Tuesday, February 01, 2022

The Covid Narrative Falls Apart in South Africa

Last week, China Daily published an article that perfectly encapsulates the magical thinking taking place worldwide around Covid-19. Titled “Plea for jabs even as Africa infections trend lower,” the piece described how African “health experts” are “stepping up calls for more people to get vaccinated against COVID-19 in a bid to ward off future outbreaks even as trends point to a decline in the growth rate for new infections.”

That’s right, despite a clear downward trend in mostly-mild Omicron cases, “health experts” want shots imposed indiscriminately throughout the whole population. And adding even more to the cognitive dissonance here are the reasons they cite for the decrease:

“John Nkengasong, director of the Africa CDC, attributed South Africa’s decrease in new infection cases to increased population levels of antibodies, meaning that many people have been infected so hence developed antibodies combined with the high vaccination rate in the country,” wrote Edith Mutethya before adding the kicker: “To date, South Africa has fully vaccinated 27.3 percent of its population.”

This is, of course, a perfect example of how ‘health officials’ massage and manipulate the facts to suit their narrative. In this case, in his drive to get more “jabs,” Nkengasong laughably tells us the country’s “high vaccination rate” is partially responsible for the decline in Omicron cases. A “high vaccination rate,” in this case, of… wait for it… 27.3 percent.

Granted, 27.3 percent is higher than the meager 10 percent full vaccination rate for the rest of Africa. But given these low percentages, especially by Western standards, one would be forgiven for thinking Covid-19 was raging like a wildfire across the continent, overwhelming hospitals and leaving massive levels of death and severe illness in its wake.

Except, that’s not the case at all. Not even close. In fact, deaths per million are surprisingly low for the vast majority of countries in Africa. Tunisia, a small country of 12 million, leads the pack at ~2,200, and only five others—South Africa, Namibia, Seychelles, Eswatini, and Botswana—are even above 1,000. That’s a stark contrast to the United States’ ~2,600, Brazil’s ~2,900, or Bulgaria and Hungary with more than 4,000 each.

Still, according to World Health Organization regional emergency director Abdou Gueye: “Although Africa appears to be emerging from the peak of its fourth pandemic wave, vaccination which is a pivotal measure against the virus remains far too low. About 50 percent of the world’s population is fully vaccinated. In Africa, this is just 10 percent.”

After a peak of 37,875 reported cases on Dec. 12, 2021, South Africa—‘home’ of the Omicron variant that now dominates the globe—has seen its case numbers decline steadily since. How can this be? Nkengasong, to his credit, tells a partial truth by partially crediting natural immunity. He should have stopped there. Why didn’t he? I submit that it’s because of the magical thinking around Covid vaccines. Even a paltry 27.3 vaccination rate, he reasons, must have contributed to the decline. Would that ‘health officials’ here in the States were so generous. Instead, the third of the country that remains unvaccinated is blamed for everything from virus spread to the Black Death.

We’re told that vaccines against a spike protein that is no longer dominant are the keys to ending the pandemic, but they refuse to explain in light of recent data exactly how. Instead, our overlords allow the majority of the public to falsely blame the unvaccinated for contraction and spread, even while knowing full well that the vaccinated are just as responsible.

Why is the virus raging again in Israel, the most vaccinated and boosted country on the planet? Why is there no statistical difference between virus infection rates in highly vaccinated versus lower uptake areas in the United States? Why do the unvaccinated have the lowest infection rate according to disturbing newly revealed data from Scotland? I could go on and on. (And yes, we have asked the same questions about mask use.)

The sad, tragic fact is that their measures, from lockdowns to masks to even vaccine mandates, have done little to nothing to curb the spread of this highly contagious respiratory virus, and taken as a whole they’ve likely done more harm than good.

I take no pleasure in pointing this out. Truly, I wish something HAD worked. If so, we wouldn’t be talking about this two years in. But alas, the only thing that’s working is viral attenuation and Omicron infecting everything it touches, regardless of masking or vaccine status.

It’s not that these vaccines don’t have their uses. If someone is at high risk for a bad outcome from Covid, taking the “jab” and even endless boosters could be a smart move. But we were promised something else a year ago, weren’t we? “Take the shot,” we were told, “and you can live a normal life free of masks and restrictions.”

That promise, like so many others, has been broken and memory-holed, relegated to the dustbin of so many other Faucian ‘noble lies.’

Try to get into a restaurant in New York City or Chicago with eight masks on but without a vaccine card and see where that gets you. Walk into almost any large restaurant or retail establishment in the country, even here in eastern Tennessee, and every employee will be forcibly masked. It seems like the more the vaccines don’t work to stop this pandemic, the more our overlords double down on nonsense. Thankfully, the prevalence of Omicron is exposing their absurdity for the world to see, if people would only look.

“But but but … it would have been worse,” people smugly retort. To that, I would simply point to South Africa, where Omicron is on its last legs despite a poor healthcare system, much of its population living in poverty, and a vaccination rate that would have Joe Biden really losing his patience.


One-off wonder jab could fight off all strains of flu for LIFE by targeting a completely different part of the virus

Every year, millions of Britons have a flu jab — and every year it’s a different version, as flu viruses mutate so quickly that vaccines have to be reformulated.

But what if there were a one-off flu jab, possibly for life, that not only protected against currently circulating strains but also all future versions?

The so-called ‘universal’ jab has been the holy grail of flu vaccine research for decades — but has proved elusive.

That’s because the flu virus is constantly swapping genes between strains. In this way, it creates variants that dodge any immunity people have from previous flu infections or vaccines.

This process of mutation, called antigenic drift, can happen even within the six to nine months it takes from the World Health Organisation identifying the particular strains that are a threat (usually around February) to the vaccine being ready in the autumn, so making it much less effective.

But now scientists think they are closer than ever to finding the answer. And it involves targeting vaccines at a completely different part of the virus than current jabs aim for.

All flu jabs are made to attack hemagglutinins — proteins dotted all over the surface of flu viruses. These proteins help the flu virus bind to healthy cells, before breaking into them and taking over their internal machinery so the virus can replicate and spread.

Vaccines are currently made with a weakened version of hemagglutinin so that the immune system recognises it as foreign and produces the antibodies needed to fight flu.

If they later encounter the real virus, the antibodies lock on to the bulbous ‘head’ of the hemagglutinin protein, blocking the virus’s attempts to bind to healthy cells.

This part of the protein sticks out from the virus’s surface and is an easy target for antibodies to strike. But it’s also the part that mutates most.

Hemagglutinin is very important in terms of the flu virus binding to cells and getting inside them, explains Professor Peter Openshaw, an immunologist at Imperial College London. ‘But nearly all of the big genetic variations that occur in the flu virus happen up on the globular-shaped head of this protein,’ he adds.

Once those mutations occur, the antibodies triggered by the vaccine are largely powerless to fight infection.

One way round this is to make vaccines that target not the head of the protein but the ‘stalk’ region, where the hemagglutinin protein joins the main body of the virus.

Mutations occur much less frequently here than in the head, as the genetic material found there is vital for the virus’s survival, and constantly changing it could jeopardise this. The genetic make-up of the stalk region of hemagglutinin is also almost identical in all flu strains — making it an ideal target for a universal jab.

‘The stalk region is part of the basic structure of the protein and is needed to help the flu virus bind with cells so it can gain entry to them,’ says Professor Openshaw. ‘It cannot mutate as easily as the head part of the protein [can] as this would be lethal for the virus.

‘What scientists are now trying to do is use the stalk region as the basis of a vaccine. ‘Such a vaccine will hopefully activate the immune system to produce antibodies that will attack this area, rather than the head.

‘In theory, these antibodies would then recognise a wide variety of different flu viruses and cope not just with whatever current strain is in circulation but potentially all those that emerge in future — even ones capable of causing a pandemic.’

But it’s not that simple, and previous attempts to make a stalk-based flu jab have faltered. This is because, even when the head area of the protein has mutated, some of its genetic material stays the same.

The immune system, after years of exposure to flu infections or vaccines, remembers this material and pumps out antibodies in response.

Despite these potentially not being the right antibodies to fight off infection (because the virus has mutated), this drowns out the production of antibodies needed to target the stalk region.

But a few weeks ago, researchers at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York revealed they had got round this by genetically tinkering with the protein.

They replaced the head of the protein with new genetic viral material that the immune system would be less likely to recognise and attack.

This allowed the immune system to instead produce much higher levels of antibodies to target the stalk region.

They tested the experimental jab on 51 volunteers and found a single dose triggered ‘remarkably high’ levels of anti-stalk antibodies, they wrote in the journal Nature Medicine.

Now the scientists hope to set up larger trials, although this is likely to take several years.

But another one-off jab, using a different approach, is already undergoing trials in the U.S.

FluMos-v1 is similar to some existing jabs in that it produces antibodies to the hemagglutinin protein from the four different types of flu virus (two influenza type A strains and two influenza type B strains) that usually circulate. (Flu jabs usually protect against strains of A and B.)

But whereas existing vaccines carry just one copy of the protein from each of the four strains, FluMos-v1, which is being tested at the U.S. National Institutes for Health in Bethesda, Maryland, has 20.

The hope is that it fires up a much more potent immune response, enough to see off all future invading flu viruses. First results are expected in 2023.

‘I’m more optimistic than I used to be about the chances of developing a universal flu vaccine,’ says Professor Openshaw. ‘Progress is definitely being made,’ he says, though adding a note of caution: ‘But it could still be another ten years before we get there.’


Also see my other blogs. Main ones below:

http://edwatch.blogspot.com (EDUCATION WATCH)

http://antigreen.blogspot.com (GREENIE WATCH)

http://pcwatch.blogspot.com (POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH)

http://australian-politics.blogspot.com/ (AUSTRALIAN POLITICS)

http://snorphty.blogspot.com/ (TONGUE-TIED)


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