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Programmers and system administrators are mass profession. There were approximately 435K programmers in the USA in 2006. I think number of system administrators are roughly the same, so we can speak about the labor army of one million people.

Contrary to superficial impression of individual cubicles and nice environment, IT is actually very unhealthy profession. With a high chance to be unemployed after 50.  More often then not, there are periods of considerable stress. Some are caused by catastrophic failures of hardware equipment, some by unrealistic schedules and workloads, some by own errors of particular programmer or sysadmin.

Overtime is common. Job security is deteriorating as outsourcing is rampant.  Employment after 50 is not guaranteed. Environment changes way too fast, and not always for good. Fashion rules (remember The Devil Wears Prada). Toxic managers are common (remember Office Space ;-)

So sooner of later a programmer need to face "medical-industrial complex" of the USA. And this is a dangerous "for profit" beast with tremendous appetite which maims and kills annually considerable amount of people. Living under Neoliberalism with its "greed is good" mentality and "homo homini lupus est" slogan is indeed dangerous  and requires knowledge of elementary "self-defense". Hippocratic oath no longer applies to medical profession in the USA. Most doctors still follow it, but there real sharks among them (with some ending their careers in jail like regular criminals) and you need to hope for the best but  prepare for the worst.  Especially rampant abuse is with cardiac stents (Overuse of Cardiac Stents Linked to Patient Deaths) with around a dozen of cardiologists serving jail terms (see for example Stent doctor Salisbury stent doctor sentenced to federal prison )

As USA Today reported (Doctors perform thousands of unnecessary surgeries):

Since 2005, more than 1,000 doctors have made payments to settle or close malpractice claims in surgical cases that involved allegations of unnecessary or inappropriate procedures, according to a USA TODAY analysis of the U.S. government's National Practitioner Data Bank public use file, which tracks the suits. About half the doctors' payments involved allegations of serious permanent injury or death, and many of the cases involved multiple plaintiffs, suggesting many hundreds, if not thousands, of victims.

Journal of the American Medical Association  reviewed records for 112,000 patients who had an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD), a pacemaker-like device that corrects heartbeat irregularities. In 22.5% of the cases, researchers found no medical evidence to support installing the devices.

"Don't just take a doctor's word," says Patty Skolnik, who founded Citizens for Patient Safety after her son, Michael, died at 22 from complications in what she says was unnecessary brain surgery. "Research your doctor, research the procedure, ask questions, including the most important one: 'What will happen if I don't get this done?'"

A 1982 study in the journal Medical Care found that a mandatory second opinion program for Massachusetts Medicaid patients led to a 20% drop in certain surgeries, such as hysterectomies, that were considered more likely to be done unnecessarily. A 1997 study in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons looked at 5,601 patients recommended for surgery and found that second opinions found no need for the operation in 9% of the cases. Among those who got the countervailing second opinion, 62% opted not to have the operation.

But many patients simply aren't inclined to question their doctors.

"We expect the physician to know what's best for a patient," says William Root, chief compliance officer at Louisiana's Department of Health and Hospitals. "

We put so much faith and confidence in our physicians, (and) most of them deserve it. But when one of them is wrong or goes astray, it can do a lot of damage."

Chronic stress, overload, long hours, unhealthy diet  and other environmental factors  deeply and negatively affects the lifestyle of programmers and system administrators.  So there is nothing surprising that despite pretty comfortable work conditions many programmers/system administrators suffer from assortments on various diseases. Like other workers who spend long periods in front of a computer terminal typing at a keyboard, programmers are susceptible to:

Additional health problems are typical for those who experience constant stress and/or are typical "diseases of civilization". Among them

Also many programmers/sysadmins works as contractors and either do not have health insurance or have very basic health insurance. This is typical for young programmers and those who are over 50 and were let go on their previous jobs die to outsourcing

Low and middle income US citizens  spends far more on health care than any other country but gets only mediocre care in return for its investment. The U.S. national average score on 37 separate measures of health care falls far short when compared either to a few centers of excellence within the country, or to other countries, the report from the Commonwealth Fund found. And that's true not only in terms of mortality statistics but also in terms of quality of life.

The main problems with US healthcare are:

Programmers and system administrators can do much better is maintaining their health. And they are naturally equipped for dealing with complex system and thus able to navigate the maze of the USA "medical industrial complex"

A lot of outcomes depends on the level of individual knowledge. Knowledge is power both for avoiding unnecessary procedures (with some causing irreversible damage) , unnecessary overprescribed drugs, and when negotiating with health care providers.

Some facts:

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[Oct 21, 2020] COVID19 PCR Tests Are Scientifically Meaningless

Oct 21, 2020 |

Loooks like they reliable detemine only that fact that you do not have infection.

But a positive test can well be a false positive, due to excessive multiplication.

Though the whole world relies on RT-PCR to "diagnose" Sars-Cov-2 infection, the science is clear: they are not fit for purpose By Torsten Engelbrecht and Konstantin Demeter Global Research, October 18, 2020 OffGuardian 27 June 2020 Theme: Intelligence , Science and Medicine

2327 3499

First published on June 29, 2020

Lockdowns and hygienic measures around the world are based on numbers of cases and mortality rates created by the so-called SARS-CoV-2 RT-PCR tests used to identify "positive" patients, whereby "positive" is usually equated with "infected."

But looking closely at the facts, the conclusion is that these PCR tests are meaningless as a diagnostic tool to determine an alleged infection by a supposedly new virus called SARS-CoV-2.

Unfounded "Test, Test, Test, " mantra

At the media briefing on COVID-19 on March 16, 2020 , the WHO Director General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said:

We have a simple message for all countries: test, test, test."

The message was spread through headlines around the world, for instance by Reuters and the BBC .

Still on the 3 of May, the moderator of the Heute j ournal -- one of the most important news magazines on German television -- was passing the mantra of the corona dogma on to his audience with the admonishing words:

Test, test, test -- that is the credo at the moment, and it is the only way to really understand how much the coronavirus is spreading."

This indicates that the belief in the validity of the PCR tests is so strong that it equals a religion that tolerates virtually no contradiction.

But it is well known that religions are about faith and not about scientific facts. And as Walter Lippmann, the two-time Pulitzer Prize winner and perhaps the most influential journalist of the 20th century said: "Where all think alike, no one thinks very much."

So to start, it is very remarkable that Kary Mullis himself, the inventor of the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) technology, did not think alike. His invention got him the Nobel prize in chemistry in 1993.

Unfortunately, Mullis passed away last year at the age of 74, but there is no doubt that the biochemist regarded the PCR as inappropriate to detect a viral infection .

The reason is that the intended use of the PCR was, and still is, to apply it as a manufacturing technique, being able to replicate DNA sequences millions and billions of times, and not as a diagnostic tool to detect viruses.

How declaring virus pandemics based on PCR tests can end in disaster was described by Gina Kolata in her 2007 New York Times article Faith in Quick Test Leads to Epidemic That Wasn't .

Lack of a valid gold standard

Moreover, it is worth mentioning that the PCR tests used to identify so-called COVID-19 patients presumably infected by what is called SARS-CoV-2 do not have a valid gold standard to compare them with.

This is a fundamental point. Tests need to be evaluated to determine their preciseness -- strictly speaking their "sensitivity"[1] and "specificity" -- by comparison with a "gold standard," meaning the most accurate method available.

As an example, for a pregnancy test the gold standard would be the pregnancy itself. But as Australian infectious diseases specialist Sanjaya Senanayake, for example, stated in an ABC TV interview in an answer to the question "How accurate is the [COVID-19] testing?" :

If we had a new test for picking up [the bacterium] golden staph in blood, we've already got blood cultures, that's our gold standard we've been using for decades, and we could match this new test against that. But for COVID-19 we don't have a gold standard test."

Jessica C. Watson from Bristol University confirms this. In her paper "Interpreting a COVID-19 test result" , published recently in The British Medical Journal , she writes that there is a "lack of such a clear-cut 'gold-standard' for COVID-19 testing."

But instead of classifying the tests as unsuitable for SARS-CoV-2 detection and COVID-19 diagnosis, or instead of pointing out that only a virus, proven through isolation and purification, can be a solid gold standard, Watson claims in all seriousness that, "pragmatically" COVID-19 diagnosis itself, remarkably including PCR testing itself, "may be the best available 'gold standard'." But this is not scientifically sound.

Apart from the fact that it is downright absurd to take the PCR test itself as part of the gold standard to evaluate the PCR test, there are no distinctive specific symptoms for COVID-19, as even people such as Thomas Löscher, former head of the Department of Infection and Tropical Medicine at the University of Munich and member of the Federal Association of German Internists, conceded to us[2].

And if there are no distinctive specific symptoms for COVID-19, COVID-19 diagnosis -- contrary to Watson's statement -- cannot be suitable for serving as a valid gold standard.

In addition, "experts" such as Watson overlook the fact that only virus isolation, i.e. an unequivocal virus proof, can be the gold standard.

That is why I asked Watson how COVID-19 diagnosis "may be the best available gold standard," if there are no distinctive specific symptoms for COVID-19, and also whether the virus itself, that is virus isolation, wouldn't be the best available/possible gold standard. But she hasn't answered these questions yet – despite multiple requests. And she has not yet responded to our rapid response post on her article in which we address exactly the same points, either, though she wrote us on June 2nd : "I will try to post a reply later this week when I have a chance."

No proof for the RNA being of viral origin

Now the question is: What is required first for virus isolation/proof? We need to know where the RNA for which the PCR tests are calibrated comes from.

As textbooks (e.g., White/Fenner. Medical Virology, 1986, p. 9) as well as leading virus researchers such as Luc Montagnier or Dominic Dwyer state , particle purification -- i.e. the separation of an object from everything else that is not that object, as for instance Nobel laureate Marie Curie purified 100 mg of radium chloride in 1898 by extracting it from tons of pitchblende -- is an essential pre-requisite for proving the existence of a virus, and thus to prove that the RNA from the particle in question comes from a new virus.

The reason for this is that PCR is extremely sensitive, which means it can detect even the smallest pieces of DNA or RNA -- but it cannot determine where these particles came from . That has to be determined beforehand.

And because the PCR tests are calibrated for gene sequences (in this case RNA sequences because SARS-CoV-2 is believed to be a RNA virus), we have to know that these gene snippets are part of the looked-for virus. And to know that, correct isolation and purification of the presumed virus has to be executed.

Hence, we have asked the science teams of the relevant papers which are referred to in the context of SARS-CoV-2 for proof whether the electron-microscopic shots depicted in their in vitro experiments show purified viruses.

But not a single team could answer that question with "yes" -- and NB., nobody said purification was not a necessary step. We only got answers like "No, we did not obtain an electron micrograph showing the degree of purification" (see below).

We asked several study authors "Do your electron micrographs show the purified virus?", they gave the following responses:

Study 1: Leo L. M. Poon; Malik Peiris. "Emergence of a novel human coronavirus threatening human health" Nature Medicine , March 2020
Replying Author: Malik Peiris
Date: May 12, 2020
Answer: "The image is the virus budding from an infected cell. It is not purified virus."

Study 2: Myung-Guk Han et al. "Identification of Coronavirus Isolated from a Patient in Korea with COVID-19", Osong Public Health and Research Perspectives , February 2020
Replying Author: Myung-Guk Han
Date: May 6, 2020
Answer: "We could not estimate the degree of purification because we do not purify and concentrate the virus cultured in cells."

Study 3: Wan Beom Park et al. "Virus Isolation from the First Patient with SARS-CoV-2 in Korea", Journal of Korean Medical Science , February 24, 2020
Replying Author: Wan Beom Park
Date: March 19, 2020
Answer: "We did not obtain an electron micrograph showing the degree of purification."

Study 4: Na Zhu et al., "A Novel Coronavirus from Patients with Pneumonia in China", 2019, New England Journal of Medicine , February 20, 2020
Replying Author: Wenjie Tan
Date: March 18, 2020
Answer: "[We show] an image of sedimented virus particles, not purified ones."

Regarding the mentioned papers it is clear that what is shown in the electron micrographs (EMs) is the end result of the experiment, meaning there is no other result that they could have made EMs from.

That is to say, if the authors of these studies concede that their published EMs do not show purified particles, then they definitely do not possess purified particles claimed to be viral. (In this context, it has to be remarked that some researchers use the term "isolation" in their papers, but the procedures described therein do not represent a proper isolation (purification) process. Consequently, in this context the term "isolation" is misused).

Thus, the authors of four of the principal, early 2020 papers claiming discovery of a new coronavirus concede they had no proof that the origin of the virus genome was viral-like particles or cellular debris, pure or impure, or particles of any kind. In other words, the existence of SARS-CoV-2 RNA is based on faith, not fact.

We have also contacted Dr Charles Calisher, who is a seasoned virologist. In 2001, Science published an "impassioned plea to the younger generation" from several veteran virologists, among them Calisher, saying that:

[modern virus detection methods like] sleek polymerase chain reaction [ ] tell little or nothing about how a virus multiplies, which animals carry it, [or] how it makes people sick. [It is] like trying to say whether somebody has bad breath by looking at his fingerprint."[3]

And that's why we asked Dr Calisher whether he knows one single paper in which SARS-CoV-2 has been isolated and finally really purified. His answer:

I know of no such a publication. I have kept an eye out for one."[4]

This actually means that one cannot conclude that the RNA gene sequences, which the scientists took from the tissue samples prepared in the mentioned in vitro trials and for which the PCR tests are finally being "calibrated," belong to a specific virus -- in this case SARS-CoV-2.

In addition, there is no scientific proof that those RNA sequences are the causative agent of what is called COVID-19.

In order to establish a causal connection, one way or the other, i.e. beyond virus isolation and purification, it would have been absolutely necessary to carry out an experiment that satisfies the four Koch's postulates. But there is no such experiment, as Amory Devereux and Rosemary Frei recently revealed for OffGuardian .

The Tests: The Achilles Heel of the COVID-19 House of Cards

The necessity to fulfill these postulates regarding SARS-CoV-2 is demonstrated not least by the fact that attempts have been made to fulfill them. But even researchers claiming they have done it, in reality, did not succeed.

One example is a study published in Nature on May 7 . This trial, besides other procedures which render the study invalid, did not meet any of the postulates.

For instance, the alleged "infected" laboratory mice did not show any relevant clinical symptoms clearly attributable to pneumonia, which according to the third postulate should actually occur if a dangerous and potentially deadly virus was really at work there. And the slight bristles and weight loss, which were observed temporarily in the animals are negligible, not only because they could have been caused by the procedure itself, but also because the weight went back to normal again.

Also, no animal died except those they killed to perform the autopsies . And let's not forget: These experiments should have been done before developing a test, which is not the case.

Revealingly, none of the leading German representatives of the official theory about SARS-Cov-2/COVID-19 -- the Robert Koch-Institute (RKI), Alexander S. Kekulé (University of Halle), Hartmut Hengel and Ralf Bartenschlager (German Society for Virology), the aforementioned Thomas Löscher, Ulrich Dirnagl (Charité Berlin) or Georg Bornkamm (virologist and professor emeritus at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Munich) -- could answer the following question I have sent them:

If the particles that are claimed to be to be SARS-CoV-2 have not been purified, how do you want to be sure that the RNA gene sequences of these particles belong to a specific new virus?

Particularly, if there are studies showing that substances such as antibiotics that are added to the test tubes in the in vitro experiments carried out for virus detection can "stress" the cell culture in a way that new gene sequences are being formed that were not previously detectable -- an aspect that Nobel laureate Barbara McClintock already drew attention to in her Nobel Lecture back in 1983 .

It should not go unmentioned that we finally got the Charité – the employer of Christian Drosten, Germany's most influential virologist in respect of COVID-19, advisor to the German government and co-developer of the PCR test which was the first to be "accepted" ( not validated! ) by the WHO worldwide – to answer questions on the topic.

But we didn't get answers until June 18, 2020, after months of non-response. In the end, we achieved it only with the help of Berlin lawyer Viviane Fischer.

Regarding our question "Has the Charité convinced itself that appropriate particle purification was carried out?," the Charité concedes that they didn't use purified particles.

And although they claim "virologists at the Charité are sure that they are testing for the virus," in their paper ( Corman et al. ) they state:

RNA was extracted from clinical samples with the MagNA Pure 96 system (Roche, Penzberg, Germany) and from cell culture supernatants with the viral RNA mini kit (QIAGEN, Hilden, Germany),"

Which means they just assumed the RNA was viral .

Incidentally, the Corman et al. paper, published on January 23, 2020 didn't even go through a proper peer review process , nor were the procedures outlined therein accompanied by controls -- although it is only through these two things that scientific work becomes really solid.

Irrational rest results

It is also certain that we cannot know the false positive rate of the PCR tests without widespread testing of people who certainly do not have the virus, proven by a method which is independent of the test (having a solid gold standard).

Therefore, it is hardly surprising that there are several papers illustrating irrational test results.

For example, already in February the health authority in China's Guangdong province reported that people have fully recovered from illness blamed on COVID-19, started to test "negative," and then tested "positive" again .

A month later, a paper published in the Journal of Medical Virology showed that 29 out of 610 patients at a hospital in Wuhan had 3 to 6 test results that flipped between "negative", "positive" and "dubious" .

A third example is a study from Singapore in which tests were carried out almost daily on 18 patients and the majority went from "positive" to "negative" back to "positive" at least once, and up to five times in one patient .

Even Wang Chen, president of the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, conceded in February that the PCR tests are "only 30 to 50 per cent accurate" ; while Sin Hang Lee from the Milford Molecular Diagnostics Laboratory sent a l etter to the WHO's coronavirus response team and to Anthony S. Fauci on March 22, 2020, saying that:

It has been widely reported in the social media that the RT-qPCR [Reverse Transcriptase quantitative PCR] test kits used to detect SARSCoV-2 RNA in human specimens are generating many false positive results and are not sensitive enough to detect some real positive cases."

In other words, even if we theoretically assume that these PCR tests can really detect a viral infection, the tests would be practically worthless, and would only cause an unfounded scare among the "positive" people tested.

This becomes also evident considering the positive predictive value (PPV).

The PPV indicates the probability that a person with a positive test result is truly "positive" (ie. has the supposed virus), and it depends on two factors: the prevalence of the virus in the general population and the specificity of the test, that is the percentage of people without disease in whom the test is correctly "negative" (a test with a specificity of 95% incorrectly gives a positive result in 5 out of 100 non-infected people).

With the same specificity, the higher the prevalence, the higher the PPV.

In this context, on June 12 2020, the journal Deutsches Ärzteblatt published an article in which the PPV has been calculated with three different prevalence scenarios .

The results must, of course, be viewed very critically, first because it is not possible to calculate the specificity without a solid gold standard, as outlined, and second because the calculations in the article are based on the specificity determined in the study by Jessica Watson, which is potentially worthless, as also mentioned.

But if you abstract from it, assuming that the underlying specificity of 95% is correct and that we know the prevalence, even the mainstream medical journal Deutsches Ärzteblatt reports that the so-called SARS-CoV-2 RT-PCR tests may have "a shockingly low" PPV.

In one of the three scenarios, figuring with an assumed prevalence of 3%, the PPV was only 30 percent, which means that 70 percent of the people tested "positive" are not "positive" at all . Yet "they are prescribed quarantine," as even the Ärzteblatt notes critically.

In a second scenario of the journal's article, a prevalence of rate of 20 percent is assumed. In this case they generate a PPV of 78 percent, meaning that 22 percent of the "positive" tests are false "positives."

That would mean: If we take the around 9 million people who are currently considered "positive" worldwide -- supposing that the true "positives" really have a viral infection -- we would get almost 2 million false "positives."

All this fits with the fact that the CDC and the FDA, for instance, concede in their files that the so-called "SARS-CoV-2 RT-PCR tests" are not suitable for SARS-CoV-2 diagnosis.

In the "CDC 2019-Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) Real-Time RT-PCR Diagnostic Panel" file from March 30, 2020, for example, it says:

Detection of viral RNA may not indicate the presence of infectious virus or that 2019-nCoV is the causative agent for clinical symptoms"


This test cannot rule out diseases caused by other bacterial or viral pathogens."

And the FDA admits that :

positive results [ ] do not rule out bacterial infection or co-infection with other viruses. The agent detected may not be the definite cause of disease."

Remarkably, in the instruction manuals of PCR tests we can also read that they are not intended as a diagnostic test, as for instance in those by Altona Diagnostics and Creative Diagnostics[ 5 ].

To quote another one, in the product announcement of the LightMix Modular Assays produced by TIB Molbiol -- which were developed using the Corman et al. protocol -- and distributed by Roche we can read:

These assays are not intended for use as an aid in the diagnosis of coronavirus infection"


For research use only. Not for use in diagnostic procedures."

Where is the evidence that the tests can measure the "viral load"?

There is also reason to conclude that the PCR test from Roche and others cannot even detect the targeted genes .

Moreover, in the product descriptions of the RT-qPCR tests for SARS-COV-2 it says they are "qualitative" tests , contrary to the fact that the "q" in "qPCR" stands for "quantitative." And if these tests are not "quantitative" tests, they don't show how many viral particles are in the body .

That is crucial because, in order to even begin talking about actual illness in the real world not only in a laboratory, the patient would need to have millions and millions of viral particles actively replicating in their body.

That is to say, the CDC, the WHO, the FDA or the RKI may assert that the tests can measure the so-called "viral load," i.e. how many viral particles are in the body. "But this has never been proven. That is an enormous scandal," as the journalist Jon Rappoport points out .

This is not only because the term "viral load" is deception. If you put the question "what is viral load?" at a dinner party, people take it to mean viruses circulating in the bloodstream. They're surprised to learn it's actually RNA molecules.

Also, to prove beyond any doubt that the PCR can measure how much a person is "burdened" with a disease-causing virus, the following experiment would have had to be carried out (which has not yet happened):

You take, let's say, a few hundred or even thousand people and remove tissue samples from them. Make sure the people who take the samples do not perform the test.The testers will never know who the patients are and what condition they're in. The testers run their PCR on the tissue samples. In each case, they say which virus they found and how much of it they found. Then, for example, in patients 29, 86, 199, 272, and 293 they found a great deal of what they claim is a virus. Now we un-blind those patients. They should all be sick, because they have so much virus replicating in their bodies. But are they really sick -- or are they fit as a fiddle?

With the help of the aforementioned lawyer Viviane Fischer, I finally got the Charité to also answer the question of whether the test developed by Corman et al. -- the so-called "Drosten PCR test" -- is a quantitative test.

But the Charité was not willing to answer this question "yes". Instead, the Charité wrote:

If real-time RT-PCR is involved, to the knowledge of the Charité in most cases these are [ ] limited to qualitative detection."

Furthermore, the "Drosten PCR test" uses the unspecific E-gene assay as preliminary assay , while the Institut Pasteur uses the same assay as confirmatory assay .

According to Corman et al., the E-gene assay is likely to detect all Asian viruses , while the other assays in both tests are supposed to be more specific for sequences labelled "SARS-CoV-2".

Besides the questionable purpose of having either a preliminary or a confirmatory test that is likely to detect all Asian viruses, at the beginning of April the WHO changed the algorithm, recommending that from then on a test can be regarded as "positive" even if just the E-gene assay (which is likely to detect all Asian viruses! ) gives a "positive" result .

This means that a confirmed unspecific test result is officially sold as specific .

That change of algorithm increased the "case" numbers. Tests using the E-gene assay are produced for example by Roche , TIB Molbiol and R-Biopharm .

High CQ values make the test results even more meaningless

Another essential problem is that many PCR tests have a "cycle quantification" (Cq) value of over 35, and some, including the "Drosten PCR test", even have a Cq of 45.

The Cq value specifies how many cycles of DNA replication are required to detect a real signal from biological samples.

"Cq values higher than 40 are suspect because of the implied low efficiency and generally should not be reported," as it says in the MIQE guidelines .

MIQE stands for "Minimum Information for Publication of Quantitative Real-Time PCR Experiments", a set of guidelines that describe the minimum information necessary for evaluating publications on Real-Time PCR, also called quantitative PCR, or qPCR.

The inventor himself, Kary Mullis, agreed, when he stated :

If you have to go more than 40 cycles to amplify a single-copy gene, there is something seriously wrong with your PCR."

The MIQE guidelines have been developed under the aegis of Stephen A. Bustin , Professor of Molecular Medicine, a world-renowned expert on quantitative PCR and author of the book A-Z of Quantitative PCR which has been called "the bible of qPCR."

In a recent podcast interview Bustin points out that "the use of such arbitrary Cq cut-offs is not ideal, because they may be either too low (eliminating valid results) or too high (increasing false "positive" results)."

And, according to him, a Cq of 20 to 30 should be aimed at, and there is concern regarding the reliability of the results for any Cq over 35.

If the Cq value gets too high, it becomes difficult to distinguish real signal from background, for example due to reactions of primers and fluorescent probes, and hence there is a higher probability of false positives.

Moreover, among other factors that can alter the result, before starting with the actual PCR, in case you are looking for presumed RNA viruses such as SARS-CoV-2, the RNA must be converted to complementary DNA (cDNA) with the enzyme Reverse Transcriptase -- hence the "RT" at the beginning of "PCR" or "qPCR."

But this transformation process is "widely recognized as inefficient and variable," as Jessica Schwaber from the Centre for Commercialization of Regenerative Medicine in Toronto and two research colleagues pointed out in a 2019 paper .

Stephen A. Bustin acknowledges problems with PCR in a comparable way.

For example, he pointed to the problem that in the course of the conversion process (RNA to cDNA) the amount of DNA obtained with the same RNA base material can vary widely, even by a factor of 10 (see above interview).

Considering that the DNA sequences get doubled at every cycle, even a slight variation becomes magnified and can thus alter the result, annihilating the test's reliable informative value.

So how can it be that those who claim the PCR tests are highly meaningful for so-called COVID-19 diagnosis blind out the fundamental inadequacies of these tests -- even if they are confronted with questions regarding their validity?

Certainly, the apologists of the novel coronavirus hypothesis should have dealt with these questions before throwing the tests on the market and putting basically the whole world under lockdown, not least because these are questions that come to mind immediately for anyone with even a spark of scientific understanding.

Thus, the thought inevitably emerges that financial and political interests play a decisive role for this ignorance about scientific obligations. NB, the WHO, for example has financial ties with drug companies, as the British Medical Journal showed in 2010 .

And experts criticize "that the notorious corruption and conflicts of interest at WHO have continued, even grown" since then. The CDC as well, to take another big player, is obviously no better off .

Finally, the reasons and possible motives remain speculative, and many involved surely act in good faith; but the science is clear: The numbers generated by these RT-PCR tests do not in the least justify frightening people who have been tested "positive" and imposing lockdown measures that plunge countless people into poverty and despair or even drive them to suicide.

And a "positive" result may have serious consequences for the patients as well, because then all non-viral factors are excluded from the diagnosis and the patients are treated with highly toxic drugs and invasive intubations. Especially for elderly people and patients with pre-existing conditions such a treatment can be fatal, as we have outlined in the article "Fatal Therapie."

Without doubt eventual excess mortality rates are caused by the therapy and by the lockdown measures, while the "COVID-19" death statistics comprise also patients who died of a variety of diseases, redefined as COVID-19 only because of a "positive" test result whose value could not be more doubtful.

Addendum: We thank Eleni Papadopulos-Eleopulos and Val Turner in particular who made valuable contributions to the realization of this article.


Note to readers: please click the share buttons above or below. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

Torsten Engelbrecht is an award-winning journalist and author from Hamburg, Germany. In 2006 he co-authored Virus-Mania with Dr Klaus Kohnlein, and in 2009 he won the German Alternate Media Award . He has also written for Rubikon, Süddeutsche Zeitung, Financial Times Deutschland and many others.

Konstantin Demeter is a freelance photographer and an independent researcher. Together with the journalist Torsten Engelbrecht he has published articles on the "COVID-19" crisis in the online magazine Rubikon, as well as contributions on the monetary system, geopolitics, and the media in Swiss Italian newspapers.

[Oct 20, 2020] Does America Have A COVID Problem Or An Obesity Problem

Highly recommended!
Covid-19 essentially revealed the sad truth.
Oct 20, 2020 |

While we have previously reported - and by now it is common knowledge - that Covid-19 usually kills only the very old with virtually no deaths in the 45 and under category and most deaths in the 75 and over category.

Indeed, as Deutsche Bank's Jim Reid noted when discussing the average age of fatalities from Covid, "it is remarkably consistent around the 80-82 year old mark."

Then overnight, Bloomberg's John Authers pointed out how startling this mortality rate varies from country to country, when referencing another chart from Jim Reid:

As Authers writes, "The U.S. is a remarkable outlier. How can that possibly be?"

According to Reid, a small part of this might be down to many of the other countries having an older population. For example, Italy's median age is 45 (43 in Europe), whereas it is 38 for the US.

However, another explanation offered by the Bloomberg commentator, which feeds into the political debate of the moment, "is that all the other developed countries on this chart have some form of universal state-provided healthcare." But rather than get embroiled in that debate, Authers instead looks at the normal average age of people when they die. The following is a chart of life expectancy (in years) at birth for all the members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development:

As shown in the chart above, the U.S. - which as we discussed last week is turning into a banana republic with just a 50% share of the population in middle-income households, roughly the same category as Turkey, China and, drumroll, Russia - has lower life expectancy than the Czech Republic or Chile, and is lagged only by countries that are significantly poorer. It trails the other major economies by several years, in many cases roughly equal to the gap in the age at which Covid-19 victims die.

According to Authers, instead of focusing on Covid, "it might make sense for the U.S. healthcare debate to revolve around treating this as a national disgrace and trying to make common cause over fixing it, rather than having an arid political argument, but I digress."

Which brings us to the topic at hand, namely does America have a covid problem, or is it just an extension of America's far more serious problem of obesity. To wit, tne of its greatest life-shortening effects is diabetes. Here are the most recent OECD numbers on diabetes prevalence:

As Authers observes, "the U.S. lags behind only the much poorer nations of Turkey and Mexico in this dismal category, and has more than double the diabetes prevalence of the main developed economies of Europe", and summarizes:

Once the country has finished tearing itself apart over the pandemic, which will probably only happen once the virus has finally gone away, a new debate over diabetes and obesity will be necessary. Let's hope it can be more constructive than the current one.

The numbers also shed light on why the US has had a relatively difficult time containing the pandemic according to the Bloomberg author, and also suggests that a "Swedish" model of "focused protection" for those most vulnerable could be harder to apply to the US, because a far higher proportion of obese Americans are at risk. In other words,"allowing most of the population to return to life as normal is going to require confining a lot of people to their homes for the duration -- judging by the diabetes numbers, maybe twice as many as in Sweden, as a proportion of the population. As Authers puts it " that isn't feasible. "

Of course, concerns about the obesity epidemic - and not just in the U.S. - are nothing new, and we have covered them for much of the past decade . Additionally, the attempt by investors to profit from obesity is also not new. Back in 2012, Bank of America published a report on "Globesity" which it described as one of three global mega-trends. As Authers reminds us, "it offered a list of 50 stocks that it thought would benefit from a global fight on obesity, including some counterintuitive names such as Pepsico Inc. and Nestle SA, both of which it thought were better positioned to move toward less fattening products -- but which produce plenty of products, such as sugary drinks, that contribute to obesity."

One year earlier, Solactive started an obesity index of smaller companies working in drugs and diagnostics connected to the issue -- primarily diabetes. Soon after, Janus Henderson launched an exchange-traded fund to track it, with the appropriate ticker symbol "SLIM." Then, in January of this year, the announcement was made that the ETF would be liquidated, an event that finally took place on March 12. As Authers writes, "that represented a missed opportunity" because this is how the obesity index has performed relative to the S&P 500 since inception



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And here a remarkable statistic: the SLIMmers have done even better than the FANGs since the market bottom, meaning that bets on America getting fatter are even more profitable than betting on the giga-caps.

That said, as Authers notes judging by the valuations of the obesity index at present, the short-term opportunity may have passed. It trades at an insane P/E ratio of 94.66x, (which "drops" to 30.4 if one excludes the non-profitable companies). For the longer term, however, the lesson according to Authers that all countries should learn from the dreadful experience of the U.S. over the last eight months is that any given health emergency grows that much worse if you are overweight.

In summary, " it's too late to help in the battle against Covid-19, and it's too late to profit from the smallest companies working in the fight against diabetes, but the world will have to combat obesity. In due course, capital will flow toward financing that fight. "

[Oct 15, 2020] Three scientists give their best advice on how to protect yourself from COVID-19

Notable quotes:
"... COVID-19 spreads mainly among people who are in close contact (within about 6 feet) for a prolonged period. ..."
"... "Current data do not support long range aerosol transmission of SARS-CoV-2, such as seen with measles or tuberculosis. Short-range inhalation of aerosols is a possibility for COVID-19, as with many respiratory pathogens. However, this cannot easily be distinguished from 'droplet' transmission based on epidemiologic patterns. Short-range transmission is a possibility particularly in crowded medical wards and inadequately ventilated spaces ." ..."
"... Kimberly A. Prather, PhD, Distinguished Chair in Atmospheric Chemistry, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego. ..."
"... Linsey C Marr, PhD, Charles P. Lunsford Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Virginia Tech. ..."
"... Donald K Milton, MD, DrPH, Professor of Environment Health at The University of Maryland School of Public Health. ..."
Oct 15, 2020 |

Right now, the CDC website does not acknowledge that aerosols typically spread SARS-CoV-2 beyond 6 feet, instead saying :

" COVID-19 spreads mainly among people who are in close contact (within about 6 feet) for a prolonged period. Spread happens when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks, and droplets from their mouth or nose are launched into the air and land in the mouths or noses of people nearby. The droplets can also be inhaled into the lungs."

The site says that respiratory droplets can land on various surfaces, and people can become infected from touching those surfaces and then touching their eyes, nose or mouth. It goes on to say,

"Current data do not support long range aerosol transmission of SARS-CoV-2, such as seen with measles or tuberculosis. Short-range inhalation of aerosols is a possibility for COVID-19, as with many respiratory pathogens. However, this cannot easily be distinguished from 'droplet' transmission based on epidemiologic patterns. Short-range transmission is a possibility particularly in crowded medical wards and inadequately ventilated spaces ."

Confusion has surrounded the use of words like "aerosols" and "droplets" because they have not been consistently defined. And the word "airborne" takes on special meaning for infectious disease experts and public health officials because of the question of whether infection can be readily spread by "airborne transmission." If SARS-CoV-2 is readily spread by airborne transmission, then more stringent infection control measures would need to be adopted, as is done with airborne diseases such as measles and tuberculosis. But the CDC has told CBS News chief medical correspondent Dr. Jonathan LaPook that even if airborne spread is playing a role with SARS-CoV-2, the role does not appear to be nearly as important as with airborne infections like measles and tuberculosis.

All this may sound like wonky scientific discussion that is deep in the weeds -- and it is -- but it has big implications as people try to figure out how to stay safe during the pandemic. Some pieces of advice are intuitively obvious: wear a mask, wash your hands, avoid crowds, keep your distance from others, outdoors is safer than indoors. But what about that "6 foot" rule for maintaining social distance? If the virus can travel indoors for distances greater than 6 feet, isn't it logical to wear a mask indoors whenever you are with people who are not part of your "pod" or "bubble?"

Understanding the basic science behind how SARS-CoV-2 travels through the air should help give us strategies for staying safe. Unfortunately, there are still many open questions. For example, even if aerosols produced by an infected person can float across a room, and even if the aerosols contain some viable virus, how do we know how significant a role that possible mode of transmission is playing in the pandemic?

Aerosols can be thought of as cigarette smoke. While they are most concentrated close to someone who has the infection, they can travel farther than 6 feet, linger, build up in the air and remain infectious for hours. As a consequence, to lessen the chance of inhaling this virus, it is vital to take all of the following steps:



Whether you are indoors or outdoors, remember that your risk increases with the duration of your exposure to others.

With the question of transmission, it's not just the public that has been confused. There's also been confusion among scientists, medical professionals and public health officials, in part because they have often used the words "droplets" and "aerosols" differently. To address the confusion, participants in an August workshop on airborne transmission of SARS-CoV-2 at the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine suggested these definitions for respiratory droplets and aerosols::

All respiratory activities, including breathing, talking and singing, produce far more aerosols than droplets. A person is far more likely to inhale aerosols than to be sprayed by a droplet, even at short range. The exact percentage of transmission by droplets versus aerosols is still to be determined. But we know from epidemiologic and other data, especially superspreading events , that infection does occur through inhalation of aerosols.

In short, how are we getting infected by SARS-CoV-2? The answer is: In the air. Once we acknowledge this, we can use tools we already have to help end this pandemic.

Kimberly A. Prather, PhD, Distinguished Chair in Atmospheric Chemistry, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego.

Linsey C Marr, PhD, Charles P. Lunsford Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Virginia Tech.

Donald K Milton, MD, DrPH, Professor of Environment Health at The University of Maryland School of Public Health.

[Oct 06, 2020] Discussion of Trump's illness tends to obscure the reality that he, unlike most Americans and others who suffer from the virus, is getting proper treatment and all the necessary care to deal with the virus.

Oct 06, 2020 |

bevin , Oct 4 2020 15:16 utc | 13

Discussion of Trump's illness tends to obscure the reality that he, unlike most Americans and others who suffer from the virus, is getting proper treatment and all the necessary care to deal with the virus.

Most of those who have died did not get anything like that treatment, indeed they were left to die by Healthcare systems which are almost all infected by obsessions with profit and efficiency which have led to the dismantling- often in 'socialised' systems such as those in the UK and Canada- of nursing staffs and ICU capacity.
The truth is that Covid has exposed the fault lines in capitalist class society and the result has been that a million people have died, many of them, it looks increasingly clear, because the capitalists regard them as expendable, and politicians are confident that even if they decimate the electorate and kill off the elderly in every family they will still be able to convince the survivors that such behaviour is acceptable.

In Ontario, disabled people are charging the hospital system with having adopted a triage protocol which, essentially, puts patients with disabilities at the bottom of the list when treatment is being rationed. This is a practice which long pre-dates the current pandemic, as do many of the administrative malpractices which have contributed to death tolls in the "west" far exceeding those in the Far East where life is more valued.

In the UK the SKAWKBOX blog has released an Amnesty report which it describes as having destroyed government claims
"..that the Tories 'threw a protective ring' around care homes during the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic."

It suggests that

"*the huge number of deaths caused by COVID-19 in care homes – well over 18,000 at the very least, but in reality almost 30,000 based on 'excess' deaths attributable to likely undiagnosed cases
breach of residents' human rights by the government's behaviour
"*the fact that the government knowingly put the people most at risk of the worst effects of the virus in the firing line
"*the fact that returning known-infected patients back to care homes on a huge scale was government policy (it still is, despite claims to have changed it)
*the government telling care homes not to use PPE (personal protective equipment) with asymptomatic infected patients
*blanket 'do not resuscitate' orders on elderly residents without regard for their or their family's wishes
*protected the NHS' by denying treatment to older and more vulnerable sufferers – condemning thousands to a hideous death – 'protection' that the Tories consistently boasted about.
"The report also details multiple ways in which government policies denied care home residents their human rights and put them at risk of inhumane treatment.... the report concludes – and says so in its title – that residents were treated as 'expendable'.

"That's geriatricide – the murder of our old and vulnerable."

[Oct 06, 2020] 'False' positive Covid-19 tests saw non-contagious people counted as fresh infections triggered 2nd wave alarm Belgian media -- RT World News

Oct 06, 2020 |

'False' positive Covid-19 tests saw non-contagious people counted as fresh infections & triggered 2nd wave alarm – Belgian media 5 Oct, 2020 15:36 / Updated 2 hours ago Get short URL 'False' positive Covid-19 tests saw non-contagious people counted as fresh infections & triggered 2nd wave alarm – Belgian media FILE PHOTO © Global Look Press / Frank Hoermann / SVEN SIMON 66 Follow RT on RT Over a half of coronavirus infections revealed this summer by one of Belgium's biggest labs were old and no longer contagious, but were still reported as new cases, local media discovered.

Belgian daily newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws examined the tests carried out by AZ Delta, one of the largest labs in the country, and made a stunning discovery. Almost half of all positive cases reported throughout June, July and August were actually people with an old infection.

The problem, it turns out, lies in the PCR Covid-19 tests. The paper reports that scientific data reveals virus particles can be detected up to 83 days after the actual infection. This led to instances where people were no longer contagious, but were still registered as positive cases. According to HLN, all of these people had to be quarantined.

Belgian experts sounded the alarm in mid-July, when coronavirus numbers spiked after a relief in June, and even insisted that the second wave had already begun for the country.

"We may have had to deal with old infections largely in the summer months," the lab's clinical biologist Frederik Van Hoecke told the paper.

ALSO ON RT.COM Paris to shutter bars for 2 weeks as French capital placed on Covid-19 high alert

The revelation comes as countries look to reintroduce restrictions to curb the spread of the virus.

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[Oct 03, 2020] Following PCR-confirmation of the President's diagnosis, as a precautionary measure he received a single 8 gram dose of Regeneron's polyclonal antibody cocktail

Oct 03, 2020 |

vk , Oct 2 2020 23:09 utc | 145

It's confirmed: Trump won't be treated with hydroxycloroquine:

Physician to the President: Health Update on President Donald J. Trump, Oct. 2, 2020

"Following PCR-confirmation of the President's diagnosis, as a precautionary measure he received a single 8 gram dose of Regeneron's polyclonal antibody cocktail . He completed the infusion without incident. In addition to the polyclonal antibodies, the President has been taking zinc, vitamin D, famotidine, melatonin and a daily aspirin."

When the cookie crumbled, no hydroxycloroquine was taken - even in a case of of initial phase of the disease. It is below even a single aspirin in the COVID-19's treatment food chain (which is being ministered, among other supplements, just to keep Trump's body strong while the main drug takes effect, as is normal to old patients).

On the bright side, at least we know the name of the real deal: Regeneron.

[Oct 02, 2020] Covid-19 triggered wave of 'fraud and quackery' in medical research, leading ethicist warns -- RT World News

Notable quotes:
"... Given what's at stake, Bramstedt proposes an overhaul of the submissions process to make it more efficient, while also introducing mandatory ethics and integrity training for researchers. ..."
"... "Research has the potential to enter the public domain and be used by many stakeholders, including governments and policy makers, so the data must be robust," she concludes. ..."
Oct 02, 2020 |

A leading ethicist is sounding the alarm over a flood of potentially substandard pandemic research which may endanger lives through ill-informed public policy, while damaging medical and scientific practice itself in the process.

There has been a surge of almost 4,000 recently-published papers related to Covid-19, many of which have been of questionable quality, according to Professor Katrina Bramstedt from Bond University, Queensland, who is also secretary general at the Luxembourg Agency for Research Integrity.

Bramstedt recently published her own study examining the poor quality of Covid-19 research, which forms the basis of her recent criticisms.

Amid the rush to print the latest updates and 'breakthroughs' in Covid-19 research, there has been a slew of retracted research papers, following an unprecedented number of submissions to pre-print servers, which carry out fewer quality assurance and due diligence checks than established medical journals.

"No research team is exempt from the pressures and speed at which COVID-19 research is occurring. And this can increase the risk of honest error as well as deliberate misconduct," Bramstedt says.

The rapid spread of the pandemic and the growing public thirst for information forced researchers into overdrive looking for treatments, vaccines, and cures potentially endangering patients, medical practitioners, and potentially government policy.

As of July 31, 2020, 19 published articles and 14 preprints about Covid-19 have been retracted, withdrawn or been seriously called into question with regards to the quality of their data. Over 57 percent of these papers come from Asia, over half of which came from China.

There were concerns reported over falsified data, issues with methodology, irregularities in interpretation of data, and conclusions among a multitude of other issues.

I've lost all trust in medical research – the financial muscle of Big Pharma has been busy distorting science during the pandemic

Even the paragons of medical research best practice, the Lancet and New England Journal of Medicine, were forced to retract two preprints and two research papers due to the presence of unverified data shared by all four.

"Patient harm that is significant, permanent and irreversible could result from using faulty research results from preprints as well as published papers," she adds.

Bramstedt highlights the time and resource constraints under which researchers, their supervisors, as well as publishers and their editors are operating under as a major factor in the plethora of poor quality research.

Add to the mix the fact that many peer reviewers work on a voluntary basis with competing demands on their time, especially as they face uncertainty through the pandemic, and issues with quality control are largely inevitable.

At the same time, convening cross-disciplinary meetings of leading immunologists, microbiologists, and lung disease specialists on a consistent basis to share, review, and discuss research during such trying times is increasingly difficult.

Given what's at stake, Bramstedt proposes an overhaul of the submissions process to make it more efficient, while also introducing mandatory ethics and integrity training for researchers.

"Research has the potential to enter the public domain and be used by many stakeholders, including governments and policy makers, so the data must be robust," she concludes.

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Smythe_Mogg 8 hours ago 2 Oct, 2020 08:10 AM

Medical research has for long been diluted in quality by inherently inconsequential studies, incompetently designed and/or executed studies, and pressure to value quantity over quality. Mediocrity and worse abounds among researchers. Thus, Bramstedt's findings are all too plausible.
Tango 8 hours ago 2 Oct, 2020 08:42 AM
Unfortunately this "ethicist" doesn't focus on the quackery that has come from the leading government experts and researchers including Ferguson, Drosten, Zambon, Fauci, Holmes, Rambaut, Burioni and all the rest.
Hanonymouse Tango 1 hour ago 2 Oct, 2020 03:21 PM
Yeah epidemiology used to be about tracking a disease, not a form of government... If only these constant lockdowns and re-openings weren't destroying people's lives then I would find it funny that politicians think they can chase statistics that lag by 2+ weeks and have it mean anything. But it IS destroying people's lives. Those businesses and jobs are not coming back once this mess is over.
diessa 8 hours ago 2 Oct, 2020 07:58 AM
wave of fraud and quackery in medical research re convid, actually sums it up!
Timkun 3 hours ago 2 Oct, 2020 01:09 PM
Research is an expensive endeavour. Management typically doesn't like it, because there is usually no profit. At the university level, many "experts" are ego driven, find it hard to admit that their theory may be wrong. IMO from years working in research, I find that because so much money is on the line, today, research is less of an exact science. The reason; more money and recognition for being first.
Count_Cash 8 hours ago 2 Oct, 2020 08:21 AM
Demand has a habit of overwhelming any system. Of course Covid-19 has spurred increased research - it should have. So the system has broken and needs a few changes to make it more efficient..... However, when there is a huge financial benefit in driving the demand, you may well find that no matter what you do, a way will be found around it. That is the bigger issue!
Gerald Comeau Count_Cash 7 hours ago 2 Oct, 2020 09:16 AM
Demand? This has little to do with demand? It seems to me greed and opportunism on the part of scientists aspiring career advancement is more in line, with what is going on, than demand.
eyeofmice 7 hours ago 2 Oct, 2020 09:21 AM
check out a real doctors Dr. Andrew Kaufman and Dr. Vernon Coleman who are exposing this hoax and are being censored.
Logicthought 7 hours ago 2 Oct, 2020 09:39 AM
Medical Research has brought the Medical Profession into disrepute ...

[Sep 28, 2020] No wonder Pompey and his friend Jeffries won't give up on Syria! No wonder

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Virtually every aspect of the Syrian opposition was cultivated and marketed by Western government-backed public relations firms, from their political narratives to their branding, from what they said to where they said it. ..."
Sep 28, 2020 |

"Western government-funded intelligence cutouts trained Syrian opposition leaders, planted stories in media outlets from BBC to Al Jazeera, and ran a cadre of journalists. A trove of leaked documents exposes the propaganda network."

"Leaked documents show how UK government contractors developed an advanced infrastructure of propaganda to stimulate support in the West for Syria's political and armed opposition.

Virtually every aspect of the Syrian opposition was cultivated and marketed by Western government-backed public relations firms, from their political narratives to their branding, from what they said to where they said it.

The leaked files reveal how Western intelligence cutouts played the media like a fiddle, carefully crafting English- and Arabic-language media coverage of the war on Syria to churn out a constant stream of pro-opposition coverage.

US and European contractors trained and advised Syrian opposition leaders at all levels, from young media activists to the heads of the parallel government-in-exile . These firms also organized interviews for Syrian opposition leaders on mainstream outlets such as BBC and the UK's Channel 4.

More than half of the stringers used by Al Jazeera in Syria were trained in a joint US-UK government program called Basma, which produced hundreds of Syrian opposition media activists.

Western government PR firms not only influenced the way the media covered Syria, but as the leaked documents reveal, they produced their own propagandistic pseudo-news for broadcast on major TV networks in the Middle East, including BBC Arabic, Al Jazeera, Al Arabiya, and Orient TV .

These UK-funded firms functioned as full-time PR flacks for the extremist-dominated Syrian armed opposition. One contractor, called InCoStrat, said it was in constant contact with a network of more than 1,600 international journalists and "influencers," and used them to push pro-opposition talking points.

Another Western government contractor, ARK, crafted a strategy to "re-brand" Syria's Salafi-jihadist armed opposition by "softening its image ." ARK boasted that it provided opposition propaganda that "aired almost every day on" major Arabic-language TV networks."

"The Western contractor ARK was a central force in launching the White Helmets operation.

The leaked documents show ARK ran the Twitter and Facebook pages of Syria Civil Defense, known more commonly as the White Helmets.

ARK took credit for developing "an internationally-focused communications campaign designed to raise global awareness of the (White Helmets) teams and their life saving work."

ARK also facilitated communications between the White Helmets and The Syria Campaign , a PR firm run out of London and New York that helped popularize the White Helmets in the United States.

It was apparently "following subsequent discussions with ARK and the teams" that The Syria Campaign "selected civil defence to front its campaign to keep Syria in the news," the firm wrote in a report for the UK Foreign Office." thegreyzone


Using really basic intelligence analytic tools; Occam's Razor, Walks like a duck, Smileyesque back azimuth's, etc. it has been clear that the UK government has been deeply involved in sponsoring and influencing the Syrian/ jihadi opposition in that miserable country. The wide spread British Old Boys network of aspirants to the tradition of imperial manipulation has been visible just below the surface if you had eyes to look and a brain to think.

A lot of the money for this folly came right out of USAID.


ISL , 27 September 2020 at 04:03 PM

Dear Colonel agreed.

I object to the line in the article that they "played the media like a fiddle" - as it implies the mainstream media is a victim as opposed to willing accomplice.

The American public very strongly told Obama they didn't want another invasion and war in the middle east (red lines or not) so rather ineffective propaganda.

Moreover, I suspect that given the US public inattention to overseas events that do not involve much US blood (in places they can not find on a map). Today's mess would be where more or less the same if the entire IO had never happened - though maybe with less cynicism of US/UK gov'ts and media.

OTH, it is curious how well the British Old Boys network (and US) aligns with Israeli interests (and runs counter to US or British interests). Maybe grayzone will investigate that (impressive) IO campaign. I think a small country in the middle east played US and UK elites like a fiddle.

The Twisted Genius , 27 September 2020 at 04:48 PM

I've only given this article a cursory reading so far and it is clear that the Brits are going balls to the wall on the PSYOPS/perception management front. This campaign flows naturally from the strong material support for the Syrian "moderate rebels" provided by the US, the Brits and probably others for years. We may still be blowing up IS jihadis, but we're also supporting our own brand of jihadis around Al-Tanf, giving free hand to Erdogan's jihadis along the Turkish-Syrian border and doing our best to stymie R+6 efforts to crush the remaining jihadis and unite Syria.

The article focuses on the contractors role in PSYOP. I'm not sure if it mentions the British government's role in this. The GCHQ's Joint Threat Research Intelligence Group (JTRIG) probably manages most of those contractors. The British Army also has the 77th Brigade. This brigade's slogan is: "behavioural change is our unique selling point". Gordon MacMillan, a reserve officer with the 77th Brigade, is now Twitter's head of editorial operations for the Middle East.
The 77th was formed in 2015 and subsumed the 15th Psychological Operations Group which was headed by Steve Tathan, who went on to head the defence division of SCL, the now defunct parent of Cambridge Analytica. I'm sure the 77th is capable of managing some of those contractors, as well. I wouldn't be surprised if quite a few of contractors were also reservists in the 77th.

I bet we're not letting the Brits have all the fun. The CIA Special Activities Center (formerly SAD) includes the Political Action Group for PSYOP, economic warfare and cyberwarfare. That dovetails nicely with what CENTCOM is doing in Syria. I knew some of those guys a while back. I remember scaring them with some of my own anarchist hacker rantings when I was penetrating those hackers.

Our Army has fours PSYOP groups brigade-sized), two active and 2 reserve. I would think they have advanced their methodology since I took the course at Bragg. For a few years, they were called military information support operations (MISO) groups rather than PSYOP groups. They have since reverted to their PSYOP name although their activities are referred to as MISO. I don't know what the difference is.

Babak makkinejad , 27 September 2020 at 05:10 PM


No, no, no.

There is no such small country as you describe in the Near East.

There is an self-disciplined proxy force masquerading as a state which is mostly funded by the United States to further the religious policies of the WASP Culture Continent.

It is no accident that in this context, the names of US and UK occur often in the same sentences; one declared a crusade to wrestle control of Plastine from Muslims, and the otber one carried out that crusade and escalated it.

That is also the reason that US cannot end the war over Palestine or leave Islamdom

(Oil, Geostrategic considerations, arms sales, Realpolitik are just pseudo-rationications to obscure the real war.)

Diana Croissant , 28 September 2020 at 07:45 AM

Where is Candide (aka Voltaire) when we need him?

BABAK MAKKINEJAD , 28 September 2020 at 09:14 AM

Ishmael Zechariah

How WASP-dom has arrived in this crusade is not, in my opinion, as significant as that it has been waging it for more than a hundred years.

fakebot , 28 September 2020 at 10:43 AM

"WASP Culture" is into golfing, not crusading. Erik Prince and the religious fundamentalists, maybe, but they don't drive US policy.

Russia and/or Chinese dominion over Eurasia cannot be permitted. Their means to achieve that would be less ethical, not that the US or UK have been prince among men and salts of the earth, as noted in the article.

The US has tried in vain to win over hearts and minds. It has been a mostly noble effort to bring countries like Iraq and Afghanistan into the 21st century, but it was always more of a losing game. The problem lies too much in Islam and tribal rivalries.

[Sep 28, 2020] Truth be told: political operatives own and run our MSM. This is why the press is called the 'Fourth Estate'

Highly recommended!
Aug 21, 2020 |
Ragno says: August 21, 2020 at 4:16 pm GMT 800 Words ⇑ @mark green

Truth be told: political operatives own and run our MSM. This is why the press is called the 'Fourth Estate'.

They are more correctly described as a Fifth Column , one far more open and sworn to destroy our country and its foundational citizens – and taxpayers – as any that ever operated during World War II. You would think this would be of vital interest to people who loudly declare themselves to be "Nazi-punchers", but who time and again show themselves to be merely low-level street terrorists informed and inspired by Mao's Red Guard and the irredeemable thugs of the African National Congress.

One wonders what's preventing them from mimicking the Red Terror waged by the leftists of Spain, when the battle for "freedom" involved the disinterment of the graves of Catholic clergy to better pose the corpses in blasphemous positions. Imagine how depraved those Mostly Peaceful protesters had to have been for even a leftist-supporting site such as Wikipedia to baldly state

The violence consisted of the killing of tens of thousands of people (including 6,832 Roman Catholic priests, the vast majority in the summer of 1936 in the wake of the military coup), attacks on the Spanish nobility, industrialists, and conservative politicians, as well as the desecration and burning of monasteries and churches.

Directly in the crosshairs this time are small and medium-sized owner-operated businesses – the true backbone of American freedom and prosperity – who have largely been sacrificed in exchange for the knock-kneed offerings of Danegeld from our giant conglomerates, all of whom have prospered immensely from the suffering and privation brought on by the Democratic lockdown of society – and the total shutdown of our economy.

Think! – have you read a single article charting how the government war on small business directly enriched and world's richest autocrat, Jeff Bezos? . who then funnels his windfall into a newspaper that blatantly pimps for the Democratic Party, which translates into a vast payday for the DNC, not least from its newly-approved partnership with the shadowy and many-tentacled Soros-surrogate group, BLM?

The result is what you'd expect when a fringe group operates with the full cooperation and partnership of major industry and both political parties (don't confuse Trump with a standard-issue Republican, please – he may have terrible flaws, but that isn't one of them) – 10% of the population holding the other 90% in a chokehold with only one set of rules: no arrest and prosecution for Bolshevik violence and terror ..but the zero-tolerance heavy hand of corrupt Leviathan coming down hard against any and all citizens who fight back or, eventually – inevitably – who even struggle against their restraints.

Short of the sudden arrival of celestial horsemen to punish the guilty and reward the set-upon, it has become clear that the only answer is the one that the Powers That Be claim to be dead set against: racial separatism. (Particularly when we consider that all that will be necessary to turn America into Hell on earth will be the adoption of Ibram Kendi's First Law, sometimes known as equality of outcome :

To fix the original sin of racism, Americans should pass an anti-racist amendment to the U.S. Constitution that enshrines two guiding anti-racist principals: Racial inequity is evidence of racist policy and the different racial groups are equals.

Could any "amendment" be more terrifyingly totalitarian than this?)

White and black separation would, instead, accomplish two goals, both more important than Kendi's quick fix: we would learn soon enough about actual equality of outcomes (which is why no Communist, black or white, wants anything to do with the creation of one more failed basket-case black state), and much more importantly, white families can sleep secure in their beds at night, without worrying about Apache raids at midnight, egged on and recorded for "posterity" by that Fourth Estate/Fifth Column referred to up top. Because the fact of the matter is that, even should some combination of government and law-enforcement halt the burning and looting of America – as things stand now, none of the worst malefactors will ever see the inside of a prison cell .which means any ceasefire will only be temporary, to be violently ripped asunder the moment they sense white Americans have at last lowered their guard once more. And living in perpetual paranoid readiness for violent uprisings and mindless destruction is no way to live at all.

Trump has it half right, a border wall is the answer: only it needs to run lengthwise , between the Southern and Northern borders. If we don't use the next four years to plan out such a separation, fretting over our children's children will be a fruitless exercise – those who aren't murdered will be captured and 'go native' .and in case you haven't looked at a globe lately, there's no place left to run.

Majority of One , says: August 21, 2020 at 4:33 pm GMT


As a recovering journalist, I can point out that even on a rinkydink rag in a small city, where I got fired for being a real journalist back in the early '70's; he who owns the presses and distribution networks calls the tune. It's a matter of working-class (no matter how middle-class your income or social-status) versus the ownership class. The latter wins every time.

[Sep 25, 2020] Blood type may affect COVID-19 outcomes, study shows - TMC News

Sep 25, 2020 |

Blood type may affect COVID-19 outcomes, study shows 3 MINUTE READ

Blood type may play a key role in determining who contracts COVID-19 and how severe the illness becomes, according to a recent report published in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM).

Researchers studied 1,610 COVID-19 positive patients with respiratory failure.

"Our genetic data confirm that blood group O is associated with a risk of acquiring Covid-19 that was lower than that in non-O blood groups, whereas blood group A was associated with a higher risk than non-A blood groups," researchers concluded.

Looking for the latest on the CORONAVIRUS? Read our daily updates HERE .

Study participants were spread throughout seven hospitals in the Italian and Spanish epicenters of the pandemic and each were defined as having "severe" respiratory disease; those patients were compared to approximately 2,000 healthy individuals.

Based on the early data and despite the relatively small sample size, the study corroborates other reports, including one from Wuhan, China, where the SARS-CoV-2 virus outbreak originated.

Yet inherent limitations of the NEJM study mean it's too soon to definitively link blood type to COVID-19 outcomes.

"I do believe there is likely a connection, and the question is: What does this word 'outcome' mean?" said Ang Li, M.D., an assistant professor of hematology and oncology at Baylor College of Medicine . "The cases are not a study of all COVID patients versus all non-COVID patients, and it's not a study of all severe COVID patients versus all non-severe COVID patients. It's comparing the severe COVID patients versus everyone else without COVID. So, it's hard to know if it's an increased susceptibility to infection or a severity question."

Still, Li said, the data suggests that a connection may exist. If it holds, he said, the conclusion would follow results from a 2005 study published in JAMA (the Journal of the American Medical Association) examining SARS-CoV-1 -- the "original" SARS virus that created an outbreak in 2003. That study also found an association between ABO blood groups and disease susceptibility, with individuals with Type O less susceptible to that virus, as well.

Scientists do not know exactly why blood type could influence a person's susceptibility to these viruses, but authors of the NEJM paper suggest that variations in biologic mechanisms in ABO blood groups may play a role, specifically in their immune response.

"We have different antibody profiles based on our ABO blood type," Li said. "Also, there are some theories about how some of these ABO genes, based on the protein they're encoding, might affect some of the receptors where the virus binds and can alter how someone becomes more or less susceptible to the virus."

A person's blood type is determined by the presence or absence of specific antigens -- A and B -- which are molecules on red blood cells that trigger an immune response. A person with Type A blood has the A antigen on red cells and a B antibody on their plasma; a person with Type B has the B antigen on red cells and A antibodies on their plasma. Individuals with Type AB have both A and B antigens on their red cells, but neither on their plasma, and those with Type O have neither A nor B antigens on their red cells, but both antibodies are present on their plasma.

One theory is that because the immune systems of people with Type O blood already have antibodies for both A and B, their bodies are more equipped to identify foreign proteins -- including those on the surface of viruses.

"There are potentially some changes in the immunogenicity in the human host based on the ABO typing," Li said.

Some of the conditions observed in COVID-19 patients -- including blood clots, strokes and thromboembolisms -- may also vary in severity based on blood type, adding another possible explanation, Li added.

"In the ABO blood group, there is evidence that there is increased susceptibility in Type A versus Type O for increased risk for venous thromboembolism, such as pulmonary embolism and deep vein thrombosis," Li said. "That has been confirmed in multiple different studies."

In addition to finding a potential link between blood type and COVID-19 severity, authors of the NEJM paper detected a cluster of six genes with potential relation to COVID-19 severity, as well. The authors reiterated that further study was necessary for both connections, writing that the "pragmatic aspects leading to the feasibility of this massive undertaking in a very short period of time during the extreme clinical circumstances of the pandemic imposed limitations that will be important to explore in follow-up studies."

[Sep 25, 2020] Coronavirus- People with blood type O at less risk from Covid-19, research shows - The Independent - The Independent

Sep 25, 2020 |

People with blood type O appear to have a greater form of protection against coronavirus compared to those with other blood types, early data produced by a US genomics firm suggests.

More than 750,000 individuals have so far participated in an ongoing study conducted by 23andMe, the California-based company best known for direct-to-consumer genetic testing, which is examining the genetic make-up of SARS-CoV-2.

The preliminary data, which has not been peer-reviewed, shows that people with type O blood were on average 14 per cent less likely than other blood types to get Covid-19 and 19 per cent less likely to be hospitalised, after accounting for age, sex, ethnicity and co-morbidities.

These findings reflect similar results from other studies that have shown people with type O blood seem to report fewer incidents of infection and severe illness.

Among respondents to the 23andMe survey, the proportion of respondents reporting a positive test for Covid-19 was highest among those with the AB blood type.

Read more How to help the elderly and vulnerable during the coronavirus How to help the elderly and vulnerable during the coronavirus How to feel less anxious about the coronavirus How to feel less anxious about the coronavirus How to be productive when working from home during coronavirus How to be productive when working from home during coronavirus Which countries around the world has coronavirus spread to? Which countries around the world has coronavirus spread to? The dirty truth about washing your hands The dirty truth about washing your hands The company is still recruiting for its study, and is currently seeking 10,000 participants who have been diagnosed and hospitalised with Covid-19.

In March, researchers at the Zhongnan Hospital at Wuhan University examined blood group patterns of 2,173 people who had been diagnosed with the disease and found patients with blood type A had a "significantly higher" rate of infection.

Lead researcher Wang Xinghuan said people with blood type A may need "particularly strengthened personal protection" to keep their chances of infection lower, and infected patients with that specific blood type may need "more vigilant surveillance and aggressive treatment".

✕ More recently, Italian and Spanish scientists noted that the gene region which codes for blood type is associated with elevated levels of key immune molecules.

In their study, which was published earlier this month, DNA samples were extracted from 1,980 patients in hotspot sites such as Milan and Barcelona who were hospitalised for respiratory failure. Their analysis showed a higher risk for A-positive individuals and a protective element among blood type O.

Research conducted into the 2002 SARS epidemic supports the O blood type protection theory for the two coronaviruses.

Scientists at a Hong Kong hospital analysed an infected patient who came into contact with 45 healthcare workers. Of 18 people with type blood O, eight became infected (44 per cent), compared to the other 27 people having other blood types, of whom 23 contracted the virus (85 per cent, or almost twice as much).

Blood type can influence blood clotting – one of the pathologies seen among seriously ill Covid-19 patients. People with type O blood have lower levels of proteins that promote blood clotting.

[Sep 25, 2020] Relationship between the ABO Blood Group and the COVID-19 Susceptibility

Sep 25, 2020 |

To explore any relationship between the ABO blood group and the COVID-19 susceptibility, we compared ABO blood group distributions in 2,173 COVID-19 patients with local control populations, and found that blood group A was associated with an increased risk of infection, whereas group O was associated with a decreased risk.

[Sep 25, 2020] The effects of blood group types on the risk of COVID-19 infection and its clinical outcome - PubMed

Sep 25, 2020 |

Results: The most frequently detected blood group was blood group A (57%) amongst the COVID-19 patients. This was followed by the blood group O (24.8%). The blood group types did not affect the clinical outcomes. Blood group A was statistically significantly more frequent among those infected with COVID-19 compared to controls (57% vs 38%, p <0.001; OR: 2.1). On the other hand, the frequency of blood group O was significantly lower in the COVID-19 patients, compared to the control group (24.8% vs 37.2%, p: 0.001; OR: 1.8).

Conclusions: The results of the present study suggest that while the blood group A might have a role in increased susceptibility to the COVID-19 infection, the blood group O might be somewhat protective. However, once infected, blood group type does not seem to influence clinical outcome.

[Sep 24, 2020] What to know before getting a COVID-19 antibody test by Keith Zubrow

Jun 28, 2020 |

In March, as the United States faced a shortage of COVID-19 diagnostic tests to determine who was currently infected with the virus, the Food and Drug Administration began allowing antibody tests into the country without FDA review or formal clearance.

A COVID-19 molecular diagnostic test, sometimes referred to as a virology test, is often conducted through a nasal or throat swab. It is designed to detect if you presently have the COVID-19 virus.

A COVID-19 antibody test, or serology test, usually involves a blood sample and determines the presence of antibodies, which may signal that you previously had the viral infection.

"The two different types of tests give us complementary information about the pandemic," said Dr. Alex Marson, an infectious disease specialist and the director of the Gladstone UCSF Institute for Genomic Immunology. "The one tells us about who's actively infected. The other tells us who has been infected."

Dr. Marson and Dr. Patrick Hsu, an assistant professor of bioengineering at the University of California, Berkeley both told 60 Minutes it is presently unknown if a positive antibody test means protection from future infection.

"We do not know if a positive antibody test means that you have protective immunity," said Dr. Hsu. "It will certainly mean that in some cases, but how much, and for how long, and how many times? We do not yet know. People should not assume that, if you have a positive antibody test that you're immune, [that] you don't need to wear a mask, and [that] you don't need to socially distance."

A small sample size study from China published on June 18 in Nature Medicine found antibodies could fade in as soon as two to three months after the time of infection.

Both Dr. Marson and Dr. Hsu were interviewed by 60 Minutes correspondent Sharyn Alfonsi as part of a three-month investigation into the accuracy of antibody tests available in the U.S. The physicians assembled a team of scientists to study the accuracy of COVID-19 antibody tests in early March.

The accuracy of antibody tests are measured by their sensitivity and specificity. The sensitivity refers to a test's ability to determine if someone has COVID-19 antibodies present in his or her body. The specificity refers to a test's ability to distinguish who does not have COVID-19 antibodies.

In the early months of the pandemic, hundreds of companies from around the world were selling antibody tests in the U.S. with varying levels of accuracy.

In May, the FDA amended its policy and began requiring developers of antibody tests to apply for emergency authorization and submit data to prove their tests work. The FBI warns the policy change has not stopped scammers from trying to infiltrate the U.S. market with fraudulent or inferior quality tests.

The FDA also teamed with the other government agencies including the National Institutes of Health to track the accuracy of some antibody tests and on June 18 published performance results for 21 of them.

The FDA's list includes both rapid serology tests that are often processed on-location and tests that require blood samples be sent to a laboratory.


"I will say that the best tests, especially tests where blood samples are being sent off to labs, seem to have responsible test performance characteristics," Dr. Marson told Alfonsi. "Does that mean that they're perfect? No"

The FDA says the prevalence of COVID-19 in a specific area and amongst different groups of people will factor into the likelihood of false positive or false negative results.

"I think when you ever get a positive test, it's important to undergo confirmatory testing, whether with a different antibody test, or an independent test that looks for a different viral antigen, or a different antibody isotype," Dr. Hsu told 60 Minutes. "This will be a way that we can guard against false positives. The statistical likelihood that you would test false positive twice is generally quite unlikely if you use independent tests."

Getting multiple independent tests might be more difficult than it sounds.

Quest Diagnostics and LabCorp are two of the largest laboratory testing providers in the U.S. They have collectively processed more than 3.5 million COVID-19 serology tests.

Quest told 60 Minutes it presently offers antibody tests manufactured by Abbott Laboratories, EUROIMMUN AG, and Ortho Clinical Diagnostics. LabCorp said it currently uses serology tests made by Abbott and Roche.

Both lab companies told 60 Minutes they do not allow patients to choose which antibody test is used ahead of a sample being processed.

Quest said the testing platform used to process a sample depends on a lab's volume and capacity. The company said it can run 200,000 serology tests per day and has conducted 2.1 million since April.

LabCorp said it began serology testing on a limited basis in March and now has the ability to run 300,000 samples a day. It does not disclose the daily volume of antibody testing, but told 60 Minutes it has processed approximately 1.4 million tests so far.

As of June 27, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported more than 32 million tests have been processed in the U.S. with a positivity rate of 9%. The CDC declined to tell 60 Minutes the specific sources of its aggregated data. A spokesperson told 60 Minutes the 32 million tests include both viral and antibody test results. The CDC also says not all test results are reported to them.

A Government Accountability Office report released on June 25, 2020 says the watchdog agency found that the CDC has made mistakes in its collection of data about COVID-19 testing. It says the CDC was gathering data about testing that combined antibody tests with diagnostic tests in their overall testing numbers, a practice that has been criticized by scientists as mixing apples and oranges.

The CDC made an effort to correct this practice and advise states to separate virology and serology test results, but the overall testing numbers from prior to June may still be inaccurate. Given the problems with accuracy of some antibody tests, it is also unclear whether all antibody positives should be considered true positives.

The video above was produced by Keith Zubrow and Sarah Shafer Prediger. It was edited by Sarah Shafer Prediger.

[Sep 24, 2020] COVID-19 antibodies may last for at least 4 months, Icelandic study suggests by Akshay Syal

Sep 24, 2020 |

Sept. 1, 2020

People may have antibodies for at least four months after they get COVID-19, a study published Tuesday in the New England Journal of Medicine suggests.

The study pulled from a massive dataset from Iceland, looking for the presence of antibodies in more than 30,000 blood samples. The samples came from three groups of people: those with confirmed COVID-19 cases, those who had been exposed to the virus but weren't necessarily infected, and those who had no known exposure.

The researchers focused on a small subset of 487 people who had had more than one antibody test, which allowed researchers to see whether antibody levels remained stable or faded over time. In this group, the researchers found, antibody levels increased in the first two months after diagnosis and remained stable for the next two months.

Stefánsson said the study detected antibodies in a significant number of people who had been asymptomatic and were never tested for COVID-19.

Not everyone developed antibodies after infection, the authors wrote, suggesting that some people might have weaker immune responses to the virus. It's possible, however, that those people had false positive diagnostic tests and were never sick in the first place.

The researchers noted several other interesting trends. Antibody levels were higher in older patients and in those with more severe disease. Women also had lower antibody levels compared to men, and smokers had lower antibody levels than nonsmokers.

"What they're seeing here is that they're inducing a pretty strong immune response," said Jason Kindrachuk, an assistant professor of medical microbiology & infectious diseases at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg.

But while the data suggest that antibody levels remain stable for at least four months, questions remain.

"What we don't know is really the million-dollar question: How do these antibodies reflect immunity against this virus and inhibition of this virus," said Kindrachuk, who wasn't involved with the research. "Just because you see antibodies being produced, it doesn't tell you that those antibodies are going to act specifically against the virus."

In other words, it's unclear whether the antibodies will protect people from being reinfected.

Confirmed cases of people being reinfected with the coronavirus are exceedingly rare. Last week, it was reported that four people were reinfected, the only such instances out of more than 25 million cases worldwide.

In August, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention changed its quarantine guidelines, saying people with confirmed COVID-19 didn't need to be tested again for three months if they didn't develop any symptoms.

The study isn't the first to show that antibodies can stick around for some time after infection.

The data in the new study are in line with those in a July preprint article showing that antibody levels were stable for at least three months in patients who had recovered from the virus in New York City, said Elitza Theel, director of the infectious diseases serology laboratory at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.

[Sep 24, 2020] If the PCR Test Is Unreliable - Why Are Health Officials Demanding the Public Be Tested-

Sep 24, 2020 |



In the months since the COVID-19 panic began health authorities around the world have told the public to "get tested" to help track the spread of SARS-CoV-2. However, as fear and hysteria subside, the scientific community and public at large are calling into question the efficacy of the test used to determine a patients status. This article is a brief examination of the evidence that the PCR test is unreliable and should not be used as a determinant for the number of COVID-19 cases or as a factor in political decisions.


On August 31, I attended a press conference in Houston to ask the Mayor and Houston Health Authority about reports regarding problems with the Texas Department of State Health Services' numbers on COVID-19 cases. TLAV has previously reported on these concerns with the COVID-19 case numbers in Texas. I also had a chance to ask Houston Health Authority Dr. David Persse about concerns around the test used to detect COVID-19.

The most common test is a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) lab test. This incredibly sensitive technique was developed by Berkeley scientist Kary Mullis, for which he was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1993. The test is designed to detect the presence of a virus by amplifying the virus' genetic material so it can be detected by scientists. The test is viewed as the gold standard, however, it is not without problems.

The PCR test uses chemicals to amplify the virus's genetic material and then each sample goes through a number of cycles until a virus is recovered. This "cycle threshold" has become a key component in the debate around the efficacy of the PCR test.

Dr. Persse says that when the labs report numbers of COVID-19 cases to the City of Houston they only offer a binary option of "yes" for positive or "no" for negative. "But, in reality, it comes in what is called cycle-thresholds. It's an inverse relationship, so the higher the number the less virus there was in the initial sample," Persse explained. "Some labs will report out to 40 cycle-thresholds, and if they get a positive at 40 – which means there is a tiny, tiny, tiny amount of virus there – that gets reported to us as positive and we don't know any different."

Persse noted that the key question is, at what value is someone considered still infectious?

"Because if you test me and I have a tiny amount of virus, does that mean I am contagious? that I am still infectious to someone else? If you are shedding a little bit of virus are you just starting? or are you on the downside?," Dr. Persse asked in the lobby of Houston City Hall. He believes the answer is for the scientific community to set a national standard for cycle-threshold.

Unfortunately, a national standard would not solve the problems expressed by Dr. Persse and others.


In the first weeks of September a number of important revelations regarding the PCR test have come to light. First, new research from the University of Oxford's Center for Evidence-Based Medicine and the University of the West of England found that the PCR test poses the potential for false positives when testing for COVID-19. Professor Carl Heneghan, one of the authors of the study, Viral cultures for COVID-19 infectivity assessment – a systematic review , said there was a risk that an increase in testing in the UK will lead to an increase in the risk of "sample contamination" and thus an increase in COVID-19 cases.

The team reviewed evidence from 25 studies where virus specimens had positive PCR tests. The researchers state that the "genetic photocopying" technique scientists use to magnify the sample of genetic material collected is so sensitive it could be picking up fragments of dead virus from previous infections. The researchers reach a similar conclusion as Dr. David Persse, namely that, "A binary Yes/No approach to the interpretation RT-PCR unvalidated against viral culture will result in false positives with segregation of large numbers of people who are no longer infectious and hence not a threat to public health."

Heneghan, who is also the the editor of BMJ Evidence-Based Medicine, told the BBC that the binary approach is a problem and tests should have a cut-off point so small amounts of virus do not lead to a positive result. This is because of the cycle threshold mentioned by Dr. Persse. A person who is shedding an active virus and someone who has leftover infection could both receive the same positive test result. He also stated that the test could be detecting old virus which would explain the rise in cases in the UK. Heneghan also stated that setting a standard for the cycle threshold would eliminate the quarantining and contact tracing of people who are healthy and help the public better understand the true nature of COVID-19.

The UK's leading health agency, Public Health England, released an update on the testing methods used to detect COVID-19 and appeared to agree with Professor Heneghan regarding the concerns on the cycle threshold. On September 9, PHE released an update which concluded, "all laboratories should determine the threshold for a positive result at the limit of detection."

This is not the first time Heneghan's work has directly impacted the UK's COVID-19 policies. In July, UK health secretary Matt Hancock called for an "urgent review" of the daily COVID-19 death numbers produced by Public Health England after it was revealed the stats included people who died from other causes. The Guardian reported:

"The oddity was revealed in a paper by Yoon K Loke and Carl Heneghan of the Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine at Oxford University, called " Why no one can ever recover from Covid-19 in England – a statistical anomaly ".

Their analysis suggests PHE cross-checks the latest notifications of deaths against a database of positive test results – so that anyone who has ever tested positive is recorded in the COVID-19 death statistics.

A Department of Health and Social Care source said: 'You could have been tested positive in February, have no symptoms, then hit by a bus in July and you'd be recorded as a COVID death.'"

Only days after Hancock called for the review of PHE data, the UK government put an immediate halt to its daily update of death numbers from COVID-19.

On September 8, Heneghan tweeted out another study on the limitations of the PCR test. The study, "SARS-CoV-2 Testing: The Limit of Detection Matters" , examines the limit of detection (LoD) for RNA. The researchers note similar problems with the PCR test and the cycle threshold, concluding, "the ultimate lesson from these studies bears repetition: LoD matters and directly impacts efforts to identify, control, and contain outbreaks during this pandemic."

Heneghan also recently told the BMJ , "one issue in trying to interpret numbers of detected cases is that there is no set definition of a case. At the moment it seems that a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) positive result is the only criterion required for a case to be recognised."

"In any other disease we would have a clearly defined specification that would usually involve signs, symptoms, and a test result," Heneghan explained. "We are moving into a biotech world where the norms of clinical reasoning are going out of the window. A PCR test does not equal covid-19; it should not, but in some definitions it does."

Heneghan says he is concerned that as soon as there is the appearance of an outbreak there is panic and over-reacting. "This is a huge problem because politicians are operating in a non-evidence-based way when it comes to non-drug interventions," he stated.


A recent report from NPR outlines the dangers of false positives with the PCR tests. Andrew Cohen, director of the Center for Research on Aquatic Bioinvasions, was hired by the state of California to study an invasion of non-native mussels. The researchers took water samples and used a PCR test to search for genetic material from the mussels. After the tests came back overwhelmingly positive, Cohen grew suspicious.

"I began to realize that many of these -- if not all of these -- were false positives, especially when they started being reported in waters that had chemistry that would not allow the mussels to reproduce and establish themselves," he told NPR. NPR notes that, depending on the lab, there was a 2 to 8 percent false positive rate.

Once COVID-19 was declared a pandemic, Cohen said he began asking if the reports of people with absolutely no symptoms and positive PCR test results could be false positives. "I began wondering whether these asymptomatic carriers weren't in large part or in whole part the human counterparts of those false-positive results of quagga and zebra mussels in all those water bodies across the West," he said.

Cohen emphasized the importance of researchers taking potential false positive PCR results seriously. "As near as we can tell, the medical establishment and public health authorities and researchers appear to be assuming that the false-positive rate in in the PCR based test is zero, or at least so low that we can ignore it."

Cohen is correct that the scientific authorities need to take false positives seriously, especially when a person can be sent to isolate or quarantine for weeks due to a positive test result. Even the U.S. FDA's own fact sheet on testing acknowledges the dangers posed by false positives:

"The CDC 2019-nCoV Real-Time RT-PCR Diagnostic Panel has been designed to minimize the likelihood of false positive test results. However, in the event of a false positive result, risks to patients could include the following: a recommendation for isolation of the patient, monitoring of household or other close contacts for symptoms, patient isolation that might limit contact with family or friends and may increase contact with other potentially COVID-19 patients, limits in the ability to work, the delayed diagnosis and treatment for the true infection causing the symptoms, unnecessary prescription of a treatment or therapy, or other unintended adverse effects."

A CDC fact sheet also acknowledges the possibility of false positives with the PCR test.

Professor Heneghan believes the confusion around COVID-19 has come as a result of a shift away from "evidence-based medicine." In a recent opinion piece published at The Spectator , Heneghan and Tom Jefferson, a senior associate tutor and honorary research fellow at the Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine, University of Oxford, wrote that patients have become a "prisoner of a system labelling him or her as 'positive' when we are not sure what that label means." The two scientists offer this conclusion and warning:

Governments are producing a series of contradictory and confusing policies which have a brief shelf life as the next crisis emerges. It is increasingly clear the evidence is often ignored. Keeping up to date is a full time occupation, and the advances of the last 30 years have at best been put on hold.

The duties of a good doctor include working in partnership with patients to inform them about what they want or need in a way they can understand, and respecting their rights to reach decisions with you about their treatment and care. Questions need to be asked as to how this will occur if you don't see your doctor, particularly if all you have to do is queue in at a drive in to get your answer.

And ultimately what is a 'good test'? We think it's the test which helps your doctor narrow the uncertainty around the origins and management of your problem.

RELATED ARTICLES: Tuesday, September 8, 2020 - "Dead" Virus Cells Frequently Trigger "False Positives" In Most Common COVID Test, New Study Finds

In the past, our reports raising questions about the accuracy of COVID-19 tests have been met with accusations of 'fearmongering' and spreading 'misinformation'.

Wednesday, June 10, 2020 - REPORT: Over 95% of UK "Covid19" deaths had "pre-existing condition"

Over 95% of "COVID Deaths" recorded in England and Wales had potentially serious comorbidities, according to statistics released by NHS England. RELATED ARTICLES: Tuesday, September 8, 2020 - "Dead" Virus Cells Frequently Trigger "False Positives" In Most Common COVID Test, New Study Finds

In the past, our reports raising questions about the accuracy of COVID-19 tests have been met with accusations of 'fearmongering' and spreading 'misinformation'.

[Sep 24, 2020] Covid-19- Do many people have pre-existing immunity

Sep 24, 2020 |

17 September 2020

  1. Peter Doshi , associate editor
Author affiliations

It seemed a truth universally acknowledged that the human population had no pre-existing immunity to SARS-CoV-2, but is that actually the case? Peter Doshi explores the emerging research on immunological responses

Even in local areas that have experienced some of the greatest rises in excess deaths during the covid-19 pandemic, serological surveys since the peak indicate that at most only around a fifth of people have antibodies to SARS-CoV-2: 23% in New York, 18% in London, 11% in Madrid. 1 2 3 Among the general population the numbers are substantially lower, with many national surveys reporting in single digits.

With public health responses around the world predicated on the assumption that the virus entered the human population with no pre-existing immunity before the pandemic, 4 serosurvey data are leading many to conclude that the virus has, as Mike Ryan, WHO's head of emergencies, put it, "a long way to burn."

Yet a stream of studies that have documented SARS-CoV-2 reactive T cells in people without exposure to the virus are raising questions about just how new the pandemic virus really is, with many implications.

Not so novel coronavirus?

At least six studies have reported T cell reactivity against SARS-CoV-2 in 20% to 50% of people with no known exposure to the virus. 5 6 7 8 9 10

In a study of donor blood specimens obtained in the US between 2015 and 2018, 50% displayed various forms of T cell reactivity to SARS-CoV-2. 5 11 A similar study that used specimens from the Netherlands reported T cell reactivity in two of 10 people who had not been exposed to the virus. 7

In Germany reactive T cells were detected in a third of SARS-CoV-2 seronegative healthy donors (23 of 68). In Singapore a team analysed specimens taken from people with no contact or personal history of SARS or covid-19; 12 of 26 specimens taken before July 2019 showed reactivity to SARS-CoV-2, as did seven of 11 from people who were seronegative against the virus. 8 Reactivity was also discovered in the UK and Sweden. 6 9 10

Though these studies are small and do not yet provide precise estimates of pre-existing immunological responses to SARS-CoV-2, they are hard to dismiss, with several being published in Cell and Nature . Alessandro Sette, an immunologist from La Jolla Institute for Immunology in California and an author of several of the studies ( box 1 ), told The BMJ , "At this point there are a number of studies that are seeing this reactivity in different continents, different labs. As a scientist you know that is a hallmark of something that has a very strong footing."

Box 1 Swine flu déjà vu

In late 2009, months after the World Health Organization declared the H1N1 "swine flu" virus to be a global pandemic, Alessandro Sette was part of a team working to explain why the so called "novel" virus did not seem to be causing more severe infections than seasonal flu. 12

Their answer was pre-existing immunological responses in the adult population: B cells and, in particular, T cells, which "are known to blunt disease severity." 12 Other studies came to the same conclusion: people with pre-existing reactive T cells had less severe H1N1 disease. 13 14 In addition, a study carried out during the 2009 outbreak by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that 33% of people over 60 years old had cross reactive antibodies to the 2009 H1N1 virus, leading the CDC to conclude that "some degree of pre-existing immunity" to the new H1N1 strains existed, especially among adults over age 60. 15

The data forced a change in views at WHO and CDC, from an assumption before 2009 that most people "will have no immunity to the pandemic virus" 16 to one that acknowledged that "the vulnerability of a population to a pandemic virus is related in part to the level of pre-existing immunity to the virus." 17 But by 2020 it seems that lesson had been forgotten.


Researchers are also confident that they have made solid inroads into ascertaining the origins of the immune responses. "Our hypothesis, of course, was that it's so called 'common cold' coronaviruses, because they're closely related," said Daniela Weiskopf, senior author of a paper in Science that confirmed this hypothesis. 18 "We have really shown that this is a true immune memory and it is derived in part from common cold viruses." Separately, researchers in Singapore came to similar conclusions about the role of common cold coronaviruses but noted that some of the T cell reactivity may also come from other unknown coronaviruses, even of animal origin. 8

Taken together, this growing body of research documenting pre-existing immunological responses to SARS-CoV-2 may force pandemic planners to revisit some of their foundational assumptions about how to measure population susceptibility and monitor the extent of epidemic spread. Population immunity: underestimated?

Seroprevalence surveys measuring antibodies have been the preferred method for gauging the proportion of people in a given population who have been infected by SARS-CoV-2 (and have some degree of immunity to it), with estimates of herd immunity thresholds providing a sense of where we are in this pandemic. Whether we overcome it through naturally derived immunity or vaccination, the sense is that it won't be over until we reach a level of herd immunity.

The fact that only a minority of people, even in the hardest hit areas, display antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 has led most planners to assume the pandemic is far from over. In New York City, where just over a fifth of people surveyed had antibodies, the health department concluded that "as this remains below herd immunity thresholds, monitoring, testing, and contact tracing remain essential public health strategies." 19 "Whatever that number is, we're nowhere near close to it," said WHO's Ryan in late July, referring to the herd immunity threshold ( box 2 ).

Box 2 Calculating the herd immunity threshold

In theory, outbreaks of contagious disease follow a certain trajectory. In a population that lacks immunity new infections grow rapidly. At some point an inflection in this growth should occur, and the incidence will begin to fall.

The 1970s gave rise to a theory that defined this inflection point as the herd immunity threshold (HIT) and offered a straightforward formula for estimating its size: HIT=1−1/R 0 (where R 0 is the disease's basic reproduction number, or the average number of secondary cases generated by an infectious individual among susceptible people). This simple calculation has guided -- and continues to guide -- many vaccination campaigns, often used to define target levels of vaccination. 20

The formula rests on two assumptions: that, in a given population, immunity is distributed evenly and members mix at random. While vaccines may be deliverable in a near random fashion, from the earliest days questions were raised about the random mixing assumption. Apart from certain small closed populations such as "orphanages, boarding schools, or companies of military recruits," Fox and colleagues wrote in 1971, 21 truly random mixing is the exception, not the rule. "We could hardly assume even a small town to be a single homogeneously mixing unit. Each individual is normally in close contact with only a small number of individuals, perhaps of the order of 10-50."

Nearly 50 years later, Gabriela Gomes, an infectious disease modeller at the University of Strathclyde, is reviving concerns that the theory's basic assumptions do not hold. Not only do people not mix randomly, infections (and subsequent immunity) do not happen randomly either, her team says. "More susceptible and more connected individuals have a higher propensity to be infected and thus are likely to become immune earlier. Due to this selective immunization by natural infection, heterogeneous populations require less infections to cross their herd immunity threshold," they wrote. 22 While most experts have taken the R 0 for SARS-CoV-2 (generally estimated to be between 2 and 3) and concluded that at least 50% of people need to be immune before herd immunity is reached, Gomes and colleagues calculate the threshold at 10% to 20%. 22 23

Ulrich Keil, professor emeritus of epidemiology from the University of Münster in Germany, says the notion of randomly distributed immunity is a "very naive assumption" that ignores the large disparities in health in populations and "also ignores completely that social conditions might be more important than the virus itself." He added, "Tuberculosis here is the best example. We all know that the immune system is very much dependent on the living conditions of a person, and this depends very much on education and social conditions."

Another group led by Sunetra Gupta at the University of Oxford has arrived at similar conclusions of lower herd immunity thresholds by considering the issue of pre-existing immunity in the population. When a population has people with pre-existing immunity, as the T cell studies may be indicating is the case, the herd immunity threshold based on an R 0 of 2.5 can be reduced from 60% of a population getting infected right down to 10%, depending on the quantity and distribution of pre-existing immunity among people, Gupta's group calculated. 24


But memory T cells are known for their ability to affect the clinical severity and susceptibility to future infection, 25 and the T cell studies documenting pre-existing reactivity to SARS-CoV-2 in 20-50% of people suggest that antibodies are not the full story.

"Maybe we were a little naive to take measurements such as serology testing to look at how many people were infected with the virus," the Karolinska Institute immunologist Marcus Buggert told The BMJ . "Maybe there is more immunity out there."

The research offers a powerful reminder that very little in immunology is cut and dried. Physiological responses may have fewer sharp distinctions than in the popular imagination: exposure does not necessarily lead to infection, infection does not necessarily lead to disease, and disease does not necessarily produce detectable antibodies. And within the body, the roles of various immune system components are complex and interconnected. B cells produce antibodies, but B cells are regulated by T cells, and while T cells and antibodies both respond to viruses in the body, T cells do so on infected cells, whereas antibodies help prevent cells from being infected. An unexpected twist of the curve

Buggert's home country has been at the forefront of the herd immunity debate, with Sweden's light touch strategy against the virus resulting in much scrutiny and scepticism. 26 The epidemic in Sweden does seem to be declining, Buggert said in August. "We have much fewer cases right now. We have around 50 people hospitalised with covid-19 in a city of two million people." At the peak of the epidemic there were thousands of cases. Something must have happened, said Buggert, particularly considering that social distancing was "always poorly followed, and it's only become worse."

Understanding this "something" is a core question for Sunetra Gupta, an Oxford University epidemiologist who developed a way to calculate herd immunity thresholds that incorporates a variable for pre-existing innate resistance and cross protection. 24 Her group argues that herd immunity thresholds "may be greatly reduced if a fraction of the population is unable to transmit the virus."

"The conventional wisdom is that lockdown occurred as the epidemic curve was rising," Gupta explained. "So once you remove lockdown that curve should continue to rise." But that is not happening in places like New York, London, and Stockholm. The question is why.

"If it were the case that in London the disease hadn't disseminated too widely, and only 15% have experienced the virus [as serology tests indicate] . . . under those circumstances, if you lift lockdown, you should see an immediate and commensurate increase in cases, as we have observed in many other settings," Gupta told The BMJ , "But that hasn't happened. That is just a fact. The question is why."

Possible answers are many, she says. One is that social distancing is in place, and people are keeping the spread down. Another possibility is that a lot of people are immune because of T cell responses or something else. "Whatever it is," Gupta added, "if there is a significant fraction of the population that is not permissive to the infection, then that all makes sense, given how infectious SARS-CoV-2 is."

Buggert's study in Sweden seems to support this position. Investigating close family members of patients with confirmed covid-19, he found T cell responses in those who were seronegative or asymptomatic. 10 While around 60% of family members produced antibodies, 90% had T cell responses. (Other studies have reported similar results. 27 ) "So many people got infected and didn't create antibodies," concludes Buggert. Deeper discussion

T cell studies have received scant media attention, in contrast to research on antibodies, which seem to dominate the news (probably, says Buggert, because antibodies are easier, faster, and cheaper to study than T cells). Two recent studies reported that naturally acquired antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 begin to wane after just 2-3 months, fuelling speculation in the lay press about repeat infections. 28 29 30

But T cell studies allow for a substantially different, more optimistic, interpretation. In the Singapore study, for example, SARS-CoV-1 reactive T cells were found in SARS patients 17 years after infection. "Our findings also raise the possibility that long lasting T cells generated after infection with related viruses may be able to protect against, or modify the pathology caused by, infection with SARS-CoV-2," 8 the investigators wrote.

T cell studies may also help shed light on other mysteries of covid-19, such as why children have been surprisingly spared the brunt of the pandemic, why it affects people differently, and the high rate of asymptomatic infections in children and young adults.

The immunologists I spoke to agreed that T cells could be a key factor that explains why places like New York, London, and Stockholm seem to have experienced a wave of infections and no subsequent resurgence. This would be because protective levels of immunity, not measurable through serology alone but instead the result of a combination of pre-existing and newly formed immune responses, could now exist in the population, preventing an epidemic rise in new infections.

But they were all quick to note that this is speculation. Formally, the clinical implications of the pre-existing T cell reactivity remain an open question. "People say you don't have proof, and they're right," says Buggert, adding that the historical blood donor specimens in his study were all anonymised, precluding longitudinal follow-up.

There is the notion that perhaps T cell responses are detrimental and predispose to more severe disease. "I don't see that as a likely possibility," Sette said, while emphasising that we still need to acknowledge the possibility. "It's also possible that this absolutely makes no difference. The cross reactivity is too small or weak to affect the virus. The other outcome is that this does make a difference, that it makes you respond better."

Weiskopf added, "Right now, I think everything is a possibility; we just don't know. The reason we're optimistic is we have seen with other viruses where [the T cell response] actually helps you." One example is swine flu, where research has shown that people with pre-existing reactive T cells had clinically milder disease ( box 1 ). 12 13 14

Weiskopf and Sette maintain that compelling evidence could come through a properly designed prospective study that follows a cohort of people who were enrolled before exposure to SARS-CoV-2, comparing the clinical course of those with and without pre-existing T cell responses.

Understanding the protective value of pre-existing SARS-CoV-2 T cell reactivity "is identical to the situation on vaccines," said Antonio Bertoletti, professor of infectious disease at Duke-NUS Medical School in Singapore. "Through vaccination we aim to stimulate antibodies and T cell production, and we hope that such induction of immunity will protect but we need a phase III clinical study to really demonstrate the effect."

German investigators came to the same conclusion, arguing that their T cell findings represented a "decisive rationale to initiate worldwide prospective studies" mapping pre-existing reactivity to clinical outcomes. 31 Other groups have called for the same thing. 6

"At the start of the pandemic, a key mantra was that we needed the game changer of antibody data to understand who had been infected and how many were protected," two immunologists from Imperial College London wrote in a mid-July commentary in Science Immunology . "As we have learned more about this challenging infection, it is time to admit that we really need the T cell data too." 32

Theoretically, the placebo arm of a covid-19 vaccine trial could provide a straightforward way to carry out such a study, by comparing the clinical outcomes of people with versus those without pre-existing T cell reactivity to SARS-CoV-2. A review by The BMJ of all primary and secondary outcome measures being studied in the two large ongoing, placebo controlled phase III trials, however, suggests that no such analysis is being done. 33 34

Could pre-existing immunity be more protective than future vaccines? Without studying the question, we won't know.

[Sep 23, 2020] Your Coronavirus Test Is Positive. Maybe It Shouldn t Be by Apoorva Mandavilli

Any test with a cycle threshold above 35 is too sensitive, agreed Juliet Morrison, a virologist at the University of California, Riverside. "I'm shocked that people would think that 40 could represent a positive," she said.
In Massachusetts, from 85 to 90 percent of people who tested positive in July with a cycle threshold of 40 would have been deemed negative if the threshold were 30 cycles, Dr. Mina said. "I would say that none of those people should be contact-traced, not one," he said.
Notable quotes:
"... PCR tests still have a role, he and other experts said. For example, their sensitivity is an asset when identifying newly infected people to enroll in clinical trials of drugs. ..."
Aug 29, 2020 |

Updated Sept. 17, 2020

The usual diagnostic tests may simply be too sensitive and too slow to contain the spread of the virus.

Tests authorized by the F.D.A. provide only a yes-no answer to infection, and will identify as positive patients with low amounts of virus in their bodies. Credit... Johnny Milano for The New York Times

Some of the nation's leading public health experts are raising a new concern in the endless debate over coronavirus testing in the United States: The standard tests are diagnosing huge numbers of people who may be carrying relatively insignificant amounts of the virus.

Most of these people are not likely to be contagious, and identifying them may contribute to bottlenecks that prevent those who are contagious from being found in time. But researchers say the solution is not to test less, or to skip testing people without symptoms, as recently suggested by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention .

Instead, new data underscore the need for more widespread use of rapid tests , even if they are less sensitive.

"The decision not to test asymptomatic people is just really backward," said Dr. Michael Mina, an epidemiologist at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, referring to the C.D.C. recommendation.

"In fact, we should be ramping up testing of all different people," he said, "but we have to do it through whole different mechanisms."

In what may be a step in this direction, the Trump administration announced on Thursday that it would purchase 150 million rapid tests.

The most widely used diagnostic test for the new coronavirus, called a PCR test, provides a simple yes-no answer to the question of whether a patient is infected.

But similar PCR tests for other viruses do offer some sense of how contagious an infected patient may be: The results may include a rough estimate of the amount of virus in the patient's body.

"We've been using one type of data for everything, and that is just plus or minus -- that's all," Dr. Mina said. "We're using that for clinical diagnostics, for public health, for policy decision-making."

But yes-no isn't good enough, he added. It's the amount of virus that should dictate the infected patient's next steps. "It's really irresponsible, I think, to forgo the recognition that this is a quantitative issue," Dr. Mina said.

The PCR test amplifies genetic matter from the virus in cycles; the fewer cycles required, the greater the amount of virus, or viral load, in the sample. The greater the viral load, the more likely the patient is to be contagious.

This number of amplification cycles needed to find the virus, called the cycle threshold, is never included in the results sent to doctors and coronavirus patients, although it could tell them how infectious the patients are.

In three sets of testing data that include cycle thresholds, compiled by officials in Massachusetts, New York and Nevada, up to 90 percent of people testing positive carried barely any virus, a review by The Times found.

On Thursday, the United States recorded 45,604 new coronavirus cases, according to a database maintained by The Times. If the rates of contagiousness in Massachusetts and New York were to apply nationwide, then perhaps only 4,500 of those people may actually need to isolate and submit to contact tracing.

One solution would be to adjust the cycle threshold used now to decide that a patient is infected. Most tests set the limit at 40, a few at 37. This means that you are positive for the coronavirus if the test process required up to 40 cycles, or 37, to detect the virus.

Tests with thresholds so high may detect not just live virus but also genetic fragments, leftovers from infection that pose no particular risk -- akin to finding a hair in a room long after a person has left, Dr. Mina said.

Any test with a cycle threshold above 35 is too sensitive, agreed Juliet Morrison, a virologist at the University of California, Riverside. "I'm shocked that people would think that 40 could represent a positive," she said.

A more reasonable cutoff would be 30 to 35, she added. Dr. Mina said he would set the figure at 30, or even less. Those changes would mean the amount of genetic material in a patient's sample would have to be 100-fold to 1,000-fold that of the current standard for the test to return a positive result -- at least, one worth acting on.

"It's just kind of mind-blowing to me that people are not recording the C.T. values from all these tests, that they're just returning a positive or a negative," one virologist said. Credit... Erin Schaff/The New York Times

The Food and Drug Administration said in an emailed statement that it does not specify the cycle threshold ranges used to determine who is positive, and that " commercial manufacturers and laboratories set their own."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said it is examining the use of cycle threshold measures "for policy decisions." The agency said it would need to collaborate with the F.D.A. and with device manufacturers to ensure the measures "can be used properly and with assurance that we know what they mean."

The C.D.C.'s own calculations suggest that it is extremely difficult to detect any live virus in a sample above a threshold of 33 cycles . Officials at some state labs said the C.D.C. had not asked them to note threshold values or to share them with contact-tracing organizations.

For example, North Carolina's state lab uses the Thermo Fisher coronavirus test, which automatically classifies results based on a cutoff of 37 cycles. A spokeswoman for the lab said testers did not have access to the precise numbers.

This amounts to an enormous missed opportunity to learn more about the disease, some experts said.

"It's just kind of mind-blowing to me that people are not recording the C.T. values from all these tests -- that they're just returning a positive or a negative," said Angela Rasmussen, a virologist at Columbia University in New York.

"It would be useful information to know if somebody's positive, whether they have a high viral load or a low viral load," she added.

Officials at the Wadsworth Center, New York's state lab, have access to C.T. values from tests they have processed, and analyzed their numbers at The Times's request. In July, the lab identified 872 positive tests, based on a threshold of 40 cycles.

With a cutoff of 35, about 43 percent of those tests would no longer qualify as positive. About 63 percent would no longer be judged positive if the cycles were limited to 30.

In Massachusetts, from 85 to 90 percent of people who tested positive in July with a cycle threshold of 40 would have been deemed negative if the threshold were 30 cycles, Dr. Mina said. "I would say that none of those people should be contact-traced, not one," he said.

Other experts informed of these numbers were stunned.

"I'm really shocked that it could be that high -- the proportion of people with high C.T. value results," said Dr. Ashish Jha, director of the Harvard Global Health Institute. "Boy, does it really change the way we need to be thinking about testing."

Dr. Jha said he had thought of the PCR test as a problem because it cannot scale to the volume, frequency or speed of tests needed. "But what I am realizing is that a really substantial part of the problem is that we're not even testing the people who we need to be testing," he said.

The number of people with positive results who aren't infectious is particularly concerning, said Scott Becker, executive director of the Association of Public Health Laboratories. "That worries me a lot, just because it's so high," he said, adding that the organization intended to meet with Dr. Mina to discuss the issue.

The F.D.A. noted that people may have a low viral load when they are newly infected. A test with less sensitivity would miss these infections.

But that problem is easily solved, Dr. Mina said: "Test them again, six hours later or 15 hours later or whatever," he said. A rapid test would find these patients quickly, even if it were less sensitive, because their viral loads would quickly rise.

PCR tests still have a role, he and other experts said. For example, their sensitivity is an asset when identifying newly infected people to enroll in clinical trials of drugs.

But with 20 percent or more of people testing positive for the virus in some parts of the country, Dr. Mina and other researchers are questioning the use of PCR tests as a frontline diagnostic tool.

People infected with the virus are most infectious from a day or two before symptoms appear till about five days after. But at the current testing rates, "you're not going to be doing it frequently enough to have any chance of really capturing somebody in that window," Dr. Mina added.

Highly sensitive PCR tests seemed like the best option for tracking the coronavirus at the start of the pandemic. But for the outbreaks raging now, he said, what's needed are coronavirus tests that are fast, cheap and abundant enough to frequently test everyone who needs it -- even if the tests are less sensitive.

"It might not catch every last one of the transmitting people, but it sure will catch the most transmissible people, including the superspreaders," Dr. Mina said. "That alone would drive epidemics practically to zero."

An earlier version of this article, using information provided by a laboratory spokesman, misstated the number of positive coronavirus tests in July processed by Wadsworth Center, New York's state lab. It was 872 tests, not 794. Based on that error, the article also misstated the number of tests that would no longer qualify as positive with a C.T. value of 35 cycles. It is about 43 percent of the tests, not about half of them. Similarly, the article misstated the number of tests that would no longer qualify as positive if cycles were limited to 30. It is about 63 percent of the tests, not about 70 percent.

Apoorva Mandavilli is a reporter for The Times, focusing on science and global health. She is the 2019 winner of the Victor Cohn Prize for Excellence in Medical Science Reporting. @ apoorva_nyc A version of this article appears in print on Aug. 30, 2020 , Section A, Page 6 of the New York edition with the headline: You're Positive. But Are You Contagious? Tests May Be Too Sensitive, Experts Say . Order Reprints | Today's Paper | Subscribe

[Sep 23, 2020] DNA Amplification Through Polymerase Chain Reaction

Sep 23, 2020 |

By Theresa Phillips Updated October 25, 2019

PCR stands for polymerase chain reaction , a molecular biology technique for amplifying segments of DNA, by generating multiple copies using DNA polymerase enzymes under controlled conditions. As little as a single copy of a DNA segment or gene can be cloned into millions of copies, allowing detection using dyes and other visualization techniques.

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Developed in 1983, the process of PCR has made it possible to perform DNA sequencing and identify the order of nucleotides in individual genes. The method uses thermal cycling or the repeated heating and cooling of the reaction for DNA melting and replication. As PCR continues, the "new" DNA is used as a template for replication and a chain reaction ensues, exponentially amplifying the DNA template.

PCR techniques are applied in many areas of biotechnology including protein engineering , cloning, forensics (DNA fingerprinting), paternity testing, the diagnosis of hereditary and/or infectious diseases, and for the analysis of environmental samples.

In forensics, in particular, PCR is especially useful because it amplifies even the smallest amount of DNA evidence. PCR can also be used to analyze DNA that is thousands of years old, and these techniques have been used to identify everything from an 800,000-year-old mammoth to mummies from around the world.

PCR Procedure Initialization

This step is necessary only for DNA polymerases that require hot-start PCR. The reaction is heated to between 94 and 96 °C and held for 1-9 minutes.


If the procedure does not require initialization, denaturation is the first step. The reaction is heated to 94-98 °C for 20-30 seconds. The DNA template's hydrogen bonds are disrupted and single-stranded DNA molecules are created.


The reaction temperature is lower to between 50 and 65 °C and held for 20-40 seconds. The primers anneal to the single-stranded DNA template. The temperature is extremely important during this step. If it's too hot, the primer might not bind. If it's too cold, the primer might bind imperfectly. A good bond is formed when the primer sequence closely matches the template sequence.


The temperature during this step varies depending upon the type of polymerase. The DNA polymerase synthesizes a completely new DNA strand.

Final Elongation

This step is performed at 70-74 °C for 5-15 minutes after the final PCR cycle.

Final Hold

This step is optional. The temperature is kept at 4-15 °C and strops the reaction.

Three Stages of the PCR Procedure Exponential Amplification

During every cycle, product (the specific piece of DNA that is being replicated) is doubled.

Leveling-off Stage

As the DNA polymerase loses activity and consumes reagents, the reaction slows.


 No more product accumulates.

[Sep 20, 2020] NYT First Reinforces, Then Silently Debunks Its False Claims About Russia's Covid-19 Vaccine

Vaccine against coronaviruses is a very tricky business as the virus tend to mutate with time. Still it looks like Russian found some nw avenue to tackle this problem which might be more efficient then alternatives.
Notable quotes:
"... Science Magazine ..."
"... Science Magazine ..."
Sep 20, 2020 |

Western reporters to not like to correct their own false reporting. They rather reinforce it as much as possible. Only when overwhelmed by the facts will they silently admit that they were wrong in the first place. Here is a prime example of how that's done.

In mid-August we exposed how 'western' media lied about the approval for phase-3 testing of the Russian Sputnik vaccine against Covid-19. They said that Russia claimed the vaccine was ready to go population wide. That never was the case.

'Western' Media Falsely Claim That Russia's Covid-19 Vaccine Is Ready To Go

Russia has not approved a vaccine against Covid-19 and it is not skipping large-scale clinical trials. The Russia regulator gave a preliminary approval for a vaccine candidate to start the large-scale clinical trial. [...]

Science Magazine is one of the few media who got it right : ...

One of the false reports we pointed out was by the New York Times Moscow correspondent Andrew E. Kramer:

Russia Approves Coronavirus Vaccine Before Completing Tests

Russia has become the first country in the world to approve a vaccine for the coronavirus, President Vladimir V. Putin announced on Tuesday, though global health authorities say the vaccine has yet to complete critical, late-stage clinical trials to determine its safety and effectiveness.
By skipping large-scale clinical trials, the Russian dash for a vaccine has raised widespread concern that it is circumventing vital steps -- and potentially endangering people -- in order to score global propaganda points.

Russia had, as we and Science Magazine reported, never the intent to skip large-scale clinical trials. Kramer made that up.

In new report today Kramer reinforces his previous false and disproven claims to lament about an alleged slow distribution of the Sputnik vaccine in Russia:

Russia Is Slow to Administer Virus Vaccine Despite Kremlin's Approval

More than a month after becoming the first country to approve a coronavirus vaccine, Russia has yet to administer it to a large population outside a clinical trial, health officials and outside experts say.

The approval, which came with much fanfare, occurred before Russia had tested the vaccine in late-stage trials for possible side effects and for its disease-fighting ability. It was seen as a political gesture by President Vladimir V. Putin to assert victory in the global race for a vaccine.

It is not clear whether the slow start to the vaccination campaign is a result of limited production capacity or second thoughts about inoculating the population with an unproven product.

The Times author reinforces his own lie that Russia had declared its vaccine ready for population wide application. It had never done that. The official registration of the vaccine by the relevant authorities was only a necessary precondition to start the large scale phase-3 testing of the vaccine. There never was a Russian intent to distribute the vaccine to a large population without phase-3 testing.

In the bottom third of his long piece Kramer comes near to admitting that. There he describes that the Sputnik phase-3 testing is now ongoing. That contradicts all of his previous reporting on the issues though he himself never says that. But even now he is getting the details wrong:

The trial in Russia began on Sept. 9, and Russian officials have said they expect early results before the end of the year, though the Gamaleya Institute, the scientific body that developed the vaccine, has scheduled the trial to continue until May.

That timeline is similar to the testing schedules announced by the three pharmaceutical companies testing potential vaccines in the United States, AstraZeneca, Moderna and Pfizer.
The Russian late-stage, or Phase 3, clinical trial is being carried out entirely in Moscow, where 30,000 people will receive the vaccine and 10,000 will get a placebo.

Yevgenia Zubova, a spokeswoman for the Moscow city health department, said in an interview that the vaccine was available only to trial participants.

Those last two paragraphs, which completely debunk Kramer's original reporting, should have been at the very top of the piece. They are buried down in paragraph 23 and 24 of a 29 paragraphs story that starts out with an epic repeat of the previously made false claims.

Kramer is wrong to say that the testing is limited to Moscow. As explained on the Sputnik Vaccine website :

Post-registration clinical trials involving more than 40,000 people in Russia will be launched in a week starting from August, 24. A number of countries, such as UAE, Saudi Arabia, Philippines and possibly India or Brazil will join the clinical trials of Sputnik V locally. [...] Mass production of the vaccine is expected to start in September 2020.

That testing of Sputnik V will also happen outside of Moscow has been confirmed by recent reports :

Russia's sovereign wealth fund will supply 100 million doses of its potential coronavirus vaccine to Indian drug company Dr Reddy's Laboratories, the fund said on Wednesday, as Moscow speeds up plans to distribute its shot abroad.
Dr Reddy's, one of India's top pharmaceutical companies, will carry out Phase III clinical trials of Sputnik-V in India, RDIF said.

It is not Russia that is fudging the testing of its vaccine. It is the Trump administration that is planning to do so out of political reasons:

Eric Topol @EricTopol - 18:10 UTC · Sep 19, 2020

We have the protocols. Now we know how there will very likely be an Emergency Use Approval (EUA) for a vaccine prior to November 3. The company and political motivations are fully aligned.

The criteria for an EUA is that it "may be effective" ...
16. If there was any doubt about @HHSgov @SecAzar's plan to make sure there is an EUA for a vaccine before Nov 3 (see 10. above), then you can read this by @BySheilaKaplan In 'Power Grab,' Health Secretary Azar Asserts Authority Over F.D.A.

In contrast to the U.S. the Russian testing of its Sputnik vaccine will be -as usual- of high integrity and will strictly follow the protocols such trials are supposed to follow. In paragraph 29, the very last one in today's NYT story, the author at last admits as much :

[W]hen medicines are tested, Russia has an exceptionally good track record on managing clinical trials , according to a database of U.S. Food and Drug Administration inspections of clinical trials around the world. The F.D.A. found a lower percentage of trials with problems in Russia than in any other European country or the United States.

If I get the chance to chose a vaccine for myself I will rather take the one which was developed by a highly qualified state financed research institution and approved in Russia than one developed by some profit oriented pharmaceutic conglomerate that is in cahoots with a politicized regulator under the Trump administration.

Posted by b on September 20, 2020 at 12:12 UTC | Permalink

foolisholdman , Sep 20 2020 12:21 utc | 1

Very interestng clarification of well-muddied waters! Thank you for that b.
vk , Sep 20 2020 12:53 utc | 2
If I get the chance to chose a vaccine for myself I will rather take the one which was developed by a highly qualified state financed research institution and approved in Russia than one developed by some profit oriented pharmaceutic conglomerate that is in cahoots with a politicized regulator under the Trump administration.

To top it off, Gamaleya's vaccine simply has the better science behind it. It uses two human adenoviruses, in opposition to the single chimpanzee adenovirus used by the AstraZeneca one (the Chinese one also uses only one adenovirus, but I don't remember if it is human or chimpanzee).

No other laboratory in the world is using Gamaleya's technology - which it already dominates. Two American laboratories (Moderna and one more that I forgot the name) are testing the untried and dangerous mRNA technology. It is very unlikely those two mRNA vaccines will ever come out to the public; those two labs probably just cashed in their USD 2 billion checks they received from the USG.

This gives force to my original hypothesis: the Anglo-Saxon laboratories are exploiting exotic technologies for their vaccines because they want something the can patent, thus charging astronomical prices to the national governments and thus emerge from this pandemic even richer.


Speaking of AstraZeneca (Oxford), it released its blueprints yesterday after "public pressure":

A Phase III Randomized, Double-blind, Placebo-controlled Multicenter Study in Adults to Determine the Safety, Efficacy, and Immunogenicity of AZD1222, a Non-replicating ChAdOx1 Vector Vaccine, for the Prevention of COVID-19

The USG is, behind the scenes (I already posted the link here in the open thread), extremely worried about this vaccine.

AstraZeneca will try to get what it can get, but the fact is it's game over for them. The thing here is that the Gamaleya alternative is better and if the USA (where the vaccine makers will really make money) wants to get political, it will simply opt for one of the many American vaccines that will come out - ready or not, satisfactory or not - next year. As a British vaccine, AstraZeneca-Oxford will, at best, have to do with the British market, which is very tiny for a big pharmaceutical company.

It is better if they just cancel the trials and abandon production.

jo6pac , Sep 20 2020 13:07 utc | 3
If I had money I'd fly to Russia for their vaccine. They made theirs for the people and in Amerika we make it for profits and protect the makes from lawsuits.

Thanks b and vk

Clueless Joe , Sep 20 2020 13:19 utc | 4
To be frank, at this point, ironically, it's Big Pharma's own self-interest that might help us to counter Trump's lunacy. There are enough anti-vaxxers around for them not to want a screwed up vaccine and a big scandal that would only comfort the vaxxers and sow mistrust among the population. They need people to assume vaccines are well done and mostly harmless if they want to keep making profit with them. Trump is only interested in a victory in the next few weeks, Pharma business is interested in making profits for the next decades.
That's quite a damning indictment of our Western system, but then 2020 is a milestone, the threshold beyond which it won't be possible to consider the Western liberal capitalistic system as the superior one, if not the best one possible - quite the opposite.
Tuyzentfloot , Sep 20 2020 13:22 utc | 5
The Kramer reporting is highly unusual. Normally the important information should be in the third paragraph from the end and now it's in the sixth and seventh last.

Anyway, while I agree that this vaccine should be treated as an entirely legitimate effort I want to add:
- phase 1/2 testing did appear a too lightweight and the article on it in the Lancet has been criticized by russian scientists (
- one family of vaccines can be more controversial and experimental than another and the judgement of the testers can take this in account when considering shortcuts.
- One should distinguish what the makers of the vaccine claim with the political (exaggerated) statements from Putin about it .
- The statements on testing on the Sputnikvaccine have changed over time. In the beginning it said 2000 people in Russia and it listed 4 more countries(UAE, KSA, Brazil,Mexico). That was insufficient. Several of these countries have been omitted since, and others have been added. One can say that the intent to do decent testing was always there but the confirmed planning was not.
- rollout to large population was impossible anyway at an early stage because the production capacity was limited.

pnyx , Sep 20 2020 14:02 utc | 6
Kramer is not wrong, he simply lies. In the Relotius media this is standard practice when covering politically sensitive topics, combined with omissions.
Of course, many well-researched and truthful articles are published in the nyt, faz, nzz etc. That is exactly what makes these media so refined and what they base their claim to be quality media on. One lies and distort as little and as targeted as possible.
Steve , Sep 20 2020 14:05 utc | 7
The Europena and Australian vassals of the USA would not be given a choice to choose the more authetic option of the vaccine. But Israel would probably opt for the Russian version without consequence. It's over for the West!
morongobill , Sep 20 2020 14:10 utc | 8
Get your covid 19 news here folks!
Kramer vs Kramer , Sep 20 2020 14:15 utc | 9
Kramer appears to have the right kind of nose. It is all that matters
vk , Sep 20 2020 14:22 utc | 10
@ Posted by: Tuyzentfloot | Sep 20 2020 13:22 utc | 5

Nobody is saying the Gamaleya vaccine will be the second coming of the polio vaccine. Whichever COVID-19 vaccine comes out will inevitably be imperfect (in relation to the already tested and tried vaccines everybody takes nowadays).

Your worries are all legitimate. Indeed, Gamaleya publicly admitted phases 1 and 2 of its trials has small samples of subjects.

However, you also have to take into account that the science is solid (two human adenoviruses, a tested and tried technology) and that Gamaleya is the center of excellence in adenovirus vaccine technology. That's why - and not because it is Russian - we can trust Gamaleya's vaccine is, given the circumstances (pandemic), reliable. The fact Gamaleya already dominated the adenovirus technology also explains why it was the first laboratory to come out with a solution - it simply used a tested and tried method it already dominated, while the other pharmaceuticals are basically having to relearn how to develop a vaccine and/or are adventuring in uncharted territory because they want something they can patent.

So yes, we can search and find defects in Gamaleya's trials - but the strongest argument in its favor is not the trials, it's the solid science and technology behind it.

Jackrabbit , Sep 20 2020 14:34 utc | 11
What will the astro-turfed libertarian mob say about vaccines?

My guess: they will support them vociferously.

Because freedumb. And Big Pharma $$$ in their pockets.


Anne , Sep 20 2020 14:54 utc | 12
Vk and the wabbit - right on. And Thanks to you, B, for this clear and straightforwardly informative piece (as usual).

Is it any surprise that the NYT uses the usual propaganda format of truth (when it accords with the ruling elites perspective) and lies (when "reporting on" what is happening in those "bad hat" countries)? And might I add that NPR and the BBC World Service do exactly the same thing, boosting the US-UK-NATO worldview (which equals the western corporate-captitalist-imperialist, oh so exceptional, ruling elites world position) while denigrating Russia, China, Iran (and now Lukashenko - indeed the Beeb refuses to pronounce his name properly, always reducing it to the feminine form, and believe me, as born and raised Brit, that's deliberate) via lies, lies and more lies. And via those weasely words: "likely," "Highly likely" and so on and on ....

All that this latest vaccine competition (western) will produce is more anti-vaxxers. And this time round, sensibly so.

JohnH , Sep 20 2020 14:57 utc | 13
Tuyzefot (5): it is common for the NYT to lead with propaganda and bury the facts at the end of the article.

I noticed it decades ago in articles covering Palestine. I learned to skip whatever was printed on the front page and immediately jump to the final five paragraphs found deep within the paper. I guess they print the facts at all there only as a bizarre way of covering their asses in a feeble attempt at integrity.

vk , Sep 20 2020 15:22 utc | 14
Just saw this, should've posted here earlier. Highly recommend reading in full:

Kirill Dmitriev: Questions on Sputnik V Vaccine Answered, Critics need to Look for Plank in Own Eyes


The vaccine uses a unique two-vector human adenovirus technology which no-one else in the world currently has for COVID-19.


On the surface the Sputnik V trial with 76 participants seems smaller in size compared to 1,077 people that, for example, AstraZeneca had in its Phase 1-2 studies. However, the design of the Sputnik V trial was much more efficient and based on better assumptions.


The post-registration studies involving more than 40,000 people started in Russia on August 26, before AstraZeneca has started its Phase 3 trial in the U.S. with 30,000 participants. Clinical trials in Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates (UAE), the Philippines, India and Brazil will begin this month. The preliminary results of the Phase 3 trial will be published in October-November 2020.


Q.: Why has the Sputnik V vaccine already become eligible for emergency use registration?

Because of the very positive results of the Phase 1-2 trials and because the human adenoviral vector-based delivery platform has been proven the safest vaccine delivery platform over decades including through 75 international scientific publications and in more than 250 clinical trials.


Some other companies are using human adenoviral vector-based platforms for their COVID-19 vaccines. For example, Johnson & Johnson uses only Ad26 vector and China's CanSino only Ad5 while Sputnik V uses both of these vectors. The work of Johnson & Johnson and CanSino not only validates the Russian approach but also shows Sputnik V's advantage as studies have demonstrated that two different vectors produce better results than one.


The monkey adenovirus and mRNA vaccines have never been used and approved before and their research is lagging the proven human adenoviral vector-based platform by at least 20 years. However, their developers have already secured supply contracts worth billions of dollars from Western governments and may potentially apply for fast-track registration -- while receiving full indemnity at the same time.

At the end of the Q&A, Dmitriev counters his Western colleagues:

Question 1: Are there any long-term studies of mRNA and monkey adenovirus vector-based technologies for carcinogenic effects and impact on fertility? (Hint: there are none)

Question 2: Could their absence be the reason why some of the leading pharmaceutical firms making COVID-19 vaccines based on these technologies pushed the countries buying their vaccines for full indemnification from lawsuits if something goes wrong?

Question 3: Why is Western media not reporting a lack of long term studies for mRNA and monkey adenoviral vector-based vaccines?

Those are good questions. Very good questions.

Mark Thomason , Sep 20 2020 15:42 utc | 15
The constant Russia bashing is a disconnect from the truth and the real world.

It is annoying to wade through.

Far more important, it is crippling for a nation if its leadership actually does disconnect from reality and believe its own fantasy.

Disconnect from reality, belief in convenient fantasy, is exactly how the Democrats went from losing with Hillary to running again with Hillary II, the same donors and advisers and influence peddlers pushing the same right wing triangulation by the Democratic Party.

Maybe they can squeak out a win this time. It should not be close.

Far more important, there are things that need doing, things that would win like health care for all, that they simply won't offer or run on. We are not going to get from them what we need, we know that, and that is why they again have a squeaker election even against a joke like Trump.

Patrick Armstrong , Sep 20 2020 15:54 utc | 16
Perfect example of the free and unfettered press at work. What do you mean we're just a propaganda rag? See, right down at the bottom, the bit you didn't bother to read down to, right next to the denture ad, we told the truth. So there! Balanced and accurate reporting!
Kooshy , Sep 20 2020 16:21 utc | 17
Here in US we are getting 737maxed again this time with FDA
Kooshy , Sep 20 2020 16:28 utc | 18
Trump's "national security" state has managed to kill 200000 by him the autocrat in chief to come out and tell the truth as he admitted so to Woodward. This fucking American national security phobia is costing American lives more than all past 70 years of national security wars.
aquadraht , Sep 20 2020 18:14 utc | 19
The sick transatlantic mindset is exposed here:

Nice to read the comment on Global Times:

Tuyzentfloot , Sep 20 2020 19:34 utc | 20
@JohnH 13 , it was hm, a joke. There is indeed rule of thumb that you have to look fore the third to last paragraph. I upgraded it into something of a law, which is then violated in this case.
Tuyzentfloot , Sep 20 2020 20:10 utc | 21
@vk 10, I wouldn't call it my worries, just that I think B. posted a version which was too simple and rosy. In the meantime I saw your post 14 which I roughly expected but hadn't read about yet.
Jen , Sep 20 2020 20:17 utc | 22
Andrew Kramer's reporting on the Sputnik V vaccine is deliberately written to discredit the Russians and anything and everything they do, which includes the way they conduct scientific and medical research (because it's govt-funded, not funded by global pharmaceutical corporations) and the way they run their healthcare system (not privatised).

First, Kramer says the Kremlin approved the vaccine: this is to set up Moscow and Putin in particular as rash, so that the supposed "roll-out" of the vaccine can be (secondly) portrayed as inefficient.

Kramer knows he is lying which is why his piece is long (he knows most NYT readers are time-poor and want the celebrity news and baseball results) and the most important information is squeezed into the last two paragraphs of his article.

Jen , Sep 20 2020 20:24 utc | 23
Tuyzentfloot @ 5:

I tried linking to that Moscow Times article at your link and either I hit a dead end or the newspaper removed the article, which does not surprise me since that newspaper is as credible as The New York Times. It used to be given away f o r free in Moscow but I believe it now exists only as an online paper.

Tuyzentfloot , Sep 20 2020 20:32 utc | 24
@Jen, you have to remove the last two characters ').' because I omitted a space. The article in the moscow times is ok and not too alarming. It is also not discrediting the lancet article. Just raising concerns.

[Sep 17, 2020] Dr. Quack- CDC's Redfield Claims Masks -- Guaranteed To Protect Against COVID

Sep 17, 2020 |

Dr. Quack? CDC's Redfield Claims Masks "Guaranteed To Protect Against COVID" by Tyler Durden Thu, 09/17/2020 - 14:09 Twitter Facebook Reddit Email Print

Authored by Jordan Schachtel via The Mass Illusion,

In February, Redfield said healthy people should *not* wear masks.

Testifying before the Senate Appropriations Committee Wednesday morning, CDC Director Robert Redfield entered further into quack doctor territory, claiming that wearing a mask protects the wearer against the novel coronavirus, even more so than a high-efficacy vaccine.

"These facemasks are the important, powerful public health tool we have," Redfield said, while touching both sides of his mask and unconsciously contaminating it with his hands. "I might even go so far as to say that this facemask is more guaranteed to protect me against COVID than when I take a COVID vaccine," he added.

This appears to be another "scientific" evolution on masks from the "public health expert" class. At first, we were advised not to wear masks. Then, the "my mask protects you. Your mask protects me" mantra became the widely disseminated narrative. Now, masks apparently have the incredible power of protecting the mask wearer from the virus.

me title=

In February, Redfield said the exact opposite about masks.

In the February hearing, Redfield told Americans not to buy medical-grade masks , saying there's "no role for these masks in the community."

There remains zero evidence that cloth masks or the earloop masks displayed by Redfield helps to slow the spread of COVID-19 or protect the wearer from infection. No country in the world has proven a link in slowing or stopping the spread due to mask wearing mandates, which are in effect in countless nations.

Given the lack of demonstrated evidence supporting it, mask-wearing has become a cult-like religious movement in the United States , one that relies on complete subservience to total mysticism. Members of the mask movement frequently target Americans who engage in non-compliance, likening these individuals to evil, plague-carrying menaces. Redfield's testimony will only add fuel to the mask mania that is sowing discord in America.

In his testimony, Redfield added that a COVID vaccine probably won't be available to the general public until at least the second or third quarter of 2021.

"If you're asking me when is it going to be generally available to the American public, so we can begin to take advantage of vaccine to get back to our regular life, I think we're probably looking at third, late second quarter, third quarter 2021," he testified, adding that first responders may have access to the vaccine before the end of the year.

Like many institutional bureaucracies in the federal government, the CDC has become plagued with corruption and "woke" politics. A whistleblower recently revealed that the CDC was forcing its staff to undergo "critical race theory" training. NEVER MISS THE NEWS THAT MATTERS MOST


Receive a daily recap featuring a curated list of must-read stories.

Under Redfield's leadership, the CDC dropped the ball on preparing Americans for the U.S. coronavirus outbreak, as shown through internal emails displaying the bureaucracy as an organizational mess.

* * *

Thanks for reading! I would be honored if you are willing to support my work and subscribe to The Mass Illusion, my newsletter for people concerned about our "new normal."

[Sep 06, 2020] Inactive fragments on virus RNA trigger false positives in most common COVID test due to way too many cycles of amplification which amplifies noise along with the signal and efffectly turns noise (inactive fragments on RNA) into signal, new study finds

Highly recommended!
From comments: "Article is poorly written by someone who does not know medical science. There are no viral "cells" so the headline is a put off right away. The comment about "sensitivity" is misplaced as PCR tests are too sensitive: ergo false positives. I believe "specificity" is the word the author was searching for. If a test lumps true positives with false positives, then it lacks specificity."
Sep 05, 2020 |

In the past, our reports raising questions about the accuracy of COVID-19 tests have been met with accusations of 'fearmongering' and spreading 'misinformation'.

But not today.

That's because new research from the University of Oxford's Center for Evidence-Based Medicine and the University of the West of England has found that the swab-based technique used for most COVID-19 testing is at risk of returning "false positives" since copies of the virus's RNA detected by the tests might simply be dead, inactive material from a weeks-old infection. Although patients infected with COVID-19 are typically only infectious for a week or less, tests can be triggered by virus genetic material left over from a weeks-old infection.

The team's research involved analyzing 25 studies on the widely used polymerase chain reaction test. PCR tests use material collected with a swab - the most common type of test around the world, and especially in the US - then utilize a "genetic photocopying" technique that allows scientists to magnify the small sample of genetic material collected, which they can then analyze for signs of viral RNA.

What the researchers here have effectively found is that these PCR tests just aren't sensitive enough to distinguish if the viral material is active and infectious, or dead and inert.

For those who desire a more comprehensive understanding of how these tests work, the chart below can be helpful.

Professor Carl Heneghan, one of the authors of the study, said there was a risk that a surge in testing across the UK was increasing the risk of this sample contamination occurring and it may explain why the number of Covid-19 cases is rising but the number of deaths is static.

"Evidence is mounting that a good proportion of 'new' mild cases and people re-testing positives after quarantine or discharge from hospital are not infectious, but are simply clearing harmless virus particles which their immune system has efficiently dealt with," he told the Spectator.

Professor Heneghan added that international scrutiny might be required to avoid "the dangers of isolating non-infectious people or whole communities." ZKnight 14 minutes ago

Fake science. How about purify the virus first and establish a gold standard for testing first. No, of course not because the CDC has a patent for Covid-19 and nobody is allowed to try find it to see if it exists. play_arrow LogicFusion 27 minutes ago

Everybody is a Covid-19 / Coronavirus expert now!

Read about the failed coin dealer and convicted felon's performance. It's hilarious!

Martin Armstrong becomes Covid-19 Coronavirus Expert overnight play_arrow ducksinarow 59 minutes ago

Covid -19 has been so politicized that I don't believe a word of any publication for or against testing, existence of the Virus, or anything that provokes testing or issues opinions about locking down communities. Just like the riots, Covid news is just plain boring. play_arrow ominous 3 hours ago

Link to goes to home page, not this story.

Where is the original story posted? play_arrow play_arrow ominous 3 hours ago (Edited)

Perhaps this y_arrow 1 Rabbi Blitzstein 38 minutes ago

"Give me control of a nation's money, and I care not who makes the laws" - Mayer Amschel Rothschild. play_arrow play_arrow tangent 4 hours ago remove link

People who recommend a vaccine for an entirely cured virus should lose their license to practice medicine. 99.9% cure rate applying to people who take it before being hospitalized is one of the biggest success stories in the history of medicine for HCQ. Not only that, but there are multiple other likely cures that simply have not been studied well. You'd think people would appreciate the fact that the common cold has been cured, but instead they just whine that big pharma isn't getting those bucko bucks.

I honestly expected a ticker tape parade like in the movies when that first cure study came out. But instead they took a massive **** on the study and on the doctor... ****ty world we live in. ay_arrow Pair Of Dimes Shift 2 hours ago

An exec (55+) at my company is gung ho about the vaccine.

Unfortunately, I just had to give him a "wait and see" response although I know vaccines for coronaviruses are impossible. play_arrow 2 play_arrow ThanksIwillHaveAnother 4 hours ago (Edited)

Viruses are not full cells. They are DNA/RNA wrapped with a protein the clings to a cell then the cell imports the DNA/RNA to start making its proteins. So what is inactive? If that person sneezes on another person depending on immune system status that other person could get a bad infection. y_arrow 4 CrabbyR 3 hours ago

viruses utilizes CELL structures and host DNA to replicate dna or rna according to the viruses genetic code, the protein jacket is the final product to

disguise the virus from detection and to bind on another cell after the compromised cell RUPTURES, there's more to it but if it cannot copy itself effectively it can become nonviable and unable to infect another cell. It replicates DNA inside a host cell, It is not a complete organism and cannot replicate unless it can inject its DNA into a host cell. Antibodies cling to viruses and destroy this ability to bind to a target cell. A non viable virus has a damaged coat or DNA RNA that has to many Dimers (damage or code breaks) Bacteria is more in line with what you think a virus is y_arrow onewayticket2 4 hours ago (Edited) remove link

they lost me when they changed the definition of "death" to include "presumed, untested" cases (while bI@#$% ing at me that we needed to "follow the science")....and even got busted for the laughable motorcycle accident being classified as a covid death and the Labs that were sending in 100% positive results. (until they were caught) play_arrow OutaTime43 4 hours ago remove link

The test detects RNA. Not necessarily viable virus. Also, it will detect RNA presence in an individual who may already have antibodies and may be immune. We are bombarded daily by viruses of which we already have immunity. play_arrow sun tzu 10 hours ago

Shocking news that the South Koreans already discovered and published back in May. Western big pharma driven medicine is garbage 😂😂😂

play_arrow Roger Casement 10 hours ago


World Bank exporting COVID-19 Testing Kits in 2018??????

https: // play_arrow 7 play_arrow sun tzu 10 hours ago

Interesting play_arrow play_arrow Jack Mehoff 1 more time 9 hours ago

Business as usual play_arrow play_arrow Argon1 7 hours ago

Preparation for agenda 2021 in 2017. play_arrow 1 play_arrow CrabbyR 4 hours ago

WOW.......ties a few strands from other sources together into a real ugly picture play_arrow play_arrow Welsh Bard 10 hours ago

The professor who won the Nobel prize for work in this field, said that the way this test is being operated with over forty cycles, means that any results are entirely meaningless.

In Britain, having spent over £15 billion setting up PCR testing systems and a shaky test and trace apparatus on top of that, it appears that 90% of positive results now appear to be false. This is compounded by the fact that when a hot spot develops, more testing is done to show a rapid increase in more false positive results, meaning further new lockdowns and even more testing to prove yet more false positive results ad infinitum.

Now whether this is by design or ineptitude, people must decide for themselves but the outcome is utter chaos.

For those countries who have not followed the Swedish model especially countries like Australia and New Zealand who have set up complete isolation, now face a future perpetually cut off from the rest of the world.

Okay, new techniques will and are coming along to treat the disease like HCQ when used correctly maybe as a prophylactic and a vaccine that will need to be constantly upgraded like the Flu vaccine, means that the whole world has painted itself into a corner unless drastic revision is now made to the whole sorry mess.

In the meantime, we will now be stuck with digital currency and the introduction of ID Health Cards that will limit people in how they travel where they work and access to a whole heap of things like government services.

Welcome to the new world order! play_arrow 1 KuriousKat 11 hours ago (Edited) remove link

Don't tell the Shameless Aussie gov that after arresting hundreds for simply voicing doubt on need to lockdown entire city...Next time it will be thousands and not a damn thing they can do to stop it..These people are trickling us the truth how worthless the tests are when pretty much everyone knows. play_arrow espirit 12 hours ago remove link



Imperial College

John Hopkins


Line all those peeps up against the wall, and the first one to rat gets to live.

I'll provide my own ammo... ay_arrow Sick Monkey 6 hours ago

Not everyone working in these agencies are dishonest but like you and I we have to work and eat.

Most of them are trapped in this mess with bills to pay threatened by NDA.

play_arrow 1 Urban Roman 12 hours ago

Not particularly new news. Been talked about since April at least -- it's an RNA virus, it has its own polymerase, and it leaves lots of RNA fragments in its wake.

The Corona family of viruses make 5 or 6 strands with partial copies of their RNA molecule. negative copies are made first, and then copied again into positive copies. Finally the one big RNA is made with the entire genome on it.

So about a dozen RNA molecules are made for each finished virus particle that is produced. And finally, a variety of different primers are used for the PCR tests, some are matched to the small partial RNA copies and others are matched to various features on the large whole-virus RNA. They can give different results for the same sample.

So, someone who registers on a PCR test has probably been exposed to the virus, but the test gives no clue as to whether it is an active infection, or the person is contagious, or they are just coming down with it, or they got over it six months ago. play_arrow 4 play_arrow 1

10 play_arrow gordo 12 hours ago remove link

Sweden, no masks, no lock downs, ALL SCHOOLS OPEN, herd immunity, no second wave.

Still think your masks and lock downs are working muppets?

1 play_arrow The 3rd Dimentia 13 hours ago SARS-CoV2 and the Rise of Medical Technocracy. Lee Merritt, M.D. play_arrow 3 play_arrow hugin-o-munin 13 hours ago

I'm glad to see that many are starting to counter the official narrative.

We've been asleep for too long and allowed these agendas to fester to the point we're at now where a college dropout software salesman and a former 3rd world communist terrorist (neither of whom have any medical degree) are dictating to the world how everyone needs to get a DNA altering vaccine and a medical ID. It's completely nuts and bonkers yet more or less the entire planet's governments follow in 'lockstep' with ever more draconian laws and regulations incarcerating people in their own homes, making them wear masks causing oxygen deprivation and shutting down the entire world economy.

lay_arrow Warthog777 , 13 hours ago

Article is poorly written by someone who does not know medical science. There are no viral "cells" so the headline is a put off right away. The comment about "sensitivity" is misplaced as PCR tests are too sensitive: ergo false positives. I believe "specificity" is the word the author was searching for. If a test lumps true positives with false positives, then it lacks specificity.

Cabreado , 13 hours ago

"accusations of 'fearmongering' and spreading 'misinformation'.
But not today."

Well, much of the world has known for months now about the testing lies...

and I'd be remiss to not remind the Tylers that they indeed played a role in the fear mongering along the way; quite intently so.

Crush the cube , 13 hours ago

Busted, published 2018, what a scam.

Digital-Anarchy , 14 hours ago

Anyone who would use the term "virus cells", has no clue what they're talking about and should be completely disregarded. Viruses are not cells. PCR tests are searching for something your body produces in response to a virus as well. They are not produced specifically for a singular virus either. The entire concept of PCR testing is garbage. This **** was a scam from the get-go.

hugin-o-munin , 13 hours ago

Yes it is evident now that this entire pandemic is false and political. The goal seems to be to vaccinate entire populations and the question people need to ask is - why? what for? Aside from the obvious economic motives there are some more sinister plans that most people will have a hard time accepting but these need to be looked at. Several years ago there were a group of doctors and researchers that died of suspicious suicides who were collaborating and studying vaccines and the link to autism.

The effort was led by Dr.Jeffrey Bradstreet who was researching the natural substance GcMAF and how this could boost the immune system. What he discovered was that many vaccines had a compound/substance called Nagalase in them that is unnatural and has a detrimental effect on the immune system and function of GcMAF (which is produced by our own bodies) and has no business at all being in vaccines. Just before he was able to blow the whistle on this he also died of a suspicious 'suicide' and today most of the clinics and research groups working on GcMAF have been destroyed and ruined. Draw your own conclusions.

snblitz , 14 hours ago

Dr. Kary Mullis invented the PCR test. He said it was ineffective for this purpose.

Though he was addressing its use in a prior virus hoax unleashed upon the world.

I bet you didn't know this scam has been used before.

That is why I was able to call out the scam right from the start. The second I saw them using the PCR again, I knew it was from the same playbook.

snblitz , 14 hours ago

So many lies.

Viruses are not alive. They have no metabolic functions. They cannot move.

Don't believe me? Get a degree is virology or microbiology or just a read a book on the subject. Or capture a wuhan-virus yourself and watch it under a microscope. It won't move. It won't consume anything. It will just sit there inert.

The problem is that you are being lied to at a scale you cannot imagine.

I know, off to the fema re-education camp for me for spreading false information about the wuhan-virus.

Though I am not the one spreading fear and hysteria.

aldousd , 13 hours ago

There article is confused, but the work of the doctor is not. Viruses use your cells to reproduce. When your immune system targets the virus it actually kills your own cell which has become host to the virus. The virus particles and markers, and the DNA of the virus can be detected in these dead cells, but dead cells cannot serve as a factory for more viruses. So it's effectively a dead virus infected cell. Not a dead virus cell.

So while the transcription of the idea here was done by an idiot, it's not an idiotic idea. The tests cannot tell if the virus came in a living cell that is actively producing more viruses or a dead host cell that has been assassinated by your immune system. That's what they're talking about here.

mstyle , 11 hours ago

what about the chromosome 8 stuff that has been mentioned lately?

(since you appear to be rather intelligent)

hugin-o-munin , 11 hours ago

Thanks. Well the chromosome 8 discovery in the PCR test specifications/details is strange and worrying because it makes you wonder why it's part of this at all. Some believe it's to get more false positive results while others believe it is what the mRNA vaccines are intended to target and if that's right then it's really sinister. What exactly is the plan? To make all of us get Downs Syndrome? I don't know but judging by all their other lies and schemes it wouldn't surprise me.

IRC162 , 14 hours ago

Fuggin progressives and their pandemic political prop. But really this reaction is the same as their reaction to 'racial injustice'. They focus on feelings before the facts are known in order to achieve their end, and then do their best to bury/ignore the facts when they are gathered later.

94% COVID deaths with multiple comorbidities.

10 unarmed blacks killed by police in 2019 (6 were in self-defense).

adr , 15 hours ago

Why didn't you mention that nearly all labs are running 35-40 cycles which guarantees a positive test, simply from noise.

The inventor of the test said if you don't find anything after 15 cycles, it probably isn't there. After 20 cycles the noise starts to be greater than any real information. By 30, the test is mostly noise. More than 35, the test is completely worthless.

Of course I've been saying this for five months, but most people didn't listen. After the NYT article came out, people I know started saying, "How did you know?"

I said, "Because I have critical thinking skills. Why didn't you believe me? Name a time I've steered you wrong."

Antiduck , 14 hours ago

333 labs in florida had 100% positivity. (stupid word.)

ZenStick , 12 hours ago

Exactly correct.
Nobody will touch this line of reasoning in public or on media.

Identify as Ferengi , 15 hours ago

See above, Born2Bwired.

The PCR test is not useful for what they are using it for apparently. This has been known since the beginning. Here is quote regarding AIDS:

"Kary Mullis, who won the Nobel Prize in Science for inventing the PCR, is thoroughly convinced that HIV is not the cause of "AIDS". With regard to the viral load tests, which attempt to use PCR for counting viruses, Mullis has stated: "Quantitative PCR is an oxymoron." PCR is intended to identify substances qualitatively, but by its very nature is unsuited for estimating numbers. Although there is a common misimpression that the viral load tests actually count the number of viruses in the blood, these tests cannot detect free, infectious viruses at all; they can only detect proteins that are believed, in some cases wrongly, to be unique to HIV. The tests can detect genetic sequences of viruses, but not viruses themselves.

What PCR does is to select a genetic sequence and then amplify it enormously. It can accomplish the equivalent of finding a needle in a haystack; it can amplify that needle into a haystack. Like an electronically amplified antenna, PCR greatly amplifies the signal, but it also greatly amplifies the noise. Since the amplification is exponential, the slightest error in measurement, the slightest contamination, can result in errors of many orders of magnitude."

naro , 15 hours ago

NYTimes article last week suggested that only 10% of Covid positive PCR tests are clinically significant and infectious.

[Sep 06, 2020] Wrote a memoir of a incubation patient. The coronavirus Hospital staff are pressured to hook you up to the tubes...

Neoliberal medicine puts stents in people hearts just for money. Why neoliberal medicine should behave differently in case of COVID-19
Sep 06, 2020 |

naro , 15 hours ago

It is important to note that detecting viral material by PCR does not indicate that the virus is fully intact and infectious, i.e. able to cause infection in other people. The isolation of infectious virus from positive individuals requires virus culture methods. These methods can only be conducted in laboratories with specialist containment facilities and are time consuming and complex.

PCR is 90% false positive as far as detection of live infectious virus. IT IS A FRAUD

I Write Code , 15 hours ago

The "PCR" tests are only testing for fragments anyhow, if they did a full sequence it would be much more reliable - but much more slow and expensive, too.

NumbNuts , 15 hours ago

These test kits?

COVID-19 Test kits (300215) exports by country in 2018

4Celts , 14 hours ago

I saw this on RFB an hour ago . He showed how a link on this page had been scrubbed already .

adr , 15 hours ago

Why didn't you mention that nearly all labs are running 35-40 cycles which guarantees a positive test, simply from noise.

The inventor of the test said if you don't find anything after 15 cycles, it probably isn't there. After 20 cycles the noise starts to be greater than any real information. By 30, the test is mostly noise. More than 35, the test is completely worthless.

Of course I've been saying this for five months, but most people didn't listen. After the NYT article came out, people I know started saying, "How did you know?"

I said, "Because I have critical thinking skills. Why didn't you believe me? Name a time I've steered you wrong."

Spiritual Anunnaki , 15 hours ago

Wrote a memoir of a incubation patient. The coronavirus Hospital staff are pressured to hook you up to the tubes...

adr , 15 hours ago

If you walked into a hospital coughing, they gave you paralytics and hooked you up to a vent. Something that is only supposed to be done if you are in imminent danger of death.

The problem with paralytics, is that your body believes it is dead, and your blood starts to coagulate. It wasn't Covid that caused the problems, it was the drugs the doctors were forcing down patient's throats.

They should be held criminally libel, but thanks to the emergency declaration, they are immune to prosecution.

flim_flam_man , 11 hours ago

They wanted them intubated for two reasons: nurses didn't want to deal with patients on bipaps and other respiratory support in a conscious patient as that increases THEIR risk of infection. AND the hospitals collected $38K/intubated patient from the fed...significantly more than a garden variety mildly sick patient.

This went on mainly in hospitals in crappy areas that largely serve the "socioeconomically challenged" segment of the population, which then solves the mystery as to why blacks and hispanics have been disproportionately affected by covid.

[Aug 27, 2020] Trump's Executive Orders Will Make Prescription Drugs More Affordable -

Aug 27, 2020 |

esident Trump recently introduced four executive orders aimed at reducing drug prices for all Americans. Affordability in health care is consistently a leading issue on the minds of the people, and the price of prescription drugs is a key component of that. Every president, regardless of party, wants to make medication more affordable. But more times than not, they fail to make much of a difference. President Trump's orders, however, should.

Insulin, a drug that has been in existence for nearly a century, continues to be cost prohibitive for many diabetics. We've all seen story after story of people having to choose between groceries and lifesaving drugs -- even at a time when the Affordable Care Act is the law of the land. Over the last 10 years, the price of Humalog, a commonly prescribed insulin, has increased from $75 to $250, with no changes to formula, packaging, or designs.

Over the same time frame, the list prices established by pharmaceutical companies have skyrocketed, although their profits have remained relatively flat . The middlemen and insurers, however, have seen record growth and rampant consolidation due to the large rebates they command from the manufacturers that benefit from being on the insurers' drug lists. This is a broken system; it sounds like a business model straight out of The Godfather movies.

The next EO, the International Pricing Index (also known as the "most favored nation" order), seeks to compel pharmaceutical manufacturers to charge the U.S. no more than the lowest price available among economically advanced countries for Medicare Part B drugs. Clearly, this is rate-setting and not a sustainable solution, but the order is the only one that comes with a trigger mechanism. President Trump has given Big Pharma until noon August 24 to negotiate a substantive plan to lower the cost of drugs for the American people.

If the manufacturers are unsuccessful in producing a viable plan, it will pull the trigger that initiates most favored nation status. This tactic has given the president necessary leverage to push for a deal that makes sense.

The importation order achieves the same end, but it will ultimately be up to the states to implement, should they wish to import drugs from nations with which they negotiate. Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida has been a long-time proponent of this policy and has been leading the charge for his state.

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Another order that focuses on bringing down the cost of insulin and epinephrine was issued within the network of clinics known as Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC). Patients that are seen in these clinics will now be able to take advantage of newly extended purchasing discounts that will allow them to get these life-saving drugs for pennies on the dollar.

The fourth and perhaps most substantive order makes rebates for Medicare patients available at the pharmacy. Insurers and other middlemen have often kept these rebates and counted them as revenue rather than passing them on to patients. This order makes Medicare patients the beneficiaries of these rebates, which will result in much greater affordability for our seniors who are often on fixed incomes.

Are the orders perfect? Perhaps not. But the absence of leadership from Congress to get this done has resulted in needed action from President Trump. The physicians and patients who attended the signing applauded this effort and encouraged the administration to press on to make health care even more affordable. We are all patients, and efforts like this are opportunities for us to unite in our effort to fix our broken health care system.

David Balat is the policy director of the Right on Healthcare initiative at the Texas Public Policy Foundation.

Victor_the_thinker 9 hours ago

I work for a Pharma company. I haven't heard anyone concerned about these EOs. If they were actually going to impact pricing, I would have heard the concern as I deal directly with upper level management.

Victor_the_thinker Victor_the_thinker 9 hours ago

Also, insulin and epinephrine are made by only a handful of companies. There are a ton more drugs around than these generic drugs. It's the on patent drugs which drive the extreme cost of healthcare. Focusing on genetics isn't remotely where the big dollars are for the industry. Yea, there is gouging going in for insulin, it's certainly not the biggest thing going on right now in pricing.

[Aug 24, 2020] Angry Bear " Some of the Gilead Remdesivir Results from Recent Studies

Aug 24, 2020 |

Some of the Gilead Remdesivir Results from Recent Studies

run75441 | August 24, 2020 9:00 pm

HEALTHCARE HOT TOPICS POLITICS Effect of Remdesivir vs Standard Care on Clinical Status at 11 Days in Patients With Moderate COVID-19 A Randomized Clinical Trial , JAMA, Christoph D. Spinner, MD ; Robert L. Gottlieb, MD, PhD ; Gerard J. Criner, MD, August 21, 2020

This is a freebie so you should be able to get into this article and pickup on additional detail. Those who were treated early on had a better result from remdesivir than those who were treated later after contracting Covid. This was already know,.

Results: Among 596 patients who were randomized, 584 began the study and received remdesivir or continued standard care (median age, 57 [interquartile range, 46-66] years; 227 [39%] women; 56% had cardiovascular disease, 42% hypertension, and 40% diabetes), and 533 (91%) completed the trial. Median length of treatment was 5 days for patients in the 5-day remdesivir group and 6 days for patients in the 10-day remdesivir group.

On day 11, patients in the 5-day remdesivir group had statistically significantly higher odds of a better clinical status distribution than those receiving standard care (odds ratio, 1.65; 95% CI, 1.09-2.48; P  = .02).

The clinical status distribution on day 11 between the 10-day remdesivir and standard care groups was not significantly different ( P  = .18 by Wilcoxon rank sum test). By day 28, 9 patients had died: 2 (1%) in the 5-day remdesivir group, 3 (2%) in the 10-day remdesivir group, and 4 (2%) in the standard care group. Nausea (10% vs 3%), hypokalemia (6% vs 2%), and headache (5% vs 3%) were more frequent among remdesivir-treated patients compared with standard care.

Some Limitations: This study has several limitations. First, the original protocol was written when COVID-19 cases were largely confined to Asia and the clinical understanding of disease was limited to case series. This led to a change in the primary end point on the first day of study enrollment as it became clear that hospital discharge rates varied greatly across regions and the ordinal scale had become standard for interventional COVID-19 studies. Second, the study used an open-label design, which potentially led to biases in patient care and reporting of data. Third, because of the urgent circumstances in which the study was conducted, virologic outcomes such as effect of remdesivir on SARS-CoV-2 viral load were not assessed. Fourth, other laboratory parameters that may have aided in identifying additional predictors of outcomes were not routinely collected. Fifth, the ordinal scale used to evaluate outcomes was not ideal for detecting differences in patients with moderate COVID-19, especially for a clinical situation in which discharge decisions may be driven by factors other than clinical improvement.

Conclusions: Among patients with moderate COVID-19, those randomized to a 10-day course of remdesivir did not have a statistically significant difference in clinical status compared with standard care at 11 days after initiation of treatment. Patients randomized to a 5-day course of remdesivir had a statistically significant difference in clinical status compared with standard care, but the difference was of uncertain clinical importance.

[Aug 24, 2020] Anthropologist Wade Davis on how COVID-19 signals the end of the American era

Aug 24, 2020 |

Oui , Aug 24 2020 13:43 utc | 95

The Unraveling of America

Anthropologist Wade Davis on how COVID-19 signals the end of the American era

Food for thought ... 😉. Well written ...

Odious as he may be, Trump is less the cause of America's decline than a product of its descent. As they stare into the mirror and perceive only the myth of their exceptionalism, Americans remain almost bizarrely incapable of seeing what has actually become of their country.

[Aug 22, 2020] Viruses, Plagues, and History- Past, Present and Future- Oldstone M.D., Michael B. A.- 9780195327311- Books

Aug 22, 2020 |


Johnny Beans

Very informative

5.0 out of 5 stars Very informative Reviewed in the United States on April 18, 2020 Verified Purchase Update: I'm just about done reading this book. Here's a quotation:

P 278. "When scientific research interferes with politics, economics, or culture, science is most often the loser. Thus, governments and businesses control health care for personal gains or concepts and disregard or avoid factual knowledge and events." Sound familiar? This was written ten years ago. I understand that the last thing many people want is more virus talk, but this book is very informative and may effect many of your actions. It also provides a long view on identifying and treating viruses. For example, I didn't know that it took over forty years for an effective polio vaccine. Same thing for measles.

[Aug 21, 2020] If You're Reading This, You Might Be A Conspiracy Theorist

Highly recommended!
Science now is a highly politicized science and that's a huge problem. Ask USSR scientists about possible consequences. Is Kapitsa noted long ago in his obitiary on Ernest Rutherford death as soon as science become rich it lost its freedom. "
"The year that Rutherford died (1938) there disappeared forever the happy days of free scientific work which gave us such delight in our youth. Science has lost her freedom. Science has become a productive force. She has become rich but she has become enslaved and part of her is veiled in secrecy. I do not know whether Rutherford would continue to joke and laugh as he used to.
Lysenkoism in Stalins's USSR was the first robin of this process. Now it became commonplace. That's why we see so many pseudo-scientists -- politicians who pretend to be scientists like Fauci. and so much corruption like among Professors of economics (all those neoclassical economic scoundrels)
Aug 20, 2020 |

Authored by John Steppling via,

"...a permanent modern scenario: apocalypse looms and it doesn't occur."

- Susan Sontag, AIDs and its Metaphors

"I should not misuse this opportunity to give you a lecture about, say, logic. I call this a misuse, for to explain a scientific matter to you it would need a course of lectures and not an hour's paper. Another alternative would have been to give you what's called a popular scientific lecture, that is a lecture intended to make you believe that you understand a thing which actually you don't understand, and to gratify what I believe to be one of the lowest desires of modern people, namely the superficial curiosity about the latest discoveries of science. I rejected these alternatives."

- Ludwig Wittgenstein, A Lecture on Ethics

If you're reading this, then you've probably been called a conspiracy theorist. Also you've been derided and shamed for questioning the "science" of the Covid debacle.

The idea of science is now a badly corrupted idea. In a nation, today, (the USA) which in educational terms ranks 25th globally in science skills and reading, and well below that in math; all one hears is a clarion call to science. In reading skills the US placed below Malta, Portugal, and right about the same as Kazakhstan.

But in a nation that no longer reads, and *can* no longer read, it is not surprising that knowledge is absorbed via the new hieroglyphics of gifs (interestingly the creator of gifs wanted it pronounced with a soft g the more to sound like a peanut butter brand) and memes.

So-called 'response memes' are the new version of conversation, and most register and communicate (sic) confusion. As beer ad marketers know, the state of your brain after consuming a six pack is pretty much the standard target ideal for advertising. And it relays a message that six pack confusion is actually a good and perhaps even sexy state in which to find oneself.

Education is for those with money, those who can afford the proper foundational skills to get into Harvard, MIT, Cal Tech and the Stanford. For everyone else science is Star Trek.

But I digress. The point is that most Americans imagine that they revere science, and they ridicule anyone they think of as unscientific. But they think of it in cult terms, really. Its a religion of sorts. The only people who don't are those 'real' religious zealots, Dominionist and Charismatic Christians (like Mike Pompeo, Mike Pence, Rick Perry, Betsy DeVos et al) who hold positions of enormous power in the US government under the least scientific president in history.

The Christian right doesn't like any science, ANY science. But for most of that target demographic (the educated mostly white 30%), the cry is to "trust the science" even the great Greta says to "trust the science".

The problem is, science is not neutral, its as politicized as media and news and the pronouncements of celebrities.

In May 2020, The Lancet published an article revisiting the 1957 and 1968 Influenza pandemics.

The 1957 outbreak was not caused by a coronavirus -- the first human coronavirus would not be discovered until 1965 -- but by an influenza virus. However, in 1957, no one could be sure that the virus that had been isolated in Hong Kong was a new pandemic strain or simply a descendant of the previous 1918–19 pandemic influenza virus.

The result was that as the UK's weekly death count mounted, peaking at about 600 in the week ending Oct 17, 1957, there were few hysterical tabloid newspaper headlines and no calls for social distancing. Instead, the news cycle was dominated by the Soviet Union's launch of Sputnik and the aftermath of the fire at the Windscale nuclear reactor in the UK.

By the time this influenza pandemic -- known colloquially at the time as "Asian flu" -- had concluded the following April, an estimated 20 000 people in the UK and 80 000 citizens in the USA were dead. Worldwide, the pandemic, sparked by a new H2N2 influenza subtype, would result in more than 1 million deaths.

To date, Covid 19 has not reached the million death marker in the US, and yet we are seeing the most draconian lockdowns in modern history, the total suspension of democratic process and a level of hysteria (especially in the U.S. and UK) unprecedented. I wrote about some aspects of this on my blog here , mostly touching on the cultural effects

Allow me to quote The Lancet again.

The subsequent 1968 influenza pandemic -- or "Hong Kong flu" or "Mao flu" as some western tabloids dubbed it -- would have an even more dramatic impact, killing more than 30 000 individuals in the UK and 100 000 people in the USA, with half the deaths among individuals younger than 65 years -- the reverse of COVID-19 deaths in the current pandemic.

Yet, while at the height of the outbreak in December, 1968, The New York Times described the pandemic as "one of the worst in the nation's history", there were few school closures and businesses, for the most, continued to operate as normal.

I remember the 68 Hong Kong flu. I was in my last year of high school. The summer after was Woodstock, the 'summer of love'. Not a lot of social distancing going on. But we are past numbers and statistics having any real meaning. The Covid narrative is now in the realm of allegory.

The media perspective is utterly predictable. Liberal outlets that have the inside track to government are seen to be reinforcing the mainstream story (VOX, Slate, Huff Post, The Guardian and Washington Post). In a recent VOX article the message was only a sociopath would NOT wear a mask and that the 'science' was unanimous.

Of course its no such thing. But the message of sites like VOX, or Daily Beast, or Wa Po or the truly reprehensible Guardian, are always going to be to hammer away 'on message'. The same is true for what passes for moderate news organs like the NY Times, ABC News, The Hill, and BBC. There has been virtually no dissenting opinions expressed in these rags.

All these news outlets are given clear messages by the spin doctors in government, by the White House, and by contacts within the State Department and Pentagon. And by the advertising firms employed by the state (such as Ruder Finn).

"Ad agencies are not in the business of doing science."

- Dr. Arnold S. Relman (Madison Ave. Has Growing Role In the Business of Drug Research, NY Times 2002)

The WHO, the CDC, and most every other NGO or government agency of any size hires advertising firms. The WHO, which is tied to the United Nations, is a reasonably sinister organization, actually.

Just picking up a random publication from the WHO, on what they call 'the tobacco epidemic' and you find on page 33 the following chapter heading "Objective: Effective surveillance, monitoring and evaluation systems in place to monitor tobacco use."

Reading further and all this is really saying is that the populace of any country is best put under surveillance. It's for their own good, you see.

But back to the science. Here is a small trip down memory lane

Institutions of medicine, global and national possess no more integrity than your average NGO (Amnesty International, Médecins Sans Frontières, Oxfam et al). And that means not very much.

To understand the nature of institutional corruption one must understand Imperialism. The institutions of Imperialist nations are going to further Imperialist ideology. (see Antonio Gramsci, ideological hegemony). The US is not in the business of helping Americans .

Modern monopoly forms better reflect that scientific knowledge, and its advanced application to production, are concentrated, ultimately, not in physical objects but in human beings and human interaction with those objects. It is monopoly of the labour power of the most highly educated workers, by both imperialist states and Multi National Corporations, that forms the ultimate and most stable base of imperialist reproduction.

– Sam King (Lenin's theory of imperialism: a defence of its relevance in the 21st century, MLR)

The idea of super-exploitation needs to be conceptually generalised at the necessary level of abstraction and incorporated in the theory of imperialism. Super-exploitation is a specific condition within the capitalist mode of production [ ] the hidden common essence defining imperialism.

he working class of the oppressed nations/Third World/Global South is systematically paid below the value of labour power of the working class of the oppressor nations/First World/Global North. This is not because the Southern working class produces less value, but because it is more oppressed and more exploited.

– Andy Higginbottom (Structure and Essence in Capital 1, quoted by John Smith Imperialism in the Twenty-First Century)

The US jobless rate just hit 2.1 million. Officially. Making the total something over forty million. Its much higher in reality. Nobody has work. There is no work and we are at the start of a period of massive evictions, foreclosures, and delinquencies - and the homeless population will soon reach Biblical proportions (in some cities, such as Los Angeles, its already Biblical). Will be simply of a magnitude never before seen.

Hence the authoritarian policing of lockdowns in, for example, New Zealand, suggests something like a practice run. The ruling class in western nations knows full well this is coming. And one wonders if it's not, in fact, a part of the plan (oh here is where someone says conspiracy theory probably Louis Proyect).

Yes it's a fucking conspiracy theory. It is a theory based on evidence, however.

Why are the US and UK and a host of other countries deliberately ensuring a massive depression? Because they care about your health? They are worried we all might catch the flu? Has the US ever demonstrated a concern with your health and well being before?

Remember how many discretionary tax dollars go to health care and how much to defense. Conspiracies do occur. The denial of that fact seems to be a hallmark of the pseudo or false left. Does the suspension of democratic process not cause this soft left any problems at all? Look at Sweden, at Belarus no lockdown and no problem.

It should be noted that there are a great many terrific doctors in the US. Dedicated and brilliant, often. But they are not the system. The system is run for profit.

With about three-fourths of Americans under lockdown, the unintended consequences will be vast. There has been a notable decrease in the number of heart attack and stroke patients arriving at hospitals, presumably because they are afraid of catching the coronavirus or of not finding a hospital bed.

As the economy spirals downward, we can also expect an increase in mental health crises, domestic violence and suicides. While lockdown supporters say that to have a functioning economy, we must have good public health, the reverse is also true: To have good public health, we must have a functioning economy.

– Alex Berezow PhD (Geopolitical Futures, 2020)

Alfred Willener wrote an interesting book in 1970, analysing May 68 in France. He analyses the answers students gave to various questionnaires they responded to. The section regarding science is worth quoting.

'The scandalous fact is that, for all the means that science has put at our disposal, most people live not much better than in the Middle Ages'. The system benefits from science in the following way: through the atom bomb, through 'the power of statistical research', through computers, through the chemical industry being 'in the hands of the state', through space research.

'In the end, you realize', concludes one reasonably logical reply, 'that technological progress, which makes economic growth possible, does not satisfy the fundamental needs of man and is used above all to maintain and strengthen the system'.

Lastly, I should like to quote one quite unexpected reply, which forms the extreme point of pessimism: ' Everyone is oppressed by science.'

– Alfred Willener (The Action-Image of Society on Cultural Politicization)

I doubt seriously one would get such responses today in any European or North American country. The contemporary indoctrination regards science is acute. And the media abounds in junk science. Click bait science. And this is where most people have their opinions formed for them.

There is a paper put out by one of the founders of the World Economic Forum, Klaus Schwab, called The Great Reset. The conclusion of the book reads a global level, if viewed in terms of the global population affected, the corona crisis is (so far) one of the least deadly pandemics the world has experienced over the last 2000 years."

In other words, a mortality of .06% is simply not commensurate with the extreme measures the governments of the world (the West in particular) are taking.

There is no question, none, that those measures, the lockdown, the masks, the distancing, and the attending *diseases of despair*, will kill more people by a factor of ten than the virus itself.

This is not even to begin discussing the psychological harm done, in particular to children. And not just harm to children, but severe harm to the most vulnerable .

What is being internalized by children is three fold. One, there is something inherently sick and contagious about ME. Two, everyone MIGHT be a threat to my health. And three, obey authority, because you don't want to end up like those smelly homeless people were are trying to hard to avoid.

Children take things personally. They tend to blame themselves. Even in the comparative sanity of Norway, where I reside, children are increasingly anxious about the world. How could they not be? All this for a health risk of .06%.

But it is more than just the decimation of the economy in the US and UK. It is a dismantling of the culture. One in three museums closed because of Covid will not re-open. Ever. Where does all that art go?

Just a guess but probably very wealthy collectors will gobble it up at wholesale prices.

The predictable outcome of these lockdowns, certainly in the US, is a guaranteed minimum income. Very minimum. Restrictions on travel, all freedom of movement in fact, will not soon return to normal. Various forms of surveillance and tracking, as well as health certifications, are the goal of the state.

Also, if this pandemic succeeded so well, with so little resistance, why not have another? And there is another aspect to the SWAT mask police, and that is that western society is becoming alarmingly hypochondriacal. Children are kept out of school for runny noses. If all kids with snotty noses were kept out of class, nobody would get an education.

There is a dire future of two or three generations now developing and maturing with very weak immune systems. So that if a natural mutation takes place one day, from a Corona virus or any other, a genuinely serious pandemic could kill tens of millions.

It is not a speculation that there are people who prosper and even benefit during an economic crisis -- as smaller business owners struggle, large corporations and banks benefit from huge government subsidies, giving them more power to buy failing small businesses, for example. And it is a fact that many of those people have enormous economic power to shape the policies that can benefit themselves.

It is not a speculation that they would appreciate having strict measures of control against the people by limiting their freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, and freedom to travel, or by installing means of surveillance, check points and official certifications for activities that might give freedom to the people beyond the capitalist framework.

It is not a speculation that they would benefit from moving our social interactions to the digital realm, which can commodify our activities as marketable data for the advertising industry, insurance industry and any other moneyed social institutions Including education, political institution, legal institution, and financial institution.

Such matters should be seen within the context of the western history being shaped by unelected capitalists with their enormous networks of social institutions.

– Hiroyuki Hamada (Wrong Kind of Green, April 2020)

The collapse of retail is accelerating. This is emerging as a monopolization of retail. Few shops will remain, in fact, except luxury stores in select gated areas. The rest will be online and probably rudimentary. The culture and the economy are being strip-mined and recreated for a select clientele. The collapse of the economy means the collapse of the bottom 90% or so.

The very richest men and corporations on the planet are making huge profits.

And yet, there are precious few voices of dissent to the master narrative in the US. In Norway, the lockdown was about five weeks. But its a sparsely populated country and one hardly noticed it save for the kids being home and not in school. But schools reopened and the Prime Minister actually made a speech apologizing, in effect, for an *unnecessary* lockdown. She had been frightened.

But now, with a mild uptick in positive cases the country is considering stricter limitations on travel. Why?

There is no uptick in deaths, only in positive test results. The fact remains the virus attacks the aged and the already sick. But this is very telling, I think. The Norwegian government doesn't want to be seen as disobedient. They don't want to not follow the grand plan provided by western agencies and experts. Even if they seemingly don't really believe it.

(The saddest aspect is the voice of Dr. Mads Gilbert, a known advocate for Palestinian rights, who has weighed in on the side of fear. Why? I have no idea. But it is worth noting his predictions from March 2020 were staggeringly wrong.)



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But clearly the groupthink pressure is powerful and small nations do not want to be singled out for bucking the *science* . There are economic coercions threatened, tacitly, as well. The pressure to conform is huge and it takes a Herculean effort -- both individually and as a nation, to resist. And *experts* seem to have a hard time admitting they were wrong.

The science has been consistently wrong from day one.

As I say, this is now allegory. Or fable. There is nothing reasonable or rational in the lockdown measures of the US and UK and NZ. Or anywhere. And this is not even to touch upon the criminality of the Gates Foundation and Bill Gates buying public influence and visibility. Not trained in any medical discipline, Gates has somehow made himself one of the faces of the pandemic.

And to deconstruct Gates' language is to find a disturbing quality of authoritarian hubris. Gates utters declarations as if he were God speaking to his flock. All from a man who has done little save steal from his partners and exploit the poor of India and Africa. One of the most striking aspects of this whole last few months has been the enormous and coordinated effort the Gates machine has put into rehabilitating his image.

If you google "Crimes of the Gates Foundation" for example, you will get ten different fact-checkers officially denying any crimes and another half dozen articles ridiculing those who question Gates motives, his profit from vaccines, or even his alignment with eugenicists (depopulation adherents)– all are derided as, yes, conspiracy theorists.

If you dare to question the rushing of an untested vaccine you are called an anti-vaxxer.

My children are vaccinated. I just don't like the idea of a hurried untested vaccine produced for a virus that needs no vaccine. And one promoted by a creepy millionaire.

But clearly the Gates charm offensive is in overdrive. The pastel cardigan is everywhere. And yet, his favorable rating in recent surveys is around 56%. That is actually not very high given the amount of self-promotion involved. It's better than Mark Zuckerberg and Joe Biden, though. Gates is not likeable. No amount of spin can change that.

The final factor to note is the Trump effect. Many liberals would literally rather see dead in the street if it meant discrediting Trump. It is no longer quite a zero sum game, though. But overall the hatred of Trump is now at a religious level, too.

And behold, the opposition is Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. If you want a window in the black heart of Biden, watch and/or listen to his testimony around the Waco inferno. The inherent sadism and lack of humanity is glaringly apparent.

As for Kamala Harris:

As a San Francisco social worker, I sat on the school district committee that met with families of chronically truant students. Once, when we asked a student why he didn't go to school, he said there was too much police tape and shootings at his school bus stop.

Harris, as CA Attorney General, was putting parents/caregivers in jail if their child was chronically truant. Also as Attorney General, she denied a DNA test to Kevin Cooper, a very likely innocent man who came within hours of execution in 2004.

– Riva Enteen (Counterpunch Aug. 2020)

These are the servants of capital.

The left should be emphasising the economic aspect of lockdown because it is the working class who are the principal victims of lockdown."

- Phil Shannon (Lockdown Skeptics, June 2020)

A Downing street tweet today:

We're putting tougher measures in place to target serious breaches of coronavirus restrictions. Fines for not wearing a face-covering will double for repeat offences, up to £3,200."

This is a class-based assault. The wealthy will not be fined for not wearing a face-covering on their private beaches, or dinner parties at the yacht club.

[Aug 19, 2020] Russia's Ministry of Health names three drugs that can treat new Chinese coronavirus

This is from Jan 2020, but still interesting
Jan 30, 2020 |

While experts across the world search for a vaccine to tackle the dangerous new infection, Russian health bosses have identified a trio of existing medicines to combat 2019-nCoV in adults.

The new coronavirus can be fought with ribavirin, lopinavir/ritonavir and interferon beta-1b, they believe. These drugs are typically used to treat hepatitis C, HIV and multiple sclerosis respectively.

The Ministry of Health advisory not only offers recommendations, but also describes how the treatments work and in what quantities they should be prescribed. The guidelines are intended for doctors in hospitals throughout the country.

... ... ...

One of the drugs recommended, ribavirin, was used in the treatment of the 2003 Chinese SARS outbreak, which infected over 8,000 people and killed 774 across 17 different countries. The new coronavirus has shown a sizeable genetic similarity with SARS, with one sequence comparison showing a match of 79.5%.

The ministry also instructs that, in order to prevent and reduce the severity of symptoms, medication should be consumed within two days of contact with an infected person. Their prevention recommendations also include sanitary and hygiene rules, such as handwashing and wearing protective masks.

[Aug 13, 2020] America's Obesity Epidemic Threatens Effectiveness of Any COVID Vaccine

Aug 13, 2020 |

Authored by Sarah Varney via Kaiser Health News,

As scientists race to develop a COVID-19 vaccine, experts say obesity could prove an impediment -- a sobering prospect for a nation in which nearly half of all adults are obese.

For a world crippled by the coronavirus, salvation hinges on a vaccine.

But in the United States, where at least 4.6 million people have been infected and nearly 155,000 have died, the promise of that vaccine is hampered by a vexing epidemic that long preceded COVID-19: obesity.

Scientists know that vaccines engineered to protect the public from influenza, hepatitis B, tetanus and rabies can be less effective in obese adults than in the general population, leaving them more vulnerable to infection and illness. There is little reason to believe, obesity researchers say, that COVID-19 vaccines will be any different.

"Will we have a COVID vaccine next year tailored to the obese? No way," said Raz Shaikh, an associate professor of nutrition at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.

"Will it still work in the obese? Our prediction is no."

More than 107 million American adults are obese, and their ability to return safely to work, care for their families and resume daily life could be curtailed if the coronavirus vaccine delivers weak immunity for them.

In March, still early in the global pandemic, a little-noticed study from China found that heavier Chinese patients afflicted with COVID-19 were more likely to die than leaner ones, suggesting a perilous future awaited the U.S., whose population is among the heaviest in the world.

And then that future arrived.



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As intensive care units in New York, New Jersey and elsewhere filled with patients, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned that obese people with a body mass index of 40 or more -- known as morbid obesity or about 100 pounds overweight -- were among the groups at highest risk of becoming severely ill with COVID-19. About 9% of American adults are in that category.

As weeks passed and a clearer picture of who was being hospitalized came into focus, federal health officials expanded their warning to include people with a body mass index of 30 or more. That vastly expanded the ranks of those considered vulnerable to the most severe cases of infection, to 42.4% of American adults.

Obesity has long been known to be a significant risk factor for death from cardiovascular disease and cancer. But scientists in the emerging field of immunometabolism are finding obesity also interferes with the body's immune response, putting obese people at greater risk of infection from pathogens such as influenza and the novel coronavirus. In the case of influenza, obesity has emerged as a factor making it more difficult to vaccinate adults against infection. The question is whether that will hold true for COVID-19.

A healthy immune system turns inflammation on and off as needed, calling on white blood cells and sending out proteins to fight infection. Vaccines harness that inflammatory response. But blood tests show that obese people and people with related metabolic risk factors such as high blood pressure and elevated blood sugar levels experience a state of chronic mild inflammation ; the inflammation turns on and stays on.

Adipose tissue -- or fat -- in the belly, the liver and other organs is not inert; it contains specialized cells that send out molecules, like the hormone leptin, that scientists suspect induces this chronic state of inflammation. While the exact biological mechanisms are still being investigated, chronic inflammation seems to interfere with the immune response to vaccines, possibly subjecting obese people to preventable illnesses even after vaccination.

An effective vaccine fuels a controlled burn inside the body, searing into cellular memory a mock invasion that never truly happened.

Evidence that obese people have a blunted response to common vaccines was first observed in 1985 when obese hospital employees who received the hepatitis B vaccine showed a significant decline in protection 11 months later that was not observed in non-obese employees. The finding was replicated in a follow-up study that used longer needles to ensure the vaccine was injected into muscle and not fat.

Researchers found similar problems with the hepatitis A vaccine, and other studies have found significant declines in the antibody protection induced by tetanus and rabies vaccines in obese people.

"Obesity is a serious global problem, and the suboptimal vaccine-induced immune responses observed in the obese population cannot be ignored," pleaded researchers from the Mayo Clinic's Vaccine Research Group in a 2015 study published in the journal Vaccine.

Vaccines also are known to be less effective in older adults, which is why those 65 and older receive a supercharged annual influenza vaccine that contains far more flu virus antigens to help juice up their immune response.

By contrast, the diminished protection of the obese population -- both adults and children -- has been largely ignored.

"I'm not entirely sure why vaccine efficacy in this population hasn't been more well reported," said Catherine Andersen, an assistant professor of biology at Fairfield University who studies obesity and metabolic diseases. "It's a missed opportunity for greater public health intervention."

In 2017, scientists at UNC-Chapel Hill provided a critical clue about the limitations of the influenza vaccine. In a paper published in the International Journal of Obesity , they showed for the first time that vaccinated obese adults were twice as likely as adults of a healthy weight to develop influenza or flu-like illness.

Curiously, they found that adults with obesity did produce a protective level of antibodies to the influenza vaccine, but they still responded poorly.



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"That was the mystery," said Chad Petit, an influenza virologist at the University of Alabama.

One hypothesis, Petit said, is that obesity may trigger a metabolic dysregulation of T cells, white blood cells critical to the immune response.

"It's not insurmountable," said Petit, who is researching COVID-19 in obese patients. "We can design better vaccines that might overcome this discrepancy."

Historically, people with high BMIs often have been excluded from drug trials because they frequently have related chronic conditions that might mask the results. The clinical trials underway to test the safety and efficacy of a coronavirus vaccine do not have a BMI exclusion and will include people with obesity, said Dr. Larry Corey, of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, who is overseeing the phase 3 trials sponsored by the National Institutes of Health.

Although trial coordinators are not specifically focused on obesity as a potential complication, Corey said, participants' BMI will be documented and results evaluated.

Dr. Timothy Garvey, an endocrinologist and director of diabetes research at the University of Alabama, was among those who stressed that, despite the lingering questions, it is still safer for obese people to get vaccinated than not.

"The influenza vaccine still works in patients with obesity, but just not as well," Garvey said. "We still want them to get vaccinated."

[Aug 12, 2020] New Study Finds Potential Reason Why COVID-19 Occurs Less In Children

Aug 12, 2020 |

This new study detailed in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) on May 20, discovered that the angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2), which grows in abundance as the individual grows, might be the reason that less than two percent of all individuals infected with SARS-CoV-2 - the virus that causes the COVID-19 disease - are children.

Researchers had suspected that COVID-19 susceptibility could be linked to the amount of gene expression of ACE2 seen in the nasal cavity, given that the enzyme acts as a receptor to allow the SARS-CoV-2 virus to pass into the body.

To investigate this potential link, researchers looked for a relationship between the two - the level of gene expression of ACE2 in the nose and COVID-19 infection - by taking nasal swabs from 305 people involved in an asthma study . Researchers hypothesized that the lower the levels of enzyme gene expression, the less likely it is a person will be infected by COVID-19.

Researchers said they chose to swab the nose because it is one of the first access points for SARS-CoV-2 to infect an individual.

Samples were taken from both asthmatic (49.8 percent) and non-asthmatic patients. The 305 people involved in the study were between four to 60 years of age.

Researchers said they found a clear association between ACE2 expression and age - opening up a possible explanation as to why most children, who tend to have lower levels of enzyme expression, are less susceptible to COVID-19.



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Supinda Bunyavanich, professor of Genetics and Genomic Sciences and Paediatrics at Mount Sinai, said in a press release that the study found "that there are low levels of ACE2 expression in the nasal passages of younger children, and this ACE2 level increases with age into adulthood.

"This might explain why children have been largely spared in the pandemic," Bunyavanich said.

[Aug 03, 2020] Red Flags Soar As Big Pharma Will Be Exempt From COVID-19 Vaccine Liability Claims -

Aug 03, 2020 |

Last week we warned readers to be cautious about new COVID-19 vaccines, highlighting how key parts of the clinical trials are being skipped as big pharma will not be held accountable for adverse side effects for administering the experimental drugs.

A senior executive from AstraZeneca, Britain's second-largest drugmaker, told Reuters that his company was just granted protection from all legal action if the company's vaccine led to damaging side effects.


For more color on leading vaccines in development that produce "severe" side effects, read our latest piece titled "Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine Induced Adverse Reactions In "More Than Half" Of Trial Participants."

Maybe these rushed vaccines are more for optics, get consumers back into airplanes, hotels, resorts, and malls.

The major red flag is how governments are allowing big pharma to rush experimental vaccines, with no legal recourse if something goes terribly wrong.

[Aug 03, 2020] Next big COVID-19 treatment may be manufactured antibodies

Aug 03, 2020 |

As the world awaits a COVID-19 vaccine, the next big advance in battling the pandemic could come from a class of biotech therapies widely used against cancer and other disorders - antibodies designed specifically to attack this new virus.

[Aug 02, 2020] Red Flags Soar As Big Pharma Will Be Exempt From COVID-19 Vaccine Liability Claims

Aug 02, 2020 |

Last week we warned readers to be cautious about new COVID-19 vaccines, highlighting how key parts of the clinical trials are being skipped as big pharma will not be held accountable for adverse side effects for administering the experimental drugs.

A senior executive from AstraZeneca, Britain's second-largest drugmaker, told Reuters that his company was just granted protection from all legal action if the company's vaccine led to damaging side effects.

[Aug 02, 2020] Obese People Are Twice As Likely To Die From Covid

Notable quotes:
"... And while being overweight does not seem to increase people's chances of contracting COVID-19 according to the study, it can affect the respiratory system, and potentially immune function as well. ..."
Aug 02, 2020 |

Just in case Americans - the most obese nation in the world - needed another reason to lose some weight, here it is.

In what is emerging as a perfidious Catch 22, at a time when the US population is rapidly gaining weight due to mandatory work from home regulation (hence the Covid 19 pounds ) as described here and here , while a surge in domestic alcohol consumption is only making the matters worse...

... Public Health England has published a paper titled " Excess Weight and COVID-19 Insights from new evidence ", indicating that the risks of hospitalization, intensive care treatment and death increase progressively with increasing body mass index (BMI) above the healthy weight range even after adjustment for potential confounding factors, including demographic and socioeconomic factors. In other words, the fatter one is, the higher the risk that person may die from covid.

Some more details: according to the Public Health England paper, the hazard ratios of ICU admission patients who are overweight (BMI ≥25-29.9), obese (BMI ≥30-34.9) or severely obese (BMI ≥35) are 1.64, 2.59 and 4.35, respectively see figure below) relative to patients with a BMI of ≥20-24.9.

And while being overweight does not seem to increase people's chances of contracting COVID-19 according to the study, it can affect the respiratory system, and potentially immune function as well.

And since no crisis will ever be put to waste by a nanny state which after the covid pandemic will control virtually every aspect of our lives, the British government plans to initiate an anti-obesity campaign including strict rules on how junk food is advertised and sold in the UK.

[Aug 02, 2020] The Coronavirus Recovery Handbook: 19 Rehab Exercises for Mild to Severe Cases of COVID-19

Aug 02, 2020 |

Richard Steven Hack , Aug 1 2020 10:46 utc | 89

This book is likely required reading for those who have suffered from COVID-19. It's only 76 pages, but only costs $1.99 for the Kindle edition. I downloaded a copy from the Internet and will tuck it away for when I'm unlucky (assuming I would live long enough to try them.)

The Coronavirus Recovery Handbook: 19 Rehab Exercises for Mild to Severe Cases of COVID-19 - Dr. Liu Xiaodan and Dr. Shan Chunlei and their colleagues at the Shanghai Public Health Clinical Center and Lei Shenshan Hospital in Wuhan.

[Aug 01, 2020] Russia preparing mass vaccination against coronavirus for October

Aug 01, 2020 |

Russia's health minister is preparing a mass vaccination campaign against the novel coronavirus for October, local news agencies reported on Saturday, after a vaccine completed clinical trials.

Health Minister Mikhail Murashko said the Gamaleya Institute, a state research facility in Moscow, had completed clinical trials of the vaccine and paperwork is being prepared to register it, Interfax news agency reported.

He said doctors and teachers would be the first to be vaccinated.

[Aug 01, 2020] Length of interaction with tan infected person matter

Highly recommended!
Aug 01, 2020 |

monty42 , 2 hours ago

" We know that wearing a mask outside health care facilities offers little, if any, protection from infection. Public health authorities define a significant exposure to Covid-19 as face-to-face contact within 6 feet with a patient with symptomatic Covid-19 that is sustained for at least a few minutes (and some say more than 10 minutes or even 30 minutes). The chance of catching Covid-19 from a passing interaction in a public space is therefore minimal. In many cases, the desire for widespread masking is a reflexive reaction to anxiety over the pandemic."

Revisionist claims now- " In truth, the intent of our article was to push for more masking, not less." "

[Jul 27, 2020] The problem of false positives from Covid-19 tests means UK is inflating its numbers – and taking wrong decisions by Rob Lyons

Jul 27, 2020 |

The problem of false positives from Covid-19 tests means UK is inflating its numbers – and taking wrong decisions Rob Lyons

Rob Lyons is a UK journalist specialising in science, environmental and health issues. He is the author of ' Panic on a Plate: How Society Developed an Eating Disorder'.

A sign is seen at a drive-through coronavirus disease (COVID-19) testing facility in Hyde Park, following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease, London, Britain, June 11, 2020

When seven staff at a Scottish football club tested positive for coronavirus, alarm bells went off. But really alarming was when six of those results turned out to be wrong. Such inaccurate tests are exaggerating the problem.

Last weekend, at very short notice, the UK reintroduced quarantine measures for people arriving from Spain. For those already in Spain, or for whom it was too late to postpone their trip, the decision is very inconvenient. For those who can't work at home when they return, it may mean missing out on wages for the two weeks they will have to spend in isolation when they get back. But what if the apparent rise in cases has been exaggerated by seemingly small flaws with testing?

The potential for problems was illustrated by Scottish football team St Mirren last week. The club, based in Paisley, a town just west of Glasgow, reported seven positive test results for Covid-19 among its staff. Alarm bells went off about what this might mean for the new Scottish football season. But this "cluster" was a mirage. When the seven people were re-tested using a more accurate method, just one of them was found to be Covid-positive.

In Spain, half of the reported cases have been in people who had no symptoms. We know that many people who test positive never suffer any symptoms. But what if many of these people don't have Covid-19 at all?

READ MORE International airline body slams UK's 'unilaterally decided blanket quarantine' on travellers from Spain

If that sounds implausible, it's important to know that tests are not perfect. There are currently two kinds of tests to see if you have the disease. One kind, the molecular real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test, looks for genetic material from the virus. This kind seems to be very accurate, but it's expensive and time-consuming. The other kind, the antigen test, detects specific proteins on the surface of the virus. This is quicker, easier and cheaper, but it's much less accurate. In developed countries, RT-PCR testing is the norm, but poorer countries may have to make do with antigen testing.

The difficulty at the moment is that there are relatively few cases of Covid-19 in the community, but more and more testing is being done. So even if the RT-PCR test has a high "specificity" – that is, a tiny fraction of test results are false positives – the number could actually be quite significant. For example, let's say that 99.9 percent of the time, a test correctly identifies someone without the disease as negative. Just 0.1 percent of tests produce false positives.

Recently, in the UK, it was estimated that 0.04 percent of people had the virus outside of care homes and hospitals. So, if we tested 10,000 people, we should find four cases of Covid-19, on average. Of the 9,996 other people tested, in this hypothetical example, 0.1 percent who don't have the virus would also test positive – that's 9.996 – in other words, 10 people. So, even if the test is very accurate indeed, we could easily end up with four positive tests from people who really do have the virus and 10 false positives from people who don't.

For any particular individual, the chances of the test being a false positive is small. But when we look at the big picture, we could easily be fooled into thinking that there are many more cases than there really are. Indeed, with a test accuracy of 99.9 percent, if you tested a million people, none of whom actually had the disease, you would produce 1,000 positive results. And for tests with less accuracy – as with St Mirren FC – the situation could be even worse.

The UK government has now performed nearly 11 million tests. Could there be 11,000 "cases" that are simply a mistake ? In turn, that means governments and other authorities might be introducing additional restrictions on people's lives that are actually unnecessary.

The problem of false positives is much less significant when the disease really is in wide circulation. It doesn't change the picture much for the period from mid-March through to the start of June. (In any event, in the UK at least, there was very little testing capacity thanks to the jaw-dropping incompetence of bodies like Public Health England.)

Let's look at the latest figures. On Sunday, July 26, for example, 142,954 tests were processed. Of these, 747 were found to be positive. If 0.1 percent of tests are false positives, we would expect 142 of those 747 positives to be false. If the test turns out to be slightly less accurate – perhaps 'only' 99.5 percent accurate (which still seems very good), then 710, almost all the reported positives, could be false.

We should also bear in mind, when trying to assess the overall situation, that there will be some false negatives. There will also be people who don't show symptoms who do have the virus and never get tested. But this understanding shows that we do need to be careful about reading too much into every small blip in the number of cases. We should be particularly sceptical about imposing new restrictions like mandatory quarantine. And if we rely solely on these tests, we could have the crazy situation where Covid-19 apparently never disappears, even when nobody has got it.

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[Jul 27, 2020] How and when to wear masks

I remember signs on businesses that said "No shirts, no shoes: no service". I don't recall morons screaming at underpaid clerks about their constitutional right not to wear a shirt or shoes.
Population density has at least something to do with it. Big cities are the hardest hit, as would be expected. The US death rate per capita is below that of Belgium, the UK, Spain, Italy, Sweden, Peru (which is surprising), Chile (another surprise), and France.
Jul 27, 2020 |

John Michener20 hours ago

I fail to see your problem with masks. My grandfather wore a gas mask on the front during World War 1. I wear a mask, indeed a N99 mask, when sawing concrete or doing fine wood sanding. When I was in the chemical process industry, some stations had Oxygen rebreathers to deal with the hazards in case of accidents.

Medical staff have always worn respirators around patients with airborne diseases, as have researchers handling such agents. Covid-19, Tuberculosis, and late stage plague are all airborne. Wearing a mask when in a situation when you are potentially exposed is common sense.

So wearing my N99 mask when I go shopping is a trivial additional step. I actually wear nitrile gloves as well - I had them for dealing with paints and solvents.

Now I have had to give up eating out and going to my professional society meetings. I am not happy about that, but I am not willfully stupid. I am approaching 70...

[Jul 27, 2020] One element of being a proper person is having some regard for the wellbeing of other people.

Jul 27, 2020 |

d_hochberg Bradley Perry6 hours ago

One element of being a proper person is having some regard for the wellbeing of other people.

stephen pickard Bradley Perry5 hours ago

To me : A proper person dresses properly for the occasion. A proper person has high regard for both himself and others. A proper person does not smoke in a no smoking zone. A proper person places his child in a child restraint seat while riding in a car. And on and on with other safety festures that we accept.You get my point.

What I would have you do is to do the three things that I mentioned.

Social distance. Good hygiene protocol. And yes wear a mask. A rhetorical question. Would you permit a surgeon and every other person in an operating room go about the surgery masklessess?

SatirevFlesti Bradley Perry10 hours ago

Real science and evidence won't convince the Coronadoom kool-aid drinkers. Masks are all about signalling one's virtue and submission to arbitrary rules and to be seen as "doing something". That the virus has an IFR in the range of flu and that mask are ineffective in stopping spread of viruses doesn't matter to them. They want to force everyone to abdicate human dignity and act in the same paranoid, abject manner as they do. It's all political and has been form the beginning.

njoseph18 SatirevFlesti8 hours ago

So if masks are ineffective, are you comfortable having your surgery team not wear masks and breathe all over you while you're cut open? If not, why not, since masks are ineffective?

I work in a hospital. The people who say Covid is just flu both don't understand how bad Covid is and also don't understand how deadly the flu can be.

A third thing they don't understand is that cloth or surgical masks are about preventing asymptomatic transmission, which is a real thing. I've seen people die from Covid that they caught from someone who was "perfectly healthy."

It is such a simple, small thing to do, and has nothing to do with virtue signalling and everything to do with not killing other people because you're carrying a virus and don't know it. Some of the most Trump supporting people I've ever met work in this hospital and wear masks everywhere they go to protect others, because they understand what Covid is. C'mon people, if other countries can get this right without all the hand-wringing, so
can we.

Gswag99 njoseph188 hours ago • edited

weak straw man emotive argument with no basis in reason or education whatsoever.

njoseph18 Gswag997 hours ago

Umm, actually I am a frontline non clinical hospital worker. I guess you're a bot but if my reasoning is emotive can you kindly share the peer reviewed data upon which you base your perspective?

stephen pickard Gswag995 hours ago

It is a good counter point. One I made above using the same anology. Relevant anologies are powerful antidotes to careless thinking like yours.

Curious SatirevFlesti4 hours ago

I didn't realize Fisher Price ran a medical school

[Jul 25, 2020] Corporate Insiders Pocket $1 Billion in Rush for Coronavirus Vaccine

Jul 25, 2020 |

Corporate Insiders Pocket $1 Billion in Rush for Coronavirus Vaccine David Gelles and Jesse Drucker 11 hrs ago

Opinion: There is more to picking a place to retire than low taxes -- avoid these 5 Reserving a 2021 Ford Bronco? Get Ready To Wait 18 Months to Take Delivery The New York Times logo Corporate Insiders Pocket $1 Billion in Rush for Coronavirus Vaccine

On June 26, a small South San Francisco company called Vaxart made a surprise announcement: A coronavirus vaccine it was working on had been selected by the U.S. government to be part of Operation Warp Speed, the flagship federal initiative to quickly develop drugs to combat Covid-19.

a close up of a cell phone screen with text: Selling Vaxart stock made more than $197 million in profit for Armistice Capital, a hedge fund that owned two-thirds of the company's shares. © Rafael Henrique/Getty Images Selling Vaxart stock made more than $197 million in profit for Armistice Capital, a hedge fund that owned two-thirds of the company's shares.

Vaxart's shares soared. Company insiders, who weeks earlier had received stock options worth a few million dollars, saw the value of those awards increase sixfold. And a hedge fund that partly controlled the company walked away with more than $200 million in instant profits.

The race is on to develop a coronavirus vaccine, and some companies and investors are betting that the winners stand to earn vast profits from selling hundreds of millions -- or even billions -- of doses to a desperate public.

Across the pharmaceutical and medical industries, senior executives and board members are capitalizing on that dynamic.

They are making millions of dollars after announcing positive developments, including support from the government, in their efforts to fight Covid-19. After such announcements, insiders from at least 11 companies -- most of them smaller firms whose fortunes often hinge on the success or failure of a single drug -- have sold shares worth well over $1 billion since March, according to figures compiled for The New York Times by Equilar, a data provider.

A trial of a potential coronavirus vaccine announced by Moderna in January. Since then, Moderna insiders have sold shares totaling about $248 million. © Ted S. Warren/Associated Press A trial of a potential coronavirus vaccine announced by Moderna in January. Since then, Moderna insiders have sold shares totaling about $248 million.

In some cases, company insiders are profiting from regularly scheduled compensation or automatic stock trades. But in other situations, senior officials appear to be pouncing on opportunities to cash out while their stock prices are sky high. And some companies have awarded stock options to executives shortly before market-moving announcements about their vaccine progress.

a man smiling for the camera: Andrei Floroiu, the chief executive of Vaxart, received stock options worth about $4.3 million in June. A month later, they were worth more than $28 million. © Will Ragozzino/Patrick McMullan Andrei Floroiu, the chief executive of Vaxart, received stock options worth about $4.3 million in June. A month later, they were worth more than $28 million.

The sudden windfalls highlight the powerful financial incentives for company officials to generate positive headlines in the race for coronavirus vaccines and treatments , even if the drugs might never pan out.

Some companies are attracting government scrutiny for potentially using their associations with Operation Warp Speed as marketing ploys.

For example, the headline on Vaxart's news release declared: "Vaxart's Covid-19 Vaccine Selected for the U.S. Government's Operation Warp Speed." But the reality is more complex.

Vaxart's vaccine candidate was included in a trial on primates that a federal agency was organizing in conjunction with Operation Warp Speed. But Vaxart is not among the companies selected to receive significant financial support from Warp Speed to produce hundreds of millions of vaccine doses.

"The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has entered into funding agreements with certain vaccine manufacturers, and we are negotiating with others. Neither is the case with Vaxart," said Michael R. Caputo, the department's assistant secretary for public affairs. "Vaxart's vaccine candidate was selected to participate in preliminary U.S. government studies to determine potential areas for possible Operation Warp Speed partnership and support. At this time, those studies are ongoing, and no determinations have been made."

Some officials at the Department of Health and Human Services have grown concerned about whether companies including Vaxart are trying to inflate their stock prices by exaggerating their roles in Warp Speed, a senior Trump administration official said. The department has relayed those concerns to the Securities and Exchange Commission, said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

It isn't clear if the commission is looking into the matter. An S.E.C. spokeswoman declined to comment.

"Vaxart abides by good corporate governance guidelines and policies and makes decisions in accordance with the best interests of the company and its shareholders," Vaxart's chief executive, Andrei Floroiu, said in a statement on Friday. Referring to Operation Warp Speed, he added, "We believe that Vaxart's Covid-19 vaccine is the most exciting one in O.W.S. because it is the only oral vaccine (a pill) in O.W.S."

Well-timed stock transactions are generally legal. But investors and corporate governance experts say they can create the appearance that executives are profiting from inside information, and could erode public confidence in the pharmaceutical industry when the world is looking to these companies to cure Covid-19.

"It is inappropriate for drug company executives to cash in on a crisis," said Ben Wakana, executive director of Patients for Affordable Drugs, a nonprofit advocacy group. "Every day, Americans wake up and make sacrifices during this pandemic. Drug companies see this as a payday."

Executives at a long list of companies have reaped seven- or eight-figure profits thanks to their work on coronavirus vaccines and treatments.

Shares of Regeneron, a biotech company in Tarrytown, N.Y., have climbed nearly 80 percent since early February, when it announced a collaboration with the Department of Health and Human Services to develop a Covid-19 treatment. Since then, the company's top executives and board members have sold nearly $700 million in stock. The chief executive, Leonard Schleifer, sold $178 million of shares on a single day in May.

Alexandra Bowie, a spokeswoman for Regeneron, said most of those sales had been scheduled in advance through programs that automatically sell executives' shares if the stock hits a certain price.

Moderna, a 10-year-old vaccine developer based in Cambridge, Mass., that has never brought a product to market, announced in late January that it was working on a coronavirus vaccine. It has issued a stream of news releases hailing its vaccine progress, and its stock has more than tripled, giving the company a market value of almost $30 billion.

Moderna insiders have sold about $248 million of shares since that January announcement, most of it after the company was selected in April to receive federal funding to support its vaccine efforts.

While some of those sales were scheduled in advance, others were more spur of the moment. Flagship Ventures, an investment fund run by the company's founder and chairman, Noubar Afeyan, sold more than $68 million worth of Moderna shares on May 21. Those transactions were not scheduled in advance, according to securities filings.

Executives and board members at Luminex, Quidel and Emergent BioSolutions have sold shares worth a combined $85 million after announcing they were working on vaccines, treatments or testing solutions.

At other companies, executives and board members received large grants of stock options shortly before the companies announced good news that lifted the value of those options.

Novavax, a drugmaker in Gaithersburg, Md., began working on a vaccine early this year. This spring, the company reported promising preliminary test results and a $1.6 billion deal with the Trump administration.

In April, with its shares below $24, Novavax issued a batch of new stock awards to all its employees "in acknowledgment of the extraordinary work of our employees to implement a new vaccine program." Four senior executives, including the chief executive, Stanley Erck, received stock options that were worth less than $20 million at the time.

Since then, Novavax's stock has rocketed to more than $130 a share. At least on paper, the four executives' stock options are worth more than $100 million.

So long as the company hits a milestone with its vaccine testing, which it is expected to achieve soon, the executives will be able to use the options to buy discounted Novavax shares as early as next year, regardless of whether the company develops a successful vaccine.

Silvia Taylor, a Novavax spokeswoman, said the stock awards were designed "to incentivize and retain our employees during this critical time." She added that "there is no guarantee they will retain their value."

Two other drugmakers, Translate Bio and Inovio, awarded large batches of stock options to executives and board members shortly before they announced progress on their coronavirus vaccines, sending shares higher. Representatives of the companies said the options were regularly scheduled annual grants.

Vaxart, though, is where the most money was made the fastest.

At the start of the year, its shares were around 35 cents. Then in late January, Vaxart began working on an orally administered coronavirus vaccine, and its shares started rising.

Vaxart's largest shareholder was a New York hedge fund, Armistice Capital, which last year acquired nearly two-thirds of the company's shares. Two Armistice executives, including the hedge fund's founder, Steven Boyd, joined Vaxart's board of directors. The hedge fund also purchased rights, known as warrants, to buy 21 million more Vaxart shares at some point in the future for as little as 30 cents each.

Vaxart has never brought a vaccine to market. It has just 15 employees. But throughout the spring, Vaxart announced positive preliminary data for its vaccine, along with a partnership with a company that could manufacture it. By late April, with investors sensing the potential for big profits, the company's shares had reached $3.66 -- a tenfold increase from January.

On June 8, Vaxart changed the terms of its warrants agreement with Armistice, making it easier for the hedge fund to rapidly acquire the 21 million shares, rather than having to buy and sell in smaller batches.

One week later, Vaxart announced that its chief executive was stepping down, though he would remain chairman. The new C.E.O., Mr. Floroiu, had previously worked with Mr. Boyd, Armistice's founder, at the hedge fund and the consulting firm McKinsey.

On June 25, Vaxart announced that it had signed a letter of intent with another company that might help it mass-produce a coronavirus vaccine. Vaxart's shares nearly doubled that day.

The next day, Vaxart issued its news release saying it had been selected for Operation Warp Speed. Its shares instantly doubled again, at one pointing hitting $14, their highest level in years.

"We are very pleased to be one of the few companies selected by Operation Warp Speed, and that ours is the only oral vaccine being evaluated," Mr. Floroiu said.

Armistice took advantage of the stock's exponential increase -- at that point up more than 3,600 percent since January. On June 26, a Friday, and the next Monday, the hedge fund exercised its warrants to buy nearly 21 million Vaxart shares for either 30 cents or $1.10 a share -- purchases it would not have been able to make as quickly had its agreement with Vaxart not been modified weeks earlier.

Armistice then immediately sold the shares at prices from $6.58 to $12.89 a share, according to securities filings. The hedge fund's profits were immense: more than $197 million.

"It looks like the warrants may have been reconfigured at a time when they knew good news was coming," said Robert Daines, a professor at Stanford Law School who is an expert on corporate governance. "That's a valuable change, made right as the company's stock price was about to rise."

At the same time, the hedge fund also unloaded some of the Vaxart shares it had previously bought, notching tens of millions of dollars in additional profits.

By the end of that Monday, June 29, Armistice had sold almost all of its Vaxart shares.

Mr. Boyd and Armistice declined to comment.

Mr. Floroiu said the change to the Armistice agreement "was in the best interests of Vaxart and its stockholders" and helped it raise money to work on the Covid-19 vaccine.

He and other Vaxart board members also were positioned for big personal profits. When he became chief executive in mid-June, Mr. Floroiu received stock options that were worth about $4.3 million. A month later, those options were worth more than $28 million.

Normally when companies issue stock options to executives, the options can't be exercised for months or years. Because of the unusual terms and the run-up in Vaxart's stock price, most of Mr. Floroiu's can be cashed in now.

Vaxart's board members also received large grants of stock options, giving them the right to buy shares in the company at prices well below where the stock is now trading. The higher the shares fly, the bigger the profits.

"Vaxart is disrupting the vaccine world," Mr. Floroiu boasted during a virtual investor conference on Thursday. He added that his impression was that "it's OK to make a profit from Covid vaccines, as long as you're not profiteering."

Noah Weiland contributed reporting.

Continue Reading

[Jul 24, 2020] Cold Wars Profit by Craig Murray

Jul 24, 2020 |

Consortiumnews Volume 26, Number 206 – Friday, July 24, 2020


Craig Murray lambasts a Russophobic media that celebrates a supposed cyber attack on UK vaccine research, ignores collapse of key evidence of a "hack" and dabbles in dubious memorabilia.

The Guardian's headquarters in London. (Bryantbob, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

By Craig Murray

... ... ...

Attack on UK Vaccine Research

Andrew Marr, center, in 2014. ( Financial Times , Flickr)

A whole slew of these were rehearsed by Andrew Marr on his flagship BBC1 morning show. The latest is the accusation that Russia is responsible for a cyber attack on Covid-19 vaccination research. This is another totally evidence-free accusation. But it misses the point anyway.

The alleged cyber attack, if it happened, was a hack not an attack -- the allegation is that there was an effort to obtain the results of research, not to disrupt research. It is appalling that the U.K. is trying to keep its research results secret rather than share them freely with the world scientific community.

As I have reported before , the U.K. and the USA have been preventing the WHO from implementing a common research and common vaccine solution for Covid-19, insisting instead on a profit driven approach to benefit the big pharmaceutical companies (and disadvantage the global poor).

What makes the accusation that Russia tried to hack the research even more dubious is the fact that Russia had just bought the very research specified. You don't steal things you already own.

Evidence of CIA Hacks

If anybody had indeed hacked the research, we all know it is impossible to trace with certainty the whereabouts of hackers. My VPNs [virtual private networks] are habitually set to India, Australia or South Africa depending on where I am trying to watch the cricket, dodging broadcasting restrictions.

More pertinently, WikiLeaks' Vault 7 release of CIA material showed the specific programs for the CIA in how to leave clues to make a leak look like it came from Russia. This irrefutable evidence that the CIA do computer hacks with apparent Russian "fingerprints" deliberately left, like little bits of Cyrillic script, is an absolutely classic example of a fact that everybody working in the mainstream media knows to be true, but which they all contrive never to mention.

Thus when last week's "Russian hacking" story was briefed by the security services -- that former Labour Party Leader Jeremy Corbyn deployed secret documents on U.K./U.S. trade talks which had been posted on Reddit, after being stolen by an evil Russian who left his name of Grigor in his Reddit handle -- there was no questioning in the media of this narrative. Instead, we had another round of McCarthyite witch-hunt aimed at the rather tired looking Corbyn.

Personally, if the Russians had been responsible for revealing that the Tories are prepared to open up the NHS "market" to big American companies, including ending or raising caps on pharmaceutical prices, I should be very grateful to the Russians for telling us. Just as the world would owe the Russians a favor if it were indeed them who leaked evidence of just how systematically the DNC rigged the 2016 primaries against Bernie Sanders.

But as it happens, it was not the Russians. The latter case was a leak by a disgusted insider, and I very much suspect the NHS U.S. trade deal link was also from a disgusted insider.

When governments do appalling things, very often somebody manages to blow the whistle.

On the core subject here: By necessity, a pandemic requires a cooperative international response. Only one country has refused to do so: The US. In their supreme arrogance, our ruling class lost track the fact that the US needs the rest of the world, not the other way way around.

[Jul 24, 2020] Study identifies six different types of COVID-19

Jul 24, 2020 |

We Find the Best $500 Cars to Field in the 24 Hours of Lemons Race Series Sources: Trump erupted over Esper's flag ban

Study identifies six different "types" of COVID-19

A new study of COVID-19 , based on data from a symptom tracker app, determined that there are six distinct "types" of the disease involving different clusters of symptoms. The discovery could potentially open new possibilities for how doctors can better treat individual patients and predict what level of hospital care they would need.

Researchers from King's College London studied data from approximately 1,600 U.K. and U.S. patients who regularly logged their symptoms in the COVID Symptom Tracker App in March and April.

Typically, doctors will look for key symptoms such as cough, fever and loss of the sense of smell to detect COVID-19. The study, which has not been peer-reviewed, says the six different "types" of COVID-19 can vary by severity and come with their own set of symptoms.

"I think it's very, very interesting," Dr. Bob Lahita, who is not affiliated with the study, told CBSN anchors Vladimir Duthiers and Anne-Marie Green. "Among the patients I see, those who recovered, many of them present different ways: some people with fever and some without fever, and some with nausea and vomiting, some people with diarrhea , etc."

The six clusters of symptoms outlined in the study are:

  1. Flu-like with no fever: Headache, loss of smell, muscle pains, cough, sore throat, chest pain, no fever.
  2. Flu-like with fever: Headache, loss of smell, cough, sore throat, hoarseness, fever, loss of appetite.
  3. Gastrointestinal: Headache, loss of smell, loss of appetite, diarrhea, sore throat, chest pain, no cough.
  4. Severe level one, fatigue: Headache, loss of smell, cough, fever, hoarseness, chest pain, fatigue.
  5. Severe level two, confusion: Headache, loss of smell, loss of appetite, cough, fever, hoarseness, sore throat, chest pain, fatigue, confusion, muscle pain.
  6. Severe level three, abdominal and respiratory: Headache, loss of smell, loss of appetite, cough, fever, hoarseness, sore throat, chest pain, fatigue, confusion, muscle pain, shortness of breath, diarrhea, abdominal pain.

The first level, "flu-like with no fever," is associated with headaches, loss of smell, muscle pains, cough, sore throat and chest pain. Patients at this level have a 1.5% chance of needing breathing support such as oxygen or a ventilator.

The second type, "flu-like with fever," includes symptoms like loss of appetite, headache, loss of smell, cough, sore throat, hoarseness and fever. Researchers say about 4.4% of patients at this level needed breathing support.

Patients with the third type, simply described as "gastrointestinal," do not have a cough as part of their illness. Instead, they experience headache, diarrhea, loss of smell, loss of appetite, sore throat and chest pain, and about 3.3% needed breathing support.

Lahita referred to the following three clusters of COVID-19 as the "really severe types."

In type four, or "severe level one," patients experience fatigue along with headache, loss of smell, cough, fever, hoarseness and chest pain. Patients at this level needed breathing support at a rate of 8.6%.

Type five, "severe level two," includes the symptoms of type four along with loss of appetite, sore throat and muscle pain, and is mainly distinguished by confusion .

"That means you don't know where you are or where you live, whether you are in or out of the hospital, who your relatives are," Lahita explained. "That is very scary." Almost 10% of patients at that level need breathing support.

The most severe type of COVID-19 is referred to as "severe level three, abdominal and respiratory," and has all the above symptoms along with abdominal pain, shortness of breath and diarrhea. Nearly 20% of these patients need breathing support.

"Those are the severe level threes who wind up on a ventilator, and then it is touch-and-go as to whether they survive the infection entirely," Lahita said.

The U.K. researchers also found that only 16% of patients with type one COVID-19 required hospitalization, compared with nearly half of the patients with type six.

Patients in the severe clusters also tended to be older or with pre-existing conditions and weakened immune systems, compared to those in the first three.

Scientists hope the discovery, once further studied, could help predict what types of care patients with COVID-19 might need, and give doctors the ability to predict which patients would fall into which category.

"I'm very happy that these six types have been identified and can give us an idea of a prognosis going forward for patients who are afflicted with this virus," Lahita said.

[Jul 23, 2020] COVID-19/nCOV/SARS-2 immunity comes from T-cell and B-cell activity

Jul 23, 2020 |

c1ue , Jul 23 2020 15:30 utc | 8

More talk about T-cells and B-cells (per Volchkov)
Australia T-cell and B-cell research
To recap: Volchkov, a Russian geneticist/medical researcher, was quoted in a John Helmer article that he believes the true COVID-19/nCOV/SARS-2 immunity comes from T-cell and B-cell activity. His view is based upon multiple European studies employing a very expensive T-cell/B-cell test called ELISPOT - and is that the actual nCOV infection rate is likely far higher than spot PCR or antibody tests can ever detect. In particular, if 20% of people tested by PCR or antibody tests show exposure, the likely actual exposure rate is 3 times higher (60% vs. 20%).
This has huge ramifications if true: it means places with high nCOV death rates have likely already achieved herd immunity levels.
One thing is true: death rates in every single nation and region with a high nCOV death/million count have fallen dramatically.
People are still dying, but they are dying at a far lower CFR/IFR rate.
IF, and I mean *IF*, this is true, this means the lockdown strategies actually did very little to "contain" the outbreak.
This is why looking at the historical behavior in different US states is so important.
California locked down early, but the nCOV mortality rates (both absolute and relative) have basically been flat from April until now.

[Jul 21, 2020] Scientists report that airborne coronavirus is probably infectious

Notable quotes:
"... This boosts the hypothesis that normal speaking and breathing, not just coughing and sneezing, are responsible for spreading COVID-19 -- and that infectious doses of the virus can travel distances far greater than the six feet (two meters) urged by social distancing guidelines. ..."
"... The paper was posted to the website, where most cutting-edge research during the pandemic has first been made public. ..."
"... The team managed to collect microdroplets as small as one micron in diameter. They then placed these samples into a culture to make them grow, finding that three of the 18 samples tested were able to replicate. For Santarpia, this represents proof that microdroplets, which also travel much greater distances than big droplets, are capable of infecting people. "It is replicated in cell culture and therefore infectious," he said. ..."
Jul 21, 2020 |

Scientists have known for several months the new coronavirus can become suspended in microdroplets expelled by patients when they speak and breathe, but until now there was no proof that these tiny particles are infectious.

A new study by scientists at the University of Nebraska that was uploaded to a medical preprint site this week has shown for the first time that SARS-CoV-2 taken from microdroplets, defined as under five microns, can replicate in lab conditions.

This boosts the hypothesis that normal speaking and breathing, not just coughing and sneezing, are responsible for spreading COVID-19 -- and that infectious doses of the virus can travel distances far greater than the six feet (two meters) urged by social distancing guidelines.

The results are still considered preliminary and have not yet appeared in a peer-reviewed journal, which would lend more credibility to the methods devised by the scientists.

The paper was posted to the website, where most cutting-edge research during the pandemic has first been made public.

The same team wrote a paper in March showing that the virus remains airborne in the rooms of hospitalized COVID-19 patients, and this study will soon be published in a journal, according to the lead author.

"It is actually fairly difficult" to collect the samples, Joshua Santarpia, an associate professor at the University of Nebraska Medical Center told AFP.

The team used a device the size of a cell phone for the purpose, but "the concentrations are typically very low, your chances of recovering material are small."

The scientists took air samples from five rooms of bedridden patients, at a height of about a foot (30 centimeters) over the foot of their beds.

The patients were talking, which produces microdroplets that become suspended in the air for several hours in what is referred to as an "aerosol," and some were coughing.

The team managed to collect microdroplets as small as one micron in diameter. They then placed these samples into a culture to make them grow, finding that three of the 18 samples tested were able to replicate. For Santarpia, this represents proof that microdroplets, which also travel much greater distances than big droplets, are capable of infecting people. "It is replicated in cell culture and therefore infectious," he said.

Why we wear masks

The potential for microdroplet transmission of the coronavirus was at one stage thought to be improbable by health authorities across the world. Later, scientists began to change their mind and acknowledge it may be a possibility, which is the rationale for universal masking.

The World Health Organization was among the last to shift its position, doing so on July 7.

"I feel like the debate has become more political than scientific," said Santarpia. "I think most scientists that work on infectious diseases agree that there's likely an airborne component, though we may quibble over how large."

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Linsey Marr, a professor at Virginia Tech who is a leading expert on aerial transmission of viruses and wasn't involved in the study, said it was rare to obtain measurements of the amount of virus present in air.

"Based on what we know about other diseases and what we know so far about SARS-CoV-2, I think we can assume that if the virus is 'infectious in aerosols,' then we can become infected by breathing them in," she told AFP.

[Jul 20, 2020] Russian Elite Received 'Experimental' COVID-19 Vaccine As Early As April -

Jul 20, 2020 |

Russian Elite Received 'Experimental' COVID-19 Vaccine As Early As April by Tyler Durden Mon, 07/20/2020 - 07:22 Twitter Facebook Reddit Email Print

Last week, we shared news of what Russia's scientific community had touted as a major breakthrough in the development of a vaccine for SARS-CoV-2: A vaccine trial at Moscow's Sechenov First Moscow State Medical University had yielded the first successful human trials. The American business press slavishly parrots every Moderna press release as the company regurgitates its Phase 1 trial results, despite the fact that the politically-connected biotech company's stage 3 clinical trials won't begin until later this month. Meanwhile, its CEO Stephane Bancel and other executives have cashed in on their Moderna shares, prompting SEC chief Jay Clayton to sheepishly caution against credibility-destroying insider selling.

Despite all of this, we didn't hear a peep out of the western press about the Sechenov trial's accomplishments . However, a few days later, with anxieties about Russia-backed electoral interference intensifying and 'national polls' hinting at a Biden landslide, the British press reported on a new 'policy paper' accusing those pesky Ruskies of trying to steal British research involving COVID-19 vaccines. Intel shared by Canada and the US purportedly supported this conclusion, though Russia has vehemently denied the accusations.

But that's not all: Around the same time, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab accused Russia of trying to meddle in the UK's December election (which returned the Tories to power and ended the reign of opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn).

Were these reports about Russia's vaccine-trial successes merely a smokescreen? The British might see it that way, but on Monday, US-based Bloomberg News published an interesting report claiming that certain Russian VIPs had been administered experimental doses of a vaccine prototype as early as April. Reportedly developed by Moscow's Gamaleya Institute and financed by the state-run Russian Direct Investment Fund, this Russian vaccine candidate is a so-called "viral vector vaccine" based on human adenovirus - a common cold virus fused with the spike protein of SARS CoV-2 to stimulate a human immune response.

It's similar to a vaccine being developed by China's CanSino Biologics, according to Bloomberg.

Scores of members of Russia's business and political elite have been given early access to an experimental vaccine against Covid-19, according to people familiar with the effort, as the country races to be among the first to develop an inoculation.

Top executives at companies including aluminum giant United Co. Rusal, as well as billionaire tycoons and government officials began getting shots developed by the state-run Gamaleya Institute in Moscow as early as April, the people said. They declined to be identified as the information isn't public.

The Gamaleya vaccine, financed by the state-run Russian Direct Investment Fund and backed by the military, last week completed a phase 1 trial involving Russian military personnel. The institute hasn't published results for the study, which involved about 40 people, but has begun the next stage of trials with a larger group.

Gamaleya's press office couldn't be reached by phone Sunday. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov didn't respond to a text message asking whether President Vladimir Putin or others in his administration have had the shots. A government spokesman couldn't immediately comment.

Wait... so the Russians hacked the British vaccine research, traveled back in time, then decided to test their vaccine prototype on some of the most powerful people in Russia's (highly unequal) society? Well, they had to first travel to the future to steal the time-travel technology from the Americans (bear with us...we're still piecing it all together).

The program under which members of Russia's business and political elite have been given the chance to volunteer for doses of the experimental vaccine is legal but kept under wraps to avoid a crush of potential participants, according to a researcher familiar with the effort. He said several hundred people have been involved. Bloomberg confirmed dozens who have had the shots but none would allow their names to be published.

It's not clear how participants are selected and they aren't part of the official studies, though they are monitored and their results logged by the institute. Patients usually get the shots - two are needed to produce an immune response Gamaleya says will last for about two years - at a Moscow clinic connected to the institute. Participants aren't charged a fee and sign releases that they know the risks involved.

Dmitriev of the RDIF said he and his family had taken the shots and noted that a significant number of other volunteers have also been given the opportunity. He declined to provide further details. The Gamaleya Institute said it vaccinated its director, as well as the team working on the trial, when it started. In May, state-controlled Sberbank recruited volunteers among employees to test the institute's vaccine.

O ne top executive who had the vaccine said he experienced no side effects. He said he decided to risk taking the experimental shots in order to be able to live a normal life and have business meetings as usual. Other participants have reported fever and muscle aches after getting the shots.



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Is it so hard to believe that Russia had enough faith in its vaccine prototype that it would allow certain individuals the choice of receiving an early dose? After all, EU governments are already buying up millions of doses of Moderna's still-largely-untested vaccine candidate.

Similarly, is it possible that Russian spies were simply monitoring the competition?

Who knows? When it comes to the shadowy world of espionage, the public rarely hears the full story. Russia's outbreak has slowed in recent weeks as it has been overtaken by India, which now counts more than 1 million confirmed cases. Meanwhile Russia has confirmed more than 750,000 cases of Covid-19, the fourth-largest total in the world.

[Jul 20, 2020] Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 Vaccine Trials Show -No Adverse Effects- -

Jul 20, 2020 |

pdate (0935ET): A coronavirus vaccine candidate developed by Oxford and AstraZeneca has shown promise in an early trial which found it to be safe for human consumption while reliably producing antibodies that are effective at stopping the virus.

In what looked like a coordinated one-two punch, one of the top researchers leading the Oxford-Astrazeneca trials said in an interview published Monday morning that the research was making "good progress". Minutes later, the Lancet published the first Phase 1/2 trial results, which showed that the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine caused "robust immune responses" and was "tolerated" by all study subjects.

That interview was published Monday morning in the US, just minutes before the Lancet released the results of a Phase 1/2 study of the Oxford-AZ vaccine, the most highly anticipated COVID-19 news of the day.

There are currently more than 137 vaccine candidates undergoing preclinical development, and 23 in early clinical development, according to WHO. Of these, candidates from Moderna and the Oxford-AstraZeneca partnership are two of the most closely followed prototypes. Governments have already started ordering the vaccine from Moderna, even though approval is still months, perhaps years, away.

According to the Lancet, research has shown that vaccine candidates from Cansino and Astra-Oxford trial have been making good progress, and while they couldn't say much conclusively, the Astra-Oxford trial showed no worrisome "adverse effects".

The Phase 1/2 trial, one of the first human studies of the vaccine, showed an appropriate "immune response". Patients who received 2 doses instead of one saw a stronger response. All patients who received the vaccine generated the desired immune response.

Oxford's candidate "showed an acceptable safety profile, and homologous boosting increased antibody responses. These results "support large scale evaluation of this candidate vaccine in an ongoing phase 3 program." The Oxford-AZ study included 1,077 participants spread across 5 test sites in and around the UK.

By comparison, Moderna has released press releases touting findings from studies with fewer than 100 patients. The fact that 8 patients developed neutralizing antibodies in a study that involved dozens of additional subjects was apparently news enough for Moderna, which released a market-pumping press release on those findings a few weeks back.

Though to be sure, not everybody was impressed.

In the study, researchers measured the number of antibodies, and the strength of the immune response, after administering single doses and double doses of the vaccine to various groups of study subjects, and compared those results with a control group who received another vaccine. Pain and swelling caused by the injection were easily treated with paracetemol.

There were no serious adverse events related to ChAdOx1 nCoV-19. In the ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 group, spike-specific T-cell responses peaked on day 14 (median 856 spot-forming cells per million peripheral blood mononuclear cells, IQR 493–1802; n=43). Anti-spike IgG responses rose by day 28 (median 157 ELISA units [EU], 96–317; n=127), and were boosted following a second dose (639 EU, 360–792; n=10). Neutralising antibody responses against SARS-CoV-2 were detected in 32 (91%) of 35 participants after a single dose when measured in MNA80 and in 35 (100%) participants when measured in PRNT50. After a booster dose, all participants had neutralising activity (nine of nine in MNA80 at day 42 and ten of ten in Marburg VN on day 56). Neutralising antibody responses correlated strongly with antibody levels measured by ELISA (R²=0·67 by Marburg VN; p<0·001).

The result: The vaccine candidate has been deemed safe enough to move on to 'Phase 3', which would involve large-scale human trials.

ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 showed an acceptable safety profile, and homologous boosting increased antibody responses. These results, together with the induction of both humoral and cellular immune responses, support largescale evaluation of this candidate vaccine in an ongoing phase 3 programme.

Read the full Lancet paper below:

[Jul 20, 2020] Trust in US famacuticals eloparates: the Big Pharma mafia and its political apparatchiks in the West promote expensive patented drugs like Remdesivir, as opposed to inexpensive alternatives, as well as the Holy Grail for Big Pharma - a highly profitable vaccine

Jul 20, 2020 |

Blue Dotterel , Jul 20 2020 9:13 utc | 96

Here is an alternative, if familiar take on Masks from OffGuardian:

He correctly points out the confusion created by certain "experts":

"For anyone who has forgotten, Fauci told 60 Minutes that:

[t]here's no reason to be walking around with a mask. When you're in the middle of an outbreak, wearing a mask might make people feel a little better and it might even block a droplet, but it's not providing the perfect protection that people think it is. And often there are unintended consequences – people keep fiddling with the mask and they keep touching their face."

That was how things stood when the epidemic was new and all stops were out. And now?"

The author of the article also notes that the mask doesn't prevent you from being infected, but of course the point is that it reduces the probability of being infected.

But he does make an astute point:

"Recently I had the poor judgment to turn on National Public Radio for about an hour, under the impression that I was going to learn something about the day's news.
No – for a solid hour, I heard the following: that COVID19 – in reality, at most, a moderately serious flu virus – is the worst medical threat the United States has ever faced.
But the real theme of the hour was masks, masks, masks: how to make them, how to wear them, their different types, who doesn't seem to have enough of them, and why muffling our faces (even though no such thing was ever demanded of us during dozens of past viral outbreaks) is absolutely, positively good for us all."

Needless to say the author did not approve of us "muzzling" ourselves, but the MSM, like commenters here, and perhaps b do seem obsessed with the mask.

IMO, the mask is an important component in preventing more people from becoming infected, but does not prevent all people from being infected. So, what about the people who do become infected? its too late for the mask to help them. How do we mitigate the effects of the disease?

For the Big Pharma mafia and its political apparatchiks in the West, its expensive patented drugs like Remdesivir, as opposed to inexpensive out of patent chloroquine, among others, as well as the Holy Grail for Big Pharma - a highly profitable vaccine, yet to come. A list of drugs mostly based on CDC sourcing. The CDC, like the WHO being seriously compromised by its conections to Big Pharma:

Unfortunately, politcally motivated scientific fraud as published in the retracted Lancet article, among others, prevents us from having an intelligent discussion of this even on Moon of Allabama.

A final area for discussion, as important or more important than the above, is how to approach impending "lockdowns" of the economies in the future. A potential greater tragedy than the virus itself may be the destruction wrought on the unemployed and small businesses that has already occurred, but promises to continue should a second wave of the virus appaer this fall.

Admittedly, such discussions seem hopeless. We can individually control whether we wear a mask or not, but how do we mitigate the effects of those who have already contracted the disease, and those whose livelihood is threatened or destroyed by the "lockdowns" in response to the disease?

I would like to see these last two areas more seriously investigated on Moon of Alabama.

[Jul 18, 2020] COVID-19- What Does Being Positive Really Mean- What Are We Really Detecting- - Fort Russ

Jul 18, 2020 |

By Dr. Sherri Tenpenny – May 21, 2020an osteopathic medical doctor, board-certified in three specialties. She is the founder of Tenpenny Integrative Medical Center, a medical clinic located near Cleveland, Ohio. Her company, provides online education and training regarding all aspects of vaccines and vaccination.


In 1965, scientists identified the first human coronavirus; it was associated with the common cold. The Coronavirus family, named for their crown-like appearance, currently includes 36 viruses. Within that group, there are 4 common viruses that have been causing infection in humans for more than sixty years. In addition, three pandemic coronaviruses that can infect humans: SARS, MERS, and now, SARS-CoV-2.

As the news of deaths in China, South Korea, Italy, and Iran began to saturate every form of media 24/7, we became familiar with a new term: COVID-19. To be clear, the name of the newly identified coronavirus is SARS-CoV-2, short for Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus-2. This virus is associated with fever, cough, chest pain, and shortness of breath, the complex of symptoms that form the diagnosis of COVID-19.

The Trump administration declared a public health emergency on January 31, 2020, then on February 2 placed a ban on the entry of most travelers who had recently been in China. On February 4, Alex Azar, the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a declaration of public health emergency and activated the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act, otherwise known as the PREP Act. This nefarious legislation provides complete protection of manufacturers from liability for all products, technologies, biologics, or any vaccine developed as a medical countermeasure against COVID-19. For those nervously waiting for the vaccine to become available, be sure to understand the PREP Act before rushing to the get in line.

Calls for testing – to see if a person is or isn't infected – began soon after the emergency was declared, but performing those tests was initially slow due to an inadequate number of test kits. As the kits became available, those developed by the CDC had a defect: The reagents reacted to the negative control sample , making the test inaccurate and the kits unusable.

In various countries, thousands of test kits purchased from China were found to be contaminated with the SARS-CoV-2 viruses. No one really knows how that happened, but theories spread like wildfire. Could the test kit infect the person being tested? Or, did it mean the test would return a false-positive result, driving up the numbers of those said to be infected so those in power could implement stronger lockdowns and accelerate the hockey-stick unemployment rates? Neither of those questions has been adequately answered.

Mandatory Testing of what?

Authorities claim that testing is important for public health officials to assess if their mitigation efforts – "shelter in place" and "social distancing" and "wearing a mask" – are making a difference to "flatten the curve." Officials also claim that testing is necessary to know how many persons are infected within a community and to understand the nature of how coronaviruses spread.

Are these reasons sufficient to give up our health freedom and our personal rights, being tested and shamed in public?

Despite the challenges with test kits, testing began. By the end of March 2020, more than 1 million people had been tested across the US. By May 9, the number tested had grown to over 8.7M. Testing methods include a swab of the nasal passages or by inserting a long, uncomfortable swab through the nose to scrape the back of the throat. Specimens have also been obtained bronchoalveolar lavage, from sputum , and from stool specimens.

The call for mandatory testing has been gathering steam and becoming ever more onerous. In Washington state, Governor Inslee has declared:

Individuals that refuse to cooperate with contact tracers and/or refuse testing, those individuals will not be allowed to leave their homes to purchase basic necessities such as groceries and/or prescriptions. Those persons will need to make arrangements through friends, family, or state provided 'family support' personnel .

But what do the results really mean?

Who Should Be Tested

On May 8, 2020, the CDC has listed specific priorities for when testing should be done. As of May 16, more than 11-million samples have been collected and more than 3700 specimens have not yet been evaluated.

High Priority


Read that last priority again: That means virtually everyone can be required to get a test.

Is that a violation of your personal rights? And, if you submit to testing, what does a "positive test" actually mean?

Types of Testing: RT-PCR

PCR, short for polymerase chain reaction , is a highly specific laboratory technique. The key to understanding PCR testing is that PCR can identify an individual specific virus within a viral family.

Has COVID-19 Testing Made the Problem Worse? Confusion Regarding "The True Health Impacts"

However, a PCR test can only be used to identify DNA viruses; the SARS-CoV2 virus is an RNA virus. Therefore, multiple steps must be taken to "magnify" the amount of genetic material in the specimen. Researchers used a method called RT-PCR, reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction, to specifically identify the SARS-CoV-2 virus. It's a complicated process. To read more about it, go here and here.

If a nasal or a blood sample contains a tiny snip of RNA from the SARS-CoV-2 virus, RT-PCR can identify it, leading to a high probability that the person has been exposed to the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

However – and this is important – a positive RT-PCR test result does not necessarily indicate a full virus is present. The virus must be fully intact to be transmitted and cause illness.

RT-PCR Testing: The Importance of Timing

Even if a person has had all the symptoms associated with a coronavirus infection or has been closely exposed to persons who have been diagnosed with COVID-19, the probability of a RT-PCR test being positive decreases with the number of days past the onset of symptoms.

According to a study done by Paul Wikramaratna and others:

In other words, the longer the time frame between the onset of symptoms and the time a person is tested, the more likely the test will be negative.

Repeat testing of persons who have a negative test may (eventually) confirm the presence of viral RNA, but this is impractical. Additionally, repeated testing of the same person can lead to even more confusing results: The test may go from negative, to positive, then back to negative again as the immune system clears out the coronavirus infection and moves to recovery.

And what makes this testing even more confusing is that the FDA admits that "The detection of viral RNA by RT-PCR does not necessarily equate with an infectious virus."

Let's break that down:

You've had all the symptoms of COVID19, but your RT-PCR test for SARS-CoV-2 is negative.

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So, what does a "positive" test actually mean? And that's the problem:

No one knows for sure.

Another Type of Testing: Antibodies

According to the nonprofit Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics (FIND) , more than 200 serologic blood tests, to test for antibodies, are either now available or in development.

There are two primary types of antibodies that are assessed for nearly any type of infection: IgM and IgG. While several new testing devices are being touted as a home test, they are not the same as a home pregnancy test or a glucometer to you're your blood sugar. The blood spot or saliva specimen can be collected at home, must it must then be sent to a laboratory for analysis. It can take a few days – or longer – to get the results. With so many tests in the pipeline, the ability to test at home will be changing over time.

The first antibody to rise is IgM. It rises quickly after the onset of the infection and is usually a sign of an acute, or current, infection. The IgM levels diminish quickly as the infection resolves. The FDA admits they do not know how long the IgM remains present for SARS-CoV-2 as the infection is being cleared.

The interpretation of an IgG antibody is more difficult. This antibody is an indicator of a past infection. The test is often not specific enough to determine if the past infection was caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus or one of the four common coronaviruses that cause influenza-like illness.

The FDA says:

Because serology testing can yield a negative test result even if the patient is actively infected (e.g., the body has not yet developed in response to the virus) or maybe falsely positive (e.g., if the antibody indicates a past infection by a different coronavirus), this type of testing should not be used to diagnose an acute or active COVID-19 infection.

Similarly, the CDC says the following regarding antibody testing:

What? Wait!

If the FDA does not know if an IgG antibody to SARS-CoV-2 after recovering from the infection is protective against a future infection, then they certainly don't know if an antibody caused by a vaccine will prevent infection either.

Doesn't this completely eliminate the theory that antibodies afford protection and antibodies from vaccines are necessary to keep you from getting sick?

Mandatory Testing – New Job Creation

Illinois U.S. Rep. Bobby L. Rush introduced the H.R. 6666 TRACE Act on May 1. On his website, Rush said ,

Until we have a vaccine to defeat this dreaded disease, contact tracing in order to understand the full breadth and depth of the spread of this virus is the only way we will be able to get out from under this.

H.R.6666 would authorize the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS), acting through the Director of the CDC to award grants to eligible entities to conduct diagnostic testing and then to trace and monitor the contacts of infected individuals. The contact tracers would be authorized to test people in their homes and as necessary, quarantine people in place.

Where do they intend to do this testing? Besides mobile units to test people in their homes, the bill identifies eight specific locations where the testing and contract tracing could occur: schools, health clinics, universities, churches, and "any other type of entity" the secretary of HHS wants to use.

The bill would allocate $100 billion in 2020 "and such sums as may be necessary for fiscal year 2021 and any subsequent fiscal year during which the emergency period continues."

But what are they looking for?

The virus is rapidly mutating, which is rather typical of RNA viruses. In a study published in April 2020, researchers have discovered that the novel coronavirus has mutated into at least 30 different genetic variations. If your RT-PCR test is positive, does this identify exposure to the pandemic virus or exposure to one of the genetic variations? The same can be said about the vaccines under development: With each mutation, is the vaccine more likely to be all risk and no benefit when it reaches the market?

What You Can Do

Across the nation, police are being told to not apprehend criminals but instead, to arrest parents at playgrounds, to arrest lone surfers on public beaches, to fine ministers and congregation members sitting in their cars listening to a service on the radio, and to restrict movement by creating one-way sidewalks.

People have had enough. They are beginning to see the huge scam that has been perpetrated on the entire world over a viral infection with a global death rate of 1.4% (meaning, 1.4% of people infected with SARS-CoV-2 have a fatal outcome, while 98.6% recover). This is far fewer deaths than a severe flu season.

We're already starting to see the thrust to take our power back:

While they shut us down and held us hostage in our homes, they changed our society, our lives, our world.

It's time for Americans to resist with non-violent civil disobedience. Be brave. Be bold. Put on the full armor of God, as found in Ephesians 6:10-20 in the Bible, to stand against the world rulers of this present darkness. With God on our side, all things are possible.


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[Jul 18, 2020] Lee Camp- The Life-Saving COVID-19 Drugs You've Never Heard Of (and Why)

Jul 18, 2020 |

he American profit-based healthcare system impacts us in more ways than just our gargantuan bill at the excretion end of an emergency room visit. Right now, our lovable idiotic inhumane healthcare system is acting as a hurdle to the manufacture and procurement of the right drugs to treat Covid-19.

One of the drugs currently trumpeted as our savior is Remdesivir . Despite sounding like the name of a Hobbit in Middle Earth, some reports from the corporate media make it sound like the drug will thrust us face-first into a fresh world of happiness -- water parks and restaurants and random no-holds-barred make-outs with strangers. A world where when someone sneezes, we don't dive under our desk with an adult diaper strapped on our face as a makeshift mask.

There's only one problem. The big pharma company that owns Remdesivir, Gilead, has already made clear their plans to profiteer from this pandemic. As The LA Times put it

Drugmaker Gillead says it's doing you a favor by setting the price for its pending COVID-19 treatment, Remdesivir, at more than $2,000 for government agencies and over $3,000 for private insurers."

How does the CEO of Gilead, Daniel O'Day, justify this disgusting price point? He claims they're under-pricing Remdesivir. He said , "In normal circumstances, we would price a medicine according to the value it provides. Earlier hospital discharge would result in hospital savings of approximately $12,000 per patient."

Public Outcry Follows Gilead Decision to Charge $3000 for COVID Drug that Costs Pennies to Produce Gilead announced that a five-day course of its drug Remdesivir -- used to fight COVID-19 -- will cost $3,120 despite costing pennies to produce.

MintPress News | Alan Macleod | Jul 1

The value it provides?? So, if a doctor saves someone's life with heart surgery, then that guy owes the doctor the entire worth of the rest of his life? Millions of dollars? Maybe he should become the surgeon's butler or wet nurse.

Saying something should cost even close to the value it provides ranks up there as one of the stupidest arguments ever spoken. (Second only to when the people at Mountain Dew argued that human beings would love a Doritos-flavored soft drink named "Dewitos.") So, for a dude taking Viagra who can now get it up, he owes the makers of Viagra – what? – sex with his wife? Or does he just owe them 300 orgasms? Or perhaps he owes them the child he's able to produce while taking the pills. ("Dear Cialis Folks, I'm emailing to ask for a mailing address to send you my 2-year-old, Robbie. Fair is fair. I want to give you the value of your goods. Just be careful – he bites a lot. And he's already totally racist. Not sure how he picked that up so young.")

But there's another catch to Gilead's price-gouging shenanigans. They didn't create Remdesivir. We did. You and me.

Public Citizen revealed that Gilead raked in over $70 million from taxpayers. Plus, federal scientists ran the team that found out Remdesivir also worked against Coronaviruses. And, " The National Institutes of Health ran the trial that led to Remdesivir's emergency use authorization, and public funding is supporting clinical trials around the world today."

You and I paid for the creation and research behind Remdesivir. There is absolutely no reason we should fill the pockets of Gilead's preposterously rich CEO and its board. Most countries realize this. Most countries don't behave this way. Most countries have some tiny modicum of respect for the lives of their citizens. America is not most countries.

Back to the LA Times , "Nearly all other developed countries limit how much pharmaceutical companies can charge for prescription meds. The U.S. doesn't operate like that. We allow drug companies to charge as much as they please "

Perhaps prescription meds that cost the same as landing a man on Mars (in a pair of Jimmy Choo heels) are the reason 42 percent of new cancer patients have their entire life savings wiped out within two years. The average amount drained from a patient is nearly $100,000, and the entire medical costs for U.S. cancer patients per year is $80 billion . Why ever change a system that piles such bulbous mountains of cash in the vaults of those running the show?

Apparently most other national governments don't want to ruin the lives of every cancer survivor. As to why not, one can only guess.

But this story gets crazier. Not only is Remdesivir way over-priced, we're not even sure it does much. Some studies show it achieves almost nothing. Meanwhile, according to the Intercept

[A]nother Covid-19 treatment has quietly been shown to be more effective. A three-drug regimen offered a greater reduction in the time it took patients to recover than Remdesivir did. People who took the combination of interferon beta-1b, lopinavir-ritonavir, and ribavirin got better in seven days as opposed to 12 days for those who didn't take it."

However, I have yet to hear of a mad rush to hoard those drugs. Why is that? Probably because those drugs don't have colossal marketing campaigns that would make Coca-Cola blush. In fact there appears to be no marketing campaign whatsoever for the more effective drugs. To figure out why that is, one simply must follow the money.

New Research Shows Anti-Coronavirus Drugs Could Be Produced for Pennies A new study shows that several drugs that have shown promise in fighting the coronavirus could be produced cheaply and in en masse.

MintPress News | Alan Macleod | Apr 10

[E]ach of the three drugs in the new combination is generic, or no longer under patent, which means that no company stands to profit significantly from its use."

Must cut-throat late-stage capitalism always be so predictable?

Only the ridiculously profitable drugs are worth hyping. Only the money makers deserve 80,000 commercials telling every consumer to irrationally demand them. The cheap drugs that simply – save lives – those are garbage. What's the point of saving a life if you can't make a bundle from it? I've always said, "A life saved without extracting a shitload of money from it, is a life lost."

I don't know that this last part needs saying, but I'm going to do it anyway. When a society has a system built on profit, run by sociopaths, based on the manipulation of lizard-brain impulses, then it will always end up in a race to the bottom. With unfettered capitalism we inevitably find ourselves with the worst drugs, priced at the highest amounts, hoarded by those who need them the least.

Unless we're talking about recreational illegal drugs. Those are cheaper than ever.

If you feel this column is important, please share it.

Feature photo | A lab technician works at the Eva Pharma facility in Cairo, Egypt, July 12, 2020, where Remdesivir is being produced. Nariman El-Mofty | AP

Lee Camp is the host of the hit comedy news show "Redacted Tonight." His new book "Bullet Points and Punch Lines" is available at and his standup comedy special can be streamed for free at .

This article was published with special permission from the author. It originally appeared at Consortium News .

Stories published in our Daily Digests section are chosen based on the interest of our readers. They are republished from a number of sources, and are not produced by MintPress News. The views expressed in these articles are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect MintPress News editorial policy.

The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect MintPress News editorial policy.

[Jul 15, 2020] These Are the Drugs and Vaccines That Might End the Coronavirus Pandemic

Jul 15, 2020 |

Vaccines Vaccines give broad parts of the population some level of immunity and are considered crucial to ending the pandemic. They also take longer to develop, in part because they must be proven to be extremely safe since they're given to healthy people. While some researchers say a vaccine could be ready by the end of the year, others say it could take far longer.
COMPANY Oxford University, AstraZeneca Plc NAME ChAdOx1 nCov-19 PROGRESS Phase 3

The vaccine is made from a harmless virus that's been altered to produce the surface spike protein from SARS-CoV-2.

LATEST NEWS With human trials underway, the U.S. government has pledged as much as $1.2 billion, and the company plans to produce as many as 30 million doses available in the U.K. by September. Other groups are moving to line up access elsewhere. COMPANY Moderna Inc. NAME mRNA-1273 RECENTLY UPDATED Phase 2

Moderna's mRNA-1273 uses messenger RNA to prompt the body to make a key protein from the virus, creating an immune response.

LATEST NEWS Moderna's vaccine produced antibodies to the coronavirus in all patients tested in an initial safety trial. The company expects a phase 3 trial to begin July 27. COMPANY CanSino Biologics Inc. NAME Ad5-nCoV PROGRESS Phase 2

CanSino's vaccine was developed alongside China's military and is genetically engineered with a replication-defective mutant virus.

LATEST NEWS CanSino's vaccine has received a special authorization to be used by China's military after a study showed it generated an immune response. President Xi Jinping says the country will make any vaccine available as a global public good. COMPANY BioNTech SE, Pfizer Inc. NAME multiple candidates PROGRESS Phase 2

BioNTech's BNT162 is another messenger RNA vaccine platform that the German company is developing with Pfizer. In China, BioNTech is co-developing vaccines with Shanghai Fosun Pharmaceutical Group.

LATEST NEWS One of the companies' vaccine candidates has shown promising antibody responses. Further testing in up to 30,000 people may start as early as July. COMPANY Sinovac Biotech Ltd NAME No name yet PROGRESS Phase 3

The vaccine uses inactivated virus, which can help the body develop antibodies to the pathogen without risking infection.

LATEST NEWS Sinovac has begun human trials in China. The company says its vaccine candidate can neutralize different strains of the virus. COMPANY China National Biotec Group Co., Beijing Institute of Biological Products NAME No name yet PROGRESS Phase 3

The vaccine uses inactivated virus, which can help the body develop antibodies to the pathogen without risking infection.

LATEST NEWS With phase 2 trials complete, a vaccine could be available as soon as the end of this year, according to an official report in May. COMPANY Novavax Inc. NAME NVX-CoV2373 RECENTLY UPDATED Phase 2

Novavax's vaccine is meant to create antibodies that block a protein "spike" that the virus uses to infect its host.

LATEST NEWS Novavax has received $1.6 billion from the U.S. government as it prepares for a final-stage study as early as this fall. COMPANY Johnson & Johnson NAME No name yet PROGRESS Preclinical

J&J is working on an unnamed adenovirus-based vaccine as well as two backups.

LATEST NEWS J&J accelerated plans for human studies and aims to make up to 1 billion doses by the end of 2021 . J&J has said its vaccine could be ready for emergency use by January, and it has received $456 million from the U.S. COMPANY Sanofi, GlaxoSmithKline Plc NAME No name yet PROGRESS Preclinical

Sanofi is working on a vaccine using technology already employed in one of its flu vaccines, which could speed development and production.

LATEST NEWS France's Sanofi has partnered with the U.K.'s Glaxo on a project backed by U.S. funding. The companies plan to start human trials in the second half of this year. Sanofi is also developing an mRNA vaccine with Translate Bio. COMPANY Inovio Pharmaceuticals Inc. NAME INO-4800 RECENTLY UPDATED Phase 1

Inovio's experimental vaccine uses DNA to activate a patient's immune system.

LATEST NEWS Inovio says an early trial showed positive immune responses but investors complained about a lack of detail. COMPANY Merck & Co. NAME No names yet PROGRESS Preclinical

Merck's two vaccine candidates employ exisiting technology behind its Ebola virus shot and a measles virus vector platform discovered by the Pasteur Institute, respectively.

LATEST NEWS Merck has partnered with AIDS researchers to develop a vaccine using technology already employed in its Ebola virus shot. The company has also agreed to buy biotech Themis, gaining a vaccine candidate that uses an existing measles virus vector platform. COMPANY Imperial College London NAME No name yet PROGRESS Phase 1

When injected, the RNA vaccine candidate delivers genetic instructions to muscle cells to make the "spike" protein on the surface of the coronavirus.

LATEST NEWS Researchers have received U.K. funding and have begun human trials.

[Jul 14, 2020] C has it correct. Everything besides death rates is meaningless. Unfortunately, the deaths need to be genuine Covid deaths not just any death.

Jul 14, 2020 |

Bull Gator , Jul 14 2020 5:11 utc | 73

I am a Biomedical Scientist with expertise in this area. Made antibodies and PCR tests for a living for 35 years, I did other stuff to but I did make some World Class Antibodies and other discoveries. My gut feeling is that all of these tests are tremendously flawed and not reliable in any way to make any kind of decision for either the patient or society. It is almost impossible to create a truly specific test and and it would take a considerable amount of time and effort to get one that could be performed on large numbers of samples. At least a year or more even with a Herculean effort. So the bottom line is it is all Bull Shit at best. Garbage in Garbage out is what you have. Would you base anything in your life on information that you know is inaccurate? You would have to be intoxicated, greedy or needing sex badly to go to that place. The Scum of humanity has pushed a large number of people to that state. I think the outcome is going to be very unpleasant for many.

[Jul 11, 2020] Right to Repair Advocates Accuse Medical Device Manufacturers of Profiteering - Slashdot

Jul 11, 2020 |

A new Motherboard article interviews William, a ventilator refurbisher who's repaired at least 70 broken ventilators that he's bought on eBay and from other secondhand websites, then sold to U.S. hospitals and governments to help handle a spike in COVID-19 patients.

He's part of a grey-market supply chain that's "essentially identical to one used by farmers to repair John Deere tractors without the company's authorization and has emerged because of the same need to fix a device without a manufacturer's permission ..." The issue is that, like so many other electronics, medical equipment, including ventilators, increasingly has software that prevents "unauthorized" people from repairing or refurbishing broken devices, and Medtronic will not help him fix them... Faced with a global pandemic, hospitals, biomedical technicians, right to repair activists, and refurbishers like William say that medical device manufacturers are profiteering by putting up artificial barriers to repair that drive up the cost of medical care in the United States and puts patient lives in danger. They describe difficulty getting parts and software, delays in getting service from "authorized" technicians, and a general sense of frustration as few manufacturers appear ready to loosen their repair restrictions during the COVID-19 crisis.

For the past decade, medical device manufacturers have refused to sell replacement parts and software to hospitals and repair professionals unless they pay thousands of dollars annually to become "authorized" to work on machines. The medical device industry has lobbied against legislation that would make it easier to repair their machines, refused to release repair manuals , and used copyright law to threaten those who have made repair manuals available to the public. The technicians who are unable to gain access to repair parts, manuals, and software are not random people who are deciding on a whim to try to fix complex medical equipment that is going to be used on sick patients. Hospitals and trained professionals are regularly unable to fix the equipment that they own unless they pay for expensive service contracts or annual trainings from manufacturers.

While hospitals deal with a resurgent coronavirus that is overtaxing intensive care units across the country, their biomedical technicians are wasting time on the phone and in Kafkaesque email exchanges with medical device manufacturers, pleading for spare parts, passwords to unlock diagnostic modes, or ventilator repair manuals.
The article notes that newer medical devices even have "more advanced anti-repair technologies built into them. Newer ventilators connect to proprietary servers owned by manufacturers to verify that the person accessing it is authorized by the company to do so."

[Jul 11, 2020] The Great Covid-19 Deception and What You Need to Know to Survive by Gary Heavin

Jul 11, 2020 |
The Great Covid-19 Deception and What You Need to Know to Survive GARY HEAVIN JULY 10, 2020 1,600 WORDS 74 COMMENTS REPLY Tweet Reddit Share Share Email Print More RSS

I've been speaking with my friends who include medical doctors and other highly educated people about the treatments that they would seek if they were diagnosed with Covid 19. Most of them had no idea what course of treatment they or their families might seek. This conundrum is in part due to the massive volume of information that is being thrown at us. Much of this information is deliberately deceptive. I am writing this article to cut through the deception so that you and your physician can make informed decisions if and when the time comes.

This article has two purposes. First, it's imperative that you understand the great deceit that Big Pharma, their minions at the FDA, CDC, NIH, the WHO, the MSM, and officials in high government positions are perpetrating on you, your family, and likely your doctor.

The second purpose is to assure that you are armed with the necessary information to insure that you receive the best treatment options from your health care provider. Knowledge is power.

Allow me to repeat, you need to know you are being duped and you need a plan for you and your family if you become infected with Covid 19. So let's get to it. Let me begin by stating that I'm not a medical doctor and I m not offering medical advice. I do have a bachelors of science degree in health, nutrition, and counseling. I've written two NY Times bestselling books on women's health and fitness and I have been awarded an honorary doctorate degree. However, you will need to determine your treatment options with your personal physician.

The Great Deception

When it comes to safe, effective and affordable therapies for Covid 19, Big Pharma and its agents, i.e. Dr. Fauci and Dr. Birx and many others, appear to have an agenda to lie to you and your physician.

The most obvious example is their ongoing effort to ridicule the treatment option of hydroxychloroquine, Azithromycin, and Zinc. We've all watched the harsh criticism that President Trump received when he promoted this protocol for Covid 19.

So, hydroxychloroquine has been around for almost 70 years as a treatment for malaria, lupus, and rheumatoid arthritis. The WHO has designated it as a safe and effective medication akin to taking an aspirin. A survey of 6,000 medical doctors affirmed it as their treatment of choice for Covid 19.

The treatment works like this. hydroxychloroquine is an ionophore, which means it can transport material through the cellular wall. Zinc is a mineral that stops the replication of the Covid 19 virus within the cell. hydroxychloroquine transports Zinc into the cell so that it can stop the replication of the virus. The Z-pak antibiotic is given to prevent opportunistic bacterial infections like pneumonia that can occur while your immune system is engaged in fighting your viral infection. The key to its effectiveness is to start this treatment at the early onset of Covid 19 so that it has time to work.

How much effort has Big Pharma put into subverting this treatment regimen? In addition to denouncing its effectiveness, from Dr. Fauci and company, constant MSM hit pieces, the censoring of medical doctor's articles and videos from the internet, there has also been a number of "studies" done that were literally sabotaged from the onset.

The VA hospital system reported in March that they had given hydroxychloroquine to a number of patients. Following their release of information, the MSM ran the story with the headlines, "VA hospital found that hydoxychloroquine doesn't work and increases the fatality rate of Covid 19." However, if you actually read the study (see link ) you will find that only the sickest of the cohorts were given the drug. They got the drug only after they were so far along that it would not have a chance to work and they were not given zinc. None of these details made the MSM articles.

Another example of the Great Deception came from the British medical journal, The Lancet. The Lancet reported that a meta study showed that hydroxychloroquine was ineffective. As a result of this published study, France, Italy and other European countries immediately prohibited the use of this treatment option. Within a few weeks, it was found that the study was so badly designed and that the results were literally fabricated . The Lancet was forced to make a retraction of the "study." Of course in the meantime the MSM ran the original Lancet story and mislead millions of people and their physicians.

So what could possibly be the motive behind Big Pharma's Great Deception. Well there's three answers, money, money and money. That brings up the treatment option that Big Pharma is promoting, Remdesivir. This lovely experimental drug, costs above $3,000 per regimen, must be given intravenously in a hospital (five days stay around 15 grand) and evidence shows it doesn't really work .

The other treatment option is the promised Covid 19 vaccine that they allege is forthcoming. The NHS in Great Britain has committed to purchase a vaccine for the entire population of Great Britain. That's a commitment of 80,000,000 doses at an agreed price of around $600 for each vaccination. That's about $50,000,000,000. (50 Billion) That's a lot of incentive to mislead people. This week, a US pharmaceutical company received $1.6 billion dollars towards their efforts to make this vaccine which in the opinion of many experts, won't work on a coronavirus and will be untested and experimental.

How does Big Pharma have so much control over the dissemination of this information or should I say propaganda? Well, the same answer pops up again, money. Big Pharma gave $2 billion dollars during the last election cycle to US politicians. Big AG, the military/security complex and big oil each gave only a paltry $1.0 billion dollars to buy the votes of our political leadership.

The MSM counts Big Pharma's advertising revenue at up to 80 percent of their income. The internet's "masters of the universe" also kowtow to Big Pharma's influence and advertising dollars by censoring anyone who tries to tell the American people the truth about Covid 19. It certainly appears that anyone who is complicit in this Great Deception, a deception that is designed to kill and terrify enough people to ultimately beg for an experimental vaccine, well, these people would be accessories to murder.

What You Need to Know to Survive

Now, for some good news. There are several therapies that are being offered that appear to be safe, effective and affordable. However, these therapies must be utilized early in the disease progression.


Japan, Taiwan and other Asian countries have maintained a much lower fatality rate with Covid 19 then we have here in America, in spite of the fact they live in densely populated communities. Many people believe that it is due to their preferred method of treatment. They use a steroid medication that is inhaled in a mist through a home use nebulizer. I'm familiar with this since my 2 year old granddaughter needed this treatment with a similar drug for an upper respiratory issue that she had recently. That speaks to the safety and the commonality of this treatment. Watch the link of a Texas doctor who shares his patient's experiences with this therapy method using the drug Budesonide and a course of antibiotics.


Another treatment option that appears to be safe and effective is the use of the antiparasitic drug Ivermectin with the antibiotic Doxycycline. Just one Ivermectin pill and then the course of antibiotics for ten days resulted in a 100 percent cure rate for Covid 19 patients according to the attached study. Ivermectin has been widely used on the continent of Africa for many years as an anti-parasitic and is believed to be a primary reason that Covid 19 has not severely impacted the African population.

Hydroxychloroquine & Zinc

As we've seen above, this therapeutic regimen should be considered simply due to the efforts to prevent you from knowing the truth about it . As Shakespeare wrote, "Doth thou protest too much?"

The challenge with this therapeutic is both finding a doctor who will prescribe it and finding a pharmacy that will sell it. This should be between you and your doctor. Not the governors of certain states. Considering that 20 percent of all drugs are prescribed "off label", meaning that they are prescribed for a use other than intended, you and your doctor should have the liberty and the responsibility to make this health care decision.

There are several other therapies that appear to be safe, effective and affordable. You may want to research Chlorine Dioxide, intravenous ozone, high dose intravenous vitamin C and another, glutathione which are popular treatments in the homeopathic communities.

As for me and my family, we are going to make informed and responsible decisions regarding our health care. I hope the information I've given to you today along with the links for further information will help you, your family and your doctor make the best decisions as well.

Gary Heavin and his wife Diane are the founders of Curves, the world's largest fitness franchise. Gary is the author of two NY Times bestselling books, Curves and Curves on the go. Gary co-wrote and starred in the movie Amerigeddon. Gary is a pro-life libertarian and serves on the advisory board of Dr. Ron Paul's Institute for Peace and Prosperity. Gary and his wife are philanthropists who feed 10,000 children a day in Haiti and operate an orphanage outside the slums of Mumbai. Most importantly, they are bible believing Christians.

Anon [694] Disclaimer , says: July 11, 2020 at 4:42 am GMT

Excellent article. Early treatment is definitely key. The French doctor who recommended hydroxychloroquine way back in Feb. said that it needs to be given early, by the time they go on ventilator it's no longer effective. I read in Zerohedge last week that in TX, doctors said they simply give patients who come into the emergency room a steroid shot and send them home with antibiotics. Usually they are already feeling much better after the steroid shot. Even those who are hospitalized are now only staying 3-5 days.

I find it incredulous that on their website, CDC is still telling people to stay home if they are sick, that "many people" get over it themselves without treatment, and to *not* go to the doctor's until we are having difficulty breathing. By then it is too late! Doctors have said that the main difference btwn Covid patients and flu patients is, with a flu patient, when their lungs are 10% fluid, they are already having difficulty breathing, but for some reason for Covid19, the patient does not have difficulty breathing until the lungs are 50 to 60% fluid, which is why it's too late by the time they sought treatment.

This article discusses the low fatality rate in HK(0.4%) and Singapore(<0.1%), the doctors there attributed it to early treatment using a different cocktail of drugs: interferon beta-1b, which was developed to treat multiple sclerosis; ribavirin, which is used in the treatment of hepatitis C; and lopinavir-ritonavir, also known by its brand name, Kaletra. But again, early treatment is key.

CDC is an absolute fail. I'm beginning to believe they want more people to die so Trump would lose the election. They need to change their advice on their website before more lives are senselessly lost. Pence as the Covid Tzar is also totally failing on his job by not calling him out.

I'm also beginning to believe those who claim hydroxychloroquine doesn't work simply want to keep it for themselves and their cronies to take as preventive drug. Trump has been on it and he hasn't gotten sick, even though he's been exposed to lots of people. Something tells me many of our congress critters and the effing Jews are already loaded up on it.

Anonymous [426] Disclaimer , says: July 11, 2020 at 4:50 am GMT

I can't wait for November 4th when COVID-19 ends for good and all the masks and social distancing bullshit ends. Thankfully this C-19 psyops will last just 8 months and not the 2+ years the Russian collusion BS was drawn out to. Though sadly with the former it has further eviscerated working/middle-class America. I'm guessing that was part of the plan as well.

Quinsat , says: July 11, 2020 at 5:24 am GMT

The great Covid deception is it hasn't fulfilled Koch's postulates.

Smokey , says: July 11, 2020 at 5:51 am GMT

I believe Mr. Heavin more than I believe the government, and the CDC in particular.

But that could also apply to a Numerologist vs the gov't, so there's that.

I don't believe Jeffrey Epstein died a natural death any more than I believe the mainstream media is the least bit impartial. They used to try. They tried to keep the news and the Op-Ed pages separate. But that was then and this is now

This is getting fun!

So, I used to believe that cops were always the good guys, and that federal judges were above politics. Oh, and they would never lie, or take a bribe. And I believed that priests would never, ever molest a boy, or even girl (did I get that backward?), or even use bad words around them. And I believed Scoutmasters took Boy Scouts up into the mountains for the fresh air and Indian lore OK, this is starting to sound ridiculous.

Except, now I'm not sure what to believe any more.

Can anyone tell me ?

Chris in Cackalacky , says: July 11, 2020 at 5:57 am GMT

No offense but do you know how many people claim to have had Covid before Covid was cool? I don't know anyone who has tested positive but I know 25 people who claim they had or have it. In the past three years there have been severe influenzas making the rounds, there is no denying that. And why should routine flu and colds take a holiday just because our criminal elites tell us there is a special disease we need to watch out for? My point is we are so deceived that nobody knows up from down anymore. But at least we know one thing for sure -- hostile elites are working to deceive us.

Achilles Wannabe , says: July 11, 2020 at 6:33 am GMT

My doctor suffers from a delusion common to her profession. She thinks she is a "Medical Scientist". Actually she is a retailer for pharmaceuticals and medical technologies. She is a sales person in a capitalist industry And should she have any questions about her real role in a health care field which is really a substance and med tech pushing industry, her colleagues – fellow sales people – will remind her of her professional obligations by threatening her board certification to insure her near absolute conformity to market standards.

But there is no getting her to understand her real role in the medical industry. She believes her own hype or the hype created about her profession back in the 1950s when a few genuinely useful drugs and technologies were discovered which then afforded the money making corporate establishment the opportunity to take a humane craft and, thru the "science" of Epidemiology -Medical speak for lying with statistics – turn professional Medicine into probably the largest boondoggle in history. Consider the flag ship for usurious medicine – cholesterol lowering statin drugs.

But why don't I get rid of my essentially brain dead doctor, go to to someone else? Practically speaking, there is no one else. There are doctors who understand all this and write books about it but they are so rare as to be useless when real sickness like bacterial infections for which there are useful technologies like antibiotics actually occur. The most useful thing these real scientific doctors have to say is "Don't see your doctor" unless you have a real emergency – like an old fashion visceral type sickness – as opposed to some epidemiologically hyped condition like, again, "high cholesterol" as the "cause" of heart disease.

But now we have a genuine epidemic that is killing and injuring people and Medical Science is lying to us about possible treatments. Even a Medical skeptic like myself could not have predicted this level of base greed by our Medical pharmaceutical establishment This is tantamount to MURDER. And we have no government -whether it be run by Democrats or Republicans- who will take action. They are all on the Med Pharm tit and/or deluded by "Medical Science" as well. Until we learn to help ourselves and overthrow this system, God help us

Valka , says: July 11, 2020 at 6:48 am GMT

$50 billion just for Britain America doesn't stand a chance.

TheTrumanShow , says: July 11, 2020 at 6:58 am GMT

Thanks, Gary.

I've been reading everything counter-&-alternative to the deception I could find since it first appeared, but had never thought to investigate therapies until reading your article. Fortuitously, for me (in Thailand), Hydroxychloroquine is being used therapeutically and may even be available OTC.

However, Big Medicine & Big Pharma are already here and steadily making inroads into health care and medicine.

Gleimhart Mantooso , says: July 11, 2020 at 7:10 am GMT

Whatever happened to that vaccine that some Israeli Genius Doctors claimed would be ready in a few weeks, which was months ago now? What a shock that that never materialized.

Trygve Blodøks , says: July 11, 2020 at 7:38 am GMT

You should also look into coodial silver water. I got rid of an hpv infection using it. No side effects.

Herald , says: July 11, 2020 at 9:14 am GMT

The author doesn't mention Vitamin D, which is rather strange.

skrik , says: July 11, 2020 at 9:29 am GMT

@Gary Heavin

The Great Covid-19 Deception and

Click-baitish, much? Well, you got me in, but you seem to have a good 'treatment' argument, and 'good luck,' both by avoiding Covid-19 in the 1st place and finding a 'collaborative+pursuasive' Dr in the 2nd = worst case, should you or one of yours gets 'hit.' [Perish the thought.]

But IMHO, the Great est Covid-19 Deception is the negligent way most 'Western' governments have *not* taken Covid-19 properly seriously, starting of course with US = Trump and UK = Johnson then perhaps SE 'led' by so-called expert Tegnell next in a looong list of apparent delinquents.

Again IMHO, when Wuhan realised that they were under a bio-warfare-like attack [possibly when they 1st saw the PRRA inclusion in the decoded genome], they reacted like cut snakes and proceeded with the speed of fear-stricken Gazelles in a very largely successful attempt to *suppress* the virus. But, of course, they are communists, eh? So-called 'democratic' [in-name-only governments, many largely bolshie 'wo/men in the street'] think differently [even to their own detriment; they just can't help themselves.]

With the possible exception of NZ = Ardern, most 'Western' governments went for 'mitigation' = 'flattening the curve,' if they took any action at all, see BR = Bolsonaro "has accused the media of "fear-mongering"" and IIRC said something like "What can I do?"

Here is an article, 1st found by me in March on MoA :

"Coronavirus: The Hammer and the Dance"

MoA blurb: 'Here is his latest in which he argues not only to "flatten the curve" but to eradicate the virus.'

For my last IMHO, all 'Western' leaders who have acted with less than full effort = incompetently meaning ineffectively on behalf of their 'own people' should be prosecuted for their negligence. rgds

GeeBee , says: July 11, 2020 at 9:34 am GMT

A good article all around, except that the population of the UK is nowhere near eighty million. The latest figure I can find gives 66 million. Also, your attempt to invoke the Bard ('As Shakespeare wrote, "Doth thou protest too much?"') is lamentably botched. Try 'Methinks the lady doth protest too much'. (Hamlet's mother Gertrude says it of what she regards as overacting in a play that Hamlet has arranged for his mother and her husband, the usurper Claudius, to watch).

Justvisiting , says: July 11, 2020 at 10:37 am GMT

It is a great idea to have a candid discussion with your doctor/nurse on the issue of big pharma's economic power and how it creates conflicts of interest in the medical profession.

Many doctors/nurses already knew it and will quickly agree, many more "get it" after you explain it to them.

If your doctor is so brainwashed by "experts" that they think you are an "anti-science kook", time to get a new doctor!

gotmituns , says: July 11, 2020 at 10:40 am GMT

Bingo – it's all a total bunch of malarkey. All the BS isn't aimed at people our age (I'm 76), it's aimed at the milennials and younger. It is shaping them for the "Brave New World" that they will live.

Simon Tugmutton , says: July 11, 2020 at 10:48 am GMT

First let me say that the virus has never been satisfactorily isolated and does not meet Koch's postulates, which leads some people to speculate that it does not exist at all. The symptoms are so various as to be nonsensical; whatever the virus may be, last winter, that led to all the hospitalizations is open to question. Certainly the fear-porn spewed out 24/7 by the corporate media led to high levels of anxiety among the credulous and many of these no doubt presented as Covid-19 patients even though they were in fact suffering from the flu or a bad cold. Once in the hands of the quacks, nosocomial infections and intubation really made them sick – or dead.

As for protection against any respiratory illness, vitamin D is essential and I am surprised the author fails to understand this. 4000 IU per day maximum.

All that aside, Covid-19 a gig