Wahkiakum case load hits eight; vaccine development discussed
October 15, 2020
There are now eight confirmed cases of covid-19 in Wahkiakum County, with 611 tests conducted so far. Pacific County has two more cases for a total of 107.
The two new cases include one male between the ages of 10-20 linked to a previously reported positive case, and another male, between 50-60 years old, linked to out of county travel. Of those 107 cases, 20 are considered active.
Cowlitz County is up to 739 confirmed cases, with 163 considered active. Across the river, Clatsop County is reporting 233 positive cases, with 12 currently active. There have been 233 cases in Columbia County, with 15 considered infectious.
Worldwide, cases are spiking again according to the World Health Organization, said Wahkiakum County Health and Human Services Director Chris Bischoff.
“Things are still not bueno for the planet,” he added.
The eighth case in Wahkiakum County, reported on Monday, is active, and the person does have some symptoms, Bischoff said, but they are mild. The person is quarantining at home.
How treatments come about
All start in a pre-clinical phase, which may be a petri dish, or test tubes, and then up to more complicated test subjects like mice, rats, or monkeys which have a much closer biological system to humans, Bischoff explained.
“Pre-clinical is where a lot of things die,” he said. “Saccharine has the ability to encourage cancer growth. One of the original grievances against that test was that they essentially had overdosed their tests with saccharine in the lab and they had given thousands times more than a human would consume to these much smaller animals, and it encouraged cancer growth. It was really a poor design.”
Later on, he said, they went back and did more appropriate testing that confirmed that saccharine does have an affect on cancer growth.
“Pre-clinical is all the stuff that happens before you give it to a human, because we don’t want to kill you while we’re trying to cure you,” Bischoff said. “You’ll hear that some drug does great, it totally knocked out the coronavirus in our bench top test. Well yeah, some of those are given 10,000 times what a human can stand, in a petri dish. Sure it created a toxic environment and knocked out the virus. It will also kill you.”
Phase 1 follows pre-clinical. It usually starts with a handful of people, just to make sure a drug isn’t toxic, or doesn’t have any obvious side effects that cause more problems than it fixes.
Phase 2 usually includes more than 100 people and less than 1,000, according to Bischoff. They are looking for effects that don’t show up in small numbers.
Phase 3 involves many thousands of people, he said. Several of the vaccines that are closest to passing are using tests of 20,000-30,000 people.
“That is where you are looking for any possible negative outcome,” Bischoff said. “I think the reason that Phase 3 for these vaccines is so much larger than normal is that a) they have a lot of people to work with and b) we are moving a little faster, we want to expand that test, to catch any possible negative repercussions from any of these vaccines or treatments.”
Bischoff believes that something that has gone through these phases can generally be considered safe.
“Often people label this as needless bureaucracy or red tape,” he added. “I promise you it is not. If you have had medical treatment in the past, this is why you made it through your medical treatment.”
Treatments used on President Trump
Bischoff gave a brief overview of some of the treatments used on President Trump.
“Remdesivir is an antiviral that was approved under emergency rules, which means that it’s phasing was done a little quicker,” Bischoff said. “It is designed to directly attack the virus. Remdesivir still is shown to be helpful, but not that helpful. There are a lot of people who don’t feel like long term that it’s a real good answer for anything. It will not keep you from getting covid.”
Dexamethasone, a corticosteroid, was specifically used for a pneumonia type treatment for awhile. In covid use, they have found this one to be effective. It stood out in all the tests. This is generally not given until there are pretty decent lung issues going on, Bischoff said.
Regeneron is a monoclonal antibody treatment. It is a cocktail of a few dozen antibodies derived from the plasma of someone who survived covid-19, Bischoff said.
“This was pulled a little bit out of the phases,” he added. “This is one where if I was very bad off I would say, go ahead, what would it hurt? So that one is a little concerning. There aren’t clear studies that this is very effective.”
He also talked about Vitamin D, zinc, aspirin, melatonin and more.
Whether Trump requested these treatments or it was decided upon by his doctors is unclear, Bischoff pointed out.
“Consult your primary physician before you start any of these things,” Bischoff advised. “None of these things have been shown to keep you from getting covid-19.”
“We are not canceling Halloween,” Bischoff said. “Do Halloween, just do it safely. You need to follow the Safe Start rules, so we shouldn’t be having large group things. It would be best to do something small at home. If people want to go out and trick or treat, that’s fine, just wear a mask, not a plastic Halloween mask, a fabric mask. If you can work it into your costume that would be better.”
He also advised staying in family groups, and otherwise keeping one's distance from others.