May 28 2021

Yesterday there was news from some German scientists claiming to have discovered why some of the Covid vaccines have caused blood clots associated with low platelet counts. This only applies to the more traditional vaccines and not the mRNA based vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna.

These traditional vaccines like the one from OAZ employ adenovirus vectors derived from the common cold viruses which are used to deliver vaccine material direct to the nucleus of a cell. The scientists suggest that some of the genetic instructions get misread potentially triggering blood clot disorders in a very small number of recipients.

Like OAZ, the new single dose vaccine from Johnson and Johnson also uses the same technology. The fears about this have caused Denmark, Norway, and Austria to stop using the OAZ vaccine altogether. Some other countries are only using it for older adults. In the UK it is not recommended to use this in those under 40 if another mRNA vaccine is available,

In the UK now the OAZ vaccine has been linked to 309 clotting cases and 56 deaths in 33 million shots. (as of 27th May.)Prof. Marschalek at Goethe University who led the study, believes that after entering the nucleus parts of the spike protein splice or split apart and create mutant versions which are then unable to bind to the cell membrane Once let loose in the body, they can trigger the clots. With the MRNA vaccine, he explained the genetic material of the spike protein is sent directly into the cell fluid and does not enter the nucleus.This study is not yet peer reviewed but it is well worth watching developments closely.

After the prolonged and sustained attacks on the Prime Minister and the Secretary of State for Health yesterday, there continue to be ramifications. Both remain in post, they seem to have the confidence of their party and of many from the public.

Lord Geidt reported to the Prime Minister that Matt Hancock had “acted honestly in making your declaration and diligently seeking advice,”. The PM added in a note that he agreed with Lord Geigh’ts view that “this event should in no way impugn your good character or ministerial record”. This all arose because Matt Hancock was unaware of his sister’s company, in which he held some shares, being involved in the bidding for contracts for PPE.

How many of you would be aware of your sister’s activity in bidding for a contract? I am sure I would not know. His mind would have been on many different things. It is to his credit that once aware he handled the issue perfectly correctly.

In another report today Boris Johnson was cleared of breaking the ministerial code in his management of the redecoration of No 10. He may have been unwise in the way it was done but it was of little significance,We have an elected Government with a very important job to do, probably greater than at any time since the last war. Thousands of lives are a stake. We must give them room to work without distraction by petty issues that were not perfectly managed because of pressure and perhaps fatigue.

I have been delighted to see praise being offered to Kate Bingham as the person who has coordinated the amazing roll out of vaccines.

With the Johnson and Johnson vaccine added to the approved list today , a further 20 million doses are on order. This vaccine, because only a single dose is required, will be useful where people are not likely to return for a second dose. It will also help to get the under 30s fully immunised more quickly. The side effect profile is excellent, and like the other vaccines, has few significant side effects. It is effective against all currently known variants.The Statistics for the last two days are causing alarm bells and concerns. The number of daily tests being done continues to hover around a million or so a day. The number of positive tests is consistently on the rise again, 3,542 yesterday and 4,180 today . This is a rise of 24 % in the last week. The national rate is 25.5%. The Hospital data is now also adversely affected although it is variable. there were 134 daily admissions reported compared 112 yesterday. In the last week 860 were in hospital whereas yesterday’s figure was 826. There were 120 on a ventilator, compared with 125 yesterday.

On both days there have been just 10 deaths. There were 58 deaths in the last week. But if we stay at 10 per day the weekly figure will rise to 70. These are small numbers,I interpret these figures as showing a considerable rise in the number of new cases in England , a high proportion are of the Indian Variant. So, a rise of 25% in a week is significant. It looks as though with new cases rising after 2 weeks it is beginning to affect the hospital data. We need more data to be sure but it looks as though there will be more admissions. It will take another 7-10 days to clarify what is happening. I suspect we are going to have to pause on our road map to recovery. Please do not make too many plans yet. The race against time to get everybody immunised continues, its good to see another vaccine available to assist. Please get yours now if you are eligible and have not bothered. Please take great care when out and about, wear your face masks and respect social distancing, don’t forget the basic hand washing and surface washing.

Please do not be complacent, this could still so easily all go wrong if a resistant mutation appears. Let us all keep one another’s morale up, give plenty of support and care to others and stay safe yourself.

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