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48 votes
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Does COVID-19 have a case fatality rate of 41%? Is this formula correct?

The definition of mortality rate that you've given does not match any practical definition I'm familiar with.* When people talk about the mortality rate of a disease, what they usually mean is the ...
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33 votes

Father gets chickenpox, but doesn't infect his two children. How is this possible?

If there was close contact, if the 90% rate is accurate, and if occurrence is independent in related individuals, then you would expect 0.10 * 0.10 = 1% of contacts with 2 potentially vulnerable ...
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20 votes

Is HIV the cause of AIDS?

To turn this question on its head, I'd like to propose a different question that the AIDS deniers haven't answered. If HIV were not the cause of AIDS, why would anti-retroviral therapy be so ...
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20 votes

Does COVID-19 have a case fatality rate of 41%? Is this formula correct?

The equation you use for mortality is only really useful in the very long term for a known disease, when most cases have resolved. It's not very informative in the short-term, when the vast majority ...
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20 votes
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Why do corticosteroids harm COVID-19 patients?

One of the primary purposes of corticosteroids is to suppress immune activity and inflammation: that's exactly why they are used in asthma. Of course the immune system has an actual job besides ...
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  • 11.9k
19 votes

Is HIV the cause of AIDS?

With respect to your peer-reviewed journal article, Frontiers isn't a particularly well-regarded journal series. AIDS denialism is alive and well, but there's a massive body of evidence pointing to ...
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  • 2,423
19 votes
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A cheap and easy inactivated vaccine for COVID-19

The only approved inhaled vaccine is the flu vaccine delivered intra-nasally. It uses a live attenuated virus. There are a whole list of people who should not receive it because it's a live virus, ...
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15 votes
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If a SARS-CoV-2 asymptomatic infected individual is exposed to a high viral load, could they develop COVID-19 disease?

What your government is proposing is a lot less than what was actually done in China. There, and perhaps that is still the case, large numbers of asymptomatic infected people were housed together in ...
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14 votes
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Father gets chickenpox, but doesn't infect his two children. How is this possible?

To add to @BryanKrause's answer re: rare events happen all the time, the children are not out of the woods yet. The mean incubation time for a primary VZV infection (the clinical syndrome known as ...
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  • 3,153
14 votes

Does COVID-19 have a case fatality rate of 41%? Is this formula correct?

I'd like to chime in with an explanation of what exactly is wrong with the calculation offered in the question, rather than just saying "it's a wrong formula". Understanding the "whys" of the fallacy ...
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12 votes
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What is the main way COVID-19 spreads?

The confusion exists because there are conflicting pronouncements from various authoritative sources but also conflicting pronouncements from the same authority. Covid-19 is a respiratory infection ...
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10 votes

2019 Novel Coronavirus (nCoV) lifetime outside an organism

Since it seems unlikely that these data are available already from the novel virus, I'll refer to other coronavirus strains associated with outbreaks, the SARS-CoV coronavirus associated with an ...
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9 votes

What happens to HIV once it completely destroys the immune system?

This is a very interesting question. It's also highly speculative, and vague (what does "a doctor... gives them any medicine necessary to protect them from other diseases that might be lurking in ...
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9 votes
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Can the HPV vaccine be effective if you are already infected?

The HPV vaccine is most effective when preventing you from initial infection. While common, it's possible you haven't been infected with HPV. Even if you are, there is some benefit to still being ...
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9 votes

What are the limits on the amount of pathogens that a body can be immune to at any given time?

Won't this (having a flu vaccine every year) put them in an uncharted territory as far as effects on the immune systems are concerned within a couple of decades? No You are exposed to and develop a ...
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  • 3,153
9 votes

Can someone have an allergic reaction to a virus?

The TH1/TH2 model of T-cell responsiveness can be summarized as TH1 being the "antiviral/antibacterial" immune response and TH2 is the "antiparasite" immune response against worms ...
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9 votes
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Has there been any medical studies as to whether drinking a 'Hot Toddy' can help to ward off or to help heal someone who has COVID-19?

To my knowledge no, nobody has specifically studied this in relation to COVID-19. I can't really prove the negative but I tried a few combinations of search terms in to PubMed and came up with nothing....
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8 votes
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STI vs STD vs Sexually Transmitted Virus

Short Answer HIV is a virus and when the HIV virus has invaded the body it becomes an infection (specifically an STI only if and when transmitted through sexual contact). Whilst the terms STI and ...
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  • 5,872
8 votes

Father gets chickenpox, but doesn't infect his two children. How is this possible?

Apart from not getting infected due to pure chance (as mentioned already) there is one highly probable explanation (explanation, not overall chance). People get, but don't show it: asymptomatic ...
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8 votes
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Will there ever be a universal vaccine for the common cold?

If I get infected once with the virus which causes a common cold, does that mean I will not get infected with the same strain of the virus ever in my lifetime? It depends on quirks of your immune ...
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8 votes

Why should/shouldn't one fear the long-term health effects of the Covid vaccines?

This general-audience article from Children's Hospital of Philadelphia gives a good overview of reasons to believe that long-term side effects are unlikely. To summarize its two main points: ...
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  • 611
7 votes

I have natural immunity to Hepatitis B. Do I pose risk to others?

The Hepatitis B core antibody test is positive for IgG but negative for IgM indicating that you had the hepatitis B infection a while ago. The negative hepatitis B surface antigen test means that they ...
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7 votes
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Does stopping fever hinder the process of killing bacteria via fever?

This is a great question, an area of active debate, and a personal interest of mine. I actually just did a presentation on this, so this answer will probably have more information in it than you need, ...
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  • 1,261
7 votes

In a viral infection, which symptoms are caused by the virus itself, and which symptoms are caused by the body fighting the virus?

To provide a brief answer, as I think a sufficient answer would be far beyond the scope of this site, the symptoms that are "generic" to the common colds are all caused by the body's response to a ...
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7 votes
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Can the Coronavirus be spread via public toilet seats?

The virus causing COVID-19 infects the respiratory tract. It is spread in droplets of moisture when an infected person sneezes, coughs, and exhales. These droplets can be inhaled directly and can also ...
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7 votes
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Is the washing hands in order to protect yourself from COVID-19 backed up by research?

Here's an article that I found helpful, to understand why washing hands with soap is so helpful, and how it helps (Pall Thordarson is a professor of chemistry at the University of New South Wales, ...
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7 votes
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Are betadine mouthwashes really effective against COVID-19?

Are betadine mouthwashes really effective against COVID-19? In vitro (test tubes/culture plates) studies do show that providone iodine does kill viruses similar to SARS-CoV-2 after sufficient ...
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6 votes

Can shingles on one part of my body spread to another?

The herpes virus responsible for chickenpox, Varicella zoster lays dormant in nerves after the chickenpox outbreak. Shingles (called herpes zoster) break out in the region affected by that nerve or ...
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6 votes
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Could genetically modified viruses cure genetic diseases?

Yes. Gene therapy is an active area of research; most gene therapy approaches that are studied use some sort of viral vector, those that don't are more the exception and it is unclear how several of ...
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