Breakthrough infections?

Just mentioning probably/possible breakthrough infection(s). Fully vaccinated by March ’21…Old geezer; so, get to the head of a couple of lines, anyway. Only symptom recurred 3 times, now…each varied.

Sense of smell disappeared April/May. Came back with a rush June/July, way overpowering with familiar scents. None distorted. Just overpowering. And it didn’t feel like me overreacting to the return.

Now, starting a few days ago, everything smells exactly alike. An aroma like charred potato-skins thrown on a campfire! Damndest thing ever.

Wonder what’s next? Meanwhile, no fever, no usual common cold symptoms, etc. Just this 3rd round of distorted sense of smell. No accompanying nasal symptoms either.


p.s. Helen and I’ve discussed the 3rd shot and agree I probably should get it if offered.

Update 12 hours later: Back to sensing lots of smells…though still stronger than “normal”.

Scripps team wins race to synthesize wonder drug

In 1993 researchers discovered a chemical compound in a sponge off Palau, an island nation in the Pacific Ocean, that has shown anticancer, antibacterial, and antifungal pharmaceutical promise. But that wasn’t its greatest allure, at least not for chemists.

This compound, called Palau’amine, is so chemically complex that finding a way to produce it in the laboratory became the most hotly pursued synthetic chemistry goal in modern history. Groups around the globe dedicated millions to the challenge, but it is a team of scientists from The Scripps Research Institute that has finally completed the quest.

Anonymous reviewers of the team’s paper describing the achievement, which will be published as the cover article of an upcoming edition of the international journal Angewandte Chemie, called the work variously “a masterpiece,” “spectacular,” “a landmark,” and “a spectacular synthetic achievement including unprecedented and previously ‘unthinkable’ transformations…”

Given the difficulty of the task, the synthesis would have been impressive at any length. But, with 25 steps currently involved, it would be difficult to make substantial quantities of Palau’imine for commercial purposes. So the Baran team has already devised a scheme that could shave as many as ten steps from the overall synthesis process and hopes to ultimately provide substantial quantities of the compound to other researchers and commercial partners that will pursue Palau’amine’s pharmaceutical potential.

While Palau’amine had achieved a special and rare prominence as an apex challenge, it’s just one in a sea of other opportunities according to Phil Baran, PhD, all with important potential benefits of their own.

“In my opinion there are a lot of treasures out there like Palau’amine,” he says, “There are so many amazing challenges in chemical synthesis waiting to be solved.”

There are beaucoup scientists around the world like Dr. Baran at Scripps working to take basic research into directions unthought of just a few decades ago. Fortunately, they’re dedicated to scientific methods which ignore Talking Heads and ideologues who fear science as much as they hate political change.

Top 10 scientific breakthroughs of 2008

A feat of biological alchemy that offers scientists the hope of growing replacement organs from patients’ own skin cells has been named the scientific breakthrough of the year.

Cellular reprogramming allows scientists to rewind the developmental clock of adult cells to produce stem cells, which can then be grown into completely different tissues, such as neurons and beating heart cells.

The technique is already being used to gain unprecedented insights into debilitating and incurable diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, but ultimately scientists hope they will be able to treat patients by reprogramming their cells to make healthy replacement tissues and organs.

The discovery leads a top ten of major advances announced by the prestigious US journal Science.

Second place on the list of breakthroughs was awarded for the first direct observation of a planet beyond our own solar system. Scientists first confirmed that there were worlds orbiting other stars in the 1980s, though they did so indirectly. The majority of the more than 300 “extrasolar planets” now known were spotted by watching the tiny wobble in stars’ position as enormous, Jupiter-sized planets swung around them.

This year, scientists announced that they had seen shimmers of light from the planets themselves. They are just faint pinpricks of light in space, but they will give astronomers clues to what those distant planets are made of and how they formed.

The remaining eight breakthroughs are not ranked in any particular order but cover the breadth of science from the genetics of cancer and renewable sources of energy, to an unprecedented understanding of “good fat”, and a way of calculating the mass of the universe.

No cure yet for pigheadedness, morosite, bigotry and worst of all – “it was good enough for my dad!”