We will be lucky if we vaccinate 2% of our population

GIVEN the slow pace at which South Africa’s mass vaccination campaign has been rolled out — as yet, not one confirmed public vaccination has been administered — claims by government that 10% of the population, including the vulnerable and front-line workers will receive the jab, must be met with a good degree of scepticism.

We will be lucky if we manage to vaccinate some 2% of our citizens over the coming six months, that’s 1 140 000 or just over 1 million individuals. The recent comments made by the Chief Justice may have already torpedoed the public Covax Initiative.

In the week in which a new more virulent local variant of the virus was announced by Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize, with its origin in Nelson Mandela Bay, the country finally paid over its contribution to the UN programme, yet another example of what Dr Carl Venter terms a ‘poor handling of the crisis’.

Health activists had thus already expressed concern that South Africa had missed the deadline, and all this while images of the West’s immunisation campaign already under way were being streamed over our television screens, a local wait-and-see approach if any.

Meanwhile the health system in several provinces was under severe pressure, with no plans in sight to alleviate the lack of oxygen, PPE and high care facilities over the New Year period. Local press appeared unable to present the problematic second wave and our failing vaccination programme in any frame except, ‘we’ve been here already, and don’t want another hard lock-down’.

Readers would have had to find information on the collapse of health care services and lack of critical care in Nelson Mandela Bay, not from the local press, but rather from the New York Times, whose Sheri Fink reported this week on a tragedy unfolding in Port Elizabeth, and thus a troubling lack of credible information from local media houses.

A situation of self-censorship which has its echo in previous fumbling by the Mbeki administration over ARVs and the earlier Botha regime which suppressed news about the SADF invasion of Angola and death toll at Cuito Cuanavale?

While government was announcing it had identified the 501.V2 Variant, Minister Mkhize was thus bizarrely playing down the implications of a sudden shift in the epidemiological picture as the demure Prof Karim continued to spew forth scientific opinion with little impact on the reality and lives of health care workers.

“Clinicians, said Karim “have been providing anecdotal evidence of a shift in the clinical epidemiological picture – in particular noting that they are seeing a larger proportion of younger patients with no co-morbidities presenting with critical illness,” he said.

If Fink’s observations as a journalist are mere anecdotes, then much of what passes for press commentary in the republic is a fraud.

Let her words below sink in, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to observe the virus isn’t any more deadly, it is rather, more pernicious and disruptive to our health sector:

“At the center of a terrifying coronavirus surge, 242 patients lay in row after row of beds under the soaring metal beams of a decommissioned Volkswagen factory.”

“Workers at the vast field hospital could provide oxygen and medications, but there were no I.C.U. beds, no ventilators, no working phones and just one physician on duty on a recent Sunday — Dr. Jessica Du Preez, in her second year of independent practice.”

“In a shed-like refrigerator behind a door marked “BODY HOLD,” carts contained the remains of three patients that morning. A funeral home had already picked up another body.”

“On rounds, Dr. Du Preez stopped at the bed of a 60-year-old patient, a grandmother and former college counselor. Her oxygen tube had detached while she was lying prone, but the nurses had so many patients they hadn’t noticed. Now, she was gone.”

That medics are having to prioritise who gets treatment while denying others, according to a score card, is a tragedy being repeated all around the world.

Crackpot Chief Justice Mogoeng, now with added 666

THE FAR RIGHT agenda within South Africa’s judicial system reared its ugly head once again this past week, with Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng pronouncing upon the Covid Vaccine.

According to the elected head of the judiciary, some Covid vaccines might contain ‘triple-six’ or the ‘mark of the devil’. Only ‘non-Satanic’ vaccines should be accepted, he added.

It is a declaration that would be risible if it were not for the fact that Mogoeng Mogoeng, who alleges he is ‘not a scientist but rather a prayer warrior‘, is also a legal professional and a sitting judge.

According to Stephen Grootes, the ‘claim that some vaccines might be “triple-six” cannot be based on scientific fact.

“He himself admits he has no understanding of vaccines. His comments may reasonably be construed to lead to harm, particularly in a context in which it is currently illegal, during the State of National Disaster, to spread falsehoods about the virus.”

The judge, whose crackpot beliefs are certainly not backed by science nor academic research, defends his views rather, as being ‘in accordance with Christianity’.

That Mogoeng is a charismatic Christian is well-known, less evident is the basis upon which he issues forth his opinions in the form of prayer, and thus the claim that the rights guaranteed by our constitution accord his office the benefit of speaking on topics, for which he is no doubt unqualified to speak.

Notwithstanding the obvious intrusion of Church and State and undermining of the separation of powers. The Chief Justice claims rights which he denies others and is thus a mendacious hypocrite, suppressing the views of anyone who disagrees with his far-right Christian ideology.

In 2010 an irregularly-gained decision handed down by a corrupt ANC official, purporting to be the opinions of the Labour Court of South Africa, proceeded to demonise this writer, for asserting that the views of a Media24 employee resembled the now defunct ideology of the Dutch Reformed Church (NGK).

The contested decision anathematised a career in journalism on the basis of the writer’s opposition to apartheid and possession of a secular belief system.

It proceeds to assert that de facto race segregation and race profiling of readers at Die Burger (sic) not Media24 community newspapers, was ‘merely a coincidence of homogeneity’ i.e. an accident of nature or ‘miracle of sameness’, and the company in question could not possibly be in the wrong, since its sole witness was ‘Italian and a Catholic‘.

Imagine explaining the events at Brackenfell this year as a mere coincidence?

Race segregation is not a teaching of the Catholic Church, and likewise, the Covid vaccines being developed by Pfizer and Moderna are unlikely to be repudiated and excommunicated as the ‘work of the beast’, by the broader Christian establishment.

Needless to say, several complaints to the Office of the Chief Justice, i.e. the Judicial Services Commission were ignored.

See DRL condemnation of right-wing anti-secular revolt within SA justice system

See: Dr Glenda Gray to Chief Justice Mogoeng: Keep your religious beliefs to yourself

See: Scientists call for Mogoeng’s impeachment over vaccine conspiracy

See: The Chief Justice must be called to order

Much ado about the Covid ‘second wave’

please note: events of the past weeks of December have shown the speculation surrounding the so-called ‘seasonal thesis’ below to be completely wrong, instead we have a witnessed another surge as the result the rise of a more infectious lineage of the virus, the article is preserved here to serve as a record of this open speculation.

TWO WEEKS ago Boris Johnson announced a second nation-wide lockdown for the UK. This apparently after data showing projected infection increases, outstripping the capacity of the NHI — there is a broad variance shown by the conflicting mathematical models, which do not take into account exposure to UV radiation.

As the Northern economies enter Winter, the ‘second wave is upon us’. However the same cannot be inferred by local data. So far as the South is concerned, summertime is proving that when it comes to Covid-19 every indication points to the pandemic being seasonal, and that a diverging UV profile will lesson the impact in the South.

The announcement of a vaccine with a 90% effectiveness has boosted hopes for an end to the pandemic. With Nelson Mandela Bay metropole the sole outlier, South Africa has been spared the worst ravages of the ‘second outbreak’. The nation has an extraordinary high recovery rate and most early projections have proven wrong, witness the controversy over the modelling.

‘In the South African context, there is close to zero value in going back to a hard lockdown as it is not going to achieve anything different in controlling the epidemic’ is the view of Professor Shabir Madhi from the school of pathology at the University of the Witwatersrand. This stands in contrast to Dr Zweli Mkhize’s insistence that his mathematical models are correct.

What is not being said by either sides, (and speaking as an environmentalist) is that there are very different environmental factors at play in Africa. Not only do we have a different seasonal procession, with the South experiencing Summer when North experiences Winter, but there are vastly different weather patterns, all of which impacts on the amount of sunshine and consequently UV radiation experienced by the average individual.

South Africa’s UV burn index is amongst the highest in the world. Bare in the mind that the coronovirus is a derivative of the common cold, and operates much in the same way that the flu does, save for the fact that coronoviruses tend to break out in clusters unlike the flu which comes in waves. Direct normal radiation for Upington for example, is nearly 1000 w/m2, and vastly different from our coastline.

The whole notion of a ‘second wave’ for the entire world, is potentially a flawed assumption made by the World Health Organisation which has tended to operate as if the earth were flat in the process dishing out advice that is no better than that given by socialist bureaucrats during the Soviet Union.

The mandarins and technocrats in Geneva simply rolled out policies for the entire world this year, a one-size-fits-all determination that treats every economy as if we are all living in Alaska, and which deserves to be tested and scrutinised by local and regional scientific councils.

The only ones benefiting from this extraordinary overreach, are the large pharmaceutical companies which stand to make a mint out of the supply of PPE and the much-vaunted vaccine. A vaccine which may take anywhere up to 5 -7 years to dispense. Nevetheless questioning Covid stats, may incur professional liability and institutional sanctions much in the same way that questioning received doctrine on the HIV epidemic has become a shibboleth of notable proportion.

Now more than ever, is the time to host a national symposium on what is known about the virus within the local context, what still needs to be understood and to derive policies based upon evidence-based science and empirical research rather than policy decisions made externally and consequently adopted by our government without any forethought as to the consequences.

Unfortunately as the HIV crisis has shown, the likelihood of the South African government taking a lead where science is concerned is extremely slim. Read my piece on Skepticism during the Mbeki era.

A vaccine is just the beginning of the fight against Covid-19 …

THIS PAST week saw British scientists lauded for a successful phase 1 vaccine trial. A working vaccine may be available by the end of 2020. Unfortunately deploying a global immunisation programme may prove to be harder than producing the vaccine.

Although the United Nations is pushing all countries to join ‘an effort to make vaccines and drugs to fight Covid-19 cheap enough that the poorest populations in the world can be treated’, the sheer scale of such an endeavour looks daunting.

South Africa with a population of 58.8 million would require production of at least 160 000 doses per day for over a year to cover the entire country. Dispensing the vaccine would require 6712 jabs per hour to complete in 12 months, a Promethean task, more likely to occur over 5 to 10 years.

In other words, while the good news is that the world has a working vaccine, one of several vaccines capable of producing the right antibodies and killer T cells required to defend against the virus, the logistical problems of immunisation, make the pandemic likely to stay with us for the foreseeable future.

Technological innovation such as robotic application and drone delivery, novel production techniques and other medical advances, could bring this horizon closer — the day when everyone has immunity and countermeasures such as masks, social distancing and other measures are no longer required.

Bare in mind that as more people recover and gain natural immunity, the target population for an immunisation programme is lowered, thereby reducing the immediate task at hand. Although there is some debate as to whether or not, such immunity is short term and may fall off over time.

By that stage, those who would have died from the virus, will in most likely be dead. The risks of cluster outbreaks and casualty ward spikes will have diminished, and the burden on our health system will normalise along with the impact on the economy.

In effect, the virus and its grip on society, will have weakened, at least for now, but the risk of future flare-ups and other coronovirus clades remain.

Targeted immunisation programmes focusing on vulnerable groups and maximising scarce resources could also assist us in meeting our goal. But for now, we stuck with the ‘no longer novel’ coronovirus of 2019, which looks set to become as prevalent as the common cold, and a seasonal disease just like the flu.

Dear Mr President, the paradox of leadership during Covid-19

THERE is a paradox in philosophy, one popularly referred to as Buridan’s Ass. It tells the story of a donkey that is equally hungry and thirsty, and placed precisely midway between a stack of hay and a pail of water. The paradox assumes the ass will always go to whichever is closer, and therefore it dies of both hunger and thirst since it cannot make any rational decision between the hay and water.

Similarly, South Africa is caught between two seemingly contradictory paths, both of which necessitate immediate and urgent action.

On the one hand, we are required to combat a ‘killer virus’, a virus whose impact upon our health and the health of our broader population is only beginning to be understood. If we do nothing, we risk inundating our health care system with casualties, and incurring unacceptable loss of life.

On the other hand, we are dependent upon our economy, for our livelihoods and way of life. Not simply our lives, but the very manner — both way and means by which we as individual households, survive year to year. We are all stricken by the need to feed and clothe our families, forced to pay our way, our rent and our bills. It matters not whether one believes necessities of life exclude alcohol or the nails one uses to repair ones roof, or whether we do depend upon smokes or the tools one uses to fix ones walls.

If we cease to engage with our economic imperatives, we also risk death — incurring unacceptable, diminished living standards, shortened life spans and negative health outcomes as we move forward.

That the burden of disease is also the burden of hunger, has already been written about here at length, and only a fool would suggest otherwise, to engage in a binary debate between people’s lives and livelihoods. Both are equally important.

The conundrum is similar to a patient forced to take medication. The list of side-effects may turn out to be worse than the disease. The cure may kill us all.

To complicate matters, there are urgent human rights and serious civil freedom predicaments that have compounded the situation. What appears to be nothing less than a silent coup, occurring the world over, a creeping Global Police State and a major shift in national and international imperatives.

Bar the health agenda, it is with almost zero constitutional backing that our own government has embarked upon a drastic course of action, (taken alongside other governments both across the continent and the world), with outcomes that appear to result in a blatant seizure of power in favour of the national executive.

Power taken without debate, taken away from Parliament in favour of the Executive, power usurped from the Courts, without checks and balances in favour of a centralised authority, the so-called National Command Council (NCC). The erosion of democratic institutions which have characterised our republic for decades and likewise many other democracies, is further reflected in local authorities pulling away from democratic norms and standards .

That the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) in South Africa has admitted it was an “error of law” on its part not to investigate the alleged role played by the Johannesburg Metro Police in the death of Collins Khoza at the hands of the SANDF is to be welcomed.

But a lot more needs to be done to preserve the rule of law in our country.

For starters, recognition that the SANDF may only act in an adjunct or auxiliary role to the Police during a National Disaster — the courts and justice system must be seen as primary during such a difficult period, especially one where the metaphor of war is easily bandied about, but where no actual war has been declared. Even then, we are a democracy and expect the democratic will and rule of law to prevail.

There are troubling signs that local authorities also wish to curtail rights not to be subject to search and seizure without a warrant.

The lock-down certainly has a sell-by-date and it is surely an extraordinary act of chicanery for us to believe that powers emanating from a piece of legislation designed primarily to deal with natural disasters such as hurricanes, drought, famine and earthquakes is fit for the purpose of public health initiatives taken over the past month?

Parliament must return to its civic duties, and the justice system must resume its oversight role. The many rules, bylaws and regulations must be debated by our elected representatives, and the NCC must explain why it is that they find themselves unable to choose between a stack of hay and a bucket of water, unable to speak to the absence of a vaccine and the problematic of herd immunity, unable to come through for those who demand alcohol or tobacco? Stricken as it were, by the enormity of what they have done, in seizing power over the commons.

Hertzogate: No evidence tobacco assists patients with respiratory illness

COLUMNIST Mandy Wiener has written an opinion piece for News24 entitled: ‘The case for lifting the cigarette ban’ Her central thesis is that the ‘prohibition on smoking tobacco merely drives the practice underground’. While Wiener appears to grasp some of the health arguments being touted by the Dept of Health, she appears to be in plain denial of the consequences:

“We understand that research globally shows that those with underlying conditions are more likely to be susceptible to Covid-19.”

“The working premise is that this also applies to current smokers. It is therefore safe to assume that government has implemented the ban to stop people from smoking so it reduces their risk if they contract the virus.”

It is highly irresponsible for a columnist to be advocating a return to smoking tobacco as usual during a global respiratory disease epidemic, in other words a pandemic of respiratory illness.

Wiener then further states “According to the WHO, ‘Smokers are likely to be more vulnerable to Covid-19 as the act of smoking means that fingers (and possibly contaminated cigarettes) are in contact with lips which increases the possibility of transmission of virus from hand to mouth. Smokers may also already have lung disease or reduced lung capacity which would greatly increase risk of serious illness.”

The insinuation is that smokers simply need to stop sharing their fags. Instead of drawing rational conclusions from her observations, she casts doubt and proceeds to make an irrational case for the lifting of the ban.

For starters, it must strike readers as a tad too convenient for Wiener to assert at the beginning of her piece that she has ‘no personal investment in this matter’. The claim is rather disingenuous since it is predicated upon the supposed independence she enjoys from her publishers and the tobacco industry. Two claims which are demonstrably false.

Wiener’s column is published in a Naspers-controlled News24 media outlet, one heavily invested in by the self-same Tobacco Industry,  if not outright controlled by those with extensive tobacco-related investments.

Medialternatives has previously covered the manner in which apartheid financiers Rupert Beleggings Pty Ltd, the real  brains trust behind Naspers, and the ultimate control behind a cartel actively involved within South Africa’s media, is also involved in capture of our justice system.

Readers however may be unaware of the manner in which the Rupert dynasty rose to fame and fortune via its stake in the tobacco industry. Orchestrating the outright purchase of Rothmans International in 1953. The biography of Anton Rupert, written be Ebbe Dommisse and Willie Esterhuyse covers the meteoric rise of the ‘Rembrandt Tobacco Corporation’, devoting an entire chapter to what they term ‘the birth of a masterpiece’.

The corporation founded in 1946 initially focused on tobacco and alcohol but later became the saviour of apartheid financial institutions.

JBM Hertzog, National Party & Naspers founder

A launchpad for the careers of prominent National Party members including Chris Stals, and Nico Diederichs. Dan O’Meara’s book Volkskapitalisme asserts that the Broederbond connection was vitally important to the early development of Rembrandt, as too it was in the formation of Naspers. The Hertzog’s were instrumental in the creation of both Naspers and Rembrandt. Two corporations which rose alongside the National Party itself, and whose founder-in-chief was none other than J B M Hertzog. The book further details various intrigues involving cousins Dirk and Albert Hertzog, Owen Horward and Anton Rupert.

It may be demonstrated, that the Tobacco industry, the same industry behind second-hand smoking and apartheid, is also behind climate change denial. A fact documented by science historians Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway in their book Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming. Oreskes and Conway write that a handful of politically conservative scientists, with strong ties to particular industries, have “played a disproportionate role in debates about controversial questions”. The authors write that this has resulted in “deliberate obfuscation” of the issues which has had an influence on public opinion and policy-making.

It is not all that surprising that the selfsame industry is behind science denial and censorship in the Coronovirus Pandemic.

The Tencent WeChat system for instance has been accused of censoring Coronovirus Content in China. Naspers exercises minority control of Tencent via its 73% control of subsidiary Prosus, a company which in turn owns 31% of Tencent.

Citizen Lab, an interdisciplinary laboratory based at the University of Toronto, has released an analysis, showing censorship around the coronavirus on WeChat and YY — a Chinese livestreaming app similar to Twitch. The lab found that ‘both platforms began blacklisting terms related to the virus as early as the last week of December 2019, when Chinese health officials first reported an unknown pathogen spreading through the country’s hospitals.’

The self-same supposed rational gatekeepers have previously resorted to Anti-Vax propaganda. Most recently targeting philanthropist Bill Gates in the aptly named Gatesgate in which News24 editors were forced to publish lengthy retractions.

There is no evidence Bill Gates has ever advocated vaccine trials in Africa. He has instead donated much needed drug assistance to various institutions whilst funded various philanthropic initiatives which will hopefully bring post-trial Covid-19 vaccines within the reach of consumers.

British American Tobacco (BAT) part owned by Rupert’s Reinet Investments, claims it is working on a potential Covid-19 vaccine using its biotechnology subsidiary Kentucky BioProcessing (KBP). It is claim met by a great deal of scepticism and suspicion.

There is also no evidence that Tobacco assists in recovery from Respiratory disease, quite the contrary. Tobacco has been shown to cause cancer and cardio-respiratory illness.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration this week made a second revision on its stance about the risks of Covid-19 and nicotine, saying that cigarettes also increase the chances of catching the disease.

“People who smoke cigarettes may be at increased risk of infection with the virus that causes Covid-19, and may have worse outcomes from Covid-19,”


Medicine is ‘part observation, part hypothesis’, Tim Noakes apologises.

THAT A HydroxyChloroquine vs Chloroquine controversy continues to rage, and one of the theories as to why Covid-19 patients may be getting starved of oxygen despite medical interventions, appears to have been debunked as nothing more than in silica research, hasn’t stopped Dr Tim Noakes going out on a limb to defend what he feels should be an open debate on the subject.

‘It is not important if one’s hypothesis is wrong or right, what is important are the clinical observations, the theories must come later’ is the gist. In an audio interview broadcast on Capetalk and 702 Noakes apologised to listeners for any perceived harm his comments during an interview on CCFM may have caused, but urged the public to keep an open-mind instead of jumping to conclusions.

Without mentioning Nathan Geffen directly, he referred to the Treatment Action Campaign, which he lauded for doing a sterling job, but accused an unnamed activist for ‘being in cahoots with drug companies’ and wanting to shut down and censor debate. An advocate whose views were also broadcast during the follow up interview, was of the opinion that Noakes should rather ‘stick to his own lane’, meaning his chosen field, as a physician, which is sports medicine.

Noakes is no stranger to controversy, having literally had his version of the Banting diet placed on trial (his research started out as a refutation of a key feature of the Lore of Running), and then suffering the inequity of several years of litigation before the matter was finally put to rest in 2018, with HPCSA failing to appeal his acquittal.

Far from issuing a rebuttal, Noakes was keen to assert that he had spent most of his career researching the manner in which oxygen circulates within the body, and thus the impact of diet on ones health.

Noakes then proceeded to laud a New York physician Cameron Kyle-Sidell, MD who suggested COVID-19 ventilator protocols may need revisiting, and requested listeners to take the time to watch the following video:

The CCFM podcast is available here and criticism which you can read here and Noakes response here and here.

SEE: Could Hypokalemia explain COVID-19 mortality?

SEE: OGH using hyperbaric 02 therapy with success on COVID-19 patients

The Luc Montagnier Covid-19 Chimera Controversy

AT THE START I should caution readers that the scientific literature is littered with controversies and that the very basis of scientific proof, for any proof worth its salt, a proof must not simply be demonstrable by its authors, but subject to further experimentation by peers. In other words, for any theory to be accepted as true, it must be subject to peer review, and corroborated by experiments which are both demonstrable and repeatable.

Our own country has its fair share of scientific controversy, the latest being on air statements by Dr Tim Noakes and criticism which you can read here and his response here and here.

And for obvious reasons the history of the HIV epidemic, in particular the policies of the Mbeki administration remind us that it is important to keep an open mind and to allow debate to occur before jumping to conclusions.

It may therefore come as a shock that no less than the co-discoverer of HIV, Professor Luc Montagnier, 2008 Nobel Prize winner for Medicine, is at the centre of a growing controversy around allegations that SARS-CoV-2 is a chimera — a combination of several viruses, and possibly man-made.

Reasons why this may turn out to not be the case at all, are supplied below.

Luc Montagnier claims that SARS-CoV-2 is a manipulated virus that was accidentally released from a laboratory in Wuhan, China. Chinese researchers are said to have used coronaviruses in their work to develop an AIDS vaccine. HIV RNA fragments are thus believed to have been found in the SARS-CoV-2 genome.

His claims are based upon alleged evidence which has yet to be peer reviewed, and a paper which has been submitted for publication by mathematician and researcher, Jean-claude Perez.

Perez’ science paper summary is available here and here. And may also be downloaded here.

Perez maintains ‘It is very likely that there was HUMAN INTERVENTION in this LYONS’s region of wuhan genome: Analysis of this region in all coronaviruses shows a 100% jump in homology for the Wuhan genomes and 70 to 80% for the closest SARS. Although there is already a trace of ENV HIV1 in the genome that we have referenced here SARS2003. While there is NO TRACE of HIV1 ENV in the region (Lyons-weiler 20020) in all other SARS Coronavirus genomes.”

He supplies various proofs and includes two diagrams which we publish here for the sake of discussion.

Invalidated Work

‘Based on the study published by Jean-Claude Pérez, who “delved into the smallest details of the sequence” of the virus’, reports Le Parisien, ‘Professor Montagnier argues that SARS-CoV-2 contains “sequences of another virus which is HIV, the AIDS virus ”. He adds that a “group of Indian researchers tried to publish an analysis” of the same type and that it was withdrawn “under enormous pressure”.’

‘But “the study of Indian biomathematicians was quickly invalidated by other work which, by looking into the computer study of the genome, proved that there was no HIV sequence”, recalls Anne Goffard, virologist and teacher at the Faculty of Pharmacy in Lille.’

The study in question was also withdrawn by the authors themselves after “the comments received from the research community on their technical approach and their interpretation of the results”, can be read on the site BioRxiv , host of the publication.’

For the mathematical study provided by Jean-Claude Pérez, Étienne Decroly, CNRS researcher at the Architecture laboratory develops an analogy: “The sequence of a virus corresponds to 30 pages of a book. We scientists have tools to try to determine if a paragraph from this book has ever existed in another book. We have the sequences of all known viruses available. As for similarities with HIV, it is as if the word ‘hat’ appeared four times in two different books. We can, by chance, have sequences that look alike without demonstrating intentional modifications ”.

There is also published work refuting the idea that SARS-Cov-2 is a chimera.

And of course it all depends upon how one defines natural vs artificial. A chance occurrence of parts of a genome sequence from HIV may be the result of in vivo evolution of the virus genome, since chimeras may be created from two separate viruses inside the body, and what Perez may be observing is the unreported possibility that the samples sequenced were taken from patients that were already infected with HIV.

One should remember that what all RNA Coronoviruses have in common is the remarkable ability to assemble themselves via hijacking the bodies own cellular mechanisms. Cells already infected with HIV may therefore result in the exact same genome subjected to analysis by Perez. A simple case of looking too closely at an object seen from afar?

Or just another factor of the infodemic and failure to correctly unravel the viral family tree?

More likely, HIV shares some of the genome common to Coronoviruses. 

I could also be wrong and just plain Dunning–Kruger, as one researcher put it.

Only time can tell which view of reality is the truth.

UPDATE: The withdrawn study appears to be one and same research conducted by Perez, and published in International Journal of Research – Granthaalayah

UPDATE: Coronavirus could attack immune system like HIV by targeting protective cells, warn scientists

UPDATE: Calif.-based Gilead Sciences Inc., is ramping up its COVID-19 antiviral candidate production and research and is donating 1.5 million doses for compassionate use

Peter Breggin MD, raises questions on US-China ‘gain-of-function’ Coronovirus research.

THIS WEEK saw a special report by Peter Breggin, MD, raising serious questions about US-sponsored ‘Gain-of-Function’ Coronovirus research at China’s Wuhan laboratory facility.

This type of research was temporarily halted over ethical concerns under the Obama administration. Gain-of-function (GOF) research ‘typically involves mutations that confer altered functionality of a protein or other molecule.’

He says a ‘2015 Scientific Paper Proves US & Chinese Scientists Collaborated to Create Coronavirus that Can Infect Humans‘.

In 2015, American researchers and Chinese Wuhan Institute of Virology researchers collaborated to transform an animal coronavirus into one that can attack humans. Scientists from prestigious American universities and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) worked directly with the two coauthor researchers from Wuhan Institute of Virology, Xing-Yi Ge and Zhengli-Li Shi. Funding was provided by the Chinese and US governments. The team succeeded in modifying a bat coronavirus to make it capable of infecting humans.

The research was published in December 2015 in the prestigious British journal, Nature Medicine (volume 21, pages 1508–1513). The paper by Vineet D. Menachery et al., “A SARS-like cluster of circulating bat coronaviruses shows potential for human emergence” is available here as a PDF as well as on-line.i

The research demonstrates how a modified Bat coronovirus capable of attacking ACE2 was created by Chinese researchers and also their failure to develop a vaccine, and was followed by warnings of the danger involved published by The Scientist, 16 November 2015.

We built a chimeric virus encoding a novel, zoonotic CoV spike protein—from the RsSHC014-CoV sequence that was isolated from Chinese horseshoe bats1,” claim the researchers.

“The results demonstrate the ability of the SHC014 surface protein to bind and infect human cells, validating concerns that this virus—or other coronaviruses found in bat species—may be capable of making the leap to people without first evolving in an intermediate host, Nature reported. They also reignite a debate about whether that information justifies the risk of such work, known as gain-of-function research. “If the [new] virus escaped, nobody could predict the trajectory,” Simon Wain-Hobson, a virologist at the Pasteur Institute in Paris, told Nature.”

Breggin’s astonishing report comes the same week that an investigation into the same Wuhan facility has been reopened by the USA.

Breggin is well known within the medical and scientific community and has authored dozens of scientific articles and over twenty books, ‘promoting more caring and effective therapies’. He is also highly critical of the drug establishment and pharmaceutical industry.

His report follows initial articles, questioning whether Sars-Cov-2 is a chimera of two different viruses?

And apparently conclusive evidence that the virus is not man-made.

Breggin is at pains to point out that the man-made coronovirus referred to in the 2015 scientific literature is not SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for Covid-19. He instead presents various questions, necessitating further inquiry:

Concluding Questions:

  • Who in the US government enabled this research? Why was it allowed when it was enabling the Chinese to develop a military weapon or to accidentally cause an epidemic?
  • Why was an FDA official involved as an author and why was NIH funding the project?
  • The virus created in collaboration with the Chinese and the current epidemic virus are both SARS-CoV with many shared characteristics. This writer has found no scientific research that specifically compares the two viruses, a subject that needs to be investigated.
  • How many more lab-created or manipulated viruses are in the world’s laboratories and under the control of governments and the military?
  • Are potentially dangerous research projects continuing to go on involving American and Chinese collaboration with or without funding from both countries?
  • Why and how has this research project wholly escaped notice amid the growing concern about China’s role in causing the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic?
  • Why have none of the American researchers come forward to draw attention to this project which, at the least, enabled and promoted Chinese efforts to weaponize viruses?

Two years before the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic upended the world, U.S. Embassy officials visited a Chinese research facility in the city of Wuhan several times and sent two official warnings back to Washington about inadequate safety at the lab, which was conducting risky studies on coronaviruses from bats, according to Washington Post.

A new investigation, titled “Coronavirus 2019-nCoV contains a furin-like cleavage site absent in CoV of the same clade,” suggests it is unlike anything seen before. Which might require furin inhibitors.

Coronavirus study identifies ‘gain of function for efficient spread in humans’

Another paper raises Ethical and Philosophical Considerations for Gain-of-Function Policy: The Importance of Alternate Experiments

Inside the Chinese lab poised to study world’s most dangerous pathogens