Friday, March 17, 2023

Emails Reveal Journal’s Internal Discussions Before Rejecting Challenge to Pfizer’s Effectiveness Claim

Officials at a major journal discussed a professor’s alleged anti-vaccine Twitter activity when considering whether to publish his paper challenging the claim that Pfizer’s vaccine was 95 percent effective, newly disclosed emails show.

The Lancet journal ultimately rejected the rebuttal paper.

Professor Norman Fenton “retweeted anti-vaxx posts on Twitter,” one Lancet official wrote to colleagues.

They also discussed “vaccine misinformation” and Fenton’s background, the heavily redacted emails show.

“[redacted] have investigated him a little and he does seem to have a legitimate academic appointment,” one email, titled “Ongoing issues monitoring,” stated.

Fenton, emeritus professor of risk at Queen Mary University of London, obtained the emails from Elsevier, which publishes The Lancet.

“We knew that all the main academic journals were routinely rejecting any articles that were in any way questioning the accuracy of studies claiming vaccine effectiveness or safety. What surprised even us about this case was the sheer nastiness and lack of professionalism displayed by the journal’s editorial staff,” Fenton told The Epoch Times via email.

“The notion that authors’ academic credentials and Twitter activities had to be investigated as part of the reviewing process is shocking,” he added.

The Lancet did not respond to a request for comment.

Effectiveness Claim

The Lancet in May 2021 published a paper from Israeli officials and Pfizer employees that claimed the company’s vaccine was 95 percent effective against COVID-19 infection in Israel from Jan. 24, 2021, to April 3, 2021.

The study analyzed surveillance data drawn from government-funded insurance providers. Pfizer and Israel entered into multiple agreements early in the pandemic that saw the country primarily use the company’s vaccine and share data with the firm.

The study showed that two doses of Pfizer’s vaccine were “highly effective” across all age groups 16 and older in preventing symptomatic COVID-19, asymptomatic COVID-19, and COVID-19-related hospitalization, severe disease, and death, researchers said in the study, which was peer-reviewed before publication.

“These findings suggest that COVID-19 vaccination can help to control the pandemic,” they said.

The study was funded by the Israeli Ministry of Health and Pfizer.


The effectiveness estimates were exaggerated, Fenton and Martin Neil, a professor of computer science and statistics at Queen Mary of London, wrote in a rapid response to the paper.

That stemmed in part from adjusting for how unvaccinated people were routinely tested for COVID-19 while vaccinated people were not, the professors said.

“There is also failure to properly adjust for the different testing protocols for vaccinated and unvaccinated people,” they wrote.

The Lancet told the professors that they were waiting to hear from the paper’s authors before publishing the rebuttal.

No further correspondence was sent until January 2023.


Josefine Gibson, a senior editor at The Lancet, wrote in a Jan. 8, 2023, email that she saw the submitted rebuttal had not been published.

“We had invited Dr. Sharon Alroy-Preis and co-authors of the published article to consider your letter, but I am sorry that we never received a formal reply from them and therefore have not been able to pursue an exchange,” Gibson wrote. Alroy-Preis is a top Isreali Ministry of Health official.

“But I am even more sorry that I didn’t communicate a decision with you in a timely manner. I will now close your submission, but I thank you for supporting post-publication debate in The Lancet,” Gibson added.

Fenton released the email online, triggering a flood of criticism of the decision not to publish the rebuttal. He and Neil also noted that Alroy-Preis had declared no conflicts of interest, despite Israeli health officials entering into the collaboration that outlined a close partnership.

“The world relied heavily on a major Israeli study in the Lancet which confirmed Pfizer vaccine efficiency, but the lead author failed to declare her conflict of interest in which she signed a contract not to release information detrimental to Pfizer’s product without their permission,” Fenton and Neil wrote in a blog post.

The criticism triggered another message from Gibson, who said The Lancet was “looking into next steps” regarding the rebuttal.

Offer of Publication
After Fenton highlighted what had happened to Richard Horton, The Lancet’s editor-in-chief, Gibson told him that she wanted to apologize “for the substandard experience you’ve had with the Lancet.”

“Having discussed this unfortunate situation with my Editor in Chief, Richard Horton, I would like to offer publication of your original letter. Alternatively, we could publish a new letter that reflects more a current experience with the Pfizer vaccine. We defer to your best judgement of what would best serve the medical community,” she said. “We very much hope you’ll accept this offer.”

Fenton and Neil penned an updated rebuttal, which concluded that the Pfizer–Israel study should be retracted due to reasons including the undeclared conflict from Alroy-Preis and the failure to adjust for different testing protocols. They also raised concerns about adverse reactions to the vaccine, which they said are now known to be “substantial.”

Gibson rejected the updated rebuttal.

“Given existing evidence about the effectiveness and safety of the Pfizer vaccine, it is factually incorrect–indeed, it is misinformation–to say that reported adverse reactions are ‘substantial,'” she wrote.

The Lancet also does not consider Alroy-Preis’s job at the Israeli Ministry of Health to be an undeclared conflict of interest, Gibson said.

New Emails

The situation prompted Fenton to seek internal correspondence regarding him.

The emails were prompted by Fenton’s publication of Gibson’s apology letter.

The tranche was heavily redacted, but did show how officials considered public statements about the vaccine.

“Both Fenton [redacted] have retweed anti-vaxx posts on Twitter, and their Substack articles are worth a scan,” one email stated, referring to Fenton and Neil. “[redacted] experts to determine if Fenton’s original letter and his criticisms of the article are valid and meet our publication standards.”

The email recommended holding off on further correspondence with Fenton until confirming redacted information, “especially given that anything you say directly to Fenton has the potential to be shared.”

In another missive, officials said there had been new developments on “the Fenton Twitter case,” including an additional post by Fenton and “helpful background on Fenton.” The rest of the email was redacted.

That’s when officials said that Fenton had been investigated and found to have “a legitimate academic appointment.” Officials also said that “[redacted] a source of vaccine misinformation is an academic prof based right around the corner from our Lancet offices.”

Officials then proposed what ended up being the final response that rejected the updated submission. They revised the response to change “associated adverse reactions” to “reported adverse reactions.”

Unhappy With Redactions

Fenton said that many of the redactions appeared unnecessary and that he has asked Elsevier to remove them.

“I am not happy about the scale of the redactions in the Elsevier response. If the Lancet editors were not making disparaging comments about me and colleagues, then there should be no reason to redact them. What do they have to hide?” he wrote on Substack.

“The Lancet are hiding their internal correspondence relating to the submission (and ultimate rejection) of our letter criticising Pfizer,” Neil wrote on Twitter. “They are however happy to let us know that they think of us as ‘anti-vaxxers’ and ‘misinformation spreaders’!”

Fenton said he’d informed Elsevier if it did not remove many of the redactions, he would report them to the Information Commissioner’s Office.

Elsevier did not respond to a request for comment.


Germany’s Health Minister changes tune on vaccine injuries -- Karl Lauterbach is having a dramatic fall from grace

Outside of Germany, few people have heard of Karl Lauterbach, Germany’s Minister for Health. But he’s one of the key figures in the Western Covid response. Once hailed as a hero, he’s now engulfed in the biggest vaccine-injury scandal to have emerged since the pandemic.

Lauterbach has served in the role since December 2021, under the traffic light coalition led by Olaf Scholz. Often described as “Germany’s Fauci”, Lauterbach — a professor of health economics and epidemiology and long-time member of the SPD — rose to national prominence early on into the pandemic as a Covid hardliner.

In his role as an advisor to Angela Merkel and prominent TV and Twitter commentator, and then as the country’s health minister, Lauterbach adopted an aggressively pro-lockdown and pro-vaccination stance, claiming that his aim was to vaccinate every single German — through the imposition of mandates, if necessary — in order to achieve so-called “herd immunity”.

Like most countries, Germany didn’t make vaccination legally mandatory for the general population, but rather made it de facto mandatory by making one’s Covid status a precondition for leading anything resembling a normal life — and making life impossible for the unvaccinated, including through targeted lockdowns.

A small but vocal minority of politicians — including the far-Left Sahra Wagenknecht and the far-Right AfD — opposed Lauterbach’s mass vaccination policies, warning about the side effects of these novel mRNA-based vaccines. Lauterbach responded by claiming — not only in a now-infamous tweet but also in several talk shows — that the Covid vaccines were “without side effects”. It was an astonishing claim, considering numbers from Germany’s own Ministry of Health showed (also repeated by Lauterbach himself) that reported serious adverse events occurred in one in 5,000 vaccinations. This increased up to 2 in 1,000 for all suspected adverse events.

Those words are now coming back to haunt Lauterbach. Over the past two years, more than 300,000 cases of vaccine side effects have accumulated in the Ministry’s own system, and more and more people are lodging compensation claims against the state — which, based on the contracts signed by the EU with vaccine manufacturers, is liable for any vaccine-related damage. Meanwhile, the subject of vaccine injuries has begun to be openly discussed in the German mainstream media.

All this has forced Lauterbach to make a spectacular U-turn. In a recent TV interview, he admitted that vaccine-induced injuries are a serious issue, and that his ministry was planning to launch a programme to investigate the negative consequences of Covid vaccination and improve care as soon as possible. Additionally, Lauterbach said that he hopes pharmaceutical companies will voluntarily help to compensate those harmed by the vaccines. “That’s because the profits have been exorbitant”, he said. Just a year ago he had said: “The pharmaceutical companies will not get rich with vaccines”.

Lauterbach’s words were welcomed by opposition parties, with the CDU now calling for an inquiry to investigate the government’s Covid response, but drew mixed reactions from his own coalition allies. “Such statements don’t contribute to strengthening Germany as a research and medicine location,” said the pharmaceuticals expert of the FDP coalition party — a reference to BioNTech’s recent decision to boost its investment in the country. This also explains Scholz’s silence.

It’s hard to imagine a more ruinous fall from grace for Lauterbach: in just over a year he’s gone from national hero to symbol of the pandemic failures. On this issue, we may only be beginning to scratch the surface.




Wednesday, March 15, 2023

America’s COVID Response Was Based on Lies


Almost all of America’s leaders have gradually pulled back their COVID mandates, requirements, and closures—even in states like California, which had imposed the most stringent and longest-lasting restrictions on the public. At the same time, the media has been gradually acknowledging the ongoing release of studies that totally refute the purported reasons behind those restrictions. This overt reversal is falsely portrayed as “learned” or “new evidence.” Little acknowledgement of error is to be found. We have seen no public apology for promulgating false information, or for the vilification and delegitimization of policy experts and medical scientists like myself who spoke out correctly about data, standard knowledge about viral infections and pandemics, and fundamental biology.

The historical record is critical. We have seen a macabre Orwellian attempt to rewrite history and to blame the failure of widespread lockdowns on the lockdowns’ critics, alongside absurd denials of officials’ own incessant demands for them. In the Trump administration, Dr. Deborah Birx was formally in charge of the medical side of the White House’s coronavirus task force during the pandemic’s first year. In that capacity, she authored all written federal policy recommendations to governors and states and personally advised each state’s public health officials during official visits, often with Vice President Mike Pence, who oversaw the entire task force. Upon the inauguration of President Joe Biden, Dr. Anthony Fauci became chief medical advisor and ran the Biden pandemic response.

We must acknowledge the abject failure of the Birx-Fauci policies. They were enacted, but they failed to stop the dying, failed to stop the infection from spreading, and inflicted massive damage and destruction particularly on lower-income families and on America’s children.

More than 1 million American deaths have been attributed to that virus. Even after draconian measures, including school closures, stoppage of non-COVID medical care, business shutdowns, personal restrictions, and then the continuation of many restrictions and mandates in the presence of a vaccine, there was an undeniable failure—over two presidential administrations—to stop cases from rapidly escalating.

Numerous experts—including John Ioannidis, David Katz, and myself—called for targeted protection, a safer alternative to widespread lockdowns, in national media beginning in March of 2020. That proposal was rejected. History’s biggest public health policy failure came at the hands of those who recommended the lockdowns and those who implemented them, not those who advised otherwise.

The tragic failure of reckless, unprecedented lockdowns that were contrary to established pandemic science, and the added massive harms of those policies on children, the elderly, and lower-income families, are indisputable and well-documented in numerous studies. This was the biggest, the most tragic, and the most unethical breakdown of public health leadership in modern history.

In a democracy, indeed in any ethical and free society, the truth is essential. The American people need to hear the truth—the facts, free from the political distortions, misrepresentations, and censorship. The first step is to clearly state the harsh truth in the starkest possible terms. Lies were told. Those lies harmed the public. Those lies were directly contrary to the evidence, to decades of knowledge on viral pandemics, and to long-established fundamental biology.

Here are the 10 biggest falsehoods—known for years to be false, not recently learned or proven to be so—promoted by America’s public health leaders, elected and unelected officials, and now-discredited academics:

SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus has a far higher fatality rate than the flu by several orders of magnitude.

Everyone is at significant risk to die from this virus.

No one has any immunological protection, because this virus is completely new.

Asymptomatic people are major drivers of the spread.

Locking down—closing schools and businesses, confining people to their homes, stopping non-COVID medical care, and eliminating travel—will stop or eliminate the virus.

Masks will protect everyone and stop the spread.

The virus is known to be naturally occurring, and claiming it originated in a lab is a conspiracy theory.

Teachers are at especially high risk.

COVID vaccines stop the spread of the infection.

Immune protection only comes from a vaccine.

None of us are so naïve as to expect a direct apology from critics at my employer, Stanford University, or in government, academic public health, and the media. But to ensure that this never happens again, government leaders, power-driven officials, and influential academics and advisors often harboring conflicts of interest must be held accountable. Personally, I remain highly skeptical that any government investigation or commission can avoid politicization.

Regardless of their intention, all such government-run inquiries will at least be perceived as politically motivated and their conclusions will be rejected outright by many. Those investigations must proceed, though, if only to seek the truth, to teach our children that truth matters, and to remember G.K. Chesterton’s critical lesson that “Right is right, even if nobody does it. Wrong is wrong, even if everybody is wrong about it.”


Covid’s cockups and conspiracies: Australia wasn’t immune

Those debating whether the deadly schemozzle of pandemic mismanagement that has cast a pall over the last three years was due to a cockup or a conspiracy should abandon binary thinking. All the evidence, from both sides of the Atlantic, indicates that there were both cockups and conspiracies and they came not as single spies but in battalions.

In the UK, the ‘Lockdown files’, a trove of 100,000 WhatsApp messages released by the Telegraph over the last week, provide a portrait of former health minister Matt Hancock as a cruel careerist and a clown better suited to appearing on ‘I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here’, which he did for a fee of hundreds of thousands of pound, rather than running Britain’s pandemic policy.

The liberty of millions of Britons was curtailed based on the whims of decision-makers who, because they were not subject to parliamentary scrutiny, simply claimed they were following the best scientific advice.

Guilt and fear were shamelessly used to enforce the draconian dictates with Hancock writing that he would ‘frighten the pants off everyone’ with a new strain to get compliance.

A fan of Klaus Schwab and the World Economic Forum (WEF), Hancock wrote that he hoped Covid would propel his career into the next league. He discussed with his advisers how ‘pushing on vaccines’ would be ‘the most politically beneficial thing’ to do. When Dame Kate Bingham who led the UK vaccine taskforce suggested in October 2020 that only people who were ‘at risk’ should be vaccinated, Hancock branded her as ‘wacky’ and ‘totally unreliable’.

In the US, the Twitter files made public by Elon Musk exposed a conspiracy between key members of Team Biden, agencies such as the FBI and Big Tech to help Biden get elected and to censor and smear those who criticised the government orthodoxy.

Evidence of conspiracies continues to be uncovered by House Republicans. The latest emails show that Dr Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases from 1984 to 2022 and chief medical advisor to the president from 2021 to 2022 and Dr Jeremy Farrar, director of the Wellcome Trust, the third largest charitable foundation in the world, hid their roles in February 2020 in the writing of a scientific paper whose purpose was to cast as much doubt as possible on the fact that the Covid virus originated in a lab in Wuhan. Both pretended they played no part in the paper’s genesis but both prompted the scientists to write it, Farrar edited it and Fauci hid the fact that his agency funded research in a Wuhan lab to make bat coronaviruses more dangerous.

In view of Farrar’s role in obfuscating the origins of Covid, leading scientists such as Dr Richard Ebright, a microbiologist at Rutgers University, has called for him not to take up an appointment announced last year to be the next chief scientist at the World Health Organisation.

Farrar also signed a notorious letter to the Lancet organised by Peter Daszak, the CEO of the EcoHealth Alliance who provided US tax dollars for research into bat coronaviruses at the Wuhan Institute of Virology. The letter condemned as ‘conspiracy theories’ any suggestion that Covid-19 did not have a natural origin.

Conspiracies were not limited to promoting lies about the origins of Covid. As Dr Marty Makary, a professor of surgery and health policy at Johns Hopkins University said in sworn testimony before the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic’s first hearing on Tuesday 28 February, ‘The greatest perpetrator of misinformation during the pandemic has been the United States government’.

Makary damned public health officials for lying to the American people that Covid was spread through surface transmission, that vaccinated immunity was greater than natural immunity, that masks were effective, that myocarditis was more common after infection than vaccination, that young people benefit from a booster and that vaccine mandates would increase vaccination rates. ‘We’ve seen something that is unforgivable,’ he said, ‘and that is the weaponisation of medical research itself’.

The common link between the UK cockups and the US conspiracies is the total disregard for scientific evidence, which either didn’t exist or contradicted what policy makers wanted to do and so was ignored or discredited.

There is no comfort for Australia in any of this. Like Little Sir Echo it copied all of its pandemic policies from the US and the UK. The question is what to do now?

It is impossible to prevent cockups or conspiracies, but it is possible to make them more difficult to engage in by subjecting governments and their agencies to greater scrutiny. We could start by requiring that they table all health advice.

Agencies such as the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) need to collect more data about adverse events, for example, by requiring the same information that is collected in the US. It needs to publicly state the background rates for adverse events, the rate of these events for comparable drugs, and provide a weekly update on the rate of these events in new products so that dangerous drugs can be withdrawn as soon as warning signs appear.

The meetings of committees that advise the TGA should be publicly televised as they are in the US and anybody who advises the TGA or any other part of government on health should be required to publicly disclose any funding they receive from pharmaceutical companies or other interested parties.

The power of the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency needs to be curbed. By issuing an edict telling healthcare workers that they must do nothing to undermine confidence in the government’s response to the pandemic, it pressured health practitioners not to report adverse events or tell their patients about the potential for adverse events.

The misinformation and disinformation laws tabled by the Morrison and now by the Albanese government are also a shameless attempt to curtail totally justified criticism of pandemic polices.

Too often over the last three years, Australians’ rights and freedoms have been violated in the interest of ‘public health measures’ that were harmful.

Only by making the work of the government and its agencies fully transparent can we start to restore confidence that we will be subjected to anymore conspiracies or cockups.




Tuesday, March 14, 2023

Covid: The vaccinations did more harm than the disease

Robert Clancy

As a clinical immunologist with a research interest in mucosal immunology and airway infection, the Covid-19 pandemic became a point of convergence for my interests in medicine, research and history.

An Australian response to pandemics over 70 years was a critical influence in public health and applied research reflecting informed leadership.

The Covid-19 pandemic has not followed that course.

Suddenly everyone was an ‘epidemiologist’, dominating the airwaves and working with political and regulatory organisations to protect the global narrative, reinforced and uncritically accepted by the mainline press, to ‘combat spread of harmful vaccine disinformation’.

Three years ago, there was every reason to fear Covid-19. High mortality and transmission rates were reported in China, and the world experience with pandemics was sobering. No effective drug or vaccine existed, with management focussed on public health measures. Genetic vaccines were available from January 2021, with Australia becoming one of the most vaccinated countries. Total Covid-19 deaths per million paralleled global mortality, though later in the pandemic from the less virulent Omicron variant. This surge followed relaxation of lockdowns, and the vaccine booster programme

Returning to 2020, it was natural to think that vaccines may play a role in managing Covid-19. In various forms, vaccines were used in earlier pandemics without playing a decisive role. There were important lessons that should have informed a less sanguine approach to the narrative of mRNA vaccines being the global panacea for Covid-19. This information was available before 2021!

The apologists backtracking on mistakes in the vaccine roll-out, with ‘we just did not know’, have no argument.

First, 80 years of vaccine development for inhaled viral infections, failed to develop one sterilising vaccine capable of inducing herd immunity. Second, no vaccine induces stronger immunity than that following the disease, yet it took a recent Lancet meta-analysis to confirm that post Covid-19 trumps vaccine immunity. Third, respiratory viruses like Sars-CoV-2 infect a mucosal space subject to the rules of mucosal immunology. The major difference from the systemic immune response to invasive pathogens is suppression of all immune responses by T reg cells (to control the inflammatory response to the sea of microbes bathing mucosal surfaces). With Covid-19, immunity following injected vaccines is limited; repeated ‘boosters’ favour progressive immune suppression with more frequent and more severe infections. ‘Allergy-shots’ do the same – they turn off damaging immune responses to inhaled antigens. There is little cross-over between compartments: injected vaccines will not prevent infection, or transmission of disease (a claim used to support community vaccination). Fourth, RNA viruses undergo mutations facilitating ‘immune escape’, risking ‘selection’ of mutant virus by non-sterilising vaccines.

These ‘rules’ predict outcomes of the Covid-19 vaccine roll-out. Vaccination induced systemic immunity probably prevented admission to hospital and death by neutralising virus that ‘escaped’ from the mucosal compartment, but only early in the pandemic when vaccine antigen matched prevailing virus and before priming of suppression from repeated vaccinations. There was no impact on infection or transmission of the virus. Repeated ‘boosters’ gave 30 to 40 per cent protection for a couple of months, followed by cumulating ‘negative protection’ with more severe and frequent infections. New Zealand figures indicate higher Covid-19 mortality in every age bracket, in those with ‘boosters’, reflecting a global pattern described by some as a ‘pandemic of the vaccinated’.

The mRNA vaccines differ from classical antigen vaccines. They spread and persist for months, producing Spike protein (the viral antigen stimulating immune protection) on cells throughout the body. The consequences are an uncontrolled amount of antigen that can downregulate antibody, and a new target for T cells to attack. Reports of serious adverse events following Covid-19 vaccination including heart and brain damage and deaths outstrips combined reports for all other vaccines. Prospective study of adolescents using laboratory and MRI technology showed 2 to 3 per cent had myocarditis, contrasting with less sensitive hospital figures of one in 10,000 vaccinations. Asymptomatic myocarditis leaves a scar, claimed to underpin a recent spate of adrenaline-initiated deaths on sporting fields. German post-mortem studies confirm vaccine pathology as a significant cause of sudden unexplained deaths. Statisticians across the world are seeing an increase in deaths of the order of 10 to 20 per cent greater than noted in previous years, time-matched with vaccine rollouts. These data demand proper assessment despite dismissal by authorities. Reversal of mRNA encoded information into host DNA has been documented, with unknown impact on the recipient or their progeny.

The point is this. How could a novel vaccine involving mRNA with scarce testing, with no demonstrated advantage over traditional vaccines, against all principles of mucosal immunology, and likely complicated by major adverse events, not be red-flagged by the medical-regulatory network charged with our protection? Peter Doshi, an editor of the prestigious BMJ, co-authored a review of the trial data used to underpin vaccine mandates. The authors concluded, ‘the risk of serious adverse events surpassed the risk reduction for Covid-19 hospitalisation’, demanding a ‘formal harm-benefit analysis’. This never occurred. How can it be?

We live in strange times, when the globalisation of a narrative formulated and promoted by powerful interests linked to the lure of massive profit and control, threatens 500 years of the enlightenment and science. In Australia, acceptance of the Covid-narrative was made easy by the unrecognised power of these interests and a disintegration of core medical structures that once would have demanded science-based analysis, regulatory integrity and effective review. The introduction of unique, clever technology blindsided mainstream professionals who failed to understand the implications of genetic vaccines, or the immunology of the airway. These ‘experts’ and bureaucrats made poor decisions which became rubber-stamped by administrators and politicians. ‘Cancellation’ threats to those scientists and clinicians wishing to speak out against the narrative, enabled disinformation to become convention, with frightening unknown consequences. ?


Australian research findings could fast-track treatment for long Covid patients

New research from Griffith University has revealed that long Covid and chronic fatigue syndrome can have similar effects on brain structure – offering hope to finding a treatment to long Covid.

Using an ultra-high field MRI, Griffith researchers investigated how the two conditions mirror the same effects on the brain in both myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) and long Covid patients, with the results showing major consistencies in brain-stem volume in these patients compared to those who did not suffer from the same ailments.

The research came after reports that 13-58 per cent of long Covid patients experienced symptoms similar to chronic fatigue syndrome, including brain fog, fatigue, pain, and autonomic dysfunction.

Lead author Dr Kiran Thapaliya said the MRI results revealed larger brain stems in long Covid and ME/CFS patients compared to those without the conditions. “It also showed similar volumes of the brain stem in patients which could be the reason long Covid patients exhibit all common core symptoms of ME/CFS,” Dr Thapaliya said.

“We also discovered smaller midbrain volumes were associated with more severe breathing difficulty in ME/CFS and long Covid patients. “Therefore, brain-stem dysfunction in ME/CFS and long Covid patients could contribute to their neurological, cardiorespiratory symptoms, and movement disorder.”

Dr Thapaliya said these findings could lead to further research into treatment and management of long Covid, which had previously been poorly understood and difficult to diagnose.

“Since we saw that there was an overlap between MECFS and long Covid, this could fast-track the treatment for the long Covid patients,” Dr Thapaliya said.

“For the treatment of chronic fatigue syndrome, we have used low dose Naltrexone, so this might pass as a treatment for long Covid persons So this could potentially fast-track finding a treatment”.

According to health experts, up to 43 per cent of people infected by SARS-CoV-2 did not recover fully and develop long Covid, including children.

Researchers at Griffith University will continue investigating the correlation between these two illnesses, including testing on a larger sample size and looking at the duration of the brain stem changes

“The next stage of our research is to see whether these changes in the brain stem are temporary, or permanent in long Covid and CFS patients,” Dr Thapaliya said


UK: The Hancock texts

If readers don’t know, Hancock was the Health Minister in Britain through virtually the entirety of Covid. A while back he approached the UK journalist Isabel Oakeshott to ghost-write his memoirs or book on the Covid years. To do this Hancock gave her all of his encrypted WhatsApp texts to everyone that mattered during the entire pandemic years.

Oakeshott wrote the book and then, even though she’d promised not to, she gave the entirety of these WhatsApp texts to the UK Telegraph. My take is that the Telegraph is covering itself in glory publishing these texts. And the various journalists criticising Oakeshott for ‘betraying’ Hancock (and for doing her job, really) are the very same ones who didn’t do theirs. For two-plus years.

Sure, it’s generally a good rule not to break promises. That has social utility. But it’s not an absolute good nor the only important value in life. There are lots of others. And releasing these texts massively outweighed the promise-keeping virtue here. As Oakeshott said, otherwise there was going to be a whitewash. It was in the public interest for people to see these texts and know that their political class was comprised of charlatans and heartless zealots fired by self-interest, making things up on the fly and continually mouthing ‘this is the Science’ when they knew it simply was guesses, seat-of-pants guesses at that, and cover to look good politically.

You have to read some of these released text messages to believe them. Children made to mask-up when they knew there was no scientific evidence, none, for doing so but the politics were good. Top bureaucrats laughing at people who would have to go from business class flights into pokey little hotel rooms for weeks on end. The explicit targeting of sceptics and dissenters, including some of the best epidemiologists in the world, to discredit them and have them silenced because that was undercutting the pollies’ messaging – no mention of truth, notice. When they were told various idiotic rules had no utility they carried on with them because to do otherwise might make them look bad. Seriously, go and read these WhatsApp revelations because we citizens can never again trust these (what’s the word I’m looking for? Two syllables. Might start with an ‘f’).

It will be extra tough reading for those whose small businesses were destroyed. Or those with children whose lives were ruined. (And yes we knew from day one that the chances of a healthy person under 30 dying from Covid was less than one one-thousandth that of someone over 75. It was essentially zero. They knew it too.) Or those who resisted useless mandates. Well, it’ll be cold comfort reading these texts but do it. Because all of us labelled ‘conspiracy theorists’ were right on almost everything. And the whole ‘fact-checking’ industry is nothing more than partisan opinion claims, often worse and verging on a propaganda operation, on behalf of out-of-control government. Laugh at the mere mention of ‘fact checkers’ – the same goes, by the way, for the supposed fact-checkers around the Voice and its implications.

Project Fear succeeded because we citizens let it. Never again can it happen. We should shame every MP who played this game and perpetuated this disgusting thuggery and illiberal anti-science that have destroyed people (both those against the lockdowns and equally those in favour, some of whom have literally lost all ability to weigh data and make sane choices as a result).

Again, Australia right now has sky-high excess deaths. If the goal of lockdowns was to save more lives than it cost then it has failed miserably on its own terms. The incredible stupidity of Hancock in being so arrogant that it never occurred to him not to give away otherwise encrypted texts (which made the writers more forthcoming than otherwise) has done us all a huge favour. And every single Australian knows in his or her heart that our own politicians were no different than Britain’s – no less self-serving, focused on PR and fearmongering, clueless on the data, afraid to stand up to the worst elements of the modelling class, etc. Read ‘em and weep readers.




Monday, March 13, 2023

1 Shot of interferon lambda Might Boost Immunity and Fight COVID Across Variants. Review of a potential novel treatment for COVID-19

Yet another COVID-19 treatment has emerged, but is interferon lambda the miracle cure the world has been waiting for?

Summary of Key Points

* Currently available COVID-19 treatments have limitations and concerns.

* A new clinical trial shows promise for interferon lambda, effective against all variants and drops viral loads faster than other COVID-19 treatments.

* Interferon lambda is a “one-and-done” treatment.

* Interferon lambda has little interaction with other drugs, making it a safer treatment option for many individuals.

* The Food and Drug Administration has not approved interferon lambda as a COVID-19 treatment; emergency use authorization is still pending.

Limitations and Concerns With Current COVID-19 Treatments

The currently available treatments for COVID-19 have been far from perfect, with each presenting its limitations and concerns.

For instance, questions have been raised about the safety and effectiveness of Molnupiravir, while Paxlovid is associated with a high number of cross-drug interactions, and there are concerns about managing rebound syndrome.

On the other hand, three days of intravenous remdesivir is cumbersome to set up, requiring a visit to an infusion center or dedicated home care service. More importantly, the drug has caused potentially fatal side effects, including kidney failure.

Additionally, Omicron and its subsequent mutations have made all previously available monoclonals ineffective.

In this context, a recent clinical trial has shown promising results for pegylated interferon lambda, a naturally occurring protein produced by the immune system in response to viral infections. The study showed interferon lambda could reduce COVID-19 risk by up to 50 percent.

What Is Interferon Lambda?

Interferons (IFNs) are a group of proteins produced by the immune system in response to viral infections. These proteins have antiviral, anti-tumor, and immunomodulatory effects and regulate the immune system. There are three types of interferons: type I, type II, and type III.

All types of IFNs have similar effects on the body but activate different sets of genes.

Interferons work by “interfering” with viral replication and infection. This is done by activating pro-inflammatory pathways, recruiting immune cells, or targeting viral replication by breaking down its proteins, enzymes, and RNA.

Type I and type II interferons launch a systemic antiviral response throughout the body. On the other hand, type III interferons are limited to epithelial cells and specific immune cells like neutrophils.

This indicates that type III interferons provide targeted protection for skin, gut, and lung surfaces while minimizing the side effects.

Given the characteristics of interferons, especially considering the specificity of type III interferons, they are useful for treating acute and chronic viral infections.

Previously, type I IFNs have been used to treat chronic hepatitis C and B viral infections. Although effective, they have significant side effects, such as flu-like symptoms, nausea, and fatigue, as they can theoretically affect almost all cells in the body. In contrast, studies (1,2) in mice showed that type III interferon (IFN-λ) was more effective at preventing and treating influenza viral infections with fewer side effects. Additionally, in treating hepatitis C, interferon lambda was equally as effective as type I IFNs, with milder side effects.

Regarding the timing of infection and host defense, IFNλs are the first IFNs that defend at the epithelial barrier to inhibit the initial spread of viruses without triggering inflammation.

In the context of COVID-19, type III interferons are more appropriate for development as a treatment for three reasons.

Firstly, interferon lambda works on the same locations, namely the respiratory and gastrointestinal systems where COVID-19 primarily attacks, so as to result in greater inhibition of viral replication from the nasal epithelium to the upper respiratory tract.

Secondly, most severe COVID-19 patients experience cytokine storms. Avoiding systemic inflammation is essential to reduce the risk of a cytokine storm and prevent the exacerbation of COVID-19 symptoms.

Lastly, type III interferons are localized to epithelial cells and confer long-lasting antiviral effects in the upper respiratory tract and block virus transmission, according to a report from a German laboratory study.

Interferon Lambda Works Differently Than Other COVID-19 Treatments

While most COVID-19 treatments are exogenous, meaning they are produced outside the body and later introduced to the body, interferon lambda is endogenous, produced naturally by the body in response to viral infections.

This means that interferon lambda, even if administered exogenously, is less likely to cause adverse effects, and is less likely to interact with other medications.

Interferon lambda works with your natural immune system, not against it. This differs from other COVID-19 treatments, such as vaccines, that aim to “hack” your immune system into working for you. The beauty of interferons is that your immune system can immediately use them. The idea is that we are letting our immune system do the work with a little boost from outside.

Interferon lambda triumphs above other COVID-19 treatments due to the following:

* Effective against all virus variants, including the Delta and Omicron variants.

* Drops viral loads faster than other treatments, making it an effective way to limit the spread of the virus.

* Interferon lambda is a “one-and-done” treatment.

* Little interaction with other drugs makes it a safer treatment option for many individuals.

Interferon Lambda Clinical Trial Shows Promise for COVID-19 Treatment

Two studies (1, 2) have reported the results of phase 2 clinical trials on the impact of pegylated interferon lambda on the viral load of SARS-CoV-2. Phase 2 clinical trials are small studies designed to test the safety and effectiveness of new drugs, whereas phase 3 clinical trials involve hundreds to thousands of participants.

The breakthrough study published in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), “Early Treatment With Pegylated Interferon Lambda for COVID-19,” was the phase 3 trial many people were waiting for, and the results are intriguing.

The phase 3 clinical trial recruited 2,617 participants, of whom 933 were randomly assigned the treatment of pegylated interferon lambda, while 1,018 received a placebo. The remaining 666 patients were assigned to other intervention groups.

The placebo group was given either a single subcutaneous injection or an oral placebo. The median age of all the patients was 43 years, ranging from 18 to 92.

Of the patients in the interferon group, 25 of 931 (2.7 percent) showed a primary-outcome event, meaning the patient suffered from hospitalization or emergency treatment, compared to 57 of the 1,018 (5.6 percent) placebo patients. The difference shows a reduction of 51 percent risk between the control and placebo.

Additionally, there were no differences in the incidence of adverse events between the control and placebo groups, showing that the interferon lambda therapy did not lead to, at least in the scope of this study, more side effects.

Overall, patients who received a single dose of pegylated interferon lambda were significantly less likely to require hospitalization or an emergency department visit due to COVID-19 than those who received a placebo.

Our Genes Decide the Response to Interferon
It’s important to note that there are limitations to using interferon lambda injections. First, the COVID-19 patients were treated early—within 7 days after the onset of symptoms as defined in the NEJM clinical trial.

Secondly, only non-hospitalized patients were included in the study. Patients requiring hospitalization or who exhibited signs of severe COVID-19 symptoms were excluded from the trial.

Thirdly, not everyone responds to interferon therapy. Some intrinsic factors predetermine our response to interferons, such as our genes.

For example, a 2022 study published in Nature examined the OAS1 gene, which is activated by interferons to produce an important enzyme that helps the body fight viral infections.

The study discovered that a common gene pattern of OAS1, called a haplotype, was linked to an increased risk of severe illness and reduced clearance of the COVID-19 virus.

Evaluation of the prevalence of this haplotype is warranted, yet the interplay between COVID-19 and specific genes raises a bigger question regarding the impact of our genes on disease.

Let’s take approaches to happiness as an example. Hedonic lifestyles prioritize pleasure and positive emotions, such as joy, excitement, and satisfaction, and may involve activities such as indulging in good food, entertainment, or material possessions.

In contrast, eudaimonic lifestyles prioritize meaning, purpose, and personal growth and may involve pursuing challenging goals, contributing to the greater good, and cultivating meaningful relationships. While both approaches can bring about positive feelings and experiences, eudaimonic well-being tends to be more sustainable and satisfying over the long term, as it is rooted in the sense of purpose and deeper fulfillment beyond the pursuit of immediate pleasure.

In a study published in PNAS, researchers found that individuals who lived a eudaimonic lifestyle had higher interferon gene expression and significantly lower expression of pro-inflammatory genes.

On the other hand, individuals living a hedonistic lifestyle showed higher expression of pro-inflammatory genes and downregulation of interferon gene expression.

The study suggests that the interconnectedness between mind and body is powerful and should be taken into account when trying to prevent or treat illness.




Sunday, March 12, 2023

Fauci's Worst Nightmare Just Appeared in Front of Congressional COVID Origin Committee

If Dr. Anthony Fauci thinks he will escape unscathed for his role in helping fund the coronavirus pandemic, he might be in for a rude awakening.

Explosive testimony from Dr. Robert Redfield, the former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suggests Fauci’s worst nightmare is about to unfold.

The virologist testified on Wednesday before the House Oversight Committee’s select subcommittee investigating the origins of COVID-19.

In a stunning revelation, Redfield said Fauci — then the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases — and his boss, Dr. Francis Collins — then the head of the National Institutes of Health — excluded him from meetings investigating the origins of the coronavirus in order to push a single narrative.

That contrived narrative shut down any suggestion that the virus might have come from a lab leak at the Wuhan Institute of Technology in China.

During the hearing, Republican Rep. James Comer of Kentucky asked Redfield, “You have said before that you were locked out of conversations about the lab leak by Dr. Fauci and Dr. Collins. Do you think they kept you out of the conversations because you believe COVID-19 may have come from a lab?”

Redfield said yes, and underscored that creating narratives is categorically anti-scientific.

“I had a different point of view, and I was told they made a decision that they would keep this confidential until they came up with a single narrative, which I will argue is antithetical to science,” he said.

“Science never selects a single narrative. … We foster debate, and we are confident that with debate, science will eventually get to the truth. This was an a priori decision that, ‘There’s one point of view that we’re gonna put out there, and anyone who doesn’t agree with it is going to be sidelined.’

“I was ‘only’ the CDC director, and I was sidelined,” Redfield recounted.

Comer said he believes Fauci and Collins conspired to shut down any discussion about the lab leak theory in order to hide their involvement in funding deadly gain-of-function research that was being done at the Wuhan Institute.

“Well, I think Dr. Fauci and Dr. Collins got caught with their hand in the cookie jar,” the chairman of the House Oversight and Accountability Committee said. “They got caught supercharging viruses in an unsecure Chinese lab.

“They wanted to push the envelope, and so they got together to cover themselves, cover up their story and wipe their fingerprints of the virus that has killed more than 1 million Americans.”

Republican Rep. Nicole Malliotakis of New York also expressed outrage at the apparent coverup of the lab leak theory.

“For two years, myself and the other Republicans on this subcommittee connected the dots,” she said. “We exposed the evidence supporting our strong belief that COVID was developed and leaked from the Wuhan lab.

“And during those same two years, the same Democrats that sit on this committee, they only hindered, they obstructed, they refused to hold hearings and get to the truth. Now, we see mounting evidence supporting that COVID-19 originated from the lab in Wuhan, China, run by the Communist Chinese Party.”

Redfield said he had expressed concerns to Fauci back in January 2020 that the virus may have originated from the Wuhan Lab and urged him to investigate this hypothesis — only to be shut out of discussions on this topic.

Specifically, he said he was excluded from a February 2020 meeting of 11 scientists across five time zones examining the origins of the coronavirus.

“I was told later [about the call] … I didn’t know I was excluded,” Redfield testified.

“I didn’t know there was a Feb. 1 conference call until the Freedom of Information [Act request] came out with the emails. And I was quite upset — as the CDC director — that I was excluded from those discussions.”

Looking back over the past three years, it’s obvious the public was repeatedly lied to about the pandemic.

Numerous Americans, including Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, believe Fauci should be held accountable.

In 2021, Paul pointed out that there is documented proof that the NIAID under Fauci gave hefty grants to the Wuhan Institute, which used the money to perform gain-of-function research into bat coronaviruses.

Gain-of-function research involves transforming pathogens into mutant “super-viruses” by making them deadlier and more contagious.

Paul has accused Fauci of lying when he denied that the NIAID funded labs that performed gain-of-function research, saying there’s a paper trail going back years showing that the agency did bankroll this dangerous research at Wuhan.

If it turns out that Fauci bears any responsibility for a pandemic that killed over 1 million Americans and led to shutdowns and restrictions that destroyed the U.S. economy and violated Americans’ civil liberties, he should be vigorously prosecuted.


Dying from COVID-19 or Dying with COVID-19?

People are tested for COVID-19 when they are admitted to a hospital, which means that some hospitalized people with COVID-19 are hospitalized due to a condition other than COVID-19. When a positively tested patient dies, COVID-19 is likely to be listed as the cause of death. However, dying with COVID-19 and from COVID-19 are not the same thing. Experts indicate that this situation is causing the overcounting of COVID-19 deaths. TrialSite previously reported on the complex landscape of excess deaths during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Omicron, the most contagious COVID variant so far, is the leading variant around the world in 2023, which means it’s responsible for most positive COVID-19 test results in people who are admitted to hospital. However, the early strains of Omicron appeared to be less serious than previous variants, and it’s not clear to what extent COVID-19 is contributing to the person’s condition and to what extent it’s an incidental finding.

Testing the patients who are admitted to the hospital for COVID-19 is a common practice in some countries like the U.S. and UK. However, this creates the need to distinguish between the people who are hospitalized specifically for COVID-19 and those who are hospitalized for another condition and simply happen to also have COVID-19.

Many countries have started to track this difference. At the end of 2021, data from the UK showed that among more than 8,000 hospitalized people with COVID-19, 33% were hospitalized due to another reason. A similar pattern was also observed in South Africa, where 76% of the hospitalized people with COVID-19 had another illness that led to hospital admission. Denmark has been tracking the difference since 2021 and its 2022 data showed that at least 60% of the deaths occurred in patients with COVID-19 but not from COVID-19.

It is important to make this distinction because when people who are previously stable but have chronic conditions get COVID-19, this might trigger their illness and make their condition deteriorate.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) acknowledges that the majority of deaths that are related to COVID-19 are reported as being because of COVID-19. In 2022, deaths that reported COVID-19 as a contributing factor but not as the underlying cause increased. However, the U.S. was late in making the differentiation, as some hospitals only started to track whether a person died because of COVID-19 or with COVID-19 starting from January 2023.

Tracking Dexamethasone Usage

According to Shira I. Doron, Chief Infection Control Officer for Tufts Medicine, people who have died with COVID-19 should be checked for the use of the steroid dexamethasone, a treatment that is used for COVID-19 patients with low oxygen levels. If a patient was being treated with dexamethasone, this indicates that the patient was hospitalized due to COVID-19, otherwise, the patient with COVID-19 was hospitalized because of some other reason.

In Massachusetts, both hospitalization with COVID-19 and the use of dexamethasone is tracked. Recent data from the state shows that only 30% of hospitalizations with COVID-19 were due to the virus. New York is another state that differentiates between deaths from COVID-19 and deaths with COVID-19. Data from New York shows that 57% of patients were hospitalized for COVID-19 while 43% were hospitalized with COVID-19.

Contribution of COVID-19

According to the CDC, “When a condition is identified as a contributing cause of death, the cause of death certifier believed that the condition was significant enough to contribute to the fatal outcome and was not an incidental finding.” The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) also published a guide on how to certify deaths due to or related to COVID-19.

However, sometimes it is not clear whether the person is hospitalized or died with COVID-19 or for COVID-19. COVID-19 affects many different functions in the body, and these secondary effects of COVID-19 might also lead to hospitalization or death.

Dr. Ashish Jha, dean of the Brown University School of Public Health, gave an example of a kidney disease patient. Because of COVID-19-related fever, the patient experienced dehydration which led to kidney failure. He was then hospitalized due to kidney failure. Some physicians might argue that this patient is a COVID-19 patient. Others might claim that the main reason he was hospitalized was kidney disease. These kinds of cases make it difficult to determine the leading cause.

Previously, TrialSite reported that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) paid 20% more to U.S. hospitals in return for each COVID-19 diagnosis and treating COVID-19 patients with one of the U.S. FDA-approved treatments for COVID-19.


Experts are criticized for the claim that they are minimizing COVID-19. However, making the distinction has many benefits. According to Tammy Lundstrom, chief medical officer at Trinity Health, tracking down the two might help healthcare professionals prioritize treatments, and understand the severity of the illness. According to Dr. Doron, another benefit of tracking COVID-19 patients is to foresee the hospital's capacity. Additionally, it will help health agencies to better track the current COVID-19 pandemic in countries.

Bottom Line

At the start of the pandemic, the primary reason people were hospitalized or died was COVID-19. Three years on, that may no longer be the case, and the real reason people are there even though they have tested positive in hospitals might be something else. Making this distinction is important in terms of obtaining up-to-date COVID-19 statistics and accordingly making necessary arrangements in hospitals.