Viruses & Bacteria

As we go into areas we don’t normally venture such as caves and dense forests we will encounter reservoirs of disease that our systems have not experienced before. It’s likely that a lot of new diseases are from this form, taking to opportunity to infect new species in a similar way. SARS, MERS, Covid-19, Langya henipavirus and Mòjiāng viruses are of this type. The other form of access for these pathogens is in the food we eat. New and novel foods come with a risk, especially if they are from new and novel sources. Bush meat and Ebola are linked in this fashion. Many diseases seem to originate in bats, SARS, MERS, Covid-19, ebola, Marburg and Mòjiāng all linked to what seems an original reservoir in bats where they have evolved to be fairly immune from it. But creature including man venturing into those areas can carry the disease back with them, especially when those creatures are freely traded without adequate precautions in a ‘buy the animal, get the deadly virus free’ offer.

With these animals being traded all around the world and the very fast limited checking for disease systems throughout the world, the increase in traffic means that we are experiencing ever more and faster moving sets of infection. Trade must go on even it it wipes everybody out and there are no more people to trade. With every country reducing its restrictions of importing animals its only time before diseases that were wiped out, or do not occur in every country, fill the countryside with fatal risks. Its probably only a matter of time before things like rabies is common in the UK due to the now lax and unchecked restrictions. UK food restrictions of the past have also been watered down to just agree with EU paperwork, most of it now lacking any investigation, teeth, and little more than rubber stamping EU imports, most of the EU claiming higher, but having lower standards in practice. Many of the diseases that have plagued the UK have passed right through a number of EU territories, multiple EU borders and EU countries before arriving and their discovery in the UK, so it is not all bad.

Another form of access is via an intermediary species that does not normally encounter certain foods, such as feeding meat products to herbivorves whose systems are not accustomed to such things having evolved none of the protective measures to prevent it. BSE is of this form. Animals products are then consumed by humans, bypassing the normal means. Others just transfer when we keep large numbers of similar creatures in an area that are susceptible to transfers from wild roaming creatures such as birds. Bird flu is of this type. Keeping large numbers in close proximity to other large numbers of animals give many crossover chances. The diseases invariably take a different form of access to be transmitted than originally. Covid-19 was successful in escaping the systems to prevent such a thing from happening by the perfect storm of being infectious and dangerous enough but not so dangerous to cause immediate alarm and alerts. The outbreak being seen by the people involved at the start as an embarrassment to their system, rather than the serious risk that could have resulted in the system being lost completely by their actions. We can never be sure how many times such things have happened, with major disease outbreaks occurring about on average every 100 years.

As there weren’t the processes in place to stop them, similar things to Asian Flu, Hong Kong Flu, Bird Flu, BSE, SARS, MERS, Covid-19, Swine Flu, AID’s would have expanded to much larger areas and have been noticeable if they had happened. The fact that we have had 9 such events that were mostly stopped within the last 63 years, 5 within the past 20, so now a major event every 5 years, something in human nature and activity has probably promoted this. I’ve been following the covid virus for 129 weeks now. Originally, I thought that it would be very limited, but that changed about 127 weeks ago, when the numbers began to rise and we found out more about it. I still have the opinion I had right at the start in January 2020 that it was coming our way big time and we will have the effects for at least a decade, possibly two. Another way it could have appeared is by infecting a different creature, going up and down the scales like a piano affair, each time it transfers up and down requiring significant modification to work and re-infect. Requiring constant close proximity, this would cause a very large number of mutations just to make this possible, probably a lot more than the ones seen in Omicron, which has not really significantly changed from its previous variant. Because of the lack of real difference, I would think it unlikely and more likely the first scenario.

We are now into the 3rd year of the covid virus and I am still of the opinion that I had in January 2020 that we will have problems with it for at least a decade, possibly two, the current stage being nearer to the start of the outbreak, not the end, so must make plans as such. Multiple combination versions are now starting to appear with recorded cases of ‘deltacron’, a combination of omicron and delta variants, probably from people who have host both versions at the same time. There has always been evidence of such refinements, new variants emerging, not from a single change in one type, but multiple changes happening and ‘cross pollinating’ to produce that new ‘wildly different’ variant in a longer than normal infection term. A covid infection maybe not being just from one form, but always multiples of that form, only the dominant form in the body in any period being detected, and testing catered for. So in high concentration areas you might get omicron, but with BA.1 and BA.2 subtypes  3, XE, BA.4 & BA.5. This does not bode well for areas that have similar type diseases that still have infections of those. What an Omicron or deltacron infection would do with something like a parallel SARS or MERS is worrying. A type 4 or 5 crossover with MERS or SARS would really change the situation towards a civilisation killer. The biggest problem may be stealth variants that evade detection amongst the numbers. As the virus mutates it is less likely to cross with other variants from multiple infections, especially if one is much more infective than others. It will simply be out performed in terms of invasive activity, so the numbers of previous less infective forms will probably reduce drastically and become extinct. This happened with the original virus, then A, B, Delta and now with BA.2.75 This means that there should be a trend towards more infective but less effective forms, the very nature of being more infective meaning it adapts to a new host better and reduces its damaging overhead. This adaption makes it less compatible with forms that occurred before, so the chances for a combination with those is much less. But, long term infections or ones that are prolonged by other means, such as using anti-virals on extreme cases, and large numbers of re-infections, may allow for a much better chances at combinations, even with less compatible ones, and an occurrence of a more damaging form with a more infective form as in the case of Deltacron. Luckily deltacron was rendered less infective by the combination, but this can’t be guaranteed. It had a similar position to the original SARS and MERS in this respect, where they were less successful at evading controls, but Covid-19 did. If you take the numbers of different viruses that have come out, Covid-19 may just have been a statistical occurrence that it escaped controls, double the numbers possibly meaning twice the likelihood of this happening, us only hearing of or experiencing those that have managed this.

In countries where immune systems have been weakened in some way in large numbers through covid infection, re-infection and other prevalent disease, besides causing gradually higher mortality, they may foster this chance of increased longevity of infection and the chance for extra mutation production, the infective sphere or field being much larger and prone to breakout variants. Viruses are thought of in a straight line progression of an outbreak, but in a person will probably have a 3 dimensional relationship, so a simple lengthening of time of infection may produce a 3 power effect in mutational forms. An infection of 4 weeks producing an eight fold mutational chance of a 2 week infection. When multiplied by high numbers in a country comparisons may also give such an occurrence an eight fold infection number equivalence. So a country with 2 week occurrences compared to longer grumbling ones in an equal population, say with vaccinations or age having an effect, could have 8 times the chance of a new novel variant arising in the second country compared to the second.

Lack of vaccinations could allow for this extension of the progression of the disease, and when added to long term infections of other diseases in an area, could be a recipe for new problems and constant re-occurrences, or the increase of other opportunistic diseases that may take advantage of this constant ‘dampening’ of people’s immune systems. It’s probably no coincidence that other diseases have started to expand and appear when they haven’t before. It’s worrying that the new variants are finding their way back into systems that may still harbour other non-extinct variants.

Variant Mortality Unvaccinated Vaccinated Infectivity Virus Durability Re-infection Likelihood
Original 2.9% 0.5% 1 1 0.01%
Alpha 3% 0.5% 1.3 1 0.1%
Beta 2.2% 0.5% 1.3 1 0.1%
Delta 1.5% 0.5% 1.7 2 0.5%
Omicron BA.2.75 0.5% 0.26% 2.2 3 5%
Omicron BA.5 0.5% 0.26% 2.8 3.5 10%

All major successful new dominant variants seem to have a mutation in the D614G area that promotes its extra transmissability. The worry is of a previous version or associated virus that has smilar to the P681R or P681H mutation acquiring one of these changes.

The problem will come from multiple and continued infections. Where this happens there is an inherent weakness being generated in the people it affects, very likely showing a reduced resistance to other viruses and bacteria. Many diseases only become fatal when they weaken the body to an extent that the person develops pneumonia when bacteria that senses this weakness and give an opportunity for them to flourish. But before that, many diseases are easily combatted by the bodies immune system, a steadily weakening system reducing the resistance threshold for an infection to take place, so that a hard or moderately slow to transmit form of a disease gets an advantage, becoming easier to infect. This is why we are probably seeing such things as monkey pox, ebola and Marburg suddenly appearing and infecting more where they didn’t before, the bar being slightly lowered for them by covid.

What of other diseases that kill large numbers. Malaria has been the biggest killer of all time so far. In the past the climate was different, some people having mutations through evolution and living with the disease, and things like sickle cell anemia maybe originally being one way of humans bodies adapting to combat this. But as the climate changes, so does the chance of malaria becoming applicable to more northern climes. In Roman times malaria was well known from writings such as Cato the Elder, Celsus and present then, causing major problems in the populations of Tuscany. The word mal’aria ‘bad air,’ originates from this source. So there is a real risk with malaria, because of its sponsoring environment of still standing water and warmer climate, that it will move northwards again into those areas and possibly farther north, arriving in northern europe where a lot of standing water is still allowed and seen as ‘decorative.’ It will probably only be noticed and action plans to deal with it when it arrives and causes major problems, but by that time a coherent and organised plan may not be possible, governments trying to deal with other predictable and likely forthcoming consequences with lack of any advance preparations.

With CO2 rates still increasing and more thermal energy hitting the earth, the temperature rising unabated on average each decade, either the measures required are not having any effect whatsoever, so are pretty incompetent, futile, and inaffective, or more likely would never have had any effect, so all we can do is to try to put into plans to deal with it. The likelihood is that we have left a cool phase, the idea of turning into Venus being fanciful nonsense, but nothing is being done at the moment and there are no strategies for a continued rise. It may be like being in a burning forest, trying to scoop up water in your hands from a local stream and trying to douse the forest fire out, when fire breaks, digging trenches, and running away from the fire, waiting for a wind change is the best idea. At the moment the fire is behind us and the smoke is blowing in our direction, so the fire is headed this way.

How bad can it get in terms of heat? In the past temperate vegetation was located under the ice packs of Antarctica that currently is about and average of −30°C. To get to this it needs to rise by about 40°C. The temperature at the poles rise quicker than elsewhere, so an average world rise of maybe 20°C would be likely be on the cards. So, the UK may have a very hot summer temperature of maybe as much as 60°C, but with a normal range from 20-40°C.

This means that the tropical diseases that we normally find in places like Africa would move their locations slowly into this area, many of the animals migrating in this direction, so we may even find parrot populations in the UK in the future.

Generally, it looks like although Covid may appear as a lessening virus, the whole syndrome with the disease is gradually reducing the overall immune systems of people in the world, allowing for other viruses, such as monkey pox, respiratory syncytial virus and pneumococcal infections to take hold where they wouldn’t previously. Other diseases like ebola and marburg seem to be becoming more noticeable. The spread and extension of those diseases are either being reported more, but more likely to be expanding, as they seem to be occurring in places they haven’t before.

It’s also likely that the inter-species barriers that prevent a lot of zoonotic cross over viruses has also been affected and possibly the bar lowered for this, suggesting that covid may be just one of a number that may now come our way. The stress on the world systems is already great, and the chance for world systemic collapse greater due to recent military events.

From what I can tell, there is some indication that covid in its various forms has a slight statistical effect on the overall immunity in the body, infections and re-infections having an abrasive effect on it. It may be that this in some way is one of the contributory reasons for other infections such as monkey pox, pneumonia and the RSV virus to take hold and transfer where they previously wouldn’t. If this has happened in the past then there may be something of a similar sort behind sudden appearances and infections taking hold and rapidaly expanding at certain times in human history. First the weakening effect and then a more dangerous virus expanding in its wake. If this is the case then other disease that are currently not causing problems such as H1N1 and yersina pestis make suddenly expand and take hold in the world, where before natural immunities prevented or suppressed this.

We mustn’t underplay the lessening immediate mortality of something like new variants of covid, where the potential re-infection rate and heightened infectivity may cumulatively cause a similar level effect. With the provision of vaccines, the world is becoming somewhat blasé about Covid, allowing it to continue unhampered and deciding to just ‘live with the virus.’ Many governments are reducing reporting to alleviate effects on their economies. There is good chance that something more problematical will occur because of the numbers and the playing down of the effects, in the form of a highly infectious higher fatality version, thinking the problem is now solved and over, so in some ways it can be compared to smoking. The lack of uptake and provision of newer vaccines and boosters mean it’s likely to come back to haunt us even in the short term.