Last month, Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News hosted “The State of Biotech” virtual summit, packed full of amazing conversations with scientists, physicians, executives, and analysts driving new research and applications in biotechnology. Among them was University of California, Berkeley, biochemist Jennifer Doudna, who shared the 2020 Nobel Prize for chemistry with Emmanuel Charpentier. Doudna is also an investigator with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the cofounder of the Innovative Genomics Institute (IGI), and cofounder of a number of biotech companies applying CRISPR to therapeutics, including Caribou Biosciences, Editas Medicine, Intellia Therapeutics, Mammoth Biosciences, and Scribe Therapeutics.
In a candid conversation with GEN senior science writer Julianna LeMieux during “The State of Biotech” forum, Doudna discussed a wide range of topics—what excites her most about CRISPR, where she sees genome editing making an impact on society, what it is like to win the Nobel, and much more.
(This interview has been edited for length and clarity.)
LeMieux: Jennifer, I do not suppose being introduced as a Nobel Laureate will ever get old, will it?!
Doudna: It still feels new. I still pinch myself…
LeMieux: It has been 10 years since your landmark article on CRISPR as a genome editing tool with Charpentier and colleagues in Science.1 What has been the best, and worst, part of the past decade?
Doudna: The best has been doing the science. It has been an extraordinary opportunity to work with so many amazing people, both in my own laboratory, with our collaborators, and, of course, with Emmanuelle. Before I even met Emmanuelle, Jill Banfield, my colleague at UC Berkeley, was one of the first researchers to find CRISPR sequences back before they were a thing. There have been so many other people since then. The science is still what gets me out of the bed every morning and is still very new and exciting.
The worst? Certainly, the pandemic is high up there on my list. If there is a silver lining, it pulled together scientists from different disciplines. We certainly saw this at the IGI. People came together to build a clinical testing laboratory where we were able to build a team to develop CRISPR as a diagnostic tool. There were many other things that happened scientifically everywhere, of course, that were motivated by the desire to pitch in during the pandemic.
LeMieux: How did life change for you after you won the Nobel Prize in 2020, beyond the coveted parking space that Berkeley gifts to Nobel laureates.
Doudna: They do not even charge me for it! Isn’t that amazing?!
It was extraordinary to see how many young scientists reached out to me after the Nobel announcement to say, “I feel inspired, I’m excited, I want to learn more.” I have heard from many, many young scientists—most of whom I do not know personally—who have reached out. That was extraordinary and it is still going on.
Because we were in a pandemic, it was an unusual time to get news like that from the Nobel. We were not able to travel to Stockholm for the events, so I was awarded the Nobel Prize in my backyard in Berkeley!
LeMieux: What is a typical day in your life like?
Doudna: I have done very little traveling this year. As a result, I am mostly in my laboratory every day. I spend about half of my time these days with either laboratory members or collaborators, talking about science, planning experiments, reviewing data, and writing articles. So that has been fun and exciting.
What am I doing during the other half? Primarily, I am working on building our institute. We started the IGI about 6 years ago as a partnership between UC Berkeley—where I have my primary appointment—and the University of California, San Francisco, and the Gladstone Institutes—where I have a secondary appointment. We have two primary goals: using CRISPR for health care applications and to address the challenges of climate change.
For example, we have an approved clinical trial that is running. This is probably a first for the nonprofit sector. We are certainly the only nonprofit to conduct a clinical trial that is running [a trial] for sickle cell disease with CRISPR right now. We are forging the way there. We want to make sure we can ultimately have an impact on many people and control costs in the future.
In the climate area, we have booted up a big team that includes scientists from UC Davis, one of the world’s best agricultural universities, and other national laboratories in our area. We have amazing scientists who are using CRISPR to make changes to the soil microbiome, and to plants, that will help these organisms adapt as the climate is changing.
LeMieux: You have just come back from the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) Genome Engineering conference, which you co-organized. How was the meeting and what stood out for you this year?
Doudna: It was a lot of fun! It was great to be back in person after 2 years of virtual meetings, which were good in their own right, but nothing replaces the opportunity to run into colleagues. I met many students at the meeting. Many attendees had never been to CSHL before. It is a reminder that, for many, especially younger scientists, it is still kind of a Mecca. It was also a reminder of how incredibly fast the field is moving, how many different types of people are now contributing, the impact of CRISPR, and how CRISPR will likely continue to grow in the future.
LeMieux: What about some of the most exciting projects going on in the Doudna laboratory right now?
Doudna: We continue to have a great active collaboration with the laboratory of Jillian Banfield. For a long time, we have been interested in understanding the context of CRISPR in its natural setting, in microbes. What is CRISPR doing in microbes and how many different flavors of CRISPR systems are out there? We have most recently been focused on CRISPR pathways that are encoded by viruses, which is very interesting given that CRISPR is thought to be primarily an antiviral system. Yet, it looks like viruses have captured it and they are carrying it around and using it against their competitors!
The other big push is more on the applied side. We are trying to figure out how it will be possible to deliver CRISPR molecules into specific cell types. Whether we are talking about a patient who needs it for a medical application or using it in plants to address climate challenges. In either case, having the ability to deliver CRISPR molecules into targeted tissue types is critical. That is an effort that involves building on existing technologies for delivery, but also looking for innovative ways to do this.
This project also involves looking at how viruses do this. How do microbes get molecules into other microbial cells and tissue types? This is a fun project because it involves new biology but always with an eye toward something that can be used in a more applied setting.
LeMieux: You recently posted a preprint, with Jennifer Hamilton as the first author, that described a delivery mechanism.2 By displaying antibody fragments on the Cas9 envelope particles, you can target the system to specific cells. How much of your laboratory is focusing on delivery versus other areas of genome editing?
Doudna: Students are often the bellwether of the next big thing. Many students have a sense of where the next big opportunities and discoveries are going to be and many that come to my laboratory these days want to work on delivery.
It has been interesting to see that trend developing, and I think it reflects the appreciation across the field that delivery is one of the new frontiers. It is not new, though, is it? Delivery has been a challenge for a long time, but I think there is renewed interest, especially when we think about how to deliver genome editing systems and molecules into different tissue types.
LeMieux: There are so many new tools in the toolbox, including many new Cas enzymes. Do you think we will reach a point when people are no longer using Cas9?
Doudna: I think about it like a physical toolbox, in the sense that you have household tasks that you need to get done. Whether you need a hammer or a wrench or a screwdriver, they are all in the toolbox. That is how I think about genome editing. There are different ways of manipulating the genome in a precise manner. If you need to correct a gene or change the protein levels that are being produced or you want to image a gene, these are all different applications that require different tools in the toolbox. Over time, I think that we are going to see the genetic toolbox continue to expand.
A theme for the past several years at the CSHL meetings has been a continued expansion of the CRISPR toolbox—new ways of using CRISPR, new proteins, old proteins being used in different ways, etc. It continues to make it possible to make any kind of change to any genome with the kind of precision and accuracy that will enable both fundamental discoveries and important advances in health care and agriculture.
LeMieux: Considering the growing number of interesting tools—transposons, base and prime editors, etc.—and nature’s complexity, this toolbox expansion could essentially keep going for a while. Do you see a time when we have enough tools in the toolbox to do everything that we would want to edit a genome?
Doudna: I do think that that time is coming. It is hard to say exactly when. There may not even be a precise date when it happens. At some level it is a moving target but it continues to get easier to make changes and do things to genomes in a targeted manner that were just not possible, even in the recent past. Imagine making targeted integrations of tens of kilobases of DNA into a genome. That is the kind of work being done right now with different methodologies, including the CRISPR transposase that you mentioned. I think it is extraordinary that we continue to expand the kinds of manipulations that can be made using these tools.
LeMieux: There is a lot of excitement about the therapeutic applications of CRISPR. You have cofounded several biotech companies pursuing novel strategies, applications, and clinical genome editing. What excites you most in this field and what would you say are the safety and regulatory issues that still need to be resolved?
Doudna: Two things excite me most in the near term. The ability to make targeted changes that can correct the effects of monogenic diseases. I am thinking of disorders, such as sickle cell disease, cystic fibrosis, muscular dystrophy, and maybe even neurological disorders such as Huntington’s disease.
CRISPR today has the capability to make those corrective changes. The challenge there is delivery. That is where the field is pushing forward. But, in terms of the CRISPR technology, those tools are in hand now, which is quite amazing. There are already results from clinical trials for sickle cell disease that are just extraordinary. They show patients being relieved of their symptoms and, for all intents and purposes, effectively cured of their disease.
On the more societal side is the question of cost and access, which is motivation for IGI to work in this area so that we can address some of those challenges. The science is already there to do this, which is just amazing.
When I think ahead to the next 10 years, I do think we are going to see genome editing used in ways that affect broader swaths of individuals. There are already efforts to use CRISPR to protect against the high cholesterol that can lead to cardiovascular disease. If that were to become a more mainstream application, it has tremendous potential to affect many people in a positive way. I suspect, over the next decade, we will increasingly see that type of preventive health care application of CRISPR.
LeMieux: Let us talk about the high prices of these medicines. How do you think about getting that price down?
Doudna: We must first ask what drives that price? In the case of sickle cell disease, for example, one of the drivers is the delivery strategy. Today, that therapy is delivered ex vivo. This means that a patient must have their cells extracted and edited in the laboratory and then reinfused through a bone marrow transplant. That requires 6 weeks of hospitalization and follow-ups. Imagine if we have a delivery strategy that avoided all of that, where you could do a one-time injection. The editors would hone to the correct cells in the bone marrow to do the therapeutic editing without requiring all that ex vivo manipulation and the bone marrow transplant. I think this would be extraordinary.
Is that going to be possible? My answer is yes. Is it possible today? No. But that is why we must work toward that goal.
Anytime there is a new technology on the horizon, it tends to be the case that the initial experimentation is expensive. It is costly. There are small number of people, so it is a very ad hoc approach. The more that we can turn CRISPR into a pipeline that is well established, where we know how to make the molecules and scale, the more we can help reduce the cost. This is where many companies will be contributing over time. They will help figure out how to ramp up the current scale, so that it can reduce the cost for individuals.
LeMieux: You have previously said that one of the biggest areas that CRISPR can impact is agriculture. Why is that?
Doudna: For one thing, we all have to eat! There are more and more of us on this planet all the time, so there is a large market. Plants have an enormous impact on our environment, which is very closely connected to our health and lifestyle.
The scale of the impact of agricultural applications is huge. There are different barriers to using CRISPR in agricultural systems compared with using that technology in humans. The barriers are not necessarily easier, but they are different. You do not have to run clinical trials, but you do have to get appropriate approvals.
If we are using a technology like this in the environment, we must be very thoughtful about the safety and efficacy of the application. Primarily, I think that there is such an enormous need to address rapid climate change. Here in California, we are experiencing this in real time. I feel very aware of the importance of technologies that can reduce carbon emissions and help farmers do their cultivation in a way that is carbon neutral in the future. I was surprised to learn that about 25% of global carbon emissions come from commercial agriculture. It is a very large contribution and an area where we think CRISPR could have a big impact.
LeMieux: The IGI has devoted resources to studying CRISPR and agriculture. Was the decision to focus on agriculture because of your own personal interest? Or is it that the CRISPR community is moving in that direction in a more general sense?
Doudna: We made the decision to focus on agricultural applications several years ago at the institute. Why? It was a combination of recognizing the tremendous need and opportunities for genome editing, with plants and the soil microbes that support agriculture. We are at the University of California. One of our sister campuses, UC Davis, is one of the world’s best agricultural universities. We have, in our community, some of the most extraordinary plant biologists and microbial scientists. Putting those things together, it seemed like an opportunity not to be missed.
LeMieux: It is perhaps not as easy to spot progress in the field of genome editing and agriculture, especially when there is so much attention on success using CRISPR in the clinic. Where do you see progress being made?
Doudna: One area is the study of Pam Ronald, a professor at UC Davis and one of our IGI affiliates. Her laboratory has been working on rice for a long time. They have created a strain of rice that is naturally drought resistant that is now in the hands of more than 10 million farmers globally and having a very tangible impact. However, she started that work before CRISPR came along. It ended up taking 15 years for her laboratory to do that project, end to end, and have it [reach the] hands of real-world people who are using it now.
What CRISPR does is to vastly accelerate that pipeline. We can use CRISPR to understand the genes that need to be edited so that you can use it quickly to do genetic screening. This is something that David Savage is actively doing at the institute. You can also use CRISPR to make the actual manipulations in plants and create those new types of plants that will have that real-world impact. This speaks of the opportunities that lie ahead.
LeMieux: About 12 years ago, before CRISPR took off, you briefly left academia to take a senior role at Genentech before returning to academia. Why did you move to industry and why did you come back?
Doudna: I was at an interesting point in my career. This was back in early 2009. I had been running my academic laboratory for about 14 years. I had started my laboratory at Yale in 1994 and then I moved to UC Berkeley in the early 2000s. I loved my science, but I started to ask myself whether my science was having impact? I loved the work that we were doing, but my hope was that our science was going to make the world a better place in some way.
When I had the opportunity to go to Genentech, I felt it was an interesting path to explore. However, I realized quite quickly that I really missed my academic colleagues. You take your life and colleagues for granted, until you realize that they are not there anymore! I also realized that I value the opportunity to do curiosity-driven research that is not restricted by company milestones. This is, by the way, no negative reflection on Genentech. I think they are a great organization. But they are a company. They have to make money in the end, and I get that. For me, for the kind of science that I like to do, and the kind of person that I am, it was a better fit for me to be back at Berkeley. I was lucky that my Berkeley colleagues welcomed me back.
LeMieux: There have been several successful CRISPR companies that have spun out of your laboratory. What do you think is the key component to cultivating that type of environment?
Doudna: It all ultimately stems from great people who like to work together. I love building teams, I really do. It has been a lot of fun in my academic laboratory. [In academia], we are always rebuilding our laboratories, right? We have students who are graduating all the time. We have postdocs who come in for a short period of time and then go off for other jobs. There is constant turnover. I am always building a team, in a way. In companies, that is what one is doing. It is creating a culture that focuses people on a goal or maybe multiple goals, but where people are aligned around a project. I love that.
It is amazing to see how fast things can happen when you have a focused team with resources. They can run after a problem in a way that is often, frankly, not so easy to do in an academic setting. I think there is a place for both. We certainly need to have great companies that are taking discoveries and innovations, that often start in an academic setting, but are able to scale them and focus on them in ways that are hard to achieve in academic laboratories.
At IGI, we are very interested in supporting entrepreneurs. We are proud of a couple of programs we started with philanthropic donations that encourage young entrepreneurs to get money and space where they can develop their idea to either start a company or license their technology into an existing company.
LeMieux: Let us talk about ethics. It has been quieter over the past few years on the bioethical front. After all the furor surrounding the CRISPR babies scandal, there are no more headlines and no moratorium. Genome editing in humans is likely going to happen again, whether it is here or internationally. What are your big concerns on this front at this moment?
Doudna: My major concern is ensuring that the topic stays on the minds of people who are practitioners of genome editing. It is essential that we maintain some degree of transparency and that people are aware of where the field is headed.
I was a novice to the whole field of embryo manipulation. I knew very little about the science of in vitro fertilization before I had a crash course so that I could understand how CRISPR might be used in that context. As a result, I have come to appreciate how much biology is still to be discovered about early embryo development. I frankly think a lot of that can be done in animal systems. But some of it cannot. I think there will rightly continue to be important research that gets conducted with CRISPR as a tool.
However, I think you are really talking more about the application of CRISPR in a clinical setting. For example, making changes to embryos to create a pregnancy where the changes that are made are heritable. I do think that remains very much a possibility. It has already been done, as you know. Even more reason why we need to have transparency and discussion around that application of genome editing, including what conditions would be appropriate for that use of CRISPR and all the societal and ethical implications. I do not think those are easily addressed and they really do need to be actively discussed.
LeMieux: Does it worry you?
Doudna: Not very much right now, largely because I think there are other things to worry about, for better or worse. The reality is that there are still technical barriers to using CRISPR in that manner. If we (the scientific community) keep on top of it, I think we have an opportunity to have the ethical and societal considerations developing alongside the technology.
LeMieux: On the preprint we were talking about earlier, all five coauthors are women. After your Nobel Prize, there was a lot of talk about the impact of two women being awarded the prize in chemistry. I am wondering whether some of that optimism has been realized, and if so, how?
Doudna: Great question. I have been quite struck by the number of women who have reached out to me to say that they were touched by this in some way. They were excited by the fact that two women won the Nobel Prize in chemistry, and that it meant something to them. That has been really inspiring to me personally and it makes me reflect on my own experiences. I feel very fortunate that I have had both female and male mentors in my career. But, in some ways, the women who were inspirational to me were particularly inspiring. I think it is very natural, especially when you are a young person, and thinking about your future career, to feel inspired when you see people who look a little bit like you. To be able to say that I could see myself as that person in the future—it really does mean something.
That is what I am finding now, with the Nobel, is that there is a sense that other women feel empowered in a way. They feel like, “that could be me.”
LeMieux: It was absolutely inspirational and very exciting, not only to young women scientists, but also to all scientists.
Doudna: You are right, it is all ages! I have had women in their 90s come up to me and say that this means a lot. It feels good to feel empowered. For many women, we did not feel that way in the past.
LeMieux: We know that the IGI mobilized very quickly 2 years ago to provide COVID-19 testing. What role do you think the IGI is going to play going forward for virus detection and pandemic prevention, if any?
Doudna: I was very proud that our team could boot up a clinical laboratory3 as quickly as we did. Many people contributed to make that possible. As a result, we have had a clinical laboratory operating in our building now since early 2020, doing primarily COVID-19 testing until recently (Figure 1). Now we are doing more sequencing-based analysis of genome-edited tissue samples in support of our ongoing clinical trial and in preparation for future medical applications of CRISPR.
It has been interesting to see the evolution of this laboratory. We have recognized that it enables a lot of science that is difficult otherwise. You brought up the aspect of CRISPR-based diagnostics. We have had an amazing consortium of laboratories working across both sides of the San Francisco Bay to develop CRISPR as a diagnostic tool initially for COVID-19, but potentially applicable to many other kinds of targets. We were greatly enabled by the clinical laboratory because of getting access to patient samples that came in through the laboratory. I am hopeful that going forward, the laboratory will continue to pivot.
It seems like we will not need as much COVID-19 testing in the future. We will increasingly pivot to other kinds of diagnostic testing that will largely be in support of the programs that we have running at the institute, such as the sickle cell trial.
LeMieux: Is there anything that you would have changed about the past 10 years?
Doudna: No, probably not! That is not to say that everything that happened in the past 10 years was great. Believe me, a lot of it was not great in certain ways. But [the whole journey] is part of the path that I am on collectively with my colleagues. Whether it is dealing with the pandemic or celebrating the scientific successes that we have had or educating the next generation of scientists. All of these things have shaped where we are right now. Even with the pandemic, which has obviously been extraordinarily difficult for everyone.
I think there is, in some ways, an interesting silver lining where we are able to find a path toward different and better diagnostics in the future. We hope we all have better ways of being prepared for future pandemics through all of this. And of course, work that has gone on elsewhere to bring us mRNA vaccines as quickly as those that came about is truly exceptional. All these experiences are part of the journey.
LeMieux: If you could go back 10 years and give yourself a piece of advice, what would it have been?
Doudna: It would be something like, “just go with it.” Challenges come up all the time for all of us, right? But what I have found in my life is to view those challenges as opportunities in some way. Whether it is to make myself a better person, to learn from mistakes and move forward in new directions, and to celebrate successes when they happen. And, of course, to embrace wonderful colleagues. I try to tell myself to go with it and take the long view. There are always short-term setbacks for things, but if you keep your eye on the ball, that often is a good strategy for keeping up your morale and continuing to take the next step forward.
LeMieux: Great advice. Finally, where do you think we will be in 10 years’ time when we invite you back for “The State of Biotech 2032”?!
Doudna: Whoa, boy! You have saved the hardest one for last! I cannot predict what will happen next year, you know? But, if you pushed me, I think we will be at a point in 10 years where the toolbox we have been discussing has continued to expand in directions that are hard to even imagine right now. It will not just be CRISPR. The toolbox gets bigger all the time. I think the opportunities to use CRISPR to improve people’s lives will continue to advance. And I certainly hope that within 10 years, we have figured out how to create a smoother pipeline that will take innovations and allow us to transfer them and translate them as quickly as possible into real-world applications.
In the end, that is what our institute is all about. It is about fostering fundamental innovation, but importantly, connecting it to the investors, the entrepreneurs, etc., who are going to be able to take those discoveries and turn them into actual practical applications.
The post CRISPR’s Second Decade: Jennifer Doudna Looks Forward and Back appeared first on GEN - Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology News.testing clinical trials genome genetic therapy dna pandemic covid-19
UN Initiative Targets And Doxxes Doctors And Nurses Who Don’t Follow COVID-19 Narrative
UN Initiative Targets And Doxxes Doctors And Nurses Who Don’t Follow COVID-19 Narrative
Authored by Katie Spence via The Epoch Times (emphasis…
Authored by Katie Spence via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),
Nicole Sirotek is a registered nurse in Nevada with over a decade of experience working in some of the harshest conditions. When a hurricane devastated Puerto Rico, Sirotek and the organization she founded, American Frontline Nurses (AFLN), were there and gave out over 500 pounds of medical equipment and supplies.
She hasn’t hesitated to be the first in when an emergency hits and medical professionals are needed. She’s lost count of the number of times she’s woken up on a cot in the middle of nowhere, boots still strapped to her feet, and ready to go.
But in tears during an interview with The Epoch Times, she detailed her ordeal with harassment and doxing over the past year and how she’s contemplated suicide due to crippling anxiety and depression.
“It took such a toll on my mental health. I wasn’t sleeping and wasn’t eating,” Sirotek said.
To regain her mental health, she decided to step back from the group she started. But even that decision brought pain.
“I said after I left New York, I’d do everything that I can to make sure it didn’t happen again,” Sirotek said, recalling the death she witnessed when she volunteered in New York as a nurse at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. “I mean, for me to step back and take a break just makes me feel like I failed!”
Sirotek is the victim of ongoing harassment. She’s received pictures of her children posed in slaughterhouses and hanging from a noose, drive-by photos of her house, and letters with white powder that exploded upon opening.
The Nevada State Board of Nursing was inundated with calls for Sirotek’s professional demise and flooded with anonymous complaints.
In response, Sirotek filed a police report. Her lawyer sent a cease-and-desist letter. The Epoch Times reviewed the documents.
The reply from the cease-and-desist letter? The client was acting within his First Amendment rights.
The Harassment Begins
In February 2022, Sirotek, as the face of AFLN, a patient advocacy network that boasts 22,000 nurses, appeared before Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) and testified about the harm patients were experiencing when they sought treatment for COVID-19.
She said she didn’t witness patients dying from the novel virus when she volunteered to work the front lines in New York at the start of the pandemic.
Instead, in her opinion, as a medical professional with multiple master’s degrees, patients were dying from “negligence” and “medical malfeasance.”
Sirotek detailed the withholding by higher-ups of steroids and Ibuprofen and the prescribing of remdesivir. Additionally, there was zero willingness to consider possible early intervention treatments like ivermectin.
As the pandemic continued, such practices only escalated, Sirotek said.
Sirotek’s testimony resulted in cheers, widespread attention, and a target on her back.
“[The harassment] all started the day we got back from DC,” Sirotek said.
At first, the attacks started with the typical “you’re transphobic, you’re anti-LGBTQ. I mean, they even called me racist,” Sirotek, who is Hispanic, recalled.
And as more patients sought AFLN’s help, the attacks increased in frequency and force.
At first, Sirotek said the attacks appeared to come from random people. But as the attacks continued, the terms “Project Halo,” “Team Halo,” and “#TeamHalo” continually cropped up. Especially on TikTok and from two accounts, “@jesss2019” and “@thatsassynp.”
“[@thatsassynp] just kept on saying how I was spreading misinformation, [that] ivermectin doesn’t work,” Sirotek said. “He kept targeting the Nevada State Board of Nursing because I was on the Practice Act Committee, and he did not feel like that was acceptable.”
Craig Perry, a lawyer representing nurses, including Sirotek, before the Nevada State Board of Nursing, confirmed Sirotek’s account. The executive director of the Nevada State Board of Nursing, Cathy Dinauer, declined to provide details on complaints or investigations, stating to The Epoch Times via email that they are “confidential.”
Sirotek said the complaints overwhelmed her ability to defend her nursing license.
“Untimely, they were filing so many complaints against me that [the Nevada State Board of Nursing] had to start filtering them as to what was applicable and not applicable. And [the complaints] just buried my nursing license to the point that we couldn’t even defend it,” Sirotek said.
Attacks Transition to Threats
Whenever Sirotek, or AFLN, tried to set up a community outreach webinar, hateful comments flooded their videos.
Julia McCabe, a registered nurse and the director of advocacy services for AFLN, told The Epoch Times that initially, they tried kicking the trolls out of the outreach videos. But they couldn’t keep up with the overwhelming numbers and had to shut the videos down, usually after only 10 minutes, she said.
To address the swarms, as McCabe labeled them, AFLN started charging an entrance fee for their webinars. But, McCabe said, they’d send out an email with a free access code to all of their subscribers before the webinar started. It helped, but not enough. The swarms kept coming. And the attacks escalated.
On June 5, 2022, @thatsassynp posted a video on TikTok calling for a “serious public uprising,” because the Nevada State Board of Nursing and other regulatory agencies weren’t disciplining nurses for spreading “disinformation.”
It became one of many such videos in the ensuing days. In the comments of one, he stated, “Also, stay tuned as [@jesss2019] will be addressing this as well. We are teaming up (as per usual) to raise awareness and demand action on this issue.” @jesss2019 responded, “Yes!!!! We will get this taken care of.”
Jess and Tyler Kuhk of @thatsassynp have “teamed up” on several occasions, targeting healthcare workers who question the COVID-19 narrative. Team Halo doesn’t officially list Kuhk on its site, but Kuhk posts with the #teamhalo.
In another video, he states, “If you’re new to this series, PLEASE watch the videos in my playlist ‘Nevada board of nursing.’ This started in Feb of this year.” His video has almost 35,000 “loves.”
On June 7, 2022, @jesss2019 posted a video on TikTok accusing Sirotek of spreading misinformation. It included a link to @thatsassynp, and his complaints about Sirotek to the Nevada State Board of Nursing and calls to remove her from the Practice Act Committee. She implored TikTok to boost the message. It, too, became one of many videos attacking Sirotek.
Specifically, @jesss2019 and @thatsassynp took issue with videos and posts from Sirotek, and AFLN, advocating for ivermectin and highlighting possible issues with remdesivir and the COVID-19 vaccines.
@jess2019 removed all of the above videos after The Epoch Times sought comment. The Epoch Times retains copies.
Sirotek says she received the first death threat against herself and her children around the same time, in June 2022.
“They cut off the pictures of my children’s faces from our family photos, where we take them every year on our front porch—we’ve got 11 years of those photos—and they cut them out and put them on the bodies of those little boys that have been sexually abused. And that’s what would get sent to my house. And I gave the police that,” Sirotek said.
In response to a request for comment from The Epoch Times, Sen. Johnson defended Sirotek.
“The COVID Cartel continues to frighten and silence those who tell the truth and challenge their failed response to COVID,” Johnson said. “It is simply wrong for Ms. Sirotek to be smeared and attacked like so many others who have had the courage and compassion to successfully treat COVID patients.”
As the threats continued and escalated, Sirotek also asked Perry to send a cease-and-desist letter to Tyler Kuhk on Aug. 1, 2022.
Kuhk, a nurse practitioner, is the person posting on TikTok under the pseudonym @thatsassynp.
The letter sent to Kuhk alleges that on at least 10 different occasions, @thatsassynp encouraged a “public uprising” against Sirotek. It also details that his videos attacking Sirotek garnered over 400,000 views.
In response, McLetchie Law, a “boutique law firm serving prominent and emerging … media entities” responded to Perry by stating in a letter dated Aug. 16, 2022, “Both Nevada law and the First Amendment provide robust protections for our client’s (and others’) rights to criticize Ms. Sirotek’s dangerous views and practices—and to advocate for her removal from the Nursing Practice Advisory Committee of the Nevada State Board of Nursing.”
It also warned that any attempt to deter Kuhk from his chosen path would “backfire” and could result in a “negative financial impact.” Neither Kuhk nor McLetchie Law responded to The Epoch Times’ request for comment.
Unable to confirm the real name behind the TikTok account @jesss2019, and thus, unable to send her a legal letter, Sirotek posted some of the threats she’d received on Facebook, pleading for @jesss2019 to cease targeting her, and recognize the possible real-world harm.
In desperation, Sirotek asked Perry to file a legal name change, which he did on Sep. 15, 2022, hoping that would thwart people’s ability to look up Sirotek’s information. Perry told The Epoch Times, “Usually, when you do a name change, it’s a public record. But under extenuating circumstances, you can have that sealed.”
In Sirotek’s case, the court recognized the threat to her and her family’s safety, waived the publication requirement, granted the change, and sealed her record on Oct. 4, 2022.
Sirotek, at the behest of Perry, filed a police report detailing the harassment on Oct. 17, 2022.
In December 2022, @jesss2019 posted a video to TikTok doxing Sirotek by revealing her name change. The Epoch Times sought comment from @jesss2019 but has not received a response. After the request for comment, the user removed the video.
Team Halo and Social Media
On Dec. 17, 2020, Theo Bertram, a director at TikTok; Iain Bundred, the head of public policy at YouTube; and Rebecca Stimson, the UK head of public policy for Facebook, appeared before the UK’s House of Commons to explain what their social media sites were doing to combat “anti-vaccination disinformation.”
All three stated their companies employed a “two-pronged approach.” Specifically, “tackle disinformation and promote trusted content.”
Bundred stated that from the beginning of the year to November 2020, YouTube had removed 750,000 videos that promoted “Covid disinformation.”
Stimson stated that between March and October 2020, “12 million pieces of content were removed from [Facebook],” and it had labeled 167 million pieces with a warning.
Bertram stated that for the first six months of 2020, TikTok removed 1,500 accounts for “Covid violation” and had recently increased that activity. “In the last two months, we took action against 1,380 accounts, so you can see the level of action is increasing,” Bertram said.
“In October, we began work with Team Halo,” Bertram added. “I do not know if you are familiar with Team Halo. It is run by the Vaccine Confidence Project at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and is about getting reliable, trusted scientists and doctors on to social media to spread trusted information.”
Team Halo’s Origins
On Sep. 20, 2022, Melissa Fleming, the under-secretary-general for global communications at the United Nations, appeared at the World Economic Forum to discuss how the United Nations was “Tackling Disinformation” regarding “health guidance” as well as the “safety and efficacy of the vaccine” for COVID-19.
“A key strategy that we had was to deploy influencers,” Fleming stated. “Influencers who were really keen, who had huge followings, but really keen to help carry messages that were going to serve their communities.”
Fleming also explained that the United Nations knew its messaging wouldn’t resonate as well as influencers, so they developed Team Halo.
“We had another trusted messenger project, which was called Team Halo, where we trained scientists around the world, and some doctors, on TikTok. We had TikTok working with us,” Fleming said. “It was a layered deployment of ideas and tactics.”
Read more here...
Why Is There A COVID Vaccine Mandate For Students?
Why Is There A COVID Vaccine Mandate For Students?
Authored by Margaret Anna Alice via ‘Through The Looking Glass’ Substack,
Letter to the…
Letter to the Stanford Daily: Why Is There a COVID Vaccine Mandate for Students?
“Not to know is bad. Not to wish to know is worse.”
I can’t figure out why Stanford is mandating the COVID vaccine for students.
Is it to protect students from the virus, hospitalization, or death?
Is it to protect them from other students?
Is it to protect the Stanford community members from the students?
If it’s to protect the students from catching COVID, that doesn’t make sense because the CDC says it “no longer differentiate[s] based on a person’s vaccination status because breakthrough infections occur.”
The CDC also acknowledges natural immunity, noting that “persons who have had COVID-19 but are not vaccinated have some degree of protection against severe illness from their previous infection.”
It appears Stanford didn’t get the memo because Maxwell Meyer—a double-jabbed, COVID-recovered alum who was nearly prohibited from graduating for choosing not to get boosted—was informed by an administrator that the booster mandate is “not predicated on history of infection or physical location.”
Despite living 2,000 miles away from campus and not being enrolled in coursework for his final term, Maxwell was told Stanford was “uniformly enforc[ing]” the mandate “regardless of student location.” Does that sound like a rational policy?
Fortunately, a different administrator intervened and granted Maxwell an exemption, but few Stanford students are so lucky. Almost everyone else simply follows the rules without realizing they’ve volunteered for vaccine roulette.
A Cleveland Clinic study of the bivalent vaccines involving 51,011 participants found the risk of getting COVID-19 increased “with the number of vaccine doses previously received”—much to the authors’ surprise.
They were stumped as to why “those who chose not to follow the CDC’s recommendations on remaining updated with COVID-19 vaccination” had a lower risk of catching COVID than “those who received a larger number of prior vaccine doses.”
So if the vaccines don’t keep you from getting COVID, maybe they at least protect you from hospitalization?
That doesn’t wash, either, because according to data from the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)-Associated Hospitalization Surveillance Network (COVID-NET), hospitalization rates for 18–64-year-olds have increased 11 percent since the vaccine rollout. Worse, kids under 18 have suffered a shocking 74 percent spike in hospitalizations.
An observational study conducted at Germany’s University Hospital Wuerzburg found:
“The rate of adverse reactions for the second booster dose was significantly higher among participants receiving the bivalent 84.6% (95% CI 70.3%–92.8%; 33/39) compared to the monovalent 51.4% (95% CI 35.9–66.6%; 19/37) vaccine (p=0.0028). Also, there was a trend towards an increased rate of inability to work and intake of PRN medication following bivalent vaccination.”
A new paper published in Science titled Class Switch Towards Non-Inflammatory, Spike-Specific IgG4 Antibodies after Repeated SARS-CoV-2 mRNA Vaccination even has Eric Topol concerned:
Late after mRNA Covid vaccines, or with booster or breakthrough infections, there is a shift to IgG4 antibodies, not seen with adenovirus vector vaccines. The clinical significance is not knownhttps://t.co/5thLxRwemm @SciImmunology @UniFAU pic.twitter.com/YozSLVjVLd— Eric Topol (@EricTopol) December 22, 2022
If you don’t know what that means, Dr. Syed Haider spells it out in this tweet. He explains that the shots “train your immune system to ignore the allergen by repeated exposure,” the end result being that “Your immune system is shifted to see the virus as a harmless allergen” and the “virus runs amok.”
Latest IgG4 COVID vax study— Dr. Syed Haider (@DrSyedHaider) December 28, 2022
Think allergy shots. They train your immune system to ignore the allergen by repeated exposure.
That’s what repeated shots with the vax are doing.
Your immune system is shifted to see the virus as a harmless allergen.
Which means: virus runs amok.
Well, then does the vaccine at least prevent people from dying of COVID?
Nope. According to the Washington Post, “Vaccinated people now make up a majority of COVID deaths.”
At Senator Ron Johnson’s December 7, 2022, roundtable discussion on COVID-19 Vaccines, former number-one–ranked Wall Street insurance analyst Josh Stirling reported that, according to UK government data:
“The people in the UK who took the vaccine have a 26% higher mortality rate. The people who are under the age of 50 who took the vaccine now have a 49% higher mortality rate.”
Obtained by a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to KBV (the association representing physicians who receive insurance in Germany), “the most important dataset of the pandemic” shows fatalities starting to spike in 2021.
Data analyst Tom Lausen assessed the ICD-10 disease codes in this dataset, and the findings are startling. His presentation includes the following chart documenting fatalities per quarter from 2016 to 2022:
This parallels the skyrocketing fatality rates seen in VAERS:
The vaccinated are more likely to contract, become hospitalized from, and die of COVID. If the vaccine fails on all of those counts, does it at least prevent its transmission to other students and community members?
The obvious answer is no since we already know it doesn’t prevent you from getting COVID, but this CDC study drives the point home, showing that during a COVID outbreak in Barnstable County, Massachusetts, “three quarters (346; 74%) of cases occurred in fully vaccinated persons.”
Maybe Stanford can tell us why they feel the mandate is necessary. Their booster requirement reads:
“Why does Stanford have a student booster shot requirement? Our booster requirement is intended to support sustained immunity against COVID-19 and is consistent with the advice of county and federal public health leaders. Booster shots enhance immunity, providing additional protection to individuals and reducing the possibility of being hospitalized for COVID. In addition, booster shots prevent infection in many individuals, thereby slowing the spread of the virus. A heavily boosted campus community reduces the possibility of widespread disruptions that could impact the student experience, especially in terms of in-person classes and activities and congregate housing.”
The claim that “booster shots enhance immunity” links to a January 2022 New York Times article. It seems Stanford has failed to keep up with the science because the very source they cite as authoritative is now reporting, “The newer variants, called BQ.1 and BQ.1.1, are spreading quickly, and boosters seem to do little to prevent infections with these viruses.”
Speaking of not keeping up, that same article says the new bivalent boosters target “the original version of the coronavirus and the Omicron variants circulating earlier this year, BA.4 and BA.5.”
It then goes on to quote Head of Beth Israel Deaconess’s Center for Virology & Vaccine Research Dan Barouch, who says, “It’s not likely that any of the vaccines or boosters, no matter how many you get, will provide substantial and sustained protection against acquisition of infection.”
In other words, Stanford’s rationale for requiring the boosters is obsolete according to the authority they cite in their justification.
If Stanford is genuinely concerned about “reduc[ing] the possibility of widespread disruptions that could impact the student experience,” then it should not only stop mandating the vaccine but advise against it.
Some nations have suspended or recommended against COVID shots for younger populations due to the considerable risks of adverse events such as pulmonary embolism and myocarditis—from Denmark (under 50) to Norway (under 45) to Australia (under 50) to the United Kingdom (seasonal boosters for under 50).
The Danish Health Authority explains why people under 50 are “not to be re-vaccinated”:
“People aged under 50 are generally not at particularly higher risk of becoming severely ill from covid-19. In addition, younger people aged under 50 are well protected against becoming severely ill from covid-19, as a very large number of them have already been vaccinated and have previously been infected with covid-19, and there is consequently good immunity among this part of the population.”
Here’s what a Norwegian physician and health official had to say:
“Especially the youngest should consider potential side effects against the benefits of taking this dose.”
—Ingrid Bjerring, Chief Doctor at Lier Municipality
“We did not find sufficient evidence to recommend that this part of the population [younger age bracket] should take a new dose now.… Each vaccine comes with the risk for side effects. Is it then responsible to offer this, when we know that the individual health benefit of a booster likely is low?”
—Are Stuwitz Berg, Department Director at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health
A new Nordic cohort study of 8.9 million participants supports these concerns, finding a nearly nine-fold increase in myocarditis among males aged 12–39 within 28 days of receiving the Moderna COVID-19 booster over those who stopped after two doses.
This mirrors my own findings that myocarditis rates are up 10 times among the vaccinated according to a public healthcare worker survey.
Coauthored by MIT professor and risk management expert Retsef Levi, the Nature article Increased Emergency Cardiovascular Events Among Under-40 Population in Israel During Vaccine Rollout and Third COVID-19 Wave reveals a 25 percent increase in cardiac emergency calls for 16–39-year-olds from January to May 2021 as compared with the previous two years.
The paper cites a study by Israel’s Ministry of Health that “assesses the risk of myocarditis after receiving the 2nd vaccine dose to be between 1 in 3000 to 1 in 6000 in men of age 16–24 and 1 in 120,000 in men under 30.”
A Thai study published in Tropical Medicine and Infectious Disease found cardiovascular manifestations in 29.24 percent of the adolescent cohort—including myopericarditis and tachycardia.
“[W]e need to be upfront that nearly every intervention has some risk, and the coronavirus vaccine is no different. The most significant risk is myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart muscle, which is most common in young men. The CDC cites a rate of 39 myocarditis cases per 1 million second doses given in males 18 to 24. Some studies found a much higher rate; a large Canadian database reported that among men ages 18 to 29 who received the second dose of the Moderna vaccine, the rate of myocarditis was 22 for every 100,000 doses.”
All over the world, prominent physicians, scientists, politicians, and professors are asking pointed questions about illogical mandates; the safety and efficacy of the vaccines; and the dangers posed by the mRNA technology, spike protein, and lipid nanoparticles—including in the UK, Japan, Australia, Europe, and the US.
Formerly pro-vaxx cardiologists such as Dr. Aseem Malhotra, Dr. Dean Patterson, and Dr. Ross Walker are all saying the COVID vaccines should be immediately stopped due to the significant increase in cardiac diseases, adverse events, and excess mortality observed since their rollout, noting that, “until proven otherwise, these vaccines are not safe.”
Dear Prime Minister @RishiSunak,— Dr Aseem Malhotra (@DrAseemMalhotra) December 18, 2022
YOU have the power to stop the ongoing unnecessary harm that is devastating individuals and families. @Keir_Starmer the Labour Party also lost one of its most decorated doctors @KailashChandOBE to this mRNA product. Please stop this roll out NOW https://t.co/SECbfK9joz
BREAKING:— Dr Aseem Malhotra (@DrAseemMalhotra) December 16, 2022
President of the international vascular society raises concerns about covid vaccines in relation to cardiovascular problems.
‘It would be great if someone can show us the light of where to go from here’
We must pause the mRNA jab now to stop more unnecessary harm pic.twitter.com/gIZr19SVl8
And now, perhaps most notably, Dr. John Campbell has performed a 180-degree turn on his previous position and is saying it is time to pause the mass vaccination program “due to the risks associated with the vaccines”:
A Rasmussen poll published on December 7, 2022, found 7 percent of vaccinated respondents have suffered major side effects—a percentage that echoes the 7.7 percent of V-Safe users who sought medical care as well as my own polling data.
Add the 34 percent who reported experiencing minor side effects, and you have nearly 72 million adults who’ve been hit with side effects from the vaccine.
Rasmussen Head Pollster Mark Mitchell explains:
“With 7% having a major side effect, that means over 12 million adults in the US have experienced a self-described major side effect that they attribute to the COVID-19 vaccine. That’s over 11 times the reported COVID death numbers. And also note that anyone who may have died from the vaccine obviously can’t tell us that in the poll.”
“The Pfizer and Moderna trials are both showing a clear signal of increased risk of serious adverse events among the vaccinated.…
“The trial data are indicating that we’re seeing about an elevated risk of these serious adverse events of around 1 in 800 people vaccinated.… That is much, much more common than what you see for other vaccines, where the reported rates are in the range of 1 or 2 per million vaccinees. In these trials, we’re seeing 1 in every 800. And this is a rate that in past years has had vaccines taken off the market.…
“We’re talking about randomized trials … which are widely considered the highest-quality evidence, and we’re talking about the trials that were submitted by Pfizer and Moderna that supported the regulators’ authorization.”
Dr Peter Doshi senior editor of the BMJ wants to know why we haven't already #StoptheShots when 1 in 800 are seriously harmed, yet previous vaccines were suspended for harming 'only' 1 in 100'000.— Porridge2022 (@porridge2022) December 16, 2022
Beats me too! pic.twitter.com/llT4JwL5WQ
And this is the same Pfizer data the FDA tried to keep hidden from the public for 75 years.
Nothing to see here … except 1,223 deaths, 158,000 adverse events, and 1,291 side effects reported in the first 90 days according to the 5.3.6 Cumulative Analysis of Post-Authorization Adverse Event Reports—and those numbers are likely underreported by a factor of at least 10 (my conservative calculations show an underreporting factor (URF) of 41 for VAERS).
Stanford is asking students to risk a 1 in 800 chance of serious adverse events—meaning the kind of events that can land you in the hospital, disable you, and kill you. And for what?
Anyone who knows how to perform a cost-benefit analysis can see this is all cost and zero benefit.
Stanford’s own Dr. John Ioannidis—professor of medicine, epidemiology & population health, statistics, and biomedical data science—demonstrated that college students are at a near-zero risk of dying from COVID-19 in his “Age-Stratified Infection Fatality Rate of COVID-19 in the Non-Elderly Population.”
One of the six most-cited scientists in the world, Ioannidis found the median IFR was 0.0003 percent for those under 20 and 0.002 percent for twenty-somethings, concluding the fatalities “are lower than pre-pandemic years when only the younger age strata are considered” and that “the IFR in non-elderly individuals was much lower than previously thought.”
And yet Ioannidis’s employer is mandating an experimental product with extensively documented risks of severe harm.
What if a Stanford student dies and the coroner determines it was caused by the vaccine? That happened with George Watts Jr., a 24-year-old college student whose cause of death Chief Deputy Coroner Timothy Cahill Jr. attributed to “COVID-19 vaccine-related myocarditis.” Cahill says, “The vaccine caused the heart to go into failure.”
“We are revoking our vaccination policy and will no longer require students, employees, and visitors to be vaccinated to come to campus.”
The timing is interesting, don’t you think? I’m sure it’s just a coincidence—even though this Clinical Research in Cardiology paper determined vaccine-induced myocardial inflammation was the cause of death in “five persons who have died unexpectedly within seven days following anti-SARS-CoV-2-vaccination.” In that analysis, the authors “establish the histological phenotype of lethal vaccination-associated myocarditis.”
Coincidences notwithstanding, Stanford may want to revoke the mandate before anything like that happens to one of its students … if it hasn’t already.
“Mandating COVID-19 vaccines under an EUA is legally and ethically problematic. The act authorizing the FDA to issue EUAs requires the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to specify whether individuals may refuse the vaccine and the consequences for refusal. Vaccine mandates are unjustified because an EUA requires less safety and efficacy data than full Biologics License Application (BLA) approval.”
Dr. Naomi Wolf delivered an impassioned speech to her alma mater, Yale, in which she called their booster mandate “a serious crime. It is deeply illegal. Certainly, it violates Title IX.” She explains:
“Title IX commits the university to not discriminate on the basis of sex or gender in getting an equal education.… I oversee a project in which 3,500 experts review the Pfizer documents released under court order by a lawsuit. In that document, there is catastrophic harm to women! And especially to young women! And especially to their reproductive health.… 72% of those with adverse events in the Pfizer documents are women!”
Other universities are currently facing lawsuits for mandating the COVID vaccine in violation of state laws, including one against Ohio University, University of Cincinnati, Bowling Green State University, and Miami University of Ohio.
Abundant evidence proves the vaccines FAIL to:
prevent contraction of COVID
lower hospitalization rates
By the same token, this evidence shows the vaccines are ASSOCIATED with:
heightened transmission levels
greater chances of catching COVID
increased hospitalization rates
higher excess mortality
disproportionate injuries to women
Why is Stanford mandating these unsafe and ineffective products, again?
If logic, peer-reviewed studies, and legal concerns such as the violation of Title IX don’t convince Stanford to rescind the mandate, then what about its stated ethical commitment to upholding its Code of Conduct?
BMJ’s Journal of Medical Ethics recently published COVID-19 Vaccine Boosters for Young Adults: A Risk Benefit Assessment and Ethical Analysis of Mandate Policies at Universities. In this paper, eminent researchers from Harvard, Oxford, Johns Hopkins, and UC San Francisco (among other institutions) present five reasons university mandates are unethical.
They argue that the vaccines:
“(1) are not based on an updated (Omicron era) stratified risk-benefit assessment for this age group; (2) may result in a net harm to healthy young adults; (3) are not proportionate: expected harms are not outweighed by public health benefits given modest and transient effectiveness of vaccines against transmission; (4) violate the reciprocity principle because serious vaccine-related harms are not reliably compensated due to gaps in vaccine injury schemes; and (5) may result in wider social harms.” (emphases mine here and below)
They calculate that:
“To prevent one COVID-19 hospitalisation over a 6-month period, we estimate that 31,207–42,836 young adults aged 18–29 years must receive a third mRNA vaccine.”
The authors conclude that:
“university COVID-19 vaccine mandates are likely to cause net expected harms to young healthy adults—for each hospitalisation averted we estimate approximately 18.5 SAEs and 1,430–4,626 disruptions of daily activities.… these severe infringements of individual liberty and human rights are ethically unjustifiable.”
This builds on a previously published BMJ Global Health article by some of the same authors titled, “The Unintended Consequences of COVID-19 Vaccine Policy: Why Mandates, Passports, and Restrictions May Cause More Harm Than Good.”
In this paper, the authors contend that COVID-19 vaccine mandates “have unintended harmful consequences and may not be ethical, scientifically justified, and effective” and “may prove to be both counterproductive and damaging to public health.”
Over the course of history, countless products once thought to be safe—from DDT to cigarettes to thalidomide for pregnant women to Vioxx—were eventually discovered to be dangerous and even lethal. Responsible governments, agencies, and companies pull those products from the market when the scientific data proves harm—and institutions that care about their community members certainly don’t mandate those products when evidence of risk becomes obvious, as is the case now for the experimental COVID vaccines.
Mahatma Gandhi once stated:
“An error does not become truth by reason of multiplied propagation, nor does truth become error because nobody sees it. Truth stands, even if there be no public support. It is self-sustained.”
The truth is clear to anyone who’s willing to look.
Will it stand up for the lives and health of its students—or will it wait until tragedy strikes another George Watts Jr. or Megha Thakur?
This is a historic opportunity for Stanford to prove its allegiance to people, scientific data, and critical thought over pharmaceutical donors, political pressures, and conformist thinking.
The stakes could not be higher.
* * *
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Massive Peer-Reviewed Mask Study Shows ‘Little To No Difference’ In Preventing COVID, Flu Infection
Massive Peer-Reviewed Mask Study Shows ‘Little To No Difference’ In Preventing COVID, Flu Infection
A massive international research collaboration…
A massive international research collaboration that analyzed several dozen rigorous studies focusing on "physical interventions" against COVID-19 and influenza found that they provide little to no protection against infection or illness rates.
The study, published in the peer-reviewed Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, is the strongest science to date refuting the basis for mask mandates worldwide.
Nearly 60% of South Korea's population has now tested positive for COVID despite nearly three years of consistent universal masking with overwhelming compliance— Ian Miller (@ianmSC) January 25, 2023
When will it be enough for "experts" to admit masks don't work? pic.twitter.com/LS0JF9niog
And of course, the CDC still recommends masking in areas with "high" rates of transmission (fewer than 4% of US counties, as Just the News notes), along with indoor masking in areas with "medium" rates of transmission (27%).
Masks are still required in educational institutions in Democratic strongholds such as New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Washington and California, according to the Daily Mail. Boston Public Schools denied its "temporary masking protocol" in early January was a "mandate," following a public letter against the policy by student Enrique Abud Evereteze.
South Korea is still requiring masks on public transport and in medical facilities after dropping COVID mandates in most indoor settings, including gyms, Monday, Reuters reported. -Just the News
According to the Cochrane study, which included the work of researchers at institutions in the U.K., Canada, Australia, Italy and Saudi Arabia, a total of 78 studies were analyzed. Most recent additions to the meta-analysis were 11 new randomized controlled trials.
As unlisted study author Carl Heneghan - who directs the Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine at the University of Oxford noted on Twitter: "Wearing masks in the community probably makes little or no difference to the outcome of influenza‐like illness (ILI)/COVID‐19 like illness compared to not wearing masks."
Wearing masks in the community probably makes little or no difference to the outcome of influenza‐like illness (ILI)/COVID‐19 like illness compared to not wearing masks (risk ratio (RR) 0.95, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.84 to 1.09; 9 trials, 276,917 participants— Carl Heneghan (@carlheneghan) January 30, 2023
Harms were rarely measured and poorly reported (very low‐certainty evidence).— Carl Heneghan (@carlheneghan) January 30, 2023
The Danish study had trouble finding a major journal willing to publish its controversial findings that wearing surgical masks had no statistically significant effect on infection rates, even among those who claimed to wear them "exactly as instructed."
Mainstream media overlooked red flags in the Bangladeshi mask study, which found no effect for surgical masks under age 50 and a difference of only 20 infections between control and treatment groups among 342,000 adults. -JTN
Bottom line, mask wearing "probably makes little to no difference," when it comes to influenza-like or COVID-like illnesses, regardless of type of mask used.
2/ LARGE Cochrane Rev (just published 1/30/23) of RCT data ALSO CONFIRMS NO BENEFIT of N95 masks vs. med/surg masks, in either community (n~8K) or HCW (n~8K) settings for prevention of flu-like illness or lab confirmed flu https://t.co/N4TkgI4uUR pic.twitter.com/0DCdYAPo7x— Andrew Bostom, MD, MS (@andrewbostom) January 31, 2023
We're sure the cult of Fauci will now start insisting peer-reviewed meta-analyses aren't 'the science.'
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