Friday, March 25, 2022

Trying to Solve a Covid Mystery: Africa’s Low Death Rates

This is not much of a mystery. Africa has long been plagued by health challenges -- viruses, bacteria and parasites. Most Africans, for instance, are full of worms. You have to be very robusts and have a very good immune system to survive and function there. The less robust have long ago been "weeded out" of the gene pool. So Covid infections are easily resisted

The coronavirus was expected to devastate the continent, but higher-income and better-prepared countries appear to have fared far worse.

KAMAKWIE, Sierra Leone — There are no Covid fears here.
The district’s Covid-19 response center has registered just 11 cases since the start of the pandemic, and no deaths. At the regional hospital, the wards are packed — with malaria patients. The door to the Covid isolation ward is bolted shut and overgrown with weeds. People cram together for weddings, soccer matches, concerts, with no masks in sight.

Sierra Leone, a nation of eight million on the coast of Western Africa, feels like a land inexplicably spared as a plague passed overhead. What has happened — or hasn’t happened — here and in much of sub-Saharan Africa is a great mystery of the pandemic.

The low rate of coronavirus infections, hospitalizations and deaths in West and Central Africa is the focus of a debate that has divided scientists on the continent and beyond. Have the sick or dead simply not been counted? If Covid has in fact done less damage here, why is that? If it has been just as vicious, how have we missed it?

The first iteration of the virus that raced around the world had comparatively minimal impact here. The Beta variant ravaged South Africa, as did Delta and Omicron, yet much of the rest of the continent did not record similar death tolls.

Into Year Three of the pandemic, new research shows there is no longer any question of whether Covid has spread widely in Africa. It has.

Studies that tested blood samples for antibodies to SARS-CoV-2, the official name for the virus that causes Covid, show that about two-thirds of the population in most sub-Saharan countries do indeed have those antibodies. Since only 14 percent of the population has received any kind of Covid vaccination, the antibodies are overwhelmingly from infection.

A new W.H.O.-led analysis, not yet peer-reviewed, synthesized surveys from across the continent and found that 65 percent of Africans had been infected by the third quarter of 2021, higher than the rate in many parts of the world. Just 4 percent of Africans had been vaccinated when these data were gathered.

So the virus is in Africa. Is it killing fewer people?
Some speculation has focused on the relative youth of Africans. Their median age is 19 years, compared with 43 in Europe and 38 in the United States. Nearly two-thirds of the population in sub-Saharan Africa is under 25, and only 3 percent is 65 or older. That means far fewer people, comparatively, have lived long enough to develop the health issues (cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease and cancer) that can sharply increase the risk of severe disease and death from Covid. Young people infected by the coronavirus are often asymptomatic, which could account for the low number of reported cases.

Plenty of other hypotheses have been floated. High temperatures and the fact that much of life is spent outdoors could be preventing spread. Or the low population density in many areas, or limited public transportation infrastructure. Perhaps exposure to other pathogens, including coronaviruses and deadly infections such as Lassa fever and Ebola, has somehow offered protection.

Since Covid tore through South and Southeast Asia last year, it has become harder to accept these theories. After all, the population of India is young, too (with a median age of 28), and temperatures in the country are also relatively high. But researchers have found that the Delta variant caused millions of deaths in India, far more than the 400,000 officially reported. And rates of infection with malaria and other coronaviruses are high in places, including India, that have also seen high Covid fatality rates.

So are Covid deaths in Africa simply not counted?

Most global Covid trackers register no cases in Sierra Leone because testing for the virus here is effectively nonexistent. With no testing, there are no cases to report. A research project at Njala University in Sierra Leone has found that 78 percent of people have antibodies for this coronavirus. Yet Sierra Leone has reported only 125 Covid deaths since the start of the pandemic.

Most people die in their homes, not in hospitals, either because they can’t reach a medical facility or because their families take them home to die. Many deaths are never registered with civil authorities.

This pattern is common across sub-Saharan Africa. A recent survey by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa found that official registration systems captured only one in three deaths.

But many scientists tracking the pandemic on the ground disagree. It’s not possible that hundreds of thousands or even millions of Covid deaths could have gone unnoticed, they say.
“We have not seen massive burials in Africa. If that had happened, we’d have seen it,” said Dr. Thierno Baldé, who runs the W.H.O.’s Covid emergency response in Africa.

“A death in Africa never goes unrecorded, as much as we are poor at record-keeping,” said Dr. Abdhalah Ziraba, an epidemiologist at the African Population and Health Research Center in Nairobi, Kenya. “There is a funeral, an announcement: A burial is never done within a week because it is a big event. For someone sitting in New York hypothesizing that they were unrecorded — well, we may not have the accurate numbers, but the perception is palpable. In the media, in your social circle, you know if there are deaths.”

Dr. Demby, the Sierra Leone health minister, who is an epidemiologist by training, agreed. “We haven’t had overflowing hospitals. We haven’t,” he said. “There is no evidence that excess deaths are occurring.”


Scientists identify antibodies that can neutralize omicron

An international team of scientists have identified antibodies that neutralize omicron and other SARS-CoV-2 variants. These antibodies target areas of the virus spike protein that remain essentially unchanged as the viruses mutate.

By identifying the targets of these "broadly neutralizing" antibodies on the spike protein, it might be possible to design vaccines and antibody treatments that will be effective against not only the omicron variant but other variants that may emerge in the future, said David Veesler, investigator with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and associate professor of biochemistry at the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle. "This finding tells us that by focusing on antibodies that target these highly conserved sites on the spike protein, there is a way to overcome the virus' continual evolution," Veesler said.

Veesler led the research project with Davide Corti of Humabs Biomed SA, Vir Biotechnology, in Switzerland. The study's findings were published Dec. 23 in the journal Nature. The lead authors of the study were Elisabetta Cameroni and Christian Saliba (Humabs), John E. Bowen (UW Biochesmistry) and Laura Rosen (Vir).

The omicron variant has 37 mutations in the spike protein, which it uses to latch onto and invade cells. This is an unusually high number of mutations. It is thought that these changes explain in part why the variant has been able to spread so rapidly, to infect people who have been vaccinated and to reinfect those who have previously been infected.

"The main questions we were trying to answer were: how has this constellation of mutations in the spike protein of the omicron variant affected its ability to bind to cells and to evade the immune system's antibody responses," Veesler said.

[Veesler and his colleagues speculate that omicron's large number of mutations might have accumulated during a prolonged infection in someone with a weakened immune system or by the virus jumping from humans to an animal species and back again.]

To assess the effect of these mutations, the researchers engineered a disabled, nonreplicating virus, called a pseudovirus, to produce spike proteins on its surface, as coronaviruses do. They then created pseudoviruses that had spike proteins with the omicron mutations and those found on the earliest variants identified in the pandemic.

The researchers first looked to see how well the different versions of the spike protein were able to bind to protein on the surface of cells, that the virus uses to latch onto and enter the cell. This protein is called the angiotensin converting enzyme-2 (ACE2) receptor.

They found the omicron variant spike protein was able to bind 2.4 times better than spike protein found in the virus isolated at the very beginning of the pandemic. "That's not a huge increase," Veesler noted, "but in the SARS outbreak in 2002-2003, mutations in the spike protein that increased affinity were associated with higher transmissibility and infectivity." They also found that the omicron version was able to bind to mouse ACE2 receptors efficiently, suggesting omicron might be able to "ping-pong" between humans and other mammals.

The researchers then looked at how well antibodies against earlier isolates of the virus protected against the omicron variant. They did this by using antibodies from patients who had previously been infected with earlier versions of the virus, vaccinated against earlier strains of the virus, or had been infected and then vaccinated.

They found that antibodies from people who had been infected by earlier strains and from those who had received one of the six most-used vaccines currently available all had reduced ability to block infection.

Antibodies from people who had previously been infected and those who had received the Sputnik V or Sinopharm vaccines as well as a single dose of Johnson & Johnson had little or no ability to block—or "neutralize"—the omicron variant's entry into cells. Antibodies from people who had received two doses of the Moderna, Pfizer/BioNTech, and AstraZeneca vaccines retained some neutralizing activity, albeit reduced by 20- to 40-fold, much more than any other variants.

Antibodies from people who had been infected, recovered, and then had two doses of vaccine also had reduced activity, but the reduction was less, about fivefold, clearly demonstrating that vaccination after infection is useful.

Antibodies from people, in this case a group of renal dialysis patients, who had received a booster with a third dose of the mRNA vaccines produced by Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech showed only a 4-fold reduction in neutralizing activity. "This shows that a third dose is really, really helpful against omicron," Veesler said.

All but one antibody treatments currently authorized or approved to be used with patients exposed to the virus, had no or had markedly reduced activity against omicron in the laboratory. The exception was an antibody called sotrovimab, which had a two- to three-fold reduction of neutralizing activity, the study finds.

But when they tested a larger panel of antibodies that have been generated against earlier versions of the virus, the researchers identified four classes of antibodies that retained their ability to neutralize omicron. Members of each of these classes target one of four specific areas of the spike protein present in not only SARS-CoV-2 variants but also a group of related coronaviruses, called sarbecoviruses. These sites on the protein may persist because they play an essential function that the protein would lose if they mutated. Such areas are called "conserved."

The finding that antibodies are able to neutralize via recognition of conserved areas in so many different variants of the virus suggests that designing vaccines and antibody treatments that target these regions could be effective against a broad spectrum of variants that emerge through mutation, Veesler said.




Thursday, March 24, 2022

Deltacron: What scientists know so far about this new hybrid coronavirus

In many countries, as restrictions lift and freedoms are restored, there's a general feeling that the pandemic is over. There is, however, still the significant concern that a dangerous new variant could emerge.

This happened when Omicron arrived, but we got lucky with that one. Omicron turned out to be more transmissible, but mercifully it hasn't caused an increase in severe disease in most countries where it is dominant.

The race is on to find a variant-proof vaccine

In a state-of-the-art science lab, nestled into the genteel slopes of the NSW Southern Highlands, a group of genetically engineered mice have become frontline soldiers in the fight against COVID-19.

But this wasn't guaranteed. Variants crop up randomly, and new ones have the potential to be more dangerous than previous ones. Another has just arrived, and is currently going by the name deltacron. It is – as you can probably guess – a hybrid of Delta and Omicron, the two variants dominant most recently.

Deltacron's story begins in mid-February, when scientists at the Institut Pasteur in Paris uploaded a genetic sequence of the coronavirus that looked very different from previous sequences. The virus sample had come from an elderly man in northern France and looked odd. Most of its genetic sequence was the same as Delta's, which was dominant worldwide up until late last year, but the part of the sequence that encodes the virus's spike protein – a key part of its external structure, which it uses to get inside cells in the body – came from Omicron.

By March, three further hybrid genetic sequences had been reported, this time in the US. There are now over 60 logged across France, the Netherlands, Denmark, the US and the UK.

There may, however, be different deltacrons. Scientists at the Institut Pasteur have said the deltacron sequences reported in the UK and US have certain differences from those found in other countries. They've said that it might be necessary to add a number to these different forms of deltacron, to indicate which is which.

It's not unusual for viruses to mix and match parts of themselves if two different viruses infect one cell. This is called "recombination", as one virus combines parts of its genetic sequence with parts from another related virus as it assembles copies of itself. It appears to happen at random during viral replication.

What will our next COVID winter look like?

With influenza infections dropping to record lows during the social distancing phase of the pandemic, we are in uncharted waters as we approach winter with a new sub-variant in play.

However, when there's a transfer of power from one viral variant to another – with one variant becoming less common and another more so, meaning both are circulating in the population and there's a chance for them to simultaneously infect people – the chance of recombination happening increases. This will have been the situation as Omicron emerged to displace Delta as the most dominant form worldwide.

Recombination usually creates a new virus that isn't viable, as the mixing of different genes can interfere with the virus's ability to make the proteins it needs to survive. But sometimes one does survive, and that appears to be what's happened with deltacron.

Indeed, as the deltacron hybrids found in the US/UK appear to be different from those found in mainland Europe, it's possible that this has happened multiple times separately.

A chip off the old block?

At the moment it's hard to say in what ways deltacron will resemble its parents. Delta and Omicron are quite different viruses. They differ in how they infect cells and how they evade immunity. We still don't know enough about deltacron to be able to tell how different it's going to be to either.

Because it's been found in multiple nearby countries, it's likely that deltacron can spread. However, Omicron itself is continuing to spread widely in Europe, so it's still the variant we need to be watching carefully right now.

Time will tell if deltacron will displace Omicron, and whether deltacron will be any better at evading immunity and if it will cause more severe disease. There are currently too few deltacron cases to draw any conclusions on these issues. What we need are experiments to determine the properties of deltacron – scientists have started that process and have been able to infect cells with it, so hopefully we'll have answers in time.

In the meantime, we need to keep an eye on it. The fact that deltacron has probably spread across borders emphasises the need for ongoing genomic surveillance to keep tabs on how the virus is changing and moving. As the coronavirus is continuing to spread widely and infect large numbers of people, it's likely that more variants will emerge – including through recombination.

We can, though, be somewhat confident that prior infection with other variants, as well as vaccination, will offer protection from severe disease should deltacron begin to dominate. We know that vaccines, which are based on the original Wuhan strain of the virus, also protect against severe disease with the more recent variants. Time will tell whether Delta and Omicron have produced a wild child for us to worry about.


A patch instead of an injection?

Australian biotech firm Vaxxas says it will conduct the world’s first human clinical trial of a Covid-19 vaccine patch after securing exclusive rights to a US developed vaccine candidate.

Vaxxas CEO David Hoey said an agreement with the University of Texas and the National Institute of Health gave it exclusive usage of the vaccine in patches, and meant that Vaxxas could now timetable phase one trials of the Covid patch in Adelaide later this year.

Mr Hoey said 50 to 100 people would take part in the trial. They would need to have already been vaccinated three times with an approved vaccine. He said an independent investigator would conduct the trial which was primarily about the safety of the vaccine.

“We’ll then go into a phase two study based on the outcome of phase one and then to a larger phase three study as well.”

Vaxxas argues that vaccine patches are not only less painful and less invasive than regular injections, they also enable vaccines to be dispensed more efficiently over time. The vaccine candidate being used was a relatively inexpensive non mRNA vaccine that survived at room temperature.

Mr Hoey said it could be mailed as Covid patches in the post, or distributed in the developing world. “It’s appropriate for every geography on the planet,” he said.

“As the Covid pandemic transitions to becoming some kind of endemic disease … we see this as a patch that doesn’t need to be refrigerated, is easy to administer, and is something that can have global appeal.

“It’s taking Australian technology, and putting it at the centre of addressing a real global problem and this is the first step.”

Mr Hoey said Vaxxas would look at the blood response to vaccination and see how much it increased the immune response to Covid-19.

He paid tribute to biologist Jason McLellan who with fellow researchers had invented “the next generation of the core piece” of current approved vaccines and the vaccine used in the patch was from the same stable.

McLellan, professor in the Department of Molecular Biosciences at The University of Texas, is also credited with leading a team that produced the first molecular structure of the virus’s spike protein in early 2020.

Mr Hoey said Vaxxas wanted to have its Covid patches available in the market in less than 36 months.

Meanwhile, work is continuing on building Vaxxas’s hi-tech laboratory at Northshore, Hamilton in Brisbane, where the company plans to employ 120 people. Vaxxas plans to produce up to 300 million patch doses each year at full capacity.

Mr Hoey said Vaxxas also had been working on a patch for influenza. It had conducted a study with more than 200 people published two years ago where influenza vaccine was stable at 40 degrees Celsius for 12 months. That again would enable easier distribution of patches at room temperature.

The flu patch was due to go into clinical trials in Australia next year.




Wednesday, March 23, 2022

Australia: The political response to Covid was much more harmful than the disease itself

Like most countries, Australia aped the Chinese Communist response to the problem: Heavy restrictions

Four out of five young Australians surveyed say they experienced mental health issues in the last two years.

One in four young Australians thought about suicide over the past two years and 15 per cent attempted self-harm, according to a poll of 16- to 24-year-olds.

Experts called for urgent action to tackle the nation’s deepening youth mental health crisis as the exclusive survey for The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald revealed the magnitude of the pandemic’s toll on young people.

Eighty-two per cent of those surveyed said they had experienced mental health issues during COVID-19.

Young Australians have taken the biggest psychological hit – a separate poll found significantly fewer adults aged 25 and over (49 per cent) reported mental health issues.

Those aged 16 to 24 were most likely to report symptoms of anxiety (75 per cent) and depression (62 per cent), while 36 per cent identified eating disorder symptoms, binge-eating being the most common.

While youth mental health was a growing problem before COVID-19, the survey shows issues have been exacerbated by the pandemic. Forty-two per cent said their mental health issues had become worse and 11 per cent said they were caused by the impact of the pandemic.

The survey, conducted by research company Resolve Strategic, was based on questions to 1002 people aged between 16 and 24 from February 16 to 27. The findings have a margin of error of 3 per cent.

Molli Johns, a 19-year-old from the Melbourne suburb of Richmond, said she relapsed into her eating disorder during the pandemic and became depressed.

Ms Johns is one of several young people who shared their experience of mental illness for a new podcast about youth mental health, called Enough, being launched on Monday by The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald.

“I lost all motivation,” said Ms Johns, who studied year 12 remotely in 2020. “I was getting up just to sit in front of my computer screen and what was the point?”

Professor Patrick McGorry, executive director of Orygen, the National Centre of Excellence in Youth Mental Health, said mental ill-health in young people was at crisis point.

“We’ve been trying to wake people up for 20 years about youth mental health because it’s been deteriorating, worldwide, and especially in Australia all that time,” Professor McGorry said.

“The pandemic has definitely put the skids under young people.”

The Australian mental health system had been overwhelmed during the pandemic, Professor McGorry said, with GPs, headspace centres (which provide mental health services to 12 to 25-year-olds) and emergency departments inundated and the workforce dwindling and exhausted.

He called on the federal government to urgently invest in specialised early intervention back-up systems of care for the “missing middle” – those young people with severe mental health problems such as anorexia, early psychosis and personality disorders – that the 20 Medicare-subsidised psychology sessions could not fix.

“This is an urgent national priority,” he said.

While the Resolve poll found one in four respondents had suicidal thoughts, the latest Australian government figures show the number of people under 25 who died by suicide remained steady in the first year of the pandemic.

In 2020, 480 Australians under the age of 25 took their own lives, the same number as in 2019.

Resolve director Jim Reed said behind each statistic in the poll was a human story and the sheer scale of the issue was staggering.

“While we can only really be certain that a young person is experiencing a specific or serious problem with an expert diagnosis, surveys like this can capture a lot of people who have not attempted to get a formal diagnosis or for whom the symptoms are less severe,” he said.

A separate Resolve poll of 1414 people aged over 25, conducted a week earlier, found significantly less psychological distress among adults.

Forty-nine per cent of this cohort reported mental health issues during the pandemic compared with 82 per cent of 16 to 24-year-olds, 13 per cent had thought about suicide (compared with 25 per cent of 16 to 24-year-olds) and 3 per cent had attempted self-harm (compared with 15 per cent of 16 to 24-year-olds).

“Ironically, few young people tell us they’re worried about vaccines or COVID itself, and for them social restrictions have been the major force,” Mr Reed said. “The cure has been worse than the disease for this age group.”

Isaac Percy, 23, from Camden in outer Sydney, said his anxiety was exacerbated by COVID-19 uncertainty and fear.

“It was really hard to be pulled away from my support network of friends … and not being able to go do things I enjoy like seeing live music.”

Australian Psychological Society CEO Dr Zena Burgess said the survey findings were sobering and tallied with the experiences of the society’s members.

“Eating disorders got worse, anxiety got worse, depression got worse and generally, all the self-esteem issues of adolescence and young adulthood got worse,” she said.

One in three psychologists have been so busy they have had to close their books, according to an Australian Psychological Society survey of its members last month, compared with one in 100 before the pandemic.


US surgeon general worried COVID views being 'shut out' after Biden admin sought to 'flag' disinformation

U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy said on "Fox News Sunday" that he worries about differing points of view regarding COVID-19 being "shut out" of the national dialogue.

Speaking to Fox News anchor Trace Gallagher, Murthy was asked to address pushback from those who claim the government's response to COVID-19 has been too political.

Referencing how the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has altered its guidance despite urging people to "follow the science," Gallagher noted how "if there were dissenting views on the science, then you were called out, you were called names from a lot of media outlets" at the start of the pandemic.

"Well, listen, what we have to do in this is understand that number one, science evolves," Murthy replied. "We learn new data, and that should inform our response and that's true, you know, with illnesses across the board.

"But what's also really important, Trace, is that we have the ability to have respectful, thoughtful dialogue with one another. I worry about the temperature rise in our dialogue about people being shut out in terms of their points of view being heard. We need to be able to hear all voices, we need to be able to respect one another.

"We need to be able to recognize that we may have to shift our path from time to time based on new data. Doesn't mean that people were wrong before. It just means that we've got to learn as we go," he continued.

"Because conformity is the enemy of sciences as everybody is taught," Gallagher responded.

Last July, White House press secretary Jen Psaki revealed that the White House was working with Murthy's office to "flag" posts on Facebook that allegedly conveyed COVID-19 disinformation.

"Within the Surgeon General's Office, we're flagging posts for Facebook that spread disinformation," Psaki said at the time. "We're working with doctors and medical professionals to connect medical experts with people, who are popular with their audiences with accurate information and boost trusted content. So, we're helping get trusted content out there. We also created the COVID Community Corps to get factual information into the hands of local messengers."




Tuesday, March 22, 2022

The World Is Suffering From Mass Delusional Psychosis


* According to psychiatrist and medical legal expert Dr. Mark McDonald, the true public health crisis is not COVID-19 itself; rather, it’s the fear of the infection, which has “morphed and evolved into a form of mass delusional psychosis”

* Many enter a state of hysteria when they see an unmasked person, even if they look perfectly healthy and clearly are not suffering from any kind of respiratory issue. This is a highly irrational state that has no basis in reality

* Delusion is defined as believing something that doesn’t conform with reality

*There are serious concerns about the lasting effects this widespread insanity will have on children as they grow up. One of the worst traumas children suffer as a result of all this fearmongering is the idea that they may kill their parents or grandparents simply by being around them

* Treating the children’s trauma in therapy is not going to be enough, as parents and other adults are the ones creating the trauma by their own exaggerated fear response. To heal a generation of traumatized children, we must first address the psychosis of the adult population

A number of mental health experts have expressed concern over the blatant fear and panic mongering during the COVID-19 pandemic, warning about potential — and let’s face it, likely — psychiatric effects. In a December 22, 2020, article in Evie Magazine, S.G. Cheah discusses what may in fact be the real problem at hand: mass insanity caused by “delusional fear of COVID-19.”

Cheah refers to lectures and articles by psychiatrist and medical legal expert Dr. Mark McDonald, who believes “the true public health crisis lies in the widespread fear which morphed and evolved into a form of mass delusional psychosis.”

“Even when the statistics point to the extremely low fatality rate among children and young adults (measuring 0.002% at age 10 and 0.01% at 25), the young and the healthy are still terrorized by the chokehold of irrational fear when faced with the coronavirus,” Cheah writes.

Infectious Hysteria

Cheah goes on to review a number of irrational behaviors that have become all too commonplace, such as parents being kicked off planes because their young children refuse to wear a mask during the flight, or people having hysterical meltdowns when they see a person not wearing a mask.

The science is quite clear about the risk posed by asymptomatic individuals, meaning anyone who feels perfectly healthy yet may have tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 with a PCR test set to an excessively high cycle threshold. They pose an exceptionally low risk to others, if any risk at all. Science is even clearer on healthy individuals who test negative for SARS-CoV-2. You simply cannot spread a virus you do not have.

The bulk of published science also shows that masks do not prevent the spread of viral infections, and this is particularly true if you’re wearing cloth masks, surgical masks or masks with vents.

Despite all of that, many still enter a state of hysteria when they see an unmasked person, even if they look perfectly healthy and clearly are not suffering from any kind of respiratory issue. This is a highly irrational state that has no basis in reality.

Indeed, according to McDonald, these people are suffering from delusional psychosis, and there are a lot of them. He goes so far as to refer to the outside of his home or office as the “outdoor insane asylum,” where he must assume “that any person that I run into is insane” unless they prove otherwise. As explained by Cheah:

“Instead of facing reality, the delusional person would rather live in their world of make-believe. But in order to keep faking reality, they’ll have to make sure that everyone else around them also pretends to live in their imaginary world.

In simpler words, the delusional person rejects reality. And in this rejection of reality, others have to play along with how they view the world, otherwise, their world will not make sense to them. It’s why the delusional person will get angry when they face someone who doesn’t conform to their world view

It’s one of the reasons why you’re seeing so many people who’d happily approve the silencing of any medical experts whose views contradict the WHO or CDC guidelines. ‘Obey the rules!’ becomes more important than questioning if the rules were legitimate to begin with.”

In his interview with Jesse Lee Peterson, McDonald explains his diagnosis this way:

“There was never a medical crisis. There were always enough resources to deal with the people who were sick … Many resources were in fact turned away … The question then, for me, became, ‘What’s the real crisis? What are people really suffering from?’

It became clear to me, very quickly, within the first two or three weeks in March [2020], that it was fear. Since then … the fear … has morphed and evolved, not just into a ‘I’m worried, I’m scared so I need to stay home,’ but an actual belief that is against reality — because the definition of delusion is something you believe that doesn’t conform with reality.

They believe that they are going to die — no matter what age, no matter what state of health they’re in — if they don’t leave their house with a mask and gloves on every day and run from [other] human beings. That’s delusional psychosis. It’s false, it’s wrong, it’s not backed up by evidence. And many, many Americans are living that and believing that.”

While there’s no data to back this up, McDonald says it appears women tend to be more prone to delusional psychosis than men. Part of it, he suggests, may be because when women get scared, they tend to become more hyperprotective than men under the same circumstances, likely because women — speaking in pure generalizing terms, of course — tend to be more emotionally driven.

Mass Delusional Psychosis Traumatizes Children

McDonald is particularly concerned with the lasting effects this widespread insanity will have on children as they grow up. As a psychiatrist specializing in the treatment of children and adolescents, he should know. Since the lockdowns began in the first quarter of 2020, he’s seen a massive increase in patients, and their mental states are far worse than what he’s used to seeing in these age groups.

One of the worst traumas children suffer as a result of all this fearmongering is the idea that they may kill their parents or grandparents simply by being around them. As noted by Cheah, they’re also being taught to feel guilty about behaviors that would normally be completely, well, normal.

Just one example is hysterical adults calling a toddler who refuses to wear a mask a “brat,” when in fact resisting having a restrictive mask put across your face is perfectly normal at that age.

“It’s not normal for children to grow up thinking that everyone is a danger to everyone else,” Cheah says, and rightly so. It’s not normal at all, and hysterical adults are mindlessly inflicting severe emotional trauma on an entire generation.

As noted by McDonald in his interview with Peterson above, a primary cause of depression, especially among youngsters, is disconnection from others. We need face-to-face contact, we need physical contact as well as emotional intimacy. We need these things to feel safe around others and within our own selves. Digital interactions simply cannot replace these most basic human needs, and are inherently separating rather than connective.

McDonald cites recent CDC statistics showing there’s been a 400% increase in adolescent depression compared to one year ago, and in 25% of cases, they’ve contemplated suicide. These are unheard of statistics, he says. Never before have so many teenagers considered committing suicide.

“This is a mass-casualty event,” McDonald says, and parents — adults — are to blame, because they are the ones scaring them to the point they don’t feel life is worth living anymore.

This is also why just treating the children is not going to be effective enough. We have to address the psychosis of the adult population. “It’s up to us adults to fix this,” McDonald says, “because children are not going to be able to fix this themselves.”

Delusional People Ultimately Require Controlled Environments
We must also address the mass delusion for another reason, and that is because it’s driving us all, sane and insane alike, toward a society devoid of all previous freedoms and civil liberties, and the corrupt individuals in charge will not voluntarily relinquish power once we’ve given it to them.

A totalitarian society, McDonald believes, is the ultimate end of this societal psychosis unless we do something about it and realize that “we’re fine, we’re perfectly safe.” Indeed, we’re in no more danger now than we were pre-COVID. We must not allow our freedoms to be taken from us due to delusional fears. As noted by Cheah in her article:

“It’s not unthinkable that the final outcome would be total societal control on every aspect of your life. Consider this — the endpoint of a mentally ill person is for them to be put under a controlled environment (institutionalized like an asylum) where all freedoms are restricted. And it’s looking more and more like that’s the endpoint of where this mass psychosis is heading.”




Monday, March 21, 2022

UK: People will riot if another full lockdown is enforced, top doctor warns - but admits some additional restrictions may be needed if hospitalisations and deaths continue to rise

Ministers risk sparking riots if they try to impose another lockdown, according to a leading doctor.

Professor Roger Kirby, president of the Royal Society of Medicine, said the public would not tolerate being deprived of their liberty on such a scale again.

However, he conceded that some additional restrictions may be needed if hospitalisations and deaths rise significantly due to the current surge, warning: ‘We are not out of the pandemic yet and must not risk becoming complacent.’

In an interview to mark two years since the first lockdown began on March 23, 2020, Prof Kirby said he thought the UK had acquitted itself well during the crisis.

But he added: ‘Locking down people again, I don’t think people would tolerate it again. There would be riots like there were in Belgium if they tried to do that.’

Doctors are concerned about a new wave triggered by social mixing and the rise of a more transmissible variant of Omicron called BA.2.

Case rates among the elderly are at the highest level recorded during the pandemic, with one in 29 people over 70 in England infected.

Hospitalisation rates are also rising, with about 1,900 Covid admissions per day across the UK – 50 per cent higher than a month ago –although roughly half are incidental where a patient has been admitted for another condition.

To blunt any spike, health bosses will start rolling out the spring booster vaccination campaign this week.

It will offer five million people, including all over-75s and those over 12 whose immune systems are weakened, the chance to receive a fourth dose. The first 600,000 invitations will go out in the coming days.

Addressing the Tory Spring conference in Blackpool yesterday, Boris Johnson urged people to take up the offer.

The Royal Society of Medicine will hold its 100th free webinar about Covid on March 31.


A Flu Bug’s Worst Enemy, It Chews Them Up and Spits Them Out

This is not well referenced so I am not sure how authoritative it is

Bump your levels of this to above 10% and you’ll make your body virtually flu-proof – causing these cells to basically chew up and spit out any infected cells it is in contact with. Here are 9 simple ways to ramp up your levels.

Story at-a-glance

Natural killer (NK) cells are a specific type of white blood cell. They’re an important component of your cell-mediated (innate) immune system and are involved in both viral diseases and cancer

NK cells are cytotoxic; they induce apoptosis (programmed cell death), which destroys the virus along with the infected cell
NK cells — which are not antigen-specific — contain the infection while your adaptive, humoral immune response generates T cells containing antigen-specific cytotoxins to clear the infection

KLRD1 is a receptor gene found on the surface of NK cells, and the level of KLRD1 found in a person’s blood prior to exposure to the influenza virus can predict whether that individual would contract the flu with 86% accuracy

People whose immune cells consisted of 10 to 13% NK cells remained disease free after exposure to the flu virus, whereas those below 10% became ill

Natural killer (NK) cells, a specific type of white blood cell, are an important component of your innate immune system. Your immune system consists of two different branches — cell-mediated immunity (innate) and humoral immunity (adaptive). When you contract a viral disease, the pathogen enters your body and infects your cells.

The subsequent disease process involves your cell-mediated immune response, which activates your NK cells, along with chemicals that attract them to the site of infection, where the white blood cells basically chew up and spit out the infected cells. This process clears the virus and rejuvenates the gel-like water inside your cells.

During recovery, your humoral immune system kicks in and starts generating antibodies against the virus to help prevent the same kind of disease process and symptoms from occurring again, should you be exposed to the same virus later on. As long as your cell-mediated immune system is activated first and the humoral immune system is activated second, you will have long-lasting immunity against that pathogen.

On a side note, naturally acquired herd immunity in a population comes into play when a very high percentage of individuals have gone through this sequence of cell-mediated and humoral immune response. This sequence is not followed during vaccination, which is why vaccine-induced “herd immunity” is a misnomer.

As explained in one 2008 paper on the functions of NK cells:

“NK cells are effector lymphocytes of the innate immune system that control several types of tumors and microbial infections by limiting their spread and subsequent tissue damage … NK cells are also regulatory cells engaged in reciprocal interactions with dendritic cells, macrophages, T cells and endothelial cells. NK cells can thus limit or exacerbate immune responses.

Although NK cells might appear to be redundant in several conditions of immune challenge in humans, NK cell manipulation seems to hold promise in efforts to improve hematopoietic and solid organ transplantation, promote antitumor immunotherapy and control inflammatory and autoimmune disorders.”

NK cells are cytotoxic, meaning they’re capable of killing cells. Tiny granules in the cytoplasm contain granzymes — special proteins such as perforin and proteases. Perforin, hinting at the functional basis of its name, perforates the cell membrane of the cell targeted for elimination, allowing the proteins and other chemicals to enter, thereby inducing apoptosis (programmed cell death) that destroys the virus along with the infected cell.

In this manner, NK cells — which are not antigen-specific — contain the infection while your adaptive, humoral immune response generates T cells containing antigen-specific cytotoxins to clear the infection. Put another way, the NK cells keep viral replication in check while the adaptive arm of your immune system “learns” the properties of the virus and creates antibodies to match.

Research confirms that when you are deficient in NK cells, you’re far more susceptible to viral infections, and likely tumor formation as well. NK cells also help regulate your immune system by producing cytokines, signaling molecules that stimulate and regulate other immune system cells.

Since NK cells have the ability to differentiate between normal, healthy cells and abnormal cells, such as those infected by a virus or that have turned cancerous, scientists are looking for ways to enhance NK cell function as a way to improve the effectiveness of cancer treatments. The good news is there are many ways to boost the number and function of your NK cells


New AstraZeneca drug that slashes Covid risk is approved

A drug that cuts the risk of developing Covid for the most vulnerable by 77 per cent after just two injections has been approved by the medicines regulator.

Evusheld, which is manufactured by AstraZeneca, has been approved by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) as a preventative treatment for the virus for those who are immunocompromised or unable to have a Covid vaccination.

Around 500,000 people in the UK are immunocompromised or suppressed, meaning they are less likely to mount a strong immune response to the vaccine.

One dose of Evusheld, which is given as two injections, has been found to reduce the risk of developing symptomatic Covid-19 by 77 per cent, according to clinical trials, and the protection lasts for at least six months.

It has been authorised for use before a patient is exposed to the risk of Covid in order to prevent disease, known as pre-exposure prophylaxis.

The drug is a combination of two long-acting antibodies which bind to the spike protein on the outside of the virus, preventing it from attaching to and entering human cells.

Dr June Raine, MHRA Chief Executive said after “careful review” of the data the drug has been approved “to help protect against the effects of Covid-19”.

She said: “While the Covid-19 vaccines continue to be the first-line defence against Covid-19, we know that some people may not respond adequately to these vaccines and for a small number of individuals Covid-19 vaccines may not be recommended for other reasons, such as a previous allergic reaction to one of the vaccine ingredients.

“For these people, Evusheld could provide effective protection against Covid-19.”

It is understood the UK currently does not have any doses of Evushelf on order, but the government’s Therapeutics Taskforce is actively engaging with AstraZeneca before making further decisions.

MHRA said there is not yet enough data to know if the drug is effective against Omicron and it will continue to work with the manufacturer to establish this.

In December Sir Mene Pangalos, head of research and development for AstraZeneca, suggested it would protect against the variant.

"Consistent data ... now provide confidence that Evusheld, a combination of two highly potent antibodies, retains neutralising activity against the omicron variant at a level that will continue to provide benefit to patients,” he said.

Professor Sir Munir Pirmohamed, the chairman of the Commission on Human Medicines, said the commission was “satisfied” that the medicine meets the “expected standards” for approval.

He added: “The recommended dosage is 300mg of Evusheld, but a higher dose of 600mg may be more appropriate for some Covid-19 variants. All this is outlined in the summary of product characteristics.

“Pre-exposure prophylaxis with Evusheld is not a substitute for vaccination in individuals for whom Covid-19 vaccination is recommended.”

Gemma Peters, the chief executive of Blood Cancer UK, welcomed the approval of the drug but said the Government is still yet to set out plans for how it would be used in the UK.

"For some time, we have been urging the Government to set out its approach to using preventative treatments for people who have not responded well to the vaccines, and it is disappointing that it has not yet done so," she said.

"We hope the MHRA’s approval of Evusheld will prompt a sense of government urgency on this that has so far been lacking. Many people with blood cancer have now spent almost two years avoiding social interaction – the Government needs to do more to support them to be able to start getting back to normal."




Sunday, March 20, 2022

10 biggest COVID mistakes – Americans deserve an apology from the medical experts

The medical establishment has marched in lockstep on COVID-19, presenting a consensus of expertise as they marginalized physicians who had different opinions. Two years into the pandemic, it’s fair to ask, how did public health officials do? 

Surface transmission 

Wash your hands like crazy (at least 20 seconds) and pour alcohol-based solutions on your grocery bags to stop COVID transmission, you were told for months. Despite being an expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci immediately applied the influenza surface transmission model to COVID. The logical starting hypothesis should have been that COVID was aerosolized. 

There are only three coronaviruses that cause serious illness in humans: SARS, MERS and COVID. SARS and MERS spread by air. Why did Dr. Fauci think COVID was so different? The NIH could have done the definitive experiment in one day to get the answer. It’s OK to be wrong in science, but not for months when the National Institutes of Health could have spent a fraction of its $42 billion budget to instantly establish how COVID spreads.  

No hospital visitation 

The barbaric policy of banning loved ones from holding the hand of their dying loved one and saying goodbye was a human rights violation that spanned much of the pandemic. All the so-called experts and the medical establishment were complicit, allowing this cruel policy to be instituted while abandoning their duty to respect the dignity of human life. As a physician, I can assure you there are things worse than dying. 

Closing schools 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention argued they were using science to close schools, but many private schools and most schools in Florida and other states remained open throughout (with no difference COVID outcomes). The CDC director initially said schools were safe but was swiftly corrected by the White House the following day. It later came out that the teachers’ unions had made edits to the draft school closure policy before it was issued (kids did not have a chance to make edits).

Now studies are revealing the catastrophic harm to a generation of children – significant motor and cognitive declines and a mental health crisis. In Baltimore, many kids never logged on to virtual learning and were never seen in class again. 

Analyzing the strength of natural immunityVideo
Ignoring natural immunity 

Ironically, when public health officials insisted that those who had natural immunity be fired for not being vaccinated, they fired those least likely to spread the infection in the workplace.  Drs. Fauci and Rochelle Walensky never talked about natural immunity and instead created the imprecise construct of the vaccinated and the unvaccinated. In reality, most unvaccinated Americans have antibodies that neutralized the virus, but they are antibodies that the government did not recognize.

Eventually the data came in. Natural immunity was 2.8 times better in preventing hospitalization than vaccinated immunity and having both meant you had the same protection as natural immunity alone. 

The singular focus on vaccines meant that little attention was paid to lifesaving therapeutics.

Downplaying therapeutics 

The singular focus on vaccines meant that little attention was paid to lifesaving therapeutics. For example, Paxlovid is an antiviral medication that reduced COVID deaths to zero in the clinical trial, yet not enough has been produced. Fluvoxamine, an $10 anti-depressant medication that has been available for years, was found in two reputable studies to reduce COVID death, up to 91% in the latest study (no study suggests it’s not effective). Yet, few doctors are aware of these data because our public health officials have never talked about Fluvoxamine. 

Not spacing out vaccine doses 

Spacing out vaccine doses makes a vaccine more effective and lowers the side effect profile. It also would have allowed the U.S. to save more lives when we were rationing a scarce vaccine supply. Yet public health officials dismissed pleas to space out the doses as many of us called for. 

West Point cadet resigns over vaccine tyrannyVideo
Ironically, just three weeks ago, after 250 million Americans received the vaccine, the CDC finally changed their guidance to recommend longer intervals between doses. The CDC acknowledged it was to reduce serious adverse effects such as myocarditis. Myocarditis is now recognized to occur in 1 in 1,862 young males after the second vaccine dose. 

Cloth masks 

The U.S. remains an international outlier by masking toddlers. At this point the only people in America still forced to wear masks are children, waiters, servers and staff. The NIH could have funded researchers to properly study each mask type in the first 10 days of the pandemic, but they failed to pivot funding to do so. Current data suggests that covering the faces of children for two years with a cloth mask had zero benefit and some harm. 

Doctor explains why vaccine mandates are unnecessaryVideo
Promising no vaccines mandates, then breaking it 

This was a stated promise made by President Biden, Fauci and many others – a social contract. They then broke their promise insisting that any unvaccinated workers, regardless of their risk or natural immunity, be fired. They demanded that soldiers be dishonorably discharged and nurses be laid off in the middle of a staffing crisis. 

This policy ignited a debate over civil liberties, which ultimately divided the country and hardened many toward the idea of vaccination. At the same time, the Food and Drug Administration has been delinquent in authorizing the Covaxin and Novavax vaccines, which use traditional vaccine technology. 

Downplaying a lab leak 

A bombshell investigation by "Special Report" host Bret Baier of Fox News revealed that prominent U.S. virologists told Drs. Fauci and Francis Collins of their concern that the virus may have been manipulated and originated in the lab, but then suddenly changed their tune in public comments days after meeting with the NIH officials. The virologists were later awarded nearly $9 million from Fauci’s agency. 

Boosters for young people 

Two top FDA officials quit in protest because of political pressure to approve boosters in young people. The FDA issued the authorization by not convening their Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee – a highly unusual break from historic precedent.  A study in the New England Journal of Medicine found that the mortality risk of an un-boosted person under age 30 was zero. You can’t lower a risk of zero any further with a booster. 

Throughout the pandemic, all COVID decisions were made by a small group of like-minded government doctors who often replaced the scientific method with medical dogma. They had tremendous influence over medical universities, scientific journals and medical societies. In fact, nearly all of these entities received funding from Drs. Fauci and Collins and from Big Pharma. It’s no surprise, then, that with one united voice, the leaders of these organizations joined the groupthink bandwagon as the media parroted whatever they said.  

At this point, the everyday Americans who paid the price for the errors of the medical establishment can evaluate their performance.  This partial list of catastrophic errors begs for a complete overhaul of our health agencies. The American people, and children in particular, deserve an apology.


Also see my other blogs. Main ones below:

<a href=""></a> (EDUCATION WATCH)

<a href=""></a> (GREENIE WATCH)


<a href=""></a> (AUSTRALIAN POLITICS)

<a href=""></a> (TONGUE-TIED)