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Coronavirus: Rhinovirus can equip immune system to ward off other illness

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coronavirus rhinovirus can equip immune system to ward off other illness

Suffering a common cold could provide protection against contracting Covid, scientists believe.

Experts at Yale University in the US have found that coming under attack from rhinovirus – the most frequent cause of common cold – jump-starts the body’s antiviral defences, equipping the immune system to ward off other viruses. 

They are now investigating whether it does the same against coronavirus.

The body fights off rhinovirus by producing interferon. 

Previously scientists were not sure whether interferon produced in response to one virus would recognise another but the Yale study suggests exposure to rhinovirus created an immune response against flu, suggesting it would protect against other viruses.

33980848 0 image a 17 1601851609285

33980848 0 image a 17 1601851609285

Experts at Yale University believe that suffering from a common cold could provide protection against contracting the Covid-19 virus (file photo)

They are now looking at whether introduction of the cold virus before infection by the Covid-19 virus offers similar protection. 

Dr Ellen Foxman, of the Yale School of Medicine, said that interferon defences work only early in infection so may be used as ‘a way of temporarily protecting people who are at high risk’.

Dr Foxman said: ‘The common cold virus triggers the normal antiviral defences of these cells that form the lining of the airway.

‘So the cells that form the lining of the airway is where all these viruses need to go to grow.

‘That includes flu, common cold, Covid-19 – basically all the viruses that you get by breathing them in, they all grow in this tissue that forms the lining of your airway.’

She added: ‘This response, the interferon response, which is this general defence mechanism against all viruses, we know that response does work against Covid-19.

‘If you do the experiment in a lab, you can apply this chemical – interferon – to cells, then you can block the virus that causes Covid-19 as well.

‘So it’s possible that we’ll see the same thing, but we’re just beginning to do the experiments.

‘Sometimes you see unexpected things happening so you have to just do the experiment and see what the result is and that that’s just a work in progress at the moment.’

Dr Foxman said she thought interferon-based immunity lasted about a week, maybe up to two, adding that it did not prevent infection forever.

But she explained it may provide a ‘temporary buffer against getting another virus’ while the body is all ‘revved up’ to fight it.

Scientists found that rhinovirus, the most frequent cause of common cold, jump-starts the body's antiviral defences, equipping the immune system to ward off other viruses (file photo)

Scientists found that rhinovirus, the most frequent cause of common cold, jump-starts the body's antiviral defences, equipping the immune system to ward off other viruses (file photo)

Scientists found that rhinovirus, the most frequent cause of common cold, jump-starts the body’s antiviral defences, equipping the immune system to ward off other viruses (file photo)

However, the expert said while she was sure this could be applied to flu, Covid-19 is unpredictable.

‘One unpredictable thing is the entry receptor that Covid-19 uses to get inside your body – there have been some reports that can be increased by interferon.

‘So, we just have to test how important is that, compared to having these antiviral defences at the ready,’ Dr Foxman said.

She said interferon defences can be very potent against a lot of viruses, but that they only work early in infection as they stop the virus from growing.

Dr Foxman said interferons are already used as antiviral treatments for other conditions, and trials looking at their use in combating Covid-19 indicate that if given early enough in infection, there may be some benefit.

She added: ‘Maybe we can think harder about just triggering this general response as a way of temporarily protecting people who are at high risk – who are in high risk of being exposed.’ 

She warned that interferon response triggers a lot of the same symptoms as a cold, by added: ‘When you’re talking about preventing a more serious virus maybe it does make sense.’

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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Lockdown slashes the coronavirus R rate in half within a month, study shows

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lockdown slashes the coronavirus r rate in half within a month study shows

Ordering people to stay at home is a futile move when it comes to stopping the spread of coronavirus, according to a major review published today in the Lancet. 

It found that, on its own, this measure sees the R rate drop from 1 to just 0.97 after 28 days.   

R represents the average number of people each Covid-19 positive person goes on to infect. When the figure is above one, an outbreak can grow exponentially. 

Researchers from the University of Edinburgh studied various government intervention measures on the R rate in 131 different countries.

They found combining measures similar to a national lockdown, including banning public events and closing schools, could cut the R rate by as much as 52 per cent.  

However, opening schools again can lead to a 24 per cent increase in the R rate within a month of the measure being lifted, the researchers discovered.  

The UK today announced another 21,242 positive coronavirus tests and the deaths of another 189 people due to the virus.

The chief scientific adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance, said that numbers are ‘still heading in the wrong direction’ but also admitted Britain’s outbreak appears to be slowing.

A lockdown involving school closures and stay at home orders can halve the R rate within a month, study finds, but opening schools again can increase it by a quarter

A lockdown involving school closures and stay at home orders can halve the R rate within a month, study finds, but opening schools again can increase it by a quarter

A lockdown involving school closures and stay at home orders can halve the R rate within a month, study finds, but opening schools again can increase it by a quarter

Researchers from the University of Edinburgh studied various government intervention measures on the R rate in 131 different countries

Researchers from the University of Edinburgh studied various government intervention measures on the R rate in 131 different countries

Researchers from the University of Edinburgh studied various government intervention measures on the R rate in 131 different countries

The Scottish researchers examined a variety of measures and how they individually, or in combination with other options, can reduce or raise the rate of infection.  

Looking at the measures individually, a ban on public events was associated with the greatest reduction in R, amounting to a 24 per cent reduction after 28 days.    

Meanwhile, the measures most strongly associated with an increase in R were lifting bans on gatherings of more than 10 people  – seeing a 25 per cent spike in the rate. 

The findings, published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases journal, are based on a modelling analysis, taking into account of measures across 131 countries.

Study author Harish Nair said a combination of measures was the best approach when looking to reduce the rate of transmission for Covid-19. 

Looking at the measures individually, a ban on public events was associated with the greatest reduction in R, amounting to a 24 per cent reduction after 28 days

Looking at the measures individually, a ban on public events was associated with the greatest reduction in R, amounting to a 24 per cent reduction after 28 days

Looking at the measures individually, a ban on public events was associated with the greatest reduction in R, amounting to a 24 per cent reduction after 28 days

‘As we experience a resurgence of the virus, policymakers will need to consider combinations of measures to reduce the R number.’

He said the findings can be used to inform decisions on whether to introduce or lift various restrictions and when to expect to see them take effect. 

COMBINATIONS OF MEASURES WORK TO REDUCE THE R RATE 
Day 7 Day 14 Day 28
  R RATE 
Option 1: Ban on public events and gatherings of more than ten  0.94 0.87 0.71
Option 2: Workplace closure, ban on public events and gatherings of more than ten 0.84 0.78 0.62
Option 3: Workplace closure, ban on public events, gatherings of more than ten people and internal movement limits 0.81 0.76 0.58
Option 4: School and workplace closure, ban on public events, ban on gatherings of more than ten people, internal movement limits and stay at home orders 0.65 0.58 0.48

Individual measures considered included: School closures, workplace closures, public event bans, limit of 10 people mixing, public transport closure, stay at home orders, limits on internal movement and and international travel restrictions.

A ban on public events was associated with the greatest reduction in R at 24 per cent after 28 days, which could be due to the fact they are likely causes of super spreader events and often the first restriction imposed by a country. 

Previous studies have found that measures, including school closure, social distancing, and lockdown, could reduce R substantially to near or below 1, but this is the first study to look at the effects on R following the relaxation of these measures.  

The analysis included 790 phases from 131 countries and used a model to measure the association between which measures were in place and changes in the R. 

The authors used this to estimate the effect up to 28 days on the R of introducing or lifting measures. In addition, they modelled four combinations of measures that could be introduced to tackle the resurgence of SARS-CoV-2.  

The combinations included mixtures of each of the individual measures, from a ban on events and limiting gatherings, to what is effectively a full lockdown. 

The team found that the least comprehensive package of measures would still reduce R by 29 per cent within 28 days of the measures being imposed.

That is still four per cent more than the most effective individual measure – banning public events such as sport matches and concerts. 

In contrast, the most comprehensive package – similar to a lockdown including school closures and limits on movement – would lead to a 52 per cent reduction.  

The effect of introducing measures was not immediate; it took an average of 8 days after introducing a measure to see 60 per cent of its effect on reducing the R.

The UK today announced another 21,242 positive coronavirus tests and the deaths of another 189 people due to the virus

The UK today announced another 21,242 positive coronavirus tests and the deaths of another 189 people due to the virus

The UK today announced another 21,242 positive coronavirus tests and the deaths of another 189 people due to the virus

The chief scientific adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance, said that numbers are 'still heading in the wrong direction' but also admitted Britain's outbreak appears to be slowing

The chief scientific adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance, said that numbers are 'still heading in the wrong direction' but also admitted Britain's outbreak appears to be slowing

The chief scientific adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance, said that numbers are ‘still heading in the wrong direction’ but also admitted Britain’s outbreak appears to be slowing

Researchers found that reopening schools after lockdown could result in a 24 per cent increase in the R rate

Researchers found that reopening schools after lockdown could result in a 24 per cent increase in the R rate

Researchers found that reopening schools after lockdown could result in a 24 per cent increase in the R rate

Researchers didn’t, or couldn’t consider the impact of other measures linked to certain restrictions – such as hand washing, masks or people following the rules. 

For example, although reopening schools was associated with a large increase in R, the researchers said they were unable to account for the impact of class size limits, deep cleaning, social distancing or temperature checks on arrival. 

Professor Nair said: ‘We found an increase in R after reopening schools but it is not clear whether the increase is attributable to specific age groups.’

This is because there could be substantial differences in adherence in social distancing measures from one class to another – but they didn’t have the data.  

The R rate seems to be levelling off at between 1.3 and 1.5 after a peak of nearly 1.6 early in October

The R rate seems to be levelling off at between 1.3 and 1.5 after a peak of nearly 1.6 early in October

The R rate seems to be levelling off at between 1.3 and 1.5 after a peak of nearly 1.6 early in October

‘Furthermore, more data are needed to understand the specific role of schools in increased Sars-CoV-2 transmission through robust contact tracing,’ he said.

The study authors also did a secondary analysis using Google mobility data, modelling the total visits to workplaces and the total time spent in residential areas.

Thursday: UK confirms 21,242 coronavirus cases and 189 deaths 

The UK today announced another 21,242 positive coronavirus tests and the deaths of another 189 people as Sir Patrick Vallance claimed as many as 90,000 could be catching the virus every day. 

The chief scientific adviser said that numbers are ‘still heading in the wrong direction’ but also admitted Britain’s outbreak appears to be slowing down.  

Official data this afternoon shows that cases are 12 per cent higher than the 18,980 on Thursday last week – the smallest seven-day increase of any day of any day this week – while deaths are up 37 per cent from 138.

Speaking in a TV briefing alongside Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Sir Patrick showed slides that estimated there are somewhere between 22,000 and 90,000 new infections every day in England.

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Results indicated that people took some time to adapt their behaviour to comply with workplace closures and stay-at-home requirements, which was similar to the delay between the measures and the effects seen on R – around one to three weeks.

The authors suggest the delay was possibly due to the population taking time to modify their behaviour to adhere to measures.

The researchers also said that some of the greatest effects on R were seen for measures that were more easily implementable by law, like school reopening and introduction of a public events ban.

They suggest this may have been because their effects were more immediate and compliance was easier to ensure. 

However, likely low compliance when it comes to bans on gatherings of 10 or more people could explain why that measure saw a minimal impact on the R rate.

Writing in a linked Comment, Professor Chris T Bauch from University of Waterloo, Canada, said despite the imperfections with R, the findings show measures including lockdown do work to reduce the rate. 

‘This information is crucial, given that some [measures] have massive socioeconomic effects. In a similar vein, transmission models that project COVID-19 cases and deaths under different scenarios could be highly valuable for optimising a country’s portfolio of [measures], the researcher, not involved in this study explained.

‘The success of large-scale [measures] requires population adherence. R can stimulate populations to act and gives them useful feedback on the fruits of their labour. Perhaps this is one reason that R has entered our vernacular in 2020.’

RESEARCHERS COMPARED THE IMPACT OF VARIOUS RESTRICTIONS ON THE R RATE WHEN THEY WERE IMPOSED AND RELAXED 
Day 7 Day 14 Day 28 
  R RATE   
SCHOOL CLOSURE 
Introduction 0.89 0.86 0.85
Relaxation 1.05 1.18 1.24
WORKPLACE CLOSURE 
Introduction 0.89 0.89 0.87
Relaxation 1.04 1.1 1.01
PUBLIC EVENTS BAN 
Introduction  0.9 0.83 0.76
Relaxation 1.02 1.07 1.21
BAN ON GATHERINGS OF MORE THAN 10 PEOPLE 
Introduction  0.93 0.98 0.97
Relaxation 0.99 1.07 1.25
PUBLIC TRANSPORT CLOSURE 
Introduction  0.97 0.98 0.99
Relaxation  1 1.08 1.04
STAY AT HOME ORDERS 
Introduction  0.9 0.89 0.97
Relaxation 0.97 1.02 1.11
LIMITS ON INTERNAL MOVEMENTS 
Introduction  0.97 0.97 0.93
Relaxation 0.98 1.06 1.13
RESTRICTIONS ON INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL 
Introduction  0.89 0.97 1.08
Relaxation 0.95 1.02 0.98

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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We should follow science on coronavirus… and ditch the curfew, writes restaurateur Jeremy King 

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we should follow science on coronavirus and ditch the curfew writes restaurateur jeremy king

A big man – and a bigger politician – admits he was wrong. I applaud Rishi Sunak for acknowledging yesterday that his Job Support Scheme, which had aimed to protect jobs during local lockdowns, was not fit for purpose.

Ruinously for pubs and restaurants, Tier Two restrictions stop people from different households mixing together indoors.

By pledging, along with other measures, new cash grants for the hospitality sector, it is clear that the Chancellor has listened to our industry, which employs millions across the country. Many of those jobs which would have been lost will now be saved.

People collect tables and chairs, as the region of Lombardy imposes a curfew after being hit by a surge of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) infections, in Milan, Italy, October 22, 2020

People collect tables and chairs, as the region of Lombardy imposes a curfew after being hit by a surge of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) infections, in Milan, Italy, October 22, 2020

People collect tables and chairs, as the region of Lombardy imposes a curfew after being hit by a surge of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) infections, in Milan, Italy, October 22, 2020

But, like thousands of other business owners, I’ve felt for a long time as though I’ve been beating my head against a brick wall as the Government failed to heed our pleas and protests.

We are constantly told of the need to ‘follow the science’. But the science I’m looking at comes from the World Health Organisation, the most influential medical authority in the world. Its clear guidance is that the financial and psychological damage of lockdowns will often far outweigh their benefits. For months now British people have been beset by a string of nonsensical and contradictory edicts. The absence of leadership has been palpable.

After so many new strictures and U-turns, no wonder that, at times, it feels like almost no one knows what the rules are any more. Even the police are confused. Earlier this week, as the Mail reported, the chief of the Met told restaurants and pubs to check people’s identities, by using driving licences and other documents, to ensure that customers dining together also lived together.

Police officers stand guard in the street before a local lockdown amidst the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Manchester, Britain October 22, 2020

Police officers stand guard in the street before a local lockdown amidst the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Manchester, Britain October 22, 2020

Police officers stand guard in the street before a local lockdown amidst the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Manchester, Britain October 22, 2020

At that point, I began to feel that we were approaching the conditions of a police state. There was no logic to it: why should people obey a curfew and leave a restaurant at 10pm if they are all going home to the same house anyway? A day later Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick back-pedalled on that deeply misguided scheme.

Jeremy King, restauranteur

Jeremy King, restauranteur

Jeremy King, restauranteur 

Far from reassuring, this added to the impression that no one in Government knows what they are doing nor why the livelihoods of millions are being wrecked.

I am not prepared to stand by while ministers chase around in circles trying to work out what their own edicts mean. None of these overlapping rules fit together.

It’s clear these pernicious diktats have been drawn up by different committees that do not talk to each other. The other evening I was at our restaurant Fischer’s in central London. At 10pm I watched in dismay as all our customers reluctantly had to leave.

Outside it was raining and particularly cold. Many left their cars at home due to the ill-advised Congestion Charge extension, and Tubes and buses were packed.

Dozens huddled together cheek by jowl under the canopies outside, desperately trying to get black cabs and Ubers in the cold and wet. Anyone could see that this was a genuine threat to their health, whether from Covid, seasonal colds or even, for the vulnerable, pneumonia.

Yet they all could have been safe and warm if they had been allowed to stay inside and leave in their own time.

People gather outside bars the night before a local lockdown amidst the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Manchester, Britain October 22, 2020

People gather outside bars the night before a local lockdown amidst the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Manchester, Britain October 22, 2020

People gather outside bars the night before a local lockdown amidst the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Manchester, Britain October 22, 2020

Over the past three months more than a quarter of a million customers have come through the doors of our restaurants. As far as I am aware, at the time of writing, not one of them, nor a member of staff, has tested positive for Covid-19.

Yet our businesses are being hamstrung by absurd, counter-productive curfews and are under threat of even more stringent lockdowns. It makes no sense at all.

The shift in the country’s mood since the spring is palpable. I fear many are losing their faith in the Government altogether.

When that happens the breach of trust takes a long time to heal. While I welcome Mr Sunak’s measures, we need our leaders, starting with the Prime Minister, to follow the Chancellor’s example and have the courage to admit: we got it wrong.

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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One woman, 23 lovers, no regrets: Author NELL DUNN reveals all about her muse and best friend Josie

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one woman 23 lovers no regrets author nell dunn reveals all about her muse and best friend josie

The Muse

by Nell Dunn (Coronet £14.99, 160pp) 

She may be an almost forgotten name now but, in the Sixties, Nell Dunn was one of the most controversial and talked-about writers in Britain.

Her books Up The Junction and Poor Cow were an unflinching look at the lives of working-class women, presented without any moralising or judgment, and caused a sensation. 

The women Dunn writes about talk endlessly about men, sex, motherhood, families, work and friendship. Husbands drift in and out of prison and the women sometimes dabble in prostitution to make ends meet. Their lives may be grim but they are remarkably philosophical about it all.

Nell Dunn, one of the most controversial authors of the 1960s has revealed more about the life of her muse - her best friend Josie. Pictured, Nell Dunn and her son Rueben Sandford in 1964

Nell Dunn, one of the most controversial authors of the 1960s has revealed more about the life of her muse - her best friend Josie. Pictured, Nell Dunn and her son Rueben Sandford in 1964

Nell Dunn, one of the most controversial authors of the 1960s has revealed more about the life of her muse – her best friend Josie. Pictured, Nell Dunn and her son Rueben Sandford in 1964

Living in Chelsea, Nell's grandfather was an earl, but she moved to Battersea in 1959 with her TV screenwriter husband Jeremy Sandford. Pictured, Nell and Jeremy

Living in Chelsea, Nell's grandfather was an earl, but she moved to Battersea in 1959 with her TV screenwriter husband Jeremy Sandford. Pictured, Nell and Jeremy

Living in Chelsea, Nell’s grandfather was an earl, but she moved to Battersea in 1959 with her TV screenwriter husband Jeremy Sandford. Pictured, Nell and Jeremy 

Nell Dunn, the granddaughter of an earl, moved from Chelsea to Battersea in 1959 with her old Etonian husband Jeremy Sandford, who was to write the classic play Cathy Come Home. Nowadays, Battersea is popular with wealthy professionals — Sting owns a flat there — but when they moved in it was solidly working class. ‘I had the only bath in the street, so there was always a queue for it,’ Nell writes.

In 1960, on the night of Princess Margaret’s wedding when everyone was drunk, she met Josie, who would become her best friend and her muse.

Josie had got married at 16 and had a son at 17. Her husband was often in prison and being married didn’t stop her having lovers: she once listed 23 of them for Nell, adding, ‘I loved them all — while I was with them.’

Through Josie, Nell found her writer’s voice, not just because of Josie’s use of language but also ‘the freedom and daring of her life’. Poor Cow was made into a film by Ken Loach and, last year, the BBC chose it as one of the 100 most inspiring novels in the English language. Novelist Margaret Drabble has said it was one of the first books ‘to treat women’s sexuality as though it were entirely natural’.

After they got married, the young couple moved to Battersea, which was not the highly sought after area it is now - with their house being the only one on the street with a bath. Pictured: Nell on her wedding day with her father

After they got married, the young couple moved to Battersea, which was not the highly sought after area it is now - with their house being the only one on the street with a bath. Pictured: Nell on her wedding day with her father

After they got married, the young couple moved to Battersea, which was not the highly sought after area it is now – with their house being the only one on the street with a bath. Pictured: Nell on her wedding day with her father

In her latest book, Nell describes the life of her best friend Josie, who she says helped her find her voice , including her numerous lovers while her husband was in prison and having a baby at 17. Pictured: Nell and son Rueben in 1965

In her latest book, Nell describes the life of her best friend Josie, who she says helped her find her voice , including her numerous lovers while her husband was in prison and having a baby at 17. Pictured: Nell and son Rueben in 1965

In her latest book, Nell describes the life of her best friend Josie, who she says helped her find her voice , including her numerous lovers while her husband was in prison and having a baby at 17. Pictured: Nell and son Rueben in 1965

In her early 30s, Josie met a South African called Bill. Nell disliked him on sight but Josie fell madly in love and took off with him to Australia on Christmas Day, ‘leaving the turkey in the oven to burn’, and abandoning her 15-year-old son.

The Muse by Nell Dunn (Coronet £14.99, 160pp)

The Muse by Nell Dunn (Coronet £14.99, 160pp)

The Muse by Nell Dunn (Coronet £14.99, 160pp)

Despite this, the women exchanged frequent affectionate letters. Josie writes in a near stream of consciousness, with appalling spelling, about the ups and downs of her life. ‘I got a job in a club but Bill didn’t like it. (Jelosee). So after a week I had to leave,’ she writes from Australia. Soon Bill falls foul of the law, ‘Smuggling uncut diamonds I think … I am trying hard not to get to deprest but some times failing.’

Bill turns violent and Josie flees home, in time for the opening of Dunn’s latest play Steaming, which is a great success.

She now lives on the south coast ‘with a handsome man’, and the two women still talk most days. Why has their friendship been so close and so enduring? Josie reminds Nell of her mother, who had the same ‘freedom and generosity’. As for Josie, ‘I think she loved me as an audience. She liked making me laugh. She loved me loving her.’

This slim volume is entertaining but frustrating because there are so many gaps. You long to know more about Nell’s life — her husband is never mentioned; did she ever move back to the posh side of town? What became of Josie’s abandoned son? While Poor Cow is a masterpiece, The Muse is no more than a pleasant addendum.

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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