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New study: Vaccine Manufacturers & FDA Regulators Caught Hiding Risks of HPV Vaccines

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A new study published in Clinical Rheumatology exposes how vaccine manufacturers used phony placebos in clinical trials to conceal a wide range of devastating risks associated with HPV vaccines. Instead of using genuine inert placebos and comparing health impacts over a number of years, as is required for most new drug approvals, Merck and GlaxoSmithKline spiked their placebos with a neurotoxic aluminum adjuvant and cut observation periods to a matter of months.

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Researchers from Mexico’s National Institute of Cardiology pored over 28 studies published through January 2017—16 randomized trials and 12 post-marketing case series—pertaining to the three human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines currently on the market globally. In their July 2017 peer-reviewed report, the authors, Manuel Martínez-Lavin and Luis Amezcua-Guerra, uncovered evidence of numerous adverse events, including life-threatening injuries, permanent disabilities, hospitalizations and deaths, reported after vaccination with GlaxoSmithKline’s bivalent Cervarix vaccine and Merck’s quadrivalent or nine-valent HPV vaccines (Gardasil and Gardasil 9). Pharmaceutical company scientists routinely dismissed, minimized or concealed those injuries using statistical gimmicks and invalid comparisonsdesigned to diminish their relative significance.

Of the 16 HPV vaccine randomized trials, only two used an inert saline placebo. Ten of the sixteen compared the HPV vaccine against a neurotoxicaluminum adjuvant, and four trials used an already-approved aluminum-containing vaccine as the comparison.

Scientific researchers view double-blind placebo trials as the gold standard for testing new drugs. To minimize bias, investigators randomly assign patients to either a “treatment” group or a “control” (placebo) group and then compare health outcomes. The standard practice is to compare a new drug against a “pharmacologically inert” placebo. To minimize opportunities for bias, neither patients nor researchers know which individuals received the drug and which the placebo. However, in clinical trials of the various HPV vaccines, pharmaceutical researchers avoided this kind of rigor and instead employed sleight-of-hand flimflams to mask the seriousness of vaccine injuries.

Of the 16 HPV vaccine randomized trials, only two used an inert saline placebo. Ten of the sixteen compared the HPV vaccine against a neurotoxic aluminum adjuvant, and four trials used an already-approved aluminum-containing vaccine as the comparison. One does not have to be a scientist to understand that using aluminum-containing placebos is likely to muddy the comparison between the treatment and control groups. Critics of the HPV vaccine have pointed to the aluminum adjuvant as the most likely cause of adverse reactions, and some researchers have questioned the safety of using aluminum adjuvants in vaccines at all, due to their probable role as a contributor to chronic illness. The aluminum-containing placebos appeared to provoke numerous adverse reactions among the presumably unwitting patients who received them, allowing the pharma researchers to mask the cascade of similar adverse reactions among the groups that received the vaccines. Although both placebo and study groups suffered numerous adverse events in these studies, there were minimal differences between the two groups. The similar adverse outcomes in both groups allowed industry researchers and government regulators to claim that the vaccines were perfectly safe, despite manifold disturbing reactions. The Mexican researchers’ meta-review confirms the difficulty of ascertaining vaccine-attributable differences from this mess; the researchers identified only a few indications of “significantly increased systemic adverse events in the HPV vaccine group vs. the control group” across the 16 pre-licensure trials.

The HPV promoters found it more difficult to employ deceptive devices in the 12 post-marketing safety reviews, and the Mexican authors summarize some of the more noteworthy findings. In Spain, they found a ten-fold higher incidence of vaccine-related adverse events following HPV vaccination compared to “other types of vaccines.” In Canada, they found an astonishing one in ten rate of hospital emergency department visits among HPV-vaccinated individuals “within 42 days after immunization.” Still, the industry researchers did what they could to minimize these injuries. The Mexican reviewers criticize the authors of the various post-marketing studies for failing to ask essential questions, to evaluate the many serious adverse events, or to elaborate on their often-troubling findings.

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Abbreviated Trial Times

Typically, FDA requires drug companies seeking approval for a new drug to observe health outcomes in both the placebo and study groups for 4-5 years. Vaccine manufacturers take advantage of FDA regulatory loopholes that allow fast-tracking of vaccines and cut that period down to a few weeks or even a few days. This means that injuries that manifest, or are diagnosed, later in life—most neurodevelopmental disorders, for example—will escape attention entirely.

Further Smokescreens

Martínez-Lavin and Amezcua-Guerra point to clinical trial data posted on the FDA webpagefor the quadrivalent Gardasil vaccine approved in 2006. Those clinical trials deployed a panoply of the kind of cunning deceptions used by industry and government researchers. Unlike many of the other HPV vaccine clinical trials, these clinical studies employed a true saline placebo.

Across the Gardasil clinical studies, a group of 15,706 females ages 9-45 and males ages 9-26 received the quadrivalent Gardasil vaccine. A control group of 594 individuals received an inert saline placebo. The industry researchers never explain the tiny relative size of the saline placebo group; it’s noteworthy that small size would have the effect of keeping unwanted signals weak. But a second control group of 13,023 received a so-called “spiked” placebo loaded with an aluminum adjuvant (amorphous aluminum hydroxyphosphate sulfate or AAHS). The large size of this “spiked placebo” group suggests that the decision to keep the saline placebo group small was strategic.

Putting aside the thorny ethical question of whether study participants were told that they were being injected with a neurotoxin with probable associations with Alzheimer’s, dementia and other forms of brain disease, the inclusion of both saline and aluminum placebos provided these researchers a chance to do some genuine science. But the FDA webpage shows the troubling gimmick that was then employed by the FDA and Merck, which seems deliberately designed to blur datasets in order to mask adverse effects during the clinical trials. The table showing relatively minor injection-site adverse reactions—one to five days post-vaccination—displays three distinct columns for the three groups: Gardasil recipients, the aluminum “placebo” recipients, and saline placebo recipients (see table below). In the table, “Intergroup differences are obvious,” in the words of the Mexican researchers. For example, roughly three and a half times more girls/women experienced injection site swelling in the Gardasil group compared to the saline group (25.4% vs. 7.3%). In fact, by all five measures, both the Gardasil recipients and the aluminum placebo recipients fared two to three times worse than the saline recipients.

When it came time for Merck to report on the occurrence of more serious reactions, “Systemic Adverse Reactions” and “Systemic Autoimmune Disorders,” for example, the company scientists switched to a very different format. In these tables, the third column that reported results for the saline placebo recipients disappears. Instead, Merck combined the groups receiving the spiked aluminum placebo into a single column with the group receiving the genuine saline placebo (see example below). The merger of the two control groups makes it impossible to compare results for Gardasil versus the saline placebo or the aluminum placebo versus the saline placebo. In this way, Merck’s researchers obliterated any hope of creating a meaningful safety comparison.

Risks and Benefits

Given aluminum’s known neurotoxicity and its association with debilitating autoimmune conditions, it is unsurprising that there are no observable differences between the Gardasil and AAHS/saline groups. But, despite the researchers’ efforts to paper over adverse effects, they were not able to conceal the devastating health injuries to their human guinea pigs. The bottom line of these trials reveals a shocking truth: An alarming 2.3% of both their study and control groups had indicators of autoimmune diseases! These data are even more alarming when one considers that the observation period was curtailed after only six months. With this level of risk, it would seem that no loving parents would allow their daughter to receive this vaccine—particularly given the comparatively low risk posed by HPV in countries with appropriate cervical cancer screening tests. Even in countries such as India, where cervical cancer mortality is high due to late detection, leading Indian physicians argue that comprehensive screening should be the country’s top priority rather than the “panacea” of HPV vaccination.

Consider the math: According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), an estimated 2.4 women per 100,000 die of cervical cancer in the US each year. On the other hand, the FDA’s Table 2 (above) shows that 2.3 per 100 girls and women developed an “incident condition potentially indicative of a systemic autoimmune disorder” after enrolling in the Gardasil clinical trial. It is difficult to understand how any rational regulator could allow more than two in 100 girls to run the risk of acquiring a lifelong autoimmune disorder, particularly when Pap smears are already doing an effective job of identifying cervical abnormalities. The NIH notes that the incidence and death rates for cervical cancer in the US declined by more than 60% after introducing Pap smear screening.

Based on the numerical outcomes of that study, the Mexican researchers calculated the likelihood of being actually “helped or harmed by the 9-valent HPV vaccine.” Their “worrisome” finding is that the “number needed to harm” is just 140, whereas 1757 women would need to receive the vaccine for a single one of them to enjoy its projected benefits.

Martínez-Lavin and Amezcua-Guerra make their own effort to illustrate the zany risk-benefit ratios associated with these vaccines when discussing the results of one of the 16 clinical trials. That study compared approximately 14,000 women who received either Gardasil 9 or the original quadrivalent Gardasil. Based on the numerical outcomes of that study, the Mexican researchers calculated the likelihood of being actually “helped or harmed by the 9-valent HPV vaccine.” Their “worrisome” finding is that the “number needed to harm” is just 140, whereas 1757 women would need to receive the vaccine for a single one of them to enjoy its projected benefits.

Implications for Aluminum Adjuvants

Merck found that astronomical casualty counts were equal among both Gardasil and aluminum “placebo” recipients. The inescapable implication is that aluminum adjuvants may be a principal culprit in the flood of injuries reported for the various HPV vaccines. This conclusion, if true, requires reevaluation of the use of aluminum adjuvants in several other vaccines, including some given to infants. Aluminum adjuvant levels have mushroomed since the 2003 removal of thimerosal from three pediatric vaccines. The following chart, prepared by Dr. Sherri Tenpenny, illustrates the stunning amount of aluminum in vaccines.

Multiple peer-reviewed studies have connected aluminum exposures to a range of autoimmune and neurological disorders, including dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, that have become epidemic coterminous with these aluminum exposures. A review in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition warns of dangerous accumulation of aluminum in the brain when, as in the case of vaccination, “protective gastrointestinal mechanisms are bypassed.” It’s time to go back to the drawing board on HPV vaccines and aluminum adjuvants. More importantly, FDA needs to start requiring the same rigorous pre-licensing safety testing for vaccines that it has long required for other drugs. All existing vaccines, particularly those containing aluminum, should be safety-reviewed according to these more stringent standards.

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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?

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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?

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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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