Friday, January 14, 2022

Cannabis compounds can stop the virus that causes COVID-19 from entering human cells by binding to the spike protein and blocking it from infecting people, study finds

This will be a great excuse for potheads

The compounds are found in hemp and can be taken orally or combine with the coronavirus vaccine

Researchers at Oregon State University identified a pair of cannabinoid acids that bind to the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, blocking a critical step in the process the virus uses to infect people.

The team found the cannabis compounds, which can be taken orally and are abundantly found in hemp, blocked the alpha and beta variants from infecting the human cells - but the team notes those are the only two variants studied in this research.

This means, according to the team, the compounds could prove successfully in blocking other coronavirus strains.

Richard van Breemen, a researcher with Oregon State's Global Hemp Innovation Center and study lead, said in a statement: 'These cannabinoid acids are abundant in hemp and in many hemp extracts.

'They are not controlled substances like THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, and have a good safety profile in humans.

'And our research showed the hemp compounds were equally effective against variants of SARS-CoV-2, including variant B.1.1.7, which was first detected in the United Kingdom, and variant B.1.351, first detected in South Africa.'

The specific compounds are cannabigerolic acid, or CBGA, and cannabidiolic acid, CBDA, and the spike protein is the same drug target used in COVID-19 vaccines and antibody therapy.

SARS-CoV-2, which is characterized by crown-like protrusions on its outer surface, features RNA strands that encode its four main structural proteins – spike, envelope, membrane and nucleocapsid – as well as 16 nonstructural proteins and several 'accessory' proteins, van Breemen said.

'Any part of the infection and replication cycle is a potential target for antiviral intervention, and the connection of the spike protein's receptor binding domain to the human cell surface receptor ACE2 is a critical step in that cycle,' he said.

'That means cell entry inhibitors, like the acids from hemp, could be used to prevent SARS-CoV-2 infection and also to shorten infections by preventing virus particles from infecting human cells.

'They bind to the spike proteins so those proteins can't bind to the ACE2 enzyme, which is abundant on the outer membrane of endothelial cells in the lungs and other organs.'

And using compounds to block virus-receptor interaction is nothing new: it has been used to treat HIV-1 and hepatitis.

'One of the primary concerns in the pandemic is the spread of variants, of which there are many, and B.1.1.7 and B.1.351 are among the most widespread and concerning,' said van Breeman.

'These variants are well known for evading antibodies against early lineage SARS-CoV-2, which is obviously concerning given that current vaccination strategies rely on the early lineage spike protein as an antigen.

'Our data show CBDA and CBGA are effective against the two variants we looked at, and we hope that trend will extend to other existing and future variants.'


Covid loses 90% of ability to infect within minutes in air – study

Coronavirus loses 90% of its ability to infect us within 20 minutes of becoming airborne – with most of the loss occurring within the first five minutes, the world’s first simulations of how the virus survives in exhaled air suggest.

The findings re-emphasise the importance of short-range Covid transmission, with physical distancing and mask-wearing likely to be the most effective means of preventing infection. Ventilation, though still worthwhile, is likely to have a lesser impact.

“People have been focused on poorly ventilated spaces and thinking about airborne transmission over metres or across a room. I’m not saying that doesn’t happen, but I think still the greatest risk of exposure is when you’re close to someone,” said Prof Jonathan Reid, director of the University of Bristol’s Aerosol Research Centre and the study’s lead author.

“When you move further away, not only is the aerosol diluted down, there’s also less infectious virus because the virus has lost infectivity [as a result of time].”

Until now, our assumptions about how long the virus survives in tiny airborne droplets have been based on studies that involved spraying virus into sealed vessels called Goldberg drums, which rotate to keep the droplets airborne. Using this method, US researchers found that infectious virus could still be detected after three hours. Yet such experiments do not accurately replicate what happens when we cough or breathe.

Instead, researchers from the University of Bristol developed apparatus that allowed them to generate any number of tiny, virus-containing particles and gently levitate them between two electric rings for anywhere between five seconds to 20 minutes, while tightly controlling the temperature, humidity and UV light intensity of their surroundings. “This is the first time anyone has been able to actually simulate what happens to the aerosol during the exhalation process,” Reid said.

The study, which has not yet been peer-reviewed, suggested that as the viral particles leave the relatively moist and carbon dioxide-rich conditions of the lungs, they rapidly lose water and dry out, while the transition to lower levels of carbon dioxide is associated with a rapid increase in pH. Both of these factors disrupt the virus’s ability to infect human cells, but the speed at which the particles dry out varies according to the relative humidity of the surrounding air.

When this was lower than 50% – similar to the relatively dry air found in many offices – the virus had lost around half of its infectivity within five seconds, after which the decline was slower and more steady, with a further 19% loss over the next five minutes. At 90% humidity – roughly equivalent to a steam or shower room – the decline in infectivity was more gradual, with 52% of particles remaining infectious after five minutes, dropping to about 10% after 20 minutes, after which these was no difference between the two conditions.

However, the temperature of the air made no difference to viral infectivity, contradicting the widely held belief that viral transmission is lower at high temperatures.

“It means that if I’m meeting friends for lunch in a pub today, the primary [risk] is likely to be me transmitting it to my friends, or my friends transmitting it to me, rather than it being transmitted from someone on the other side of the room,” said Reid. This highlights the importance of wearing a mask in situations where people cannot physically distance, he added.

The findings support what epidemiologists have been observing on the ground, said Dr Julian Tang, a clinical virologist at the University of Leicester, adding that “masks are very effective … as well as social distancing. Improved ventilation will also help – particularly if this is close to the source.”

Dr Stephen Griffin, associate professor of virology at the University of Leeds, emphasised the importance of ventilation, saying: “Aerosols will fill up indoor spaces rapidly in the absence of proper ventilation, so assuming the infected individual remains within the room, the levels of virus will be replenished.”

The same effects were seen across all three Sars-CoV-2 variants the team has tested so far, including Alpha. They hopes to start experiments with the Omicron variant in the coming weeks.


Obesity a big virus risk

The worst global health crisis in over 100 years has revealed many disturbing truths. Some, such as long-held beliefs surrounding the inherent corruption in big government and the liberal mainstream media, have been further substantiated.

However, a worldwide health crisis has a way of exposing other problems that most ignore. Since the very beginning of the pandemic, health experts have insisted that a particular segment of the population was far more at risk for serious illness from COVID-19.

When counting hospitalization rates from COVID-19, obese patients were dwarfing the number of otherwise physically healthy patients. Being excessively overweight was an obvious co-morbidity for serious COVID consequences.

Nevertheless, it has been all but ignored. No one wants to talk about how susceptible obese people are to being infected with COVID-19, and then requiring intense hospitalization. The factual statistics are astonishing.

One group of patients are at an even greater risk of serious illness from COVID-19 if they’re obese. A study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) shows that 66 percent of children over the age of 12 who are hospitalized classify as obese.

This is an astonishingly high number. However, when looking at the overall health statistics for the United States, no one should be surprised. We are, in fact, one of the least healthy nations in the world. Nearly three out of four people in the U.S. classify as overweight or obese.

Close to a quarter of children between 12 and 19 years of age meet the criteria for obese. These statistics are unacceptable. Medical experts have long warned of the tremendous health problem that obesity poses.

A raging virus, which leaked from a virology lab in Wuhan, China, has further exposed a stark reality. The United States of America, especially children, are grossly overweight. However, corrupt mainstream media outlets never discuss the obvious.

All they ever talk about is how the “unvaccinated” are putting everyone else at risk. This is not true. Corrupt politicians and their parrots in the mainstream media are broadcasting a lie. They are ignoring the facts.

Instead of pushing for more people to succumb to an experimental drug, we should be talking about improving our health. Never a word mentioned about this during prime-time news reports. Nevertheless, commercial breaks are still plastered with advertisements for fast food chains.

Healthy lifestyle choices are rarely discussed. The CDC study used a control group of children between the ages of 12 and 17-years-old. This study targeted six hospitals across six states. Two of the states, Texas and Florida, have lower rates of adolescent obesity compared with the national average.

However, collectively, the data showed more than two-thirds of the COVID hospitalization records for this age group were obese. These same children were reported to have one or more underlying conditions as well.

The length of the hospital stay for the 66 percent classifying as obese was twice that of otherwise healthy children. Obesity accounted for twice as many extended hospitalizations as respiratory ailments, such as asthma, did.

A respiratory virus affected double the number of children who were obese, as opposed to those who already struggled with respiratory challenges. Underlying medical conditions are clearly far more susceptible to serious illness from COVID-19 than otherwise healthy people.

The numbers correlate across all age groups, but are especially prevalent in children. In addition, co-morbidity is a huge contributor to more serious illness. Over 75 percent of the COVID-19 related deaths had at least four.

Corrupt government bureaucrats and the mainstream media refuse to talk about the “real science”. COVID-19 is a deadly virus. However, it targets individuals who are more susceptible. The virus is especially harsh on people who are obese.

Our medical experts should be focused on helping Americans to appreciate the benefits of good health. Instead of forcing otherwise healthy individuals to “comply”, we need to impress the importance of good health, beginning with our children.

Instead of demonizing individuals who do not choose to subject their bodies to an experimental medicine, target the people who are overwhelming the hospitals. Those who choose to be unhealthy and obese are the problem.




Thursday, January 13, 2022

Pfizer boss says two doses provide ‘limited protection, if any’ against Omicron

Albert Bourla made the comments in an interview with Yahoo Finance after the company announced a new Omicron-specific version of the vaccine would be ready by March, with doses already being manufactured.

“We know that the two doses of the vaccine offer very limited protection, if any,” Dr Bourla said.

“The three doses with a booster, they offer reasonable protection against hospitalisation and deaths – against deaths, I think, very good, and less protection against infection. Now we are working on a new version of our vaccine, the 1.1, let me put it that way, that will cover Omicron as well. Of course we are waiting to have the final results, [but] the vaccine will be ready in March.”

In a separate interview with CNBC, Dr Bourla said Pfizer’s new vaccine would also target other variants currently circulating.

“The hope is that we will achieve something that will have way, way better protection particularly against infections,” he said.

“Because the protection against the hospitalisations and the severe disease – it is reasonable right now, with the current vaccines as long as you having, let’s say, the third dose.”

He added that it also remains unclear whether a fourth shot will become necessary, with Pfizer set to conduct experiments on the issue.

Omicron, which first emerged in southern Africa in November, quickly swept the world, overtaking Delta to become the most dominant strain and casting concern over the efficacy of existing vaccines.

The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines – both of which have been distributed in Australia – are only about 10 per cent effective at preventing symptomatic infection from Omicron 20 weeks after the second dose, a study from the UK Health Security Agency found.

While two doses still provide good protection against severe illness, the study found that booster shots increased protection against symptomatic infection to 75 per cent.

Pfizer claims its own studies show a third dose of its vaccine produces a 25-fold increase in neutralising antibodies against the new strain.

Early in 2021, Dr Bourla had said data showed Pfizer’s vaccine “was 100 per cent effective against severe Covid-19”.

Writing in The Wall Street Journal on Sunday, Nobel prize-winning virologist Luc Montagnier and constitutional scholar Jed Rubenfeld argued the rise of Omicron had made the Biden administration’s vaccine mandates “obsolete”.

“It would be irrational, legally indefensible and contrary to the public interest for government to mandate vaccines absent any evidence that the vaccines are effective in stopping the spread of the pathogen they target,” they wrote.

“Yet that’s exactly what’s happening here.”

They pointed to the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) position on vaccine mandates, which states that “if mandatory vaccination is considered necessary to interrupt transmission chains and prevent harm to others, there should be sufficient evidence that the vaccine is efficacious in preventing serious infection and/or transmission”.

For Omicron, they noted, “there is as yet no such evidence” and moreover, “the little data we have suggests the opposite”.

“One preprint study found that after 30 days the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines no longer had any statistically significant positive effect against Omicron infection, and after 90 days, their effect went negative – i.e. vaccinated people were more susceptible to Omicron infection,” they wrote.

“Confirming this negative efficacy finding, data from Denmark and the Canadian province of Ontario indicate that vaccinated people have higher rates of Omicron infection than unvaccinated people.”

Dr Montagnier and Mr Rubenfeld added that while there was “some early evidence” that boosters may reduce Omicron infections, “the effect appears to wane quickly, and we don’t know if repeated boosters would be an effective response to the surge of Omicron”.

Their comments come after the UK’s head vaccine adviser, Professor Sir Andrew Pollard, who helped develop the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, called for an end to ongoing mass vaccination.

“It really is not affordable, sustainable or probably even needed to vaccinate everyone on the planet every four to six months,” Prof Pollard told BBC Radio 4’s Today program. “In the future, we need to target the vulnerable.”

On Monday, WHO called on vaccine makers to review the “strain composition” of the current vaccines in the face of Omicron.

“The Technical Advisory Group on Covid-19 Vaccine Composition considers that Covid-19 vaccines that have high impact on prevention of infection and transmission, in addition to the prevention of severe disease and death, are needed and should be developed,” WHO said in a statement.

“Until such vaccines are available, and as the SARS-CoV-2 virus evolves, the composition of current Covid-19 vaccines may need to be updated, to ensure that Covid-19 vaccines continue to provide WHO-recommended levels of protection against infection and disease by variants of concern, including Omicron and future variants.”


Expert reveals Covid-19 causing fewer hospitalisations than influenza

Coronavirus is sending fewer people to the hospital than a bad flu season despite cases threatening to top 100,000 around Australia.

Australian National University professor Peter Collignon said it was important to have perspective when looking at Covid hospitalisation and ICU numbers.

He said there were fewer hospital patients with Covid than those admitted with influenza during a recent winter.

'We're seeing a lot of people in hospital and a lot of people in ICU but we need to keep it in perspective,' he said on the Today show Wednesday.

'It's still less than what we often see in winter with influenza, for instance, a number of years ago, and it seems to be less of an issue than even six months ago with the proportion of infected people going into hospital.'

Professor Collignon said Australia's high vaccination rate meant a smaller proportion of people required care in hospital, or dying.

'So much so, that if you're vaccinated your risk is probably similar to a season of influenza, it's the one or two million unvaccinated adults we still have who are disproportionately in hospital and disproportionately in ICU,' he said.

The expert reminded people worried about being infected with the virus that Australians didn't have access to vaccines a year ago.

He said those who had their booster shot had a 'much, much lower chance of coming into serious grief than a year ago'.

'A lot of us are going to get Covid over the next year or two, but the consequences now for serious disease - which is what matters - is so much less than a year ago, we need to come to terms with that,' he said.

He said it was important to get more staff on the ground, decrease the fear level in society and ensure those vulnerable were at 'the front of the queue' for care.

Professor Collingnon was asked when he predicted Australia would hit the peak of the Omicron wave, and if infections would get worse before they got better.

'My view is that it should start flattening out in at least in the next week, a lot of the cases we're seeing is mainly being spread by people in their 20s and 30s, and you can see why because they were locked down for so long,' he replied.

'So as people are moving around less, more on holiday and interacting with large numbers less I think the numbers will come down.'

He said hospitalisations tended to lag five to seven days after infections levelled out, which he said were high, but not exponential.

Professor Collignon added that data observed from the Delta variant revealed that if a vaccinated person is naturally infected with Covid they build better immunity against the virus than what a booster shot could provide.

'Providing you're vaccinated, and if you're unlucky enough to get Omicron, you are likely to have longer-lasting immunity than even with a booster,' he explained.

'Natural infection tends to give you long-lasting immunity mainly because you're exposed to more parts of the virus rather than just the spike protein, which is the vaccine strategy.'

He urged unvaccinated people not to attempt to be infected naturally for the benefit of immunity as the chances of death or serious illness were much higher.

Experts predict Australia Day could be the day Omicron finally peaks in the major cities and the country could return to normal after that.

Major Australian cities could see a dramatic drop off in Covid-19 infections by the end of January as the Omicron surge 'runs out' of 'core' carriers to infect.

While new Covid cases topped 84,000 Australia-wide on Tuesday - including 38,000 in Victoria, 26,000 in NSW and 20,466 in Queensland - there are underlying signs that tally could dramatically improve by the end of this month.

So many of Omicron major carriers, people aged between 20 and 30, have been exposed already that the virus would began failing to reproduce when it meets people with immunity.

Initially that will happen in hotspots where the virus has run rampant, including areas of Melbourne and Sydney, and in Newcastle.

Catherine Bennett, chair of epidemiology at Deakin University, predicted the wave would start to turn around in about two weeks, before the end of January




Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Nation proves Omicron lockdowns don’t work

Neighbouring nations have fared little differently but have seen far fewer restrictions on daily life.

Residents of the Netherlands must now be wondering if all the pain of stay at home orders and cancelled or scaled back Christmas celebrations with the family were all worth it.

The lockdown was due to end this weekend. However with cases reaching 35,000 a day on Friday and the seven-day average marching ever upwards there are fears any relaxation of rules could result in an even steeper surge.

“The amount of infections is taking on British proportions,” epidemiologist Marino van Zelst told the website Politico.

That’s not entirely the case – Holland is still faring better on many metrics.

The UK has been recording daily cases around the 140,000 mark and its rate of infection for every million people stands at 2513 according to website Our World in Data.

The Netherlands has an average of 25,300 cases a day which is an infection rate of 1598 cases per million people.

But cases in the UK appear to be falling – or at least slowing – while in Holland they’re shooting on up.


Most Hospitalized COVID-19 Patients in New Jersey Admitted for Non-COVID Reasons: Officials

The majority of people hospitalized with COVID-19 in New Jersey were actually admitted for reasons other than COVID-19, officials said on Jan. 10.

Of the 6,075 people with COVID-19 and hospitalized in the state, just 2,963 were admitted for COVID-19, New Jersey Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli said during a briefing.

“We have a fair number of what I’ve started to call COVID incidental, or incidental COVID, meaning you went in because you broke your leg, but everyone’s getting tested and it turns out you’ve got COVID. You didn’t even know it,” Gov. Phil Murphy, a Democrat, said. “My wife didn’t know it and still she’s not back in the in the game, but never had any symptoms, so there is a significant amount of that.”

Previously during the pandemic, states largely neglected to distinguish COVID-19 hospitalizations from incidental COVID-19.

However, after large numbers of people began testing positive after the emergence of the Omicron variant, including those who have been vaccinated—some of whom have required hospital care—a growing number of officials have started making clear that not all COVID-19 hospitalizations are the same.

New York state for the first time reported last week its hospitalizations with COVID-19 versus its hospitalizations for COVID-19. Almost half of the hospitalizations listed as COVID-19 were incidental, state officials said.

Massachusetts is among the other states planning to soon make such data public.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said on Jan. 9 that some hospitals that her agency has spoken to have up to four in 10 COVID-19 patients who are being admitted for other reasons. She didn’t know how many of the deaths attributed to COVID-19 in the nation were because of other reasons, and the agency hasn’t responded to a request for that information.


Doctor’s Court Testimony: Ventilators ‘Causing Harm,’ Death in COVID Patients

The use of ventilators seem to push patients on to a path of death, says Dr. Eduardo Balbona, an independent Jacksonville doctor

“In New York, over 65 ICU ventilated patients [had] a mortality of 97 percent,” he testified before Judge Aho.

“I know in [Ascension’s] St. Vincent’s [Southside Hospital in Jacksvonille, in the] ICU, Delta last summer had a mortality of 93 percent. It’s very hard to get those kind of mortality levels from the virus itself. I believe the treatment we’re using is doing harm.”

Balbona was trained at the National Naval Medical Center and was an official doctor providing care for members Congress at the U.S. Capitol. Because he is not officially associated with Mayo Clinic, he cannot provide care to Pisano there.

His hope is that a judge will order Mayo Clinic doctors to provide the treatment he’s prescribed, allowing Pisano to be weaned from the ventilator and discharged. Only then would the Pisano family be free to follow his directives. His experience treating seriously ill patients leads him to believe Pisano could improve quickly, once started on the protocol he has recommended.

Mayo Clinic has refused to treat Pisano with the medications and supplements the family believes are his only chance to survive.

The organization’s attorneys submitted an affidavit from Dr. Pablo Moreno Franco that said, ‘“In general, it is difficult to know what the side effects would be for the medication [ivermectin] if administered at the requested level.”

More than 90 peer-reviewed studies have been published demonstrating the drug’s efficacy at treating patients suffering from COVID-19.

Since sharing his opinions about the case in interviews with news media, Balbona’s office has been flooded with calls from people angry that he wants to prescribe “horse medication.”

“I only want to do the right thing by my patients,” he told The Epoch Times. “I’m shocked others feel they must stop me. In my 30 years of practice, this has never happened.”


T Cells From Common Colds Cross-Protect Against Infection With COVID-19: Study

A type of cells produced by the body when fighting common cold viruses cross-protects people against infection with the virus that causes COVID-19, according to a study.

T cells have been recognized as a measure of protection against severe COVID-19, and previous research indicated that recovery from common colds could provide some level of shielding against the virus that causes COVID-19.

Researchers with Imperial College London found in the new study that the presence of such cells can also prevent infection by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, also known as SARS-CoV-2, which causes the disease.

The scientists assessed 52 contacts of newly diagnosed COVID-19 cases to pinpoint when they were first exposed and determined that people who tested negative for COVID-19 had higher cross-reactive T cell levels. They also took blood samples from the participants within 6 days of exposure.

“Being exposed to the SARS-CoV-2 virus doesn’t always result in infection, and we’ve been keen to understand why. We found that high levels of pre-existing T cells, created by the body when infected with other human coronaviruses like the common cold, can protect against COVID-19 infection,” Dr. Rhia Kundu, the lead author, of Imperial’s National Heart & Lung Institute, said in a statement.

Professor Ajit Lalvani, another author, said the study “provides the clearest evidence to date that T cells induced by common cold coronaviruses play a protective role against SARS-CoV-2 infection,” adding that “these T cells provide protection by attacking proteins within the virus, rather than the spike protein on its surface.”

The discovery could help scientists develop a new version of the COVID-19 vaccine, the researchers said.

“The spike protein is under intense immune pressure from vaccine-induced antibody which drives evolution of vaccine escape mutants. In contrast, the internal proteins targeted by the protective T cells we identified mutate much less. Consequently, they are highly conserved between the various SARS-CoV-2 variants, including omicron,” Lalvani said. “New vaccines that include these conserved, internal proteins would therefore induce broadly protective T cell responses that should protect against current and future SARS-CoV-2 variants.”

They also urged people to get a COVID-19 vaccine instead of relying on the protection from cross-reactive T cells.

The currently available vaccines have proven less effective against the Omicron variant of the CCP virus, including against severe disease. While booster shots restore some of the lost protection, early data signals the boost quickly drops in effectiveness against infection after administration. Whether boosters last for longer periods of time remains unknown.


Nasal spray could prevent Covid infection for up to eight hours and is believed to be effective against ALL variants of the virus

The treatment, under development by scientists at the University of Helsinki, in Finland, has shown an ability to block coronavirus infection for up to eight hours in lab studies.

It hasn't yet been tested in humans and the lab studies are not yet peer reviewed.

This nasal spray is intended for use by immunocompromised patients and others with severe vulnerabilities to Covid.

It works by blocking the virus from replicating in the nose and, in lab studies, has performed well against all variants - unlike popular monoclonal antibody treatments that are less effective against Omicron.

In addition to continued vaccinations, many researchers are now pursuing treatments specifically for immunocompromised and other high-risk people that can supplement vaccination.

For example, in December, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized a monoclonal antibody treatment made by AstraZeneca that's designed to prevent Covid infection in high-risk patients.

A new nasal spray treatment, under development by scientists at the University of Helsinki, may also become a useful option for these patients.

The treatment was described in a preprint posted in late December, which has not yet been peer reviewed.

'Its prophylactic use is meant to protect from SARS-CoV-2 infection,' Kalle Saksela, virologist at the University of Helsinki and lead author on the study, told Gizmodo in an email.

'However, it is not a vaccine, nor meant to be an alternative for vaccines,' Saksela said, 'but rather to complement vaccination for providing additional protection for successfully vaccinated individuals in high-risk situations, and especially for immunocompromised persons - for example, those receiving immunosuppressive therapy.'

The new drug builds on previous research showing that tissue inside the nose is a prime spot for the coronavirus to replicate.

After multiplying in the nose, the virus typically progresses through the respiratory tract to the lungs - where it causes more severe symptoms.

As a result, sending anti-Covid antibodies straight into the nose can stop the virus from replicating at the earliest possible stage of disease.

The researchers first tested their drug against pseudoviruses - lab-made viruses that mimic the coronavirus.

In this test, the drug was able to stop viral replication in the original Wuhan strain, as well as the Beta, Delta, and Omicron variants.

Next, the researchers tested the drug against human cells in cell culture. Once again, it was able to neutralize several different coronavirus variants.

Finally, the researchers tested the drug in mice - administering the nasal spray to lab mice, then following it up with nasal inoculations of the coronavirus.

Among the mice that didn't receive treatment, the coronavirus spread through their nasal cavities, respiratory tracts, and lungs.

Among the mice that did receive the nasal spray, the coronavirus didn't spread at all - these animals were 'entirely free of viral antigen' and didn't show symptoms, the researchers wrote.




Tuesday, January 11, 2022

COVID-19: British Health Secretary directly challenged on mandatory coronavirus jabs by unvaccinated NHS doctor

Health Secretary Sajid Javid has been directly challenged by an unvaccinated hospital consultant over the government's policy of compulsory COVID jabs for NHS staff.

During a visit to King's College Hospital in south London, Mr Javid asked staff members on the intensive care unit about their thoughts on new rules requiring vaccination for NHS workers.

And Steve James, a consultant anaesthetist who has been treating coronavirus patients since the start of the pandemic, told the health secretary about his displeasure.

"I'm not happy about that," he said. "I had COVID at some point, I've got antibodies, and I've been working on COVID ICU since the beginning.

"I have not had a vaccination, I do not want to have a vaccination. The vaccines are reducing transmission only for about eight weeks for Delta, with Omicron it's probably less.

"And for that, I would be dismissed if I don't have a vaccine? The science isn't strong enough."

Mr James also revealed another of his colleagues held the same position.

Mr Javid replied: "I respect that, but there's also many different views. I understand it, and obviously we have to weigh all that up for both health and social care, and there will always be a debate about it."

The consultant suggested the health secretary could use the "changing picture" of the COVID pandemic during the Omicron wave to "reconsider" the rule.

Alternatively, Mr James suggested, the government could "nuance" the rules to allow those who have antibodies - but acquired from infection and not vaccination - to not be required to have a jab.

He told the health secretary that it "didn't make sense" to dismiss doctors who already had COVID antibodies, but who did not want to be vaccinated. "The protection that I've got from transmission is probably the equivalent to someone who is vaccinated," Mr James said.

But Mr Javid told him "at some point that will wane as well". He added that the government takes the "very best advice" from vaccine experts.

"I respect your views and more than that I respect everything you're doing here and the lives you're saving," the health secretary told Mr James.

A King's College Hospital spokesperson said: "While currently it is not a mandatory requirement for staff to get their COVID-19 vaccination or disclose vaccine status to patients, we strongly support and encourage all our staff to get their jab, in line with national guidance - and nearly 90% of our staff have already done so."

When does the requirement come in?

MPs last month voted to make vaccinations mandatory for NHS workers who have direct, face-to-face contact with patients, unless they are exempt.

The legal requirement for NHS staff to be fully vaccinated as a condition of their deployment to work is set to come into force from 1 April.

It means those health and care workers who have not yet had a first dose are likely to have to do so by early February.


UK Politics: Boris Johnson warned by top Tory MP to ditch Covid restrictions or face leadership challenge

An influential Conservative MP has warned Boris Johnson that he faces a challenge to his leadership unless he scraps all remaining coronavirus restrictions at the end of this month and vows they will not return.

Former chief whip Mark Harper, the chair of the lockdown-sceptic Covid Recovery Group of Tory backbenchers, warned that “prime ministers are on a performance-related contract” and that MPs are asking themselves whether Mr Johnson is the best-placed leader to help them retain their seats at the next election.

He told the Financial Times that the prime minister would be in trouble after May’s local elections unless he has shown that he can change his approach.

Mr Harper said it was time to accept that Covid-19 will become endemic in the UK and to focus on treatments, the vaccination of hesitant people and the creation of special wards in hospitals, while ruling out any further controls on social and economic life.

“At some point you’ve got to say, whatever happens, whatever variants turn up, we’re not going to respond by shutting down parts of the country,” he told the FT. “That’s not a sustainable position.”

Mr Harper - who stood against Johnson for the leadership in 2019 - said that if the PM attempts to extend Plan B restrictions beyond the scheduled review date of 26 January, he will face a rebellion larger than the one seen in December when 99 Tories opposed Covid passes.

“The problem is he sort of wants to agree with us, then he says he wants to keep restrictions in reserve or won’t rule them out,” Harper said. “That’s becoming an unsustainable position.

“If I was running a hospitality business I would be very nervous about investing, growing my business, taking any risks because I literally have no idea about what’s going to happen.”

If Tories do badly in the May elections and continue to trail Labour in the polls, Conservative MPs will ask themselves which potential leader is best able to help them keep their seats, said Mr Harper.

And he added: “Conservative MPs have asked themselves that question in the past and decided they need to do something about it. Prime ministers are on a performance-related contract.”


Biden administration guidance prioritizes race in administering COVID drugs

Guidance issued by the Biden administration states certain individuals may be considered "high risk" and more quickly qualify for monoclonal antibodies and oral antivirals used to treat COVID-19 based on their "race or ethnicity."

In a fact sheet issued for healthcare providers by the Food and Drug Administration, the federal agency approved emergency use authorizations of sotrovimab – a monoclonal antibody proven to be effective against the Omicron variant – only to patients considered "high risk."

The guidance, updated in December 2021, says "medical conditions or factors" such as "race or ethnicity" have the potential to "place individual patients at high risk for progression to severe COVID-19," adding that the "authorization of sotrovimab under the EUA is not limited to" other factors outlined by the agency.

Older age, obesity, pregnancy, chronic kidney disease, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease are among the multiple medical conditions and factors associated with what are considered "high risk" individuals by the FDA.

Some states, including New York and Utah, have made it clear they will prioritize certain racial minorities over other high-risk patients when it comes to the distribution of particular COVID treatments.

Last week, New York’s Department of Health released a document detailing its plan to distribute treatments such as monoclonal antibody treatment and antiviral pills.

The plan includes a section on eligibility for the scarce antiviral pills that people must meet to receive the treatment, including a line stating a person needs to have "a medical condition or other factors that increase their risk for severe illness."

One such "risk factor" is being a race or ethnicity that is not White due to "longstanding systemic health and social inequities."

"Non-white race or Hispanic/Latino ethnicity should be considered a risk factor, as longstanding systemic health and social inequities have contributed to an increased risk of severe illness and death from COVID-19," the memo reads.

In guidelines issued by the state of Utah for the distribution of monoclonal antibodies in the state, residents who are "non-white race or Hispanic/Latinx ethnicity" receive 2 additional points when calculating their "COVID-19 risk score."

"Race/ethnicity continues to be a risk factor for severe COVID-19 disease, and the Utah COVID Risk Score is one approach to address equitable access to hard hit communities," the Utah guidance stated, adding a reminder that national guidance from the FDA "specifically states that race and ethnicity may be considered when identifying patients most likely to benefit from this lifesaving treatment."

Similarly, the framework issued by the state of Minnesota advises clinicians and health systems to "consider heightened risk of progression to severe COVID-19 associated with race and ethnicity when determining eligibility" for the allocation for monoclonal antibody therapies.

"FDA’s acknowledgment means that race and ethnicity alone, apart from other underlying health conditions, may be considered in determining eligibility for mAbs," the framework states. "It is ethically appropriate to consider race and ethnicity in mAb eligibility decisions when data show elevated risk of poor COVID-19 outcomes for Black, Indigenous and other people of color (BIPOC populations), and that this risk cannot be adequately addressed by determining eligibility based on underlying health conditions (perhaps due to underdiagnosis of health conditions that elevate risk of poor COVID-19 outcomes in these populations)."




Monday, January 10, 2022

My Debate with an ICU Doctor About the Possible Dangers of the COVID-19 Vaccine

It's so easy to win a debate with an ignorant liberal. They have no facts. They have no brilliant oratory. Just name-calling. After my national TV interviews last week explaining why I believe the COVID-19 vaccine is killing and injuring thousands of Americans, I received an email from an intensive care unit doctor. He called me a "moron." Below is my reply filled with common sense, logic, facts and most importantly, SCIENCE about the dangers of the COVID-19 vaccine. Needless to say, the doctor never replied.

Dear David,

First, I read and answer all my own emails. I'm answering you personally. I don't engage in ignorant terms like "moron" toward people that disagree with me.

Second, this country (and world) is filled with both unvaccinated and vaccinated who are sick with COVID-19. It's a nasty and contagious flu. At this moment almost every vaccinated person I know is sick with COVID-19. A report released by the Robert Koch Institute stated that in Germany over 96% of those with COVID-19 are vaccinated.

Third, some studies show that the COVID-19 vaccine damages the immune system, thereby making it more likely that the vaccinated will get sick with each successive variant.

Fourth, if the vaccine is so great, why do the deep blue states like New York have massive COVID-19 outbreaks? New York City just set the all-time record for COVID-19 infections in a day. New York right now has almost 30% of all the COVID-19 cases nationwide. How could this happen if vaccines, masks and lockdowns worked?

Fifth, if the vaccine is so great, why are there far more COVID-19 deaths in 2021 with the vaccine than there were in 2020 -- without it?

Sixth, as a M.D., why don't you pay attention to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System? It's been the gold standard for decades to identify if any vaccine is causing more harm than good.

This COVID-19 jab may have killed over 21,000 Americans. That's separate from the cardiac arrests, strokes, blood clots and permanent disabilities that could be associated with the vaccine. And this jab has potentially caused a staggering 1 million "adverse effects." These numbers are from VAERS -- user-reported data compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Seventh, are you aware Columbia University researchers found that adverse events associated with vaccines could be vastly underreported? They suggest you must multiply by 20 to approximate the accurate number of deaths and injuries. So according to the math of Columbia researchers, there are actually over 400,000 deaths and millions of injuries that could be tied to the vaccine.

How could you doubt VAERS? Pfizer's own research showed that there were 1,200 deaths during the initial first few weeks of their vaccine rollout. That's Pfizer's reporting.

Anyone who wants the vaccine should get it. It's called choice. They should thank former President Donald Trump for the availability of this vaccine.

The rest of us who are relatively healthy and/or relatively young have a 99.9% recovery rate from COVID-19. No one should be FORCED to vaccinate, mask, endure lockdowns, lose their job or close their business in America. We have choices. We take risks every day.

Certainly, people should agree that no baby, toddler, child or teen should ever be forced to take this jab. As a John Hopkins study proved, the risk of a child dying is basically zero. Out of 48,000 childhood cases of COVID-19 they studied, no healthy child died.

I've had COVID-19. It was gone in 48 hours after I took ivermectin, plus antibiotic (Z Pak), plus megadoses of vitamins C, D3, zinc and quercetin. Plus, I received intravenous vitamin C. Worked like a charm. Gone in 48 hours. Mild.

I now have immunity. No one with immunity needs to vaccinate. I believe the risks far outweigh the benefits. I make healthy lifestyle choices. I'm not anti-vaccine. I'm pro-immune system.

Justus R. Hope, M.D., and others report that in India, the government ended the worst COVID-19 outbreak anywhere in the world by handing out free packets of ivermectin plus vitamins. They report that COVID-19 went away literally overnight, and deaths dropped to virtually zero. That's exactly what America should have done and should be doing right now.

There are dozens of studies around the world that demonstrate the efficacy of ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) as antivirals versus COVID-19.

I wish you well. I hope I've opened your eyes to the alternatives out there. I know what you see each day in your ICU: the sickest of the sick. It's tragic they have no access to ivermectin or HCQ, plus vitamins like C, D3 and zinc. Early treatment (in the first three to five days) with this combination would almost guarantee few ever wind up at the ICU -- where you see them and where it may already be too late.

It's important to allow different opinions and questions. If "science" won't respect or allow discussion or debate, it's no longer science; it's just propaganda


Treat Covid like the FLU: Ex-chief of the UK's vaccine taskforce calls for 'new targeted strategy' to manage the virus

Coronavirus should be treated like the flu and Britain's mass jabs programme should be scrapped after the booster campaign is complete, the ex-chief of the UK's vaccine taskforce has said.

Dr Clive Dix, who was chairman of the government agency from December 2020 until April, called for a return to a 'new normality' and a volte-face on the approach throughout the pandemic.

He said the country needs to learn to manage the disease rather than focus on halting the spread of the virus amid hope the Omicron variant is even less severe than the flu.

The latest vaccination figures showed that 22,526 first dose jabs, 32,455 second doses and 207,801 booster jabs were delivered on Friday. It brings the total number of people to have received at least two doses of a vaccine to 47,632,483, whilst 35,273,945 have received a booster jab.

It comes as Britain's daily Covid figures fell for the third day in a row on Saturday, official data showed in a sign the worst of the latest wave may be over.

UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) figures show there were 146,390 new positive tests over the last 24 hours, down 18.5 per cent on the previous week's figure of 179,637.

It marked the biggest week-on-week fall since the start of November, well before the supermutant strain sent cases soaring across the country.

But the number of people dying with the virus continued to increase, with 313 fatalities recorded — up 103 per cent on last week's number.

It meant that more than 150,000 people have now died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19 since the start of the pandemic nearly two years ago.

Dr Dix, who is now CEO for pharmaceutical firm C4X Discovery, told the Observer: 'We need to analyse whether we use the current booster campaign to ensure the vulnerable are protected, if this is seen to be necessary. Mass population-based vaccination in the UK should now end.'

He told the newspaper ministers need to support research into immunity from the virus beyond antibodies.

The scientist called for them to help study B-cells and T-cells and how they could make jabs to battle certain types of Covid variants.

'We now need to manage disease, not virus spread. So stopping progression to severe disease in vulnerable groups is the future objective,' he said.

He added: 'We should consider when we stop testing and let individuals isolate when they are not well and return to work when they feel ready, in the same way we do in a bad influenza season.'

His comments about flu came after scientists suggested the Omicron variant could be less deadly than the seasonal virus.

MailOnline analysis showed Covid killed one in 33 people who tested positive at the peak of the devastating second wave last January, compared to just one in 670 now. But experts believe the figure could be even lower because of Omicron.

Last week, Professor Robert Dingwall, a former JCVI member of and expert in sociology at Nottingham Trent University, told MailOnline it will be a few weeks until there are definitive Omicron fatality rates, but if they are consistent with the findings that it is less severe 'we should be asking whether we are justified in having any measures we would not bring for a bad flu season'.

He said: 'If we would not have brought in the measures in November 2019, why are we doing it now? What's the specific justification for doing it?

'If the severity of Covid infection is falling away to the point that it is comparable with flu then we really shouldn't have exceptional levels of intervention.'

Dr Dix's intervention came after Professor Andrew Hayward, who sits on the Government's Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) said the death figure total passed on Saturday was an 'absolute tragedy' made worse because 'many of them were avoidable if we had acted earlier in the first and second wave'.

With a total of 150,057 deaths within 28 days of a positive test, the UK became the seventh country to pass the milestone, following the US, Brazil, India, Russia, Mexico and Peru. It means it is also the first in Europe

It comes as Conservative MPs but Boris Johnson under pressure to announce a 'Covid Freedom Day' and lift all curbs on public movement.

They argued that the money generated from the move could be used to combat the soaring cost of energy bills.

Former chief whip Mark Harper, who chairs the Covid Recovery Group of Tory MPs, told The Sun: 'As we head into what will be a difficult few months for many, a great way to help people with the cost of living would be to get the economy motoring.

Dr Nick Davies said that he and his team were working on revised scenarios that will soon be presented to scientific advisers and senior civil servants.

'That starts by removing Plan B Covid restrictions when they are meant to expire in two and a half weeks’ time. We need a Learn-to-live-with-it Day. I’m not saying Covid won’t present challenges in the future, but we are going to have to live with it and not deal with it as an emergency crisis forever.'




Sunday, January 09, 2022

Prime Age Mortality up 40 Percent, Majority of Deaths Not From COVID-19

The obvious but unstated point arising from the figures below is that many of the extra deaths would have been related not to COVID but to the government response to it. A big problem would seem to be (for instance) that many people bombed themselves out with drugs to enable them to cope with isolation etc. Ill-advised government policies were a major cause of deaths

Mortality among young-to-middle-age Americans went through the roof last year. The majority of the increase didn’t involve COVID-19, according to official death certificate data.

Deaths among people aged 18 to 49 increased more than 40 percent in the 12 months ending October 2021 compared to the same period in 2018–2019, before the pandemic, based on death certificate data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

That’s more than 90,000 additional deaths in this age group, of which less than 43 percent involved COVID.

The federal agency doesn’t yet have full 2021 numbers, as death certificate data usually trickle in with an 8-week lag or more.

The mortality increase was most notable for the 30–39 age group, where deaths skyrocketed by nearly 45 percent, with only a third involving COVID.

CDC data on the exact causes of those excess deaths aren’t yet available for 2021, aside from those involving COVID, pneumonia, and influenza. There were close to 6,000 excess pneumonia deaths that didn’t involve COVID-19 in the 30–39 age group in the 12 months ending October 2021. Influenza was only involved in 50 deaths in this age group, down from 550 in the same period pre-pandemic. The flu death count didn’t exclude those that also involved COVID or pneumonia, the CDC noted.

A chunk of the mortality spike could be likely explained by drug overdoses, which increased from about 72,000 in 2019 to more than 100,000 in the 12 months ending May 2021, the CDC estimated. About two-thirds of those deaths involved synthetic opioids including fentanyl that are often smuggled to the United States from China through Mexico. Overdoses involving methamphetamine or other psychostimulants also significantly increased, from fewer than 17,000 in 2019 to more than 28,000 in the 12 months ending May 2021.

For older age groups, mortality increased too. For those 50–84, it went up more than 27 percent, making for a total of more than 470,000 excess deaths. Almost four out of five of the excess deaths reportedly involved COVID.

For those 85 or older, mortality increased about 12 percent with more than 100,000 excess deaths. Given the more than 130,000 COVID-related deaths in this group, the data indicates that these people were less likely to die of a non-COVID-related cause from November 2020 to October 2021 than during the same months of 2018–2019.

Comparing 2020 to 2019, mortality increased some 24 percent for those 18–49, with less than a third of those excess deaths involving COVID. For those 50–84, it increased less than 20 percent, with over 70 percent of that involving COVID. For those even older, mortality jumped about 16 percent, with nearly 90 percent of that involving COVID.

For those under 18, mortality decreased about 0.4 percent in 2020 compared to 2019. In the 12 months ending October 2021, it decreased some 3.3 percent compared to the same period in 2018–2019.


The Collins and Fauci Attack on Traditional Public Health

On Oct. 4, 2020, with professor Sunetra Gupta of Oxford University, we wrote the Great Barrington Declaration (GBD). Our purpose was to express our grave concerns over the inadequate protection of the vulnerable and the devastating harms of the lockdown pandemic policy adopted by much of the world; we proposed an alternative strategy of focused protection.

The key scientific fact on which the GBD was based—a more than thousand-fold higher risk of death for the old compared to the young—meant that better protection of the old would minimize COVID deaths. At the same time, opening schools and lifting lockdowns would reduce the collateral harm to the rest of the population.

The declaration received enormous support, ultimately attracting signatures from more than 50,000 scientists and medical professionals and more than 800,000 members of the public. Our hope in writing was two-fold. First, we wanted to help the public understand that—contrary to the prevailing narrative—there was no scientific consensus in favor of lockdown. In this, we succeeded.

Second, we wanted to spur a discussion among public health scientists about how to better protect the vulnerable, both those living in nursing homes (where approximately 40 percent of all COVID deaths have occurred) and those living in the community. We provided specific proposals for focused protection in the GBD and supporting documents to spur the discussion. Though some in public health did engage civilly in productive discussions with us, in this aim we had limited success.

Unbeknownst to us, our call for a more focused pandemic strategy posed a political problem for Dr. Francis Collins and Dr. Anthony Fauci. The former is a geneticist who, until Dec. 19, 2021, was the director of the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH); the latter is an immunologist who directs the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). They are the biggest funders of medical and infectious disease research worldwide.

Collins and Fauci played critical roles in designing and advocating for the pandemic lockdown strategy adopted by the United States and many other countries. In emails written four days after the Great Barrington Declaration and disclosed recently after a FOIA request, it was revealed that the two conspired to undermine the declaration. Rather than engaging in scientific discourse, they authorized “a quick and devastating published takedown” of this proposal, which they characterized as by “three fringe epidemiologists” from Harvard, Oxford, and Stanford.

Across the pond, they were joined by their close colleague, Dr. Jeremy Farrar, the head of the Wellcome Trust, one of the world’s largest nongovernmental funders of medical research. He worked with Dominic Cummings, the political strategist of UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Together, they orchestrated “an aggressive press campaign against those behind the Great Barrington Declaration and others opposed to blanket COVID-19 restrictions.”

Ignoring the call for focused protection of the vulnerable, Collins and Fauci purposely mischaracterized the GBD as a “let-it-rip” “herd immunity strategy,” even though focused protection is the very opposite of a let-it-rip strategy. It’s more appropriate to call the lockdown strategy that has been followed a “let-it-rip” strategy. Without focused protection, every age group will eventually be exposed in equal proportion, albeit at a prolonged “let-it-drip” pace compared to a do-nothing strategy.

When journalists started asking us why we wanted to “let the virus rip,” we were puzzled. Those words aren’t in the GBD, and they are contrary to the central idea of focused protection. It’s unclear whether Collins and Fauci ever read the GBD, whether they deliberately mischaracterized it, or whether their understanding of epidemiology and public health is more limited than we had thought. In any case, it was a lie.

We were also puzzled by the mischaracterization of the GBD as a “herd immunity strategy.” Herd immunity is a scientifically proven phenomenon, as fundamental in infectious disease epidemiology as gravity is in physics. Every COVID strategy leads to herd immunity, and the pandemic ends when a sufficient number of people have immunity through either COVID-recovery or a vaccine. It makes as much sense to claim that an epidemiologist is advocating for a “herd immunity strategy” as it does to claim that a pilot is advocating a “gravity strategy” when landing an airplane. The issue is how to land the plane safely, and whatever strategy the pilot uses, gravity ensures that the plane will eventually return to earth.

The fundamental goal of the GBD is to get through this terrible pandemic with the least harm to the public’s health. Health, of course, is broader than just COVID. Any reasonable evaluation of lockdowns should consider their collateral damage to patients with cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and other infectious diseases, as well as mental health and much else. Based on long-standing principles of public health, the GBD and focused protection of the high-risk population is a middle ground between devastating lockdowns and a do-nothing, let-it rip strategy.

Collins and Fauci surprisingly claimed that focused protection of the old is impossible without a vaccine. Scientists have their own specialties, but not every scientist has deep expertise in public health. The natural approach would have been to engage with epidemiologists and public health scientists for whom this is their bread and butter. Had they done so, Collins and Fauci would have learned that public health is fundamentally about focused protection.

It’s impossible to shut down society completely. Lockdowns protected young low-risk affluent work-from-home professionals, such as administrators, scientists, professors, journalists, and lawyers, while older high-risk members of the working class were exposed and died in necessarily high numbers. This failure to understand that lockdowns couldn’t protect the vulnerable led to the tragically high death counts from COVID.

We don’t know why Collins and Fauci decided to do a “takedown” rather than use their esteemed positions to build and promote vigorous scientific discussions on these critical issues, engaging scientists with different expertise and perspectives. Part of the answer may lie in another puzzle—their blindness to the devastating effects of lockdowns on other public health outcomes.

Lockdown harms have affected everyone, with an extra-heavy burden on the chronically ill; on children, for whom schools were closed; on the working class, especially those in the densely populated inner cities; and on the global poor, with tens of millions suffering from malnutrition and starvation. For example, Fauci was a major advocate for school closures. These are now widely recognized as an enormous mistake that harmed children without affecting disease spread. In the coming years, we must work hard to reverse the damage caused by our misguided pandemic strategy.

While tens of thousands of scientists and medical professionals signed the Great Barrington Declaration, why didn’t more speak up in the media? Some did, some tried but failed, while others were very cautious about doing so. When we wrote the declaration, we knew that we were putting our professional careers at risk, as well as our ability to provide for our families. That was a conscious decision on our part, and we fully sympathize with those who instead decided to focus on maintaining their important research laboratories and activities.

Scientists will naturally hesitate before putting themselves in a situation in which the NIH director, with an annual scientific research budget of $42.9 billion, wants to take them down. It may also be unwise to upset the director of NIAID, with an annual budget of $6.1 billion for infectious disease research, or the director of the Wellcome Trust, with an annual budget of $1.5 billion. Sitting atop powerful funding agencies, Collins, Fauci, and Farrar channel research dollars to nearly every infectious disease epidemiologist, immunologist, and virologist of note in the United States and UK.

Collins, Fauci, and Farrar got the pandemic strategy they advocated for, and they own the results together with other lockdown proponents. The GBD was and is inconvenient for them because it stands as clear evidence that a better, less deadly alternative was available.

We now have more than 800,000 COVID deaths in the United States, plus the collateral damage. Sweden and other Scandinavian countries—less focused on lockdowns and more focused on protecting the old—have had fewer COVID deaths per population than the United States, the UK, and most other European countries. Florida, which avoided much of the collateral lockdown harms, currently ranks 22nd best in the United States in age-adjusted COVID mortality.

In academic medicine, landing an NIH grant makes or breaks careers, so scientists have a strong incentive to stay on the right side of NIH and NIAID priorities. If we want scientists to speak freely in the future, we should avoid having the same people in charge of public health policy and medical research funding.