Loops of Infections

February 28th, 2023

Started in February 2020, the SAJO blog is providing a thread through the pandemic with up-to-date information to present pandemics and infectious diseases.

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Dear readers,

In Germany, now it is the time that mandatory donning of N95 masks in medical settings is ending. Thus, medical institutions are becoming sources of infection with respiratory pathogens. Responsibility lies with everybody now.

We are touting the donning of N95 face masks in critical situations, including institutions of public health such as hospitals, doctors’ offices, pharmacies, physical therapy, nursery homes for the elderly a.s.o., wherever sick people are gathering.

Think of the patients’ safety, those in a hospital bed, not able to wear a mask 24 hours a day for their own protection.

The Johns Hopkins University on a weekly basis is evaluating all the infection data that authorities receive from medical institutions. Germany is in 4th place, numbers of infection are still high, with an upward trend, again. The increase in infections is due to the “5th season” (i.e. carnival).

Recently, we have been asked repeatedly about people in our surrounding suffering from prolonged cold symptoms, for weeks to months in a row, and how this could be. In fact, we know numerous people with long term symptoms.

Well, there are several pathogens out there at the moment. These include RSV (respiratory syncytial virus), which is dangerous for toddlers and the elderly. Plus, we had a lot of influenza cases. We had warned of a strong wave, and we had appealed for seasonal influenza shots for protection.

Finally, there are several omicron variants that preferably infect the upper respiratory tract and hence do not trigger a significant immune response. In other words, an individual may be re-infected repeatedly by SARS-CoV-2 variants. The currently circulating variants rarely reach the lungs.  Real immunity is only triggered by a true and symptomatic infection or a vaccination. This is the current scientific knowledge. Thus, we continue to appeal for vaccinations.

Today, we know the immune protection will last 6 months at max, depending on the individual situation. We think the average will be around 4 months for a middle-aged person.

How can it be that people suffer from COVID-19 even after vaccination? Vaccination in most cases is protecting from severe or deadly disease, depending on the immune status achieved after vaccination, and on the variant contracted, and on possible preconditions. The vaccine does not protect from infection and from spreading the virus, and not from long-covid.

Don’t forget, winter air is dry air. This results in dry mucosa, which itself is leading to symptoms, and to a greater susceptibility to respiratory ailments.

Relief is achieved through air humidifiers, nasal sprays, and inhalation to treat the nasal mucosa. However, in order to protect from infections, only N95 masks will do the job. We want to repeat: We do not receive any payment for the information given in our blog.

Three years ago we were overwhelmed by the most awful pandemic caused by a virus that is passed by contact to people due to its being airborne. Many dead people were counted every day, and many are still dying of that virus today. You can’t believe that you may live as it used to be before the pandemic as if nothing had happened with no consequences for your health. Do you remember the awful pictures from China, from Bergamo or NYC? People get used to everything, even to the horror this virus brings. Get vaccinated and protect yourself by appropriate beaviour and the donning of N95 masks.

Our advice if you are suffering from a constant cold: Let your doctor check if it is an infection or an allergy. Stay at home in isolation to get well. And once you recovered, please don an N95 mask when entering a closed space. That way your body and immune system can recover, and you escape the constant loop of re-infections.

We wish you all the best, and a speedy recovery.

Yours, Joerg and Sabine

Dr. Sabine Breun and Dr. Joerg Baumann, both PhDs, virologists, immunologists, molecular biologists and founders of SAJO. Both are specialized in infectious diseases. Since the 90s, Dr. Baumann has been working on zoonoses and how pathogens overcome the species barrier. Since 2000, Dr. Breun works on the interaction of viruses with the immune system. Both work as team. SAJO enables new antivirals – antivirals of the next generation to fight pandemics.
During their scientific carreers, both performed scientific work for 5 years at the National Cancer Institute in a US elite program on competitive US scholarships.

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