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”.

Malaria parasite lures mosquitoes to human odour

All mosquitoes are attracted to human body odour, but the malaria parasite could be making the insects better at sniffing us out
Mosquitoes carrying the malaria parasite are more attracted to human body odour than uninfected insects, a study suggests.

Researchers found that infected insects were three times more likely to be lured towards a human scent.

They believe that the deadly parasites are seizing control of their biting hosts and boosting their sense of smell…

To carry out the study, the researchers infected malaria mosquitoes (Anopheles gambiae) with the most deadly form of parasite, Plasmodium falciparum.

They placed about 100 of the infected insects into a container, along with some nylon stockings that had been previously worn by volunteers for 20 hours…”It is a very effective way of collecting body odour… the odour can remain attractive for months,” explained Dr James Logan.

The scientists repeated the experiment with uninfected insects.

They found that mosquitoes carrying the deadly parasite were three times more likely to be attracted to the smelly stockings.

The scientists believe this is because the tiny parasitic organisms are manipulating their hosts’ sense of smell…Dr Logan said: “We think it is giving them a heightened sense of smell. We are hypothesising there is an alteration somewhere in their olfactory system that allows them to find us quicker.”

By making humans an easier target, the parasite is more likely to be passed into the blood stream – ensuring its survival and continuing the spread of the deadly disease.

The researchers will now begin a three-year project, funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council to learn more about how the parasites are doing this.

With a finite quantity of funding available, it’s worth focusing on a disease like malaria that kills and maims people by the thousands. Yes, there are many other ailments, deadly ailments hampering life for all on this planet of ours. It would be great if policymakers and pundits in charge of national treasuries considered life on Earth a higher priority than death and destruction. Until that changes, we do what we can with what we can afford.

Police in Colombia are hard at work training bomb-sniffing rats

At a Colombian National Police base in the outskirts of Bogota, the nation’s capital, a new recruit is being trained.

This new recruit is unlike any other. It stands on four legs, has white hair all over its body and weighs slightly less than a pound. Its name is Rattus Norvegicus — but it’s more commonly known as a lab rat.

During a recent training session, trainers set the white rat on a patch of grass where they had hidden an explosive device underground. It took the rat less than a minute to find it. The rodent was showered with praise. Its trainers also gave it its favorite reward, a treat.

Though safer than a decade ago, Colombia is a country where landmines and car bombs are still a threat. Earlier this month, six people were killed by a car bomb targeting a police station in the town of Villa Rica in the southern province of El Cauca. The day before the February 2 bombing, nine people were killed and 70 were injured by another explosion in the neighboring province of Narino…

In the past, Colombian police used bomb-sniffing dogs; but the dogs’ weight would often trigger the explosives. That’s not a problem for lab rats that weigh slightly less than a pound.

And according to the trainers, their sense of smell is just as good as a dog’s…

Ramirez says that the only disadvantage he can think of about using rats is their short life span.

“These animals live only three to four years, which is a relatively short period of time from a human perspective. On the other hand, they’re very prolific. They reproduce themselves exponentially in a very short time,” Ramirez said.

So far, the rats have been trained to detect seven different kinds of explosives including ammonium nitrate and fuel oil, gunpowder and TNT…

Mendez also says the rats are much more cost-effective than their canine counterparts. “With the money it takes to feed a dog per day, you can feed seven rats for seven days,” Mendez said.

The money-savings alone is enough roll this project along. Nothing makes a bean-counter bureaucrat happier than saving a whole lot of 9’s. Having obedient rats instead of lovable dogs would be a plus, as well.