A mutant strain more contagious prevailing

Both of the new mutant strains on SARS CoV2 found in UK and S. Africa have N501Y mutation. The preprint paper quoted below tells this mutation causes stronger interaction between S1 spike protein of the virus and hACE2 while it decreases that with anti spike protein antibody.

It may mean this mutant strains could prevail more efficiently than the original strain and even could be more toxic since it would hinder the antibody interaction to S1 spike protein, that is, neutralizing antibody reaction. As this author mentions, it might be related with the effect of the vaccines. 

The other report analyzed the characteristics of antibody produced in infection. There is a kind of IgG antibody which has a negative effect for self defense. The article says it might be the reason why convalescent phase plasma has not given dramatic effect on seriously ill patients. 

There are still problems with this pathogen to overcome the outbreak. The N501Y+strain seems to already prevail in various countries. We should be even more cautious not to get infected until the vaccines prove to be effective for the strain. 


The SARS-CoV-2 S1 spike protein mutation N501Y alters the protein interactions with both hACE2 and human derived antibody: A Free energy of perturbation study


The N501Y mutation in Covid-19 arise many question but a small amount of data are currently available. An urgent understanding of N501Y mechanism of action at molecular level is highly required. Here, we present the preliminary results of our Free energy perturbation (FEP) and Molecular dynamics (MD) calculations for the interaction of the spike S1 receptor binding domain (RBD) with both the ACE2 receptor and an antibody, STE90-C11, derived from COVID-19 patients. The results shown that the S1 RBD-ACE2 interaction was increased whereas those with the STE90-C11 antibody significantly decreased (over about 160 times). This may explain the observed in UK more spread of the virus but also emerge an important question about the possible human immune response and already available vaccines. Indeed, the latter may still act well but our data indicate some possible reduction of their effect. Further studies of N501Y mutation are need.

Competing Interest Statement

The authors have declared no competing interest.


A never ending story of ham radio

This old photocopy was originally taken at a railway station back in late '60s. The company of neighbor hams in a suburb of Tokyo was going to operate portable at a mountain there. These guys were the members of a local ham club. I have lost old photos when moving from Tokyo to here around 1980. This photo escaped being lost was miraculously found somewhere. I might have posted it before. If you have seen it before, just neglect this post.

My parents moved with their 3 children from here to Tokyo in mid '50s immediately before my entering elementary school when the tuberculosis sanatorium,
where they were working, managed at this place by my aunt was closed. It was a real exodus for them, I believe. They had worked hard to raise us in Tokyo until they decided to come back to this place in '80s.

From lt to rt; JA1NUT, JA1OXQ, JA1RHM, a friend of mine SWL, JA1OTE, JA1NPV, JA1HUY?, JA1RHL.

I was interested in this hobby at age 12. It was fascinating that I could listen to ham radio in communication with a small transistor radio with a small rod antenna. It was 7MHz I heard a lot of hams, only Japanese, talking each other with a lot of "jargons". It won't take too long before I learned about it and got the license. Since the authority enforced the beginner class license, there were a lot of young people starting ham radio. It was like the internet at present.

We were grown up in rather poverty. But my parents let us do whatever we wanted those days. All I could afford was, however, a very small home made set up. A single 6AQ5 transmitter and a 5 tubes receiver. Transmission/reception switch was a "banana switch" set at a corner of desk. The antenna was a dipole for 40m with ladder line feeder; the spacers were waxed chop sticks. While working on A3, I have known several hams, all pretty new, in the area. We founded a local club. This portable operation was an event in a summer vacation day. 

Unfortunately, most of them have gone QRT or even silent key. The only exceptions, I believe craziest guys, are me and JA1RHL. JA1RHL has moved to VK land and has been successful with his business there. He used to be active as VK1ARA. A few weeks ago, he has sent me a short mail from his home in Tokyo telling me he could not go back to VK due to this pandemic. No further mail. Wondering if he could get back to VK.  

When I went to a college studying mechanical engineering, I was a leader in the ham club with the call sign of JA1YGC. There were again a lot of members in the club. At a summer camp held near Mt. Fuji in late '60s, I have trained young members with Morse code. I have not lashed them to learn it but, later, there was a legend that one of them talked about Morse code deliriously while asleep at night. In another summer camp held at Ohshima, an island off the coast in Tokyo, we have met a group of girl scouts of the US led by a ham Bernie WA7CBX on the ship to the island. I could not converse well with him at that time but have remembered running across with him aboard on the ship. Later, in '80s, we have encountered on the air when he was enjoying field day back in the US. He has retired the US Army and has remembered of our eye ball very well. When he heard me on 40m, as he said, he shouted it was him or something. Even 20 years later, Jack WA7HJV has made a contact with him and even visited him living in a town nearby. Maybe, I have written about it elsewhere.  

A lot of fond memories. It must be a sign of senility for me that I remember old days in this way, continuously from one to another, without any context. It was surely good old days and is missed a lot. Through blogging, I have got in touch with a member of the local club, JA1HUL, who used to let me operate radio as a guest operator at his station before my getting the ticket. Strictly speaking, at that time, it was illegal but a really exciting experience for me, a low teenage kid. He has driven me into this hobby and has not been forgotten ever since. 

This is a never ending story of ham radio for me...



W6IJ silent keyed

I was stiffened to see a news in FOC reflector this morning. It said Tommy W6IJ, a good friend of mine as well as an FOC colleague, had gone SK early morning on Dec 18th in PST. He has been a good friend of mine since '60s. I knew he had had health issues. But it was too sudden that he had passed.

In '60s, I have worked him for several times when he was WA6NFC. I could not recall of those QSOs but still remembered his call sign those days.

When I came back on the air in '80s, we met again after more than a decade absence. We have become close friends ever since. One reason was that, as stated above, we have worked in our teenage days. The other reason was that he used to stay in Japan for a couple of years in his childhood while his father worked here. He seemed fond of things and people in Japan. We have made a lot of QSOs on our beloved mode, CW.

He was a couple of years older than me. As told above, he has loved CW very much. I could hardly remember of our QSO on the other mode. His crisp and concise operation have not undergone any change ever since.

He has wanted to visit our country. Early in '80s, he and his former wife, Annie, have visited us and stayed here in this countryside for a week or so. All my family members, including my parents, both alive and active, have become good friends of them. Tommy has brought a Bencher paddle plated with gold for a souvenir to me. It is not used any longer and is stored in the storage at present. I ran CW with that paddle in '80s through '90s.

After staying at our home, they have traveled around the Western Japan. Several hams like Nagi JA5DQH have hosted them at their home or prepared accommodations for them. Around that time, Mike ZL1BVB and his family were visiting us as well. Together with the other Japanese hams, Mike and Tommy's families have had nice lunch in the downtown of Tokyo. When both families went back home, we had nice round tables over the Pacific Ocean on 40m in the evening for a few times. Such an active guy as Mike is no longer heard here.

In a year or two, Hide JH0FBH and I have visited Tommy at his former QTH in Turlock. My wife was going there together with me but has become pregnant, which prevented her from travelling with me. Tommy and his family members all welcomed us. He has brought us to his parents in San Andreas or to Yosemite Park. A hot bath tub was set in the garden. We, three guys, bathed together there. His elder daughter has performed violin for us. 

Having had regular QSOs, we have met at the FOC gathering in Seattle in 2012 after a couple of decades hiatus. He looked well even if he had added some grey hair on his head. In the last morning of that event, we had breakfast together, which became our last face to face meeting. We have met on the air once in 2 or 3 months and have talked how we were getting along.

In the end of this Oct., I was told that he would undergo right hip joint replacement surgery. Since that time, we have met even more frequently than usual. He seemed to have understood well on the procedure and its risk. He was going to have colonoscopy after this procedure since he had a positive result for colon cancer screening test. He has been a man of self confidence and a mentally strong person. But at this crisis of his life, he could feel more helpless than people around him had thought. He never mentioned something like that in our QSOs, though.

He has ordered a big antenna for high bands and was looking forward to putting up to the tower. It was a decision for him to enjoy ham radio even more than before since he could be in such a crisis any time in his life. He was laughing when he said he would enjoy it much more. It might be an expression of his anxiety in his mind.

On Dec. 2nd, he has undergone the replacement surgery in Visalia. In the very last QSO with him, he told me he still had local pain and some exudate from the surgical wound but was getting better day by day. He told me he had been rehabilitating with a cane for walking at home. Without hearing him on the air, I thought I should write a mail to him to ask how he was doing. At that time, I got that shocking news of his SK.

His passing must be a big sorrow and loss for his family, especially his wife Deana, who has been left alone. Whatever the cause of death might be, his family must had things to do, to enjoy and to laugh together with him. Such a chance is eternally lost.

His passing also told me such friend as him could go away all of sudden anytime in my life. I am persuaded again to treasure every moment being with friends as if it was the last meeting in this world. I still wonder if I could tell something more to him before his SK.

He will be missed.

Tommy contesting at his friend's shack WG6P back in '80s.


An old patient and an oyster dish

The other day, I was asked by a friend of mine how to do with her daughter who had had cough for weeks. I used to rescue that girl when she wad drowned in the bath water in her infancy, that is, almost 30 years ago. Even though that girl has left cerebral palsy, she has gone through education and is now working at an office nearby. Ever since, I have been asked about her health problems. 

She has developed that lasting cough and was suspected to have caught COVID19 at the office. I was pretty sure it was an asthmatic cough and her prescription given at a clinic was not proper to treat it. I have taught her how to breathe with diaphragm, which could abate the breathing issue and is important for inhaling with MDI, and to avoid exercises in cold atmosphere etc. I introduced her to a asthma specialist. I could not help laughing the mother was glad to hear about that specialist but seemed not very interested in my lesson! Anyway, whenever I am asked something like this by friends, I am a bit excited and try to answer to the person as much as I can. Such a situation is becoming fewer for now. Maybe, my days, however, have gone now.

A few days ago, in order to tell me how well she is now, the mother has visited us at our home. She has brought us a lot of oysters in shell in addition to some farming products. Oysters in shell are pretty rarely seen here in this inland area even at supermarket. Her friend in Hokkaido has sent a lot of such oysters to them. It was its sharing to us.

I was puzzled at how to take the content from the shell. The shell was closed so tightly that I could hardly open it. I have decided to steam them in sake. Before cooking that way, I had to wash them with scourer. The shells were sharp on their edges. Eagerly done with them, in a few minutes, I realized my finger tips were hurt with the sharp edges of the shells. Surprisingly, my fingers were stained with blood. Fortunately, the wounds were not deep at all and soon were stopped with bleeding. 

The peeled oysters were to add to a hot pot dish as a material. I have given up further cooking it by myself but was waiting for my wife coming home. She was cooking on behalf of me at the kitchen almost forbidden for women to come in. Honestly, she often cooks dishes for me in week ends. But on a plain week day, she was there. Impressed at the scenery, I was looking at her working there.

Sake steamed oysters. They were at least 2.5 times of this amount in total.

The hot pot dish. The oyster was tasted as if milk.

I sure was pleased to hear from my former patient and her mother. But I still learned what they had expected from me as not a pediatrician in active service. I am already a retired one for now.

The 2nd lesson is that I should have worn a thick glove when washing or peeling the shell of oyster. Or I should give up cooking shelled oysters.

It is sometimes good for me to see my wife working in the kitchen as a real house wife. It is an impression as a house husband. This was the last lesson.



Winter solstice and greetings for the season

The garden is still asleep in this cold snap. It has been freezing every morning for the past few days. They have had much snow in the mountain area near by which has disturbed traffic on the high ways.

In such a season, there is something getting ready for the next spring. One of them is flower buds on the magnolia tree. The buds are wrapped with fluffy coat. They will turn to be gorgeous flowers in 3 or 4 months. 

In a close up view.

It will be the winter solstice this year in 3 days. As always said, time is flying so fast. In Christianity, needless to say, it will the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ in a week.

I am not attracted by Christmas songs but am rather going to listen to Matthews Passion in this season, even though I left Christianity itself long time ago. But this Passion by great Bach always touches me a lot whenever listening to it. The famous dirigent as well as organist, Karl Richter, has recorded this work for 4 times in his life so far as I know. He has made debut for Matthews Passion in 1958, which are  performed in relatively fast tempo and in light touch, which has been welcomed by most music fans. It has shown the original architecture of this music and was thought to be closer to the original performance in Bach's era. The last one recorded 2 years before his death in 1979 is a kind of romantic expression. So was the recording in 1971. Some critics denounce he has returned to the old romanticism in Passion performance. It might be against the movement of authentic performance of Baroque or of Bach. But this 1979 version still could not help moving us living in this modern era. The 1st piece of overture progresses with the repeatition of ever lasting motif, which stands for the walk in slogging pace of Christ on the Gorgotha Hill. It seems to tell Christ accompanies those who are in anxiety and suffering in their lives. Accompaniment is the most powerful encouragement to them. In this context, Richter's last recording in rather slow and slogging pace touches me a lot.

Richter's Matthews Passion recorded in 1971;

Wishing every visitor to this blog relief from life load and suffering if you have any. Season's Greetings to you. 


Pork miso soup

 In this season, cold and dark, something hot is needed for a dish/soup.

This is pork miso soup, which people enjoy at this time in a year. It will warm up our body from its core. Taro harvested in the garden farm this fall was used as a material.

Pork roll of pumpkin will be also served in addition to this soup. Fresh salad will be ready as well.

Rice boiled with red beans takes the position of bread in the westernized dishes. This is also very good. 


Another walk and a memory of Christmas in '79

It was a warm breezy day today. In the afternoon with no clouds in the sky and sun was shining warmly, I went for a walk over to the rice farm area west of here. It took only 15 minutes to walk down there. Vast rice paddies spread. No one there. There were occasionally cars coming and going. A quiet place.

Northwest of here, we could see the mountains in Nikko. Clouds have covered the range and could not be seen. 

In a harvested paddy, pruned or cut branches of trees were piled high. I remembered it would be for a fire festival named Dondo Yaki which would be held in the mid January next year. They will burn all the ornaments or the religious tags given at shrines for the New Year's days. 

Some dishes and rice cakes will be served as well. I have never attended such a meeting. One reason was because I had been pretty busy around New Year's days for my work. My father or my wife used to join it when we were responsible for that. 

Looking up about this common festival in the season, I knew the same event had been held all over our country with different names. It seems to pray for good health and fortune in the new year. Another old religious tradition.

A road is running north and south between this rice farm area and the residential area east of it. Along that road, my mother's birth place is located. There used to be a spouse lady of my uncle, that is, my mother's elder brother, living there. My mother used to tell us the family was wealthy with a lot of properties. After the WWII, it has fallen to a common family. Now a daughter of a cousin and her family are living there. All of them, except for the cousin's daughter and her family, have already died. 

In the Christmasn of 1979, when we were newly married and started residency, we visited there for a Christmas event. An old aunt has brought Christianity to this country side when she suffered from tuberculosis and was well cared for by an American missionary lady in her student days in Sendai. I might have already told in this blog about her and her sanatorium having been started during WWII. She has advocated Christianity in conjunction with that small sanatorium. The sanatorium was for tuberculosis patients who had no aid from their families etc. Of course, it was a illness with absolutely poor prognosis those days. I bet it was a kind of private hospice welcoming those without any help in the society. I was born at that sanatorium. I have also written about that story elsewhere. 

I can't remember if we were invited to or were willing to. We came to this aunt's home for a Christmas event in the late Dec. Without own car, we came here on train and bus. It took us almost 2 hours. We didn't care for that. I was pleased to introduce my wife to the people there. Taking off a bus from the railway station nearby, 30 or 40 minutes ride, we were walking on this street. It was not paved. It was much colder than today. Hard wind was blowing from the Nikko mountains. Nostalgic enough. My wife did not complain of the long journey at that time. who knows how she reacts to such a proposal of trip in the cold wind. We both were young and ambitious for the future at that time. 

I had least idea to be settled down in this area those days. Sometimes ideas for another choice in life comes up in my mind. It is, however, no use to recollect old things like that. It has been the only choice for me and I should be grateful for that. 


A CW family

 I have met Ellen W1YL on 40m late in the afternoon yesterday. After 1.5 months absence. She sounded like a teen age girl finally operating W7RN via remote control. She told me Luis W4LT had done all the job for her. Luis has mother with almost the same age as Ellen. It was the reason, as Luis told to her, why he had worked setting the remote control for her. His bio. in QRZ.com sure tells he has mother aged 97 years, a bit older than Ellen. He was amazed how proficient on CW Ellen was. He might know operating CW was like breathing freely for Ellen. It must be another reason why he has eagerly worked for her. I don't know if he is reading this blog or not but would like to express my gratitude to his efforts for her. It was really important for her and for her friends all over the world including myself.

We have talked a lot while I was sipping cold lager as usual. Her ankle issue turned out to be cellulitis but not gout. It is even a good news. If cared for well, it won't recur like gout acute attack. Without CW fix, she has spent lonely days with Oreo, her company cat. He must be a bit happy to have been able to occupy her all day. With improvement of cellulitis, she could go for the doctor driving her car. Most emphasis was that she was more than happiest to operate CW like before with the aid of Luis. She asked about us and our kitten. Hearing out kitten is running all around and even climbing the curtain, she looked pleased and told me kittens always behaved in that way.

Listening to her story, I have remembered of Mike WB4ZKA I mentioned in this blog before.


His motto was "Tell me your story". I felt both Ellen and I were realizing that motto in the QSO. We are sure in the same community or even in a family in a sense.

I would go on joining that community from now on. May I hear not only the big signal of Ellen operating W7RN but also Mike operating with K1 4W and a wire antenna. I haven't heard him for several years.

Go on, Ellen. I will keep ears open to you!



Some vegetables are budding/growing Re Long COVID

As told before, silk pods are budding despite of frosty weather. They were covered with cold proof sheets. It is still amazing they are getting born from seeds. As a pediatrician who has sometimes attended risky delivery at the hospital to save the baby, I am still amazed at it. Getting birth, whether it is human, animal or even plant like this, is marvelous. They will slowly grown in the winter and will yield beans early in the next spring.  

Cabbages are also growing producing "balls". Hopefully, there will be no bugs inside the ball. Fresh cabbage is a good material for soup, salad, boiled dish and so on.

Garlic is also slowly growing in this cold weather. It might be ripe in the spring.  

For the last harvest of the lasts, several tomatoes were taken from almost dying tomato plants. Again, amazing they are still bearing fruits like this. They are destined to live in this way in order to leave their descendants.

 While pulling the weeds, a sweet potatoe was digged out. It will be cooked in a bonfire with fallen magnolia/chestnut leaves. Nothing is sweeter than that. It was my mother's favorite. Whenever I made bonfire in the garden, she, in her lastest years of live came close to me and asked if there was any sweet potato in it.


It seems the outbreak of COVID19 is getting worse everywhere in the world. It is getting a bit settled down in the region where strict outing ban was ordered like in France. Our government is still promoting travel with subsidiary. It is told to help the travel related industries. But more than a half of the budget for this promotion of travelling is spent for the contractors of the official work. No wonder there is a rotten connection between those companies and the politicians/administrative officers. 

I could not imagine what this would result in. One factor the government is playing down is that there is a problem of long term sequelle, that is called as Long COVID lately. It includes a variety of complications lasting long of pulmonary, cardiac and neurological pathological conditions. I am concerned about myocarditis which occurs in over a half of the cases, whether it is mild or serious, and could result in myocardiopathy later. Those Long COVID could be a burden to the society for social welfare and medical care in the future.