Cold combustion as a way to kill Covid

A German project called CoClean-up (which sounds English to me, but what do I know?) has developed an air filtration system that doesn’t capture the Covid virus but destroys it, meaning that no one has to change air filters or figure out what to do with dirty filters once they’re removed.  All the process leaves behind is CO2 and hydrogen, neither of which is toxic.

The system uses cold combustion, and I never heard of it either. Air’s fed through a saline solution (basically, salt water of one sort or another). That filters out any organic particles, which includes Covid. Two electrodes run zap the saline solution. Tiny amounts of CO2 forms around one electrode and hydrogen at the other. They disperse into the room, along with the cleaned air. 

It’s still being tested, and a demonstrator model should be introduced in April. If all goes well, they expect to launch the thing commercially in another eighteen months.

Irrelevant photo: crocuses


A follow-up on vaccines and transmission

After falling for just long enough to tempt a person into optimism, worldwide Covid infection rates are rising again. The only exception at the moment is Africa. 

So let’s grab what good news we can: A study following vaccinated and unvaccinated health care workers reports that the Pfizer vaccine sharply reduced the number of asymptomatic Covid cases. That means that it also reduced the chances that a vaccinated person would transmit the virus: If you’re not carrying the disease, you don’t get to pass it on. Look it up in the handbook. Those are the rules. You can take it up with the management if you don’t like them.

From here on, I warn you, a lot of numbers have pushed their way in. It’s not my fault. They got in the door before I could slam it.


In the unvaccinated group, 0.8% of the group tested positive for Covid but had no symptoms. Compare that to 0.37% in the group that had been vaccinated less than 12 days before. 

Why 12 days? That’s the number of days after vaccination when the immune system’s believed to wake up and get to work. That’s in the handbook too. It’s also the number of days in a traditional Christmas–the kind almost no one in English-speaking countries celebrates anymore. And the number of months in the calendar.

More than 12 days after vaccination, 0.2% tested positive. 

That’s not sterilizing immunity, but it does give the virus fewer chances to migrate from person to person–and with that, fewer chances to mutate. Take a deep breath. We’re making a bit of progress here. We still need masks. We still need distance. We don’t have reports on how the other vaccines are doing as far as transmission goes, and anyone who’s lucky enough to have been vaccinated needs to remember that not everyone has been and they could still pass it on. But we’re making a bit of progress.



A variant found in the Brazilian city of Manaus–the P.1 variant–has infected people who had recovered from an earlier strain of Covid. Out of a hundred people who recovered from an earlier strain, the estimate is that somewhere between 25 and 61 people could be reinfected. That’s a hell of a range, so we’re still dealing with rough estimates, but it’s sobering all the same, and a reminder to anyone who still believes that herd immunity will save our asses that herd immunity is not our mother and does not love us. If the big kids on the block pick on us, it will not come swooping down and send them home crying.

It’s also a reminder that until everyone is safe, no one is safe. And did I happen to mention that just ten countries have gotten three-quarters of the 191 million Covid vaccinations that have been delivered to date?)

The new variant may also weaken the effect of the vaccine being used in Brazil–one of the Chinese ones. The vaccine will still prevent severe Covid, and masks and distancing will still reduce transmission, so it’s not time to roll over and play dead, but the variant is spreading in Brazil and has popped up in other countries–24 of them at last count.  


With talk of Covid variants spreading at roughly the same rate as Covid itself, the question of what to call them has gotten serious. Someone who speaks medicalese will have no problem remembering the difference between B.1.351 and VOC 202012/02, but the rest of us tend to glaze over when we hear the official names. We fall back on place names: The British variant (a.k.a the Kent variant). The South African variant. The Brazilian variant, only, oops, that’s now two variants. 

Why’s that a problem? First, because in a place as big as Brazil with as many cases as it has is almost bound to come up with more than one variant if it’s given enough time. Second, because humans are a difficult species and when a place is associated with a scary variant they tend to blame the place, along with the people who come from there. And third, because the places where the variants were found aren’t necessarily the places where the variants emerged. They just happen to be the places where they were first noticed.

So the World Health Organization has put together a committee to come up with a more sensible naming system. Not for every variant, only for the worrying ones. The names have to be easy to pronounce and easy to remember, and they have to avoid badmouthing the regions where the variants were found.  

One possibility is to name them in the order they were identified, giving us V1, V2, and so on. It’s not as much fun as naming storms, but it does avoid the problem of keeping an even balance of genders and languages.


Kids, Covid, Catholics, and Dolly Parton

For perfectly sensible reasons, researchers set out to discover what kids know about Covid, along with what they want to know and how they feel. They had some good questions. They knew some perfectly sensible things. We’ll ignore all of that to focus on one memorable quote.

“It is a stupid virus.”  


The Catholic archdiocese of New Orleans told its parishioners to avoid the Johnson & Johnson vaccine because it was developed using a “morally compromised” cell line that originated from aborted fetuses. The Moderna and Pfizer vaccines are okay, even though some lab testing involved “abortion-derived cell lines.”

What’s the difference? Beats me. 

Pope Francis has already said it’s “morally acceptable” to get any of the vaccines. So we‘ve finally found someone who really is more Catholic than the Pope.


Dolly Parton got vaccinated and sang–to the tune of “Jolene”–“Vaccine, vaccine, vaccine, vaccine, / I’m begging of you, please don’t hesitate. / Vaccine, vaccine, vaccine, vaccine, / because once you’re dead, then that’s a bit too late.”

To people who are hesitating, she said, “I just want to say to all of you cowards out there – don’t be such a chicken squat. Get out there and get your shot.” Click on the link and you can hear her. 

Last year, she donated $1 million to help fund research on the Moderna vaccine. 

40 thoughts on “Cold combustion as a way to kill Covid

  1. I’m not keen on talking about “the Brazilian variant” or whatever. It’s like when Donald Trump was talking about “the Chinese virus” – it’s as if you’re saying that the place where it originated is somehow to blame for it. But all those long combinations of letters and numbers are too much like hard work to remember. V1, V2 etc seems as good a system as any.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I fall back on it because I can remember the names that way, but I agree–it’s terrible. As you say, like calling it the Chinese virus–or the Spanish flu, which didn’t originate in Spain anyway, it just happened that because they weren’t involved in the war they didn’t have any press censorship, so that’s where people first heard of it.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I agree. I’m a germaphobe myself but I like to be balanced in my assessment of things. And given that I have had people sneeze or cough in my face before and give me whatever they had I think that there is far too much enthusiasm to spread things around in these very troubling times.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. CoClean-up. Sounds very interesting.

    I listened to the Dolly Parton clip. Good way to use her influence.

    You said it all with this “…It’s also a reminder that until everyone is safe, no one is safe. And did I happen to mention that just ten countries have gotten three-quarters of the 191 million Covid vaccinations that have been delivered to date?)…”

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I know the prevailing wisdom is that hot weather discourages the virus, but after the temperatures of the last few weeks, I find it hard to believe it could survive outside in — say – a windswept grocery store parking lot. Of course, that’s not really where you’d get it, but when you mentioned “cold combustion” (which is sort of like dry water, isn’t it ?) I felt a surge of hope.

    Dolly Parton is a national treasure . Thanks for linking to her video. Giving a million dollars to Vanderbilt U for developing the vaccine – which only became publicized once the vaccine became available -is more than a damn lot of way more vocal people have done..

    Liked by 1 person

    • She’s amazing. And although I love the tune to “Jolene” I never did like the lyrics. The new ones sweep that problem away.

      Once it’s out of doors, the virus not only has the wind to contend with, but lots of air, so that it’s not present anywhere in large concentrations (which it seems to need if it’s going to infect someone). All the Covid virus present in the world could fit inside a Coke can, remember, so your cold parking lot dilutes it pretty heavily. And it’s got sunlight (even here in cloudy Britain) trying to kill it off.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Dolly Parton makes a good point, and her adapting her song is brilliant. I do that sort of thing but I nearly always make the songs about cats. She probably did it better…

    I have also just realised what those tops with little shoulder/arm cut outs are for, they have always confused me before but now I totally see the point of them!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Not to totally miss the point of your sobering Covid update today, but since you did mention Dolly, I feel free to mention one of my most favorite Dolly hits: “….she’s a sparrow when she’s broken, but she’s an eagle when she flies…”
    Dolly’s amazing work with advocacy for reading through her Imagination Library began in her home county in Tennessee in 1999 then transformed her state, her country and went international in Canada in 2006 and made it to the United Kingdom the next year. Her donation of the $1 million for Covid vaccine research is another example of her being an eagle that flies above the sometimes backward thinking of other half a billionaires.
    You just gave me an idea for a possible post in Women’s History Month.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I love the way this was written! Dolly Parton really seems to have excelled with her generosity during the pandemic, it’s been enjoyable to watch. The variants will unfortunately likely continue, so I completely agree that it’s impossible to predict when it will next be completely ‘safe’ if ever again

    Liked by 1 person

    • As they keep telling us, until everyone’s safe, no one is. And then rich countries ignore the poorer ones. Like everyone else, I long for a return to normality, but I suspect it’s further away than any of us want to acknowledge. The Dolly Partons of the world (would that we had more of them) do keep us going, don’t they? She’s amazing.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ah, it’ came from my heady days in Australia the 80’s, … the second wave of feminism was at its height then. We produced our own cabarets, women performing for women, lesbians performing for lesbians. We were going to change the world … and we did for a while there. :) … I think it might’ve been Judy Small, but my memories from that long ago are a bit fluffy around the edges now. :)

        Liked by 1 person

        • Very much the same sort of thing happened in Minneapolis–minus the Dolly Parton covers. And nationally, there was a pretty successful women’s music scene, including a women’s music festival in Michigan.

          Liked by 1 person

  8. Dolly is amazing. I love her. I love her efforts in promoting literacy too. I think that she must have the best plastic surgeon going as (unlike Michael Jackon) she’s looking better with “age” (read “more prodecures”).

    Liked by 1 person

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