Updated: Apr 8
The iconic eye chart that measures a person’s visual acuity or “sharpness” is called the ‘Snellen chart’ named after the Dutch ophthalmologist Herman Snellen who developed the chart in 1862.
The results are given with two numbers but contrary to common belief, the two numbers do not represent the acuity of each eye. The numbers represent distance from the chart compared to someone with “normal” acuity. Each eye has its own dyad rating.
Normal vision is considered 20/20. The first number refers to your distance, in feet, from the chart. The second is the distance at which a person with normal eyesight can read the same line.
Therefore, if you have 20/30 vision, it means your vision is worse than average. When you are standing 20 feet from the chart, you can read letters that someone with normal acuity when they're 30 feet away.
Our eyes are tested independently and together, to determine corrective measures as needed. Of course, our eyes are meant to work together for the best vision. We can’t yet look into the future, but we can look back.
Indeed, 2020 represents a tear in the human fabric of the world’s population. Upheaval in the global economy, population health and even the political spectrum. Normally and rarely, these pandemics run their course until native herd immunity becomes present – unfortunately, taking countless lives along the way.
A fifth of the way into the 21st century, we look to modern medicine and big data to perform genetic data mining that uncovered a common pattern of gene activity that appears to be a key weapon in the coronavirus’s arsenal.
Earlier this year at Oak Ridge National Laboratories, Summit, the world’s second fastest supercomputer - ran some 2.5 billion correlation calculations across a data set of representing over 17,000 genetic samples from COVID patients while comparing each of these samples to some 40,000 genes. The findings revealed a new theory about how COVID-19 impacts the body: it is called the bradykinin hypothesis. The hypothesis provides a model that explains many aspects of the coronavirus, including some of its most bizarre symptoms. It also suggested 10-plus potential treatments; enter synthetic messenger RNA.
A healthy body produces small amounts of the bradykinin peptide to dilate blood vessels and make them more permeable. An example is lowering blood pressure. However, lung-fluid samples from COVID-19 patients consistently revealed overexpression of genes that produce bradykinin, while also under-expressing genes that would inhibit or break down bradykinin. Extreme bradykinin levels in various organs can lead to dry coughs, myalgia, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, anorexia, headaches, decreased cognitive function, arrhythmia and sudden cardiac death - all of which have been associated with various manifestations of COVID-19. However, one of the most persistent and lethal outcomes involves the lungs of patients filling with fluid, forcing the patient to fight for every breath.
It took Summit one week to run billions of calculations to illuminate the bradykinin genetic discovery. This data was shared with the biotech community enabling an unprecedented vaccine development pipeline using mRNA.
The Pfizer/BioNTech and Johnson & Johnson vaccines were the first mRNA vaccines to be approved for use in humans, but the technology underpinning it has been in development for over two decades. Sadly, the memes circulating across social media comparing traditional vaccines to mRNA and other falsehoods is an example of what is simply wrong. We need no more conspiracy theories right now.
Fact: Traditional flu vaccines for example, are harvested from the virus and grown in chicken eggs or mammalian cells. It is a laborious process. Not only does the flu virus mutate often and quickly, but it also takes time to culture the virus in a dish. RNA vaccines are derived from the virus’ DNA and synthesized into electronic sequences; instruction sets that can be sent around the world over this other amazing technology, the internet.
Between a super-computer in Tennessee and decades of understanding genetic code, the mRNA vaccine was created in less than a year. This genetic engineering is the basis for Smart/Personalized medicine. It took a global health crisis to make it happen and this could mean new, novel therapies in other disease states such as cancer treatment.
I urge us all to recognize the real issues of the pandemic, comprehend the major resources being applied and be thankful for those fighting on the front lines.
To look forward with the best perspective, we must gaze to the past. According to Merriam-Webster, the definition of twenty-twenty hindsight is the full knowledge and complete understanding that one has about an event only after it has happened. We will see…