Saturday, August 19, 2023

Another Sabbath thought

Did you know that, according to Genesis chapter 1 God did NOT create the heavens and the earth?  What's that?  You say.  What the heck am I talking about

What I am talking about is what the original Hebrew  Bible says, not what the King James version or some other translation says.

You see, the original Hebrew Bible is very exact when it refers to God. It uses a specific name for him: "Yahveh" (or Jehovah in English).  I have a copy of the Hebrew Bible so does it anywhere in Genesis 1 mention the Tetragramaton (Divine name in Hebrew)?  

It does not. The Tetragrammation is quite a short word, whereas Elohim is quite a long word.  You can't miss the difference.  What Genesis 1.1 to 1:3 says is that the Heavens and Earth were created by "Elohim", which in Hebrew means "gods", any gods.  Could be pagan gods.  Don't blame me.  That's what it says.

So what is going on?  Why is Genesis 1.1 to 1:3  so different from the rest of the Torah?  It's because that passage is what scholars politely call an  interpolation, in plain words a pious fraud.  It was not there when the original Torah was written.  It is a late addition, presumably put there by some priests.

The original creation story starts from Genesis 2:4.  And guess who gets a mention there straight away? Yahveh.  The divine name now appears.

So Genesis 1.1 to 1:3  is a document from somewhere much later than the rest of the Torah.  It dates from a time when Israelite priests had ceased using the divine name out of a fear of taking it in vain.  They used "Elohim" instead, as a respectful plural. It is quite a late document.

So Why?  Why did the priests do that? It's propaganda.  The Israelites have always had to exist among pagans and pagans all regard the Sun as a great god.  So they dedicate the first day of the week to him. So it has always been a battle for Israelites to defend their unique god.  

And one way they did that from early on was to defy custom and have their Holy day on the 7th day, not the 1st.  But that needed defending to the Israelite public.  They had to have a reason for celebrating the "wrong" day.  So in desperation the priests invented a story about God resting on the 7th day of  creation.  Keeping Saturday holy was simply following God's example.  Neat, eh?

I give a fuller account of the above matters here:


Friday, August 18, 2023

Australian Scientists Find Disturbing Patterns: COVID-19 Vaccines Correspond with Excess Deaths

Recently, Andre Madry, Ph.D., a Sydney, Australia-based signal processing and data analysis scientist, investigated excess mortality in Australia, seeking to better understand when any obvious warning signs were in fact apparent. A physicist by training, Madry was in touch with TrialSite to disseminate his recent research findings uploaded to ResearchGate. The findings are highly disturbing and while they are yet to be published in a scientific journal nor peer-reviewed, the data need to be taken seriously. The head-in-the-sand approach to excess mortality taken by some public health agencies doesn’t help establish greater trust, which is likely at an all time low since the pandemic.

Also reviewing the recent paper uploaded to ResearchGate is an Australian journalist, Rebekah Barnett. She reports on what she describes as an “in-depth analysis of Queensland mortality data” finding the surge in deaths after the mass COVID-19 primary series rollout.

TrialSite reported on surges in COVID-19 mortality after the mass vaccination event which seemed to have contradicted expected outcomes.

By April of last year in “Heavily Vaxxed Australia: First 3.5 months of 2022 has Double the COVID-19 Deaths from 2020-2021 Combined,” TrialSite reported on the disturbing surge of COVID-19 deaths after the mass COVID-19 vaccination roll out Down Under.

This is a growing topic as reported in this media. Just in March of this year in “Australian Excess Deaths Surge While COVID-19 Deaths Down—Could there be a Link to COVID-19 Vaccination?”, TrialSite points to Australian Bureau of Statistics released “Provisional Mortality Statistics,” a report revieing provisional deaths data as part of an ongoing effort to measure changes in patterns of mortality. This latest period is for the entire year of 2022. The agency Down Under reports there were 190,394 deaths that occurred by December 31, 2022, representing 25,235 (15.3%) excess over a historical average.

Now, Madry applies his quantitative acumen to the problem of excess deaths in Australia. Although the paper is not scientifically peer-reviewed (meaning it should not be cited as evidence till its published and reviewed by a scientific body) his report for the Australian Medical Professionals Society (AMPS) needs to be taken seriously.

The Australian Scientist purchased custom data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) segmented and stratified by age and years. Emphasizing the elderly cohort (aged 60 and above) the pragmatic, real-world emphasizing scientists understood this cohort represented the highest risk for death Down Under.

The study’s output reveals a surge in all-cause mortality across all age cohorts, with the highest rates, perhaps not surprisingly, in the age 80 years and above group. The Australian journalist Rebekah Barnett points out that Madry analysis not only reveals “the elderly dying a year or two early after exposure to a nasty virus” but emphasizes actual declining life expectancy in real time starting around March 2021. What’s that date known for? Of course, the mass COVID-19 vaccination program rollout.

Drilling into the State of Queensland mortality data, the analysis probes mortality trends across three data sets including 1) No Covid, no vaccinations in 2020; 2) No Covid, almost full population vaccination coverage (2021) and 3) Covid and almost full population vaccination coverage (2022).

The expert data analyst and signal processing specialist finds a clear surge in all-cause mortality among the elderly (age 60 and up) temporally corresponding with the mass primarily mRNA COVID-19 vaccine program execution starting by March 2021.

As summarized by Ms. Barnett in her Substack Dystopian Down Under, another surge occurs in Queensland with the onset of the Omicron wave leading to COVID-19 deaths. Madry points to the confounding due to the concurrent saturation of primary series and booster mass vaccination effort.

But is there a temporal association of death and COVID-19 vaccine rollout?

Yes, there is, according to Madry. Down Under journalist Barnett calls the temporal link between COVID-19 vaccination and all-cause mortality “striking.”

Officially, the reporter reminds all that the Australian government agency charged with protecting the public against medicines and vaccines, the Therapeutic Goods Association (TGA) acknowledges formally only 14 deaths linked to the jabs. Yet the surge’s timing raises real alarm.

Madry shared with the journalist that a willingness of other research groups, such as The Actuaries Institute and their COVID Mortality Working Group to “swallow the TGA’s official figure whole without any further analysis” represents not only a major shortcoming but even a potential red flag for some kind of mass head in the sand moment.

No matter how one slices and dices the Australian data, deaths associated with COVID-19 after mass vaccination raise disturbing questions that TrialSite posed over a year ago. Now an Australian scientist reveals in graphic detail a surge in all-cause mortality right about the time that mass COVID-19 vaccination commenced. Yes, this data must be published and scrutinized in depth, but TrialSite also suggests, yes this is a problem that cannot be ignored.


The collateral damage of lockdowns on children is still emerging

There has been plenty of evidence published over the past three years of the severe effects on children’s education and wellbeing of closing schools during Covid lockdowns, but a new study by the Institute of Fiscal Studies (IFS) and University College London (UCL) has a slightly different emphasis – linking children’s social and emotional development with the employment situation of their parents.

Overall, it found that 47 per cent of parents reported that their children’s social and emotional skills had declined during the pandemic – with just a sixth of parents reporting that there had been an improvement. The effect was more severe along younger children – 52 per cent of children of 4-7 year olds reported a decline in social and emotional skills, compared with 42 per cent among 12-15 year olds.

Children were more likely to be affected if their parents’ employment situation changed

However, in contrast to other studies, this one did not find that children from disadvantaged backgrounds suffered more – in fact, the effect seemed to be least among children whose parents are in the lowest income quintile, and greatest among those in the 4thincome quintile. The survey relied on parents’ replies, however, rather than independent assessments, so there may be an element of different levels of expectation in children’s development.

What the study did find, on the other hand, was that children were more likely to be affected if their parents’ employment situation changed. This was particularly the case even if their parents had been furloughed, and so were being kept afloat financially. The difference was not all that great, however – social and emotional skills were reported to have fallen in 51 per cent of children whose parents had been furloughed, compared with 45 per cent of children whose parents had not been furloughed.

A lot of research and comment on children’s wellbeing during Covid has focused on the closure of schools. But as this study hints there is another side to the subject: what was happening in the home while children were confined there. It ought not to be a surprise if children fared worse in homes where parents were suffering a significant amount of stress for their employment and financial situation.

There are still ministers and advisers involved in the Covid response who think Covid lockdowns were a success – or who, like Matt Hancock, think we should have faster and more severe lockdowns in future. As the IFS/UCL study shows, the evidence on the collateral damage of lockdowns is still being produced.


Hybrid Immunity Surpasses Vaccination for COVID-19 Protection Against Omicron

Researchers from the Center for Infectious Disease Control, National institute for Public Health and the Environment in the Netherlands led by Mirjam J. Knol, a senior Epidemiologist at the Dutch Center of Infectious Disease Control, investigated natural (pre-existing infection-based) immunity to SARS-Cov-2, the virus behind COVID-19.

The Dutch researchers report in the peer-reviewed Nature Communications an increasing proportion of the population became immune to COVID-19 via vaccination and previous SARS-CoV-2 infection, i.e., hybrid immunity, possibly affecting the risk of new infection.

The goal of this investigation was to generate an estimation of the protective effect of previous infections and vaccinations on SARS-CoV-2 Omicron infection. Tapping into data between January 10, 2022 and September 1, 2022 involving 43,257 adult participants in a prospective community-based cohort study in the Netherlands, the team’s output reveals that for participants with 2, 3 or 4 prior immunizing events (vaccination or previous infection), hybrid immunity is more protective against infection with SARS-CoV-2 Omicron than vaccine-induced immunity, up to at least 30 weeks after the last immunizing event.

The authors led by corresponding member Knol report variance in risk of infection are partly explained by differences in anti-Spike RBD (S) antibody concentration, which is associated with risk of infection in a dose-response manner.

Among participants with hybrid immunity, with one previous pre-Omicron infection, the authors fail to observe a relevant difference in risk of Omicron infection by sequence of vaccination(s) and infection. Furthermore, more immunizing events increase the protection against infection, however, there’s a limit: not above the level of the first weeks after the previous event.

Importantly, the authors note that based on mass vaccination concerns and so called “narrow immunity” or ‘original antigenic sin’ or immunological imprinting, the Dutch team reports, “We did not find evidence of a higher risk of Omicron infection in participants with hybrid immunity with a vaccination as first immunizing event compared to infection as first immunizing event.”

The authors wrap up that their “study shows that hybrid immunity confers better protection against SARS-CoV-2 Omicron infection than vaccine-induced immunity. This effect does not seem dependent on the sequence or number of immunizing events. It should be kept in mind that experiencing a SARS-CoV-2 infection carries significant risks, including severe COVID-19, post-covid syndrome and transmission to vulnerable people.”




Thursday, August 17, 2023

Stuck in a (Covid) time warp: End of the pandemic? Or just Intermission?

Supposedly, the pandemic is over. The World Health Organisation (WHO) says it ended on 5 May. Yet the persecution of the unvaccinated continues.

Dazelle Peters, only 16 years old, has been denied a lung transplant. She suffers from an auto-immune condition and such people were excluded from the Covid vaccine trials so there is no data to support her immunisation. Indeed, at least two vaccine deaths in Australia occurred in healthy people with auto-immune conditions that were fatally exacerbated – Natalie Boyce who had antiphospholipid syndrome died after a Moderna vaccine and Roberto Garin who had cardiac sarcoidosis died after a Pfizer vaccine.

The hospital’s policy is not to perform transplants on unvaccinated people and Dazelle says she was told that if she didn’t get the jabs and caught the virus she would be a ‘major threat to everyone (in the hospital) who has done the right thing’.

Yet a report from the University of Freiburg by Reeg et al. shows ‘an impaired T cell response in solid organ transfers (SOT) following Sars-CoV-2 vaccination, with a potentially less robust development, compared to natural infection.’

Vicky Derderian, a slim 46-year-old mother of two, is trying to raise the money to get a heart transplant in India because she is being refused one in Australia. Vicky has been exempted by Australia’s Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation because she already has heart scarring from myocarditis but that’s not good enough for the Alfred Hospital in Melbourne which is denying her a transplant.

Never mind that a peer-reviewed Swiss study published on 20 July shows that 1-in-35 people who received the Moderna Covid booster had detectable heart injuries and women were almost five times as likely to be injured. The group tested was a healthy cohort with few preexisting heart problems and an average age of 37. How much worse would it be for Vicky?

Another study released this month by Marchand et al. showed that ‘Covid-19 vaccination may be associated with a small increase in cardiac-related mortality’. A study that came out in June from the prestigious US Cleveland Clinic shows that, ‘The risk of Covid-19 was lower in the “not up-to-date” group as compared to the “up-to-date” group.’ Put the two together and they show that a Covid jab makes you more likely to get Covid and more likely to die of heart trouble.

Unvaccinated people are encouraged to donate organs to others even though they are denied transplants. The wife of Garnet Harper, a 35-year-old Canadian man who died last month after he was denied a kidney transplant because he was unvaccinated was asked to donate his organs to a vaccinated person. She says the woman who made the request had no idea her husband was dying because he had been refused a transplant. Canadians opposed to persecuting the unvaccinated are calling on all Canadians to refuse to donate organs until the government ends its fatal discrimination.

But that’s not the end of the punishment in Australia. In South Australia, New South Wales and Queensland, healthcare workers are still not allowed to work unless they get vaccinated. (They are not the only ones.) In NSW, a case against vaccine mandates was lost in 2021, in Queensland, a case was heard in 2022 but no ruling has been delivered in more than 12 months. In South Australia, healthcare workers took their case to the employment tribunal in late June.

That was after the secretary of the federal Department of Health, Professor Brendan Murphy said in a parliamentary committee on 1 June, that in his view, as a clinician rather than as a public servant, Covid vaccine mandates were no longer justified.

But South Australia’s Chief Health Officer Nicola Spurrier – famous for claiming you could catch Covid from a football or a pizza box – is not for turning. Her indifference to evidence is breathtaking. The South Australian health department was forced to reveal in response to a freedom of information request from Liberal Senator Alex Antic that cardiac presentations in 18 to 44-year-old people in South Australia which remained steady at 1,100 per month from January 2018 to June 2021, drastically spiked from July 2021 to November 2021 when vaccines were rolled out to that age group, peaking at 2,172 presentations, with another spike in February when boosters were mandated. She doesn’t care. The laid-off workers, the heroes who faced Covid in 2020, are zero today.

Instead, the states that still ban unvaccinated staff are in a bidding war to attract vaccinated staff from interstate and abroad. They face dramatic shortfalls due to the thousands who have been laid off, while vaccinated workers and the general public have increased illnesses. In 2023, excess mortality is still running at 12 per cent above the baseline average.

Meanwhile, almost a thousand people have joined a class action suing the head of the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) and Professor Murphy for negligence or misfeasance in approving the vaccines which resulted in personal injury or the death of a loved one. The case which is being funded through donations is still open to be joined and will be heard next year.

The TGA’s own database shows that there have been 996 deaths reported which it is suspected were caused by the vaccine and 139,052 reports of injury. That’s one-third of all deaths reported to the TGA since the vaccines were rolled out and three-quarters of all injuries.

Meanwhile, despite promising a royal commission into the pandemic before coming to office, Labor refused to support a motion in the Senate this week by Senator Ralph Babet of the United Australia Party, to get one underway. The Liberals helped Labor out by offering pairs so that the motion was narrowly defeated. The guilty protecting each other?

Why do state and federal governments refuse to acknowledge what even Bill Gates admitted in January, that Covid jabs are ‘not infection-blocking, they’re not broad, so when new variants come up you lose protection, and they have very short duration, particularly in the people who matter who are old people’. Is it because they have entered into a partnership with Moderna giving them a massive conflict of interest? Is it because the WHO is already predicting with its spooky clairvoyance that the next pandemic bonanza is on the way? Perhaps the pandemic isn’t over, perhaps this is just intermission.


Heart Scarring Observed in Children Months After COVID-19 Vaccination: Study

Some children who experienced heart inflammation after COVID-19 vaccination had scarring on their hearts months later, a new long-term study found.

Researchers followed a group of 40 patients aged 12 to 18 for up to one year after the children were diagnosed with myocarditis, or heart inflammation, following vaccination with one of the messenger RNA shots from Pfizer or Moderna. They performed a series of tests, including echocardiograms.

Cardiac magnetic resonance imaging, or cardiac MRIs, was performed on 39 of the 40 patients. Abnormal results came in for 26 of those who were imaged, including 19 who had late gadolinium enhancement, or signs of scarring.

The patients with abnormal results returned for follow-up cardiac MRIs at least five months after the initial tests and 15, or 58 percent, had residual late gadolinium enhancement (LGE). The one patient without an initial scan also had mild late gadolinium enhancement when scanned during a follow-up visit.

“Persistence of LGE in a significant subset of patients with up to 1 year of follow-up was observed,” Dr. Yiu-fai Cheung, with Hong Kong Children’s Hospital, and the other researchers wrote.

They said that the implications of the persistence remain unclear, but that given it is an indicator of subclinical heart dysfunction and scarring, “there exists a potential long-term effect on exercise capacity and cardiac functional reserve during stress.”

The study was published by Circulation. Authors reported no funding or disclosures.

Dr. Peter McCullough, an American cardiologist and president of the McCullough Foundation, said that the new data is consistent with what cardiologists are seeing in clinical practice.

“Serious cases of COVID-19 vaccine induced myocarditis are not resolved by cardiac MRI at one year of followup in the majority of cases. At some point, we must assume that late gadolinium enhancement represents a scar or permanent damage,” Dr. McCullough, who was not involved in the research, told The Epoch Times via email.

“COVID-19 vaccines should be pulled from the market immediately until further notice. Large scale research programs should be commissioned immediately on subclinical and clinical COVID-19 vaccine induced myocarditis with initial aims at risk stratification and mitigation for cardiac arrest,” he added.

Dr. Anish Koka, another American cardiologist who was not involved in the study, said that the persistent LGE signifies a scar that replaced the initially inflamed heart muscle.

“The good news is that the amount of scar is small. The bad news is that there is scar,” Dr. Koka wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter.

Dr. Koka said that the level of scarring indicates there would likely not be a long-term impact, but that even small levels of scarring could be a foundation for future arrhythmias, with exercise serving as a trigger.

“All these kids (even those without scar) would need exercise stress tests at 6 months to attempt to prognosticate this,” Dr. Koka said.

Pfizer and Moderna did not respond to requests for comment on the study on myocarditis, a known side effect of both of the companies’ COVID-19 vaccines.

Myocarditis after COVID-19 vaccination was first detected in early 2021, and an increasing number of studies have undercut claims from officials in the United States that the heart inflammation is mild and resolves without treatment.

A study from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), published in 2022, reported that among patients with follow-up cardiac MRIs, 54 percent had at least one abnormal finding, such as scarring.

The study relied on surveys from health care providers who examined the patients.

The providers later told the CDC that five to 13 months after the initial diagnosis, 14 percent of patients were still not cleared for all physical activity, and that multiple patients still had abnormal cardiac MRI findings. And in a separate set of surveys, many patients reported experiencing one or more symptoms beyond one year.

Also in 2022, Rhode Island doctors reported that eight of nine patients who were scanned a median of 94 days after initial diagnosis had persistent LGE, while U.S. researchers reported in 2023 that three of seven patients who were imaged a median of 107 days after diagnosis had persistent LGE.

Myocarditis can cause deaths, including sudden deaths, and deaths from myocarditis after vaccination have been confirmed in a number of countries, including South Korea, the United States, and Germany.

South Korean researchers reported in June that vaccine-induced myocarditis caused eight sudden deaths, all in people aged 45 or younger, and a new meta-analysis found COVID-19 vaccination was linked with an increased risk of cardiac-related death.

Vaccine-induced myocarditis primarily affects young people, particularly young males.

Some critics say that all people, or certain people, don’t need a vaccine, noting the risks as well as the high percentages of people who have been vaccinated, infected, or both.

The CDC still recommends people of all ages receive a COVID-19 vaccine, despite the risk of heart inflammation and other side effects and even as the effectiveness of the vaccines has become worse. In its most recent benefit-risk assessment, the CDC estimated that a million doses in children aged 12 to 17 would prevent up to 136 hospitalizations and one death. According to previous estimates from the CDC, a million second doses would lead to 48 cases of myocarditis in children aged 12 to 15 and 84 cases in children aged 16 or 17.




Wednesday, August 16, 2023

Doctors Can Prescribe Ivermectin for COVID-19: FDA Lawyer

Doctors are free to prescribe ivermectin to treat COVID-19, a lawyer representing the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said this week.

“FDA explicitly recognizes that doctors do have the authority to prescribe ivermectin to treat COVID,” Ashley Cheung Honold, a Department of Justice lawyer representing the FDA, said during oral arguments on Aug. 8 in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit.

The government is defending the FDA’s repeated exhortations to people to not take ivermectin for COVID-19, including a post that said “Stop it.”

The case was brought by three doctors who allege the FDA unlawfully interfered with their practice of medicine with the statements. A federal judge dismissed the case in 2022, prompting an appeal.

“The fundamental issue in this case is straightforward. After the FDA approves the human drug for sale, does it then have the authority to interfere with how that drug is used within the doctor-patient relationship? The answer is no,” Jared Kelson, representing the doctors, told the appeals court.

The FDA on Aug. 21, 2021, wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter: “You are not a horse. You are not a cow. Seriously, y’all. Stop it.” The post, which linked to an FDA page that says people shouldn’t use ivermectin to prevent or treat COVID-19, went viral.

In other statements, the FDA said that ivermectin “isn’t authorized or approved to treat COVID-19” and “Q: Should I take ivermectin to prevent or treat COVID-19? A: No.”

Command or Not

“FDA made these statements in response to multiple reports of consumers being hospitalized, after self medicating with ivermectin intended for horses, which is available for purchase over the counter without the need for prescription,” Ms. Honold said.

A version of the drug for animals is available, but ivermectin is approved by the FDA for human use against diseases caused by parasites.

Ms. Honold said that the FDA didn’t purport to require anyone to do anything or to prohibit anyone from doing anything.

“What about when it said, ‘No, stop it’?” Circuit Judge Jennifer Walker Elrod, on the panel that is hearing the appeal, asked. “Why isn’t that a command? If you were in English class, they would say that was a command.”

Ms. Honold described the statements as “merely quips.”

“Can you answer the question, please? Is that a command, ‘Stop it’?” Judge Elrod asked.

“In some contexts, those words could be construed as a command,” Ms. Honold said. “But in this context, where FDA was simply using these words in the context of a quippy tweet meant to share its informational article, those statements do not rise to the level of a command.”

The statements “don’t prohibit doctors from prescribing ivermectin to treat COVID or for any other purpose” Ms. Honold said. She noted that the FDA, along with the statements, said that people should consult their health care providers about COVID-19 treatments and that they could take medicine if it was prescribed by the provider.

“FDA is clearly acknowledging that doctors have the authority to prescribe human ivermectin to treat COVID. So they are not interfering with the authority of doctors to prescribe drugs or to practice medicine,” she said.

Judge Elrod is on the panel with Circuit Judges Edith Brown Clement and Don Willett. All three were appointed under President Donald Trump.

Federal Law

The plaintiffs are Drs. Paul Marik, Mary Bowden, and Robert Apter. They say they were professionally harmed by the FDA’s statements, including being terminated over efforts to prescribe ivermectin to patients.

Dr. Marik has noted that a number of studies support using ivermectin against COVID-19, as the FDA itself has acknowledged. Some other studies show little to no effect.

Federal law enables the FDA to provide information, such as reports of adverse reactions to drugs, but not medical advice, Mr. Kelson said.

“This is something the FDA has never been able to do. And it’s a bright line,” he told the court, adding later: “The clearest examples of where they have gone over the line are when they say things like, ‘You are not a horse, you are not a cow. Seriously, y’all. Stop it.'”

Judges indicated they agree that the FDA lacks the power to give medical advice; Judge Clement said, “You’re not authorized to give medical advice.”

But Ms. Honold said the government “isn’t conceding that in this case.”

She also argued that Congress has empowered the FDA to protect public health and make sure regulated products are safe and effective, giving it the “inherent authority to further its mission by communicating information to the public about safe uses of drugs.”

A ruling in favor of the doctors would prevent the FDA from reporting on consumers suffering after cooking chicken with NyQuil or that opioid addiction is a problem, she claimed.

Mr. Kelson said that wasn’t accurate. “It’s when they step beyond that [and] start telling people how they should or should not be using approved drugs,” he said.

Ms. Honold also said that the courts can’t hold agencies accountable when they provide false or misleading information: “The FDA is politically accountable, just like all other executive agencies.”


COVID-19 Vagus Nerve Inflammation May Lead to Dysautonomia

New data may provide answers for those experiencing persistent symptoms long after their bout with COVID-19 has ended. These may include fatigue, lightheadedness, brain fog, cognitive issues, gastrointestinal problems, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, or an inability to tolerate upright postures.

A July 15 study published in Acta Neuropathologica suggests that SARS-CoV-2 infection may damage the nerves of the autonomic nervous system (ANS), causing an inflammatory response that can later lead to dysautonomia observed in long COVID patients.

Study Findings

Using several methods, researchers at the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf in Germany performed a microscopic analysis of the vagus nerves in 27 deceased patients with COVID-19 and five controls who died of other causes, without COVID-19.

The vagus nerve is a vital component of the ANS that regulates critical functions such as digestion, respiratory and heart rate, and immune response. Vagus nerve signaling to the brainstem also controls the “sickness behavior response,” where the brain mounts flu-like symptoms including nausea, fatigue, pain, and other chronic symptoms in response to inflammation.

The researchers detected SARS-CoV-2 RNA in vagus nerve samples obtained from deceased patients with severe COVID-19 showing direct infection of the nerve was accompanied by inflammatory cell infiltration composed mostly of monocytes—a type of white blood cell that finds and destroys germs and eliminates infected cells. Their analysis revealed a “strong enrichment of genes regulating antiviral responses and interferon signaling,” supporting the idea that vagus nerve inflammation is a common phenomenon with COVID-19.

The researchers also analyzed 23 vagus nerve samples of deceased COVID-19 patients grouped into low, intermediate, and high SARS-CoV-2 RNA viral load to determine if the virus was directly detectable in the vagus nerve and if the viral load correlated with vagus nerve dysfunction. Results showed the virus was present in the vagus nerve and also determined there was a direct correlation between SARS-CoV-2 viral RNA load and dysfunction of the central nervous system.

Researchers then screened a cohort of 323 patients admitted to the emergency room between Feb. 13, 2020, and Aug. 15, 2022, categorized by whether they had mild, moderate, severe, critical, or lethal COVID-19. They found that the respiratory rate increased in survivors but decreased in non-survivors of critical COVID-19. These results suggest SARS-CoV-2 induces vagus nerve inflammation followed by autonomic dysfunction (respiratory rate decrease), which “contributes to critical disease courses and might contribute to dysautonomia observed in long COVID.”

Responding to the study, microbiologist Amy Proal of PolyBio Research Foundation wrote on X, “Because the vagus nerve is an essential component of the #autonomic nervous system and regulates body functions such as heart rate, digestion, and respiratory rate, direct infection of the nerve by SARS-CoV-2 may contribute to related symptoms.” She added, “The findings beg the question: Could persistent SARS-CoV-2 infection of the vagus nerve contribute to dysautonomia in #LongCovid?”

What is Dysautonomia?

Nearly 1 in 5 people in the United States continue to experience unexplained symptoms of long COVID after their infection ends, with as many as 66 percent of patients suffering from moderate to severe dysfunction of the ANS known as dysautonomia.

Dysautonomia is a disorder of the ANS, a part of the central nervous system that controls vital involuntary functions such as breathing, heart rate, blood pressure, digestion, skin and body temperature regulation, salivating, hormonal and bladder function, and sexual function. The ANS also plays a role in the acute “fight or flight” stress response and sends messages to and from internal organs.

Dysautonomia causes the ANS—which consists of the sympathetic, parasympathetic, and enteric nervous systems—to malfunction, either through an inability to perform its tasks or by causing too much activity, resulting in high blood pressure or a rapid heart rate. The condition can be confined to the arms and legs or spread throughout the entire body. It can be severe or mild, and may be reversible or worsen over time.

Postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS) is a common form of dysautonomia that has increased since the COVID-19 pandemic began and has been reported by those with long COVID and in those following COVID-19 vaccination.

Symptoms of POTS include but are not limited to lightheadedness, difficulty thinking or concentrating, severe and long-lasting fatigue, intolerance to exercise, blurred vision, low blood pressure, heart palpitations, tremors, and nausea.

Since the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines, 801 cases of POTS were reported to the Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System as of July 28. This includes 597 cases attributed to Pfizer and 171 cases to Moderna.

Dysautonomia Associated With Long COVID or Post-Vaccine Syndromes

The Frontline COVID-19 Critical Care Alliance (FLCCC) has played a major role in treating long COVID and post-vaccine injuries, including people with dysautonomia.

Many long COVID patients are vaccinated, making it difficult to determine whether their prolonged symptoms are due to COVID-19 or vaccine injury. Regardless, both are manifestations of “spike protein-related disease” and share a significant overlap in symptoms, pathogenesis, and treatment, according to the FLCCC.

The FLCCC has developed protocols for people with long COVID and those experiencing post-vaccine injuries, including POTS.

They recommend patients undergo a series of initial tests to determine whether they have long COVID, and a chest scan for those who have respiratory symptoms to differentiate between long COVID and post-vaccine syndrome.

Protocols are geared towards either long COVID (pdf) or post-vaccine injuries (pdf)—including dysautonomia disorders such as POTS—exercised under the care of a practitioner.




Tuesday, August 15, 2023

Some optimism

My illness seems to have receded a little of its own accord so I have been able today to blog pretty much as per usual. It's too early to be sure of anything, though, so whether I will do much tomorow remains to be seen


Biden Admin Concedes No Evidence Behind Recommendation for 6 COVID Booster Shots a Year

President Joe Biden’s administration concedes that there is no scientific evidence to support an apparent recommendation to receive as many as six COVID-19 booster shots in a year.

After Health Secretary Xavier Becerra, a Biden appointee, wrote in a social media post on Nov. 29, 2022, that people should get vaccinated “if it’s been over 2 months since your last dose,” the Functional Government Initiative (FGI) filed a Freedom of Information Act request for documents supporting the statements.

The watchdog organization then sued after the administration didn’t comply with timelines laid out in the law.

FGI asked for, among other documents: “Any scientific support relied on by Secretary Becerra when approving or issuing the tweet recommending that all Americans receive a booster shot every two months” and “any study, synopsis, or similar statement or document of scientific, academic, or government research on whether a bi-monthly booster shot will effectively prevent the transmission or susceptibility to COVID-19 and known active variants as of November 2022.”

It also asked for internal communications regarding Mr. Becerra’s statements.

In a new response, the government said it had no evidence to support Mr. Becerra’s recommendation.

“The department reviewed 1,263 pages of potentially responsive records captured in the agency’s search for this FOIA request. After a careful review of these records, I determined the 1,263 pages were not relevant to your request,” Alesia Williams, an official in the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), told FGI.

“The lack of a single of a single record supporting Secretary Becerra’s bold public health recommendation for six COVID boosters a year is a startling development,” Pete McGinnis, a spokesman for FGI, said in a statement.

“It is tremendously irresponsible for the government’s chief health official to fire off tweets recommending frequent injections of a new vaccine booster apparently based on no academic or scientific support,” Mr. McGinnis added.

“How can the public be assured that the agency is ‘following the science’ on other important public health matters when it demonstrates such clear disregard for basic scientific integrity standards on an issue as important as COVID vaccine shots?”

The group noted that Mr. Becerra, a lawyer by training, lacks a background in health. Doctors typically lead that department.

Booster Recommendations

As newer COVID-19 variants have emerged, the vaccines have performed increasingly worse. Federal officials inside HHS first cleared booster shots in 2021 due to the flagging effectiveness, and have since authorized and recommended additional shots.

In the spring of 2023, regulators had authorized, without clinical trial data, newly formulated versions of the vaccines aimed at Omicron subvariants. Federal officials had said that people should get a booster if more than two months had elapsed since their most recent shot. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said most people should only receive one additional shot, but that certain groups could receive more.

In another statement promoting vaccination, Vice President Kamala Harris claimed that a single shot would protect people from COVID-19 for an entire year. There’s no evidence supporting that claim.

Mr. Becerra said the day after the initial post: “An updated COVID vaccine can help protect you from the worst outcomes of COVID. If it’s been over 2 months since your last dose, make a plan to get one now.”

He later wrote: “Time to get your updated COVID vaccine if 1) You haven’t gotten the updated vaccine yet & had the primary series or original booster 2+ months ago 2) It’s been 3+ months since you’ve had COVID If you have a big event in 2+ weeks, it’s a good time to go.”

FGI said the differing messages were causing confusion and made it appear as if Mr. Becerra was, at least at one point, recommending up to six shots in a year.

HHS has declined to comment on the suit.

“The clear message from across the Administration is: Don’t wait,” an HHS spokesperson previously told The Epoch Times, after being asked about Mr. Becerra’s statements. “Get your free COVID-19 vaccine. It’s safe and effective. People can go to to find free and easily available vaccines in their community.”

New Vaccines Coming

The updated slate of vaccines isn’t working well, prompting plans to implement new formulations that, for the first time, won’t include components of the Wuhan virus strain.

The updated shots are expected to be rolled out in the fall.

The CDC’s new director, Dr. Mandy Cohen, said recently that the agency is poised to recommend annual shots.

“We anticipate that COVID will become similar to flu shots, where it is going to be you get your annual flu shot and you get your annual COVID shot,” Dr. Cohen said.

The CDC didn’t respond to a request for comment.

Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-Ohio), chairman of the U.S. Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic, and other members asked the CDC (pdf) for information on the planned recommendation, noting that it would “mark a significant change in federal policy and guidance regarding COVID-19 vaccines and the way in which they are utilized.”


UK Covid hotspots revealed as new variant Eris fuels surge in cases

With a new Covid-19 variant emerging across the UK, certain areas have seen an increase in cases and hospital admissions on the rise over the school summer holidays.

Named Eris after the Greek goddess of strife and discord, the descendant of the Omicron variant now accounts for as many as one in seven cases after it was first recorded in the UK last month.

The latest data from the UK Health Security Agency suggests that Eris, referred to as EG.5.1, represents 14.6% of all cases, with the World Health Organisation (WHO) adding it to the list of variants under monitoring.

However, health bosses at the UKHSA have said it is “not unexpected” to see new variants of Covid-19, with experts claiming it showed no signs of being more dangerous than previous strains.

This comes as hospital admissions have seen a recent spike, with an increase to 1.97 per 100,000 as of July 30. Data from the previous week recorded the hospital admission rate as 1.47 per 100,000, while those aged over 85 were the highest affected age group.

Hospitals in the South-West of England recorded the highest hospital admission rate, with an interactive map showing a 104% increase in Covid cases in Devon in the seven days leading up to 29 July.

Other Covid hotspots include Surrey, with a 103.3% increase, Derbyshire, with a 121.4% increase, as well as Cornwall, Somerset, Staffordshire, Darlington and Cumbria.

Experts have attributed the recent rise to a number of different reasons, including waning immunity, increased indoor mixing and the possibility that cinema trips to watch Barbie and Oppenheimer have caused the virus to spread.

According to the Zoe Health Study, estimated case numbers jumped by almost 200,000 last month, from 606,656 predicted cases on 4 July to 785,980 on 27 July.

Globally, the new variant Eris accounts for around 20% of Covid cases in Asia, 10% in Europe and seven per cent in North America. Common symptoms include a headache, mild or severe fatigue, a sore throat and a runny nose.

Independent Sage member Professor Christina Pagel told The Independent that she believed the UK is “definitely starting another wave” driven by the Omicron sub variants, Arcturus and Eris.

Sharing the latest Covid data, she said that there had been a 40 per cent jump in hospital admissions last week, with a 28 per cent jump in the number of patients in hospital primarily due to the disease.

However, the numbers overall remain low, with authorities continuing to monitor the situation as infection rates change.

Dr Meera Chand, Deputy Director of UKHSA, said: "It is not unexpected to see new variants of SARS-CoV-2 emerge. UKHSA continues to analyse available data relating to SARS-CoV-2 variants in the UK and abroad.

"EG.5.1 was designated as a variant on 31 July 2023 due to continued growth internationally and presence in the UK, allowing us to monitor it through our routine surveillance processes.”

"Vaccination remains our best defence against future COVID-19 waves, so it is still as important as ever that people come take up all the doses for which they are eligible as soon as possible.’’

Prof Francois Balloux, Professor of Computational Systems Biology and Director, UCL Genetics Institute, UCL, said: “The SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variant emerged nearly two years ago and rapidly became dominant worldwide. It has spawned a very large number of sub-variants constantly replacing other.

“The latest Omicron sub-variant to attract media attention is called EG.5.1. It is a direct descendent of the XBB.1.9.2 sub-variant, and carries one additional mutation in the spike protein. EG.5.1 is increasing in frequency and currently represents about 15% of the cases in the UK.

“Covid cases and hospitalisations have been going up slightly in the UK over recent days, but this starting from the lowest baseline since March 2020. As such, the recent increases in case numbers and hospitalisations may sound ominous when expressed in percentage increase, but the numbers remain small in absolute terms.

“The EG.5.1 variant plays only a minor role in the current increase in cases, which is driven primarily by the weather and constantly waning immunity. There is nothing that feels particularly concerning about EG.5.1, relative to the many other Omicron sub-variants in circulation.” ?




Sunday, August 13, 2023

End of my tether?

I am feeling very feeble indeed today for no obvious reason. Is the reason simply that I am 80? It's possible. Anyway I have put up a small offering on as usual