We solved the coronavirus months ago...
That's right – within days of the first death in China from this new disease, scientists knew how they were going to fight what we now know as COVID-19.
A month later – before most Americans had ever even heard the word "coronavirus" –scientists had already developed a working vaccine. The American public only began receiving the vaccine this week... nearly a year after the first COVID-19 case was reported in China.
The two leading COVID-19 vaccines – one developed by Moderna and the other developed by a partnership between Pfizer and German firm BioNTech – are unlike any ever produced before.
In a traditional vaccine, you're injected with the germs that would cause an illness... albeit in a weakened form. That way, your body learns how to respond to this illness without having to get sick in the process.
But Moderna and the Pfizer/BioNTech team created vaccines that use messenger RNA, known as mRNA. RNA is the counterpart to DNA. It uses DNA's genetic material to "message" instructions about how to carry out cellular functions. In particular, mRNA holds the instructions to build proteins.
Lots of folks have asked what I think of the COVID-19 vaccines...
All new drugs and vaccines come with a risk, and science can surprise us.
We haven't been able to study the long-term effects of mRNA vaccines yet. But given the data so far, mRNA vaccines appear to be safe and effective.
One of the earlier concerns – a vigorous immune reaction to the RNA material – seems to have been solved. And more important, this vaccine technology has had more eyes on it than perhaps any vaccines ever produced.
This has been modeled, injected, and tested in small critters, large animals, and now humans... with minimal side effects and good results that should protect us... likely for life. The technology is that good.
There's a chance that a small number of people will have bad side effects. But that has always been the trade-off between trying to save the herd and preventing harm to every individual.
Whatever your feelings are – whether you plan to get the vaccine or not – one thing is obvious... There's money to be made.
Lots of investors would try to bet on the next big drug or breakthrough. But we think that's a difficult and risky proposition.
In the most recent issue of my investment advisory Retirement Millionaire, I recommended a strong, stable business with proven profitability... and that still offers the potential for triple-digit returns.
Right now, COVID-19 has supercharged this company's fortunes to the next level.
Retirement Millionaire subscribers can get all the details – including everything you need to know about how COVID-19 vaccines work – here.
If you're not already a subscriber, click here to get started today.
Now, let's dive into this week's Q&A. As always, please keep sending us your questions and comments to [email protected].
Q: How can I tell if I have a cold or COVID? – Q.F.
A: Cold, flu, or COVID-19? Here's how to tell what you're fighting...
The Cleveland Clinic has a concise list to help you figure out if you're fighting the flu or a cold and how to combat each one.
Cold: You can feel a cold "coming on" for a while before you really get sick. It typically lasts from one to three weeks. Symptoms include a runny rose, congestion, sneezing, sore throat, and coughing. Do what I do... Focus on extra rest and avoid processed foods that mangle the immune system. Avoid over-the-counter cold medicines, but be sure to increase your vitamin C and even D3 (less sun in the northern hemisphere might mean your levels are dropping). By the way, the common cold also comes from a virus, so skip the antibiotics.
Flu: Use the acronym FACTS – Fever, Aches, Chills, Tiredness, and Sudden onset. Sudden onset is one of the key differences between the flu and a common cold. If you're older than 65 and feel flu symptoms come on quickly, get to your doctor fast. The sooner you can take antiviral medications, the better. The flu usually lasts two to four days when treated with bed rest, liquids, and over-the-counter flu medications. Again, avoid antibiotics for the flu since it is a virus. Antibiotics target bacteria, and they're mostly useless against the flu. (Some have anti-inflammatory properties that are being explored, but for now, it's not worth the risk of messing up gut bacteria.)
This year, we'll also have to contend with COVID-19, since it shares many of the same symptoms as the flu. One key difference is that COVID-19 can cause a loss of smell or taste. But otherwise, only testing can confirm which virus you have. I'd say get a coronavirus test if you're getting worse, are short of breath, and have a fever.
Whichever virus you have, if you feel yourself getting sick, do what I do and wash your hands regularly with non-antibacterial soap and take plenty of vitamin C (I go up to 3 to 5 grams of timed release). I also use a Neti pot to wash out my sinuses and help clear up any congestion. (But make sure you use your Neti pot safely and correctly... in particular, use sterile water.)
Q: Can olive oil be applied to the skin like a moisturizer? – N.A.
A: Olive oil is great on your skin, especially during the winter when our skin tends to be extremely dry. Olive oil's antioxidant and antibacterial properties make it as good to put on your skin as it is to eat. Research shows the nutrients in olive oil can treat skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis.
The best time to apply olive oil is right after a shower or bath when your skin is better able to absorb it. And then wipe off any excess so you're not left with oily, slick skin. And, as you would when eating it, stick to extra virgin olive oil.
What We're Reading...
- Did you miss it? How I helped readers through the financial crisis.
- Something different: Our COVID-19 lifestyles are killing us. But just 30 minutes a day can fix that.
Here's to our health, wealth, and a great retirement,
Dr. David Eifrig and the Health & Wealth Bulletin Research Team
December 18, 2020