(1) There have been a number of attempts to repurpose existing antiviral drugs, such as the Tamiflu competitor Avigan (favipiravir, developed in Japan by a subsidiary of FUJI). Eventually, these didn’t pan out.
Until now. Dr. Campbell thinks molnupiravir, developed by Merck, may be a game changer
Summarizing the release from Merck: with interim analysis of their Phase 3 study: patients were recruited among those who tested positive or had mild COVID, and had at least one risk factor. (There is no point in giving an antiviral to somebody with severe COVID, since at that point your enemy #1 is a destructive immune response, no longer the virus.)
Of 385 people who got the drug, 28 required hospitalization and none died.
Of the 377 in the control group who got a placebo, 53 required hospitalization and eight died.
As a result, Merck has stopped the trial so they can give the drug to everybody, and they are preparing an application to the FDA for an Emergency Use Authorization.
Skeptical as I am of “science by press release”, this one just might be the real deal.
(2) Inadvertent intravenous injection. Older nurses and doctors were still taught, when giving an intramuscular injection, to draw back a little on the plunger after sticking in the needle. If the liquid entering the syringe is clear, you can safely inject; if you draw blood, you’ve hit a blood vessel: pull out, change the needle, and jab elsewhere.
They’ve stopped teaching this in nursing school some time ago. Yet Dr. Campbell (a retired nursing school instructor) explains that even when jabbing in the deltoid or the buttocks, this may lead to an inadvertent intravenous injection once every several thousand jabs.
Now could this cause complications? A research team showed that it does happen in mice.
Li, C.; Chen, Y.; Zhao, Y.; Lung, D. C.; Ye, Z.; Song, W.; Liu, F.-F.; Cai, J.-P.; Wong, W.-M.; Yip, C. C.-Y.; et al. Intravenous Injection of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) MRNA Vaccine Can Induce Acute Myopericarditis in Mouse Model. Clin. Infect. Dis. 2021. https://doi.org/10.1093/cid/ciab707
They injected three groups of mice: intramuscular (IM) with mRNA vaccine, deliberate intravenous (IV) injection with mRNA vaccine, and intravenous (IV) with saline (as the control group). Guess what? No myocarditis in the IM and control groups; “bingo” in the IV group.
This study provided in vivo evidence that inadvertent intravenous injection of COVID-19 mRNA vaccines may induce myopericarditis. Brief withdrawal of syringe plunger to exclude blood aspiration may be one possible way to reduce such risk.
Dr. Campbell however thinks this is not specific to mRNA vaccines and may also apply to viral vector vaccines (Oxford/AstraZeneca, etc.)
(3) Meanwhile in Israel, according to data from the Ministry of Health dashboard: I’ve been hesitant about posting data due to all the holidays affecting testing, but that season is now behind us, and it looks like we’re finally past the hump in every respect. Total severe cases have dropped to 528, of which 391 unvaccinated, 98 without boosters, and 33 with boosters. (Not clear what is the status of the remaining six: recovered and re-infected?) If comparing incidence per 100K people age 60+ in each status group, the ratios become truly lopsided: 142.1:28.7:2.3 (two). Yes, vaccinated+booster are about sixty times less likely (142.1/2.3=61.8) to be infected than unvaccinated.
About half the vaccinated population overall got boosters (3.5 out of 6.1 million), which is probably well above that of eligible people (younger people got vaccinated later and won’t become eligible until the next two months). In the most vulnerable 60+ age brackets, it’s more like 80% coverage:
What’s more, the epidemic propagation coefficient R has been at or below 0.75 for the past week. New hospital admissions, percentage of tests that come out positive, etc. are all down. The municipal “traffic lights” classification for the 280 largest municipalities is plotted here as a function of time: the graph speaks for itself. My own Tel-Aviv suburb went from “red” to “green” by degrees.