(16) comments Back to story

Kathy Thomas

I appreciate UTMB’s reasoned, common sense approach to this issue.

Bailey Jones

[thumbup]

Ray Taft

UTMB designated six locations to evaluate people who think they might be suffering from coronavirus infection. They are meant to decrease exposure to the virus. But,they will not have tests available to quickly diagnose infections.

How ineffective is that. A person walks in to get tested, but no one will know the results before they leave. And their next stop could be a crowded store or maybe a shopping mall.

The lab on the medical branch campus, is developing a diagnostic test, but it’s not available yet. So why doesn’t UTMB stop wasting time and money. UTMB open your testing locations when you can actually test people.

Meanwhile the rest of us need to avoid UTMB’s feeble attempt to do something. Go see your own doctor if you think you’re infected, then return home and self-isolate yourself at home.

Kenneth Diestler

Just to balance this out a bit--it is like going from zero to 1,000 mph in seconds. A month or two ago there was no reason, no need to test for Corona and now there is a worldwide need for hundreds of thousands (or more) tests. It is logical the available tests go to the hot spots first and, fortunately, we are not one of them---yet.

Ray Taft

Then UTMB shouldn’t do anything until they actually can do something. They’re wasting time and money otherwise.

Jim Forsythe

If a person thinks that they may have the coronavirus, they do not want you to come into the clinics until you have called first. At that time they will outline what to do. They do not want you to get other people sick. This is not a waste of money, but being proactive by getting ahead of this in our area.

The University of Texas Medical Branch on Friday offered the following advice to people who have appointments scheduled at its clinics and asked those who fit certain criteria to call the clinic ahead of an appointment if you:

Develop a fever and symptoms of respiratory illness, such as cough or difficulty breathing;

• Have been in close contact with a person known to have the coronavirus disease; or

• Have recently traveled to an area with active coronavirus cases.

The UTMB Access Center can be reached at 800-917-8906 or at 409-772-222.

Robert Waggoner

"Don't travel if you're at risk, wash your hands, sneeze into your elbow/arm, don't use a mask". Now UTMB has designated hospitals that will be used to test for the virus. Who with no virus problems wants to go to a hospital that has designated as a testing facility. Shouldn't those suspecting they may have potentially been exposed or even suspect they have the virus call one of these facilities first and get instructions on what they should do to be tested first? Did the GCDN ask any of these questions at the UTMB presentation? Why weren't any of these concerns addresses on the front page of the paper or when will they?

Jim Forsythe

"Don't travel if you're at risk, wash your hands, sneeze into your elbow/arm, don't use a mask". Now UTMB has designated hospitals that will be used to test for the virus. Who with no virus problems wants to go to a hospital that has designated as a testing facility." That's the reason for the call before you come, so you can get instruction so others are not exposed. This is why they have designated facilities, so they can handle this correctly.

"Shouldn't those suspecting they may have potentially been exposed or even suspect they have the virus call one of these facilities first and get instructions on what they should do to be tested first?" This is listed in the story on the left side panels. This is the information for contacting the UTMB Access Center, 800-917-8906 or at 409-772-222.

Wayne D Holt

"At the same time officials outlined plans in the event of an epidemic, they stressed ways for people to easily protect themselves from being infected or infecting others. Wash your hands frequently. Stay home if you’re sick. Get a flu shot."

The paragraph above doesn't make sense, at least to me. There isn't a flu shot available for Covid-19 as this seems to allude to. The flu shot suggested here is for other more common strains of flu. Some reading this may think there is a flu shot available to prevent Covid-19 infection; that is not the case, at least not yet.

Bailey Jones

Getting a flu shot serves two purposes - it keeps you from getting the flu, and it keeps you from believing that your flu is COVID and using up testing services.

Wayne D Holt

Far be it from me to take exception with you, Bailey, but... : )

Flu shots won't do what you cite above, at least to the extent that we can rely on them in any rigorously consistent way.

**it keeps you from getting the flu** The shot you take has to be effective against the prevalent strain, which means the vaccine manufacturers correctly predicted what to produce a year ahead of time. That has not been the case in many flu seasons. And it is not uncommon for people to have mild side effects like muscle aches and feeling under the weather that mimic flu itself. I can't recall where I read this so take it as that but some data suggested in any given flu season, the shot actually prevented less than 5 percent of overall infections in the general population. People have died from the flu after taking that season's vaccine; it wasn't from the vaccine, it was that they were unprotected from the prevalent strain.

**it keeps you from believing that your flu is COVID and using up testing services.** Again, this would seem like a very helpful follow-on effect but is it? Setting aside that the flu shot you took may or may not have prevented a more benign strain of flu, as a hypothetical case if you DO have the Covid-19 virus, are asymptomatic but are shedding viral particulates through contact or aerosol (sneezing/coughing), taking the flu shot and not developing the flu would lead you to believe you are safe to be around other people for both shedding Covid-19 and for developing the familiar flu strain, which is not the case.

I only point this out to highlight the difficulty we have in combating this or any other pandemic strain with similar infection rates and lethality, but that doesn't present quickly or even consistently. From what I've read on this, it is most effectively fought by people voluntarily limiting close contact with other people for the time being, whether presenting symptoms or not. There is some evidence it is beginning to burn itself out in the areas where it began, which means we will see a spike here but may be able to contain and wait it out.

BTW if anyone is still buying the "bat soup in a seafood market" story, it would be edifying to dig deeper and see the connections between the Chinese researcher leading the study of this virus and weaponizing it. I think the evidence this was an engineered virus is difficult to ignore. Before we go vilifying the Chinese, here's a spoiler: the original virus sample appears to have been acquired from Ft. Detrick, Maryland.

Bailey Jones

Deep state Never-Trumpers no doubt. I wonder how the world created pandemics before the army started making them?

Wayne D Holt

Bailey, just to burnish my credibility on this element of the story: Beginning in 2014, Dr. Shi Zhengli was the recipient of a number of US Government grants as well as grants from the National Basic Research program of China, the Chinese Academy of Science, the National Natural Science Foundation of China, and from the Strategic Priority Research Program of Chinese Academy of Sciences, to assist in funding research into coronaviruses. This doctor was one of the lead researchers on more lethal coronavirus strains transmission and in a paper published in 2015 on her work, she wrote: " Using the SARS-CoV reverse genetics system2, we generated and characterized a chimeric virus expressing the spike of bat coronavirus SHC014 in a mouse-adapted SARS-CoV backbone. The results indicate that group 2b viruses encoding the SHC014 spike in a wild-type backbone can efficiently use multiple orthologs of the SARS receptor human angiotensin converting enzyme II (ACE2), replicate efficiently in primary human airway cells and achieve in vitro titers equivalent to epidemic strains of SARS-CoV. Additionally, in vivo experiments demonstrate replication of the chimeric virus in mouse lung with notable pathogenesis. Evaluation of available SARS-based immune-therapeutic and prophylactic modalities revealed poor efficacy; both monoclonal antibody and vaccine approaches failed to neutralize and protect from infection with CoVs using the novel spike protein.”

In other words, they were experimenting with making the virus more impervious to effective vaccine control, an alteration that is called gain-of-function. Sadly, the function is to make the virus more dangerous to humans. In a footnote to that paper, it states, “Cells were originally obtained from Fort Detrick.”

Dr. Zhi represents the Key Laboratory of Special Pathogens and Biosafety, Wuhan Institute of Virology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Wuhan, China. You know, the same place where all that bat soup was served.

Bailey Jones

There's zero evidence to support the idea that the COVID-19 virus (SARS-CoV-2) was created in a lab, and positive evidence to the contrary in the comments of Prof. Richard H. Ebright, the laboratory director at the Waksman Institute of Microbiology and a professor of chemistry and chemical biology at Rutgers University, who stated "Based on the genome sequence and properties of the virus, there is no basis to suspect the virus was engineered".

But Prof. Ebright also acknowledges that it's possible that a natural virus, under study, escaped by infecting someone in the lab. Dr. Zhengli's herself stated that the SARS-CoV-2 was a direct descendant of a wild strain that was held in her lab.

Wayne D Holt

**Dr. Zhengli's herself stated that the SARS-CoV-2 was a direct descendant of a wild strain that was held in her lab**....which they then engineered. “Using the SARS-CoV reverse genetics system2, we generated and characterized a chimeric virus expressing the spike of bat coronavirus SHC014 in a mouse-adapted SARS-CoV backbone."

They generated a coronavirus with gain-of-function that was not naturally occuring. That generated (engineered) virus strain was resistant to vaccines that would normally affect this family of coronavirus.

I am going to trust the words of one of the few specialists who was working on this coronavirus in 2014-2015, along with virologists from Bellinzona Institute of Microbiology, Zurich, Switzerland and Harvard Medical School. If they published that they engineered the precursor strain to Covid-19, I am comfortable that is accurate.

Bailey Jones

Show me where they said they "engineered the precursor strain to Covid-19" (SARS-CoV-2) and I'll shut up. What I've seen says that SARS-CoV-2 is a natural descendant of a type of naturally occurring virus, a sample of which was collected from bat droppings in a cave in the Yunnan province.

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