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Genetically Modified Babies. The Genetic Editing of Human Life is “Big Business”

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Despite government regulations and ethical issues, there are powerful corporate interests involved in the development and patenting of genetic editing of life forms.

  • Reflect On:

    Human advancements in biotechnology as well as technology will only be plausible and useful when they are used for the good of humanity in service to others, without any other use or intention behind their development.

“Genetically modified humans” sounds like a term that belongs in Hollywood, but it’s actually a very real possibility, and one that’s being heavily discussed in the scientific community. Contributing to one of the most controversial topics to date, not long ago, a panel of science experts in the U.S. just examined and gave their support for germline editing. This means that in the future, parents will likely be able to tamper with the genetics of their children pre-birth. Germinal choice technology refers to reprogenetic technologies that enable parents to alter the genetic constitutions of their children. One of the ways this can be done is through germline editing, which is a fancier term for human genetic engineering. Germline editing alters the genes of a sperm or an egg, but it then changes the future DNA of every single cell in the embryo. This means that the genetic changes made to the embryos will then affect all future generations within that family lineage.

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The panels were made up of experts from two of the most prestigious scientific institutions in the U.S., both of which recommended that germline editing be viewed as a serious option in the future and not be prohibited outright (source).

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This is a dramatically different stance than the last assessment given in December 2015 by an international summit of scientists, who stated that it would be “irresponsible to proceed” with germline editing given the controversy surrounding the subject and the safety issues involved, all of which have yet to be resolved.

The panels’ discussions can be further analyzed in a report released earlier this week by the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Medicine. The panel recommended that germline editing of early embryos, eggs, or sperm should only be permitted to prevent serious disease or disability if there’s significant scientific evidence illustrating that the procedures are safe.

You can read more about that story here.

For now, I wanted to point you to a piece written by Canadian economist, author, and professor emeritus of economics at the University of  Ottawa and the president and director of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG), Michel Chossudovskywhere this post originally appeared.

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Last November, He Jiankui, a Chinese biology professor at Southern University of Science and Technology (SUST) in Shenzhen (Guangdong Province) announced that he and his team had createdthe World’s first “genetically edited babies”: twin babies Lula and Nana.

Dr. He Jiankui, used the CRISPR technology “to alter the embryos of seven couples [allegedly] to make them resistant to HIV”.  He Jiankui made his announcement at the Second International Summit on Human Genome Editing held at the University of Hong Kong.

Dr. He claims to have used CRISP “to tweak the DNA of human embryos during in vitro fertilization”.

The broad implications of this experiment are far-reaching. The genetic editing of human life forms including embryos has a bearing on the future of humanity.

It opens up the pandora’s box of genetic engineering applied to human beings.

It undermines the “reproduction of real life”. Potentially, it destroys humanity.

Screenshot Source Nature News Carl Zimmer

The experiment raises important scientific and ethical issues. Human embryos are not commodities.

The Chinese government immediately opened an investigation, Dr He Jiankui was fired by his University in January 2019.

Corporate Interests: Genetic Editing is “Big Business”

Despite government regulations and ethical issues, there are powerful corporate interests involved in the development and patenting of genetic editing of life forms including Dr. He’s findings on “genetically modified babies”.

While Dr. He’s University based lab biology project at SUST has been closed down, he nonetheless remains Chairman and  major stakeholder of the Shenzhen based Direct Genomics Biotechnology“a genome sequencing” firm, with extensive financial resources.  Direct Genomics received at least US$43 million in funding from both Chinese and international investors:

“… The funding was led by Shenzhen Cosun Venture Capital Investment Management, a venture capital firm owned by Shenzhen-listed Coship Electronics and Chen Libei, an executive of state-backed Fortune Capital. … 

Other investors include Beijing Xiyi Asset Management, which has only one venture capital deal – Direct Genomics – since its inception in 2016 on public record. …

In November 2016, Direct Genomics received an undisclosed amount of funding from three investors – Beijing Tengye Venture Capital, Amer International Group, and Sinotech Genomics, according to tianyancha.com, a Chinese corporate information data provider. (SCMP, November 29, 2018)

We’re talking about “Big Business” involving the potential marketing and sale of genetically modified human and animal life forms. Imagine the potential strategic and military applications, not to mention the emergence of a corporate health service economy for the super-rich, where “perfect babies” can be purchased for a million dollars.

Following the Chinese government investigation, there is no concrete evidence that this corporate genetic editing project has been discontinued. Quite the opposite.

It is worth noting that the intellectual property rights pertaining to the CRISPR -Cas9 gene editingtechnology used by Dr. He’s team (i.e. editing the DNA of  human and animal life) are not registered in China. The patent belongs to a US based entity:  the Broad Institute, located in Cambridge, Mass. with links to Harvard and MIT.

The Broad Institute is firmly committed to the pursuit of genetic editing of human living cells:

The ability to precisely edit the genome of a living cell holds enormous potential to accelerate life science research, improve biotechnology, and even treat human disease.

While the Broad Institute owns the intellectual technology, CRISPR-Cas9 was invented by a Chinese American scientist Dr. Feng Zhang based at the Broad Institute and MIT.

MIT Prof. Feng Zhang responding to Dr He’s controversial announcement calls for “a moratorium on implantation of edited [human] embryos …until we have come up with a thoughtful set of safety requirements first.”

This statement represents the interests of the Broad Institute. According to Feng Zhang’s colleague Professor David Liu (also on behalf of the Broad Institute):

“[Dr He’s] reported use of CRISPR nuclease to edit CCR5 in human embryos, resulting in live births, … [constitutes] a serious breach of ethics … Foremost, that edited human babies were generated without the full engagement of independent scientific and ethics experts, relevant regulatory institutions, and governing bodies is appalling.” (emphasis added)

These statements are tantamount to “crocodile tears”. Failing effective government regulation (e.g. by the Trump administration), the ethical considerations will eventually be scrapped or bypassed.

“Moratorium” rather than “Abolition” of a potentially dangerous technology is the talking point: “We have a legal moratorium on that here,” said U.S. FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb… The potential applications are also relatively dangerous if they get into the hands of people who don’t have good judgment or have ill intent.” (Bloomberg SFGate,  November 27, 2018)

A moratorium on behalf of those who own the CRISPR patent does not foreclose the development and marketing for profit of genetic editing of human embryos. Money is the driving force. The Moratorium will eventually be lifted. Potentially, what is at stake is a multi-billion dollar undertaking.

In all likelihood, there will be a battle for the intellectual property rights pertaining to CRISPR-Cas9 technology, involving both US and Chinese corporate interests.

 While the Broad Institute was granted ownership of the CRISPR-Cas9 patent by the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, less than 3 months prior to Dr. He’s announcement in Hong Kong, the ownership of CRISP is actively contested. The University of California at Berkeley is also involved in the fight for patent ownership against the Cambridge based Broad Institute. (Wired, September 11, 2018).

The Takeaway/Deeper Discussion

Obviously Dr. Chossudovsky makes some great points, but what if human beings are meant to make these discoveries in order to possibly expand human life and wipe out disease, for example? The issue here is not the potential and the act of gene editing, it’s the corporate takeover of humanity, and big corporations acting from the intent of profit and control instead of acting from a service to others type of mentality.

At the end of the day, when it comes to this type of discovery and development, it’s key that humanity have a shift in consciousness, and completely operate from an entirely different level, one that can benefit all, and one from a place of good, instead of operating from a lower level of consciousness that bring in the concerns that Chossudovsky mentions above.

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Vancouver Council Votes Against Mandatory Mask Mandate: They’re Not Required

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Vancouver, Canada will not have a required mask policy in civic facilities, and instead will simply recommend that people wear them.

  • Reflect On:

    Should governments recommend what they feel we should do and present the science instead of forcing certain measures on the population that many people and health professionals clearly disagree with?

What Happened: The city of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada will not mandate masks inside city buildings and will “strongly encourage” people to wear them instead. This is a bold move as many cities across the globe have mandatory mask measures in place.

The proposal by Counc. Sarah Kirby-Yung, which would have required masks inside city buildings, was opposed by more than a dozen speakers who pleaded with the city council to vote against it.

“Please consider our forefathers fought for our freedom, and if we release that choice, it’s the first step towards a dictatorship,” said one speaker according to City News. “Masks are used as weapons and they have certainly been used as weapons against me and others to silence and marginalize us and it’s not fair.”

According to Coun. Christine Boyle, public health experts encourage wearing masks, but a mandatory policy is not needed.

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Positive Association Found Amongst COVID Deaths & Flu Shot Rates Worldwide In Elderly

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    A recently published paper has found a positive association between COVID-19 deaths and influenza vaccination rates in elderly people worldwide.

  • Reflect On:

    Why does vaccine hesitancy continue to grow worldwide? What's going on? What information/factors are contributing to this hesitancy?

What Happened: A recently published study in PeerJ  by Christian Wehenkel, a Professor at Universidad Juárez del Estado de Durango in Mexico, has found a positive association between COVID-19 deaths and influenza vaccination rates in elderly people worldwide.

According to the study, “The results showed a positive association between COVID-19 deaths and IVR (influenza vaccination rate) of people ≥65 years-old. There is a significant increase in COVID-19 deaths from eastern to western regions in the world. Further exploration is needed to explain these findings, and additional work on this line of research may lead to prevention of deaths associated with COVID-19.”

To determine this association, data sets from 39 countries with more than half a million people were analyzed.

The study was published on October 1st, and two weeks later a note from the publisher appeared atop the paper emphasizing that correlation does not equal causation, and that this paper “should not be taken to suggest that receiving the influenza vaccination results in an increased risk of death for an individual with COVID-19 as there may be confounding factors at play.”

The paper provides evidence from others which have recently been published that ponder if the flu shot could increase ones chance of contracting and dying from COVID-19.

For example, this study published in April of 2020, reported a negative correlation between influenza vaccination rates (IVRs) and COVID-19 related mortality and morbidity. Marín-Hernández, Schwartz & Nixon (2020) also showed epidemiological evidence of an association between higher influenza vaccine uptake by elderly people and lower percentage of COVID-19 deaths in Italy, which directly contradicts the author’s own findings and suggests that the flu shot may help prevent COVID-19 related deaths.

He goes on to mention another study:

In a study analyzing 92,664 clinically and molecularly confirmed COVID-19 cases in Brazil, Fink et al. (2020) reported that patients who received a recent flu vaccine experienced on average 17% lower odds of death. Moreover, Pawlowski et al. (2020) analyzed the immunization records of 137,037 individuals who tested positive in a SARS-CoV-2 PCR. They found that polio, Hemophilus influenzae type-B, measles-mumps-rubella, varicella, pneumococcal conjugate (PCV13), geriatric flu, and hepatitis A/hepatitis B (HepA-HepB) vaccines, which had been administered in the past 1, 2, and 5 years, were associated with decreased SARS-CoV-2 infection rates.

So, its important to mention that correlations between the flu vaccine have also found that it may decrease ones chance of deaths from COVID-19.

But are there studies that have shown an increased chance of death or contracting other respiratory viruses as a result of getting the flu shot? Yes.

That’s also discussed in the paper. For example, he mentions a paper published in 2018:

In a study with 6,120 subjects, Wolff (2020) reported that influenza vaccination was significantly associated with a higher risk of some other respiratory diseases, due to virus interference. In a specific examination of non-influenza viruses, the odds of coronavirus infection (but not the COVID-19 virus) in vaccinated individuals were significantly higher, when compared to unvaccinated individuals (odds ratio = 1.36).

The study above found the flu shot to increase the risk of other coronaviruses among those who had been vaccinated for influenza by 36 percent. The study was conducted prior to COVID-19, so it’s not included and only applies to pre-existing coronaviruses. The study also found an even higher chance of contracting human metapneumovirus amongst those who had received the flu shot.

Below are some more studies regarding the flu shot and viral infections that hint to the same idea.

  • 2018 CDC study (Rikin et al 2018) found that flu shots increase the risk of non-flu acute respiratory illnesses (ARIs), including coronavirus, in children.
  • A 2011 Australian study (Kelly et al 2011) found that flu shots doubled the risk for non-flu viral lung infections.
  • 2012 Hong Kong study (Cowling et al 2012) found that flu shots increase the risk for non-flu respiratory infections by 4.4 times.
  • 2017 study (Mawson et al 2017) found vaccinated children were 5.9 times more likely to suffer pneumonia than their unvaccinated peers.

Why This Is Important: We live in an age where vaccinations are heavily marketed. We’ve seen this with the flu shot time and time again and we are also living in an age where a push for more mandated vaccines seems to be growing.

Dr. Peter Doshi is an associate editor at The BMJ (British Medical Journal) and also an assistant professor of pharmaceutical health services research at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy. He published a paper in The BMJ titled “Influenza: Marketing Vaccines By Marketing Disease.”  In it,  he points out that the CDC pledges “to base all public health decisions on the highest quality of scientific data, openly and objectively derived,” and how this isn’t the case when it comes to the flu vaccine and its marketing. He stresses that “the vaccine may be less beneficial and less safe than has been claimed, and that “the threat of influenza seems to be overstated.”

This is a touchy subject that dives into medical ethics and the connections that big pharmaceutical companies have with our federal health regulatory agencies and health associations. Vaccines are a multi billion dollar industry.

At a recent World Health Organization conference on vaccine safety, it was expressed that vaccine hesitancy is growing at quite a fast pace, especially among doctors who are now becoming hesitant to recommend certain vaccines on the schedule. You can read more about that and find links to the conference here.

We have to ask ourselves, why is this happening? Is it because people and professionals are becoming aware of certain information that warrants the freedom of choice? Should freedom of choice with regards to what we put in our body always remain? Are we really protecting the “herd” by taking these actions?

In a 2014 analysis in the Oregon Law Review by New York University (NYU) legal scholars Mary Holland and Chase E. Zachary (who also has a Princeton-conferred doctorate in chemistry), the authors show that 60 years of compulsory vaccine policies “have not attained herd immunity for any childhood disease.” It is time, they suggest, to cast aside coercion in favor of voluntary choice.

When it comes to the flu shot, I put more information and science as to why so many people seem to refuse it, in this article if interested.

The University of California is currently being sued for mandating the flu shot for all staff, faculty and students. A judge has prevented them from doing so as a result until a decision has been made. You can read more about that here.

In South Korea, 48 people have now died after receiving the flu shot this season causing a lot of controversy. You can read more about that here.

The Takeaway: There are many concerns with vaccines, and vaccine injury is one of them. The National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act has paid more than $4 billion to families of vaccine injured children. A 2010 HHS pilot study by the Federal Agency for Health Care Research (AHCR) found that 1 in every 39 vaccines causes injury, a shocking comparison to the claims from the CDC of 1 in every million.

Should these statistics alone warrant the freedom of choice? Should the government have the ability to force us into measures, or would it simply be better for them to present the science, make recommendations and urge people to follow them? When the citizenry is forced and coerced into certain actions, sometimes under the guise of good-will, there always seems to be a tremendous amount of uproar and people who disagree. Why are these people silenced? Why are they censored? Why are they ridiculed? Why don’t independent health organizations receive the same voice and reach that government and state “owned” or organizations do? What’s going on here? Do we really live in a free, open and transparent world or are we simply subjected to massive amounts of perception manipulation?

When it come to the flu shot there is plenty of information on both sides of the coin that point to its effectiveness, and on the other hand there is information that points to the complete opposite. When something is not 100 percent clear, freedom of choice in all places should always remain, in my opinion.

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Some South Korean Doctors & Politicians Call To Stop Flu Shots After 48 People Die

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    The number of South Koreans who have died after getting flu shots has risen to 48, but health authorities in South Korea have found no link between the vaccine and the deaths.

  • Reflect On:

    Is the flu shot as safe as it's marketed to be?

What Happened: It’s that time of year and flu shot programs are rolling out across the globe. The number of South Koreans who have died after getting the flu shot has now risen to 48 and some South Korean doctors and politicians have called to stop flu shots as a result, according to Reuters. The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) has decided not to stop the program, and that flu vaccines would continue to be given and will reduce the chance of having simultaneous epidemics in the era of COVID-19.

Health authorities in South Korea have explained that they’ve found no direct link between these deaths and the shots. KDCA Director Jeong Eun-kyung said, “After reviewing death cases so far, it is not the time to suspend a flu vaccination programme since vaccination is very crucial this year, considering…the COVID-19 outbreaks.”

According to Reuters, “Some initial autopsy results from the police and the National Forensic Service showed that 13 people died of cardiovascular, cerebrovascular and other disorders not caused by the vaccination.”

The South Korean government is hopeful to vaccinate approximately 30 million of the country’s 54 million people.

Concerns Some People Have With The Flu Shot: One concern many people seem to have is the worry of a severe adverse reaction.

Dr. Alvin Moss, MD and professor at the West Virginia University School of Medicine emphasizes in this video:

The flu vaccine happens to be the vaccine that causes the most injury in this country. The vaccine injury compensation program, 40 percent of all vaccinations in this country are flu shots, but 60 percent of all the compensations are for the flu vaccine. So a disproportionate number of  vaccine related injuries are the flu shot.

Moss is one of many who believe that the flu vaccine is not as effective as it’s been marketed to be. For example,  A study recently published in Global Advances In Health & Medicine titled “Ascorbate as Prophylaxis and Therapy for COVID-19—Update From Shanghai and U.S. Medical Institutions outlines the following:

Recently outlined A recent consensus statement from a group of renowned infectious disease clinicians observed that vaccine programs have proven ill-suited to the fast-changing viruses underlying these illnesses, with efficacy ranging from 19% to 54% in the past few years.

Dr. Peter Doshi is an associate editor at The BMJ (British Medical Journal)  published a paper in The BMJ titled “Influenza: Marketing Vaccines By Marketing Disease.”  In it,  he points out that the CDC pledges “to base all public health decisions on the highest quality of scientific data, openly and objectively derived,” and how this isn’t the case when it comes to the flu vaccine and its marketing. He stresses that “the vaccine may be less beneficial and less safe than has been claimed, and that “the threat of influenza seems to be overstated.”

These are just a few examples out of many claiming that the flu shot has not really been effective, opposing others that claim it is.  Mercury that’s still present in some flu shots also seems to be a concern.

The National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act has paid more than $4 billion to families of vaccine injured children. A 2010 HHS pilot study by the Federal Agency for Health Care Research (AHCR) found that 1 in every 39 vaccines causes injury, a shocking comparison to the claims from the CDC of 1 in every million.

Professor Heidi Larson, a Professor of Anthropology and the Risk and Decision Scientist Director at the Vaccine Confidence Project stated at a World Health Organization (WHO) conference that more doctors are starting to be hesitant when it comes to recommending vaccines.

The other thing that’s a trend, and an issue, is not just confidence in providers but confidence of health care providers, we have a very wobbly health professional frontline that is starting to question vaccines and the safety of vaccines. That’s a huge problem, because to this day any study I’ve seen… still, the most trusted person on any study I’ve seen globally is the health care provider…

This is no secret, and actions against mandates are being taken. The University of California was recently sued for making the flu shot mandatory. That trial will begin soon, and you can read more about it here, and find information regarding the claim that the flu shot can help in the times of COVID-19.

The Takeaway: We are living in an age of extreme censorship of information, no matter how credible or how much evidence is provided, information that goes against the grain always seems to receive a harsh backlash from mainstream media as well as social media outlets. Why is there a digital fact checker patrolling the internet? Should people not have the right to examine information openly and freely and determine for themselves what is and what isn’t?

As far as vaccines are concerned, despite the fact that there are many safety issues the scientific community  is bringing up, a push for vaccine mandates continues and the idea that we are protecting other people is usually the narrative that’s pushed hard. Vaccine skepticism is growing at a fast pace among people of all professions, and people aren’t stupid. There’s a reason why more and more people are starting to question what we’ve been told for years, and those reasons should be acknowledged and openly discussed amongst people on both sides of the coin.

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