Anti-COVID Antibodies I: Basic Principles

The fact that viruses reproduce using the host cells’ metabolic processes makes it more difficult to design drugs to target them after they have entered the cells. There is always the possibility that any drug developed might damage the host as well. It is far better to prevent the virus entering the cells using a chemical entity specifically targeted at the virus in question: this is where antibodies come in.

Read more Anti-COVID Antibodies I: Basic Principles

Doomscrolling and Negativity Bias

I recently came across an article on npr.org entitled “Your Doomscrolling Breeds Anxiety. Here’s How To Stop The Cycle.” It refers to the habit that many of us have on social media where we flit on our phones from one depressing news story to another, almost compulsively. It makes the point that the COVID Pandemic has produced a virtually endless supply of bad news stories, and that lockdown has given many of us even more time to doomscroll. When done before bedtime, it is probably a significant contributor to the recent increase in insomnia.

Read more Doomscrolling and Negativity Bias

Tory COVID Lies and Incompetence

For years now UK politics has been like this: whatever the Conservative Government says I assume is a lie until proven otherwise. I find this to be a significant source of stress. There are numerous examples of the UK Government lying to the public in the last few years, but perhaps the most outrageous recent examples are the lies they have told over the preparation for, and management of, the current COVID Pandemic.

Read more Tory COVID Lies and Incompetence

Viral Origins: Past and Present Part 2

Zoonoses (human infections of animal origin) have become increasingly important in recent decades. Viral infections in this category include HIV, Ebola, and the Coronavirus diseases MERS, SARS, and most recently COVID-19 caused by SARS-CoV-2. This is not an accident: it results from the relentless tendency of humans to plunder ecosystems without regard for the consequences.

Read more Viral Origins: Past and Present Part 2

Viral Origins: Past and Present Part 1

President Donald Trump has made a number of references in the past, and made a few more in his recent 4th July Address to the Nation, to the fact that SARS-CoV-2 originated in China. He always makes these remarks in a way that suggests (a) that China deliberately, or by negligence inflicted the virus on the World; and (b) that such a thing would never happen in the United States of America.

Read more Viral Origins: Past and Present Part 1

“The main thing that I learned about conspiracy theory, is that conspiracy theorists believe in a conspiracy because that is more comforting. The truth of the world is that it is actually chaotic. The truth is that it is not The Iluminati, or The Jewish Banking Conspiracy, or the Gray Alien Theory. 

The truth is far more frightening - Nobody is in control. 

The world is rudderless.”

Alan Moore.

# Permanent link to The main thing I learned about conspiracy theory…

COVID: Myths and Misinformation 1

I previously made the point that social media platforms can provide an invaluable means of spreading useful public health information about the coronavirus crisis. Unfortunately, the pandemic has also generated a variety of bizarre beliefs, and these have spread throughout the World, largely through social media. Social media services have also allowed individuals to denigrate effective measures, such as social distancing, and to promote totally ineffective coronavirus “cures”.

Read more COVID: Myths and Misinformation 1

Insomnia in the Time of COVID

I used to be a great sleeper. As a child, I remember there once was a severe storm that caused a lot of structural damage, including blowing down several chimneys in Glasgow tenements. I slept right through it! None of the stresses and strains of my professional life ever led me to lose much sleep, although, to be fair, until I went part-time in my last 2 years of work, I think exhaustion was a great help in leading me to the Land of Nod!

Read more Insomnia in the Time of COVID