I believe that medicine’s potential is much more than the version we see in the world today. A doctor should be an educator with the goal of bringing patients to a place of deeper understanding of who they are in the world. To me, medicine is ultimately about self-empowerment through self-knowledge and growth.
One little question seems to be fitting after awhile if you watch the global developments:
The whole world is feeling a bit parched right about now.
Didn’t you hope we would be wrapping up this exercise by now?
Not yet, I guess. We have a slow but stready national uptick over the last month. Now the 7 day average is 71,000 new cases per day. The Berkshires are in the same range as last week with 219 cases over the last seven days. Globally there are areas of crisis and significant increases: Brazil and India stand out.
The big news we have been digesting is that the Johnson and Johnsonvaccine has joined the Astra Zeneca/Oxford vaccine as products under scrutiny and on pause for serious health harms.
Sometimes it feels like we as humans are being singled out and punished. There were times I felt that way in school. Here’s a picture from sophomore year.
Don’t feel sorry for me though.
Not a single person on the planet doesn’t feel challenged. I guarantee it.
Our challenges are a fact of our existence, and we need them.
More on this below.
Public Health experts worry about a ripple effect worldwide from the J&J and Astra-Zeneca pauses. They worry about access to medicines being delayed and worse when it comes to how this news is understood and received by the public.
“This is what I would call the perfect storm for misinformation,” said one official.
It’s Interesting to know J&J uses exactly the same technology as Astra-Zeneca:
This new technology was licensed for use in the human body in July 2020 when a version of it was approved for a newly developed Ebola vaccine. The treatment convinces the body to make the virus’ spike protein in the cells with the cell’s own ‘machinery’, just like the mRNA vaccines. But it does so through a different process than the mRNA vaccines.
The J&J process uses synthetic DNA. Its process is to take a living but attenuated adenovirus (common cold virus) and put synthetic DNA in it. The virus infects human cells, injects its DNA into the cell which migrates to the nucleus and is transcribed there to make…. (drumroll)… mRNA. The mRNA travels out of the nucleus to the cytoplasm where it gets read to make the spike proteins. These are incorporated into the cell wall as well as released into the general circulation. Circulating spike protein is the result. All that results from that, immune response (desired) and inflammation (undesired) is being scrutinized.
The J & J pause looks on the surface like a situation of 1-in-a-million fluke cases. It might turn out to be a bit bigger of a story. Reports are that more cases are being reviewed. It will be on pause for another week at least.Whether or not these cases are discovered to be the tip of an iceberg or isolated rarities and whether or not inflammatory side effects are discovered in the mRNA vaccines as well, I have a thought I want to share.
It’s my thought that we don’t need better vaccines. Even with a perfect vaccine (no such thing) we’d still have this:
Japan announced Tuesday a plan to dump over 1.2 million tons of stored contaminated wastewater from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant into the Pacific Ocean. (at least not right away, thankfully)
In an attempt to develop future medical interventions, researchers have created the first embryos with a mixture of human and monkey cells. (Science)
The National Academies said the United States must study technologies that would artificially cool the planet by reflecting away some sunlight, citing the lack of progress fighting global warming.
The world’s problems are unsettling and the solutions are unsettling.
We don’t need a better vaccine. That won’t really answer our problems.
What we really need is to work on a different level.
What do I mean exactly?
I’m talking about working on ourselves. We need a shift. We need to be the shift.
Step one: Adopt this thought: Obstacles are allowed and necessary.
If you find a path with no obstacles, it probably doesn’t lead anywhere.
Frank A. Clark
Conquering habitual grieving of obstacles will naturally lead you to grow your powers of equanimity.
And step two is to practice attributes, like equanimity, that put you in the position to find the solutions to the world’s problems:
A 2006 study explored the link between emotions and viral infections of the respiratory tract. Scientists evaluated the personality style of 193 healthy volunteers, then gave each a common respiratory virus. Subjects who displayed a positive personality style were less likely to develop viral symptoms than their less positive peers.
Let’s support our scientists and the movement engaging in regular inner work.
It’s like a splash of water on a hot day.
“To understand water is to understand the cosmos, the marvels of nature, and life itself.”