Friday, September 15, 2023

Defining conservatism

A few years back, I put together a big article designed to look at the history of conservatism and extract from that history a clear picture of what conservatism consistently is. I traced conservatism back as far as 1500 years ago. Yes. There have always been conservatives and they have been consistent in what they say. And they are NOT simply "opposed to change"

And I look at the psychology of conservatism: What makes some people conservative and others not?

I have recently put up a slightly revised version of that article, with the changes principally designed to make it an easier read. You can find it here or here


Medical Hiatus

At age 80, I can reasonably expect some health problems. And I am no exception. I am at the moment battling two types of cancer -- SCCs in my upper body and metastasized prostate cancer in my lower body. Both are treatable. I underwent the first treatment steps today. I got an anti-androgen medication (injected Firmagon) for the prostate problems and a monoclonal antibody -- Cemiplimab --for the SCCs in my upper body.

Cemiplimab is an extremely expensive medication that has only recently emerged from clinical trials. The Australian government put it on the "free" list just in November last year so I am lucky to be getting it

Both problems have popped up recently so I am very washed out by them and in some pain.

At any event, the treatments did knock me around a bit so I slept from 4pm to 9pm today -- times when I would normally be blogging. So I am not blogging at all today on my other blogs

Zora and Anne are both out of town but I am pleased that in my time of trial I have received affectionate messages from both of them -- and Jenny has stepped up to become my live-in carer

Saturday update: They talk about the luck of the Irish. I do have substantial Irish ancestry and some of that luck seems to have rubbed off on me. I went to the Wesley for my treatment, which is a major Brisbane private hospital. And it turns out that I was the first to get Cemiplimab there. It came on to the free list just in time for me to get it -- JR


Thursday, September 14, 2023

CIA Pro-China COVID Corruption?

By now, we all know that the COVID-19 pandemic didn’t originate in the wild; that its genesis wasn’t the result of a fruit bat getting frisky with a pangolin.

We all know that it came from a lab in communist China. Common sense dictates it. Senator Tom Cotton called it within days of the outbreak. The stone’s-throw proximity of the Wuhan Institute of Virology to the location of initial outbreak makes any other scenario seem about as implausible as the Steele dossier, about as unlikely as Hunter Biden’s laptop being Russian disinformation.

Indeed, we know where the virus came from despite Anthony Fauci’s best efforts to cover it up due to his agency’s funding of the ChiComs’ dangerous gain-of-function research.

These days, only the lowest of low-information voters believe the virus emerged naturally rather than artificially. Heck, even Jon Stewart long ago embraced the chocolatey goodness of the truth.

Looking back, we were struck by how reluctant so many ostensibly intelligent people were to come to this obvious conclusion. We always figured either money or professional embarrassment were behind it — or, in the case of Fauci, both. But now, thanks to a Central Intelligence Agency whistleblower, we have yet another reason to follow the money.

According to that longtime CIA officer, his agency commissioned an investigation into COVID-19’s origins, and then, when it didn’t like the investigative team’s findings, it paid them to change their position. A letter sent Tuesday from House Coronavirus Pandemic Subcommittee Chairman Brad Wenstrup and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Turner to CIA Director William Burns provides the details:

A multi-decade, senior-level, current Agency officer has come forward to provide information to the Committees regarding the Agency’s analysis into the origins of COVID-19. According to the whistleblower, the Agency assigned seven officers to a COVID Discovery Team (Team). The Team consisted of multi-disciplinary and experienced officers with significant scientific expertise. According to the whistleblower, at the end of its review, six of the seven members of the Team believed the intelligence and science were sufficient to make a low confidence assessment that COVID-19 originated from a laboratory in Wuhan, China. The seventh member of the Team, who also happened to be the most senior, was the lone officer to believe COVID-19 originated through zoonosis. The whistleblower further contends that to come to the eventual public determination of uncertainty, the other six members were given a significant monetary incentive to change their position.

That last sentence is stunning. It says that the agency’s analysis is for sale. The officers on the CIA’s COVID Discovery Team were nearly unanimous in their conclusion that the coronavirus originated from the Wuhan lab, but they were then bought off.

And yet it’s not so stunning at all, is it? The CIA simply isn’t what it used to be. This morning, upon reading these revelations, one of our colleagues invoked Captain Renault: He was shocked — SHOCKED — to learn that the agency’s report was inconclusive.

The letter from Wenstrup and Turner continues: “These allegations, from a seemingly credible source, requires the Committees to conduct further oversight of how the CIA handled its internal investigation into the origins of COVID-19. To assist the Committees with their investigations, we request the following documents and information as soon as possible, but no later than September 26, 2023.”

Why would the CIA be so dead-set against acknowledging the strength of the lab-leak theory? What might cause it to essentially jump into bed with the communist Chinese? Perhaps those within the agency who bought off the investigative team were bought off themselves.

Or perhaps they were rabid partisans. Perhaps they were Trump-hating Democrats, and they were thus loath to be seen as siding with the then-president, who’d been calling COVID-19 “the China Virus” all along, and whose tough-on-China policies had not only made the communist Chinese unhappy but also discomfited the go-along get-along Washington establishment.

Sixteen years ago, Tim Weiner, then a reporter for The New York Times, published a book called Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA. The fundamental question posed by that book is as crucial today as it was then: Why is it that the most powerful nation in history can’t seem to create a first-rate spy agency?

In any case, we see this as a big story and a deeply troubling matter of national security, and we look forward to seeing where the evidence takes these House Republicans as they do their constitutionally prescribed duty of oversight.


BS 24.7 The next Covid variant?

Rebecca Weisser

Once again, New Zealand is leading the world in the pandemic stakes. While Australian premiers are still hung up on pretending Covid vaccines are ‘safe and effective’ TM, New Zealand’s Prime Minister and former Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins has moved on to the stage of denying that the mandates were mandates. As he puts it, ‘In terms of the vaccine mandates… (people) ultimately made their own choices… There was no compulsory vaccination.’

Did he get the idea from Pfizer’s man down under, Dr Brian Hewitt, who tried it on Senator Pauline Hanson in a recent Senate Committee Hearing saying, ‘No one was forced to have a vaccine’, people were offered an ‘opportunity’ to get vaccinated. Fair point. We should be more positive. Being held up at knifepoint in a dark alley isn’t being mugged, it’s an ‘opportunity’ to donate your valuables to a masked bandit.

In Australia, the vaccine efficacy that preoccupies state premiers – who imposed the mandates – is getting re-elected. As Premier Andrews put it when he won the Victorian election in a ‘Dan-slide’ last November, ‘Vaccines work!’ In Queensland, Premier Palasczcuk is so keen to repeat the act that she’s hired Andrews’ adman.

But who will last longer? The mandates or Palasczcuk? On Friday 1 September, Health Minister Shannon Fentiman (mooted to be a front-runner to replace the Premier) announced two-week consultations on removing the mandates, two years after they were imposed in September 2021.

Queensland’s Chief Health Officer (CHO) has already said they should go but the power of the CHO which seemed almost unlimited at the height of Covid hysteria has diminished now that he is proposing something sensible.

A group called Doctors Against Mandates mounted a legal challenge to the mandates on 12 March 2022. Within a fortnight of receiving 13 affidavits from medical professionals and six reports from international experts, the CHO revoked the mandates for health workers in the private sector. Unfortunately, mandates which cover the public sector health are still in force.

One of the most damning indictments of vaccine efficacy was filed in relation to the doctors’ challenge to the mandate in the Supreme Court of Queensland early this year by the state’s Chief Health Officer Dr John Gerrard. It revealed that once 80 per cent of the population were vaccinated and the borders opened in December 2021, not only did Covid cases explode, peaking at 18,500 per day in January, but 80 per cent of the 176 Covid deaths were in people who had had one or more Covid vaccine jabs. Most were double-vaxxed but 13 were triple-vaxxed and one died after five shots. In other words, the vaccines were duds. They failed to stop the pandemic or prevent the vulnerable from dying. All the bullying of the unvaccinated, preventing grieving Australians from comforting their dying loved ones or attending their funerals, denying a pregnant woman in New South Wales permission to cross the border and get urgent medical treatment which meant she waited 16 hours to fly to Sydney, and lost one of her twins – it was all for nothing.

Did the Premier rush to apologise for the damage done by the ‘failed vaccines’, to quote Bill Gates who profited heavily from his investment in the Pfizer jab? Of course not. The information was only made public last month by Rebekah Barnett in her excellent substack Dystopian Downunder.

Far from apologising, Queensland Health is still threatening disciplinary action against ‘hundreds’ of workers who ‘did not comply with their employment contract’ by getting jabbed.

Infectious disease physician Paul Griffin supports ending the mandates but thinks the biggest risk is that ‘people will think the initial rule was wrong, which,’ according to him, ‘isn’t the case’.

That’s the nub of it. The government doesn’t want to admit that the vaccines are useless and the mandates were morally, scientifically and practically wrong.

The only reason it is ending the mandate is because it can’t replace the more than 2,100 healthcare workers who were stood down or forced to resign.

‘We have global workforce shortages, so I think it makes sense now to reconsider this mandate,’ Fentiman says.

‘If someone wants to now reapply for a job with Queensland Health who is not vaccinated for Covid, they’ll be treated the same as any other worker.’

Despite a massive increase in Australia’s international immigration intake and wage hikes in the health sector, acute shortages persist, not least because the repeatedly vaccinated healthcare workers repeatedly get Covid-19. This was observed in a study of more than 50,000 US healthcare workers in the prestigious Cleveland Clinic, which showed the more often you were jabbed, the more you caught Covid.

Interstate migration into Queensland, predominantly Victoria, and NSW, the states worst affected by lockdown lunacy, has increased demand for health services.

National excess mortality of over 13 per cent this year has increased pressure on hospitals.

The dramatic spike in ‘dying suddenly’ is recorded under ‘other cardiac conditions’ in Australia’s provisional mortality data. Deaths from January to May are 15.5 per cent higher than the baseline average and 1 per cent higher than the same period in 2022.

Deaths due to diabetes were 22 per cent above the baseline average in May 2023, and 1.4 per cent higher than in May 2022

Deaths due to dementia including Alzheimer’s were 18 per cent above the baseline average in May 2023, and 2.1 per cent above May 2022.

Each of these causes of death has been linked in studies to the spike protein in the virus and/or the vaccine. For example, a paper from Larson et al. at Linkoping University, Sweden published on 1 September presents evidence for the initiation or acceleration of Alzheimer’s disease and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease by the spike protein.

When the mandate for health workers ends in Queensland, flagged for 25 September, only NSW, Victoria and South Australia will be left. Will that be the end?

Who knows? In the US some colleges and hospitals are trying to bring back mask mandates.

Scott Gottlieb, former head of the US Food and Drug Administration and now on the board of Pfizer is talking up the next booster.

The latest variant has been named after Eris, the Greek goddess of ‘strife and discord’. What is the plan? A rerun of lockdowns and Black Lives Matter on the rampage in the run-up to the 2024 Presidential election? Skeptics have their own name for the variant – BS.24.7.




Wednesday, September 13, 2023

Experts Consulted by Fauci Suddenly Changed Their Minds

More revelations concerning the initial responses of top officials at the National Institutes of Health about the origins of COVID-19, which killed an estimated 1.1 million Americans, keep dripping out of the federal bureaucracy.

Top officials’ initial narrative hardened into a stubborn insistence on natural origins for COVID-19. However, most leading virologists consulted by Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, initially thought that the novel coronavirus had an unnatural origin.

Fauci’s Memo. Today, we can take Fauci’s word for it. On Feb. 1, 2020, he conferred with a group of top virologists to discuss the origins of COVID-19. In his email that day (delivered at 11:58 p.m.) to Department of Health and Human Services officials Garrett Grigsby and Brian Harrison (with copies to other HHS officials, as well as NIH Director Francis Collins), Fauci writes of the virologists:

They were concerned about the fact that upon viewing the sequences of several isolates of the nCoV [the virus that causes COVID-19], there were mutations in the virus that would be most unusual to have evolved naturally in the bats and that there was a suspicion that this mutation was intentionally inserted. The suspicion was heightened by the fact that scientists in [China’s] Wuhan University are known to have been working on gain of function experiments to determine the molecular mechanisms associated with bat viruses adapting to human infection, and the outbreak originated in Wuhan.

Wuhan, China, is home to the Wuhan Institute of Virology, suspected of being the source of a virus that somehow escaped a research lab.

Fauci’s memo confirmed his personal knowledge that “gain of function” experiments—research designed to enhance the transmissibility and virulence of pathogens—were being conducted at the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

Genetic Engineering? In the same email Feb. 1, 2020, Fauci emphasized that “some of the scientists felt more strongly about this [genetic engineering] possibility, but two others felt differently.”

For example, the day before the call, Jan. 31, 2020, Dr. Kristian Andersen of Scripps Research Institute emailed Fauci about the novel coronavirus, stating in part: “Some of the features (potentially) look engineered … I should mention that after discussions earlier today, Eddie [Holmes], Bob [Garry], Mike [Ferguson], and myself all find the genome inconsistent with expectations from evolutionary theory.”

And the day after the call, on Feb. 2, Dr. Robert Garry of Tulane University wrote:

I really can’t think of a plausible natural scenario where you get from the bat virus or one very similar to it to nCoV where you insert exactly 4 amino acids 12 nucleotide that all have to be added at the exact same time to gain this function—that and you don’t change any other amino acid in S2? I just can’t figure out how this gets accomplished in nature. Do the alignment of the spikes at the amino acid level—it’s stunning.

Despite these questions, the result of that crucial teleconference was the publication March 17, 2020, of a paper titled “Proximal Origin of SARS-CoV-2” in the journal Nature Medicine. That article concluded that “SARS-CoV-2 [the virus that causes COVID-19] is not a laboratory construct or a purposefully manipulated virus.”

This conclusion, quickly endorsed by NIH’s Collins and heralded in the media, became one of the most influential scientific papers of all time.

Enthusiastic acceptance of a “natural origin” for the pandemic, particularly among the media and the political class, is itself a curiosity. Since Communist China shut down access to COVID-19 information in January 2020, the authors of the paper published by Nature Medicine neither had nor could have had access to Chinese hard data.

At the time, the Wuhan Institute for Virology certainly was the site of substandard conditions and serious biosafety risks, a fact acknowledged by Chinese authorities themselves.

Without an identified intermediate animal host for transmission of the novel coronavirus to humans, they could only speculate as to whether that host was a pangolin or a racoon dog or some other exotic creature sold in Wuhan’s notorious “wet market.” To this day, that intermediate host is yet to be identified.

About-Face. What has intrigued congressional investigators is that Andersen and Garry seemed to have abandoned overnight their support of the lab-leak theory in favor of a natural viral origin for COVID-19.

Andersen subsequently referred to the lab origin as a “crackpot theory” and accused those who thought otherwise as conspiracy theorists, which oddly enough would have included Andersen himself before publication of the article in Nature Medicine.

Congressional investigators rightly have been intrigued by this dramatic about-face among key authors of the Nature Medicine paper. In his testimony July 11, 2023, before the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic, Andersen insisted that Fauci merely encouraged him to explore the matter further. That response didn’t satisfy Rep. Nicole Malliotakis, R-N.Y., who asked: “What happened within that three-day period, between the conference call and the paper, that all of a sudden you did a 180, and it couldn’t possibly come from a lab … ?”

In a separate report, staff of the House select subcommittee documented privately expressed concerns among the teleconference participants about preserving international harmony with their Chinese counterparts.

Consider the Feb. 2, 2020, email that Dr. Andrew Rambaut (another virologist on the original call) wrote to Andersen, Holmes, and Garry: “Given the s— show that would happen if anyone serious accused the Chinese of even accidental release, my feeling is we should say that given there is no evidence of a specifically engineered virus, we cannot possibly distinguish between natural evolution and escape so we are content with ascribing it to natural processes.”

So much for the scientific method.

During the select subcommittee hearing, Malliotakis observed: “Scientists do not flip-flop in a matter of 72 hours, and whether it was the fear of accusing Communist China for this leak, whether it was needing to get the FBI involved and what that might lead to down the line, whether it was the fact that millions of U.S. dollars had made their way … to Communist China … Interesting chart I have here [documenting] $3.7 million.”

That $3.7 million was awarded in 2014 to EcoHealth Alliance, a research firm that collaborated with Shi Zhengli of the Wuhan Institute of Virology to study bat coronaviruses. An EcoHealth Alliance spokesperson says that, under the NIH definition of gain-of-function research, the firm did not support such research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology. It is a fact, however, that Shi, a subcontractor of EcoHealth Alliance, worked with other scientists to manipulate bat coronaviruses to determine their potential to infect humans.

It is also a fact that two other Chinese research institutions, Wuhan University and Academy of Military Medical Sciences, also received substantial NIH funding. That is why congressional investigators are determined to find out if any taxpayers’ money was used for any dangerous gain- of-function research, engineering a pathogen that may have escaped and caused a global pandemic.

Lab Origin Gains Ground. Today, most Americans (66%, one poll finds), once tagged as “conspiracy theorists,” agree with senior analysts at the Department of Energy and the FBI that the pandemic probably originated in a Chinese lab, although U.S. intelligence agencies remain divided.

Curiously, as noted in a comprehensive Senate staff report sponsored by Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., as early as January 2020 Chinese citizens were among the very first to suspect a lab leak.

Shi, the top Wuhan scientist, told a foreign journalist that the deadly coronavirus might have escaped from her lab, though she quickly reversed herself. The Communist Chinese party line, after all, is that the pandemic didn’t originate in a lab.

Undeterred by the Biden administration’s unresponsiveness, plus the sheer difficulty inherent in the task, congressional investigators are not letting up in their efforts to get to the bottom of the origins of COVID-19.

Rep. Brad Wenstrup, R-Ohio, chair of the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic, has asked Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra to provide all related information (memos, notes, and other relevant documents) concerning Fauci’s teleconference with top virologists in early 2020.

In his letter to Becerra, Wenstrup requested delivery of the information by July 27. Another month has elapsed, and no response.

All Americans deserve to know the truth.


Taiwan CDC Reports 18-Fold Increase in Weekly Vaccine Injury Claims Reviews Due to COVID-19 Jabs

Possibly evidencing a potential safety signal, the total number of COVID-19 vaccine injury payouts, equaling NT$153 million equals the NT$129.6 million paid to all vaccine injured for all vaccines combined over the past three decades! And that’s with only 45% of the claims processed to date. Reviewers and local health authorities are completely overwhelmed, according to the Taiwan Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In 2023, vaccine injury review will work on an average of 235 cases per month, which is an 18-fold increase to the 20 case per month average in 2020.

This updates comes courtesy of the media Taiwan English News, a media venture started by Phillip Charlier, who went to the contested island nation originally to teach English there.

TrialSite recently reported on the demands of the more right-leaning party against the mainstream to accelerate vaccine claims injury processing. This same contingent according to Taiwan English News also launched complaints against the Taiwan CDC.

As TrialSite explained, the nationalist and politically right Kuomintang (KMT), considered and an opposition party at a September 6 press conference urged the government to expedite the resolution of COVID-19 vaccine injury cases.

According to Taiwan English News, “KMT caucus leader, Tseng Ming-tsung, said three major issues were holding up resolution of cases: complexity of procedures, lengthy processing times, and difficulty in determining causality.”

The independent media reported that the Taiwan CDC’s Tseng Shu-hui responded to the criticism, defending the process. Tseng Shu-hui highlighted the expertise and integrity, and complexity of the process involved.

The CDC representative in Taiwan further explained that the reviewers, plus local health authorities, have been overwhelmed with COVID-19 vaccine injury claims since 2021.

To put the workload in perspective, according to Tseng Shu-hui, in 2023 the government’s reviewers deal with an average of 235 claims cases per month to review, which compares to 13 cases per month in 2020. This equals an 18-fold increase in claims to process.




Tuesday, September 12, 2023

Unvaccinated Wins the US Open

When in early 2022, Australia barred Novak Djokovic from competing in the country’s major tennis tournament, and forced him into quarantine while he awaited a judge’s final decision, many of us were appalled.

He was favored to win but the government would not allow him to compete on grounds that he had refused the COVID vaccine. No one seriously believed that he was a health threat to anyone. He was barred for being politically noncompliant.

Tragically, most Australians cheered as he was deported from the country.

Americans had watched this country lock down for the virus in ways that went beyond what we saw in the United States. Population resistance was very low. It was a sad sight to see. Americans often think of Australia as a kind of sister country but in those months, we became profoundly aware of what it means not to have a Bill of Rights but instead be ruled by an administrative state controlled by a medical cartel.

The sense that something was wrong there but not here did not last long. The United States too barred him. This was a shock to many Americans because we did not really believe that the U.S. government was capable of such absurdity. This happened in August of 2022, a time when vaccine mandates were being repealed around the country. Even so, the world’s greatest tennis player who was expected to win in the U.S. wasn’t even allowed to compete.

Most players very likely knew that they didn’t need the vaccine and that it came with unnecessary health risks. Indeed, vaccine specialists knew this from day one, but the mandates came anyway. For a time, even large cities like New York and Boston were under strict rules of vaccine segregation. The unvaccinated were not allowed into restaurants, bars, theaters, and libraries.

For people in sports, and for many of us who want to travel and live a normal life, this posed a terrible dilemma. Perhaps it seemed like giving in and getting the shot was worth it. Why give up one’s hopes and dreams over such a small issue? Why not just relent and get on with one’s life?

Novak had a different view. He knew he was under infinitesimal risk from COVID and likely far more from the shot itself, which did not stop infection or transmission anyway. And look at all the deaths among athletes! So he made the hardest choice that very few in his class of achievement made. He refused. And he refused repeatedly. His choice likely cost him several titles. He never wavered in his view. His refusal also casts a pall over the victories of those achieved in his absence.

Novak explained in several interviews that it was a simple matter of principle. He took care of his health. He was in charge of his own body. That was more important than anything else. He would not give up this principle, no matter what, even if it cost him his career. This was not about politics. It was about personal autonomy and control. His decision was remarkable for the time because the pressure to go along was so great.

But it was more than that. We had by then lived through two years in which most governments all over the world had forced all their citizens into a weird science experiment. They had us forcibly separated. They closed businesses. When churches, schools, and businesses were allowed to open, it was with Plexiglas everywhere, forced separation, sanitizer dispensers every ten feet, and universal masking.

No rational person could possibly believe that all these outrageous antics would really control the virus, and they did not. But people went along anyway because they kept accepting the deal: if you comply, you can have your rights and freedoms back.

Novak was among the most high-profile athletes in the world who simply said no. He faced quarantine, bans, and brutal public and media attacks. He never once wavered from his position. Indeed, his refusal likely contributed to a great extent in the eventual unraveling of the regime of forced vaccines. After all, we are supposed to have sports competitions that reward the best players, not just the best players that comply with mandatory shot injections as pushed by a government-backed medical cartel.

Eventually the mandates faded and finally went away. By then Novak had lost two years in several high-profile venues and he was getting older. For him to come back to the United States and win the U.S. Open, as the oldest player to do so, was an astonishing and thrilling victory. Even if he had not won, his bravery would have been an inspiration. That he actually won back what was his had a massive element of ironic delight.

And get this: the vaccine company Moderna itself was a major sponsor of the U.S. Open. Throughout the tournament, the company had festooned its ads everywhere. Viewers were forced to see them, knowing full well that this company likely had some hand in lobbying governments to ban players who had not consumed its product. This is the worst form of crony capitalism or fascist corporatism that one can imagine, right here on full display.

Already teed up as a final sponsored ad was Moderna’s “Shot of the Day” plug. The company was forced to make that “Shot of the Day” the winning stroke of a player who absolutely refused to accept the shot, even at the pain of being excluded by the tournament itself. There was so much bitter irony to that and it was not lost on viewers.

In the end, the shot mandates were not really about good health or public well-being. We know that now. Most everyone does. They were about political compliance and corporate profits at the expense of freedom and public health. The grim truth is that most people went along because it was too much trouble to resist. Most people accepted the deal: take meds you don’t need in exchange for which you can stay out of trouble.

It has been inspiring and thrilling to see one great hero stand up and say no, even when doing so cost him his dream. This is because he has a moral principle that he considers to be even higher than his career goal. What an awesome and rare thing in our highly politicized times.


Nasal Sprays – A Novel Approach to COVID-19 Vaccination

Researchers at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center (DHMC) are working to develop a new COVID-19 vaccine that can be administered through a nasal spray. This vaccine will be easier to administer compared to the others which are given intravenously. TrialSite has been following the development of similar nasal vaccines in Israel and Bahrain.

The hope for global mass vaccination has not been achieved due to several limitations of using intramuscular vaccines. These include the requirement of having available healthcare professionals, unequal vaccine distribution, and lack of proper cold chain supply.

Nasal COVID-19 vaccines could be a viable alternative to the existing ones. Dr. Peter Wright, an infectious disease specialist and international healthcare provider, is leading the research team at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center (DHMC) and Dartmouth’s Geisel School of Medicine to develop a nasal vaccine. The team is collaborating with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Exothera, a contract development and manufacturing organization based in Belgium, for this endeavor.

How do nasal vaccines work?

The mucous membrane, termed mucosa, is the body’s first line of defense against infectious particles after they enter the mouth or nose. The mucosal immune system works at two starting points, the gut (digestive system) and the nasopharynx (near the back of the nose).

The nasal vaccine activates the immune system at these two points with the help of specialized cells. This defense system then starts synthesizing antibodies to kill the viruses or neutralize them.

When SARS-CoV-2 enters through the nose, the virus’s spike proteins attach to the angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) receptors present on the mucosal lining. These foreign particles are later killed by the immune system activated by the nasal vaccine.

Why this vaccine is unique

The COVID-19 nasal vaccine being developed in the U.S. is an adenovirus type 4-based vaccine. Adenovirus vectors (AdV) are DNA virus vehicles used for vaccine delivery. Adenovirus vectors are considered efficient as they can induce both innate (the body’s first line of defense against foreign particles) and adaptive (introducing antigens as a strategy to induce an immune response) responses in the body.

The AstraZeneca vaccine (ChAdOx1) uses a virus vector, but the mode of administration is intramuscular. The Dartmouth vaccine under development is in the form of a nasal spray, making it the first-ever adenovirus-based vaccine for COVID-19 in the U.S. These vectors are relatively easy to produce compared to other vectors and show high gene expression, thus facilitating large-scale vaccine production.

The in-vivo testing of the adenovirus type 4-based COVID-19 nasal vaccine has shown promising results in hamsters. The human trials will begin in 2024. These clinical trials are planned to take place in the USA and Africa. If successful, the vaccine will be available within one to two years.

Global expansion of COVID-19 nasal vaccine trials

Two nasal vaccines, Convidecia Air from CanSino Biologics in China, and iNCOVACC from Bharat Biotech in India, have received approval in their respective countries. Both of these companies use adenovirus vectors in their recombinant vaccines. Many other nasal vaccines are undergoing clinical trials.

The University of Oxford, in partnership with AstraZeneca, developed a COVID-19 vaccine named ChAdOx1, which was previously given intramuscularly. However, the researchers are working to turn it into a nasal spray and have announced the first clinical trials.

Mount Sinai researchers who used Newcastle disease virus (NDV) as a vector have completed phase 1 and 2 clinical trials of their nasal vaccine in Brazil, Thailand, Vietnam, and Mexico and have started the clinical trial phase 1 in the USA. CoviLiv, a live attenuated nasal vaccine developed by Codagenix company based in the USA, has also started its phase 1 clinical trials.

TrialSite previously reported on the clinical trials of nitric oxide nasal spray (NONS) manufactured by Canada-based company, SaNOtize to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Advantages of COVID-19 nasal vaccine

Adenovirus vector-based COVID-19 vaccines induce strong immune responses and have a low risk of causing virus mutations because they do not integrate into the host genome.

The existing COVID-19 vaccines are administered

intramuscularly and are designed to induce a systemic immune response without developing mucosal protection. As a result, the protections offered by these vaccines may not be enough to combat the replication and shedding of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in the upper respiratory tract. Therefore, there is still a risk of vaccinated individuals transmitting the virus as they can still be infected through the nasal route.

Nasal vaccines, on the other hand, can effectively generate mucosal immunity in addition to a systemic immune response thus eliminating the risk of viral infection and transmission post-vaccination.

It is estimated that 25% of adults and 66.7% of children fear needles. 10% of these individuals may postpone COVID-19 vaccination due to their fears. Nasal vaccines provide an alternative for such people. It is less expensive and easier to administer compared to other intramuscular vaccines due to its non-invasiveness.

Another advantage is that these vaccines do not require cold storage because adenovirus vectors are thermostable, making them easier to store and deliver to different parts of the world.

Drawbacks of COVID-19 nasal vaccines

The whole-pathogen-based nasal vaccine is associated with some safety concerns, including the probability of the pathogen reverting to its replicating form.

Some nasal vaccines contain attenuated or weakened viruses. These viruses are designed to replicate inside the body to trigger an immune response without causing disease in healthy individuals. Therefore, these may not be administered to children, elderly people, and immunocompromised patients.

Vaccines administered through the nose become diluted due to the presence of mucous in the nasal cavity. Thus, higher doses are required as compared to vaccines administered via injections.

Additionally, nasal vaccines are associated with the probability of retrograde transport through the olfactory nerves present in the nose, to the brain. This has been reported in association with live attenuated adenoviruses.


Intranasally delivered vaccines show promise in preventing reinfection and transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 virus through the development of mucosal immune response.

While these vaccines demonstrate some advantages over those delivered via the intermuscular route, they are also associated with several concerns, some of them serious. These challenges should be considered by researchers in the course of developing these vaccines.

TrialSite will continue to monitor the progression of the various clinical trials involved in the development of various nasal vaccines.




Monday, September 11, 2023

Covid-19 vaccinations in New Zealand: An unfolding tragedy?

Did the vaccination campaigns actually SPREAD the virus?

Between January 2020 and October 4th, 2021, New Zealand recorded 27 Covid-19 deaths and 4,050 cases. It was widely praised for its approach in "eliminating the virus" [1]. During this period, every time there was any indication of community transmission, New Zealand enforced strict restrictions only to ease them once community transmission was eliminated. [2] In October of 2021, following an outbreak and after about 75% of the population aged 12+ had been vaccinated with at least 1 dose of the vaccine, and about half were fully vaccinated, New Zealand finally gave up on its Covid "elimination strategy", arguing that Delta variant was the game changer and that NZ was transitioning into a new phase with the availability of vaccines [3].

Massive Covid-19 waves after vast majority of population vaccinated

By the time New Zealand had fully vaccinated about 90% of it's population above the age of 12, on February 12th, 2022, New Zealand had recorded 53 Covid-19 deaths and 19,400 cases. However, massive Covid-19 waves followed, and by September 3rd, 2023, New Zealand had recorded over 2.45 million cases and 4,746 deaths. This implies that approximately 99% of Covid-19 cases and deaths in New Zealand have been recorded in almost 19 months following vaccination of about 90% of the population aged above 12 years of age.

Several examples have been covered here using publicly available data and published research to argue that Covid-19 vaccinations triggered massive Covid-19 waves. New Zealand comes across as one such example. An illustration of Covid-19 deaths in the graph below indicates New Zealand had one of the highest Covid-19 mortality in the Oceania region, 15 times higher than Papua New Guinea, which has the lowest vaccination rate of 4% in the region. [4] What would the Covid-19 numbers look like in the absence of vaccination? Would we have witnessed such massive Covid waves? Why has Papua New Guinea not experienced a massive "Omicron" wave similar to other regions that are highly vaccinated?

Is it possible to quantify the harms to the vaccinated?

Based on publicly available data [5], we observe the below

In the above 12 age group, where about 90% of the population is vaccinated, about 96% of the cases are vaccinated, including 95% that are fully vaccinated or boosted.

About 88% of all Covid deaths to date i.e. 4,176 deaths (out of 4,746) were fully vaccinated or boosted.

Per a response to a Freedom of Information request on all cause mortality, over 91% of all deaths in 2022 were vaccinated. [6]

As of April 2023 - there have been 3,818 vaccine injury compensation claims, out of which 1,541 have been compensated for a total of NZ$ 5.6 million. [7]

As of November 2022, over 61,000 post vaccination adverse events were reported, out of which 3,688 were classified as serious.

These AEFI come with a string attached around "causal association" , but do serve as a data signal, especially when looked at in the context of vaccine injury claims highlighted above. [8]

What should one make of results like the above for a product that was claimed as safe and 100% effective against severe Covid-19 disease? [9][10]


CDC Says Existing COVID Antibodies Work Against New Variant

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Sept. 8 said research shows that antibodies produced by a prior COVID-19 infection or existing vaccines were good enough to protect against a new variant that has been found in the United States.

The CDC suggested in its update that the data are “encouraging” for the latest COVID-19 vaccine booster shot, which is currently being reviewed by federal health agencies. The Food and Drug Administration is scheduled to authorize updated vaccines that target subvariants of Omicron.

“Early research data from multiple labs are reassuring and show that existing antibodies work against the new BA.2.86 variant,” the CDC stated in an update on Sept. 8. “These data are also encouraging because of what it may mean for the effectiveness of the 2023–2024 COVID-19 vaccine, which is currently under review. That’s because the vaccine is tailored to the currently circulating variants.”

The public health agency added that the new BA.2.86 lineage of COVID-19 was not driving the small recent increases in cases and hospitalizations in the United States, which the agency attributed to other predominantly circulating viruses.

Since the CDC’s initial risk assessment in August, BA.2.86 had been identified in nine U.S. states as of Sept. 8. The Omicron offshoot has also been identified from both human and wastewater specimens in countries Japan, the UK, and Canada.

“Additionally, based on CDC’s experience with past SARS-CoV-2 variants, people will likely have protection against severe disease mediated by both cellular and antibody immunity,” the agency stated. “Real-world data are needed to fully understand the impact given the complexities of the immune response to this variant. Additional studies on this are ongoing, and we expect to learn more in upcoming weeks.”

Earlier CDC Statements

The CDC stated in late August that the new COVID-19 variant may be more capable than older variants of causing infection in people who have previously had COVID-19 or who have received vaccines.

At the time, the health agency said that it was too soon to determine whether BA.2.86 could cause more severe illness in people than previous variants. It noted that there are a high number of mutations with the lineage and cited concerns about the effectiveness of vaccines and prior infection.

“The large number of mutations in this variant raises concerns of greater escape from existing immunity from vaccines and previous infections compared with other recent variants,” the CDC stated in its assessment in August. “For example, one analysis of mutations suggests the difference may be as large as or greater than that between BA.2 and XBB.1.5, which circulated nearly a year apart.”

But officials noted at the time that “virus samples are not yet broadly available for more reliable laboratory testing of antibodies, and it is too soon to know the real-world impacts on immunity.”

The assessment said that most of the American population possesses COVID-19 antibodies from a prior infection, vaccination, or both. It’s likely that the antibodies will provide some protection against the latest variant, it stated at the time.

Around the same time, a high-level official with the World Health Organization designated the BA.2.86 a “variant under monitoring,” saying there was “limited” information about it. But some researchers said that people shouldn’t jump to any conclusions, noting that a number of other COVID-19 strains had little impact.

“Intrinsic severity of a virus is a byproduct of many traits, a product of selection on other features. Any attempt to guess the intrinsic severity of BA.2.86 (within reasonable parameters) is just that—a guess,” Aris Katzourakis, a biologist with the University of Oxford, said via social media in August. “It is far, far too early to evaluate the potential of this variant.”


Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo warns Americans NOT to take latest COVID booster and claims there are 'red flags' over its safety

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis' hand-picked surgeon general has warned against getting the new COVID-19 booster vaccine that is expected to receive approval in the coming days.

The state's Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo made the claims at a press conference on Thursday, saying there was no evidence to support getting the shot and that there are 'red flags' about its safety.

The updated shots, which target an Omicron subvariant named XBB.1.5, are awaiting FDA approval on standards for safety, effectiveness and quality, and must then receive CDC sign-off, which could come as early as Tuesday.

'Listen inside to what makes sense, what feels right, you know, what feels like truth,' said Lapado, offering his advice on receiving the shots.

'We all know it when we feel it inside.' Lapado went on to claim global studies showed people who had the boosters were more likely to catch COVID itself.

DeSantis joined Lapado at the event and did not offer a specific opinion on the booster, but slammed federal regulators at the FDA and CDC as corrupt, claiming they 'have basically become an arm of Big Pharma.'

Ladapo's previous warnings against older versions of the COVID-19 vaccines drew a harsh rebuke from the two agencies in March, when they published an open letter accusing him of 'fueling vaccine hesitancy'.

'Based on available information for the COVID-19 vaccines that are authorized or approved in the United States, the known and potential benefits of these vaccines clearly outweigh their known and potential risks,' the letter said.

'It is the job of public health officials around the country to protect the lives of the populations they serve, particularly the vulnerable. Fueling vaccine hesitancy undermines this effort,' added the letter, signed by FDA Commissioner Robert Califf and then-CDC Director Rochelle Walensky.

Approval of the updated COVID-19 booster shots is expected within days. Pfizer, Moderna and Novavax all have manufactured new versions of the vaccine.

Similar to how flu shots are updated each year, the FDA gave COVID-19 vaccine makers a new recipe, targeting the variant that was dominant over the summer.

But as expected, the XBB.1.5 variant it targets has faded away in the months it took to tweak the vaccine.

CDC estimates show XBB.1.5 is responsible for about 3 percent of current cases, while a soup of other newer Omicron variants dominates, led by EG.5 at about 20 percent.

FDA vaccine adviser Dr Paul Offit says healthy young people don't need another Covid booster

Dr Paul Offit, who advises the FDA on a range of shots for infectious diseases, told middle-aged and younger Americans who do not have chronic diseases already had strong enough immunity through previous Covid vaccines and infections to prevent severe illness this winter.

In his remarks at Thursday's event, held inside an Irish pub in Jacksonville, DeSantis vowed Florida would not be temporarily closing schools or mandating mask-wearing because of the recent uptick in COVID-19 cases.

'People are lurching toward this insanity again,' DeSantis said. 'As we see these things being orchestrated ... there needs to be pushback.'

The Florida governor is also hoping his message in the Sunshine State resonates on the campaign trail as he seeks the GOP nomination for president.

Soon after the Thursday press conference, his presidential campaign sent out an email to supporters vowing to 'fight back against every bogus attempt the Left makes to expand government control' when it comes to COVID-19 precautions.

He also appeared on Fox News that evening, saying: 'No mask mandates, no mandates on school children, no COVID vax mandates.'

DeSantis' news conference in Jacksonville came almost two weeks after three black people were fatally shot there by a 21-year-old white supremacist who authorities say left behind ramblings that read like 'the diary of a madman.'

As DeSantis took questions at Thursday's news conference, an unidentified man spoke out, saying the governor had 'allowed weapons to fill the street' and was to blame for the shootings.

'I did not allow anything with that,' DeSantis fired back angrily. 'I'm not going to let you accuse me of committing criminal activity. I'm not going to take that!'

'You have allowed people to hunt people like me,' continued the audience member, who was black, prompting a visibly angry DeSantis to respond: 'Oh, that is nonsense. That is such nonsense.'




Sunday, September 10, 2023

Megyn Kelly Reveals Possible Vaccine Injury, Regrets Getting COVID Shot

Megyn Kelly, a veteran journalist and podcaster, said Wednesday that she deeply regrets getting the COVID-19 vaccine because she believes she may have suffered a vaccine injury.

Ms. Kelly said that she regrets getting vaccinated and then boosted, saying she doesn't think it was necessary—and that a doctor told her that an autoimmune condition she developed after getting the shot may be related to the vaccine.

“I regret getting the vaccine even though I’m a 52-year-old woman because I don’t think I needed it,” Ms. Kelly said during a Sept. 6 episode of her podcast "The Megyn Kelly Show."

DeSantis Says COVID Mandates Are 'Dead on Arrival' in Florida
“I think I would have been fine. I had got COVID many times, and it was well past when the vaccine was doing what it was supposed to be doing,” she added.

“For the first time, I tested positive for an autoimmune issue at my annual physical. And I went to the best rheumatologist in New York, and I asked her, do you think this could have to do with the fact that I got the damn booster and then got COVID within three weeks? And she said yes. Yes. I wasn’t the only one she’d seen that with,” Ms. Kelly said.

Her current vaccine regret stands in contrast to remarks she made in April 2021, when she said she had "zero qualms" about getting the shot.

“Am getting the [Johnson & Johnson] vaccine this [weekend]. Have zero qualms [because] have spent a life immersed in a media obsessed with fear-mongering that is often irresponsible and untrue. Do what your doctor tells you to do and ignore everyone else,” she said in a post on X, formerly Twitter.
Ms. Kelly's expression of regret at getting the shot comes amid reports linking spike protein-based COVID-19 vaccines to skin problems, a dull ringing in the ears known as tinnitus, visual impairments, blood clotting, and even death.

Studies have also revealed a number of issues affecting vaccinated children. For example, one recent study, published in the journal Frontiers in Immunology, shows that the mRNA-based vaccine for COVID-19 reduced children's immune responses to other infections, making them more prone to getting sick after coming into contact with other pathogens.

Another study published by Circulation showed that some children who experienced heart inflammation after COVID-19 vaccination had scarring on their hearts months later.


Do I need to be worried about the new Covid strain Pirola - and will my booster jab protect me? How do I know if I have the new variant?

It is the 'most striking strain of Covid-19 since Omicron', according to one of the UK's top scientists, amid fears it could evade the vaccines.

The new variant, dubbed Pirola, is thought to be behind an uptick in cases across Europe – and last week it officially landed in the UK.

Such is the concern that the Government has brought forward the autumn booster programme by a month. And some experts are even calling for the return of face masks in hospitals and GP surgeries to protect the most vulnerable.

But with just a few dozen confirmed cases in the UK, how worried should we really be?

Here's everything you need to know about the new Covid strain.

Q I thought new Covid strains appear all the time – why is everyone talking about this one?

A The main concern about Pirola – scientifically known as BA.2.86 – is that it might be able to evade the protection we have from vaccines and previous infection.

The strain has descended from Omicron but has 35 mutations on the part of the virus that the vaccines are designed to target, known as the spike protein. There are also mutations that might help Pirola evade the natural protection we have from our immune system.

If we have less immunity, it could mean a large wave of infections and more serious illness.

'Pirola has made people sit up because of the unusually large number of mutations,' says Professor Jonathan Ball, a virologist at the University of Nottingham.

'Viruses naturally mutate to survive. But when there's 30 or more mutations, scientists need to ask what that means. Does it make vaccines less effective, could it transmit more easily than Omicron and does it cause more serious disease?'

These concerns prompted the Department of Health and Social Care to bring forward its autumn booster programme so the most at-risk individuals could receive a jab sooner. Ministers said this was to reduce pressure on the health service while the strain could be investigated fully.

Since then there has been some indication from small laboratory studies that Pirola may be less infectious than previous Omicron variants and may not evade the immune system, or the vaccine, as some suspected it might. But as there have only been low numbers of cases around the world, this remains to be proven.

The UK Health Security Agency has confirmed 36 cases in the UK so far – 28 of these from one care home. Five patients were hospitalised.

Q How will I know if I have this strain or another one?

A You won't. Scientists say that Pirola symptoms are indistinguishable from other Covid variants. Most people can expect to have a runny nose, sore throat, headache and fatigue.

Can I still get a test if I've got symptoms and will it pick up this new strain?

Free tests aren't available any more. There is also no official requirement to take a test if you have symptoms, nor to self-isolate if you test positive.

But packs of lateral flow tests can be bought from pharmacies for £2, and gold-standard PCR tests, which are more definitive, are available online for about £50.

Prof Ball says. 'They won't tell you what strain you have, but if you have Covid – regardless of the strain – the tests are designed to find it.'

Q But won't I have protection from the vaccines, boosters and previous infection?

A Most people will have some immunity against severe disease from Pirola, even if they have not been eligible for a vaccine since the mass rollout ended in 2021.

Although vaccine immunity does wane over time, many people have also been infected by the virus too, which offers a broader protection. A small study looking at Pirola found those who had recently had an Omicron infection had high levels of antibodies against the new strain.

'Both vaccination and natural infection help protect us against severe disease by creating immunity with antibodies,' says Prof Ball. 'That means most people can expect a relatively mild infection if they get Pirola. When the virus first emerged, we saw lots of deaths and complications, such as long Covid, but those have fallen dramatically, and that's partly because of the vaccines and natural immunity.

'Covid variants can still cause problems but they shouldn't be near the scale we saw in 2020.'

How many vaccines have I had?

For some people, the autumn booster – available to over-65s and the clinically vulnerable from this week – will be their eighth dose of the Covid-19 vaccines.

The most vulnerable would have had three initial doses, an additional booster, as well as the spring and winter jabs last year and a spring booster this year. Most aged 50-75 have had four shots in total: two initial doses, a booster and a 2022 autumn booster. Otherwise, extra jabs have been offered only to care home residents, the clinically vulnerable and the over-75s.

Those eligible for this coming jab are the over-65s, people with severe lung problems, blood cancer, heart disease or weakened immune systems, along with care home residents, frontline health and social care workers, carers and the household contacts of people with suppressed immune systems. The NHS will contact those who are eligible to invite them to book a jab in the coming weeks. You can then book online via or by calling 119.

Q I'm over 65 and supposed to have an autumn booster. Will it work against this new strain?

A Scientists are still investigating this. The vaccines have been updated to include another Omicron descendent – XBB.1.5 – which has been dominant in 2023.

Pfizer and Moderna said last week their updated vaccines generated 'strong responses' against the new Pirola strain in the lab.

'Even if the vaccines are less effective against Pirola – which we don't know they are – they will still offer some protection,' says Prof Ball. 'Pirola may have 35 mutations but there are many parts of the spike protein that the immune system does recognise. The virus will find it impossible to change all of those to evade it completely.'

Q What's going on in hospitals right now with Covid?

A The number of hospital beds in England occupied by Covid patients has risen 15 per cent in a week, to 2,500 out of the total 140,000 beds.

The latest data, up to September 3, shows larger rises in the South West (42 per cent), the North West (25 per cent) and in the North East and Yorkshire (23 per cent).

It's important to keep in mind that, at the height of the pandemic in January 2021, 33,000 hospital beds were occupied by Covid patients. Reassuringly, the number of Covid patients in critical care has remained largely static at about 60.

Q I'm not eligible for a booster. Can I get one anyway?

A No. The NHS will invite only those who are eligible to book in for a jab, and – unlike flu jabs – they are not available to buy privately.

There is nothing to prevent pharmaceutical companies selling vaccines to private providers but they are currently tasked with fulfilling their Government contracts.

However, they could be available privately in the US this autumn, and the UK could follow suit.