COVID-19 Updates
The Wall Street Journal on January 10, 2021, said, "Israel has conducted the fastest Covid-19
vaccination campaign in the world, inoculating about 20% of its population in only three weeks."
Israel—with roughly nine million people—plans to inoculate the majority of its population by March.

The Straits Times, January 09, 2021 (US Time), reported that South African coronavirus variant
was detected in reinfection case in Brazil. Researchers said reinfection with this mutation of the
virus is a first, but other cases of reinfection in Brazil and the South African variant had also
previously been detected. The evolution of the coronavirus has raised concern that certain
mutations could allow the virus to evade immunity from prior infections or vaccines. There are also
reports that people infected with the new variant may have more of the virus in their noses and
throats than those infected with earlier versions. We must adhere to precautions like social
distancing, mask-wearing, hand hygiene and improved ventilation. There are some nutritional
supplements such as
propolis, are suggested for reducing the risk of COVID 19, but more evidence
are needed.January 6, 2021, The Straits Times reported EU regulator approves Moderna vaccine
as fears grow over coronavirus variants. The Moderna vaccine is administered twice 28 days apart.
The approval is important, because it is uncertain if the vaccine is effective to the coronavirus
variants detected in Britain.

January 1, 2021, The New York Times has just updated that 32 countries have found the more
contagious virus variant first seen in England. The variant, B.1.1.7., may lead to portend more
infections and more hospitalizations.  It is suggested that people infected with the new variant may
have more of the virus in their noses and throats than those infected with previous versions..Anyway,
we do need to adhere to precautions like social distancing, mask-wearing, hand hygiene and
improved ventilation.

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SARS-CoV-2 causes coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19). COVID-19 is characterized
by dry cough, fever, fatigue, myalgia, and dyspnea, and further headache, sore throat, rhinorrhea,
and gastrointestinal disorders. (3)
However, the symptoms may linger for up to six months.
(NBC News, January 8, 2021.)


Here are the three key symptoms that you must know: (1) a new continuous cough, (2) a high
temperature and (3) a loss of, or change in, your normal sense of taste or smell (anosmia)

Now my question is, in addition to those precautions that I have just mentioned, are
there any preventive measures for reducing the risk of COVID-19?

First, I would sum up a scientific review article written by Saeed Akhtar and co-workers, published
on 15 July 2020, Nutrition Reviews, nuaa063: They consider that micro-nutrient supplementation to
augment the immune system is a viable approach to both prevent and alleviate the severity of the
infection.

Deficiencies of micro-nutrients, particularly vitamins A, B complex, C, and D, zinc, iron, and
selenium, are common among  COVID-19 patients. These nutrients may work together to help
immune cells function appropriately. Folate supports innate immunity and increases the production
of NK cells. Iron regulates the production of cytokines and improves phagocytosis. Zinc is an anti-
oxidant, and helps maintain skin and mucosal cell membrane integrity. Copper aids neutrophil
phagocytosis, and increases IL-2 production, and selenium helps selenium-dependent enzymes
to resist oxidant production, and supports NK cells and leukocytes to function properly. They made
further discussion on these micro-nutrients and concluded that providing vitamins A, D, E, C, B6,
and B12 and iron, zinc, selenium, and omega-3 PUFAs to malnourished older adults may help
prevent or treat adverse clinical outcomes of COVID-19.

Below are some recent updates (01/04/2021)


VITAMIN C

It was observed that vitamin C levels in serum and leukocytes were depleted during the acute
COVID-19 stages, probably because of increased metabolic demands. Thus, high-dose vitamin
C supplement may help to normalise both serum and leukocytes vitamin C levels. Further, vitamin
C has multiple beneficial effects such as antiviral, anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory and
immunomodulatory activities. Thus, scientists suggest that vitamin C may be helpful. (4)

VITAMIN D

Nurshad Ali at Shahjalal University of Science and Technology, reviewed relevant studies. Several
studies demonstrated that vitamin D may reduce the risk of acute viral respiratory tract infections
and pneumonia, a correlation between vitamin D status and COVID-19 severity and mortality, but, some
other studies showed that the correlation of vitamin D with COVID-19 deaths is not significant. Though
he can't draw a solid conclusion, we must make sure that we are not at risk of vitamin D deficiency.(1)

PROPOLIS

A group of researchers from India and Japan revealed that Ashwagandha and honeybee propolis
contain bioactive agents such as withanolides (from Ashwagandha) and caffeic acid phenethyl ester
(from a mixture of honeybee propolis and fungal resin) that interact with a highly conserved protein,
Mpro, of SARS-CoV-2. (Int J Antimicrob Agents. 2020 Aug; 56(2): 106054.)

Scientists from Brazil have an interesting view - SARS-CoV-2 entry into host cells is through a viral spike
protein interaction with cellular angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) and serine protease
TMPRSS2. This mechanism involves PAK1 over- expression.
Propolis components have inhibitory
effects on the ACE2, TMPRSS2 and PAK1 signaling pathways. Thus, they think, taking of propolis
may offer health benefits to those at risk of COVID-19. (2)

PROBIOTICS

The unique role of probiotics includes modulating the gut microbe and asserting gut homeostasis
and production of interferon, this may be an antiviral mechanism. (3)

HERBAL MEDICINE FOR CORONAVIRUS DISEASE

Scientists from China reported that herbal formulas made of Liquoric Root, Baical Skullcap Root,
Pinellia Rhizome, Forsythia Fruit, and Bitter Apricot Seed extracts may have some health benefits
for those suffered from COVID-19. Their argument is based on the observation of clinical
parameters such as lung CT, clinical cure rate, length of hospital stay, total score of clinical
symptoms, fever reduction time etc., after the use of the herbal formulas. (5)

NOTE: More studies are needed to support all ideas above.

A few words about the Vaccines: (Extracted from The Straits Times, January 9, 2021)

The vaccines of Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna are based on messenger RNA (mRNA) technology.
This involves injecting the coronavirus' genetic material, not the atttenuated virus, into the human body
to stimulate an immune response. Vaccines based on mRNA technology are safer and quicker to
develop. By the way, authorities of certain countries conduct a simultaneous real-time review of the
data available to date, instead of waiting for all the data to be gathered before they review it. This
speeds up the approval process.

Severe allergic reactions such as anaphylaxis may occur after the vaccination. But mostly, it happens
within 30 minutes after the injection. Pregnant women, immunocompromised individuals and those
with a history of severe allergic reactions should discuss with their doctors to see if they are okay to
take the vaccination.

There were reports that about six people died during clinical trials of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.
But 4 of them four had the placebo.

References
(1)  J Infect Public Health. 2020 Oct;13(10):1373-1380
(2)  Biomed Pharmacother, 2020 Nov;131:110622.
(3)  Appl Microbiol Biotechnol. 2020 Oct;104(19):8089-8104
(4)  Pharmacol Rep, 2020 Dec;72(6):1517-1528.
(5)  Pharmacol Res 2020 Oct;160:105056. doi: 10.1016
(6) https://www.gov.uk January 10, 2021