Poor gut health is Associated With Severe COVID-19

In a review published this week in mBio, microbiologist Heenam Stanley Kim, Ph.D, from Korea University’s Laboratory for Human-Microbial Interactions, in Seoul, examined emerging evidence suggesting that poor gut health adversely affects COVID-19 prognosis. Based on his analysis, Kim proposed that gut dysfunction — and its associated leaky gut — may exacerbate the severity of infection by enabling the virus to access the surface of the digestive tract and internal organs. These organs are vulnerable to infection because they have widespread ACE2 — a protein target of SARS-CoV-2 — on the surface.”There seems to be a clear connection between the altered gut microbiome and severe COVID-19,” Kim said.

American Society for Microbiology. “Poor gut health connected to severe COVID-19, new review shows.” ScienceDaily. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/01/210112085347.htm (accessed January 15, 2021).

Journal Reference: Heenam Stanley Kim. Do an Altered Gut Microbiota and an Associated Leaky Gut Affect COVID-19 Severity? mBio, 2021; 12 (1) DOI: 10.1128/mBio.03022-20

Eat more legumes, plants and other sources of dietary fiber.

Eat less meat, dairy, and eggs.

J&J Covid-19 Vaccine Appears to be Safe

A total of 800 adults aged 18 to 55 or aged 65 and up were randomized to various combinations of low-dose or high-dose vaccines or placebo, given 56 days apart.

Adverse events were common, with fatigue, headache, myalgia, and injection-site pain reported most often. At day 29 after the first dose, the seroconversion rate was 99% or more in the younger cohort across dosing groups. Older vaccine recipients had a 96% seroconversion rate. At 57 days after the first dose, antibody titers had increased further.

COVID-19: Single Dose of J&J Vaccine / Plasma / New Testing Requirement — https://www.jwatch.org/fw117413/2021/01/13/covid-19-single-dose-j-j-vaccine-plasma-new-testing

The J&J vaccine is in a multi-center, placebo-controlled, phase 1–2a trial. Here’s the link to the NEJM article https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa2034201

From Stat Phase 3 results are coming soon.

There are two Phase 3 studies running. A 40,000-volunteer study of the one-dose vaccine, conducted in the U.S., is set to read out in the next two weeks. A second, equally big study is being conducted using the same vaccine given as two doses, each administered 57 days apart, in case the vaccine does not prove effective in a one-dose regimen or there are other advantages, such as the durability of the vaccine, to giving a second dose.

https://www.statnews.com/2021/01/13/data-fuel-debate-over-whether-jjs-one-dose-covid-vaccine-will-measure-up/ — Data fuel debate over whether J&J’s one-dose Covid vaccine will measure up

And from the Medscape article.

Unlike the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna messenger RNA vaccines, the Johnson & Johnson product is a recombinant, replication-incompetent adenovirus serotype 26 (Ad26) vector encoding a full-length and stabilized SARS-CoV-2 spike (S) protein.

The Next Likely COVID-19 Vaccine Has Its Advantages — https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/944151?src=rss

Why PTSD May Plague Many Hospitalized Covid-19 Survivors — Smithsonian Magazine

Scientists warn about the likelihood of post-traumatic stress disorder for patients discharged from the intensive care unit.

Covid-19 isn’t the first epidemic to cause a domino effect of persisting psychiatric health problems across a population. The current pandemic has been compared to the severe adult respiratory syndrome (SARS) outbreak in 2003 and the Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) outbreak in 2014 in Saudi Arabia—both diseases caused by coronaviruses. In an analysis of international studies from the SARS and MERS outbreaks, researchers found that among recovered patients, the prevalence of PTSD was 32.2 percent, depression was 14.9 percent and anxiety disorders was 14.8 percent.

Why PTSD May Plague Many Hospitalized Covid-19 Survivors — Science | Smithsonian Magazine

The entire article is worth reading. And from The BMJ probable PTSD in hospital workers too.

Nearly half of intensive care unit (ICU) and anaesthetic staff surveyed for a study reported symptoms consistent with a probable diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), severe depression, anxiety, or problem drinking.1

The preprint, produced by researchers at King’s College London, aimed to get a picture of the rates of probable mental health disorders in ICU and anaesthetic staff in six English hospitals during June and July 2020.

BMJ 2021; 372 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.n108 (Published 13 January 2021) BMJ 2021;372:n108

Every Day is an Emergency – Psychiatric Bed Shortages Nationwide

The pandemic and the parallel economic crisis have fueled new concern about access to mental health care. An estimated 40% of American adults are have a condition involving mental illness or substance abuse. In June, federal health officials reported nearly 11% percent of adults surveyed seriously considered suicide during the past 30 days.

‘Every day is an emergency’: The pandemic is worsening psychiatric bed shortages nationwide — https://www.statnews.com/2020/12/23/mental-health-covid19-psychiatric-beds/?utm_campaign=rss

We are just ten months into the Great Pandemic and I fear conditions will get worse before they get better.

Movie Theaters Got Annihilated in 2020

Through 2019, the way movie theaters tried to deal with this structural decline in moviegoers was by raising ticket prices, offering big comfortable chairs to justify those ticket prices, installing bars with overpriced beer and food, and cranking up prices for popcorn and sodas. Fewer people paying a lot more money was the trick to maintain revenue growth.

And because going to the movies got so expensive and because much cheaper options have increasingly been available on the big screen at home, the number of tickets sold continued to drop. Go figure.

After 17 Years of Falling Ticket Sales, Movie Theaters Got Annihilated in 2020 — https://wolfstreet.com/2021/01/10/movie-theater-ticket-sales-after-falling-for-years-got-annihilated-in-2020/

The local movie theater which closed in March 2020 has yet to reopen. I doubt they ever will.

Vitamin D Deficiency Is Inversely Associated with COVID-19 Incidence and Disease Severity in Chinese People

In the general linear model adjusted for age, sex, comorbidities, and BMI, serum 25(OH)D concentrations were significantly lower among COVID-19 patients than the 2018–2019 controls [ln transformed values of 3.32 ± 0.04 vs. 3.46 ± 0.022 ln (nmol/L), = 0.014]. Multivariable logistic regression showed that male sex (OR: 2.26; 95% CI: 1.06, 4.82), advanced age (≥65 y) (OR: 4.93; 95% CI: 1.44, 16.9), and vitamin D deficiency (<30 nmol/L) (OR: 2.72; 95% CI: 1.23, 6.01) were significantly associated with COVID-19 severity (all < 0.05).

These findings suggested that vitamin D deficiency impacts COVID-19 hospitalization and severity in the Chinese population.

Vitamin D Deficiency Is Inversely Associated with COVID-19 Incidence and Disease Severity in Chinese People — The Journal of Nutrition, Volume 151, Issue 1, January 2021, Pages 98–103, https://doi.org/10.1093/jn/nxaa332

More links are in my last post Vitamin D – What’s Your Level?

I am hoping all of my Chinese relatives read this.

I would not take Covaxin without efficacy data: Gagandeep Kang — Science Chronicle

Serum’s Covishield and Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin are examples of atmanirbhar (self-reliance) but have an element of non-Indian science — and at least to me that is fine, says Dr. Gagandeep Kang. Though Covaxin uses inactivated virus, neutralising antibodies against the spike protein are critical for reinfection. So if Covaxin is based on an old viral […]

I would not take Covaxin without efficacy data: Gagandeep Kang — Science Chronicle

More on Colleges and Covid

U.S. counties with large colleges or universities with remote instruction (n = 22) experienced a 17.9% decrease in incidence and university counties with in-person instruction (n = 79) experienced a 56% increase in incidence, comparing the 21-day periods before and after classes started. Counties without large colleges or universities (n = 3,009) experienced a 6% decrease in incidence during similar time frames.


Leidner AJ, Barry V, Bowen VB, et al. Opening of Large Institutions of Higher Education and County-Level COVID-19 Incidence — United States, July 6–September 17, 2020. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2021;70:14–19. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm7001a4external icon

That’s it. That’s the post.

CDC reports more allergic reactions to Covid-19 vaccines, but cases remain few

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said at present it looks like anaphylaxis cases are occurring at a rate of about 5.5 per 1 million vaccine doses given, though the agency cautioned that figure may change as the vaccination effort continues.

The allergic reactions do not change CDC’s recommendations on who can be vaccinated against Covid-19, with senior officials stressing that the risk of severe illness and death from the disease still outweighs the risk of developing anaphylaxis after vaccination.

CDC reports more allergic reactions to Covid-19 vaccines, but cases remain few — https://www.statnews.com/2021/01/06/cdc-reports-more-allergic-reactions-to-covid-19-vaccines-but-cases-remain-few/?utm_campaign=rss

Get jabbed.

Kaiser San Jose Covid Outbreak

Hospital officials initially reported an outbreak of 44 infections traced back to the apparently impromptu Christmas celebration, but this would be the first fatality associated with the informal Dec. 25 visit. All 44, including the employee who died, had been working in the emergency department that day, according to NBC Bay Area, which also described the outbreak’s first victim as a woman who worked as a registration clerk in the department.

Coronavirus: 1 employee dead after outbreak infects dozens at Kaiser San Jose — https://www.mercurynews.com/2021/01/04/coronavirus-1-employee-dead-after-outbreak-infects-dozens-at-kaiser-san-jose/