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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Dengue fever antibodies might contribute to Thailand’s low Covid-19 count

Caitlin Ashworth

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PHOTO: Flickr

Antibodies from dengue fever might raise immunity against Covid-19, according to study done in Brazil. It suggests a correlation between the mosquito transmitted illness and the coronavirus, citing lower Covid-19 cases in areas with past dengue outbreaks, like south east Asia. Thai doctor Manoon Leechawengwongs says this might be why Thailand has significantly less Covid-19 cases than other countries around the world.

Since the start of the outbreak, many scientists have been confused by south east Asia’s generally low infection rate and posited various theories about some local “immunity”.

Thailand has more than 100,000 dengue patients every year, he says, adding that many locals take the BCG vaccine for tuberculosis to prevent dengue. There have been 3,545 Covid-19 cases in Thailand with 59 deaths and 3,369 recoveries.

Duke University professor Miguel Nicolelis led the study and recently spoke to Reuters reporters about his findings. He says the study first focused on the spread of Covid-19 in Brazil and they came across the correlation between dengue and the coronavirus by accident. The study says areas in Brazil with high numbers of dengue infections had a comparatively low number Covid-19 cases while areas with low numbers of dengue cases had a high number of Covid-19 cases.

“This striking finding raises the intriguing possibility of an immunological cross-reactivity between dengue’s Flavivirus serotypes and SARS-CoV-2 … If proven correct, this hypothesis could mean that dengue infection or immunization with an efficacious and safe dengue vaccine could produce some level of immunological protection (against the coronavirus).”

Miguel adds past studies found that those with dengue antibodies can falsely test positive for Covid-19.

“This indicates that there is an immunological interaction between two viruses that nobody could have expected, because the two viruses are from completely different families.”

The study was posted on MedRxiv, but has not yet been peer reviewed. Manoon warns that Thai people should still abide by coronavirus prevention measures to prevent a possible second wave.

Click HERE to read the study on how dengue fever may have influenced the spread of Covid-19 in Brazil.

SOURCES: Reuters | Nation Thailand |Worldometer

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18 Comments

18 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Frank Leboeuf

    Monday, September 28, 2020 at 3:56 pm

    Would chikungunya count as well? Caught it Indonesia (Bali), and my father caught it a year later in Phuket.

  2. Avatar

    Diego

    Monday, September 28, 2020 at 3:59 pm

    Yes, you know what else contributes to Thailand’s low Covid-19 count? Not testing!

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      Monday, September 28, 2020 at 7:03 pm

      Wrong, 100%.

      Thailand conducts few Covid-19 specific tests in comparison to some countries, but has widespread temperature screening which is a reliable indicator as is the low number of recorded deaths from Covid-19 and the markedly low increase in overall deaths – all verifiable and comparable.

      Credit where credit’s due, Thailand and the sensible attitude of the Thais in general is why the count andcthe death rate are so commendably low – just as the reverse applies in the West.

      • Avatar

        Whiro

        Monday, September 28, 2020 at 9:28 pm

        widespread temperature screening ??

        I haven’t seen a single 7 eleven (Thai fave store) that does temp screening in Chiang Mai . . .

        • Avatar

          James Pate

          Tuesday, September 29, 2020 at 5:52 am

          7-11s in Bangkok are quite strict about it.

          • Avatar

            Martin

            Tuesday, September 29, 2020 at 9:54 am

            Same in Phuket, can’t believe Chiang Mai doesn’t

        • Avatar

          Issan John

          Tuesday, September 29, 2020 at 11:08 am

          I’m more than surprised about the apparent lack of testing in Chiang Mai, at 7-11 or anywhere else.

          I live near a small town in Loei and both 7-11’s checked temperatures for maybe six months, until a month ago, as did the local market in the town which was cordoned off to allow only one way in / out (the market in the village was closed for about three months), as did the bank and the bus station.

          In Loei city Big ‘C, Tesco/Lotus, Makro, HomePro and the banks have been checking everyone for months and they still are although 7-11’s seem to have stopped their checks.

          Nobody objects, and everyone tries to be sensible and many / most wear face masks to protect others.

          In the West …..

      • Avatar

        Diego

        Tuesday, September 29, 2020 at 3:10 am

        What a joke. Temperature screening = testing? Thailand only tests people arriving to the country. And Thai people test positive when travel abroad.

        • Avatar

          Issan John

          Tuesday, September 29, 2020 at 11:35 am

          “Yes” – temperature screening is the simplest initial check for Covid-19, as the WHO confirm.

          Not a “joke”, just a fact.

          … and “no”, Thailand doesn’t “only tests people arriving to the country” – that is totally untrue. It also tests those showing symptoms, as well as others depending on the circumstances – the ‘DJ’ checked in prison, who tested positive, is an obvious example.

          … and “Thai people test positive when travel abroad” may well be true, but the numbers are minimal and Thailand is generally recognised as a “low risk” country – few Western countries are, other than NZ and Aus.

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      Monday, September 28, 2020 at 7:31 pm

      I’m a little dubious about the conclusion jumped to based on little more than guesswork and possible coincidence.

      Comparatively few of the population have had dengue fever / have antibodies – at 100,000 cases a year that’s a maximum of 10% of the population, possibly no more than 5% since dengue fever antibodies only give immunity to the particular strain of dengue fever caught not general immunity.

      If there was any cross immunity, therefore, it could only apply to that 10% (max) of the population so wouldn’t account for the figures being considerably better than 10% lower than other countries.

      That’s basic schoolboy maths.

      I’m also surprised the professor who led the study suggested that “immunization with an efficacious and safe dengue vaccine could produce some level of immunological protection (against the coronavirus)” since there is no such vaccine – it doesn’t exist.

      If there is any correlation between the two, then given the priority in finding a vaccine and cure for Covid-19 rather than one for dengue fever it would seem more likely that an “efficacious and safe” Covid-19 vaccine could provide some protection against dengue fever rather than the other way round.

    • Avatar

      Martin

      Tuesday, September 29, 2020 at 9:57 am

      Well if you don’t feel safe here then LEAVE

      • Avatar

        Issan John

        Tuesday, September 29, 2020 at 11:39 am

        No idea why you’d suggest that, since I’m clearly saying that I feel far safer here than I would in the West and that the sensible attitude of the Thais is the reason why.

  3. Avatar

    John

    Monday, September 28, 2020 at 4:55 pm

    Do some critical journalism for once. Statistacically it’s simply not possible that there is almost no Covid-19 in Thailand. Dengue antibodies? Yes right, that’s why there is hardly any Covid in Brasil.

  4. Avatar

    Alex

    Monday, September 28, 2020 at 11:58 pm

    It’s all a joke! You idiots need to wake up! Pandemic my ass! Morons!

  5. Avatar

    Ashley

    Monday, September 28, 2020 at 11:58 pm

    Interesting. The low levels of COVID in Thailand are surprising given that it was the first country to record a case outside China and there was a huge volume of flights between Wuhan and Thailand in January leading up to the Chinese New year holiday. Prof Peter Daszak has also speculated that there could be some immunity in SE Asian countries to COVID as the virus almost certainly originated in horseshoe bats, whose eco systems span the southern China/SE Asian region, and that more than one million people are infected with (mostly harmless) novel bat coronaviruses every year in these regions/countries.

    It’s an intriguing but speculative theory that I don’t find totally convincing; more research is needed.

  6. Avatar

    James Pate

    Tuesday, September 29, 2020 at 5:53 am

    It is well noted that this study is not peer reviewed yet. However, I do find it interesting.

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      Tuesday, September 29, 2020 at 11:22 am

      “Interesting” yes, agreed, but potentially quite dangerous.

      There’s no effective vaccine for dengue, only dengvax which is only recommended for those who’ve already had dengue fever.

      There’s nothing definitive to show any link to any supposed immunity – it could just as easily apply to those wearing sarongs, working in rice fields or dancing the ram-wong. There’s simply nothing in the study to show cause and effect beyond pure conjecture.

  7. Avatar

    Issan John

    Tuesday, September 29, 2020 at 11:44 am

    I’d suggest the only “morons” are those who think a million confirmed deaths, with the number of deaths currently doubling every ten days in some countries such as the UK, is a “joke” rather than a pandemic.

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Caitlin Ashworth is a writer from the United States who has lived in Thailand since 2018. She graduated from the University of South Florida St. Petersburg with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and media studies in 2016. She was a reporter for the Daily Hampshire Gazette In Massachusetts. She also interned at the Richmond Times-Dispatch in Virginia and Sarasota Herald-Tribune in Florida.

Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Illegal border crossings bringing in new Covid-19 infections

Neill Fronde

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PHOTO: Covid-19 infected border hoppers cross borders like this one betwen Malaysia and Thailand (via Wikimedia)

Authorities are worried about illegal border crossings into Thailand bringing in the Coronavirus after 5 recent Covid-19 infections from such crossings. Bypassing all health and security checkpoints along the border, 5 Thai nationals were identified today as being positive for Covid-19 after they snuck into the country, according to the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration.

Authorities nabbed 2 after border crossings from Malaysia illegally on April 28 and May 3rd, while another snuck across the Burmese border into Tak on May 2. The last 2 came from Cambodia on Thursday across the Sa Kaeo border. All 5 illegal border crossers are now in state hospitals for Covid-19 treatment.

According to CCSA data in the first four months of 2021 a total of 15,378 people were arrested by Thai authorities while sneaking across borders. Even after security forces increased patrolling along the borders, people managed to sneak in from Myanmar, Malaysia, Laos, and Cambodia. 6,700 of those who crossed the border were Burmese citizens, while another 1,700 of them were Thai nationals.

With nearly 400 lives lost to Covid-19 and over 83,000 people having been infected in the pandemic, the CCSA declared that Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha and National Security Council Secretary-General Natthapol Nakpanich agree that these illegal border crossers without Covid-19 screening are a serious problem.

Many Thai people work in Malaysia and as the pandemic drags on they are sneaking across the border, desperate to make it home to their family. Another recent case found illegal Burmese border hoppers in a taxi en route to Hat Yai after they crossed into Thailand from the Malaysian border. They were trying to travel incognito across Thailand in order to cross the border again back into their home country of Myanmar.

The dilemma is even worse at the Burmese border as the often violent protests following the February 1 military coup has been pushing much of the country into poverty, and creating refugees who are flocking to the border in hopes of crossing over to safety. Many are seeking to escape the conflict and find work in Thailand.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

9 student nurses experience side effects from Sinovac vaccine

Neill Fronde

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PHOTO: Side effects were felt by 9 nursing students after receiving the Sinovac vaccine. (via Jernej Furman / Flickr)

After receiving the Sinovac vaccine, 9 student nurses at Thammasat University have complained of side effect according to the Facebook page of the Student Organization of Thammasat University. After 88 student nurses received the Chinese-made vaccine on April 23 and May 5, 2 experienced minor side effects of a little pain in the arm they were vaccinated in, while 7 felt substantial reactions including chest pain, muscle pain, dizziness, fatigue, breathing problems, numbness, and facial tics.

One case of severe side effects was a female nursing student with an underlying allergy who felt fatigued immediately after receiving the jab. she felt better an hour later, but was placed under observation. 2 days later she briefly felt that her legs and hands were numb but soon felt better. Later that evening, symptoms strengthened, with eye and facial spasms, dizziness, fatigue, and weakness in her hands.

She visited a doctor twice for the side effects and the first time was given sleeping pills and vitamin B, but the second time after a blood test, doctors concluded that the symptoms were unrelated to the Sinovac vaccine. She had been previously prescribed Clonazepam, and that prescription was changed to Pyridostigmine.

The remaining more severe side effect sufferers were as follows:

  1. One male nursing student found he had difficulty breathing and dizziness for 3 days after receiving his jab.
  1. A female nursing student reported that just 30 minutes after receiving the injection she felt shortness of breath and the next day had some numbness in her body.
  1. 14 hours after receiving the jab, a female nursing student said that she felt side effects of fatigued and had trouble breathing and had to use pillows to help her breathing difficulties.
  1. Another female student felt muscle pain and dizziness the next day after receiving the vaccine.
  1. A female student ended up receiving Vitamin B and Amitriptyline from a doctor for her side effects. She reported to initially feel something in her arm and hand where she was injected, and then numbness in her left leg and in her fingertips on both hands.
  1. For the 3 days following her inoculation, the last female nursing student had side effects of chest pains and shortness of breath.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

 

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Testing increased in Singapore after unlinked Covid-19 cases

Neill Fronde

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PHOTO: Staff at Jewel Mall and both terminals of Singapore's Changi Airport will eb tested for Covid-19. (via Wikimedia)

Singapore, where there has been over 61,000 Covid-19 infections and 31 deaths, is increasing testing to find sources for recent unlinked cases. Over the past few weeks, new cases of Covid-19 have been cropping up without any apparent connection to known Coronavirus infections.

The Health Ministry of Singapore said yesterday that a junior college student and 3 staff members at Changi Airport all were identified as infected with Covid-19 with no known connection to any other cases. Thousands of tests will now be given to try to connect the dots and find other unidentified infections that may link these cases.

Every student, faculty, staff member and visitor to Victoria Junior College will be tested for Covid-19, as well as all the staff at both of Changi Airport’s terminals and the Jewel shopping mall. The testing for the junior college will encompass 2,200 people receiving swab testing, and over 100 people will be quarantined after being in close contact with the Covid-19 infected student. The details were confirmed by the Ministry of Education. The total number of people tested or isolated in the Singapore airport outbreak of unlinked infections has not yet been confirmed.

Singapore had been seeing positive trends in their fight against the Covid-19 pandemic, but a few weeks ago, things began to change. In the last 2 weeks, about 10 unlinked infections have surfaced each week in Singapore without any apparent connection to known Coronavirus cases, which creates a troublesome question of how many undetected cases are floating around the small country. New outbreaks have been cropping up and the dreaded Indian variant was found inside Singapore. After talks of a travel bubble, Singapore established a quarantine for travellers from Thailand.

Yesterday health authorities responded to these new clusters and mysterious unlinked infections by imposing new safety measures and tightening social distancing protocols in Singapore. Officials are hoping to regain control of Covid-19 spreading before it worsens to a point that they will have to reinstate the harsh lockdown rules put in place last year during the initial wave of Covid-19 in the world.

To learn about the current Covid-19 situation in ASEAN countries and South Asia, click here for The Thaiger’s roundup.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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