloidal silver - YIPES! (and I absolutely love SILVER... in large bullion bars.)
- Zinc - come on . . .
- Wearing gloves everywhere - you’re more likely to pick up a million other viruses and bacteria that stick on the gloves, unless you’re willing to change to new gloves every time you touch something different. Soap and water or hand disinfectant is the best choice. Gloves are a disaster waiting to happen for everyone else.
- Wear a face mask whenever you’re within 6-8 feet of anyone not in your immediate family for more than a few seconds, or whenever entering a building or room that isn’t your house.
- HA, just checking to make sure you’re still with me. OF COURSE DO THIS!
- ALSO, Do this: STAY 6-8 FEET FROM ANYONE WHO IS NOT IN YOUR IMMEDIATE FAMILY AND much further (12 ft) from anyone who is not also wearing a mask indoors
Caveats, Disclosures, Bonafides and CV
This is not health or medical advice. Please consult your physician.
I’m not a physician or a research scientist, but some consider me “expert” in infectious diseases, vaccines, and drug development, because of my career choices.
I probably know far more about these subjects than most.
I was the #2 for five years at a small publicly traded biopharma, specializing in prophylactic and therapeutic vaccine development for infectious diseases and cancer.
Additionally, I spent eight years with National Academy and Institute of Medicine level scientists (my Scientific Advisory Board at The Nanotech Company, LLC), and their top PhD students on the cutting edge of science in microbiology, biochem, physics and materials science. Twelve years, 60 hours/week, immersed in meetings, reading, writing related to this work.
I authored “Nanotech Fortunes” under the scientific guidance of my partner at the time, Erkki Ruoslahti, MD, PhD a Distinguished Professor, the 2005 Japan Prize winner and one of the most cited bionanoscientists of the last 30 years.
I was the largest American broker in junior precious metals mining shares from 1982 to 1990 (I was one and was a Registered Principal for about 18 years and a Registered Investment Advisor for 9 years.) Doug Casey and I edited and re-released the classic, “Small Fortunes in Penny Gold Stocks” in 1983.
For better or worse, ha ha, I count Doug Casey, Robert Friedland, Rick Rule, Bob Bishop, Jerry Pogue, Ben Johnson, and Jeff Phillips among my business partners and business associates through the years, and I wrote the industry leading “Penny Mining Stock Prospector” and “The Prospector” from 1981 to 1991.
I have authored books and newsletters on niche and highly specialized parts of the investment world, and edited and/or published two best selling books and eight financial newsletters for other authors. I’ve been interviewed in print, on TV and in videos on topics ranging from gold mining, high tech and biopharma company research and natural resource investing to speculation and options trading.
I have significant interest and expertise in investing and speculating at the cutting edge of science, and authored “Nanotech Fortunes” in 2005.
Nothing I say here should be construed as financial or investment advice. Use your own professional for advice.