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DR MICHAEL MOSLEY: The miracle vaccines that could beat the following Covid variants

There have been many false dawns in our long and deadly battle with Covid-19, but I am confident that we will finally make it through.

At least for the ‘we’ living in the UK, there are several reasons to be happy: the number of infections is starting to fall; restrictions are relaxed; we have new anti-Covid drugs like Paxlovid; which has been shown in recent trials to reduce death rates by 89 percent; and thanks to the vaccines, hospital beds are no longer full of Covid patients.

This is cause for celebration and sigh of relief as this new variant could have been so much worse.

We’re lucky that, while incredibly contagious, Omicron is far less lethal than previous variants – or at least it is if you’re fully immunized, with a booster.

A new study by Imperial College London suggests the vaccine's efficacy against Omicron symptoms is between 55 and 80 percent.  And while it's still possible to get infected if you're fully vaccinated, it will be less serious.  A man gets vaccinated in Stockton on Tees

A new study by Imperial College London suggests the vaccine’s efficacy against Omicron symptoms is between 55 and 80 percent. And while it’s still possible to get infected if you’re fully vaccinated, it will be less serious. A man gets vaccinated in Stockton on Tees

The picture is different if you have not been vaccinated. According to recent studies in the US and Switzerland, if you are not vaccinated and get Covid, you are at least 60 times more likely to get sick and die than if you were stung three times.

Vaccinated people are also much less likely to experience symptoms of long-term Covid, such as loss of taste and smell, or prolonged periods of fatigue, research shows.

Another reason to rejoice – if you’ve already had Covid, your chances of reinfection drop dramatically once you’ve had the booster.

A new study by Imperial College London suggests the vaccine’s efficacy against Omicron symptoms is between 55 and 80 percent. And while it’s still possible to get infected if you’re fully vaccinated, it will be less serious.

Quite a few of my friends who have had Omicron, despite being stung three times, say that this time it was really no worse than a cold. Richard, a teacher, told me that the last time he got Covid, he lay there for ten days with ‘taste and smell blown, lethargy and terrible headache’, but this time he had a runny nose, sneezing and a slightly sore throat. He’s almost ashamed to be stuck at home.

In the UK we are fortunate that most people are happy that they have been vaccinated and that our vaccine program has been rolled out so efficiently. In the US, where vaccination rates are much lower, and where so many people are overweight, with high blood pressure and high blood sugar levels, there is not only a tsunami of infections caused by Omicron, but also record hospital admissions.

Death rates in the U.S. currently average about 2,300 people a day, and by 2020, before we had the vaccine, so many Americans died that life expectancy was at a record drop, by more than two years.

There have been many false dawns in our long and deadly battle with Covid-19, but I am confident we are finally coming out

There have been many false dawns in our long and deadly battle with Covid-19, but I am confident we are finally coming out

There have been many false dawns in our long and deadly battle with Covid-19, but I am confident we are finally coming out

In the UK, the decline in life expectancy was half that, one year (to 78 years for men and 82 years for women), but it is still the biggest drop since World War II.

Therefore, despite all the good news, there is a cloud on the horizon – some people, such as those being treated for cancer or who have immune problems, are still vulnerable to Covid.

And yet, despite all the evidence that vaccines are safe and effective, there are still many people who have chosen not to use them, including tens of thousands of NHS frontline workers who have until next Wednesday to get their first shot, otherwise they risk losing their jobs. I strongly believe that NHS frontline staff should be vaccinated, to protect their patients, if not themselves. A good friend of mine’s father recently died after contracting Covid while in hospital being treated for heart failure – and while I can’t prove it, there’s a good chance he got it from an unvaccinated patient or staff member.

You would get pretty angry if you or someone you love were to catch a contagious disease, such as hepatitis, from an unvaccinated doctor.

But that happened earlier in the days before primary care physicians were required to get a hepatitis B shot. I remember in the 1990s a London surgeon being jailed for lying about his hepatitis status.

The judge told the surgeon that he had done “something terrible” by putting his own interests above those of his patients.

But the few people I know who are anti-vaccine seem reluctant to change their mind even when they get sick (which most of them have) and I’m afraid it could get really ugly.

On a more cheerful note, while the emergence of new variants is not only possible, but very likely, there are plenty of labs around the world working on so-called universal vaccines, designed to protect us from future threats.

Researchers from the University of Cambridge last month began safety trials of a vaccine booster that targets not only the spike protein, but other parts of the virus vital to its life cycle, meaning it’s unlikely to it will be able to evade our immune system. defense by altering that bit of his anatomy.

Trypanophobes (people who are afraid of needles) will also be happy to learn that this particular vaccine is delivered by air blast, into the skin, and there is no needle in sight.

All in all, I’m quietly confident about the future – but in the meantime, while the Covid numbers remain high, I will continue to wear a mask in crowded, public places and avoid handshakes.

The best time to exercise is…

I am often asked what the best time of the day is to exercise. The quick answer is: ‘Whenever you can pass.’

A less flexible answer is: “It depends on what you want to achieve.” Are you mainly looking for fat burning, or do you want to improve your metabolic health (i.e. your blood sugar level)?

A study published in the International Journal of Obesity in 2019 found that a group of volunteers who exercised primarily in the morning (between 7am and 11:59am) lost more weight than those who exercised later in the day (between 3pm and 7pm). despite minimal differences in the amount of effort they put in.

The researchers suggested that one of the reasons for the additional weight loss is that the people who exercise in the morning burn more calories during the day than those who exercise in the afternoon. But before you leave your afternoon workout, there are benefits to getting active later.

In another study, published in 2020, researchers from the Maastricht University Medical Center in the Netherlands found that middle-aged men with elevated blood sugar levels who exercised in the afternoon (3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.) had the most benefit in terms of their blood sugar control. and insulin sensitivity, compared to those who exercised in the morning (8am to 10am).

So why do you get these different effects at different times of the day? No one really knows, but it’s almost certainly connected to the rhythm of your biological clock. Whatever the explanation, if you have the time, try to do a little of both.

Poison That Can Relieve Pain

Chronic pain affects about a third and a half of all UK adults, and strong painkillers such as opioids can have drawbacks.

Still, would you be happy to be injected with a drug derived from a bacterial toxin so deadly that it has been used as a biological weapon? Still, this could be on the map, following recent studies showing that a toxin produced by bacteria that cause anthrax — a nasty disease — can target pain-sensitive fibers, offering hope for a new form of pain reliever.

There is, of course, nothing new about developing drugs from poisonous insects. Botulinum toxin (or Botox) is the most toxic substance known to man, yet people pay a lot to have it injected.

Then there’s captopril, used for high blood pressure, which is derived from snake venom; and exenatide, a drug used to treat type 2 diabetes, based on chemicals in the saliva of the Gila monster, a large lizard.

Harvard Medical School researchers have shown that injecting the anthrax-causing toxin into mice blocks pain signals — and because it specifically targets nerves that cause pain, they should lead to fewer side effects than regular pain relievers.

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