A study published by the Oxford University Press for the Infectious Diseases Society of America finds that human rhinovirus infection blocks SARS-CoV-2 replication within the respiratory tissue lining, presenting implications for COVID-19 epidemiology that lockdowns are likely to make infections worse.
The researchers found that human rhinovirus triggers an innate immune response that blocks SARS-CoV-2 replication within the human respiratory tissue lining. “Given the high prevalence of human rhinovirus, this interference effect might cause a population-wide reduction in the number of new COVID-19 infections,” they conclude.
Former Pfizer Vice President and Chief Science Officer Mike Yeadon responded to the study: “This fascinating manuscript shows that the common cold rhinovirus protects human airway lining cells from attack by SARS-COV-2. It does so by causing those cells to release an anti-viral substance called interferon.
“Isn’t that amazing!? Locking down would tend to reduce the easy spreading of this very common rhinovirus and paradoxically risk making COVID-19 worse, both in individuals as well as populations.”
Yeadon continued: “Interestingly, we already knew that SARS-COV-2 was extremely sensitive to interferon, because a UK biotech company called Synairgen showed last year a profoundly beneficial effect of their inhaled IFN product on COVID-19 patients.”
Regarding lockdowns, Yeadon has been outspoken: “Pro-lockdown folk appear to have a semi-religious belief that lockdowns MUST work, because this is a human contact transmitted infection and lockdown reduces the average number of contacts.
“I’ve been astonished by the number of people who uncritically accept this.”
He continued: “Of course, what matters is not the number of contacts, but the number of contacts which lead to INFECTION.
“Now, this pivots on density of infectious individuals. I don’t accept that transmission of infective levels of virus occurs from people without symptoms, not at any frequency with which we need to be concerned.”
Transmission is also far lower outside with massive air dilution than inside in still rebreathed air.
“Consider the phenotype of a person infected with virus, but who has no symptoms. Because symptoms are a consequence of either substantial virus pathology in lungs and elsewhere, or of the body’s response to invasion, it’s logical to expect INFECTIOUS people have much virus in their airways also have SYMPTOMS. Not saying 100% match, but in the vast majority of infectious individuals, they will feel unwell. They’re much less likely to be walking around and able to bump into susceptible people.
“In contrast, consider institutions. Hospitals and care homes are in contrast, with large numbers of people and patients especially and from time to time, residents, are there because they’re not only symptomatic, but ill, often seriously ill.”
Yeadon added: “In short, I believe the virus was never anywhere near as prevalent in the community as in institutions. And that’s why lockdown did little except to damage society and the economy. Lockdown did little to reduce INFECTIOUS contacts. Reduction in contacts which were most unlikely to lead to infection was an illogical step to have taken.
“In parallel to this logical argument, we have the empirical evidence that the bulk of infections were acquired in institutions and not random contacts in the community.
“This isn’t a new concept, either: Both SARS and MERS are considered largely as infectious diseases of INSTITUTIONS. Not the community.”
He concluded: “I hope I’ve acknowledged the logical approach outlined by those favoring lockdown and believing it MUST work, while providing a coherent and internally consistent explanation why it is in fact not true. My explanation tallies with the great bulk of international literature in this point, that indiscriminate lockdowns are not associated with lower mortality, either of deaths attributed to COVID-19, or all causes mortality. We must not make this mistake again.”