Sunday 25th of September 2022

are we being lied to about the origins of the pandemic?…...

Are we being lied to about the origins of the pandemic?

Even in the days when people used to read TIME to stay informed, it was always worth applying the home-base test. If the magazine got facts about where you lived wrong, what else in the magazine could you believe? In Pearls & Irritations (27 July) Nury Vittachi provided insights from a Twitter post people in Hong Kong the times responded to a question posted as to when they stopped trusting Western media’s ‘constant lies’.




But it’s not just the media that lie, and not only in the West either. Governments lie, I. F. Stone used pithily to tell his students. On matters of life and death, are governments or the media any more truthful? Not if the pandemic and chemical and biological weapons research are indicators. They are connected by a long history of secretiveness, politics, and vested interests.

For two years, media reports focussed on the virus to the exclusion of much else. Many of us patiently accepted that lockdowns, isolation, vaccinations, masks, and tests were necessary to stop the spread of COVID-19 and its variants. But they didn’t, because as some predicted, the virus mutated faster than vaccines could eliminate it. So the Australian authorities, Federal and State, having spent billions on quarantine, tests and vaccines, subsidies for employers and employees, interest on debt, and on vaccinating 95 per cent of us (again and again), gave up.

The result is what governments feared: record numbers are infected and die, education and tourism suffer, inflation rises, and the medical system can’t cope. Infections have almost tripled from 17 per cent of the population since late February, Kirby Institute researchers found. Nearly half of all adults in Australia had caught Covid-19 by early June 2022. A million Americans had died. Meanwhile the multinational pharmaceutical industry and some investors made record profits, and trust in governments eroded. In South Australia and Federally, the virus partly cost them elections.

As for research, Science now reports the unsurprising result of an investigation of the origins of COVID-19. Members of an 18-person panel, which included a recently decorated Australian, Edward Holmes of Sydney University, are known for favouring the ‘natural origin’ explanation. Professor Holmes and his colleague at Fudan University in Shanghai are convinced that virtually every virus affecting humans comes direct from some animal. The latest report links cases of SARS2 found in locations inside or near the markets in Wuhan to ‘susceptible’ wild animals sold there in November or December 2019.

How it got to these intermediate hosts is another matter. Bats have long been suspected as virus originators, which is why work on them by Dr Shi Zhengli at the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) led to suspicions that COVID-19 escaped from WIV’s high-security lab. After that, its relevant database was taken down. As well, COVID-19 symptoms were found in workers at WIV.

The research panel’s benign explanation in Science, which favours the WHO mission’s 2021 report, won’t satisfy those who, like Trump and Pompeo when in office, blamed Chinese institutions for the pandemic. The Trump Administration focused on the WIV as the source of contagion, citing the Gain of Function (GOF) research done there.

To achieve GOF, scientists enable a virus to infect humans, or specific human populations. A Senior US State Department official in 2021 told Sharri Markson that in the US itself, the Army had been ‘deeply involved in virus research for many years’ (What Really Happened in Wuhan, 2021). When Obama’s 2015 ban on GOF was lifted in 2017, Americans with an interest celebrated being back in business, particularly Dr Anthony Fauci of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NAIAD) and Dr Peter Daszak of EcoHealth Alliance, who later told the National Institutes of Health (NIH) how happy they were ‘that our Gain of Function research funding pause has been lifted’. Daszak’s grant was cancelled in April 2020 but reinstated with increased funding in July.

SARS 2 has a long history, even before SARS, MERS, and HIV. The unique furin cleavage site in SARS2 makes it an efficient invader of human cells. It can only be created in a laboratory, and the precursor virus RaTG13, found in 2013 by WIV’s Dr Shi in bats, didn’t have it. In 2021, Nicholas Wade argued in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists that laboratory manipulation had occurred. He revealed that Professor Holmes and two colleagues agreed, emailing their group in February 2020 that SARS2 had features which ‘look engineered’w engineered’. But within days they retracted this in favour of origins in nature.

As Katherine Eban showed in Vanity Fair in 2021, Daszak and Fauci and their colleagues supported the natural origin orthodoxy while suppressing opinions about GOF. Fauci, who controlled millions in research funding, later expressed ambivalence about the origins of COVID-19, but continued to deny that NIAID was funding GOF in China.

An American observer wrote recently, ‘While there’s no smoking gun that answers where SARS-CoV-2 originated, there’s a whole lot of evidence showing that some very powerful people have worked quite hard to shape public opinion and suppress information that runs counter to their natural-origin hypothesis’.








engineering viruses…..

Engineering a virus: What is gain of function research?


 Posted on Jul 21 2021 by admin 

Gain-of-function research is a technique used in virology and genetics to alter the function of a virus, in order to better understand its evolution. However, some claims have been made that engineering a virus is too dangerous to justify this type of research.

Cosmos Magazine spoke to two virus researchers, Associate Professor Michael Beard, Head of the Viral Pathogenesis Research Laboratory at the University of Adelaide, and Dr Nicholas Eyre, a Molecular virologist at Flinders University, about how this research is used and what can be gained from it.







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unprotecting protection…….

A new study has found that mRNA vaccines (those from Moderna and Pfizer) don’t create enough antibodies to protect against the Omicron variant in people with autoimmune rheumatic diseases.

Autoimmune rheumatic diseases (ARDs), including rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and scleroderma are debilitating, painful conditions that cause the immune system to attack the joints, muscles, bones, and organs.

Korean researchers described the vaccine-induced immune response in these patients as “exceptionally weak” against Omicron (now the prevailing strain the pandemic) and highlights ‘‘their vulnerability to breakthrough infections’’.

A breakthrough infection is an infection with a virus after you have been vaccinated against it.

A complex situation

From the beginning of the pandemic there were concerns that people with these conditions were in for a particularly rough trot.








the sciences….


Understanding how severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) emerged in 2019 is critical to preventing zoonotic outbreaks before they become the next pandemic. The Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in Wuhan, China, was identified as a likely source of cases in early reports but later this conclusion became controversial. We show the earliest known COVID-19 cases from December 2019, including those without reported direct links, were geographically centered on this market. We report that live SARS-CoV-2 susceptible mammals were sold at the market in late 2019 and, within the market, SARS-CoV-2-positive environmental samples were spatially associated with vendors selling live mammals. While there is insufficient evidence to define upstream events, and exact circumstances remain obscure, our analyses indicate that the emergence of SARS-CoV-2 occurred via the live wildlife trade in China, and show that the Huanan market was the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic.


On 31 December 2019, the Chinese government notified the World Health Organization (WHO) of an outbreak of severe pneumonia of unknown etiology in Wuhan, Hubei province (14), a city of approximately 11 million people. Of the initial 41 people hospitalized with unknown pneumonia by 2 January 2020, 27 (66%) had direct exposure to the Huanan Wholesale Seafood Market (hereafter, “Huanan market”) (2, 5, 6). These first cases were confirmed to be infected with a novel coronavirus, subsequently named severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and were suffering from a disease later named coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The initial diagnoses of COVID-19 were made in several hospitals independently between 18 and 29 December 2019 (5). These early reports were free from ascertainment bias as they were based on signs and symptoms before the Huanan market was identified as a shared risk factor (5). A subsequent systematic review of all cases notified to China’s National Notifiable Disease Reporting System by hospitals in Wuhan as part of the joint WHO-Chinese “WHO-convened global study of origins of SARS-CoV-2: China Part” (hereafter, “WHO mission report”) (7) showed that 55 of 168 of the earliest known COVID-19 cases were associated with this market. However, the observation that the preponderance of early cases were linked to the Huanan market does not establish that the pandemic originated there.

Sustained live mammal sales during 2019 occurred at the Huanan and three other markets in Wuhan, including wild and farmed wild-life (8). Several of these species are known to be experimentally susceptible to SARS-related coronaviruses (SARSr-CoVs), such as SARS-CoV (hereafter, “SARS-CoV-1”) and SARS-CoV-2 (911). During the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, animals sold at the Huanan market were hypothesized to be the source of the unexplained pneumonia cases (1219) (data S1), consistent with the emergence of SARS-CoV-1 from 2002-2004 (20), as well as other viral zoonoses (2123). This led to the decision to close and sanitize the Huanan market on 1 January 2020, with environmental samples also being collected from vendors’ stalls (7, 12, 24) (data S1).

Determining the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic at a neighborhood- rather than city-level could help resolve if SARS-CoV-2 had a zoonotic origin, similar to SARS-CoV-1 (20). In this study, we obtained data from a range of sources to test the hypothesis that the COVID-19 pandemic began at the Huanan market. Despite limited testing of live wildlife sold at the market, collectively, our results provide evidence that the Huanan market was the early epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic and suggest that SARS-CoV-2 likely emerged from the live wildlife trade in China. However, events upstream of the market, as well as exact circumstances at the market, remain obscure, highlighting the need for further studies to understand and lower the risk of future pandemics.


Early cases lived near to and centered on the Huanan market

The 2021 WHO mission report identified 174 COVID-19 cases in Hubei province in December 2019 after careful examination of reported case histories (7). Although geographical coordinates of the residential locations of the 164 cases who lived within Wuhan were unavailable, we were able to reliably extract the latitude and longitude coordinates of 155 cases from maps in the report (figs. S1 to S8).

While early COVID-19 cases occurred across Wuhan, the majority clustered in central Wuhan near the west bank of the Yangtze River, with a high density of cases near to, and surrounding, the Huanan market (Fig. 1A). We used a kernel density estimate (KDE) to reconstruct an underlying probability density function from which the home locations for each case were drawn (25). Using all 155 December 2019 cases, the location of the Huanan market lies within the highest density contour that contains 1% of the probability mass (Fig. 1B). For a KDE estimated using the 120 cases with no known linkage to the market, the market remains within the highest density 1% contour (Fig. 1C). The clustering of COVID-19 cases in December around the Huanan market (Fig. 1, B and C, insets) contrasts with the pattern of widely dispersed cases across Wuhan by early January through mid-February 2020 (Fig. 1, D and E), which we mapped using location data from individuals using a COVID-19 assistance app on Sina Weibo (26). Weibo-based data analyses show that, unlike early COVID-19 cases, by January and February many of the sick who sought help resided in highly populated areas of the city, and particularly in areas with a high density of older people (Fig. 1E and figs. S9 and S10).