The Anonymous Widower

A Slight Problem With Covid-19 Vaccination

I had my first AZ vaccine five weeks ago. I have had a slight allergic reaction around the injection spot, as I did with a pneumococcal injection a few months ago.

I am coeliac on a long term gluten-free diet, which means my immune system is probably very strong. Peer-reviewed research at Nottingham University has shown that coeliacs on this diet, do have a 25 % less chance of getting cancer.

I’m no medic, but do sponsor cancer research, and like many I suspect, I am very familiar with how the AZ vaccine uses viral-vector techniques. I suspect my immune system could be reacting to the carrier.

I suspect, we’ll see a few problems like this and some other more serious problems, but I’m fairly sure they can be solved. I might be better with an mRNA vaccine.

February 26, 2021 Posted by | Health | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Covid-19: World’s First Human Trials Given Green Light In UK

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on the BBC.

This is the first two paragraphs.

Healthy, young volunteers will be infected with coronavirus to test vaccines and treatments in the world’s first Covid-19 “human challenge” study, which will take place in the UK.

The study, which has received ethics approval, will start in the next few weeks and recruit 90 people aged 18-30.

I am 73, but I wish I was in the age range.

I am coeliac and on a long-term gluten-free diet.

For purely selfish reasons, I have been investigating how people like me are faring in the pandemic.

Circumstantial evidence from WHO and government data, personal experiences and a peer-reviewed paper from the University of Padua in Italy certainly indicate, that we don’t suffer worse than the average. But we might be doing much better!

I would certainly like to find out the truth. So if I were younger, I would certainly sign up.

But it would surely be interesting if a handful of the volunteers were coeliacs on a long-term gluten-free diet.

 

February 17, 2021 Posted by | Health | , , | 2 Comments

The Recovery Trial And Coeliac Disease

The Recovery Trial appears to have been a success, with another drug announced to have positive benefits in fighting Covid-19 today.

As a coeliac on a long-term gluten-free diet like up to one-in-100 or even 1-in-50, in the UK, I wonder what they have found out about my susceptibility to Covid-19 and how my disease would affect my treatment!

I just typed “coeliac” into the Recovery Trial and I found nothing.

Using Google directly, I didn’t get any matches either.

So I suspect that they know nothing about how coeliacs are affected by Covid-19.

Since 1997, after I was diagnosed at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, I’ve been on a strict long-term gluten-free diet, my health has improved dramatically from what it was for the previous fifty years.

My only major health issue, since 1997, has been a serious stroke in 2010, from which I have made an almost full recovery.

But one cardiologist has told me, that the stroke could have been caused by fifty years of unhealthy eating, that damaged my heart muscle to cause atrial fibrillation.

I have only found one serious peer-reviewed study on coeliac disease and Covid-19 on the Internet.

This paper on the US National Library of Medicine, is from the University of Padua in Italy.

The University followed a group of 138 patients with coeliac disease, who had been on a gluten-free diet for at least six years, through the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic in Padua.

This sentence, sums up the study.

In this analysis we report a real life “snapshot” of a cohort of CeD patients during the SARS-CoV-2 outbreak in Italy, all followed in one tertiary centre in a red area of Northern Italy. Our data show, in accordance with Emmi et al., the absolute absence of COVID-19 diagnosis in our population, although 18 subjects experienced flu-like symptoms with only one having undergone naso-pharyngeal swab.

It says that no test subject caught Covid-19, in an admittedly smallish number of patients.

But it reinforces my call for more research into whether if you are a diagnosed coeliac on a long-term gluten-free diet, you have an immune system, that gives you a degree of protection from the Covids.

How Many Patients In The Recovery Trial Are Coeliac?

The Wikipedia entry for The Recovery Trial says this about the numbers of patients.

The trial began in March 2020 and has an estimated duration through June 2021. As of December 2020, the trial had enrolled more than 20,000 COVID-19 participants admitted to hospitals in the UK.

A figure of 1-in-100 is accepted, as an at least figure of the number of coeliacs in the UK population. Some doctors rate it as high as 1-in-50.

So that should mean that somewhere between 200 and 400 of those on the trial were coeliac. But that figure would include those who were both diagnosed and undiagnosed.

I would love to have an answer to my question. But I suspect, that the data is not available.

Another Answer

There could of course be another answer – Diagnosed coeliacs on a long-term gluten-free diet don’t get the virus serious enough to go into hospital.

 

February 12, 2021 Posted by | Health | , , , | 2 Comments

Is This The Proof That Coeliacs On A Gluten-Free Diet Don’t Get The Covids?

I took this picture in Marks and Spencer’s food store on Finsbury Pavement this morning,

I know Easter is coming, but it did seem to me that they had over-ordered the gluten-free hot cross buns.

But have their gluten-free sales held up extremely well during the pandemic?

Are their large numbers of gluten-free customers, still well enough to be buying the good things in life?

Certainly, throughout the pandemic, there’s never been a shortage of gluten-free scones!

Or it could be a simple case of a computer saying “Let them eat loadsa buns!” in the City of London!

February 2, 2021 Posted by | Health | , , , , | 5 Comments

Should Coeliacs On A Long-Term Gluten-Free Diet Have The Pfizer Or AstraZeneca Vaccine?

This is an interesting question.

I believe that coeliacs on a long-term gluten-free diet have a strong immune system and this is responsible for the group, to which I belong, having a 25 % less risk of suffering from cancer, according to Joe West at Nottingham University.

This strong immune system may react to and attack a two-dose viral-vector vaccine like the AstraZeneca, so would I be better off with the Pfizer?

I wrote about why this could happen in Coronavirus: Why Combining The Oxford Vaccine With Russia’s Sputnik V Vaccine Could Make It More Effective.

This is an extract from that post.

A Possible Problem With Viral-Vector Vaccines

This is a paragraph from the article on the Conversation, which talks of a problem with viral-vector vaccines.

When a person is given a viral-vector vaccine, as well as generating an immune response against the coronavirus’s spike protein, the immune system will also mount a response against the viral vector itself. This immune response may then destroy some of the booster dose when it is subsequently delivered, before it can have an effect. This has long been recognised as a problem.

It looks like a case of shoot the messenger to me.

The Russian solution is to use different viral-vectors in the two doses.

Conclusion

As I believe, I already have a degree of natural protection from my diagnosed coeliac disease and long-term gluten-free diet and the resulting strong immune system, I think on balance, I’d personally choose the Pfizer vaccine.

But the choice of vaccine will probably not be down to me!

 

January 28, 2021 Posted by | Health | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Two More Life-Saving Covid Drugs Discovered

The title of this post, is the same as this article on the BBC.

With all the reporting of the shenanigans going on with Trump in the United States, this important story seems to have been buried in the news.

This is the first two paragraph of the BBC articles.

Two more life-saving drugs have been found that can cut deaths by a quarter in patients who are sickest with Covid.

The anti-inflammatory medications, given via a drip, save an extra life for every 12 treated, say researchers who have carried out a trial in NHS intensive care units.

The drugs are tocilizumab and sarilumab, which appear to be readily available.

So what was that sore-loser Trump doing?

Certainly nothing to fight the most dangerous pandemic to hit the world for a hundred years.

If he had got to grips with the pandemic in the United States, his name would have gone down in history for all the wrong reasons.

Instead, he’ll be remembered for two words beginning with I; idiot and infamy.

Is There A Link Between Tocilizumab And Coeliac Disease?

I always check new drugs proposed for the covids against coeliac disease, ever since I found that Dexamethazone could be used to treat coeliacs, who couldn’t stick to a gluten-free diet.

I found nothing for sarilumab, but I did find this article for tocilizumab (Actemra), which is entitled Will You Have Celiac Disease With Actemra?.

This is the summary.

Celiac disease is found among people who take Actemra, especially for people who are female, 50-59 old, have been taking the drug for 1 – 6 months.

The phase IV clinical study is created by eHealthMe based on reports of 55,370 people who have side effects when taking Actemra from the FDA, and is updated regularly.

Strange! Like the incorrect American spelling!

 

January 7, 2021 Posted by | Health, World | , , , , , | 5 Comments

My Advice To Coeliacs On A Gluten-Free Diet Concerning The Covids

As a coeliac, I have been worried about the Covids and researching the statistics for some months.

Who Are Likely To Be Coeliac?

In the next sub-sections, I look at various groups.

Ashkenazi Jews

I am coeliac because there is an unbroken genetic line to my great-great-great-grandfather; Robert, who was a Jewish tailor from Königsberg  in East Prussia. Census records in the UK, say that he arrived around 1800 and setup business in Bexley. Like many Jews from East Prussia, he had to leave, when he became eighteen, because he was male, Jewish and not one of the privileged families.

I know little of him, except from a brief chat from my father, whose own grandfather had met him as a child and remembered him, as a small elderly man, who didn’t speak any English.

I did get some more details of the Jewish community in East Prussia from a curator at the German Historical Museum in Berlin, and I don’t think she was proud at her countrymen’s treatment of the Jews before the Second World War. By the 1930s many had fled to the UK or the United States.

Wikipedia has a detailed History of the Jews in Königsberg.

In May this year at the height of the first wave of the pandemic, I wrote Jews In The UK And COVID-19, which is based on three articles in the Times of Israel.

This is an extract from my post.

I am also fairly sure, that my coeliac disease came from my Ashkenazi Jewish genes.

This second article on The Times of Israel is entitled Jewish Charity Warns Of Coeliac ‘Stigma’ As Half-A-Million Said Undiagnosed.

This is the introductory paragraph.

A Jewish charity says there is a “stigma” surrounding coeliac disease in the Jewish community, after a national charity warned that there were still half a million people in the UK who are undiagnosed.

I would assume that the half-a-million figure refers to all the population of the UK, as there are only about half that number of Jews in the UK.

Could coeliac stigma mean that there many older Jews, who are coeliac, have not been diagnosed and their poorer immune systems make them more vulnerable to COVID-19?

In the post, I also came to this conclusion.

I should say, that I’m no medic, but just a humble engineer, mathematician and statistician, who has nearly sixty years experience of analysing data.

That experience applied to coeliac disease and COVID-19, says that undiagnosed coeliac disease, is not helping our fight against COVID-19!

I stand by that statement today.

The Elderly

I suppose at seventy-three, I’m in this group too!

In April this year I wrote A Thought On Deaths Of The Elderly From Covid-19, where this was the conclusion.

Many of those 120,000 coeliacs will have been born before 1960 and have a high probably of not having been diagnosed. for the simple reason, that a childhood test for coeliac disease didn’t exist.

Will these undiagnosed coeliacs have a compromised immune system, that makes them  more susceptible to Covid-19?

It has been said, that a good immune system helps you fight Covid-19!

I heard today of an 85-year-old coeliac, who was diagnosed at forty and is bright as a button on a gluten-free diet. They have already had their jab. Excellent!

The Irish

As with the Ashkenazi Jews, the Irish have suffered bad living conditions and famine and they seem to have more than their fair share of coeliac disease.

Black People With Slaves As Ancestors

In the last thirty years or so, I have come across three or four West Africans with coeliac disease, including one, who was an excellent chef in a pub, near where I lived at the time. I also met an American vet online called DogtorJ, who wrote this paper on his web site, which is entitled Why Is The Plane Of Our Nation’s Health In A Death Spiral? He was referring to the United States, but a lot of the points he makes can equally apply to the UK and other nations.

In one section he talks about the historical atrocity of the slave trade from a medical perspective, where he says this.

I read in one source that approximately 6% of the slaves never made it to their destinations, many of whom died of dysentery. It suddenly dawned on me that they could have easily been the newest batch of gluten intolerants. These transplanted people had never eaten wheat-based foods in the past and yet here they were, under the worst possible conditions, having this new dietary challenge suddenly thrust upon them in the form of the white man’s bread.

DogtorJ’s reasoning applies to Afro-Americans, but it could surely apply to all slaves and their descendants, just as one coeliac ancestor passed me the disease.

People From The Indian Sub-Continent

I always thought that the Indian Sub-Continent was fairly free of coeliac disease, as Indian cuisine is rice-based and I’ve had many excellent gluten-free meals in Indian restaurants all over the UK.

But then I found this article on the Indian Journal Of Research Medicine.

I wrote about the article in Coeliac Disease: Can We Avert The Impending Epidemic In India?

I finished with these sentences.

What do I know? I’m just an engineer and a coeliac who has a good nose for problems!

But please someone! Research the connection between undiagnosed coeliac disease and COVID-19!

My son; George was an undiagnosed coeliac with a gluten-rich and smoky lifestyle. He died at just 37 from pancreatic cancer.

Did he have a poor immune system, which meant he couldn’t fight the cancer? One expert on cancer said, “Yes!”

Are people from the sub-continent suffering from the same problems, that slaves did several centuries ago?

Research From The University Of Padua

This paper on the US National Library of Medicine, which is from the University of Padua in Italy.

The University followed a group of 138 patients with coeliac disease, who had been on a gluten-free diet for at least six years, through the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic in Padua.

This sentence, sums up the study.

In this analysis we report a real life “snapshot” of a cohort of CeD patients during the SARS-CoV-2 outbreak in Italy, all followed in one tertiary centre in a red area of Northern Italy. Our data show, in accordance with Emmi et al., the absolute absence of COVID-19 diagnosis in our population, although 18 subjects experienced flu-like symptoms with only one having undergone naso-pharyngeal swab.

It says that no test subject caught Covid-19, in an admittedly smallish number of patients.

But it reinforces my call for more research into whether if you are a diagnosed coeliac on a long-term gluten-free diet, you have an immune system, that gives you a degree of protection from the Covids.

It should be remembered, that Joe West of Nottingham University has shown, that diagnosed coeliacs on a gluten-free diet have a 25% lower risk of cancer compared to the general population.

My Advice To Coeliacs On A Gluten-Free Diet Concerning The Covids

I shall be carrying on with my gluten-free diet, as the respected University of Padua found no problems in doing so!

A Small Piece Of Research

If you are on a gluten-free diet or you are a coeliac, you might like to fill in my poll, if you haven’t suffered from the Covids.

 

December 23, 2020 Posted by | Health | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Did I Have A Close Brush With Covid-19?

In January, this year, I wrote a post called Mule Trains Between Liverpool And Norwich, where I went between Liverpool and Sheffield on a train formed of  of several Class 153 trains.

I didn’t think of it, at the time, I wrote the post, but at Manchester Piccadilly station, the train filled up with a large number of Chinese students returning to University.

The students were happy and laughing, but you wouldn’t have complained about them, but there must have been twenty taking most of the available seats in my carriage. I shared a table with three!

At the time, Covid-19 had hardly started to invade the UK, with most cases started in March.

But, after hearing someone’s story on the radio yesterday, I wonder about the health of those students.

I certainly, didn’t catch the Covids after that train journey and haven’t had the virus since, to my knowledge.

But after reading the scientific paper from the University of Padua, that I wrote about in Risk of COVID-19 In Celiac Disease Patients, perhaps I was protected by a natural immunity provided by being a coeliac on a long-term gluten-free diet.

As my father said, I was born lucky!

 

December 22, 2020 Posted by | Food, Health, Transport | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Risk of COVID-19 In Celiac Disease Patients

The title of this post, is the same as that of this paper on the US National Library of Medicine, which is from the University of Padua in Italy.

This is an extract from the paper.

Among the 171 patients included in our registry and on gluten free diet from at least six months, we contacted 138 CeD subjects (80.7%), aged 41.3 years old (SD 14.9), 73.9% were females on a gluten-free diet from a mean of 6.6 years (SD 6.0). Two patients had a diagnosis of refractory celiac disease type one and one of refractory celiac disease type 2. Among them, none reported to have been diagnosed with COVID-19, whereas 19 CeD patients experienced flu-like symptoms with 1 of them having undergone a negative naso-pharyngeal swab.

This is another sentence, summing up the study.

In this analysis we report a real life “snapshot” of a cohort of CeD patients during the SARS-CoV-2 outbreak in Italy, all followed in one tertiary centre in a red area of Northern Italy. Our data show, in accordance with Emmi et al., the absolute absence of COVID-19 diagnosis in our population, although 18 subjects experienced flu-like symptoms with only one having undergone naso-pharyngeal swab.

That is very firm and the report finishes with this sentence.

We only evaluated patients on a gluten free diet, so far no data on the risk at the time of diagnosis can be extrapolated from this study. Long-term clinical and epidemiological studies in celiac disease will be of great utility in the field but these preliminary data seem to suggest that CeD patients are not at higher risk of COVID-19.

Note.

  1. SARS-CoV-2 causes Covid-19.
  2. All their patients were suffering from coeliac disease and were on a gluten-free diet for more than six months.

I’m no medic, but I’m a seventy-three-year-old man with coeliac disease on a gluten-free diet.

I shall be sticking to my diet, in addition to social distancing.

December 20, 2020 Posted by | Health | , , , , | 1 Comment

Why I’ll Delay Having The Coronavirus Vaccine

The vaccines are coming for the covids, but I won’t be having a jab, if one is offered to me, in the first round. I may not be offered one, as I am only 73 and in good health.

But there are many out there, who need the vaccine more than I do, who will be given lower priority than myself.

So I’ll wait!

I am also a diagnosed coeliac on a gluten-free diet and my statistical researches and news reports, show that communities and groups with high levels of undiagnosed coeliacs have suffered badly from the covids.

These communities and groups include.

  • Anybody born before 1960, as there was no test for coeliac disease in children before then.
  • Ashkenazi Jews. My coeliac genes come from an ancestor in this group.
  • Irish
  • Caribbean. West Africans have a tendency to coeliac disease and what better way to bring it out, than starve them on slave ships and feed them on only bread and water.

I have also found a research paper, that shows, that India could now experience a coeliac disease epidemic, caused by modern strains of wheat.  See Coeliac Disease: Can We Avert The Impending Epidemic In India?

Coeliacs on a gluten-free diet, are an interesting group, in that according to peer-reviewed research by Joe West of Nottingham University, they are 25 % less likely to suffer from cancer.

How can one disease protect you from another?

My coeliac disease was indicated by low-levels of B12, as gluten was damaging my gut and stopping it absorbing vital vitamins. By removing the gluten from my diet, my B12 levels returned to normal.

So it’s the diet that protects my health.

If you think, you are coeliac, don’t be put off by horror stores of multiple endoscopies and the difficulty of sticking to a gluten-free diet. I may have been one of the first individuals tested, by the current genetic method, which is now used by most GPs. A blood sample is sent off for a test and that is generally all that is done in most cases. I heard in 48 hours.

So why is it beneficial in the case of cancer?

It can only be, that with all those vitamins, coeliacs on a gluten-free diet have a very healthy immune system.

So does, this immune system, help protect coeliacs from the covids?

Until proven otherwise, my statistical research, thinks it does!

So I believe, that I can afford to wait.

Has Good Project Management Helped The UK Get The Vaccine Early?

Professor Van-Tam, this morning on BBC Breakfast, praised the planning of the drug companies and the various health bodies in charge of certification of the vaccines.

As someone, who was at the heart of the Project Management Revolution in the 1970s and 1980s, this cheers me.

Looking back, my biggest contribution to project management, was to prove that you didn’t need to use a large mainframe computer and software would work on a small desk-sized machine and ultimately on a personal computer, thus bringing project management to everyone.

December 3, 2020 Posted by | Computing, Food, Health | , , , , , | 1 Comment