Friday, September 09, 2022


That was my immediate and proper response when I was told that Her Majesty the Queen had died. Britain is never without a monarch. When one passes the successor is immediately known and recognized.

Like untold millions worldwide I was upset to hear of her death and shed a tear over it. Australia is a monarchy and I think you have to be a citizen of a monarchy to understand the emotional significance of that.

I also shed a tear when the previous monarch died. I was only nine when King George VI died but even then I felt the significance of the occasion.

Aside from Britain itself there are two other great monarchies where the Queen will be widely mourned: Australia and Canada. Each occupies around 3 million square miles of territory and their collective populations exceed that of all European countries except Russia and Germany. Our courageous English forebears in their little wooden ships did an amazing job of spreading their civilization far and wide across the globe.

I have family members presently living in both Scotland and New Zealand -- two countries that are about as oppositely located on the face of the earth as you can get. Yet both speak every day the English language that they learnt in their Australian childhoods. And they are perfectly understood in both locations. Such is the miracle that our English forebears created.

There were a few uncomprehending people who spoke ill of the Queen after hearing of her death. I wonder how many people will shed a tear over their deaths? If they were wise they might reflect on that

The Queen's loyal public are gathering outside Balmoral Castle, Windsor Castle and Buckingham Palace as they pay emotional tributes to the Monarch who has died today aged 96.

Thousands of well-wishers flocked to Buckingham Palace this evening as news broke of the Queen's death.

Tourists and concerned Britons headed to the iconic London landmark, while people also congregated outside the royal castle in Aberdeenshire to mourn for Her Majesty.

Her son Charles, the former Prince of Wales, is now King. The Queen's children and grandchildren travelled to be with her this afternoon after doctors said they were 'concerned' for her health.

Around 100,000 people are expecting to line the streets outside Buckingham Palace this evening. Already crowds now stretch for more than a mile to Trafalgar Square.

At 6.30pm a Union flag atop Buckingham Palace lowered. It drew gasps from the crowd who knew what the symbolic gesture meant.

The sad news of Queen Elizabeth II death was then announced officially. Some people in the crowd wept as others gave an impromptu rendition of God Save The Queen.

Two members of the Queens household emerged and placed a notice of the Queen’s passing on the gates of Buckingham Palace.

The crowd surged to the gates as the notice announcing the death of the only monarch most Britons have ever known was attached to the black iron gates.


Do you REALLY need another Covid jab? Experts give their verdicts as a major new booster campaign begins - but AstraZeneca's boss says a fourth jab ISN'T necessary

Covid is still officially a pandemic, but many experts would now describe it as endemic (something that’s constantly present in the population).

More than 24,000 people in England tested positive for the virus in the last week of August, but thousands more are likely to have it as many people don’t have symptoms.

While this is much lower than its peak (there were almost 235,000 cases a day on January 4 this year), cases are expected to rise in the coming months as we spend more time indoors. (The virus is mainly spread in close proximity, in tiny droplets when we speak.)

Around half the population — 33.5 million — has now had three doses of Covid vaccine (the two-part initial course, plus a booster), while 42.6 million have had only two doses.

‘For many, Covid is now a relatively mild respiratory disease,’ says Andrew Preston, a professor of microbial pathogenesis at the University of Bath. ‘That’s largely due to most of us being able to mount a robust immune response to the virus, having now been vaccinated, infected or both.

‘Protection against SARS-CoV-2 [which causes Covid] is associated with high levels of antibodies. These levels are greatly boosted by vaccination, but they drop over time, meaning we can become susceptible to infection once the levels drop.’

But I’ve already had the other three jabs?

Professor Preston says: ‘As many people have experienced, three jabs haven’t prevented infection with one of the Omicron strains, but they have kept it to a generally tolerable mild infection.

‘The problem is that we don’t know how long that protection will last, particularly if new variants arise.

‘Vaccines stimulate greater magnitude immune responses than even natural infection, so provide greater levels of protection. Boosters reduce your chances of suffering from any type of disease, at least for a while.

‘And the more people who are protected, the less Covid will circulate. The theory is that this reduces the risk of new strains developing.

‘Boosters are also important for those who’ve never tested positive for Covid. Given the levels of infection over the past year, if you’ve never had Covid, then it’s very likely down to the protection you’ve got from vaccination.’

But others have questioned the benefits of the booster campaign. Last month, Pascal Soriot, chief executive of AstraZeneca, said boosting healthy people again was not ‘good use of money’ as vaccines protect healthy people for a ‘long time’. (AstraZeneca’s jab will not be used in the campaign.)

Will Irving, a professor of virology at Nottingham University, told Good Health: ‘Many people have now had three doses of vaccine, as well as two or three bouts of real infection, and you would imagine that would provide them with enough immune memory to protect them for a while.

‘The issue is we don’t know how long the immune memory lasts, so a top-up dose is a good idea for those advised to have one.’

So am I eligible for the new jab?

Around 26 million people in England are eligible. They are: adults aged 50 and over; those aged five to 49 with underlying health problems such as auto- immune conditions that put them at risk; those aged 16 to 49 who are carers or who live with someone who is immuno-suppressed; pregnant women; care home residents; care home workers; social care workers and frontline health workers.These people can have a booster jab three months or more after their last Covid vaccination.

Healthy children and adults under the age of 50 ‘continue to have good protection from their first two vaccinations and their first booster jab,’ says the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA).

Which vaccines are being used for the booster?

The jabs will be one of the mRNA vaccines: the new bivalent version of the Moderna (Spikevax) and Pfizer jabs, which protect against two strains of Covid, the Delta variant and Omicron; the original single-strain Moderna jab (Spikevax); and the Pfizer vaccine (Comirnaty).

The Novavax (Nuvaxovid) jab, which works differently, will be offered to those for whom the mRNA vaccine is unsuitable.

‘These mRNA vaccines are a new type of vaccine which deliver the genetic code for the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein directly into our cells,’ explains Professor Preston. The spike protein binds the virus to our cells to start infection.

‘The natural protein-making machinery in the cell interprets this [spike protein] code, produces the spike protein and presents it to our immune cells to stimulate the immune response, which will help your body fight off Covid if you come into contact with the virus.’

In very rare circumstances, such as a severe allergy, none of the approved mRNA vaccines will be suitable, says the UKHSA. In these circumstances, the Nuvaxovid vaccine should be offered. For some, such as many immunosuppressed people, vaccination is not possible at all.

Last month, the Government decided not to buy Evusheld, a potentially life-saving treatment for the 500,000 high-risk patients who are not able to have a vaccine because they have weakened immune systems. Evusheld, which costs £1,500 per person a year, is taken as a preventative treatment. Data from Israel shows immunocompromised people who get it are half as likely to become infected with Covid and 92 per cent less likely to be hospitalised and/or die.

Why aren’t we getting the AstraZeneca vaccine?

‘The concern over the very rare clotting disorders observed with the AstraZeneca jab led to the decision to use the Moderna/Pfizer RNA vaccines for boosters,’ Professor Preston says.

The UKHSA points to evidence from a trial of seven different vaccines given as a third dose by University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust, which found mRNA vaccines were ‘the most effective’.

How good is the new vaccine?

Vaccines are very effective at preventing people from dying or becoming seriously ill with Covid; a booster of the Pfizer or Moderna mRNA vaccines is still more than 85 per cent effective at preventing death three months after being administered, and around 60 per cent effective at preventing hospitalisation.

However, this wanes and by six months, protection against symptomatic infection drops to zero. How long booster protection lasts is as yet unclear.

Last month, Dame Kate Bingham, the architect of Britain’s successful vaccination campaign, accused civil servants of ‘taking their foot off the gas’ in finding new jabs. She said the current jabs are ‘not good enough’ because they ‘don’t block transmission, they don’t protect for very long’.

She is concerned that the Government drive to find new vaccines has fallen away.

Scientists are working on new Covid vaccines, the ultimate goal being a universal version that protects against all variants.




Thursday, September 08, 2022

How Anti-White Hate Won Open Acceptance among America's Leftist elite

The hate described below is certainly horrible and alarming and sounds quite deranged. It is undoubtedly designed to make most of the population uncomfortable. And that is the clue to it. That is its aim. That is what underlies it. Leftists WANT to make contented people unhappy. To them, contented people are "complacent" and they hate that and want to upset it

Probably the oldest manifestation of Leftism is envy. And envy is destructive and generates hate. The Ten Commandments rightly ordered against it. The haters/enviers decribed below have undoubtedly seen what they regard as complacency among many members of the white population. Large numbers of whites have the audacity to be reasonably happy with their lives. And a Leftist misery-guts hates that.

Even if the Leftist is himself well-off he cannot stand other people doing well for themselves. Tearing down the rich has always been what Leftism is about -- lifting up the poor is just a facade.

Although I am a libertarian conservative, I have some instinctive understanding of that. When I see a tall, well-built young man with blue eyes wearing a private-school blazer, I am conscious that he will probably not have to try hard to have an easy path to and through the best things in life. He is obviously the product of a family that cares enough about him and is economically successful enough to spend a lot of money in giving him a good and pleasant school experience. And that is a great start.

And he will only faintly be aware of the extent of his privilege. He will stroll though life with effortless ease and confidence. Most people will be nice to him and he will be casually nice back.

And that is all in some sense unfair and is felt as unfair and in need of a remedy. Why should one person have so much when others have very little? Should he not be taken down a peg or two?

And society does do a lot to equalize things. He will pay a lot of taxes that other people will live on. But is that enough?

In thinking about that I think of my own son. He is 6' tall, blue-eyed and well built. I sent him to a private school and he later acquired a first class honours degree in mathematics from a highly regarded university. And he has a father who is a distinguished academic and a mother who is very sociable. And he has inherited advantages from both sides.

So he is one of those privileged people that Leftists love to hate. But he has had difficult personal issues that left him unhappy for quite a while. He was betrayed by his flexibility and tendency to trust. He has got past his dark period now but it set him back a lot in various ways.

So we should not assume much about anyone. Even privilege is not an automatic path to happiness and fulfilment. It may even be a hindrance. Well-off men can be targeted by "gold diggers" for instance. And "affirmative action" is deliberately rigged against them.

The plain truth is that the path to happiness is much more influenced by personal relationships than anything else. People both rich and poor can find lasting love in their lives and it is they who are the lucky ones. But that is too deep for Leftists. In their usual way, they just see superficialities

So the hate described below can be understood but no remedy for it is obvious. One can only hope that normal people will eventually kick back against it in some way

In a 2021 lecture at Yale University titled “The Psychopathic Problem of the White Mind,” psychiatrist Aruna Khilanani described her “fantasies of unloading a revolver into the head of any white person that got in my way, burying their body and wiping my bloody hands as I walked away relatively guiltless with a bounce in my step, like I did the world a favor.”

Around the same time, a scholarly article in a peer-reviewed academic journal described “whiteness” as “a malignant, parasitic-like condition to which ‘white’ people have a particular susceptibility.” The author, Donald Moss, had also presented his paper as a continuing education course for licensed therapists who would presumably treat patients with this condition. The paper advises: “There is not yet a permanent cure.”

This is a sampling of the new racism that is gaining purchase in American society even as its advocates relentlessly punish speech they deem harmful and threatening to people of color. It parallels the acceptance of anti-male rhetoric that casts masculinity as “predatory” and “toxic,” or just casually demeans males as oafish and clueless, which allows the Washington Post to give a megaphone to Northeastern University professor Suzanna Danuta Walters to ask: “Why can’t we hate men?” (Her conclusion: We can and we should.)

The escalation of this inflammatory rhetoric is reaching the highest levels of American society, as when President Biden insinuated in a fiery campaign speech last week that Donald Trump supporters are “white supremacists” and when he maligned conservative mask skeptics last year for “Neanderthal thinking."

What strikes a casual observer is that such language would be instantly denounced if it targeted racial minorities or other protected groups. Just as remarkable is that this new rhetoric is not coming from dropouts and loners at society’s margins; it is being advanced by successful professionals who have scaled the heights of respectability and are given a platform on social media and in prestigious cultural outlets.

And though each of those examples generated a public furor, such inflammatory rhetoric is defended or downplayed by cultural gatekeepers. The incidents have been piling up especially in the past few years, especially since the election of Donald Trump to the White House during the ascent of Black Lives Matter in the age of social media, and even include cases of people calling for the hate of privileged groups and insisting it’s not hate speech.

In its ultimate sign of success, this messaging has taken hold in public schools, corporate workplaces, medical journals, scientific research and even diversity training in federal agencies. It’s not limited to any single race but endorsed by whites, blacks, Asians and others, and disseminated in diversity materials and workplace-recommended readings that characterize white people as flawed, predatory and dangerous to society. Its sudden spread has caused a sense of culture shock and given rise to acrimonious school board meetings and employee lawsuits over hostile work environments as legions of teachers, students and workers have been educated about white privilege, white fragility, white complicity, and the moral imperative to de-center “whiteness” so as not to “normalize white domination.”

This new take on speech produces a moral paradox, particularly among academics and journalists: Those who are most militant about policing what they deem to be hate speech against minorities, women, gays and trans communities are often the most tolerant of demeaning depictions, incendiary rhetoric and violent imagery against whites and men.

To those who see a double standard, such routine disparagement of masculinity and whiteness is a case study in hypocrisy that upends longstanding norms against stereotyping entire social groups. It’s a manifestation of what Columbia University linguist and social commentator John McWhorter dubbed “woke racism” in a 2021 book of the same name that warns of the dangerous spread of “the kinds of language, policies, and actions that Orwell wrote of as fiction.”

But its advocates insist there is no double standard; they argue they are simply speaking truth to power, which should cause discomfort. In this belief system, reverse discrimination can’t exist because social justice demands tipping the scales to favor marginalized groups to correct for centuries of injustice.

They include Rutgers University historian James Livingston who, in a Facebook critique of gentrification, described a Harlem burger joint as being “overrun with little Caucasian assholes who know their parents will approve of anything they do. Slide around the floor, you little shithead, sing loudly you unlikely moron. Do what you want, nobody here is gonna restrict your right to be white.”

The post concluded: “I hereby resign from my race. Fuck these people. Yeah, I know, it’s about access to my dinner. Fuck you, too.”

In a phone call, Livingston, who is white, said his Facebook post was a joke targeted at white people who are privileged and therefore require less protection than marginalized groups.

“White males have been the norm of our culture and our politics and our society and our economy for so long that unearthing the unstated assumptions that go into that is pretty hard work, and it reveals things that make us uncomfortable,” Livingston said. “So do they need to be protected? I suppose. Everybody needs some protection. But I’m not too worried about people telling me that I have no right to speak on the issue of transgender individuals.”

Although Livingston was initially found in violation of Rutgers’ discrimination and harassment policy, Rutgers later reversed its decision, accepting his claim that his Facebook post was satire protected by academic freedom.

Festering for Decades

It can seem that such putdowns and trash talk have burst out of nowhere in the last few years. But the underlying justifications have been percolating for decades, and they are seen by skeptics as a modern repackaging of ancient us-versus-them tribal reflexes. Telltale signs of role-reversal have been described by serious thinkers, such as 19th century philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, who wrote that “He who fights too long against dragons becomes a dragon himself.”

More recently, author Douglas Murray has warned of the tendency for social justice movements to “behave – in victory – as its opponents once did” – which is to say: meanly – and which ultimately results in “the normalization of vengefulness.”

The idea that stereotyping and denigrating entire groups has no place in a society that strives for equality is one of the signature achievements of the Civil Rights era. By the 1970s, openly expressing racist slurs and jokes against black people was seen as a distasteful holdover from the Jim Crow era, an Archie Bunker-ism signifying low education and low intelligence.

The prohibition against racist speech rapidly became generalized to all identity groups. Ethnic slurs against Poles, Italians, Asians, and others became verboten as did mockery of gays and the disabled. Many words once commonly used to describe women, such as “dame” and “broad” became unacceptable, while terms that were once seen as neutral or descriptive, such as “colored,” “Oriental,” and “Negro,” suddenly took on negative connotations, and became unutterable in public (creating a replacement term, “people of color”).

But at the same time that these language taboos against expressing prejudice were becoming widely accepted across the political spectrum as a matter of civility, a far-more radical effort to regulate speech was percolating on the left.

This movement sought to limit speech on the rationale that language was a form of social control and therefore the source of oppression and violence. The assumption that hurtful language leads to harmful policies ultimately produced today’s cancel culture phenomenon, where otherwise well-regarded professionals are investigated, suspended, canned, or booted from social media for simply questioning the factual claims of Black Lives Matter, for affirming biological sex differences, for satirizing ritual land acknowledgements, and even for publicly saying the Mandarin word “nei-ge” (because it supposedly resembles a racial epithet in English).

The core proposition of this mindset can be traced to philosophers like Michel Foucault, who developed theories of language as a form of societal power and domination, and Herbert Marcuse, the Marxist scholar whose now-classic 1960s essay, “Repressive Tolerance,” argues that the oppressor class and the oppressed cannot be held to the same standard. Marcuse proposed that the classical liberal doctrine of free speech is a mechanism that benefits capitalists and others who wield power, that the struggle for “a real democracy” paradoxically necessitates “the fight against an ideology of tolerance.”

The subversive intellectuals of the 1960s and 1970s passed on the torch to Critical Race Theorists and radical feminists, and in the 1990s the critique of bourgeoisie liberalism was taken up by Stanley Fish, a post-modernist literary critic and critical legal scholar who ridiculed the idea of “free speech” and “reverse racism,” giving wider exposure to these esoteric scholarly arguments.

“By insisting that from now on there shall be no discrimination, they leave in place the effects of the discrimination that had been practiced for generations,” Fish wrote. “What is usually meant by perfect neutrality is a policy that leaves in place the effects of the discrimination you now officially repudiate. Neutrality thus perpetuates discrimination, rather than reversing it, for you can only fight discrimination with discrimination.”

During the Obama era, Fish was a celebrity public intellectual publishing pieces in the New York Times titled “Two Cheers for Double Standards” and “The Harm in Free Speech.”

Thus it came to be accepted that creating a just society will require controlling speech to disempower the historically privileged and empower aggrieved groups, and to undo sex, gender, and racial disparities in society.

More here:




Wednesday, September 07, 2022

Inflammatory mRNA Nanoparticles Inhibit and Alter Immune Response: Pre-Print Study

A recent preprint study has shed light on why adverse events have been observed following a COVID-19 messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccination.

The study, led by researchers from Thomas Jefferson University, found that the lipid nanoparticles (LNPs) used to transport mRNA in COVID-19 vaccines could “inhibit” and “alter” immune responses in mice.

LNPs are shells of lipids that envelope mRNA to prevent degradation and detection by our body’s immune system.

LNPs are not mRNA, simply an envelope to transport the mRNA cargo.

Both the Pfizer and Moderna mRNA COVID-19 vaccines use LNPs to deliver mRNA spike protein sequences into human cells. Once human cells received the mRNA sequences, the cells will then manufacture spike proteins, triggering an immune response.

It was originally intended that the LNPs discreetly deliver mRNA sequences into the cells to produce spike proteins, and in doing so, form immunity against the COVID-19 virus.

However, many studies in mice have since found that the LNPs, claimed to be non-toxic and safe, are actually highly inflammatory.

These nanoparticles are highly durable and can last for 20 to 30 days in the body. While they persist in the body, it is likely they will continue to activate the immune system, leading to immune exhaustion and non-responsiveness.

The Thomas Jefferson study also shared similar findings. The researchers investigated how LNPs affect the immune system by injecting mice with the same LNPs used in Pfizer’s vaccines, and some mice were even double-dosed.

Inflammation and immune responses in mice are not sure signs that the same will happen in humans. Nonetheless, mice have long been used to test for safety and efficacy in drugs for human use; signs of immune problems are an indication of possible health risks in humans.

The authors found that mice that received two doses had a reduced immune response on their second injection as compared to mice that only received one dose.

“The mRNA-LNP (nanoparticle) vaccine platform induces long-term unexpected immunological changes affecting both adaptive immune responses and heterologous protection against infections,” the authors wrote.

Pre-Exposure to mRNA Nanoparticles Reduce Innate Cell Numbers
Mice that were injected with two doses of LNPs had a reduced number of innate immune cells, the first-responder immune cells.

The authors wanted to find how the LNPs, the shell that wraps around mRNA, affected mice by injecting them with different variations LNPs.

The mice were split into three groups, all three groups received two injections, albeit with different contents.

For the first injection, most mice were given an injection of LNP. Half were given LNPs containing mRNA sequences and another half were given empty LNPs with no mRNA inside.

The remaining mice were given an injection of salted water. These mice are used as the baseline for comparison as salted water injections are not supposed to introduce any changes to the body.

Two weeks later, all three groups were given the same LNP injection containing mRNA sequences for an influenza protein (HA). The second injection allowed their cells to make HA proteins, which triggered an immune response. It was intended that this immune response would then make the mice immune against the influenza virus.

The three groups of mice and what they were vaccinated against. The first group was given saline for the first shot, the second group was given a mRNA lipid nanoparticle vaccination against a jellyfish protein, the third group was vaccinated with an empty mRNA LNP.

All three groups were given a vaccination of influenza HA protein sequenced in mRNA and packaged in mRNA LNPs. Modified figure of “Pre-exposure to mRNA-LNPs or LNPs significantly inhibits subsequent adaptive immune responses induced by the mRNA-LNP vaccine"

The researchers found that following the second injection, all mice had developed immune defense against the influenza virus.

The authors observed mice that were given two doses of LNPs were more resistant to an influenza infection as they lost less weight. Oddly enough, these same mice also had a lower immune response to the flu vaccine with fewer immune cells activated.

The authors speculated that their “resistance” is likely not from strengthened immunity, but a product from an alternative pathway triggered by LNPs. It is unknown if this “resistance” will apply to other infections and may only be applicable to influenza.

This is because the study found that mice that were more “resistant” to the flu were actually more susceptible to fungal infections.

The researchers infected mice with Candida albicans, the mice that received two doses lost more weight and had poorer control over the infection, indicating an alteration in the innate immune response.

Further investigations showed that these mice had a lower number of neutrophils, which are the most common first responder immune cells.

The job of neutrophils is to patrol the body and attack indiscriminately when encountering something foreign, therefore a reduced number of neutrophils put an individual at a greater risk of infection.

Since an uncontrolled fungal infection, particularly C. albicans, is often a sign of weakened innate or first responder immune response, the authors therefore suspected that reduced neutrophil numbers may have contributed to the fungal outbreak.

LNPs cause inflammation, and certain inflammatory pathways reduce the production of blood cells. The authors speculated that the two doses of LNPs some mice received may have caused greater inflammation leading to a decline in blood cell production and low neutrophil counts.

Though this is speculation and it is uncertain if the effects in mice would apply to humans, there have been reports in vaccinated individuals of the sudden onset of severe aplastic anemia, a condition where the body can no longer make enough blood cells, particularly red blood cells.

There have also been some reports of COVID-19 vaccinated individuals developing rare fungal diseases and others with worsening of pre-existing fungal diseases.

Though serious fungal disease does not automatically mean a weak immune system, nonetheless, serious fungal infections “are most common among people with weak immune systems,” writes the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Antigen Numbers Reduced in Mice with High Nanoparticle Exposure

Within the immune system, there are the first responder (innate immune cells) and the second responders (adaptive immune cells).

The first responders mount an immediate attack upon encountering something foreign. However, their attacks are nonspecific and often cannot fully clear infections.

Therefore the adaptive immune cells, also known as T and B cells serve as our second responders.

They are activated around a week into the infection and clear infections by mounting potent and specific attacks.

To activate adaptive immune cells, T and B cells must be presented with information on the pathogen. In the case of Sars-Cov-2, it can be a section of the spike protein.

APCs (antigen presenting cells), a type of first responding cell bring pieces of the virus, bacteria, or infectious particle to the adaptive T or B cells. This will activate the T or B cell, triggering an adaptive immune response.

The image below shows a dendritic cell (APC), activating a T cell by presenting it with an antigen, a toxic or foreign substance.

However, the authors found that mice that were given two doses of mRNA LNPs had reduced antigen presentation compared to mice that were only given one dose of LNPs.

This implies that fewer adaptive immune cells were made to activate against the influenza proteins.

mRNA Nanoparticles Reduce T and B cell Responses
The authors found the mice that received two injections of LNP had lower T and B cell responses to the flu mRNA vaccine than mice that were only given one dose.

As the final line of immune response, T and B cells are critical in our immune system’s ability to clear out infections.

However, in mice given two doses of LNP, less of their T and B cells were activated.

The double-dosed groups also had lower concentrations of antibodies (B cells make antibodies) against the influenza protein.

The reduced adaptive immune response was systemic, persisting across all organs and regions. Yet this reduction was even greater at the site of injection, especially if the mice were given injections at the same place for both shots, according to the authors.

On the other hand, the group that was only given one injection of LNP had higher T and B cell responses with more antibodies produced.

The authors found that exposure to LNP reduced T progenitor cells. Since T progenitor cells mature into activated T cells, less progenitors mean reduced T cell numbers and response.

The authors found if the T progenitor cells were removed before vaccination and then returned after vaccination, the active T cell numbers would not be reduced. This suggests that the LNP directly reduce the number of T progenitor cells, and in doing so, reduces the T cell response.

“Pre-exposure to mRNA-LNP inhibits T cell responses,” the authors wrote.

This reduced immunity should not be permanent, the authors speculated.

They noted that B cell responses mostly recovered if an interval of 8 weeks was introduced between the first and second doses.

Nevertheless, the authors did not verify the time period needed for a complete recovery, nor did they verify if the B cell response ever recovered in the mice.

However, injecting mice with adjuvants such as aluminum salts or AddaVax removed the suppressive effects the LNP injections had on mice immune cells.

“Inhibition of the adaptive immune responses by pre-exposure to mRNA-LNPs is long-lasting but it is likely to wane with time.”

Immunity Changes from LNPs Can Be Inherited
As aforementioned, mice that were injected with two doses of LNPs were more resistant against an influenza infection than mice that were only given one dose of LNPs.

This was demonstrated through the mice’s superior maintenance of weight during infection, though it is uncertain if the resistance was from an immune response or some other pathway triggered by the LNPs.

Oddly enough, this increased defensiveness could be passed to their offspring. The inheritance of resistance against influenza is stronger if both parents were immunized, and less so when only a single parent, particularly if only the male parent is immunized.

However, the study did not address if the offspring also inherit immune weakness, such as a decline in immunity against C. albicans, a trait also observed in mice that were given two LNPs doses.

Implication of the Study and Pressing Questions
The findings from the mice study suggest that T and B cell functions are reduced temporarily in mice and raises the question if the same occurs in humans.

The adaptive immune response is critical to clearing infections, and preventing chronic conditions such as cancer. The study suggests that after two vaccinations with the mRNA LNPs, there are a few weeks of vulnerability in mice, putting them at a greater risk of infections and cancer.

Similar reports are also observed in humans, though there is yet to be any study establishing a conclusive link.

However, an increased rate of disease being reported to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) after COVID-19 vaccination suggests reduced immunity in people following vaccination.

There have been many reports of cancers emerging following COVID-19 vaccinations.

In the VAERS database, 284 cases of breast cancer were reported after COVID-19 vaccination, while just 350 cases have been reported in the entire history of VAERS.

There were 269 cases of leukemia reported after COVID-19 vaccination as compared to 432 cases in the entire history of VAERS.

Additionally, there have also been concerning reports of new onset and recurrent shingles following COVID-19 vaccinations. VAERS data shows that 7,559 cases of shingles have been reported following COVID-19 vaccination.

Over the entire history of VAERS, 28,180 cases of shingles have been reported following any vaccination, meaning that around a quarter of shingles cases occurred after COVID-19 vaccination.

The CDC has indicated that a new diagnosis or recurrence of shingles primarily occurs in people with compromised immune systems and is a sign of weakened immunity.

Though the study on mice suggests possible health implications in humans, it is unknown whether all the symptoms and effects seen in mice will occur in people.

Nevertheless, growing data of reported adverse health effects in humans following COVID-19 vaccination warrant further research. Examination of the overlaps between health implications for mice and humans is also needed.

“Considering the broad exposure of a large proportion of human populations to vaccines based on this novel (mRNA) technology, more studies are warranted to fully understand its overall immunological and physiological effects. Determining this platform’s short and long-term impact on human health would help optimize it to decrease its potentially harmful effects,” the authors concluded.




Tuesday, September 06, 2022

The Mysteries of Long COVID-19

When the original strain of COVID-19 arrived in spring 2020, a pandemic soon swept the country.

By far most survived COVID-19. But hundreds of thousands did not. American deaths now number well over 1 million.

Amid the tragedy, there initially was some hope that the pernicious effects of the disease would all disappear upon recovery among the nearly 99% who survived the initial infection.

Vaccinations by late 2020 were promised to end the pandemic for good. But they did not. New mutant strains, while more infectious, were said to be less lethal, thus supposedly resulting in spreading natural immunity while causing fewer deaths from infection.

But that too was not quite so.

Instead, sometimes the original symptoms, sometimes frightening new ones, not only lingered after the acute phase, but were of increased morbidity.

Now two-and-a-half years after the onset of the pandemic, there may be more than 20 million Americans who are still suffering from what is currently known as “long COVID-19″—a less acute version but one ultimately as debilitating.

Some pessimistic analyses suggest well over 4 million once-active Americans are now disabled from this often-ignored pandemic and out of the workforce.

Perhaps 10%-30% of those originally infected with COVID-19 have some lingering symptoms six months to a year after the initial infection. And they are quite physically sick, desperate to get well, and certainly not crazy.

So far, no government Marshall plan exists to cure long COVID.

While we know the nature of the virus well by now, no one fathoms what causes long COVID’s overwhelming fatigue, flu-like symptoms, neuralgic impairment, cardiac and pulmonary damage, and an array of eerie problems from extended loss of taste and smell to vertigo, neuropathy, and “brain fog.”

“Post-viral fatigue” has long been known to doctors. Many who get the flu or other viruses like mononucleosis sometimes take weeks or even months to recover after the initial acute symptoms retire.

But no one knows why long COVID often seems to last far longer and with more disability.

Is its persistence due to one theory that SARS-CoV-2 is a uniquely insidious, engineered virus? Or do vaccines and antivirals only help to curb infection, while possibly encouraging more unpredictable mutations?

Who gets long COVID, and why and how is, to paraphrase Winston Churchill, “a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.”

Those who nearly die from acute COVID-19 can descend into long COVID. But then again, so can those with minimal or few initial acute symptoms.

The obese with comorbidities are prone to long COVID, but triathletes and marathon runners are, too.

The elderly, the mature, the middle-aged, adolescents, and children can all get long COVID. Those with down-regulated and impaired immune systems fight long COVID. But then again, so do those with up-regulated and prior robust immunity, as well as people with severe allergies.

Since early 2020, no one has deciphered the cause, although numerous Nobel Prizes await anyone who unlocks its mysteries.

Does a weakened but not vanquished SARS-CoV-2 virus hide out and linger, causing an unending immune response that sickens patients?

Or does COVID-19 so weaken some long-haulers to the degree that old viruses, long in remission, suddenly flare up again, sickening the host with an unending case of, say, mononucleosis?

Or is the problem autoimmunity?

Is there something unique to the nature of COVID-19 that damages the vital on and off buttons of the immune system, causing the body to become stuck in overdrive, as it needlessly sends out its own poisons against itself?

Without knowledge of what explains long COVID, it is hard for researchers to find a cure.

After all, is the answer to slow down the immune system to dampen the immune storm, or to enhance it to root out lingering viruses?

Do more vaccines help or worsen long COVID?

Is the solution some magical new drug, or discovering off-label uses of old, reliable medicines?

Can a good diet, moderate exercise, and patience finally wear out long COVID? Or is its course too unpredictable or near permanent and chronic?

Is long COVID a single phenomenon, or a cluster of maladies, each manifesting according to one’s own genetic makeup, particular history of past illness, and unique reaction to the initial infection?

If we have few answers, we do have an idea about the costs.

Long COVID may be one of many reasons why in a recession, labor paradoxically still remains scarce. Millions likely stay home in utter disbelief that they are still battling long COVID. Others isolate in deadly fear of getting either the acute or chronic form of the illness.

The social costs to America of this hidden pandemic in lost wages and productivity, family and work disruption, and expensive medical care are unknown.

But they are likely enormous, still growing—and mostly ignored.


There Is a Much Larger Problem Than the Great Resignation. No One Wants to Talk About It

The United States likes to talk about problems. Well, ones we have solutions for, anyway. Others we tend to willfully ignore.

This time, though, we’ve really outdone ourselves in terms of mental gymnastics. We’ve been managing to relentlessly cover the “Great Resignation,” wage growth, and employment disruptions from the pandemic while ignoring a larger problem in that field. Our workforce is old. Not “a few years older than it likely should be” old, but dangerously old.

This speaks to certain generational trends (most of them having to do with my delightful cohorts here in Gen Y), but also to a looming catastrophe if we don’t course-correct sometime soon. So how did we get here? Why is it so significant? Let’s look.

The math

I hate to have to bring math into an article (in any form), but it’s necessary here. The median age in the United States is currently 38.1 years old — a number that reflects a consistent rise in recent years, but not too terrible. That number has been moving up about .15 per year as our largest generation, the oft-discussed boomers, age.

When looking at our workforce figures, we need to keep that figure in mind. The population under 16 (not working) and population over 65 (more likely to be retired) are roughly equivalent right now, which means our workforce age should hew pretty close to our overall median age. In other words, for every child not dragging the workforce age down, there should be a retiree not dragging the workforce age up.

In our professions, then, we would expect to see a median age of around 38. Naturally, that’s not the case, specifically when you get into some of the trades or other professions that aren’t necessarily glamourous. Still, these jobs are essential to our everyday lives. We should not ignore them.

So how far off are they? Well, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, we’ve got some wide discrepancies. Looking at just a few:

· Real estate agents: 49.1 years old

· Automotive mechanics: 47.4 years old

· Facilities managers: 50.1 years old

· Bus/Shuttle drivers: 55.6 years old

· Housekeeping/Janitorial: 50.1 years old

· Home health aides: 47.2 years old

· Electrical trades: 46.8 years old

Yikes. There were plenty of professions even older than that, but I picked these for a reason — there’s little barrier to entry. You don’t need a $200,000 piece of paper, and they’re located across the country. You don’t need to live in a growing metropolitan area to have any of these jobs. In other words, based on ease of access, they should be younger. But they’re not.

The least productive generation

That brings us to a natural question: Why? Yes, the whole population is aging, but those professions are still 10+ years older than the median age in the country. Something is up. And it’s generational.

I don’t like to blame millennials universally as many others do. Make no mistake, I loathe my generation, but I think a lot of what they turned out to be was outside of their control. The first years of Gen Y were hit with the dot-com burst as they entered the workforce, the Great Recession in their later 20s, and now a global pandemic when they were finally getting everything together. Not ideal economic events for the entire first half of life.

But that’s not the problem. No, instead, Gen Y was the first generation to be universally told that they would need college to succeed. Even I got that speech frequently, and I was an underperforming (and often absent) student in a mediocre school. I can only imagine how heavy it was indoctrinated in other districts.

Well, even if it wasn’t implicitly stated, adolescents could get the gist of what was being said: No college means no college-required jobs, which means failure. The obvious conclusion is that non-college careers are failures.

This is simultaneously false, condescending, and ridiculous, but it’s also how a lot of this generation was brought up. I remember towards the end of high school, I was kicking around the idea of taking some certificate courses in construction management and exploring those trades a bit. My teachers and classmates looked at me like I just publicly threatened suicide. It was ridiculous. For the record, I’ve gone on to finance and supervise the funding and progress of large construction projects across the U.S.

So, what did we get? A generation that went to college in larger numbers than ever before, regardless of whether it appealed to them, made financial sense, or even made practical sense for the individual. If you were of the means or opportunity to go, you went. Period. A few like myself didn’t, but we were rare.

Now once you’ve blown $100,000 or more on your education, it’s only natural to feel that you shouldn’t have to work a “manual” job. I mean, what was all this for then, right? Especially since grade inflation made everyone a 3.2+ GPA student. So they swarmed the white-collar fields, drove salaries down, and realized that those jobs sucked too. Attached to your phone long after work was over, responding to whatever imaginary crisis needs resolution. What a deal. Meanwhile, the vital jobs went unattended.

Why it matters

Mechanics, electricians, stonemasons, general laborers: these are all trades that allow the world to keep on humming. We can’t rely on the older half of Gen X and the younger half of the boomers to build everything for everyone in perpetuity. Yet we seem content to.

Producing something and making a living wage for yourself or your family used to be an item of pride for many. Now, if our primary careers flame out, we instead look for a permanent side-hustle or join the “creator” economy.

There’s some value there for society, sure, but not everyone can just live the dream forever. This whole trend of “influencing” is a bit ridiculous too, but more a byproduct of how our society is today than anything else. Point is, at the peak of their professional careers, fewer millennials are in the real workforce than any other generation before them.

It may work very well for some individuals, but 1,000 spokes going in opposite directions doesn’t make a wheel. It makes a tangled mess of alloy on the floor. This is sometimes referred to as “the current labor market”.

Funny thing is, I think my generation’s dismal failure at participating in society is going to course-correct this disaster. Or, at least, I hope it will. A lot of my friends went to work in trades. They’re universally doing better than the white-collar college graduates I know. Higher incomes (due to excessive demand) and no debt. The pendulum may be swinging back. It needs to, particularly before the next wave of retirements leaves us in an even greater shortage of skilled labor that will be more difficult to claw out of.

There’s been a good bit of coverage on Gen Z and their increasing disillusionment with college — not seeing it as a good value, as it were. They’ve also been shown to be more financially savvy and involved than any other generation at their age. Considering their financial acumen, I’d be surprised if a few didn’t notice the average salary for an electrician is now higher than the average for a staff accountant.

Our current workforce needs an immediate infusion of young, skilled talent before we face such labor shortages that projects become impossible. Gen Z may be the answer. The ship has sailed on its predecessors.




Monday, September 05, 2022

Australia: Top doctor Luke McLindon sacked, shunned for divisive Covid research

Gynaecologist and obstetrician Luke McLindon has proved to be a headache, even an embarrassment, to the bosses at Brisbane’s Mater Hospital.

In June, the leading health facility terminated his job as the head of fertility services for not having the Covid-19 vaccine – against Queensland Health’s mandate.

And now the controversial doctor has stirred up a storm over data he says makes a preliminary link between the Covid-19 vaccine and miscarriages.

His unfinished research – which is heavily disputed by the Mater and counter to multiple studies that have found the vaccine is safe for pregnant women – was leaked and promoted by anti-vaxxers online.

Dr McLindon wants his early research to be investigated further, but his personal stance against vaccine mandates is not helping his fight for serious consideration of his findings.

“I’ve been shunned and isolated and in a very difficult place both personally and professionally,” he told The Sunday Mail. “I am not an anti-vaxxer, I’m just against mandates, and as a GP I delivered the scheduled immunisations to patients for years.

“As an obstetrician my patients were mostly all vaccinated. “I have never encouraged anyone not to be vaccinated.”

Dr McLindon, a long-time clinical researcher in infertility and recurrent miscarriage, told peers in a closed meeting that he had discovered a rise in the number of early pregnancies lost to women following the Covid-19 vaccine.

“I told the group that the rates looked too high but needed further investigation and made it clear the findings must not be spread,” he said.

“I was horrified by what I saw online. “It was used as anti-vax fodder and my actual data was not yet complete. “Those numbers were very early and they were worst possible scenario. “They needed to be moderated and adjusted as more time passed.

“News travelled fast in the medical world in Queensland and I have been distanced and frozen out.”

The doctor said at 51 he will likely have to start life again in a different career.

The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists recommends all people trying to conceive to have the Covid vaccine. Several studies have found the vaccine to be safe for pregnant women.

As he fights for his reputation, Supreme Court documents show the doctor lost his position at the Mater as he failed to adhere to the vaccine mandate for medical professionals.

Dr McLindon is one of a group of Queensland doctors who launched a legal challenge to the chief health officer’s vaccine mandates for hospital and healthcare workers.

“That is my personal decision due to a heart condition,” he said.

A Mater spokesman confirmed that the doctor no longer practised at the Mater but would not clarify the reason. Dr McLindon said he too was not at liberty to comment on the reason for his termination.

But court documents show that Mater chief executive Dr Peter Steer terminated his employment on June 9 as he had not complied to the vaccine mandate and did not provide an exemption.

“I wish to have peers review my findings before formally releasing,” Dr McLindon said. “The aim is to find a reputable international journal who sees the importance of this work to add to the scientific literature in this space.

“I have an intimate knowledge of these women’s menstrual cycles, time of conception, bloods, ultrasounds, vaccination status and timings.”

Colleagues say the controversial gynaecologist is a respected doctor and a “decent human being”. “Research needs to start somewhere,” one doctor said. “As experts in a field we have an obligation to be intellectually honest. “This includes being absolutely sure of your data and allowing others in the field to crosscheck your findings.”


Better COVID-19 vaccines are on the way. What do they do? And what technology might we see in the future?

By Paul Griffin

Regulators in Australia and the United States last week approved Omicron-specific boosters, following approval in the United Kingdom in mid-August.

In Australia, a Moderna Omicron booster has been provisionally approved for use in adults aged 18 and over. Supplies are expected to arrive in the coming weeks, however the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) is yet to advise the government on how the vaccine will be used.

So what's new about the Omicron booster? And what sorts of advances in vaccine technology might we see next?

Why do we need new vaccines?

The current COVID-19 vaccines will go down in history as one of the greatest achievements of medical science. Developed at record pace — without omitting any of the usual steps to ensure safety and efficacy — the vaccines significantly decreased the risk of severe disease and death.

But they're less effective at reducing infection. Frequent boosters have been required to protect against new sub-variants. This is because the spike protein, which the vaccines target, has changed. And over time, our protection has reduced due to waning immunity.

What are the Omicron-specific vaccines?

Most manufacturers of approved COVID-19 vaccines began making boosters targeting previous variants as far back as Alpha. But until Omicron, these variant-specific boosters offered no significant advantage over vaccines targeting the original, or Wuhan, strain.

The new Omicron boosters combine two different targets in the one vaccine, known as a bivalent vaccine. This provides broader cross-protection — against the currently circulating variants but possibly against future variants too.

The first of these boosters, manufactured by Moderna, targets the BA.1 Omicron sub-variant in addition to the original or Wuhan strain. It also provides some protection against BA.4 and BA.5. This is now approved in the UK, Australia and US.

The US has also approved the Pfizer bivalent booster, which targets the spike of BA.4/BA.5 as well as the original strain.

What vaccine technology might we see next?
Scientists are working to develop COVID-19 vaccines that:

offer longer lasting protection

protect against new variants and sub-variants

provide similar levels of protection from a single dose

don't require freezing or refrigeration, and that have an extended shelf life

deliver a strong response from lower doses of active ingredient.

More than 120 potential COVID-19 vaccines are in clinical trials. Here are some of the improvements they're working on.

More robust protection against new variants

Most vaccines approved so far target the entire spike protein. But many vaccines under development specifically target the part of the spike protein that binds to the corresponding receptor on our cells. This is less likely to change than other parts of the spike protein, delivering more robust protection against new variants.

Candidate vaccines using this approach include Icosavax and one from the Serum Institute of India.

Easier storage

DNA-based vaccines are similar to mRNA vaccines (Pfizer and Moderna) but are more temperature-stable, making them easier to transport and store. One such vaccine, by manufacturer Zydus, has already received an emergency use authorisation in India and is injected into the skin. Another, by Inovio, is undergoing phase three trials.

Greater immune responses from lower doses

With current COVID-19 vaccines, the body is given instructions to make the spike protein, or the spike protein itself is delivered. The vaccines cannot replicate or reproduce themselves. Vaccines that can replicate have the potential to generate stronger immune responses or strong enough responses from lower doses.

Variant-proof vaccines

Finally, many vaccines under development have the ambitious target of protecting against all coronviruses or vaccines that are essentially variant-proof. While this has not so far been achieved for any similar family of viruses, there are many promising candidates.

Many rely on combining antigens from many different parts of the virus or even multiple coronaviruses. Others combine multiple receptor-binding domains (potentially allowing the vaccine to give a broader immune response against a range of variants) with other innovative technologies.

Different routes of administration

Current vaccines rely on administration via a needle and syringe. This is an issue for people with needle phobias, and presents challenges for the disposal of sharps. So many vaccines being developed are given via alternate routes.

One way to deliver vaccines is through the nose, known as intranasal vaccination. Rather than injecting, you breathe it in.

Giving the vaccine via the same route the virus gains entry has the potential to generate a response that's better able to stop the virus entering in the first place.

One of the main limitations of nasal vaccines is getting a strong enough immune response to be effective. However there are many promising candidates, including one I'm working on.

Vaccines given via the skin are also a promising area. In addition to the DNA vaccines injected into the skin, others are being developed using vaccine coated onto patches, essentially made of microscopic needles. This is easier to administer.

It may also have some advantages in terms of immune response and its ability to be stored at room temperature. One such vaccine that looks promising has been developed by a group originally from the University of Queensland.

Finally, oral vaccines you drink are also under development. While potentially the most convenient method of administration, it's also one that poses great challenges in terms of getting a strong enough response for the required effect.

While up to five vaccines in development are exploring this avenue of administration, including one I'm involved in, they are in relatively early phases of clinical trials.




Sunday, September 04, 2022


I am completely secular but I like to observe a Sabbath for my own well-being. Sabbaths seem to me to be another example of Biblical wisdom. I normally observe the Jewish Sabbath -- Saturday -- but that is mainly because it fits best with my social life. I normally see Anne over breakfast and Jenny over dinner on Saturdays. So it is a pleasant day to pursue other interests than blogging.

I realized that this weekend was down to be different, however so had my Sabbath today -- on the Christian Sabbath of Sunday. I knew in advance that Anne would be out of town this weekend but that I would be seeing Joe for a fathers' day breakfast on Sunday and Zoe that evening.

So I did a usual schedule of blogging yesterday on Saturday and took a break from blogging today on Sunday. I have a separate report on how my Sunday went here

Which Sabbath is the "right" one for a Christian is an interesting exegetical problem. On the whole however, Sunday sabbaths are well justified by the New Testament. In Acts 15 it is laid down that Jewish law is not binding on Christians and Paul on several occasion dismissed as unimportant the day you keep as special.

It remains however that Sunday was originally the big pagan holy day -- for sun worship -- so I would be most comfortable with Saturday as the sabbath if I were still a Christian. The relevant New Testament excerpts are reproduced below:

Acts 15

But some men came down from Judea and were teaching the brothers, "Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved." And after Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and debate with them, Paul and Barnabas and some of the others were appointed to go up to Jerusalem to the apostles and the elders about this question ...

Therefore my judgment is that we should not trouble those of the Gentiles who turn to God, but should write to them to abstain from the things polluted by idols, and from sexual immorality, and from what has been strangled, and from blood. 21 For from ancient generations Moses has had in every city those who proclaim him, for he is read every Sabbath in the synagogues....

For it has seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay on you no greater burden than these requirements: 29 that you abstain from what has been sacrificed to idols, and from blood, and from what has been strangled, and from sexual immorality. If you keep yourselves from these, you will do well.

Romans 14:1-23 KJV

Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations. For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs. Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him. Who art thou that judgest another man's servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand. One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.

Colossians 2:16-17

Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.

Galatians 4

But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage? Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years. I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain.

Hebrews 4

There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God

(Note that, in the Greek, the word for Sabbath is anarthrous, meaning that it is not THE Sabbath that is being referred to but "A" sabbath)