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Groundbreaking: China Study Links Immune Activation By Vaccination & Autism

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*This article is a summary of a larger article put together by J.B. Handley at Healthcare in America. It is a conglomeration of a wide body of recent research pieced together by a growing group of concerned scientists. For more information, please visit the website, vaccinepapers.org.

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A study out of China is the first to test the effects of immune activation by vaccination (hep B/BCG) on brain development in rats. Results indicate vaccines containing an aluminum adjuvant (i.e., hep B) spike cytokine levels in the hippocampus region of the brain, in particular the cytokine interleukin-6 (IL-6), the key cytokine known for its dysregulating effect on neuronal circuitry and the key cytokine implicated in autism.

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History of research into immune activation and autism

Before we get into the China study, it’s important to understand all of the previous research leading up to it.

In 2006, late Caltech scientist Dr. Paul Patterson and his colleagues were among the first to discover the implications of maternal immune activation and brain development in offspring.

In an article published in the Engineering & Science journal, titled “Pregnancy, Immunity, Schizophrenia, and Autism,” Patterson wrote that “brain-immune conversation actually starts during the development of the embryo, where the state of the mother’s immune system can alter the growth of cells in the fetal brain.”

Patterson and his team built on the work led by Carlos Pardo at Johns Hopkins, which discovered “neural inflammation” in postmortem examination of brains of patients with autism. Strangely, these autistic patients did not die due to any infections that would have caused the inflammation.

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This research was the first to suggest “an ongoing, permanent immune-system activation in the brains of autistic people.” 

In 2007 Patterson took this research further, publishing a study that found the culprit of this chronic brain inflammation — cytokine interleukin-6 (IL-6).

Cytokines are cell signalling molecules that aid cell to cell communication, stimulating the movement of cells toward sites of inflammation, infection, and trauma.

Cytokine interleukin-6

Patterson found that IL-6 was critical for mediating the behavioural and transcriptional changes in the neurology of the rat offspring.

This study was replicated by Patterson in 2012, which was more autism-specific, and reached the same conclusion“These results indicate that [maternal immune activation] MIA yields male offspring with deficient social and communicative behaviour, as well as high levels of repetitive behaviours, all of which are hallmarks of autism.”

In 2014, the M.I.N.D. Institute at UC-Davis replicated Dr. Patterson’s work in rhesus monkeys and found the same results.

Another 2012 study from Neuroscience agreed with Patterson — Brain IL-6 elevation causes neuronal circuitry imbalances and mediates autism-like behaviours .

The next question, then, was what causes immune activation that would lead to increased levels of IL-6 in the brain?

Aluminum bioaccumulates in the brain

Aluminum compounds (Al hydroxide and Al phospate) are currently used in the hepatitis A, hepatitis B, diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis (DTaP, Tdap), Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib), human papillomavirus (HPV), and pneumococcus (PCV) vaccines.

Aluminum adjuvant “activates” the immune system, which induces long term immunity to antigens in the vaccine.

Dr. Chris Shaw at the University of British Columbia did extensive research on injected aluminum in 2007 and 2009, and found “the results reported mirror previous work that has clearly demonstrated that aluminum, in both oral and injected forms, can be neurotoxic. Potential toxic mechanisms of action for aluminum may include enhancement of inflammation.”

Concerns about the limited understanding of aluminum toxicity were further questioned by Dr. Lucija Tomljenovic in this 2012 paper.

It is somewhat surprising to find that in spite of over 80 years of use, the safety of Al adjuvants continues to rest on assumptions rather than scientific evidence. For example, nothing is known about the toxicology and pharmacokinetics of Al adjuvants in infants and children.9 On the other hand, in adult humans long-term persistence of Al vaccine adjuvants can lead to cognitive dysfunction and autoimmunity.6,10 Yet, in spite of these observations children continue regularly to be exposed to much higher levels of Al adjuvants than adults, via routine childhood vaccination programmes.

In 2013, French scientists demonstrated that aluminum adjuvant, when injected into the body of a mouse, ended up in the brain one year later.

In 2015, another study from Université Paris Est Créteil (UPEC) in France further supported this new view of aluminum adjuvant, showing that Al makes its way to the brain slowly, where it stays there, possibly forever.

Last fall, results published in the journal Toxicology sealed the deal on Al adjuvant, revealing that low, consistent doses of Al were most dangerous of all for neurotoxic effects. Larger doses produced granulomas at injection sites, which prevented the Al from spreading. Smaller doses did not produce this effect, causing changes in the brain and behaviour.

The study authors stated that “the present study may suggest that aluminium adjuvant toxicokinetics and safety require reevaluation.”

And just last year, a study out of the Middle East looking at Alzheimer’s in rats found that aluminum produced a four-fold increase in IL-6 in the brain.

So we know that Al adjuvant causes on-going, increased levels of IL-6 in the brain. So what argument do the CDC and FDA use to justify aluminum being safe?

The difference between ingested Al and injected Al adjuvant

Currently, the FDA and CDC state that aluminum in vaccines is safe, based on this 2011 study.

This study erroneously concluded that aluminum from vaccines likely ends up in the body’s skeletal system. However, as the plethora of research previously mentioned shows, Al nanoparticles are not safely excreted or stored, they accumulate in the brain.

Another point to make here is that there is a difference between the aluminum discussed in the 2011 study (linked above) and the aluminum injected in vaccines. The CDC base their conclusions about Al safety on ingested, water-soluble aluminum salts, not the nanoparticle aluminum-hydroxide.

As Vaccine Papers explains, the two couldn’t be any further from the same.

Most vaccines contain aluminum, and aluminum is a proven neurotoxin, in amounts received from vaccines. Vaccines in combination can result in toxic aluminum overload. Even the aluminum in a single vaccine can be harmful because the aluminum is in a form that is more dangerous than ingested aluminum. Specifically, vaccine aluminum is in nanoparticulate form, which is harder for the body to eliminate, and because it is transported around the body differently than ingested aluminum.

It is natural and normal to ingest small doses of aluminum from food and water. Its not good for you, but the body has adequate defenses. Absorption of ingested Al is low, about 0.3%, so about 99.7% is eliminated in feces. Ingested aluminum is in ionic form (individual charged atoms), which is readily removed by the kidneys. Also, ionic aluminum is blocked from entering the brain by the blood brain barrier. The low absorption, rapid elimination by the kidneys and barrier to brain entry adequately protects the brain from aluminum.

However, nanoparticulate aluminum from vaccines cannot be removed by the kidneys. The particles are far too large to be filtered out by the kidneys. The Al nanoparticles do dissolve slowly (converting to ionic aluminum). But long before they can dissolve completely, the Al nanoparticles are “eaten” by immune system cells called macrophages. In other words, the particles wind up inside the macrophages. Once loaded with the Al nanoparticles, the macrophages spread aluminum as they travel through the body. This is dangerous, because the Al-loaded macrophages carry Al nanoparticles to tissues (e.g. the brain) that are damaged by very small amounts of aluminum.

China study links aluminum, IL-6, and autism

In 2015, Li et al. out of Sun Yat-Sen University published a groundbreaking study that tied all of the latter research together.

Li et al. were the first to test the effects of immune activation by vaccination on brain development. All other studies of immune activation before this had used pathological conditions to mimic infection and induce fever, and therefore concerns about the transferability of the data had been in question until this study came out.

The study looked at the effects of bacillus calmette-guerin (BCG) vaccine (for tuberculosis) and hepatitis B vaccine on brain development in infant rats.

J.B. Handley sums up the results:

“There were three different groups of rats:

  1. Rats receiving the BCG vaccine (not given in the U.S.)
  2. Rats receiving the Hepatitis B vaccine (given on day 1 of life in the U.S.)
  3. A control group with no vaccine.

The BCG vaccine does NOT contain aluminum adjuvant and the impact on the rat’s brains from BCG was actually positive!

The Hep B vaccine rats, however, showed the kind of immune activation event we are seeing in autism (high IL-6). This is biological proof of the link between a vaccine — given to a post-natal animal — inducing an immune activation event, including the cytokine marker for autism, IL-6. A scientific first.”

Vaccine Papers further detailed the implications of this study:

An important finding in the Li et al study is that some of the effects of hep B vaccine did not appear until age 8 weeks. This finding undermines claims of vaccine safety, which are almost always based on short-term outcomes of a few days or weeks. 8 weeks is a long time in rat development. 8 week old rats are almost fully mature adults. This suggests that adverse effects of vaccines may take years or decades to appear in humans, or can be life-long. This is consistent with what is known about immune activation and schizophrenia. Immune activation in the fetus can cause schizophrenia 20-30 years later.

The accumulating scientific evidence and the Li et al study in particular strongly suggest that early-life vaccination may cause mental illness. The mental illnesses would emerge years or decades after vaccination of an infant. Vaccines are likely contributing the the rise of mental illnesses in the USA over the last 25 years. The rise in mental illnesses in the USA is coincident with the dramatic increase in vaccination that started in the 1980s.

Is this the proof we’ve been waiting for?

As you’ve just read, there is a growing body of research that paints an undeniable link between immune activation and autism.

Source: HealthcareinAmerica.us

Aluminum adjuvants, given early and continually, stimulate immune activation event after immune activation event, raising levels of IL-6 in pre- and post-natal brains, leading to chronic inflammation and dysregulation of neuronal circuitry and the symptoms associated with autism.

Source: HealthcareinAmerica.us

Chronic brain inflammation would also explain why many autistic children develop enlarged foreheads. It would perhaps explain why these children feel the need to bang their heads against walls, or why they become frustrated easily.

What about the gastrointestinal disorders autistic children frequently experience? If you guessed aluminum was the culprit, you are correct.

Here is a study from Nature that explains how aluminum causes inflammation in the gut and impairs gut function.

Auto-immune disorders? Here is a groundbreaking 2013 study that explains how aluminum adjuvant causes a wide-spectrum of immune disorders.

What about the MMR vaccine?

Since the MMR vaccine does not contain aluminum, why then do parents talk about the MMR vaccine being a trigger for their child’s autism?

J.B. Handley puts it simply:

The MMR vaccine is the first live virus vaccine children receive (it’s typically given between age 12–18 months, most children have received 15–20 vaccines by then), and it’s a triple (measles, mumps, rubella) live virus.

For an immune system bathed in aluminum adjuvant and possibly already simmering with activation events, this triple dose might push a child right over the edge. This might explain the seizures (an extreme immune activation event) that sometimes follow the MMR appointment.

Only one ingredient (thimerosal) in one vaccine (MMR) has been studied in relation to autism in humans.

This picture sums the point up perfectly:

Source: HealthcareinAmerica.us

So where does all of this data leave us? Groundbreaking as all of this is, it is undeniable that there are many more questions waiting to be answered and more research needed.

Certainly we are in for a wild ride these next few years as the body of research for vaccine safety grows and as more people wake up to the fact that they’ve been lied to (get your popcorn ready).

For now, though, our only ally is to find our public voice, to spread the information to our circles, to involve ourselves in the discussions taking place online and in public, to let go of the emotional attacks and let the science boldly speak for itself. That is our moral responsibility.

The rest, I say, we leave to the adage about truth. It may have taken centuries and millions of lives to get here, and somewhere along the way we probably lost hope that it would ever arrive, but in the end the adage held true, that no matter how deep the lie or how ruthless the coverup, the truth always prevails.

*For more information concerning the science around vaccine safety, please visit vaccinepapers.org

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Lebanese Hospital Becomes The World’s First To Go 100 Percent Vegan (Food)

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CE Staff Writer 7 minute read

In Brief

  • The Facts:

    A hospital in Lebanon has become the first in the world to adopt a completely vegan menu.

  • Reflect On:

    Are people aware of the physical and emotional torture the majority animals we eat go through? Are people aware that a diet free of animal products can be very beneficial for human health. Are people aware that animal agriculture is destroying Earth?

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At the beginning of March, Hayek Hospital in Beirut, Lebanon became the first hospital in the world to serve 100 percent vegan only meals. Prior to this change, patients had a choice between animal based meals and vegan meals, and included with that was information about the health benefits of choosing plant-based foods versus the dangers of consuming animal products. The hospital made the announcement via their Instagram page, stating that “Our patients will no longer wake up from surgery to be greeted with ham, cheese, milk, and eggs…the very food(s) that may have contributed to their health problems in the first place.”

When the World Health Organization classifies processed meat as a group 1A carcinogenic (causes cancer) same group as tobacco and red meat as group 2A carcinogenic, then serving meat in the hospital is like serving cigarettes in a hospital. When the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) declare that 3 out of 4 new or emerging infectious disease comes from animals. When adopting a plant based exclusive diet has been successfully proven not only to stop the evolution of certain diseases but it can also reverse them. We then, have the moral responsibility to act upon and align our beliefs with our actions. Taking the courage to look at the elephant in in the eye.

Their various statements also point to the role that animal agriculture plays in spawning infectious diseases, citing the Centers for Disease Control’s estimate that 3 out of 4 new or emerging infectious diseases come from animals. “We believe it’s well about time to tackle the root cause of diseases and pandemics, not just treat symptoms,” they note.

This was a great statement. The modern day medical industry only seems to be focused on medications, and only medications that can turn a hefty profit, to treat and cure disease instead of addressing root causes. It’s good to see things changing, but a big problem remains. If a plant that grows in abundance, for example, has the potential to cure a disease, will we ever hear about it? Will the medical industry be interested in it? Probably not, but when a drug is made and patented from that plant in a specific way, that’s when we will. This is not to say that modern day medicine is useless, but today now more than ever a big problem exists, and this problem may be killing more people than it’s helping.

Arnold Seymour Relman (1923-2014), a Harvard professor of medicine and also a former Editor-in-Chief of NEMJ, was frustrated that “the medical profession is being bought by the pharmaceutical industry, not only in terms of the practice of medicine, but also in terms of teaching and research. The academic institutions of this country are allowing themselves to be the paid agents of the pharmaceutical industry. I think it’s disgraceful.” (source)

According to Forks Over Knives,

While Hayek is the first hospital to completely purge animal products from its menu, a number of hospitals have begun offering more plant-based options in recent years. Both New York and California have enacted laws requiring hospitals to offer a plant-based option with every meal. In 2018 NYC Health + Hospitals/Bellevue launched the Plant-Based Lifestyle Medicine Program to help patients transition to a whole-food, plant-based lifestyle.

The American Medical Association passed a resolution in 2017 calling on U.S. hospitals to provide healthful plant-based meals to promote better health in patients, staff, and visitors. The American College of Cardiology has issued similar recommendations.

In my opinion, “veganism is a very fine form of nutrition” (Dr. Ellsworth Wareham, heart surgeon), and as mentioned above, there is plenty of science to back up that statement.  I’ve written about it many times before from a health perspective.

Here’s an article that goes into more detail and science if you’re interested, it also addresses history, and how our teeth and guts are designed and more. Here’s another one regarding a study that found a strong association between eating animal protein and a premature death from all causes, including multiple cancers and type 2 diabetes.

The studies cited in that article note that meat eating is strongly associated with up to a 75 percent increased chance of early mortality, and that protein from animals may cause harm, while protein from plants may help reverse disease and have a protective effect.

There are hundreds of these studies, and the ones I cite are just a few examples.

This is obviously a very controversial topic in the eyes of many, and it’s not hard at all to find conflicting information on the subject. I am no doubt bias in my beliefs and opinions here.

One thing is for certain, the way we treat animals on this planet is extremely heartbreaking and unnecessary. Animals are separated from their families, raised for slaughter and are kept in torturous conditions on a daily basis. It’s truly unbelievable and horrific. It’s the biggest genocide and example of both physical and emotional torture the world has ever seen. I don’t think anybody can witness what really goes on in most slaughterhouses can come out not being impacted.

On top of this, animal agriculture is one of, if not the greatest contributer to environmental degradation and pollution on our planet. Animal agriculture is actually the leading cause of deforestation. Every single day, close to 100 plant/animal/insect species are lost because of this practice.

Final Thoughts: At the end of the day it seems that, from a health perspective, processed meats, and other meats are no doubt harmful to human health. People can make the argument that other animal products may not be and that we are meant to consume them. People can also make the complete opposite argument. One thing that can’t be argued is, again, the torture, physical and emotional abuse that comprise the source of where animal products come from for the majority of people who eat them.

There is a big split, as with many other topics, amongst people on this issue. There are even vegan influencers who are creating splits within the ‘vegan community’ itself, which is unfortunate. I personally believe that, from a health perspective, animal products are not at all required for anybody and are again, overall, harmful to human health.

The more pressing issue, again, is the treatment of our animal brothers and sisters, and how we are constantly using and abusing them. It’s indicative of world that lacks empathy, compassion, understanding and love, as well as our inability to see ourselves in another. This can be seen in many aspects of the current human experience, be it war, human trafficking and more. That being said, it’s great to see human consciousness shifting towards a more compassionate, empathetic type of awareness. This is evident by the “vegan” movement alone, as it’s become quite large over the past few years and will continue to grow. Some of the biggest animal food producers have already gone out of business, and it’s great to see more people in the health community as well recognize that it’s a win for health, a win for environment, and most importantly, a win for the very emotional, intelligent, animals, who are similar to us in so many ways. We have so much to learn from them.

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Caloric Restriction vs. Fasting: Why One Can Result In Weight Gain While The Other Helps Burn Fat

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CE Staff Writer 3 minute read

In Brief

  • The Facts:

    In the video below, Dr. Jason Fung explains the difference between caloric restriction and sending the body into "starvation" mode compared to fasting.

  • Reflect On:

    Fasting has been used as a health intervention for thousands of years, and is being used today by doctors who are educated on the topic. Why is it completely ignored by mainstream medicine? Is it because "big pharma" can't make any money off of it?

Before you begin...

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Take a moment and breathe. Place your hand over your chest area, near your heart. Breathe slowly into the area for about a minute, focusing on a sense of ease entering your mind and body. Click here to learn why we suggest this.

Some would say that the best solution to weight gain is eating right and exercising. I couldn’t agree more. Obesity is one of the deadliest problems humanity faces today, and just as important as diet and exercise is for addressing this issue, even more important are the emotional and personal reasons as to why so many people damage themselves and make themselves more prone to serious disease.

Apart from diet and exercise, initiating a proper fasting regimen can have tremendous health outcomes, especially for overweight people. It wasn’t but a decade ago when fasting to lose weight was considered unhealthy and dangerous. Today, we have a tremendous amount of science that’s been published clearly showing that fasting can be an effective health intervention for people of all body types, especially for people who are overweight and suffer from certain diseases. It’s an excellent way to help your body burn fat. Fasting has been used and is currently being used as an intervention for type two diabetes, cancer and more. Fasting has been shown to trigger stem cell regeneration, autophagy, which in turn can help clear out toxins and damaged cells, repair DNA, improve metabolism, lower blood sugar, boost brain function, reduce the risk of age related disease, lessen inflammation which improves a wide range of health issues from arthritic pain to asthma and more. It’s no wonder why so many ancient cultures from different parts of the world used fasting as medicine and as a health intervention.

As shown in the science, fasting is generally safe for everybody. This many not be true if you already have underlying health conditions or are taking certain medications. This is why it’s important to consult a health professional about it, but the issue is, the majority of health professionals are not well educated in fasting interventions. Those who have educated themselves have been treating their patients with fasting and are drawn to it due to its ability to provide so many benefits.

One of these doctors is Dr. Jason Fung, who on his blog and his YouTube channel, as well as the books he’s written provides a wealth of information and science regarding fasting. I often refer people to the work of Fung, or others like Dr. Valter Longo if they want to begin their own research about fasting. Again, there is a wealth of science and “scholarly” articles available on the subject for anybody who wants to search for it as well. It’s not heard to find.

In the video below, Fung explains why fasting is much different from caloric restriction or having your body go into “starvation mode.”  You can also check out his article, “The difference between calorie restriction and fasting” for some great information as well.

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The Deeper Questions Behind The “Lab Origins” Debate

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    It is being slowly accepted that SARS-COV2 originated in a laboratory. The delay in this admission has not been due to media "spin" alone but from scientists themselves.

  • Reflect On:

    How can we "trust the science" if the scientists are being disingenuous?

Before you begin...

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Take a moment and breathe. Place your hand over your chest area, near your heart. Breathe slowly into the area for about a minute, focusing on a sense of ease entering your mind and body. Click here to learn why we suggest this.

As the majority of Americans gather around the prevailing voice of our trusted medical institutions, those opposing it seem to be digging in their heels as well. Why is this happening? After all, we are not arguing over religion or political ideology (or at least we shouldn’t be). This pandemic and its management falls squarely in the realm of science, something that should be objective and indisputable. How is the layperson supposed to make sense of the growing polarity concerning this issue? Unless one has related training in virology, epidemiology, statistics and a decent understanding of the history and the sequence of investigations that have led scientific opinion to consensus positions before this pandemic, there is no way to be “scientific”. How are we to know whether the edicts coming from our leaders are reasonable and founded? This puts us in a difficult position, one that we are unable or unwilling to acknowledge: we have to trust someone else. The question is, whom?

Mainstream Media is beginning to acknowledge that SARS-COV2 originated in a lab

There has recently been a shift in the mainstream narrative. Some of these mainstream sources have been willing to take a hard look at where this virus came from: the “lab origins” thesis. In this recent interview with evolutionary biologists Heather Heying and Bret Weinstein, popular satirist and political commentator Bill Maher admits that “it would almost be a conspiracy theory to think it didn’t start in a lab.” The reasons for this are clear to anyone who has looked beyond the veil of simplistic statements and abjectly poor investigative journalism coming from mainstream sources. Gain of Function studies on SARS viruses were being conducted in publicly funded laboratories in this country for years prior to 2014. One could argue this was part of bioterrorism research just as easily as it was part of a pandemic preparedness effort. It is not so hard to see that in order to be prepared to combat a highly contagious and virulent pathogen we must be able to study the pathogen itself. Pandemic preparedness and bioterrorism research are basically the same thing.

As the story unfolds in the mainstream narrative, it is becoming apparent that the wet market hypothesis will soon be jettisoned for its sheer implausibility. Is it likely that this virus could survive in a bat or pangolin for generations while mutating in such a way that it could not only immediately survive in a human body but be so virulent as well? What are the factors that would be involved in allowing this new strain to behave unlike previous SARS viruses in terms of its copious presence in our nasopharyngeal cavities, apparent transmissibility in the asymptomatic and enduring pathogenicity when floating around in the air or lurking on surfaces? The answer is far more than one, making this wet market to global pandemic story all the more unacceptable.

As establishment science comes to its senses, we are left with the reality that the pandemic has most probably been the consequence of a laboratory research that got out of control. It may not be excusable or forgivable but at least we can take comfort that our attention has been refocused on what is plausible. However simply acknowledging the high probability of lab origins and moving forward with all the same initiatives to combat this virus is not enough. There are more questions that need to be posed first.

How did some Scientists “spin” the science?

This argument over SARS-COV2 origin is not new at all. It was being hotly debated a year ago for some of the same reasons I mentioned above. The lab origin thesis was effectively (and prematurely) purged from “acceptable” discussions when a paper entitled “The Proximal Origin of SARS-COV2” (KG Anderson et al) appeared in Nature Medicine (March 17, 2020). This piece served as the foundation of a wall of scientific opinion that was rapidly erected to contain the dangerous “conspiracy theory” that the virus was a product of human intention and ingenuity. If you were to read the piece it would be hard to not end up shrugging your shoulders and going along with the authors’ thesis. The authors are well-respected and published scientists that include W. Ian Lipkin, pathologist, neurobiologist and epidemiologist at Columbia University,  internationally recognized for his work around W. Nile Virus and SARS. They are assured in their conclusions and offer the reader, among other things, a comparative study of the peptide structure and genetic sequence of this virus and closely related variants. 

I am a physician and was led to this piece months ago in my research into this topic. I admit that I was left scratching my head. It wasn’t until I tuned in to a blog surrounding this and other issues hosted by Dr. Meryl Nass, a respected and dutiful researcher of pandemics and bioterrorism, that l was able to grasp where the misdirection was introduced. Dr. Nass correctly points out that it may not be possible to irrefutably prove that the virus was of lab origin or not, however it is the erroneous assumptions and unsound logic the authors of the Nature Medicine article use that point to the obscuration of the facts in a manner we could reasonably deem as deliberate.

After presenting us with a thorough description of the structure of SARS-COV-2 and analysis of its means of entering human cell lines via the Angiotensin Converting Enzyme 2 (ACE2) receptor, the authors introduce their challenge to the lab origins position. The authors state:

“While the analyses above suggest that SARS-CoV-2 may bind human ACE2 with high affinity, computational analyses predict that the interaction is not ideal and that the RBD sequence is different from those shown in SARS-CoV to be optimal for receptor binding. Thus, the high-affinity binding of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein to human ACE2 is most likely the result of natural selection on a human or human-like ACE2 that permits another optimal binding solution to arise. This is strong evidence that SARS-CoV-2 is not the product of purposeful manipulation.”

Anderson et al are presenting their first line of attack on the Lab Origins hypothesis. Because their computational analysis predicts that a different and more “optimal” receptor-binding domain (RBD) portion of the spike protein on SARS-COV-2 could have been built, they say, it must have arisen naturally. The authors are assuming that if the virus was the product of bioterrorists they would have designed it differently. Is this sound logic? It is not. First, the authors are presupposing that their computational method is the only one available for use. Second, there is no reason to assume that a bioterrorist would choose the genetic solution that was “optimal”. Moreover, picking a “solution” identical to a computationally derived genetic sequence would leave an obvious clue that human hands were involved. This is in fact what the authors are correctly pointing out. 

This line of reasoning sheds light upon their foundational assumptions about the sophistication and intentions of would-be bioterrorists. Are they experimenters in laboratories building a novel coronavirus to a computer model’s specs to study it? Or are they true bioterrorists seeking to design a bioweapon that has no trace of human manipulation? Obviously one cannot know. Making either assumption cannot be part of any rigorous forensic analysis.

The authors go on:

“It is improbable that SARS-CoV-2 emerged through laboratory manipulation of a related SARS-CoV-like coronavirus. As noted above, the RBD of SARS-CoV-2 is optimized for binding to human ACE2 with an efficient solution different from those previously predicted. Furthermore, if genetic manipulation had been performed, one of the several reverse-genetic systems available for betacoronaviruses would probably have been used. However, the genetic data irrefutably show that SARS-CoV-2 is not derived from any previously used virus backbone.”

Here the authors are introducing yet another unfounded assumption: If the virus was designed as a biological weapon, why would a known coronavirus backbone necessarily be used as a basis for genetic manipulation? Certainly that option would be entertained by a team of bioterrorism researchers, but it is illogical to begin with that assumption. There are undoubtedly coronavirus backbones that have been genetically manipulated and remain behind closed doors and outside of public databases, i.e. unknown. It is equally logical to conclude that because no known backbone was used the virus was purposefully manipulated.  

In any case, genetic manipulation is not the only way to create a backbone of a virus. The oldest way is to use passage, a laboratory technique where a virus is cultured through a series of cell lines from different species resulting in a viable product that will survive in the target species. Other techniques are also readily available: exposing a known virus to mutagenic factors, collecting those that survive and repeating the process or simply mixing related viruses together to see what recombinant products result. None of these methods will result in a “solution” that would be in any way predictable at the outset. Indeed, that is the advantage of using such techniques. This is a fact that is well known to virologists, making the authors’ analysis all the more suspicious.

It is undeniable that the authors were using poor logic and unfounded assumptions to make unsound conclusions. This should have been obvious to the scientific community at that time, and this paper should not have made it through the editorial process of such a respected publication as Nature Medicine. The disquieting thing is that quite the opposite occurred. The article instead served as the seminal piece to squelch all arguments for the lab origin hypothesis once a flurry of subsequent publications cited it. Who should be held accountable for this? The authors? The editorial committee of Nature Medicine? The cadre of scientists that chose to use this publication to “manufacture consensus”? The mainstream media for failing in their responsibility to offer a balanced view of the debate around this article? None can be held solely responsible and all were required to perpetuate the distortion. The implications here are very serious and impossible to ignore.

Who can we rely upon to faithfully report “the science”?

Are there no stops to the dissemination of baseless “scientific” opinion? This is a question that rarely gets asked because we tend to assume that in the end, scientific consensus will be reached without the need for oversight. We are talking about science and scientists here, not policy makers or private industrialists with conflicts of interest and personal gains that hang in the balance. Yet the lines between science, industry and policy-making are blurrier the closer we look. In any case, who can we rely upon to ensure that the scientists are doing their job in formulating sound approaches to the problems at hand? There isn’t anyone, other than the scientists themselves. So what went wrong here? How did the Anderson paper end up deftly hamstringing a viable theory about the origins of SARS-COV2 a year ago using specious logic and unnecessary assumptions? Why didn’t anyone say anything? Despite what is generally known, many did.

Here’s where things get hopeful, depending on how you look at them. It would be wrong to dismiss all virologists, epidemiologists and researchers as slaves to corporate funded research institutions and group-think. Behind the veil of headlines that tout the rigor of the data and fuel the “trust the science” mantra there are collections of perspicacious and tireless researchers and journalists that have been pushing back against the established opinion and raising valid concerns about the hijacking of the narrative by members of their own ilk. Notably RFK Jr.’s Children’s Health Defense and Dr. Joseph Mercola have published an excellent paper that comprehensively summarized the ongoing work of Dr. Alina Chan of MIT’s Broad Institute who has documented the timeline and significance of how the spin has been manufactured by the scientific community themselves. Of course, many are familiar with Mr. Kennedy and Dr. Mercola not because of what they are bringing to complex discussions but because of their stigmatization as purveyors of “anti-vax” and “pseudoscience” opinions. Once so marked they are felled by the mainstream media machine with all the efficiency and discrimination of a logger’s chainsaw in an old-growth forest.

There are others that are broadcasting the same signal of reason. DRASTIC (Decentralized Radical Autonomous Search Team Investigating Covid-19) is a group of independent scientists, journalists and researchers that have been bringing attention to the suspicious ways that the debate surrounding the origin of SARS-COV2 has been marginalized within the scientific community itself (more about their work here). For example, “A Statement in support of the scientists, public health professionals and medical professionals of China combatting Covid-19” appeared in the correspondence section of the esteemed medical journal Lancet in March of 2020. In this letter the authors explicitly characterize any dissent to the natural origins hypothesis as “rumour, disinformation and conspiracy theories”. 

What are we to make of such accusations leveled against scientists by scientists? This sort of rhetoric has no place in any scientific discussion of any kind and should be a matter of real concern for everyone. Has science been corrupted by the same forces that are undeniably turning investigative journalism into a means of promulgating propaganda in some instances? If that were the case, how then are we to “trust the science”?

The Predicament that we are in

We are in an uncomfortable situation. Unless we can independently dismantle the arguments like those in the Anderson paper, or can understand the significance of the appearance of a mysterious 12 nucleotide sequence in the SARS-COV2 genome that confers the virus with a polybasic furin cleavage site (resulting in a substantial increase in virulence described here), or can appreciate the implications of a situation where scientific journals publish papers without requiring authors to supply the raw data required for independent genomic confirmation, we are stuck. If the science is being spun or misrepresented or poorly reported, there would be no way to know it.

Determining the origin of SARS-COV2 is an important question that still needs to be answered definitively. Attempting to answer this question has brought light to more disturbing questions. We cannot expect the layperson to comprehend the scientific studies that underpin our approach to this pandemic, let alone critique the logic and assumptions made by the authors of these papers. Expecting that a news correspondent, mainstream or otherwise, is anymore capable of dissecting such information is not realistic either. Until we come to grips with this we will not be able to grasp the enormity of the crisis we are facing.

The Takeaway

An honest examination into the origin of SARS-COV2 suggests a danger more pernicious than the virus itself. How much of scientific opinion is dictated by non-scientific interests? How many other “consensus” positions are rooted in inexcusably poor reasoning and assumptions? If we can only rely on independent researchers to bring clarity to these topics, who is going to give them a voice? If there is a fact that can be extracted from this debate it would be that “trusting the science” and trusting what a media source says about “the science” can be two very different things. 

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