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[00:00:01]

That pot Kenny show on Newstalk. covid-19 and flew covid anxiety covid-19 and the brain and a major EU collaborative consortium formed on top of that. All sorts of international news. I'm joined by Luca Neal, professor of biochemistry at Trinity College in Dublin.

[00:00:20]

Luke. Good morning. Good morning. How's it going? It's going very well now, I suppose.

[00:00:24]

The latest latest is Donald Trump's announcement. He kind of put pressure on the FDA and he wanted this convalescent plasma, so-called, to be available for use to treat people with covid-19. Is he right?

[00:00:38]

Well, he is, yeah. This is not too bad, actually, John. I mean, 70000 patients have had this already. And there's some benefits for definite. You see now still in development is one concern. We have there haven't been huge trials done yet, you know, so that's a slight caveat, I suppose, about this. But this convalescent plasma approach has been touted for a long time, even in other diseases. What you're doing is you're taking blood from someone who survived the virus and that blood is full of antibodies.

[00:01:02]

And then you make plasma that's called from the blood and you inject that into someone else. And then the antibodies are in their body and it mops up the virus. And there is evidence that it works a bit. But as I say, it's still a little bit experimental. So I think what he's done there is he's just trying to get the FDA to speed up. You've seen this. He's getting the dig into them a couple of times last week and saying you guys need to get your act together kind of thing.

[00:01:19]

So it's kind of part of that narrative, I guess.

[00:01:23]

Now, the question of the plasma itself, they take blood from people, a blood donation, if you like. I don't know what happens to it then. I mean, you might get other things in the blood of sick people.

[00:01:33]

That's the concern. The safety that works, by the way this works. But I mean, the antibodies are very effective at what you do. You're kind of concentrating them, getting loads of antibodies from someone's plasma because it goes through a few steps of purification. Then you're giving some of the shots of lots of antibody, which, you know, is from someone who's had the virus and eliminated the virus. So it's scientifically sound. You know, there's they've been doing this for 100 years, even with other diseases such as well known.

[00:01:56]

But you're right, though, the fear would be there's something else in the blood. It's tricky to do because you've got to get blood out of someone and then have a couple of steps of what we call a purification to get it ready for the patient. So it's not not trivial, but still, the protocol is pretty straightforward. The big question is, can you roll it out in sufficient numbers? You see, and that's another thing they're going to look at, I suppose.

[00:02:14]

But there is a basis to it. It's not like our previous champion stories. There's a scientific basis for this.

[00:02:20]

Yeah. And last week we were talking about Lilly, the company doing exactly this kind of thing as well.

[00:02:25]

Yeah, but you to have two options. Either you get antibodies from someone who's recovered or you can make an antibody in the lab and a single antibody can be made they call monoclonal. That's the other option. And it's a similar kind of thing. I guess the monoclonal one is highly pure and it's just a single antibody that you've made in excess. And that's the safety would be more confident in terms of safety for that one. But it's in the same kind of area, I guess.

[00:02:47]

Now, other news, the suggestion that teachers are spreading covid-19 rather than, you know, for people comes down with covid-19. It's more likely that an adult gave it to the students rather than the student got it from another student and the student is unlikely to pass it on to an adult. Where's that coming from?

[00:03:06]

Yeah, that was flagged up before. So staff will be in the community more potentially in having more contacts and then they'll bring the virus into a school. This has been known already. And in Germany, in fact, the outbreaks there were probably coming from staff and those staff are being blamed because it's just natural their day to day lives. And of course, teachers are now being told be very be extra careful in your complex because you might bring the virus into the school.

[00:03:27]

And they're in the UK. They're saying that two thirds of cases in schools came from staff and it was staff to staff transfer or staff to student transfer was maybe two thirds of the reason for a viral outbreak in a school. So, again, the flags up the importance of teachers being as careful as everybody else, I guess wish they would be anyway. You so but it's just just the fact of the matter is the teachers might be in the in the community more maybe in the staff room was flagged as a risk, because if teachers are all together in a staff room and it might spread in that staff rooms, again, caution is needed in terms of staff rooms as well.

[00:03:59]

So the point is that even when you you know, you've been sweating under your mask or whatever for an hour or two in the classroom, and then you go into the staff room and, oh, that and you whip off your mask. Don't that kind of thing.

[00:04:11]

Exactly. Yeah. So again, everybody, including the pupils, have to keep in mind, avoid contacts and observe all the usual guidelines outside the school. So what's happening is the teachers will be ringing it from the outside into the school, obviously, you see. So again, they just got to be alert to all these things.

[00:04:24]

Now, Sweden has claimed a fall in the country's infection rate is down to immunity. Now, remember the controversy. You know, Sweden say we want herd immunity. So we're going to kind of keep going about our business and then the death rate rose.

[00:04:38]

Yeah, and Sweden is the absolute fascination for us scientists because we're looking at it very closely. And as you said early on, the death rate was really high there. You can only compare to other Scandinavian countries, remember, because there's less variables because of so many complexities with this virus that there's no point to comparing Sweden, say, to Brazil, for instance, because there's too many differences. But comparing it to, say, Denmark, there was a much higher death rate.

[00:04:59]

And of course, Sweden was criticized for this and rightly so. We were all saying, what's going on here? There's too many deaths happening. They said we're playing the long game. And in fact, what's happening now is the death rate in Sweden is much lower overall and that the case rate as much lower, more importantly. So they're getting less cases now. Now, there's a variant I've got a Swedish postdoc in my lab, but who ever Pulcinella went back to Sweden to see her family.

[00:05:22]

And she's been saying Sweden got it right all through this period. I'm going to hang on a minute. You know, that death rate wasn't great, but but the view of immunologists would be there's a chance there's immunity in the population and they built up a little bit of immunity and therefore you're seeing less cases. That's one possibility. The second is they're just behaving themselves more. Sweden is a very different place to Ireland as we are culturally, you know.

[00:05:42]

So the Swedes are inclined to be more compliant with what they were being told to do. That could be another reason why the case rate is down, but certainly that they're doing better now in terms of number of cases. And the big question is why?

[00:05:53]

It's a fascinating area because the whole idea of, you know, allow the virus to harvest the week.

[00:06:01]

This was the whole idea.

[00:06:02]

So it sweeps through nursing homes, sweeps through hospitals, kills people who are already vulnerable for health reasons. But in so doing, it means the virus is out there.

[00:06:11]

Loads of pretty healthy people get it don't suffer too badly from it. The young people get it, don't suffer too badly from it. So you kind of sacrifice the old people and the vulnerable to get your herd immunity. Sounds a bit, but it's a bit like eugenics.

[00:06:26]

That was the criticism. Now, I'm lucky in a way because because they there are big outbreaks in nursing homes there and in migrant communities. And one reason for the high death rate with specific communities are being badly affected, you see so often across the whole population. So but it's a tricky. I think the ultimate question is if our death rate goes off and if Europe cases are rising, that's the current situation we're in.

[00:06:46]

If our death rate goes up and there's doesn't, that means they may have got it right. So, again, it's a long game here and the ultimate death toll will be some number in the future. And if there's a chance they built up immunity through their their procedures, then they'll say, look, we took the right move here anyway. So it depends. Absolutely. Now, not so much case numbers, because that's as I say, they could be down because their behavior is slightly different.

[00:07:08]

But ultimately, if they have a lower death rate overall, they may well have built up a bit of immunity to protect people.

[00:07:13]

Hmm. You see the theory, I suppose, that we embraced and most other countries embraced was, look, we will get a vaccine in time or we will get therapeutics in time. So let's keep as many people alive as possible by all the measures we're taking in the hope that we get therapeutics and we get a vaccine.

[00:07:30]

And that's still the case, that that's why Sweden was criticized. In other words, they let too many people die. And let's say we do get a vaccine or a therapy more likely in the next few months, and the overall death toll is less then than they would have got it wrong. You see. So, again, we still just don't know. But certainly at the moment, the evidence seems to be that they have a lot less cases and that should translate into less deaths.

[00:07:49]

But let's say a therapy is invented in the next month that saves everybody, then that death toll would have a needless ensuite. And that's the view. But we've got to wait, I guess, to see what happens next.

[00:07:58]

Now, let's talk about the flu, which will come. And we know that the House has announced at that school children, all children actually should go and get themselves vaccinated. It would be a good thing.

[00:08:10]

The question is, how can we easily distinguish between the flu and covid-19? Can we get the two together? What would happen then?

[00:08:17]

Well, in my opinion, this is the big question we now have to worry about is the winter and people keep saying this, the winter is coming and what's going to happen in the winter. Asked to have our focus and all kinds of ways, including schools, which we may come back to. So number one concern is flu, because every winter there's a flu outbreak. The reason for trolleys in Irish hospitals in the winter is often because of flu attack, because people have the flu and get very sick, you know, if that happens and cold.

[00:08:41]

But it's still burning away. That puts a huge pressure on the health service because of two respiratory viruses at the same time causing very similar symptoms and also both being very dangerous. Flu can kill people. So the focus on flu is absolutely rigorous at the moment. And what do we do about this? And we're in uncharted waters. There's never been before a situation where someone has flu and covid-19 and some people can have both. You say there's a risk of carrying both in your body and that could be a double whammy.

[00:09:07]

So not only is it a worry about the health service being overwhelmed by two big respiratory viruses that cause death. But secondly, what if you get both? So again, illustrates this is a brand new virus and there's a lot of unknowns here. So so we have to prepare now for flu in the winter and hope that there isn't a massive flu outbreak really with the idea.

[00:09:25]

But to put it plainly, the two viruses operate completely independently. I mean, that the coronavirus doesn't approach a human organism and say, oh, the flu is already there. There's not much territory for me because the flu is already colonised. The respiratory tract I'm off.

[00:09:43]

Yeah, it's some of my scientific friends work on infection because some people often get two viruses at the same time or maybe a virus and a bacteria. And one example is if you have the flu, you're at risk of getting a bacterial infection as well because your immune is under pressure, you see. And it's it's a complicated, you know, like the two bugs instead of one and how they interact. Is there synergy? And there's evidence for this with other.

[00:10:06]

By the way, a Cohen faction is always worse, so it'll be really worrying if people get both. That's the thing that we need to sort of study, I guess, and get our heads around. And there are labs at the moment now infecting animals, for instance, with both flu and covid-19 and seeing what happens. But it's really unknown. But the big worry would be some kind of horrendous synergy between the two. And it's not just one and one equals two is one and one equals 10, you know, and then we're in big trouble.

[00:10:28]

So, again, this is a big concern. The answer I've had is vaccination, of course. And absolutely, people should be vaccinated against the flu now. And as we just heard, the there's a free vaccine from the Twelve's. If you're over 70, it was always free. I'd be rolling out that vaccine now to anybody over 50 should be vaccinated against the flu because that would stop this, you see. And then the flu vaccine for this current season of these flu vaccines have a beneficial effect, you see.

[00:10:51]

So so all governments are worrying. Now, the good news is in Australia, there's very low flu because the social distancing in the masks have decreased flu, as you might imagine, because it's respiratory spreads just like over 19. So that's a good sign. Maybe there'll be less flu in the winter because of all the things we're doing, but because it's a concern, we have to be really, really careful now to look at the flu very closely.

[00:11:11]

Now, what about the what they call flu covid-19 anxiety and the effect on mental health?

[00:11:18]

This is the next thing that came out last year. As we say, for every day. There's new reports on various aspects and there's a focus now on mental health, as we would have said anyway. And several studies in the US are showing the damaging effects this virus has on people psychologically. You know, this is this is obvious in a way, but the numbers are now coming out and it's definitely a worry, especially with a third level of students.

[00:11:38]

That age group are showing 71 percent. One survey showed in the US have severe stress and anxiety and the reporting it because of covid-19. And then another huge study that the CDC have just done. Again, 25 percent of that age group are having suicidal thoughts and could be rare. But still that was reported by them. And 30 percent of that group are having significant anxiety and depression and they reckon it comes down to covid-19. So the pressure this virus is putting on that age group in particular, every age group, I suppose.

[00:12:06]

But but that third level student age group say 18 to 22 year olds, it seems to be having a specially damaging effect psychologically.

[00:12:13]

Now, that said, the psychological effects, of course, the brain actually has a structure and bits that are vulnerable. So you've got some information about how covid-19 and its aftermath actually affects the brain. Clinically, this is the next thing I know.

[00:12:28]

Again, you wouldn't believe how the number of studies that are coming up by the day on this because doctors and hospitals are noticing brain changes in people who are infected. I think we've discussed this before, I guess. But MRI imaging of brains is showing damage, especially if it's a severe disease. You see even more damage, more or more evidence that this thing can infect the brain. Now, that that is a big worry, you know, if that turns out to be, first of all, replicate in other studies and so on, then we're really concerned here, because if it damages the brain, there can be long term consequences.

[00:12:56]

Now, it can be as minor as loss of smell. And that's that's a brain effect. Obviously, headaches are more common, their effects in the brain as well. But much more seriously, things like strokes, seizures, you know, and the longer term, the brain fog idea here. So it's a really important thing to consider that this virus doesn't just affect your lungs. It can also get into the brain and the studies showing that it can penetrate the brain now and it can cross a thing called the blood brain barrier, which protects you from infection.

[00:13:22]

So evolution has secured the brain away from the body to stop infections going in there. It's called the blood brain barrier. And now there's evidence the virus can penetrate that barrier. Now, again, this is a work in progress. We need more data, but certainly more and more studies are suggesting that there's effects on the brain by this virus. Mm hmm.

[00:13:40]

And there's this kind of Lazarus phenomenon where they think it might just look a bit like, I suppose, chicken pox and all.

[00:13:49]

You know, you get things. Let me think. What's the other one? Malaria, I suppose, can suddenly surge again if you're feeling a bit down.

[00:13:59]

Yeah, well, the thing is, some viruses live inside nerve cells. So the chicken pox virus, you get chicken pox, it's in your skin. It goes and hides in the neurons of all things and hides away in there and stays asleep, as you say, as the Lazarus thing. And then it comes out and shingles. So when you get shingles, it's you've had chicken pox as a child, it goes into your nerves that sleep there, if you like.

[00:14:20]

It dies the hands the way it allows. But then later in life, your stress or for some reason it breaks out again and that causes shingles. The big worry we have here is this virus might get inside our nerves and go latent and then come back later. And again, that's a work in progress. But scientists who work on these types of they're called neurotrophic viruses. They're studying that very closely. The second thing is, it turns out the 1918 pandemic did affect the brain and there was evidence and again, it's circumstantial that maybe 10, 15, 20 years later, people had more anxiety and depression if they'd had it 20 years before, you know what I mean?

[00:14:52]

Otherwise, it may have gone late and then come out again later and caused neurological problems. And that's the next thing to consider, that if you're infected, it may persist. You know, maybe 10, 20 years later, you'll see this thing reemerge. Now, again, not to frighten people, but this is a very important area for science to get its teeth into to see if this is true or not.

[00:15:10]

There's an aspect of this which is quite scary that doctors have reported they've had to use much more er drugs for various things like sedation than they normally would use because covid-19 patients have shown a lack of sensitivity to some drugs.

[00:15:26]

It is extremely important. This is more evidence, remember science. But we're trying to build up all the different lines of evidence enough and you'll use if you're a really good scientist actually on three or four independent lines of evidence to claim something. Now, this is an interesting one. So people who are given sedatives, Ohad covid-19 the needed five to ten times the dose. Now, what that means is the brain isn't able to respond to that sedative. Sedatives affect the brain, obviously, and make you feel sleepy and so on.

[00:15:50]

And it turns out you need a much higher dose. So that's evidence of something going on in the brain then, which means you need a lot more sedative to work on people because of it. And that's another kind of piece of evidence. The sense of smell was the first one. Of course, everybody reported this loss of smell. That was the first hint. And then once you build it up, you realise this virus is having effects on the brain, which could turn out to be very serious.

[00:16:10]

Now, let's move on to and Europe Wide Consortium, and we will be part of it. What's it going to do?

[00:16:18]

Again, this illustrates the massive collaboration that's happening across universities and companies and all kinds of things in the European Union is very good, of course, at organizing consortia across all of science. And my own lab has benefited from these consortia as well, of course. And there's one huge one just started. It's called Care, which is a great name for Korona Accelerated or in the Europe. So it's a great little acronym.

[00:16:41]

It's 37 partners, and this is universities and drug companies together. And Boehringer Ingelheim, Jannsen, Takita are at the front of this. They're being given 78 million euro to work together. And the simpler mission is to get drugs to treat this virus. And there's three different parts of it. And then they're also working on the monoclonals as well. So this is a massive Europe wide effort, I suppose, to try to work together to get these new medicines.

[00:17:05]

And it's a great example, again, of massive collaboration, you see between different different universities and companies working together.

[00:17:12]

And have we secured supplies of vaccine whenever it comes out? So many candidates for this, whether it's Oxford or Moderna or whoever it might be. Have we entered into any country?

[00:17:22]

We have, absolutely. But again, as a consortium in Europe, we kind of hunt in packs there with our European partners to make sure we can get access to Avadon so small. And of course, in the grand scheme of things, it's good that we're in bed with the rest of them and the vaccines are released. We will get access to them as well. So this is where the European Union has got in a away because it helps to coordinate efforts across Europe and then supports countries like Ireland who maybe not at the table when it shakes down and vaccines are getting bought locally, were part of these consortia as well.

[00:17:51]

All right, Luca, stay with us. You're listening to the Patkin Show on News Talk, I'm talking to Professor Luke O'Neil and he'll be answering some of your questions after this.

[00:18:01]

That Pat Kenny show on Newstalk. I'm talking to Professor Luke O'Neill and we've got a number of questions, Luke, any update on the BCG study yet?

[00:18:13]

We're waiting, as ever, for those trials up and running, I think, for about two and a half, three months now. That's seven separate trials where we gone. And of course, it's all about how fast you can recruit, but they're still running now. We're waiting with bated breath for that one part because we will get an answer from those trials eventually, you know, but hopefully the next few weeks. Trials are very hard to predict.

[00:18:31]

And there's no end date because you're trying to recruit sufficient numbers of patients and follow them. So it's still a work in progress, but that'll be a great one if that showed a benefit. But as we said before, it'll be tremendous.

[00:18:40]

You know, at my daughter going back to school as a teacher in her school staff room off limits, no cattle, therefore, no copper, no hot lunches. Teachers are not to lunch together at all. Teachers are trying very hard to get to get the schools back up running.

[00:18:54]

That's from Cape Verde and Kimmage. And that's very well I. We should have said that the schools know about this. Of course they do. They know that there was a risk and they couldn't send any kind of communal areas are off limits. So there's no question they are doing everything they can to make sure the staff aren't spreading it. And we must give them a shout out for that, because that was obviously a key priority in the guidelines.

[00:19:13]

Can you get an antibody test easily and should all teachers be tested before they go back? A question from Claire.

[00:19:19]

Well, that's such an important question. But, you know, in Trinity, we're now considering testing every single student before they come in. It's a logistical, tricky thing to do. And all the staff, by the way, before we reopen, this is the answer, by the way. Ultimately, you have to test everybody for antibody and for virus. Now it needs a massive amount of effort. And the joysticks put in. All of us have been saying this for months, by the way.

[00:19:39]

But the testing has to get better and more universal testing. Even so, I would absolutely press for this. I mean, in my opinion, the testing question should be number one now on the government's mind after opening the schools, because if we can ramp up testing, universal testing is the real answer. One suggestion, but that's great. There should be vans going around with labs in them. Do you remember when they used to test for cholesterol and bone density in places?

[00:20:03]

Why can't we build labs and go around every neighborhood in Ireland and test people? That is what I would do and invest in that because it'll cost you money initially. In the long run, you save and the main reason is asymptomatic spread. Remember, testing people with symptoms is OK, but it's pretty useless if half the people are spending of a no symptoms so that the only way around that is to test, you know, universally. And I would absolutely advocate for testing every pupil and every teacher before they go in.

[00:20:27]

And you can test them twice a week if the spit test becomes a reality. That's as we discussed last week, that saliva test will be all over that. I'll be getting those kits in now, you know, and that people spit into a tube. I mean, this is where we have to go, especially if the vaccine is a ways off and we have no guarantee, remember, and we know the timelines for that. If therapies are way off as well, test, trace, isolate is the way to repress this virus in the community.

[00:20:50]

And maybe schools and education are the place to do it. Now, look, here's the question.

[00:20:54]

One of our colleagues, Marie, she got tested for covid-19 last week. Happily, she was negative.

[00:21:01]

But the thing I'm wondering is it should you be tested simultaneously for covid-19 and for the antibodies? Because if you had it, you complained you had a bit of a cough and it's been lingering a bit for two weeks. You finally get an appointment, you get a test, you go for covid-19 test, they test you. You're negative.

[00:21:18]

But could you have had it two weeks previously? And therefore, should you be tested for antibodies? Precisely.

[00:21:24]

That's exactly antibody. That is easy. See, the PCR test for the virus is a bit trickier. Technically, both should be done side by side, 100 percent because then you learn more anyway if you can detect antibody. And what's the percent of the people who have had zero prevalence, that's a useful number to have. Now, as we know, antibodies wane over time. So, you know, there's an issue there in terms of timing, but we need as much information as we can get from each patient or person, rather, you know, and if we can test for the virus and the antibody, you get a massive amount of information and then the person knows they'll know if they've had it, if they're antibody positive.

[00:21:56]

And as we discussed last week, the evidence might be are protected. Now, if that continues, that's brilliant. You know, and then secondly, if you've got the virus on board, stay home and isolate, you know, a huge amount of powerful information could be got from both tests simultaneously.

[00:22:10]

And although the timing of the result might be slightly different, you still get the key information. And by the way, I was just thinking, the mass X-ray machines, do you remember those mobile X-ray machines when TB was significant? Yeah. Yeah. And so they they made a big effort in those days to track it down. Yeah. And they were not inexpensive machines, that's for sure. Ask Luke, please. Will the Oxford University publish interim results on its phase three vaccine trial?

[00:22:39]

Is there where there can be wary of that? You don't break the code to the end, you see, because it's very well control these things. And, you know, they make sure the thing is done to the very advanced degree and then they'll release the information now, one sometimes in an emergency part. And this happens in cancer therapy, for instance, if they're saying it's all done confidentially, there'll be some committee looking at the data every day.

[00:22:57]

You see, I'm not telling anybody, you know, given the Rapp's, if they see a massive signal and the vaccine is working gangbusters, then they're obliged to release it because ethically. Sound to delay it then, you know, so often if a trial is broken halfway through, sometimes they're stopped halfway through. By the way, for lack of efficacy as well, it's kind of futility analysis, strangely, is what we call this. But there is a possibility, if it's going great, they might release it earlier.

[00:23:21]

You never know. But I would predict that lately. And usually vaccine trials, because they're complicated things their way to the end. The endpoint.

[00:23:27]

I have a 15 year old with a heart condition. I'm worried about her return to school. I'm considering keeping her out for the first couple of weeks and seeing what happens in school. Any advice from Luke?

[00:23:38]

I think, again, you've got to be confident with the measures. I mean, the distancing, the handwashing and all that that will protect, you know, even even in a vulnerable group. So so I think it's probably safe and especially young people, by the way. I mean, young people who have other conditions at lower risk anyway, getting the virus. So as long as all those measures are in place, then you'd be sending someone back to school, I think.

[00:23:57]

And it's it's required that they wear masks and a second level. So. Exactly. And that would add protection.

[00:24:04]

I have to attend a two day course in a hotel in September. The max amount of people will be about 12. But I'm a bit anxious about sitting in a room with 12 other people or 11 other people. Is it safe for me to go? That's Jonathan in Dublin.

[00:24:17]

Well, again, we just follow the guidelines. If that room is well ventilated, if there's plenty of handwashing and the usual social distancing measures are in place and you're not in the room for too long now, wants to lock me in a couple of hours kind of thing, and then it's pretty safe. But as long as all those things are in place, then there should be a safe thing to do.

[00:24:34]

Are we following up on the well-being and side effects of people who get covered and, you know, a few months later, do we check them out or are we doing that kind of thing? Because it could be a big problem in the future if a lot of people have some long term effects long after their covid-19 misadventure has been forgotten.

[00:24:53]

Yeah, that's that's the recommendation now that people keep going back to see their doctor, you know, weeks and months later, especially if you have any kind of things that worry you go back and see your doctor again is the first advice. The second is the a good question. Should there be a systematic Ricola process? And some countries are considering that to call people back in regularly just to check up on them, especially with this neurological thing, because that might take time to show itself, you know, and then, of course, you want to treat it.

[00:25:17]

If there's something wrong, you want to treat the patient. But it's a really important point. But a question from Laura here.

[00:25:23]

Why is no one telling people how to build up their immune systems, healthy, balanced diet, vitamins, zinc, D3 and others have heard no one telling people to build up their immune systems, not one health expert.

[00:25:37]

It's a great one. And I've been banging on about that. I've even written in The Independent about this. Maybe I should do it again, to be honest, because you can't get that message out there really enough, because if you just keep a healthy lifestyle, keep your diet. Good. Take exercise. Good night's sleep d stress where you can. That will build up. That'll keep your immune system really good, you know. So that's a really important point to people.

[00:25:56]

In other words, you can do stuff for yourself, you see as well. It's not a case of you have no control over this, just try to keep healthy and then your immune system will do its job.

[00:26:06]

Regarding school return. There are no official guidelines on recommendations in the documentation given us what to do or not in shared staff rooms, kitchens, schools are therefore creating their own guidelines and are generally unsure of what to do.

[00:26:19]

That's from a second level deputy principal that would make her think that they should be very clear guidelines on this, especially with the evidence of teachers being at risk of themselves and bring it into the school. And the simple things you can do, remember, just discuss them, don't have a staff room, basically. So they should be absolutely explicitly setting the guidelines. The second thing I don't know about and we were just discussing this is if there's an outbreak, there will be outbreaks in schools that's almost definite and that's happened in Germany as well.

[00:26:44]

So it's very hard to staff it. What do you do next door, shut the whole school down, or do you just isolate the part the students in with the teacher for two weeks? And I don't know whether it's clear to you, but we've been trying to dig into this to try to find out.

[00:26:55]

I'm not sure what the guidelines will be talking about the primary reopening around 11 o'clock on the program.

[00:27:00]

But the question is, suppose young Johnny is in a pod with someone who's definitely diagnosed as having covid-19. Presumably he's got to be tested, but he goes home to mama and daddy. Do they have to be tested? They have to stay home from work. All of those kind of guidelines, we should know.

[00:27:18]

We should we should actually contact tracing in the community. If you're in touch with a positive case, you have to sort of isolate, remember, and get tested. Now, in a school context, what will that mean? I mean, they may even move to the entire school close just to be on the safe side, you see, or whether you see whether would just be the part and then the contact. There's no doubt that that child, whoever that child has come in contact with, has to be tested and isolated.

[00:27:39]

You see. So the ramifications here that have to be made crystal clear.

[00:27:43]

Yeah, hundreds of thousands of students at all levels going back. So if there's a few outbreaks and scattered places, the whole population could be locked up, you know, so we we have to be sensible as well and prepare people for this.

[00:27:56]

But this is how we got to say, look, there will be outbreaks and this is what we're going to do. If there's an outbreak, make it absolutely explicit as a Kiwi.

[00:28:04]

All right. Look, ONeil, professor of bio. Chemistry at Trinity College in Dublin. Thank you very much for joining.