Friday, May 06, 2022

COVID-19 subvariant XE: What to know

It’s nicknamed Frankenstein, but experts say that shouldn’t scare you.

The World Health Organization (WHO) recently issued a preliminary report on the new COVID-19 "Frankenstein" subvariant called XE, which is a mix of the omicron BA.1 variant and the "stealth" variant BA.2, with the agency declaring it’s still part of the omicron variant, but not a variant of interest or concern yet, according to a recent Euronews report.

The XE strain was first detected in the United Kingdom on January 19, with now over 1,000 cases spreading by community transmission, with the majority in the east of England, London, and South East London, per the report.

A "recombinant" strain is a type of variant that occurs when an individual becomes infected with two or more variants at the same time, and are assigned the letter "X" prefix to classify them as recombinant, said Dr. Stacia Wyman, senior genomics scientist at the Innovative Genomics Institute at UC Berkeley.

Wyman noted the XE subvariant originated from someone who was infected with both the BA.1 and BA.2 variants.

"When the virus was replicating, there was an error and the two viruses combined," she said. "Then the combined virus replicates and is spread to other people."

XE’s genomic sequence is part BA.1 and part BA.2, but the gene that codes for the spike protein that helps the virus attach to healthy cells comes from BA.2. But even though it’s part BA.2, it’s still unknown if previous BA.2 infection will provide immunity to XE, Wyman said.

"Early-day estimates indicate a community growth rate advantage of ~10% [for XE] as compared to BA.2, however this finding requires further confirmation," the WHO said.

But the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) noted: "There is currently insufficient evidence to draw conclusions about growth advantage or other properties of this variant," according to a March 25 updated release.

People are testing positive for 10 days or more when they are diagnosed with the XE variant, said Denis Kinane, immunologist and founding scientist of United Kingdom-based Cignpost Diagnostics.

"Our current data is showing that many people are testing positive for 10 days or more rather than the 6 or 7 days we saw by frequent testing at the beginning of the omicron wave, which means the virus has more opportunity to spread more widely and this may be BA-2 and XE’s transmissibility advantage," Kinane said.

At least two XE cases have been sequenced in Wisconsin and one in New York with also two unconfirmed cases in California, according to Wyman. Japan, China, Thailand, India, New Zealand, and Israel have reported COVID-19 cases secondary to the XE subvariant, in addition to the U.K.

"We continue to monitor cases of the recombinant XE variant in the U.K., which currently represents a very small proportion of cases," said Meera Chand, director of clinical and emerging infections at UKHSA.

"Recombinant variants are not unusual, particularly when there are multiple variants in circulation - and several have already been identified over the course of the pandemic," said Dr. George Thompson, professor of medicine at the University of California, Davis, School of Medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases.

Thompson told Fox News: "It may be slightly more transmissible than the parent variant but it is too early to known if outcomes differ from other COVID variants."

"As with other kinds of variant[s], most will die off relatively quickly," said Susan Hopkins, chief medical advisor of UKHSA.

Because viruses naturally mutate over time, recombinant strains are not surprising, so presently XE does not appear to be more effective at evading immunity from previous vaccination or prior COVID-19 infection compared with the previous strains, said Dr. Carlos Malvestutto, an infectious disease specialist at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.

But Hopkins noted, "So far there is not enough evidence to draw conclusions about transmissibility, severity or vaccine effectiveness."

Some experts argue, however, because XE is a combined strain of both BA.1 and BA.2 and vaccination protects against symptomatic disease for BA.1 and BA.2 strains, it is likely vaccination will also protect against symptomatic disease caused by XE, said Dr. Andrew Badley, professor of infectious disease at the Mayo Clinic and chair of the COVID-19 Task Force for Mayo Clinic.

The most common symptoms reported of the XE strain are similar to the cold-like symptoms of original strain of omicron – especially in vaccinated people, like runny noses, sore throats and sneezing in contrast to the original strain of the virus that causes COVID-19, like fevers, cough or loss of taste or smell, according to the Independent.

Badley added: "We also know that the other therapies that are being used particularly in the outpatient setting—Paxlovid and molnupiravir—should, based on how they work, have continued activity against the XE strain."

But Badley noted because some monoclonal antibody therapies are not effective against BA.1 and BA.2, it is likely those specific antibody treatments won’t work against XE either.

"The key takeaway is that for each of these variants and subvariants, risk of hospitalization and death appears to be, on average, lower where vaccination rates are higher, indicating that vaccination, including a third dose, should be effective in reducing risk for severe disease," said Stephanie Silvera, professor of public health at Montclair State University.

Approximately 62% of all COVID-19 cases in the United States are currently BA.2, but a new BA.2 subvariant, BA.2.12.1, is now responsible for 36.5% of new coronavirus infections, according to recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

"We're just starting to learn about the impact of BA.2.12.1," CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said.

"It appears it might have a transmission advantage of about 25% over the BA.2 subvariant. … But importantly, we continue to believe that those who are vaccinated and especially those who are boosted, continue to have strong protection against severe disease, even from BA.2.12.1."

Wyman added the XE recombinant strain "may die out completely regionally and never spread."

"It’s something to keep an eye on, but not for the general population to worry about."


FDA puts new limits on Johnson & Johnson vaccine due to rare blood clotting condition

The FDA revised its emergency authorization to sharply limit the use of Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine due to a rare but potentially fatal blood clotting condition called thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS).

Only individuals who are 18 years of age and older who "would otherwise not receive a COVID-19 vaccine" due to availability or their choice should now take Johnson & Johnson's one-shot regiment.

"Our action reflects our updated analysis of the risk of TTS following administration of this vaccine and limits the use of the vaccine to certain individuals," Dr. Peter Marks, the director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, said in a statement Thursday.

COVID vaccine Johnson & Johnson
Syringes filled with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine are shown, Thursday, May 13, 2021, at a mobile vaccination site at the Greater Bethel Church in Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee / AP Newsroom)

"We’ve been closely monitoring the Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine and occurrence of TTS following its administration and have used updated information from our safety surveillance systems to revise the EUA," Marks added.

The CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices unanimously voted in December to give a preferential recommendation to Pfizer and Moderna's two-shot mRNA vaccines.

TTS is a syndrome of blood clotting in combination with low levels of platelets, which are the blood cells that help your body halt bleeding.

Health officials have confirmed 60 cases of TTS following Johnson & Johnson's vaccine, nine of which have been fatal.

Women between the ages of 30 and 49 are most vulnerable to the blood clotting disorder, according to the CDC.

About 18.7 million doses of Johnson & Johnson's vaccine have been administered in the United States.


Nearly 15M deaths worldwide associated with COVID-19: WHO

The World Health Organization (WHO) said Thursday that its new estimates show the full death toll associated directly or indirectly with the COVID-19 pandemic between Jan. 1, 2020, and Dec. 2021 was approximately 14.9 million.

Scientists said there were between 13.3 million and 16.6 million deaths either caused directly by the coronavirus or attributed to the pandemic’s impact on health systems during that time.

That number is more than double Johns Hopkins University's official death toll of more than 6 million, with the majority of excess mortality – calculated as the difference between the number of deaths that have occurred and the number that would be expected in the absence of the pandemic based on previous data – in Southeast Asia, Europe and the Americas.

"Most of the excess deaths (84%) are concentrated in South-East Asia, Europe and the Americas. Some 68% of excess deaths are concentrated in just 10 countries globally. Middle-income countries account for 81% of the 14.9 million excess deaths (53% in lower-middle-income countries and 28% in upper-middle-income countries) over the 24-month period, with high-income and low-income countries each accounting for 15% and 4%, respectively," the agency said.

A team led by Canadian researchers estimated that there were more than 3 million uncounted coronavirus deaths in India alone, whereas WHO's new analysis estimated that missed deaths in India ranged between 3.3 million to 6.5 million.

Disputing the WHO's methodology, India's Health and Family Welfare Ministry labeled the analysis as "questionable," complaining that the estimates were released "without adequately addressing India's concerns."

The estimates for the two-year period confirm that the global death toll was higher for men than for women and higher among older adults.

The estimates are the result of a global collaboration supported by the work of the Technical Advisory Group for COVID-19 Mortality Assessment and country consultations.

While many countries still lack the capacity for reliable mortality surveillance, using publicly available methodology the WHO says countries can use their own data to generate or update their estimates.

"These sobering data not only point to the impact of the pandemic but also to the need for all countries to invest in more resilient health systems that can sustain essential health services during crises, including stronger health information systems," WHO director-general Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said in a statement. "WHO is committed to working with all countries to strengthen their health information systems to generate better data for better decisions and better outcomes."

The WHO said it wasn't yet able to distinguish between direct deaths from COVID-19 and others caused by the pandemic nothing that a future project examining death certificates would probe this.




Thursday, May 05, 2022

Why the Feds Are Clinging to Their Mask Mandate

Bureaucrats cling to power. It’s their institutional predisposition.

So it was no surprise on Wednesday when the Department of Justice appealed the recent Federal court ruling that struck down the mask mandate imposed on mass transportation by the Centers for Disease Control.

As the appeal demonstrates, governments are especially reluctant to give up emergency powers. When they do, the relinquishment is grudging and only partial.

That is a big reason why big government keeps getting bigger. As economist Robert Higgs showed in his book Crisis and Leviathan, since the early 20th century, the US government has exploited every national emergency to seize emergency powers.

After the crisis subsides, government power recedes, but never all the way back to pre-crisis levels. In this way, the federal government “ratchets up” its power, at the expense of our liberty, crisis after crisis.

This “ratchet effect,” as Higgs termed it, is on vivid display in airports especially. There, the travel mask mandate persisted long after the pandemic panic subsided and many other COVID policies were rolled back. And if the DOJ’s appeal succeeds, it may return and linger even longer.

The wretched ratchet effect is also manifest in the many post-9/11 airport security policies that the Transportation Security Administration continues to enforce more than two decades after the crisis that spawned them.

A curious aspect of many of these policies is how seemingly petty they are. Why is the government so adamant about travelers removing their shoes at security and wearing masks? The effectiveness of such measures has been shown to be highly dubious at best. Moreover, such compelled performances of “security theater” and “hygiene theater” don’t even seem to provide much material benefit to the government. What’s the point of ratcheting up that kind of power?

I suspect a major purpose of such petty policies is the mass inculcation of obedience. Security theater and hygiene theater are part and parcel of a broader “obedience theater.” Humiliating compulsory gestures like removing your shoes and wearing your mask are obeisances: symbolic ritual acts of self-abasement and submission.

It’s not about keeping you safe or healthy. It’s about showing you who’s boss.


COVID-19 Vaccine Can Trigger Acute Hepatitis

A recent case report about a man who received an mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccine suggests that taking the vaccine “may trigger immune-mediated hepatitis,” researchers wrote.

The case report does not indicate how common such a case would be, although researchers said that such a scenario is recognized as a “rare adverse event not identified in early trials.”

The report, published in the Journal of Hepatology in late April, describes the case of a man in Germany aged 52 who developed acute hepatitis—liver inflammation—two to three weeks after having received an mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer-BioNTech (the BNT163b2 vaccine).

Researchers said they found that highly-activated T cells “accumulate and are evenly distributed in the different areas” of the man’s liver after he took the COVID-19 vaccine and developed acute hepatitis. T cells are a type of white blood cell that comprise a key part of the immune system. These cells focus on fighting new infections.

The patient experienced nausea and fatigue about 10 days after his first dose of the vaccine, and was subsequently found to have acute hepatitis. The hepatitis resolved on its own after about three days. He had a second dose of the vaccine 41 days after his first dose. Symptoms of nausea and fatigue returned 20 days later—he was given an oral steroid medication and initially improved. He relapsed 39 days later, after which he was successfully treated with systemic immunosuppressive therapy that also included steroids. The man’s liver function tests “subsequently normalized within 8 weeks.”

Researchers said the man’s immune response to the COVID-19 vaccine may have contributed to his liver inflammation. The COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer “may trigger immune-mediated hepatitis by mechanisms linked to vaccine-induced cellular immunity,” they said in the case report.

Within the T cells that were found in the liver, the scientists observed “an enrichment of T cells that are reactive to SARS-CoV-2, suggesting that these vaccine-induced cells can contribute to the liver inflammation in this context.”

Specifically, the type of T cell called CD8 T cells “represented the most abundant immune cell subset” found in the liver. “Our analysis highlights that activated cytotoxic CD8 T cells including vaccine-induced spike-specific CD8 T cells could contribute to disease pathogenesis,” researchers wrote.

“Based on their strong enrichment … we speculated that CD8 T cells could be drivers of the hepatic inflammation.”

The authors called the case one that appears to be autoimmune hepatitis, but is not. “Autoimmune-hepatitis-like disease after vaccination against SARS-CoV-2 is now recognized as a rare adverse event not identified in early trials,” they wrote. “The widespread use of the vaccine with administration of hundreds of million doses worldwide raises also questions of causality vs. coincidence.”

The authors wrote it is important to differentiate autoimmune hepatitis from hepatitis triggered by immune responses after COVID-19 vaccination; the former requires lifelong immunosuppressive therapy in many patients, while the latter is possibly transient, they noted.


Tearing Down the Silicon Valley Wall

Elon Musk has finally managed to buy Twitter. And the moment he did, the enraged left flipped out.

Abruptly, leftists began trashing their favorite electronic communications platform as the domain of the nation’s elite, professional classes. Had they just discovered that they had been racists and privileged users all this time?

And what happened to the left’s former worship of Musk as the man who revolutionized the clean, green automobile industry with his Tesla electric car company?

Or Musk, the space revolutionary and hip star trekker, who with his own money helped ensure the United States remains preeminent in space exploration?

Or Musk, the patriot who is providing free next-generation internet service to the underdog Ukrainians fighting Russians for their lives?

No matter. The left reviles Musk because he has announced that Twitter will be the one social media platform whose business is not to censor or massage free speech in an otherwise monopolist, intolerant, and hard-left Silicon Valley.

Who knows, Musk might even allow former President Donald Trump to communicate on Twitter—in the fashion that the terrorist Taliban, Iranian theocrats, and violent Antifa protesters all take for granted in their daily access to Twitter.

But how did the once free speech, anti-trust, “let it all hang out” left become a Victorian busybody, a censorious Soviet, and an old-fashioned robber-baron monopoly?

When it discovered that few Americans wanted left-wing, socialist politics it turned elsewhere. It found power instead through control of American institutions, from academia and Wall Street to traditional and social media.

When Musk merely talked about buying Twitter, the left shrieked that an outlier multibillionaire owning a media—and especially a social media—venue was unfair. The buyout was supposedly “dangerous” and “a threat to democracy.”

But the more the left screamed, the less people listened.

After all, left-wing Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook has roughly 15 times more market capitalization than Twitter. It has an audience of 2 billion users—over seven times larger than Twitter’s 271 million.

Zuckerberg’s monopoly on global social media and his enormous wealth were stealthily put in service to the Democratic Party in the 2020 election. He reportedly infused nearly $420 million of his media money into warping the vote in key precincts, by augmenting and absorbing the work of state registrars to empower likely left-wing voters.

Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, the second wealthiest man in the world, owns the influential Washington Post. It has moved markedly to the activist left under his patronage.

Multibillionaire Lisa Jobs, widow of the late Apple founder Steve Jobs, owns The Atlantic. It has become an increasingly hard-left political magazine.

So in Orwellian fashion, apparently most media-owning, left-wing billionaires are good? But one social media-owning, non-left-wing billionaire is bad?

How exactly might a Musk-owned Twitter alter an election?

By emulating the former directors of Twitter and the rest of Silicon Valley social media who canceled not just conservatives, but any new communication they felt harmful to the 2020 Biden campaign?

From the outset, it was clear that Hunter Biden’s lost laptop incriminated his dad, Democratic nominee Joe Biden.

Biden was referenced by his own quid pro quo, grifting son variously as “the Big Guy” and “Mr. Ten Percent”—a full partner in peddling Beltway influence to rich foreign actors.

Yet in lockstep, social media banned most coverage of the pre-election laptop story.

It instead spread its standby false narrative of “Russian disinformation.” We now know the laptop was always authentic. The crude efforts to suppress mention of it were classic politicized news suppression.

Still, the left may well have some reason to be terrified of Musk. Should he liberate Twitter from left-wing scolds and groupthinkers, would other renegade new companies and old standbys follow his lead?

Is Musk’s $46 billion acquisition the internet equivalent of Germans in November 1989 with sledgehammers smashing down the Berlin Wall?

Does Musk sense that the looming November midterm elections may result in one of the rare landslide verdicts in American history?

Does he assume the public prefers a muckraker who demands free speech rather than corporate insider cronies censoring expression they don’t find useful?

Polls show that the American people have had their fill of 14 months of self-inflicted, ideology-driven disasters. And why not, given the nonexistent border, spiking crime, inflation, unaffordable gasoline, and neo-Confederate racial fixations?

Are the recent Netflix implosion, the CNN+ disaster, the Disney debacle, the Virginia statewide and San Francisco school board elections, the polls showing massive defections of Latinos from the left, the grassroots pushback against government-imposed mask wearing, and explicit transgender education in the k-3 grades also symptoms of a reckoning on the horizon?

The country is ready for a revolution. And Musk believes he can lead it with his Silicon Valley sledgehammer. So, as the left says, “Bring it on.”




Wednesday, May 04, 2022

Double-masking DOESN'T work and might raise risk of catching and spreading Covid, study finds — despite US health chiefs STILL recommending it

Double-masking does not stop people from catching or spreading Covid — and it might even raise their risk, a study suggests.

US health chiefs have been advising Americans to double-up if they can't get their hands on a medical-grade mask since early 2021, claiming it increases protection.

But now researchers say wearing two masks may actually do the opposite, by creating 'a false sense of security' that causes people to take unnecessary risk.

Wearing two cloth masks can also force more air through the gaps between the face, increasing the amount of virus breathed into the air, they found.

The study, which used computer simulation models, looked at cloth masks so the findings do not necessarily apply to surgical masks or N95s used in hospitals.

However, the researchers noted that wearing two tight-fitting masks could cause 'breathing difficulties'.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends wearing a cloth mask on top of a surgical mask to achieve a 'better fit and extra protection'.

Experts from Florida State University and Johns Hopkins University made computer simulations of 3D heads based on 100 men and 100 women.

The researchers simulated a cough jet from the mouth of the models, which wore a cloth mask over the nose and mouth and elastic hoops wrapped around the ears.

The team calculated the filtration efficiency, which measures how much virus-filled droplets are captured or blocked by the mask.

The findings, published in the journal Physics of Fluids, show wearing two face coverings provide 'negligible, if any, increase in protection'.

However, they said while it could 'theoretically' reduce the amount of virus that could pass through the mask, if two good-fitting face coverings are worn, it 'could also lead to breathing difficulties'.

A second poor-fitting masks decreases the amount of air that can be filtered through the covering — forcing more air through any gaps between the mask and face.

They said people could also have a 'false sense of security when choosing to double mask', and therefore be less likely to social distance or take other precautions.

Double masking has become 'more and more popular' for Americans who cannot access the most effective N95 and KN95 masks, the researchers said, which makes the findings important.

They said one cloth mask would be better than two, but the best type of mask is one that fits tightly like an N95 or KN95. UK health chiefs have previously said there is 'insufficient evidence' to recommend double-masking.

Covid is mainly spread through droplets an infected person releases when they breathe, speak, cough or sneeze. Large particles can land in the nose or mouth of people nearby, while smaller airborne droplets stay suspended in the air can be breathed in.

Evidence shows that, when worn correctly, masks can reduce the spread of these particles — but by how much is still contested.


Trump’s Truth Social platform could help propel GOP to majorities in the 2022 midterms and beyond

No risk, no reward. That’s the lesson official Washington, D.C. should now be learning from former President Donald Trump’s foray into running a social media company,, which is currently running a successful public beta that Apple customers can download in the App Store.

Before the app has even been offered on other platforms such as Android or via desktop computers, President Trump has already garnered almost 2.4 million followers — in a week — as the app rocketed to the top of the App Store as the most downloaded app the past several days.

Before he was banned by Twitter and Facebook in 2021, Trump had more than 80 million followers, and while he is still quite a ways off from where he was, he and the team at Truth Social including CEO Devin Nunes have to be very pleased with the current rollout so far.

And here’s why.

Anecdotally, we can tell you that so far the Americans for Limited Government’s @LimitGov profile is seeing significant engagement that appears vastly superior to other social media platforms such as Twitter or Facebook despite smaller initial subscription counts.

To be fair, ALG’s cartoonist A.F. Branco and Truth Social CEO Devin Nunes, did each give us generous boosts on the platform. That will get you follows, but that doesn’t necessarily mean those followers will engage with your content. In this case, thankfully, they are engaging.

We can see the difference compared to other platforms. And Truth Social wants us to grow.

In other words, there might be fewer people on the Truth Social platform so far compared to some of the other more established platforms, but the ones that are on Truth Social already are not merely engaging with posts, they’re actually clicking off of the platform to the offsite content that is being shared at a much, much higher conversion rate.

Now, how that holds up over time is another question, but Trump seems to be onto something here, especially if one plans on being politically active on the platform. So far, Truth Social appears to be attracting, at least initially, a primarily conservative, Republican audience whose users also happen to be very strong supporters of Trump and are very civic-minded.

These are likely voters. By appearing exclusively on Truth Social, Trump is driving engagement — and giving Republicans in the midterms a reason to log in.

In the midterms, enthusiasm always comes into play, where the opposition party tends to generate more of it than the incumbent party. In midterm elections dating back to 1906 through 2018, the party that occupies the White House usually loses on average 31 seats in the House, and about three seats in the Senate. That’s more than enough for Republicans to take back one or both chambers of Congress in 2022.

On that count, presently in the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll conducted April 24-28 of registered voters, 83 percent of Republicans report they are absolutely certain to vote in November, compared to 76 percent of Democrats, giving Republicans a 7-point edge.

More broadly, Republicans are leading the generic ballot by on average 4.2 points, 46.4 percent to 42.2 percent, according to

These are all readings one would expect to see in a midterm cycle with a Democratic President and Republicans out of power.

That is why Truth Social is almost certainly the place where Republican members and candidates for Congress are going to want to gravitate towards in 2022 for the November midterms. What better way to build a fresh list of supporters on a platform that is finally not controlled by Silicon Valley? This could be a game-changer.

Here, Trump has figured out a way to capture the energy Republicans are gaining through the midterms, by giving conservative activists a platform that gives them the information they want, and causes like Americans for Limited Government they can support wholeheartedly.

This is an opportunity for the conservative movement to grow.

And Trump is getting every single one of their email addresses with every single download from the App Store, who can now follow him every day. They won’t all be his supporters, but here, Trump has created a product that grants exclusive access to his thoughts and ideas, whether they are about what direction the country should be headed in, criticizing President Joe Biden or if he is endorsing candidates on the campaign trail.

Trump is helping the GOP to build a wider platform in 2022, and if he chooses to run for president again, in 2024. How many other Republican candidates will have a social media app to help them win the Republican primary or general election in 2024? How many would have even tried to stand up to Big Tech’s tyranny in this way?

In modern politics, this is not only how to build a movement, but an institution




Tuesday, May 03, 2022

Did vaccination make things worse?

Jean Curthoys

For almost two years, it has been an article of faith that the only way out of this Covid pandemic is mass vaccination.

On the surface, this has looked to be a plausible claim. It has been repeatedly and forcefully endorsed by public health officials and medical experts. Most people have been happy to go along with it, if not positively embrace it. Unsurprisingly, the result was the creation of an unvaccinated minority who have been subjected to accusations of selfishness, ‘anti-scientism’, and ostracised from society to varying degrees.

As one blogger put it, the unvaccinated ‘have cooties’.

The unvaccinated, in turn, haven’t held back from judging those who have judged them. They are genuinely bewildered as to how erstwhile sceptics of both Big Pharma and government integrity have been so eager to be injected with the former’s rushed product on the say-so of the latter. This led the unvaccinated to parody their accusers as sheep (‘sheeple’), blindly following authority to the Orwellian stage where they hold two contradictory beliefs: the vaccines are ‘safe and effective’ and the unvaccinated pose a life and death risk to the vaccinated.

Dr Robert M. Rennebohm is a retired paediatrician who wants to help with this unhappy situation that is straining, if not destroying, friendships and families.

He believes he can do this by passing on the clarity he achieved by spending the last two years deepening his understanding of the complexities of the human immune system. To this end, he has released An Open Letter to Parents and Paediatricians Regarding Covid Vaccination, which has been received as a masterpiece exposition of a highly complex subject. While the letter itself is 121 pages, the 10-page summary provides substantial illumination of the issues at stake and requires no more than an hour or so of focused attention. You can also listen to Rennebohm interviewed here.

As Rennebohm sees it – leaving aside the overwhelming media support for the official narrative – one reason for the impasse between supporters and opponents of Covid vaccine policy is that it depends on scientific questions which are beyond most of us. Consequently, those who accept vaccine mandates usually do so on the basis of authority, while those who reject them argue from a fundamental human rights framework along with the general risks of a product without the usual ten-year safety profile.

The two sides are talking past each other, both failing to address the core issue.

The core issue is whether mass vaccination was (and is) the ‘only way’ out of the pandemic. It is a fundamental question because the extent to which mass vaccination is for the greater good is the extent to which there is a case for weakening human rights and accepting the risks of vaccination. But this is a question of virology and immunology that can’t be addressed without a basic grasp of the relevant science. Rennebohm’s ‘Open Letter’ enables this bridge to be crossed by comparing the scientific support for the official policy with that for a significant dissenting view.

This is where things could become confronting for adherents to the mainstream, as they did for Rennebohm himself when he delved more deeply into the science.

The counter-narrative he examines in his letter has been advanced by the virologist Geert Vanden Bossche, well known to those who venture down the ‘rabbit hole’ of alternative media, but referred to in the mainstream media only as ‘misinformation’. Vanden Bossche’s thesis – argued with some passion – is that mass vaccination with imperfect vaccines (the only ones we have for respiratory viruses of this nature) and undertaken in the middle of a pandemic has been, and will continue to be, disastrous. The strategy is counterproductive, both for individuals and for the course of the pandemic – for individuals because it erodes natural immunity, and for the evolution of the pandemic because it enables the continual selection of variants that escape the vaccine. Moreover, the two factors compound each other. Mass vaccination, he maintains, makes the situation immeasurably worse.

This is a confronting idea if Vanden Bossche is right. As laid out by Rennebohm, the science suggests that he could be. More accurately, his argument has scientific support despite the prevailing narrative.

The implication is clear. Far from the world having experienced a pandemic of the unvaccinated, the reverse is the case – the pandemic has been prolonged by mass vaccination, and the overall health of the population would have been better served had a significant majority remained unvaccinated. The demonisation of the unvaccinated as socially irresponsible has no scientific basis.

While the experience of the last two years largely supports Vanden Bossche’s analysis, his work and that of others who argue to a similar conclusion, will remain unaddressed because the official policy is defended on the unverifiable ground that things ‘would have been much worse’ had it not been pursued. In this context, Rennebohm’s role is simply that of bringing Vanden Bossche’s work to the attention of the public.

The objective of Rennebohm’s exercise in basic science education is not to train citizen scientists, but to put some genuine and accessible information into the ‘informed consent’ theoretically required of the vaccinated. For the unvaccinated, his ‘Open Letter’ provides vindication. The wider hope is for some kind of reconciliation for those whose friendships and family relationships have been soured or disrupted.


New Omicron variants can dodge infection antibodies but jabs helps, study suggests

New Omicron sublineages show an ability to evade antibodies from earlier infection, a new Covid study has found.

But the deadly virus is far less able to thrive in the blood of people vaccinated.

Experts at a South African laboratory believe it could signal a fresh wave of infections in the country in the months ahead as with only 30 per cent of the popular fully jabbed.

Blood samples from people who had been infected with the original Omicron variant saw a big drop in neutralising antibody production when tested against the BA.4 and BA.5 sublineages that were discovered this month in South Africa.

“The low absolute neutralisation levels for BA.4 and BA.5, particularly in the unvaccinated group, are unlikely to protect well against symptomatic infection,” the researchers said.

“This may indicate that, based on neutralisation escape, BA.4 and BA.5 have potential to result in a new infection wave.”

On Saturday South Africa recorded 6,527 new cases and a test positivity rate of 21.5%.

The scientists from multiple institutions were examining Omicron's BA.4 and BA.5 sublineages, which the World Health Organisation recently added to its monitoring list.

They took blood samples from 39 participants previously infected by Omicron when it first showed up at the end of last year.

Fifteen were vaccinated - eight with Pfizer's shots, seven with Johnson & Johnson’s - while the other 24 were not.

"The vaccinated group showed about a 5-fold higher neutralisation capacity, and should be better protected," they added.

In the unvaccinated samples, there was an almost eightfold decrease in antibody production when exposed to BA.4 and BA.5, compared with the original BA.1 Omicron lineage.

South Africa may be entering a fifth Covid wave earlier than expected, officials and scientists announced on Friday.

They are blaming a "sustained" rise in infections that seems to be driven by the BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron sub-variants.

Only about 30% of South Africa's population of 60 million is fully vaccinated.




Monday, May 02, 2022

‘What I’ve Seen in the Last 2 Years Is Unprecedented’

Dr. James Thorp is an extensively published 68-year-old physician MD board-certified in obstetrics and gynecology, as well as maternal-fetal medicine, who has practiced obstetrics for over 42 years.

Thorp told The Epoch Times that he sees 6,000–7,000 high-risk pregnant patients a year and has seen many complications among them due to the COVID vaccines.

“I’ve seen many, many, many complications in pregnant women, in moms and in fetuses, in children, offspring,” Thorp said, “fetal death, miscarriage, death of the fetus inside the mom.

“What I’ve seen in the last two years is unprecedented,” Thorp asserted.

Thorp explained that although he has seen an increase in fetal death and adverse pregnancy outcomes associated with the COVID-19 vaccination, attempts to quantify this effect are hampered by the imposition of gag orders on physicians and nurses that were imposed in September 2021, as reviewed in the publication “Patient Betrayal: The Corruption of Healthcare, Informed Consent and the Physician-Patient Relationship” (pdf).

At the beginning of January, the FDA was ordered to release its first large batch of documents related to Pfizer’s COVID jab trials, of which over 10,000 of about 450,000 pages have been made public so far.

From the first day of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine rollout on Dec. 1 2020 through Feb. 28, 2021, 1,223 deaths and 42,086 adverse events were reported to Pfizer.

Among the adverse events, particularly alarming are the ones that affected pregnant women. The documents say that there were 274 pregnancy adverse events, of which 75, or 27 percent were “serious.”

“49 non-serious and 75 serious, reported clinical events, which occurred in the vaccinated mothers. Pregnancy related events reported in these cases coded to the [patients] Abortion spontaneous (25), Uterine contraction during pregnancy, Premature rupture of membranes, Abortion, Abortion missed, and Foetal death (1 each). Other clinical events which occurred in more than 5 cases coded to the [patients] Headache (33), Vaccination site pain (24), Pain in extremity and Fatigue (22 each), Myalgia and Pyrexia (16 each), Chills (13) Nausea (12), Pain (11), Arthralgia (9), Lymphadenopathy and Drug ineffective (7 each), Chest pain, Dizziness and Asthenia (6 each), Malaise and COVID-19 (5 each),” reads the previously confidential Pfizer documents (pdf).

The CDC website recommends the COVID vaccines during pregnancy in order to “prevent severe illness and death in pregnant women.”

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) also “strongly recommends that pregnant individuals be vaccinated against COVID-19,” adding that pregnant women’s complete vaccination should be a “priority.”

Thorp repeatedly emphasized that it’s not that everybody got their shots when the vaccine was first distributed.

“They were not all administered [on Dec 1, 2020,]” Thorp said. “All the lots that were sent out were deep-frozen on-site and then they were administered slowly over that eight weeks.”

The amount of BioNTech vaccines shipped worldwide at the time has been redacted in the aforementioned document.

“Why did they redact that? That would have been unbelievable information that would give you the exact numerator and denominator,” Thorp said.

The “general overview” table says that there were 29,914 “cases” related to females, 9,182 in males, and 2,990 people with “no data,” of which 19,582 are “recovered/recovering,” 11,361 “not recovered at the time of the report” and 1,223 “fatal.”

Former Pfizer VP Had Given Warnings

Michael Yeadon is a big pharma veteran with 32 years in the industry. He retired from Pfizer whilst occupying the most senior research position in that field.

“On December 1, 2020, We detailed a series of mechanistic toxicology concerns which we believed were reasonable to hold, unless & until proven not to occur,” Yeadon said in a statement to The Epoch Times.

“Among those was that adverse impacts on conception and ability to sustain a pregnancy were foreseeable.”

“It’s important to note that none of these gene-based agents had completed what’s called ‘reproductive toxicology.’ Over a year later, this battery of tests in animals still has not been done. So there was and still is no data package supporting safety in pregnancy or prior to conception.”

Dr. Wolfgang Wodarg and Yeadon detailed the concerns on the issue: the spike protein from the virus encoded in the vaccines was related to a minor extent to syncytin that plays a crucial part in the carrying of a baby to term.

Yeadon had hoped, back then, that their concerns were paid attention to, since they had already seen the tragedy of thalidomide, a sedative drug that caused congenital malformation, over 60 years ago.

“During 2021, I came across two further pieces of evidence which made it much more likely that there’d be adverse effects on pregnancy from COVID-19 ‘vaccines.'”

“It looked like someone had tried to dismiss our concerns by testing for evidence of the particular problem we’d warned about in Dec. 2020. Unfortunately, all they did is to reinforce our concerns. We’d envisioned the risk that, in responding to the synthetic piece of virus spike protein, women’s immune systems would also make an immune response to their own placental protein,” Yeadon said. “That’s exactly what was reported in the pre-print paper.”

“Based on this concern alone, all of these experimental products as a class should have been completely contraindicated in women younger than menopause.”

mRNA Products Accumulate in Ovaries

Another concern that they had not initially noticed was that “the mRNA products (Pfizer & Moderna) would accumulate in ovaries,” Yeadon stated.

“An FOI request to the Japanese Medicines Agency revealed that product accumulation in ovaries occurred in experiments in rodents. I searched the literature based on these specific concerns and found a 2012 review, explicitly drawing attention to the evidence that the lipid nanoparticle formulations as a class do, in fact, accumulate in ovaries and may represent an unappreciated reproductive risk to humans. This was ‘a well known problem’ to experts in that field.”

A 2012 study says that after testing with different mouse species and Wistar rats, “a high local accumulation of nanoparticles, nanocapsules and nanoemulsions in specific locations of the ovaries was found in all animals.”

Referring to the study, Yeadon told The Epoch Times that “The authors tell untruths. They say something like ‘there was no increase in anti-syncytin-1 antibodies.'”

“No, that’s wrong. Their data is clearly 2.5X increased after vaccination & obviously statistically significant (Functional significance is looking confirmed by the miscarriage rate,)” Yeadon noted.

“What they’re done is cute. They’ve chosen a completely arbitrary level they scribed on the figure below which they claim nothing matters. No evidence whatsoever for that claim. In fact, in the discussion, they confess we don’t know the relationship between antibodies & impact on function.”

The former Pfizer VP believes that the pharmaceutical industry “definitely knew,” since 2012, that the lipid nanoparticles would accumulate in the ovaries of women that took the vaccines.

“No one in the industry or in leading media could claim ‘they didn’t know about these risks to successful pregnancy.'”

A lipid nanoparticle is an extremely small particle, it’s a fat-soluble membrane that is the cargo of the messenger RNA, Thorp said.

“From data that we have, there appears to be a concentration of the lipid nanoparticles, which are very, very small particles, which are in the vaccine that are injected into the arm,” Thorp said, “and then the vast majority of those are dispersed throughout the entire body.”

“They appear to concentrate in the ovaries, and they appear to cross all God-made barriers in the human body, the blood-brain barrier, the placental barrier during pregnancy, into the fetal bloodstream, and all the fetal tissues inside the womb, crossing the blood-brain barrier in the fetus, the baby in the womb, which is very concerning,” he noted, since the eggs produced by women are limited in number, and they would be “exposed to a potentially disastrous toxic lipid nanoparticle.”

Dr. Christiane Northrup is a board-certified obstetrician-gynecologist with more than 30 years of experience and the former president of the American Holistic Medical Association. She also served on their board during the 80s and early 90s.

She told The Epoch Times last October about how were women being affected by the vaccines.

“Women are having bleedings. The doctors in our area are doing hysterectomies in young women, like 30-somethings, they said, ‘Oh, it’s not unusual.’ Let me tell you, as a board-certified gynecologist, that’s very unusual. Women’s periods are messed up all over the place … I’ve had a huge Facebook group of thousands of women talking about this situation that was removed,” Northrup said.

“My profession is famous for embracing treatments that later on turn into disasters: For example the drug thalidomide that results in limb effects in hundreds of babies, the Dalkon shield IUD that was touted as the birth control method of choice for women who had never had children—and then made hundred of them sterile from infection. And of course, there is DES (diethylstilbestrol) that was given to thousands of women for nausea of pregnancy—and results in reproductive abnormalities in both male and female offspring—including sterility,” Northrup added on Tuesday.

Pfizer and Moderna did not respond to requests for comment.




Sunday, May 01, 2022

Study Links Increase in Emergency Heart Events With COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout

A new study found a correlation between an increase in emergency cardiovascular events among people under 40 years of age during the launch of Israel’s COVID-19 vaccine program.

Published in the Nature journal, researchers utilized data from the Israel National Emergency Medical Services between 2019 and 2021 that evaluated emergency, or EMS, calls among 16- to 39-year-olds across Israel “with potential factors including COVID-19 infection and vaccination rates.”

They found that there was a 25 percent increase in EMS calls between January 2021 to May 2021, as compared with the years 2019 and 2020. Israel, which primarily uses Pfizer’s mRNA vaccine, launched its COVID-19 vaccine program in late December 2020.

“The weekly emergency call counts were significantly associated with the rates of 1st and 2nd vaccine doses administered to this age group but were not with COVID-19 infection rates,” they found. “While not establishing causal relationships, the findings raise concerns regarding vaccine-induced undetected severe cardiovascular side-effects and underscore the already established causal relationship between vaccines and myocarditis, a frequent cause of unexpected cardiac arrest in young individuals.”

They recommend that when evaluating possible vaccine side-effects and COVID-19 outcomes, officials should incorporate EMS data and relevant data to identify potential new health trends such as an increase in EMS calls, and “promptly investigate potential underlying causes.”

A recent study carried out by Swedish researchers across populations in Finland, Denmark, Sweden, and Norway suggested that heart inflammation requiring hospital care was more common among people who received COVID-19 vaccines than individuals who did not.

“These extra cases among men aged 16 to 24 correspond to a 5 times increased risk after Comirnaty and 15 times increased risk after Spikevax compared to unvaccinated,” Dr. Rickard Ljung, a professor and physician at the Swedish Medical Products Agency who was involved in the study, told The Epoch Times last week. Spikevax is the name for Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine, while Comirnaty is Pfizer’s vaccine.

His team found that myocarditis or pericarditis rates are higher than the levels in an unvaccinated cohort, or 38 per 100,000 after second doses of the mRNA vaccines were administered.

The Israeli research team said in their study, published on April 28, that they believe the “benefits of COVID-19 vaccination are clear, especially for populations at great risk of developing serious and potentially life-threatening illness” such as older adults or immunocompromised individuals. However, they noted, “it is important to better understand the potential risks to minimize potential harm.”

When conducting the research, the Israeli scientists made note of several potential flaws, including a “self-reporting bias” when individuals report symptoms via report systems including the U.S. federal government-run Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS), including “under and over-reporting” of vaccine-related symptoms.

“Even the study from Israel that is based on more proactive data collection mentions that some of the potentially relevant cases were not fully investigated,” they said.

A second issue the researchers ran into is how the symptoms of myocarditis, a type of heart inflammation, present themselves.

“Myocarditis is a particularly insidious disease with multiple reported manifestations,” they noted. “There is vast literature that highlights asymptomatic cases of myocarditis, which are often underdiagnosed.”

Meanwhile, “myocardial injury and myocarditis [are] prevalent among patients with COVID-19 infection,” not just among those who received the vaccine, it said.

“As COVID-19 vaccine rollouts often take place with background community COVID-19 infections, it could be challenging to identify whether increased incidence of myocarditis and related cardiovascular conditions … is driven by COVID-19 infections or induced by COVID-19 vaccines,” it added.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and most health agencies worldwide have said that the benefits of COVID-19 vaccines outweigh the potential risks. The CDC on its website says that most patients who develop myocarditis or pericarditis and got medical care have responded well to treatment.

Symptoms include chest pain, shortness of breath, and feelings of a fast-beating or fluttering heart


Increase in Reactivated Viruses Following COVID-19 Booster Shots: Dr. Richard Urso

Some viruses, after initial infection, remain latent in the body for a lifetime and may reactivate to cause infection again or a different condition. These kinds of latent viruses are being reactivated in a large number of people following their booster COVID-19 shots, causing symptoms of long COVID and other health conditions, according to Dr. Richard Urso.

Long COVID is a condition where people experience ongoing, recurring, or new health problems weeks to months after first being infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, or receiving a COVID-19 injection. Symptoms may include brain fog, fatigue, chest pain, and insomnia, among others.

“So in my clinic right now, I am seeing three to five people a week because they know that I am taking a lot of time in my practice to do COVID, and they’re coming to see me with long COVID and … with problems after the vaccine,” Urso, an ophthalmologist, a drug design and treatment specialist, and co-founder of the International Alliance of Physicians and Medical Scientists, told EpochTV’s “American Thought Leaders” program. “And what I’m finding is a huge number of them have reactivated Epstein-Barr, herpes simplex, herpes zoster, CMV.”

Of the more than 100 species of herpesviruses, eight are known to infect humans and remain in the body for life after the primary infection has cleared, and which can reactivate later under certain conditions:

Most people are unaware that they’ve been infected with some of these viruses as they experience no symptoms.

“A lot of people are looking at this long COVID as if it’s all viral related problems, specifically to the spike protein or to other issues. They don’t know that we’re seeing this huge reactivation in the herpesvirus family and we have treatment for it. It’s been working really really well,” Urso said.

While there is still no standard clinical definition or treatment for Long COVID, Urso says that there are many different repurposed drugs doctors can prescribe off-label to treat the syndrome, such as those used in the I-RECOVER protocol, developed by The Front Line COVID-19 Critical Care Alliance.

For long COVID symptoms caused by one of the reactivated herpesviruses, Urso says he prescribes Valtrex and supplements like lysine and vitamin D.

“We use lysine because it’s one of those nutritionals that’s good against the herpesvirus family. The ratio of lysine-arginine seems to impact the ability of these viruses to replicate,” Urso said.

He added, “I tell people vitamin D is your data analyst. It allows the immune system to make good decisions … And when vitamin D is around, your immune system can recognize, ‘Oh, this is pollen, let’s leave it alone. Let’s attack this pathogen, let’s attack this cancer.’”

Urso said he’s been recommending vitamin D since 1995 when he was the chief of orbital oncology at MD Anderson Cancer Center. He came upon a study that showed the supplement “had some impact on a tumor recognition protein” and began to test all of his patients’ vitamin D levels.

“Virtually 100 percent of the patients were vitamin D deficient with cancer, colon cancer particularly, we became aware of it,” Urso said, adding that vitamin D has also been “amazing for allergies, it’s amazing for prevention, and resistance against cancer, particularly lymphomas and breast cancer.”

Treating COVID Patients

When the pandemic began, Urso said that he couldn’t stay quiet knowing that COVID-19 can be treated early with various repurposed drugs and “reluctantly started treating” patients as a result of other doctors refusing to prescribe early treatment.

“I told my patients if you have COVID, nobody is going to help you. I said, first go through the chain, [and] if no one’s going to help you, I’ll help you,” Urso said.

More than two years into the pandemic, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) continues to tell people to stay home unless they show “emergency warning signs” that include difficulty breathing, new confusion, and persistent chest pain or pressure.

The health agency only began recommending in January 2022 that individuals at high risk of developing severe disease should seek early treatment with one of the emergency authorized medications when they test positive for COVID-19.

Throughout the pandemic, the CDC has not recommended people to take vitamin D. Studies have shown that vitamin D can help prevent COVID-19, reduce admission to the intensive care unit, and significantly reduce mortality. A study from Israel found that people who were vitamin D deficient were 14 times more likely to have severe COVID-19.

Lipid Nanoparticles

Lipid nanoparticles (LPNs) are tiny particles made up of lipids or fat that act as a delivery system by encapsulating the mRNA that encodes the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein into the human cells.

Without the LPNs, the mRNA would degrade in a matter of seconds once injected into the arm.

Studies have found that the LPNs are not degrading and being eliminated from the body in the 36-hour time frame the FDA recently told The Epoch Times about, nor do they stay only at the injection site.

The Japanese regulatory agency’s biodistribution study (pdf) of the Pfizer vaccine showed that some of the mRNA moved from the injection site and through the bloodstream, and was found in various organs such as the liver, spleen, adrenal glands, and ovaries of rats 48 hours following injection.

“This is something that I would have known quite readily because I work with lipid nanoparticles,” Urso said. “I could have told you that lipid nanoparticles, I usually say, they need a door crack [to leave the injection site], whereas a virus needs an open door.”

Since a normal vaccine requires an “open door” to distribute to other parts of the body, Urso says, “a normal vaccine stays in the arm, pretty much 99.9 percent or 99 percent,” while “a large majority” of LPNs will not stay in the arm.

“In fact, we now know that a large part of it goes into the lymph node right underneath here, and is still making spike protein 60 days later,” Urso said, adding that the spike protein “is actually being found up to 15 months later, in monocytes and other cells, it’s not being degraded.”

Urso says that the persistence of spike protein in different parts of the body is interfering with the immune system’s normal functions and causing health problems.

“It’s blocking important tumor repairing genes called p53, it’s blocking BRCA [genes], it’s also messing with microRNA-27A, which is causing upticks in colon cancer cells,” Urso said.

Urso says that the presence of spikes and LPNs is also “messing with Toll-like receptors 7 and 8,” which are “important for immune surveillance for viruses.”

“So we’re going to see this huge uptick in all the viruses that lay kind of dormant in our body like herpesvirus family.”