by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
This morning brings really encouraging news from South Korea, suggesting that those “reinfections” or “re-activations” that doctors in that country had previously reported “came because fragments of the virus remained in their bodies and showed up in test kits.” Apparently the tests the South Koreans were using were “so sensitive that [they] can still pick up parts of the small amount of RNA from a cell even after the person has recovered from COVID-19.”
If reinfection is not a possibility — at least for some period of time — then SARS-CoV-2 is a lot like most other viruses the medical world knows.
Good news is popping up all over. Oxford University and Pfizer Pharmaceuticals are cautiously optimistic about the early stages of their vaccine development. Gilead Sciences said today that “patients taking its drug remdesivir had a speedier recovery than patients taking placebo in a large government-funded study, but didn’t release detailed data showing the magnitude of the benefit.” As laid out in the Morning Jolt, testing production, distribution, and processing are increasing pretty quickly, although we’re still well short of where we would like to be.
And one of the nightmare scenarios, involving the virus mutating and evolving faster into new strains than treatments can be developed, thankfully appears unlikely.
How many strains are there? One analysis from last month identified eight different strains. …
… The next big question is how different those strains are. A study published earlier this month theorized that the reason some locations on the east coast, like New York City and northern New Jersey, have been hit so hard is because the strain there is more virulent than the one that hit the West Coast.
Follow Carolina Journal Online’s continuing coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic here.