Covid-19 News

  • 2 week increase in cases now confirmed for the Pfizer vaccine! Efficiency after one dose is not yet clear (85..90% from current data) but collected under unrealistic lock down conditions. So this will go down certainly.

    But for the health care system it is good news as 97% of all deaths are from people age > 65 at least here in Switzerland. So the vaccines will help for at least 1-2 years. So if you have comorbidity factors and are younger than 65 and older that 35 (only) then I would look for ivermectin or take a J&J or Sputnik jab.

    At this point I'm not sure if any data can be trusted. The experts claim B117/ e484 is more infectious, up to 70% and up to 30% more deadly, yet both infections and deaths are dropping, maybe that would throw the vaccine results off. I think covid is seasonal and new vaccines will be needed each year like the flu

  • Johns Hopkins Doctor Thinks COVID Will Be Largely Gone By April, Half of U.S. Has Herd Immunity


    https://news.google.com/articl…=en-US&gl=US&ceid=US%3Aen


    Dr. Marty Makary, a surgeon and a professor at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and Bloomberg School of Public Health, believes that the coronavirus will be "mostly gone" by April

    In an op-ed published by The Wall Street Journal on Friday, Makary argued that half of the U.S. has already reached herd immunity because there are more coronavirus cases in the country, possibly 6.5 times as many, than the 28 million that have been reported.


    Combined with the 15 percent of Americans who have already begun receiving the vaccine, the doctor argued that normal life will return by the spring.

  • Socioeconomic status tied to multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children


    https://news.google.com/articl…=en-US&gl=US&ceid=US%3Aen


    Low socioeconomic status (SES), high social vulnerability index (SVI), and racial/ethnic minority are associated with multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C), according to a study published online Feb. 18 in Pediatrics.

    Karina Javalkar, M.D., from Boston Children's Hospital, and colleagues conducted a retrospective case-control study at three academic centers from Jan. 1 to Sept. 1, 2020, to characterize the socioeconomic and racial/ethnic disparities impacting MIS-C. Cases of MIS-C were compared to five control groups: children with COVID-19, those assessed for MIS-C but did not meet case criteria, those hospitalized with febrile illness, those with Kawasaki disease, and children in Massachusetts. The associations for SES, SVI, and race and ethnicity with MIS-C diagnosis and clinical severity were examined.


    Forty-three children were diagnosed with MIS-C: 44, 26, and 28 percent were Hispanic, Black, and White, respectively; 51 and 53 percent were in the lowest quartile for SES and the highest quartile for SVI, respectively. The researchers identified associations for lowest SES quartile (odds ratio, 2.2), highest SVI quartile (odds ratio, 2.8), and race/ethnic minority with MIS-C diagnosis. There were no associations observed for SES, SVI, or race/ethnicity with disease severity.


    "Future studies should explore the underlying social, structural, economic, environmental, and genetic risk factors to allow for targeted interventions to support vulnerable pediatric populations most affected by MIS-C and improve health equity," the authors write.

  • A chicken IgY can efficiently inhibit the entry and replication of SARS-CoV-2 by targeting the ACE2 binding domain in vitro


    https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/2021.02.16.430255v1


    Abstract

    COVID-19 pneumonia is spreading widely in the world now. Currently, no specific antiviral drugs have been developed. The vaccine is the most effective way to control the epidemic. Passive immune antibodies are also an effective method to prevent and cure COVID-19 pneumonia. We used SARS-CoV-2 S-RBD as an antigen to immunize layers in order to extract, separate and purify SARS-CoV-2-IgY from egg yolk. SARS-CoV-2-IgY(S-IgY) can block the entry of SARS-CoV-2 into the Cells and reduce the viral load in cells. The EC50 of W3-IgY (S-IgY in the third week after immunization) is1.35 ± 0.15nM. The EC50 of W9-IgY (S-IgYin the ninth week after immunization) is 2.76 ± 1.54 nM. When the dose of S-IgY is 55 nM, the fluorescence representing intracellular viral protein is obviously weakenedin Immunofluorescence microscopy.


    Results of Sars-CoV-2 /VeroE6 cell experiment confirmed that S-IgY had strong antiviral effecton SARS-Co-V-2, and its EC50 is 27.78 ± 1.54nM vs 3259 ± 159.62 nM of Redesivir (differ>106 times, P<0.001).


    S-IgY can inhibit the entry and replication of SARS-CoV-2, which is related to its targeting the ACE2 binding domain.


    S-IgY is safe, efficient, stable and easy to obtain. This antibody may have the potential to be an effective method for the prevention and treatment of COVID-19 pneumonia.

  • Lateral Thoughts: We are dealing with a genius virus

    The nuts and bolts of virus variants and why SARS-CoV-2 is different from other vaccine preventable viral diseases


    https://www.downtoearth.org.in…with-a-genius-virus-75445


    Just when we thought we tamed the pandemic with our arsenal of vaccines, the virus threw us another challenge. The virus mutated in ways that could render the vaccine ineffective.


    Considering that mutations are part and parcel of viruses, why are SARS-CoV-2 mutations creating so much havoc? The only other place variants seem to matter is in case of influenza virus where models are used to predict the prevalent variant each year and the flu shot is tailored accordingly.


    The mutations are not part of the discourse in other viral diseases such as measles, mumps, rubella, Japanese encephalitis, rotavirus and polio against which we have effective vaccines.


    There is no answer to this anomaly as of now. Though there are some indicators and contradictions could be at play.


    For one, SARS-CoV-2 is a (ribonucleic acid) RNA virus and such viruses mutate faster than (deoxyribonucleic acid) DNA viruses. DNA virus show mutation rates somewhere between 108 to 106 substitutions per nucleotide site per cell infection compared to RNA viruses which have higher mutation rates that range between 106 and 104 substitutions per nucleotide site per cell infection.


    DNA viruses have DNA as their genetic material, usually double stranded, while RNA viruses have RNA as the genetic matrial, usually single-stranded.


    This could be the reason that smallpox, which is caused by a DNA virus, could be eradicated with a vaccine. But the problem with considering this to be rule is that we have effective vaccines against other RNA viruses where mutations do not make news this often.

    One explanation to this could be that SARS-CoV-2 does not use the replication mechanism that other RNA viruses use. Generally, RNA viruses replicate using RNA-dependent RNA polymerases which do not have proofreading activity and are thus unable to correct mistakes during replication. But coronaviruses have an RdRp-independent proofreading activity and thus lower mutation rates.


    High mutation rates are not good for the long-term survival of the virus as natural selection weeds out the mutated virus. The propensity of SARS-CoV-2 to form new variants may point to new mechanisms.


    While these questions remain to be answered, there are three worrisome variants of SARS-CoV-2 that have the world on tenterhooks. The United Kingdom variant that emerged in September has already reached 94 countries while the South Africa and the Brazil variants have been reported from 46 and 21 countries respectively. The Africa variant has been around since August and the Brazil variant emerged in December.


    All three variants are present in India. On February 16, Indian Centre for Medical Research Director-General Balram Bhargava informed the media that India has 187 people infected with the UK variant, one with the Brazil variant and four with the South African variant. The infected people and their contacts have been quarantined and as of now no one has died. The vaccines rolled out in India, the Covishield and the Covaxin are being tested for efficacy against these variants.


    The South African variant is of concern as there are already reports that available vaccines are not working against it. A small trial indicated that the vaccine has only 22 per cent efficacy, Novavax’s vaccine which provides protection to 89.3 per cent of the people who received it in the UK could provide protection only to 49.4 per cent people who received it in South Africa.


    Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine could also not prevent the disease in South Africa though it did reduce severity. There are also indications that the potency of mRNA vaccines, like those from Pfizer and Moderna, might also be reduced

  • Organ transplant patient dies after receiving Covid-infected lungs


    https://news.google.com/articl…=en-US&gl=US&ceid=US%3Aen


    Doctors say a woman in Michigan contracted Covid-19 and died last fall two months after receiving a tainted double-lung transplant from a donor who turned out to harbor the virus that causes the disease — despite showing no signs of illness and initially testing negative.


    Officials at the University of Michigan Medical School suggested it may be the first proven case of Covid-19 in the U.S. in which the virus was transmitted via an organ transplant. A surgeon who handled the donor lungs was also infected with the virus and fell ill but later recovered.

    The incident appears to be isolated — the only confirmed case among nearly 40,000 transplants in 2020. But it has led to calls for more thorough testing of lung transplant donors, with samples taken from deep within the donor lungs as well as the nose and throat, said Dr. Daniel Kaul, director of Michigan Medicine’s transplant infectious disease service.

  • Broad and potent activity against SARS-like viruses by an engineered human monoclonal antibody


    https://science.sciencemag.org/content/371/6531/823


    Targeting sarbecoviruses

    As we continue to battle the COVID-19 pandemic, we must confront the possibility of new pathogenic coronaviruses emerging in humans in the future. With this in mind, Rappazzo et al. isolated antibodies from a survivor of the 2003 severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV), used yeast display libraries to introduce diversity into these antibodies, and then screened for binding to SARS-CoV-2. One of the affinity-matured progeny strongly neutralized SARS-CoV-2, SARS-CoV, and two SARS-related viruses from bats. In addition, this antibody bound to the receptor-binding domains from a panel of sarbecoviruses, suggesting broader activity, and provided protection against SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2 in mouse models.


    Science, this issue p. 823


    Abstract

    The recurrent zoonotic spillover of coronaviruses (CoVs) into the human population underscores the need for broadly active countermeasures. We employed a directed evolution approach to engineer three severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) antibodies for enhanced neutralization breadth and potency. One of the affinity-matured variants, ADG-2, displays strong binding activity to a large panel of sarbecovirus receptor binding domains and neutralizes representative epidemic sarbecoviruses with high potency. Structural and biochemical studies demonstrate that ADG-2 employs a distinct angle of approach to recognize a highly conserved epitope that overlaps the receptor binding site. In immunocompetent mouse models of SARS and COVID-19, prophylactic administration of ADG-2 provided complete protection against respiratory burden, viral replication in the lungs, and lung pathology. Altogether, ADG-2 represents a promising broad-spectrum therapeutic candidate against clade 1 sarbecoviruses.

    Discussion

    Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, a plethora of potently neutralizing SARS-CoV-2 antibodies have been isolated, and some have rapidly advanced to clinical trials (34). However, the epitopes recognized by most of these nAbs are highly variable among other clade 1 sarbecoviruses, hence limiting their neutralization breadth and increasing their susceptibility to antibody escape mutations (22). Here, we describe an engineered antibody that neutralizes SARS-CoV-2 with a potency that rivals current lead SARS-CoV-2 clinical nAbs but also broadly neutralizes other clade 1 sarbecoviruses, potently triggers Fc-mediated effector functions, and provides significant protection against SARS and COVID-19 in mouse models. Thus, ADG-2 represents a promising candidate for the prevention and treatment of not only COVID-19, but also future respiratory diseases caused by pre-emergent SARS-related CoVs. Furthermore, our fine epitope mapping and structural studies demonstrate that ADG-2 employs a distinct angle of approach to recognize a highly conserved epitope that overlaps the receptor binding site. This epitope represents an Achilles’ heel for clade 1 sarbecoviruses and hence is an attractive target for the rational design of “pan-SARS” vaccines that aim to elicit similar broadly protective antibodies.

  • this study should help in future vaccine development for coronavirus. Note, they are not targeting the spike protein


    Nsp1 protein of SARS-CoV-2 disrupts the mRNA export machinery to inhibit host gene expression


    https://advances.sciencemag.org/content/7/6/eabe7386


    Abstract

    The ongoing unprecedented severe acute respiratory syndrome caused by the SARS-CoV-2 outbreak worldwide has highlighted the need for understanding viral-host interactions involved in mechanisms of virulence. Here, we show that the virulence factor Nsp1 protein of SARS-CoV-2 interacts with the host messenger RNA (mRNA) export receptor heterodimer NXF1-NXT1, which is responsible for nuclear export of cellular mRNAs. Nsp1 prevents proper binding of NXF1 to mRNA export adaptors and NXF1 docking at the nuclear pore complex. As a result, a significant number of cellular mRNAs are retained in the nucleus during infection. Increased levels of NXF1 rescues the Nsp1-mediated mRNA export block and inhibits SARS-CoV-2 infection. Thus, antagonizing the Nsp1 inhibitory function on mRNA export may represent a strategy to restoring proper antiviral host gene expression in infected cells.


    DISCUSSION

    We have shown that infection of cells with SARS-CoV-2 inhibits host cell mRNA nuclear export. Through our analysis of this inhibitory pathway, we identified Nsp1 as a virally encoded protein capable of functioning autonomously as an mRNA export inhibitor. We propose that Nsp1 accomplishes this effect by directly binding the mRNA export factor NXF1 and reducing the interactions of NXF1 with the NPC.


    Inhibiting host gene expression is a hallmark of virulence factors from many diverse viruses. Among the mechanisms used to accomplish this effect is the inhibition of host cell mRNA export. This is thought to promote infection by reducing expression of mRNAs encoding antiviral factors and increasing the availability of the translational machinery to viral mRNAs. Among the viruses that induce mRNA export inhibition is the influenza virus. For example, the virally encoded NS1 protein inhibits signaling and gene expression pathways, resulting in down-regulation of immune responses (1). The NS1 protein accomplishes this, in part, by binding to NXF1 and inhibiting mRNA export. We previously showed that formation of the NS1-NXF1 complex is accompanied by a reduction in the docking of the mRNPs to NPCs and translocation of the mRNA export complex to the cytoplasm (2–4).


    While NXF1 is capable of binding RNA, its association with nuclear mRNAs requires adaptor proteins such as Aly/REF, suggesting that some conformational configuration of NXF1 may be required (27). Our results show that Nsp1 blocks the mRNA export function of NXF1 without directly interfering with its RNA binding capability, but Nsp1 disrupts NXF1 interaction with mRNA export adaptors and with the NPC. An intriguing possibility is that Nsp1 binding prevents the proper configuration of NXF1 by adaptor proteins or the formation of a productive NXF1-RNA export complex that is unable to dock and translocate through the NPC. Presumably, for Nsp1 to inhibit mRNA export, it would need to bind and alter NXF1 activity in the nucleoplasm before export. Consistent with this conclusion, while most of the detectable Nsp1 is visible in the cytoplasm, we also observe Nsp1 at, or in the vicinity of, NPCs, raising the possibility that Nsp1 may shuttle between the nucleus and cytoplasm with its steady-state distribution being predominantly cytoplasmic.


    A predicted consequence of the interaction of Nsp1 with NXF1 and resulting inhibition of mRNA nuclear export is the reduced expression of host antiviral response genes and the establishment of a cellular environment that favors virus production. This idea is supported by our findings showing that ectopic expression of NXF1 significantly suppresses the effect of Nsp1 on RNA processing and nuclear export, as well as reduces SARS-CoV-2 infection. These results suggest that antagonizing Nsp1 function by interfering with its ability to bind NXF1 represents a potential means to inhibit SARS-CoV-2 replication, and thus the Nsp1-NXF1 complex is a potential target for the development of a therapeutic strategy for the treatment of COVID-19.


    Our work has revealed a previously unobserved role for SARS-CoV-2 Nsp1 in altering host cell physiology during infection for the purpose of suppressing host cell gene expression. The ability of Nsp1 to bind NXF1 and block mRNA export complements its previously described role of inhibiting host cell translation through its binding to the 40S ribosomal subunit and obstruction of the mRNA entry tunnel (18). Notably, these two distinct functions of Nsp1, blocking mRNA export and translation, are performed by distinct domains within the N- and C-terminal regions of the protein, respectively. However, the outcome is conceptually similar, as in both instances, Nsp1 binding to either NXF1 or the 40S subunit reduces their ability to process host mRNA. These observations suggest that Nsp1 has evolved to target multiple steps in the host cell mRNA biogenesis pathway.

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  • Bird flu: Russia detects first case of H5N8 bird flu in humans


    https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-56140270


    Russia has reported the first case of a bird flu strain, H5N8, being passed from poultry to humans.


    Officials said seven workers at a poultry plant in the south of the country had been infected following an outbreak there in December.


    "All seven people... are now feeling well," said the head of Russia's consumer health watchdog, Anna Popova.


    She said that adequate measures had been quickly taken to stop the spread of infection.


    There was no sign of transmission between humans, Ms Popova said, adding that the case had been reported to the World Health Organization.


    Hens in Britain to be kept indoors due to bird flu

    From the archives: What's the threat of bird flu to humans?

    She praised "the important scientific discovery" by Russia's Vektor laboratory, which had isolated the strain's genetic material from the infected workers.


    "The discovery of these mutations when the virus has not still acquired an ability to transmit from human to human gives us all, the entire world, time to prepare for possible mutations and react in an adequate and timely fashion," Ms Popova said.


    She said Russian scientists could now start working on developing test systems.


    Other strains of bird flu occasionally infect humans and have led to deaths - but this is the first report of the H5N8 strain being passed on.

  • 2017 study on H5N8

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5443452/


    Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza Virus (H5N8) Clade 2.3.4.4 Infection in Migratory Birds, Egypt


    Abstract

    We isolated highly pathogenic avian influenza virus (H5N8) of clade 2.3.4.4 from the common coot (Fulica atra) in Egypt, documenting its introduction into Africa through migratory birds. This virus has a close genetic relationship with subtype H5N8 viruses circulating in Europe. Enhanced surveillance to detect newly emerging viruses is warranted.


    During the evolution of subtype H5Nx viruses of clade 2.3.4.4, frequent reassortment has been noted with other co-circulating HPAIVs and low pathogenicity AIVs in different countries in Europe, North America, and East Asia (8). Strains of HPAIV (H5N8) have been involved in multiple independent reassortment events with other AIV subtypes found in wild birds in China, South Korea, the United States, and recently in Russia (5,9). The probable introduction of HPAIV (H5N8) to poultry populations in Egypt will further complicate disease control and prevention, especially if HPAIV (H5N1) of clade 2.2.1.2 and low pathogenicity AIV (H9N2) strains of G1 lineage are enzootic in poultry (10).


    In addition, the threat of emergence of a novel reassortants with unpredictable gene constellations of HPAIV (H5N8) strains with enzootic strains of AIV is a public health concern. Therefore, we recommend enhanced surveillance to quickly detect newly emerged viruses. Commercial and backyard poultry owners must follow the recommended biosecurity measures. The detection and immediate reporting of novel HPAIV (H5N8) strains in Egypt will help increase AIV surveillance, detection, and prevention preparedness in other countries of continental Africa.

  • Is the low incidence of COVID-19 in Africa due to prior infections with Plasmodium falciparum?


    https://blogs.biomedcentral.co…th-plasmodium-falciparum/


    Investigating links between malaria infections and COVID-19


    Some researchers have suggested a link between endemicity of malaria infection (in particular Plasmodium falciparum) and low case numbers of COVID-19 infection. Countries in Africa with a low incidence of COVID-19 also have a high burden–high incidence (HBHI) of malaria infections.


    A collaboration of researchers from five countries tackled this association with a two prong approach by 1) assessing the correlation between malaria death rates and COVID-19 death rates in HBHI areas of Africa and 2) characterizing the immunogenic regions in both Plasmodium falciparum and SARS-CoV-2 proteins.


    The researchers proposed that prior exposure to malaria infection would protect against death from COVID-19. This has been shown with other infections through a process called antigenic imprinting (or original antigenic sin). In essence, an adaptive immune response against one antigen can also respond to an unrelated antigen, with the second antigen relying on the immunological memory created by the first antigen. Usually, cross-reactivity occurs between closely related organisms, but it is also seen between unrelated ones.


    To examine the relative risk of exposure to SARS-CoV-2 and malaria, the relationship between malaria and COVID-19 death rates across Europe, Southeast Asia, the Western Pacific, the Eastern Mediterranean and HBHI regions of Africa were compared. Interestingly, the statistical analysis of malaria and COVID-19 indicated that all areas of HBHI regions had a significantly lower risk of COVID-19 infection.


    Although the authors observed a correlation, it does not necessarily mean that higher malaria burden results in lower numbers of COVID-19 deaths. To investigate the possibility of shared immunogenicity between P. falciparum and SARS-CoV-2 proteins, the researchers first identified a range of antibody binding sites (or epitopes) common in both P. falciparum and SARS-CoV-2. The researchers identified 23 promising, highly immunogenic malaria proteins. Four or five shared amino acid residues common to both organisms within an immunodominant epitope was considered evidence of a host immune response being able to react to both P. falciparum and SARS-CoV-2 infections.


    Using this method the authors identified several four and five amino acid peptides within epitopes conserved between the two organisms. In particular, significant similarities were observed between immunodominant epitopes from the nucleocapsid (N) protein from SARS-CoV-2 and the TRAP (thrombospondin-related anonymous protein) from P. falciparum, as well as between the spike (S) protein of SARS-CoV-2 and SSP-2 (sporozoite surface protein 2) from P. falciparum.

    Shared epitopes from both antigen pairs (N/TRAP proteins & S/SSP-2 proteins) were also shown to stimulate CD8+ T-cells (important for defense against intracellular pathogens, such as P. falciparum and SARS-CoV-2) through recognition of pathogen proteins by the human leukocyte antigen-A*02:01 (HLA-A*02:01), an MHC class 1 allelic variant.


    Based on the principle of antigenic imprinting, the authors assumed the adaptive immune response mounted against P. falciparum TRAP protein (in the form of killer T-cells) could also recognize epitopes and trigger an immune response SARS-CoV-2 infection, and therefore provide protection in sub-Saharan Africa. The shared immunodominant epitope between TRAP and N proteins commonly recognized by HLA-A*02:01 was given the catchy name of 219-LALLLLDRL-227.


    Red Blood Cells and their role in malaria and COVID-19 disease


    Some recent findings have indicated that SARS-CoV-2 is able to invade host lung cells through an interaction between its spike protein and a CD147 cell surface receptor.


    It is well known that the P. falciparum TRAP protein (along with RH5) can interact with CD147 receptors on the surface of red blood cells (RBCs). This binding interaction between malarial parasite proteins on the surface of infected RBCs and a receptor on an uninfected RBC, results in sticking and clumping of healthy RBCs to the infected RBC (erythrocyte rosetting), and enables P. falciparum to escape recognition by the host’s immune system. Taken together, these findings suggest that immature and mature RBCs could also be implicated in SARS-CoV-2 infection through their CD147 receptors.

    Unlike immature RBCs though, mature RBCs lack the necessary machinery to enable viral replication and induce a host immune response, suggesting that COVID-19 infections facilitated through RBC invasion would also go undiscovered by the host’s immune system, and can consequently leave viral replication uncontrolled.


    What does this all mean and where should we go from here?


    With that being said, the demonstrated cross-reactivity between P. falciparum TRAP and SSP-2 proteins and SARS-CoV-2 N and S proteins could suggest an explanation for the ambiguous and intriguing finding that malaria-endemic regions have the lowest number of COVID-19 infections compared to the rest of the world. Additionally, reports of the CD147 receptor facilitating viral invasion of host RBCs implies a novel, alternative route of infection for SARS-CoV-2 related to the host’s blood stream. It has even been proposed CD147 receptors on RBCs could be a novel target for COVID-19 treatment, although Lesa and co-authors advise that their findings should first be practically confirmed and validated before development of a new treatment.

  • Coronavirus vaccine: Did Pfizer put profit first?


    https://amp.dw.com/en/coronavi…t-profit-first/a-56622056



    The global pharmaceutical industry was able to develop multiple COVID-19 vaccines in record time. But has profit been put over human lives?

    Last year, Albert Bourla had a choice and he decided to take a massive risk. The CEO of the pharmaceutical giant Pfizer could have made it easy for himself by accepting billions of dollars and participating in Operation Warp Speed, the US government's initiative to create multiple vaccines as fast as possible. But he preferred to remain independent.


    Bourla decided to invest $2 billion (€1.6 billion) in BioNTech, a startup company in western Germany. His instinct was right: BioNTech came up with the formula for the first COVID-19 vaccine to be approved by the United States, EU and other governments. By the end of the year, Pfizer had produced 50 million doses of BioNTech's COVID-19 mRNA vaccine, BNT162b2. The goal for 2021 is to produce more than a billion doses.


    For many, Bourla and BioNTech founders Özlem Türeci and Ugur Sahin are heroes in the global fight against COVID-19. The companies had previously collaborated on a flu vaccine in 2018, and their latest endeavor could save the lives of incalculable numbers of people.

    'Pfizer exercised pressure'

    A few weeks ago, only the mass-circulation press was using the expression "vaccine debacle" in Germany. But now it's being employed widely, by politicians and much of the population. The gist: while countries such as Israel, the UK and the United States are vaccinating populations in large numbers, the EU — represented by an incompetent negotiating team — failed to order enough doses in time. On top of that, the narrative goes, the EU was also too tightfisted

    LIVE TV

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    Coronavirus vaccine: Did Pfizer put profit first?

    2 hours ago


    The global pharmaceutical industry was able to develop multiple COVID-19 vaccines in record time. But has profit been put over human lives?

    Last year, Albert Bourla had a choice and he decided to take a massive risk. The CEO of the pharmaceutical giant Pfizer could have made it easy for himself by accepting billions of dollars and participating in Operation Warp Speed, the US government's initiative to create multiple vaccines as fast as possible. But he preferred to remain independent.


    Bourla decided to invest $2 billion (€1.6 billion) in BioNTech, a startup company in western Germany. His instinct was right: BioNTech came up with the formula for the first COVID-19 vaccine to be approved by the United States, EU and other governments. By the end of the year, Pfizer had produced 50 million doses of BioNTech's COVID-19 mRNA vaccine, BNT162b2. The goal for 2021 is to produce more than a billion doses.


    For many, Bourla and BioNTech founders Özlem Türeci and Ugur Sahin are heroes in the global fight against COVID-19. The companies had previously collaborated on a flu vaccine in 2018, and their latest endeavor could save the lives of incalculable numbers of people.



    Bourla (left) and Sahin are seen as heroes in the fight against the pandemic

    Viagra and more

    Pfizer got its start in 1849, when Charles Pfizer and his cousin Charles F. Erhart, both of German descent, founded Pfizer & Co. in New York and started producing an antiparasitic drug called santonin. Today, Pfizer has more than 100,000 employees, and one of its bestsellers is the erectile dysfunction drug Viagra.


    New challenges arose in 2020 for the pharma sector, which generated global sales of about $1.1 trillion in 2019. The rapid development of multiple COVID-19 vaccines showed what the industry could do under enormous pressure. However, the real test might only be beginning for a sector that has often been accused of being more interested in maximizing profits than in saving lives.


    'Pfizer exercised pressure'

    A few weeks ago, only the mass-circulation press was using the expression "vaccine debacle" in Germany. But now it's being employed widely, by politicians and much of the population. The gist: while countries such as Israel, the UK and the United States are vaccinating populations in large numbers, the EU — represented by an incompetent negotiating team — failed to order enough doses in time. On top of that, the narrative goes, the EU was also too tightfisted.


    Peter Liese, a member of the European Parliament for the Christian Democrats and a medical doctor, has regularly appeared on German TV talk shows to counter that argument.


    "Pfizer exercised pressure on the European Commission," Liese told journalists in August. "Pfizer apparently did not initially want to accept something that is the law in Europe — namely that, when a mistake is made and somebody is hurt, there has to be liability."


    The negotiations dragged on and finally concluded in November. For weeks, more than 20 lawyers for the US giant sat across the table while the European Commission's negotiators kept a low profile and did not comment on the proceedings.


    In retrospect, said Liese, this was a mistake. "The reasons were not communicated because the Commission always behaves well. There was the question of privacy, and it did not want to disavow the negotiating partners," he said. "But it would have made a different impression on the public, and there would have been more pressure on Pfizer, of course."

    When Liese met with BioNTech scientists during the stalled negotiations process, he could sense how uncomfortable they were with the issue. "I could read in their eyes how embarrassed they were that a contract with the EU might actually not be signed despite the fact that they were working in the EU and had been given EU support to develop the vaccine in the first place," he said.


    The issue of liability has been lost in the current discussion, but Liese said had the European Union not been so assertive on this point, fewer people would be as willing to be vaccinated at all. "Those in charge at Pfizer have failed to satisfactorily refute the accusation that they put profit over health," he said.

    LIVE TV

    TOP STORIES

    WORLD

    Coronavirus vaccine: Did Pfizer put profit first?

    2 hours ago


    The global pharmaceutical industry was able to develop multiple COVID-19 vaccines in record time. But has profit been put over human lives?

    Last year, Albert Bourla had a choice and he decided to take a massive risk. The CEO of the pharmaceutical giant Pfizer could have made it easy for himself by accepting billions of dollars and participating in Operation Warp Speed, the US government's initiative to create multiple vaccines as fast as possible. But he preferred to remain independent.


    Bourla decided to invest $2 billion (€1.6 billion) in BioNTech, a startup company in western Germany. His instinct was right: BioNTech came up with the formula for the first COVID-19 vaccine to be approved by the United States, EU and other governments. By the end of the year, Pfizer had produced 50 million doses of BioNTech's COVID-19 mRNA vaccine, BNT162b2. The goal for 2021 is to produce more than a billion doses.


    For many, Bourla and BioNTech founders Özlem Türeci and Ugur Sahin are heroes in the global fight against COVID-19. The companies had previously collaborated on a flu vaccine in 2018, and their latest endeavor could save the lives of incalculable numbers of people.



    Bourla (left) and Sahin are seen as heroes in the fight against the pandemic

    Viagra and more

    Pfizer got its start in 1849, when Charles Pfizer and his cousin Charles F. Erhart, both of German descent, founded Pfizer & Co. in New York and started producing an antiparasitic drug called santonin. Today, Pfizer has more than 100,000 employees, and one of its bestsellers is the erectile dysfunction drug Viagra.


    New challenges arose in 2020 for the pharma sector, which generated global sales of about $1.1 trillion in 2019. The rapid development of multiple COVID-19 vaccines showed what the industry could do under enormous pressure. However, the real test might only be beginning for a sector that has often been accused of being more interested in maximizing profits than in saving lives.


    'Pfizer exercised pressure'

    A few weeks ago, only the mass-circulation press was using the expression "vaccine debacle" in Germany. But now it's being employed widely, by politicians and much of the population. The gist: while countries such as Israel, the UK and the United States are vaccinating populations in large numbers, the EU — represented by an incompetent negotiating team — failed to order enough doses in time. On top of that, the narrative goes, the EU was also too tightfisted.



    02:35 mins.

    DW NEWS | 28.12.2020

    Vaccine brings hope to EU regions

    Peter Liese, a member of the European Parliament for the Christian Democrats and a medical doctor, has regularly appeared on German TV talk shows to counter that argument.


    "Pfizer exercised pressure on the European Commission," Liese told journalists in August. "Pfizer apparently did not initially want to accept something that is the law in Europe — namely that, when a mistake is made and somebody is hurt, there has to be liability."


    The negotiations dragged on and finally concluded in November. For weeks, more than 20 lawyers for the US giant sat across the table while the European Commission's negotiators kept a low profile and did not comment on the proceedings.


    In retrospect, said Liese, this was a mistake. "The reasons were not communicated because the Commission always behaves well. There was the question of privacy, and it did not want to disavow the negotiating partners," he said. "But it would have made a different impression on the public, and there would have been more pressure on Pfizer, of course."



    When Liese met with BioNTech scientists during the stalled negotiations process, he could sense how uncomfortable they were with the issue. "I could read in their eyes how embarrassed they were that a contract with the EU might actually not be signed despite the fact that they were working in the EU and had been given EU support to develop the vaccine in the first place," he said.


    The issue of liability has been lost in the current discussion, but Liese said had the European Union not been so assertive on this point, fewer people would be as willing to be vaccinated at all. "Those in charge at Pfizer have failed to satisfactorily refute the accusation that they put profit over health," he said.


    Argentina's raw deal

    Argentine Health Secretary Gines Gonzalez Garcia exploded when asked about Pfizer at a press conference earlier in February. The company, he said, had "behaved very badly."


    In August 2020, more than 6,000 Argentines responded to a call to participate in the phase 3 trials of the BioNTech-Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. Half of them received the vaccine; the other half were given a placebo. The participants saw themselves less as test subjects than as contributors to the formalizing of a contract.


    They would be disappointed. Not a single dose has been administered in Argentina now that the vaccine has been approved. Argentina is currently supplied with Russia's vaccine, Sputnik V.

  • WHO inspector's 'natural hosts' experimented on in Wuhan lab

    Geneticist says ferret-badgers, rabbits do not transmit SARS-CoV-2 except in certain lab conditions


    https://www.taiwannews.com.tw/en/news/4132037


    TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Ferret-badgers and rabbits — "natural hosts" that a World Health Organization (WHO) inspector says could have been vectors for the first transmission of COVID-19 to humans — were experimented on at the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV).


    In an interview with The Wall Street Journal published on Thursday (Feb. 18), British zoologist and EcoHealth Alliance President Peter Daszak backed China's theory that frozen meat could have brought the coronavirus to Wuhan. After pangolins and mink were dismissed by many researchers as vectors for human transmission, Daszak claimed ferret-badgers and rabbits could instead have transmitted the disease at Wuhan's Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market.

    China's claim that the coronavirus is easily spread through frozen food has been challenged by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which says there is "no credible evidence" that COVID-19 is transmitted through contaminated food or food packaging.


    Furthermore, there are no independent reports of anyone contracting COVID-19 through frozen foods, according to Alina Chan, a molecular biologist at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. "There have been zero well-documented cases where a human has been infected by a respiratory pathogen from frozen packaging or meat."


    Transmission pathway


    As for the wet market, Liang Wannian, head of the Chinese National Health Commission's Expert Panel of COVID-19 Response, stated that no animals or "animal products" had tested positive for the virus there and that early cases of individuals contracting COVID had not visited the market.


    Even so, Daszak claimed that ferret-badgers provide "a pathway for how the virus could have gotten into Wuhan," and their carcasses were found in the wet market's freezers. He conceded, however, that all those carcasses had tested negative for the virus.


    Liang's more statement in his WHO report is that 50,000 samples of wild animals from 300 different species (including bats) as well as 11,000 farm animals in 31 Chinese provinces — taken between November 2019 and March 2020 — had all tested negative for SARS-CoV-2.


    Meanwhile, an Australian geneticist who publishes scientific papers under the name Zhang Daoyu told Taiwan News in an email that the ferret-badger ACE2 receptor cannot bind to the S1 subunit of the spike protein. He added that animals cannot be infected with the disease in-vivo, and adaptations in them give a very different receptor-binding motif (RBM) than what is currently seen in SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.


    Another of Daszak's claims is that rabbits were sold at the wet market and the animals "turn out to be quite susceptible to SARS-CoV-2." However, Zhang said that since the currently observed RBM of SARS-CoV-2 does not efficiently use ferret-badger ACE2 and is not optimal for binding to rabbit ACE2, this rules out the possibility the virus may have "naturally" adapted to these two species.


    "Transmission could occur in a laboratory with mice or rabbits that had been genetically modified to express the human ACE2 protein and had severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID)," Zhang said. He added that even this is unlikely "since the current RBM is not optimal to rabbit ACE2 binding, and a history of either ferret-badger or rabbit ACE2 adaptation would have resulted in very different RBM than observed."

  • WHO inspector's 'natural hosts' experimented on in Wuhan lab


    https://www.taiwannews.com.tw/en/news/4132037

    From the end of the article from the above link:


    What Daszak does not mention is that in 2019, a member of Shi Zhengli's team, assistant researcher Hu Ben (胡犇), embarked on high-risk GOF research on coronaviruses and chimeras in humanized mice at WIV. According to a researcher who goes by the pseudonym Billy Bostickson, and who is in contact with Taiwan News: "This research involved 'novel' bat coronaviruses inoculated into immuno-suppressed mice with humanized features, such as hACE2, and possibly humanized lungs, bone marrow, etc..."

    No information about this research has been released to the public since the start of the pandemic, including data on the eight chimeric viruses WIV had been infecting the mice with. In fact, all the WIV institute's databases have been offline since the start of the pandemic for alleged "cybersecurity issues," including 100 unpublished sequences of bat betacoronaviruses, which need to be sequenced by international scientists, according to Bostickson.

  • What Daszak does not mention is that in 2019, a member of Shi Zhengli's team, assistant researcher Hu Ben (胡犇), embarked on high-risk GOF research on coronaviruses and chimeras in humanized mice at WIV. According to a researcher who goes by the pseudonym Billy Bostickson, and who is in contact with Taiwan News: "This research involved 'novel' bat coronaviruses inoculated into immuno-suppressed mice with humanized features, such as hACE2, and possibly humanized lungs, bone marrow, etc..."

    Speaking of Daszak, just to be clear, he knows exactly what was going on about gain of function research into coronavirus, and transplanting the spike protein RNA sequence of one coronavirus into another. He was facilitating and diverting some of their own funding to help WIV do this work. This is the same guy who spearheaded the effort very early on in the pandemic to get dozens of scientists to sign on to declare that it was an unfounded conspiracy theory that the virus came from a lab. This is also the same guy who is currently on the WHO team to investigate the origins of SARS Cov-2! Some scientists close to this have spoken out about the blatant conflict of interest.


    On December 9 2019, less than a month before the Wuhan outbreak became known, Daszak was interviewed by a virologist. The interview is 30 minutes, but at the 29:45 mark Daszak is pretty explicit about what he knows about what they were doing with coronaviruses, supposedly to develop vaccines. About a minute of viewing.


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  • What sunspots are whispering about covid-19?


    https://ui.adsabs.harvard.edu/…1arXiv210103547M/abstract


    Several studies point to the antimicrobial effects of ELF electromagnetic fields. Such fields have accompanied life from the very beginning, and it is possible that they played a significant role in its emergence and evolution. However, the literature on the biological effects of ELF electromagnetic fields is controversial, and we still lack an understanding of the complex mechanisms that make such effects, observed in many experiments, possible. The Covid-19 pandemic has shown how fragile we are in the face of powerful processes operating in the biosphere. We believe that understanding the role of ELF electromagnetic fields in regulating the biosphere is important in our fight against Covid-19, and research in this direction should be intensified.


    Solar activity and pandemics

    At first glance (and at the second too) there can be no connection be-

    tween pandemics and solar activity. However, this is exactly what Alexander

    Chizhevsky discovered [2] many years ago.

    Independently, Hope-Simpson observed the same correlation between in-

    fluenza pandemics and sunspot maximums [3]. Hoyle and Wickramasinghe

    confirmed these findings [4] indicating that the two phenomena have kept in

    step over some 17 solar cycles.

    Interestingly, the previous two Corona virus epidemics, the severe acute

    respiratory syndrome SARS-CoV and the Middle-East respiratory syndrome

    MERS-CoV both occurred at double peaks in the sunspot cycle [5].

    A more general result states that most pandemics in the past occurred near

    the sunspot extrema (maxima or minima) [6, 7]. In a sense, the present covid-19

    pandemic was predicted based on this idea [8, 9].

    Of course, such an outlandish idea should be taken with a grain of salt, and

    not everybody believes in it [10]. However, we think this strange idea cannot be

    dismissed easily. The correlation in the data is so obvious that different people

    have noticed it. We already mentioned Chizhevsky and Hope-Simpson. It seems

    that the first person who linked the sunspot cycle to the malaria epidemics, as

    early as in 1881, was C. Meldrum [11]. In 1936, Gill noted that the association

    of malaria epidemics with the epochs of maximum and minimum of sunspots is

    extremely close [11].

    Solar activity can affect biological organisms in various ways. Of particular

    interest is the influence mediated by geomagnetic and extra-low frequency (ELF)

    electromagnetic fields [12, 13].

    The Schumann resonance with base frequency of about 8 Hz is a global elec-

    tromagnetic resonance excited by natural lightning activity within the Earth-

    ionosphere waveguide [14]. Life evolved on Earth under the constant presence of

    Schumann resonances, and thus, we cannot exclude that ELF electromagnetic

    fields played a role in biological evolution.

    Human activity has become a source of widespread electromagnetic pollu-

    tion, which raises concerns about the possible dangerous health effects [15].

    Although studies on the possible biological effects of ELF and other artificial

    electromagnetic fields remain largely controversial, there is a growing evidence

    that ELF fields cause numerous types of changes in cells [16, 17, 18].

  • A few weeks ago, only the mass-circulation press was using the expression "vaccine debacle" in Germany. But now it's being employed widely, by politicians and much of the population. The gist: while countries such as Israel, the UK and the United States are vaccinating populations in large numbers, the EU — represented by an incompetent negotiating team — failed to order enough doses in time.

    There is only one debacle in Germany: The press suppression of Ivermectin. Today the press (FAZ) did lift their Eugenic tschador and fully shows their mental corruption by requesting mandatory vaccination.

    Why now: Time now runs out to make vaccine $$$$$$$ on scary people. The US CoV-19 case numbers go down without any vaccination effect. Same for Switzerland/Sweden etc... The so called herd immunity is close - most vulnerable are dead.

    The same journal forced people too do flu vaccination too, albeit one did know (AUS!), that there will be no flu this year.

    Also many scary stories are invented by the right wing industry mafia that the UK 1.1.7.1 strain causes more damage what is plain fantasy. UK 1.1.7.1 infects younger 3x more likely so there is a short time raise in cases among them but not in severity/death etc..

    The same for the Israel data. Fantasy figures are invented just after 2 weeks of completion of age >60 vaccination.


    Facts: Vaccinated people can carry the virus - about at 1/4 of the load - and thus infect others. No reason to give the Eugenic people an advantage. You cannot evaluate vaccine efficiency among people living in isolation.


    Keep calm- only vaccinate if you are very old and have >1 comorbidity factor. Have Ivermectin ready. Best is to get a soft CoV-19 and cure it.

    Whether the eugenic Pfizer or Moderna vaccines are safe we know earliest in 5-10 years. May be a bit earlier due to the world wide mafia action of pushing it.