Thread: Two Strains?
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Old 03-22-2020, 04:28 AM
RivkahChaya's Avatar
RivkahChaya is offline
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Two Strains?


The "two-strain" theory.

I have read this theory of covic-19 in a couple of places that are very respectable, and since this is exactly the way smallpox worked, I don't think it's impossible.

The idea is that there are two major strains of Covid-19: one is pretty deadly, and one is very mild. Age and general health are still factors in whether you live or not, but another major factor is the strain you have. When you hear in the same day of a young person dying, and an elderly person living, they likely had different strains. IIRC, the death rate of variola major was 90%, but the death rate of variola minor was only about 20%. And since V. minor left people healthy enough to be up and about, V. minor spread more rapidly.

For a long time, the very similar disease vaccinia (cowpox) was used to inoculate against variola-- but one the difference was discovered, the inoculation was done with variola minor.

IANAD, but as I understand it, the smallpox vaccine worked by giving the recipient a smallpox infection of the skin, using an the mild strain. It would be fought off with little lasting effects other than the distinctive scar, because smallpox doesn't become systemic when it enters the skin, but we develop antibodies all the same.

If researchers can successfully isolate the minor strain, that may be 1/2 way toward developing a vaccine.
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