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Mon, 25 May 2020
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Syringe

COVID-19: The Spearpoint For Rolling Out a 'New Era' of High-Risk, Genetically Engineered Vaccines

covid-19 vaccines planet
For weeks, talking heads have been promoting the liability-free vaccine(s) that will save the world — so Bill Gates and Tony Fauci proclaim — from what Gates has now dubbed "Pandemic I." As Microsoft News peddles self-congratulatory stories about the Gates Foundation's reorientation of its priorities to devote "'total attention' to the pandemic," Fauci — making the rounds of talk shows — pledges that a vaccine will make its debut in January 2021. Not to be outdone, the White House has now unveiled "Operation Warp Speed" — a joint pharmaceutical-government-military effort aimed at "substantially shrinking the development time for a vaccine" — and President Trump promises one by the end of the year.

Planet-wide COVID-19 vaccination — the overt objective that has all of these players salivating in anticipation — ignores a number of irrefutable obstacles. For one, the RNA virus being targeted, SARS-CoV-2, already "has mutated into at least 30 different genetic variants." The variants include 19 never-seen-before as well as "rare changes that scientists had never imagined could happen." Knowledge about these mutations may prove useful to clinicians wanting to better tailor their COVID-19 treatments, but the proliferation of mutations makes the chances of developing an effective vaccine immensely more uncertain.

Not to worry, say the entities funded by Gates (and also the Pentagon). Scientists working in the burgeoning field of synthetic biology are confident that they can "outdo" and outsmart nature using next-generation vaccine technologies such as gene transfer and self-assembling nanoparticles — along with invasive new vaccine delivery and record-keeping mechanisms such as smartphone-readable quantum dot tattoos. Does it matter that the researchers who have been experimenting with these approaches have never been able to overcome "nasty side effects"? Apparently not. Aided and abetted by the generous Gates and military funding, high-fanfare COVID-19 vaccine planning is proceeding apace.

Info

Vitamin D deficiency linked to COVID-19 deaths

Sunshine
© Northwestern University
After studying global data from the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, researchers have discovered a strong correlation between severe vitamin D deficiency and mortality rates.

Led by Northwestern University, the research team conducted a statistical analysis of data from hospitals and clinics across China, France, Germany, Italy, Iran, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, the United Kingdom (UK) and the United States.

The researchers noted that patients from countries with high COVID-19 mortality rates, such as Italy, Spain and the UK, had lower levels of vitamin D compared to patients in countries that were not as severely affected.

This does not mean that everyone — especially those without a known deficiency — needs to start hoarding supplements, the researchers caution.

"While I think it is important for people to know that vitamin D deficiency might play a role in mortality, we don't need to push vitamin D on everybody," said Northwestern's Vadim Backman, who led the research. "This needs further study, and I hope our work will stimulate interest in this area. The data also may illuminate the mechanism of mortality, which, if proven, could lead to new therapeutic targets."

The research is available on medRxiv, a preprint server for health sciences.

Sun

New studies show Vitamin D could be key factor in fighting Covid-19 infections

sunshine vitamin D
Vitamin D could be a key factor in the fight against Covid-19. Three international studies have shown correlations, and a new US study shows correlation while explaining the medical reason for the correlations and a reason for the racial death differences and the surprising lack of symptoms in the homeless.

The US study, "Vitamin D Insufficiency is Prevalent in Severe COVID-19," was done in New Orleans. It showed the Vitamin D Insufficiency, VDI, prevalence in ICU patients was 84.6% vs. 57.1% in floor patients. Insufficiency is defined as < 30ng/mL. The study states that "VDI affects 80-90% of the African American population."

Comment: The virtues of Vitamin D: It's time we saw the light


Microscope 2

New research shows coronavirus found in semen, raising questions of sexual transmission

Lab technician
© Gonzalo Fuentes/Reuters
coronavirus sample test technician france
A technician scans test tubes containing live coronavirus samples at a laboratory in the Robert Ballanger hospital in Aulnay-sous-Bois near Paris, France, April 30, 2020.
Scientists are still learning about the ways the coronavirus moves through the body. Viral particles have been found in saliva, blood, urine, and stool samples.

A new study, published Thursday in the Journal of the American Medicine Association, found the coronavirus in semen, too. Particles were detected in the semen of both men who had active infections and those who had recovered.

The researchers aren't yet sure, however, whether the finding means the virus can be sexually transmitted.

Roughly 16% of the men studied had the virus in their semen

A team of Chinese researchers took semen samples from 38 male COVID-19 patients in a hospital in the Henan province, which borders Wuhan, between January 26 and February 16.

The researchers detected the virus, whose official name is SARS-CoV-2, in the semen in six of the 38 patients — roughly 16%. Of the six, four were at the acute stage of active infection and two had recovered.

Heart - Black

A deadly game: 'Protect the NHS' policies may kill more Britons than Covid-19

NHS Nightingale
© AFP/POOL/Stefan Rousseau
NHS Nightingale Hospital, an ExCel center field hospital, London, March 30, 2020.
The policy of freeing up bed space in NHS Hospitals and encouraging people not to burden the health service has had fatal consequences, and is likely in the long-run to claim more lives than COVID-19.

'Protect the NHS'. It's a phrase we've heard ad nauseam in Britain the past few weeks, but has the slogan and the policies underpinning it, actually done more harm than good? The evidence strongly suggests it has. Rather than saving lives, it's actually claimed them in large numbers.

On 17th March, NHS trusts in England were instructed to 'free-up the maximum possible in-patient and critical care capacity'. That meant a large scale discharge of 'all hospital in-patients who are medically fit to leave' and stopping all 'non-urgent elective operations' for at least three months from 15th April at the latest.

How many of these sick patients, rushed out of the hospital to 'free up' beds for COVID-19 patients have subsequently died? This could help explain the sharp rise in non-COVID-19 excess deaths in early April.

Comment:


Shamrock

Half of Covid-19 patients in Ireland ICUs have heart disease

Dr Siobhán Ní Bhriain
© Colin Keegan/ Collins
Update: Dr Siobhán Ní Bhriain, consultant psychiatrist and HSE integrated care lead, speaks at a Covid-19 press conference at the Department of Health yesterday.
Heart disease is the most common underlying health condition in coronavirus patients admitted to hospital intensive care units across the country, it emerged yesterday.

An analysis of the first 327 of the sickest patients with the virus revealed that half (165) had chronic heart disease.

Chronic respiratory disease was diagnosed in 76 patients and another 74 had diabetes.

Comment: It's amazing that in one article they can effectively debunk the entire coronavirus shenanigans. The numbers are unimpressive, almost all the deaths are present with co-morbidities (which is really a misnomer - no one is dying from the coronavirus, they're dying with it) and social distancing measures are really accomplishing nothing but authoritarian compliance. If only people were able to read what is actually being said and started asking questions.

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Recycle

Eyes clean themselves in much the same way as brains, mouse study shows

eye brown
© Joel Staveley/Unsplash)
Scientists have discovered that eyes and brains in rodents seem to have uncannily similar drainage systems used for self cleaning, and there's reason to think this might apply to us, too.

This sort of maintenance is necessary to wash away waste cells and fluids, and we know that brains make use of a tiny network of pipes known as the glymphatic system, similar to the lymphatic system that clears out rubbish from the rest of the body.

New tests on mice and rats show that the structures at the back of their eyes - like the optic nerve and the retina - take a page or two from the glymphatic system playbook. In the absence of the standard lymphatic vessels, they funnel waste products through a network a lot like the one the brain uses.

Comment: See also:


Stock Up

Coronavirus lockdown could trigger 1.4 million extra tuberculosis deaths, study shows

Indian paramilitary
© AP
Indian paramilitary personnel patrol a deserted street during a lockdown in Gauhati.
The global lockdown caused by Covid-19 risks a "devastating" surge in tuberculosis cases, with nearly 1.4 million additional deaths from the world's biggest infectious killer by 2025, new research showed on Wednesday.

TB, a bacterial infection that normally attacks patients' lungs, is largely treatable yet still infects an estimated 10 million people every year.

In 2018, it killed around 1.5 million people, according to the World Health Organisation, including more than 200,000 children.

Since effective medication exists, the world's TB response is centred on testing and treating as many patients as possible.

But as Covid-19 forces governments to place populations on lockdown, new disease models showed that social distancing could lead to a disastrous rebound in TB infections - the effects of which are set to persist for years.

This is because social distancing will make it impossible for health care workers to test vulnerable populations and for patients to access ongoing treatments.


Comment: This is just one potential unintended consequence of the Covid-19 lockdown. It's looking like the cure really will be worse - orders of magnitude worse - than the disease.

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Microscope 1

Different kinds of white fat are important in disease

white fat cells
© Joslin Diabetes Center
Excess white fat causes obesity, which in turn can drive diabetes and many other metabolic diseases that are growing at epidemic rates around the world. But all white fat is not born equal. For instance, "intra-abdominal" fat, i.e. fat within the belly, is known to carry higher risks of disease than "subcutaneous" fat that sits under the skin and often accumulates in the hips and thighs. Researchers from Joslin Diabetes Center and Boston University now have discovered different types of white fat cells, even within a single site, that may play distinct roles in disease.

"A central question in our research on metabolic disease is whether white fat cells in different parts of the body, and even within a single part of the body, are different enough that some might predispose you to disease and some might not," says C. Ronald Kahn, MD, Joslin's Chief Academic Officer and Head of the Section on Integrative Physiology and Metabolism. "If so, determining the mechanisms for these differences could lead to development of novel therapies for diabetes, obesity and related conditions."

Earlier studies had identified several types of white fat cells in mice, but this is one of the first to discover multiple types in humans, says Kahn, who is co-senior author on a Nature Communications paper presenting the work and professor at Harvard Medical School.

Comment: Previous research had pointed to the idea that brown fat was good, burning more calories and increasing metabolism, while white fat was bad, leading to metabolic disorders. The current study has found, perhaps predictably, that the picture is much more nuanced. More research is obviously needed, but it will be interesting to see how different white fat cells changes the metabolism and what factors influence what sort of white fat a person has.

See also:


Arrow Up

Germany's coronavirus cases may be 10 times higher than numbers reported, study claims

Medical technicians
As Germany reopens the doors to churches, hair salons and museums after more than a month of closures, a new study suggests that the number of residents infected by COVID-19 may be as high as 10 times the number confirmed by officials.

The study, conducted by the University of Bonn researchers but not yet peer-reviewed, found that as many as 1.8 million people in Germany may have been infected by coronavirus, as opposed to the 160,000 cases confirmed by officials, Reuters reported. Additionally, the researchers said that as many as one in five of those who contracted the novel coronavirus were asymptomatic.

Comment: Once again the evidence is pointing to the virus being far more benign than people were first lead to believe.