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Lancet Commission Report: 6 Reasons COVID Response “A Massive Global Failure”

Lancet Commission Report: 6 Reasons COVID Response "A Massive Global Failure"

Authored by Dr. Yuhong Dong and Health 1+1 via The Epoch Times,

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Lancet Commission Report: 6 Reasons COVID Response "A Massive Global Failure"

Authored by Dr. Yuhong Dong and Health 1+1 via The Epoch Times,

The Lancet COVID-19 Commission published an article on Sept. 14, 2022 about the lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic. As of May 31, 2022, 6.9 million deaths from COVID-19 were reported, but the estimated excess death toll is 17.2 million, based on data from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington. The report states that “this staggering death toll is both a profound tragedy and a massive global failure at multiple levels.”

The Commission identified six major areas of failures, namely failures of prevention, failures of rationality, failures of transparency, failures to follow normal public health practice, failures of operational cooperation, and failures of international solidarity.

Due to these failures, social sustainability goals were set back a few years and 17.2 million lives were lost.

What can we learn from these failures? I’d like to share my thoughts based on the six failure reasons raised by Lancet.

First Lesson Learned: Failure of Prevention

Many countries adopted aggressive methods to stop the spread of the virus, such as social distancing, lockdowns, vaccines, etc. But none of the methods hit the nail in the head, so to speak.

A SARS-CoV-2 human challenge experiment was done among young adults by researchers in the UK. Their paper was published in the March 2022 issue of Nature.

The study involved 36 healthy volunteers aged 18–29 without history of SARS-CoV-2 infection or vaccination. They were inoculated with the SARS-CoV-2 virus intranasally. During the experiment, two were excluded from the Per-Protocol analysis because baseline antibodies were detected. The results of 34 subjects were: 16 participants were infected (confirmed with PCR tests) with mild symptoms, 3 were infected (confirmed with PCR tests) but were asymptomatic, and 15 participants remained uninfected.

The reason why the 15 participants were not infected should be the key to prevention. In my view, this key is to strengthen people’s immune systems.

Humans have an intricate immune system, a comprehensive defense network against external invading substances. The first line of defense is the physical barriers such as skin, nose hair, tears, etc. They can block most pathogens from entering the body.

The second line of defense is the epithelial interferon barrier. When a virus enters an epithelial cell, the cell automatically activates its antiviral mechanism and produces interferon. Interferon is a natural enemy of viruses and sends instructions to coordinate cells to fight the virus and prevent it from replicating.

Even if the virus enters the blood, there are the innate and adaptive immune cells to protect us. These include the macrophages, dendritic cells, and natural killer cells in the blood, all of which play an important role in antiviral immunity.

No matter what type of disease we are facing, it is important to know that the pathogens are external factors, and it is the human body itself that determines whether we fall ill or not. After we identify and correct the problems in our immune system, those external factors won’t matter much.

Therefore, strengthening our innate immune functions is the key to prevent pandemic spread.

Second Lesson Learned: Failure of Rationality

Rationality refers to the ability to make decisions based on facts. In the process of vaccine development, irrationalities included blindly pushing the vaccine among the masses without a complete evaluation of its efficacy and safety.

There are many limitations with the vaccines.

  1. Inability to prevent infection: Neutralizing antibodies are mainly produced in the human bloodstream, but not in the epithelial cells. Therefore, if the first two lines of defense were weakened, the virus could still enter the blood and cause infection. That is why the vaccine and antibody strategy is unable to prevent infection.
  2. Needs to be renewed: Vaccines need to be renewed along with the virus variation, and the current vaccine is designed based on the genetic code of the old strain in 2020.
  3. Needs time to develop: On average, it takes five to 10 years to develop a vaccine. It requires a significant amount of animal trials and human trials to ensure the vaccine’s safety and prove its efficacy. Viruses mutate quickly. The speed of vaccine development can never match that of the viral mutation. If the vaccine is injected frequently for different variants of the virus, it will generate the antibody-dependent enhancement effect (ADE effect), which makes the vaccine ineffective.
  4. Inferior to our natural immunity: Numerous studies have shown that the immunity produced by the human body against viruses after natural infection is much longer lasting and stronger than the antibodies produced by simply stimulating T cells with vaccines.

Additionally, a growing body of basic research has found that the spike protein on the surface of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which is a component of the vaccine, not only binds to cell surface receptors, but also causes cardiac cell damage, vascular damage, mitochondrial damage, and induces chronic inflammatory states. It is a toxic protein.

Under these circumstances, it is irrational and potentially damaging to use spike protein to stimulate the body.

Moreover, the rocket-like speed of vaccine development and uncertainty of vaccine safety issues has brought stress and tension among people, which can cause excessive release of stress hormones and reduce the human body’s immune resistance to the virus further.

It is good to be proactive, but we should follow the nature of the epidemic, and treat people as fellow humans rather than “living beings.” With a pandemic response, we should first ensure that people eat, drink, and rest well, and are emotionally stable. We shouldn’t over-medicate and over-react.

The Third Lesson Learned: Failure of Transparency

The September 2021 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine published a study of Pfizer’s BNT162b2 mRNA COVID-19 vaccine over six months. There was one case of cardiac arrest in the placebo group, but 4 cases in those who received the vaccine. But this data was not transparently discussed in the main article, but in the supplementary appendix.

Although the numbers are too small to be statistically significant, from a pharmacovigilance perspective, this is an unusual safety signal and due diligence should be further made.

As of Sept. 23, 2022, the VAERS COVID Vaccine Adverse Event Reports database has recorded 1,424,789 cases of adverse events with 31,214 deaths, most of which occurred within one to seven days of vaccination. The unusual short time to death strongly indicates the causal role of vaccines in those death cases.

A Nordic study published in April 2022 showed that the mRNA vaccine was associated with an increased risk of myocarditis, with the highest risk in young men aged 16 to 24. The number of myocarditis episodes increased 4 to 7 cases per 100,000 young men within 28 days of the second Pfizer vaccination and increased 9 to 28 cases per 100,000 young men within 28 days of the second Modena vaccination.

A study published in the July 2022 issue of JAMA Internal Medicine reported that the leading cause of death in the United States during the pandemic period of March 2020 to October 2021 was heart disease.

A report published in April 2022 in Nature found a 25 percent increase in cardiac arrest and acute coronary syndrome among young people aged 16 to 39. This phenomenon is closely related to the mRNA vaccines but not the COVID-19 infection.

Renowned British cardiologist Dr. Aseem Malhotra, who used to support the mRNA vaccine, published two articles in the Journal of Insulin Resistance calling for a halt on mRNA vaccine. What changed his mind?

As a supporter of the mRNA vaccine, Dr. Malhotra volunteered at vaccine centers and was one of the first people to receive two doses of the Pfizer mRNA vaccine. He also advised his patients and those around him to get the shot.

His father, Dr. Kailand Chand, former Vice President of the British Medical Association (BMA) and a general practitioner, suffered a cardiac arrest at home on July 26, 2021, six months after he received two doses of Pfizer mRNA vaccine.

The autopsy revealed that two of his father’s three major coronary arteries were severely obstructed, with the left anterior descending branch 90 percent obstructed and the right coronary artery 75 percent obstructed.

His father led an active lifestyle and was healthier than most men of his age. Even during the pandemic lockdown, he meditated regularly and walked an average of 10,000 to 15,000 steps a day.

Malhotra suspected that his father’s death was related to the vaccination and subsequently discovered the problem with the vaccine. He called for an end to the vaccination, but it was already too late.

The Truth About ‘95% Effectiveness’: 95 out of 100 Protected?

In terms of the vaccine’s effectiveness, news reports around the world claim that the vaccine is “95 percent effective.” Most doctors explain to the public that “if 100 people are vaccinated, then 95 will be protected from infection.”

But that is not the case at all.

According to the paper published on Dec. 10, 2020 in the New England Journal of Medicine studied the safety and efficacy of Pfizer’s BNT162b2 mRNA Covid-19 vaccine. Of the 18,325 unvaccinated people, there were 162 symptomatic infections. The infection rate was 0.88 percent. Among the 18,198 vaccinated people, there were 8 infections. The infection rate was 0.04 percent. Then it concluded that “the vaccine was 95% effective in preventing Covid-19.”

However, most people overlooked the fact that 99.12 percent of the population was not infected despite being unvaccinated.

For the total population, the vaccine actually protects only 0.84 percent of the population, which is the real absolute protection rate.

So the real “absolute protection” is out of 10000 people vaccinated, only 84 people (0.84%) will be protected, but not the 95 out of 100 people will be protected, which is a relative protection.

Had we known the facts of absolute protection, would we have worried about creating a vaccine so much? We would not have such high hopes that a vaccine would resolve the pandemic. The vaccine mandate would not be so solid at the beginning.

Instead, we would be more rational to seek natural ways to boost immunities so as to prevent the virus in a more feasible and easy way.

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Tyler Durden Thu, 10/13/2022 - 09:55

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FDA advisory committee votes unanimously in favor of a one-shot COVID-19 vaccine approach – 5 questions answered

Many questions remain about next steps for US vaccine policy. But the FDA advisory panel’s hearty endorsement of a single-composition COVID-19 vaccine…

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The FDA advisory committee discussed vaccine safety, effectiveness of the current shots, potential seasonality of COVID-19 and more. wildpixel/iStock via Getty Images Plus

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s key science advisory panel, the Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee, met on Jan. 26, 2023, to chart a path forward for COVID-19 vaccine policy. During the all-day meeting, the 21-member committee discussed an array of weighty issues including the efficacy of existing vaccines, the composition of future vaccine strains and the need to match them to the circulating variants of SARS-CoV-2, the possibility of moving to an annual-shot model, the potential seasonality of the virus and much more.

But the key question at hand, and the only formal question that was voted on, following a proposal from the FDA earlier in the week, had to do with how to simplify the path to getting people vaccinated.

The Conversation asked immunologist Matthew Woodruff, who has been on the front lines of studying immune responses to COVID-19 since the early days of the pandemic, to walk us through the big questions of the day and what they mean for future COVID-19 vaccine strategies.

What exactly did the advisory committee vote on?

The question put before the committee for a vote was whether to move to one COVID-19 vaccine consisting of a single composition for all people – whether currently vaccinated or not – and away from the current model that includes one formulation given as a primary series and a separate formulation administered as a booster. Importantly, approved formulations could come from any number of vaccine manufacturers, not just those that have currently authorized vaccines.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention currently requires that the primary series of shots, or the first two doses of the vaccine that a patient receives, consist of the first generation of vaccine against the original strain of SARS-CoV-2, known as the “Wuhan” strain of the virus. These shots are given weeks apart, followed months later by a booster shot that was updated in August 2022 to contain a bivalent formulation of vaccine that targets both the original viral strain and newer subvariants of omicron.

The committee’s endorsement simplifies those recommendations. In a 21-to-0 vote, the advisory board recommended fully replacing, or “harmonizing,” the original formulation of the vaccine with a single shot that would consist of – at least for now – the current bivalent vaccine.

In doing so, it has signaled its belief that these new second-generation vaccines are an upgrade over their predecessors in protecting from infection and severe illness at this point in the pandemic.

If the FDA panel’s recommendation is endorsed by the CDC, only a single composition of vaccine – in this case, the updated bivalent shot – will be used for both vaccinated and unvaccinated people.

Will the single shot remain a mixed-strain, or bivalent, vaccine?

For now, the single shot will be bivalent. But this may not always be the case.

There was a general agreement that the current bivalent shot is preferable to the original vaccine targeted at the Wuhan strain of the virus by itself. But committee members debated whether that original Wuhan vaccine strain should continue to be a part of updated vaccine formulations.

There is no current data comparing a monovalent, or single-strain, vaccine that targets omicron and its subvariants against the current bivalent shot. As a result, it’s unclear how a monovalent shot against recent omicron subvariants would perform in comparison to the bivalent version.

What is immune imprinting, and how does it apply here?

A main reason for the debate over monovalent versus bivalent – or, for that matter, trivalent or tetravalent – vaccines is a lack of understanding around how best to sharpen an immune response to a slightly altered threat. This has long been a debate surrounding annual influenza vaccination strategies, where studies have shown that the immune “memory” that forms in response to a prior vaccine can actively repress a robust immune response to the next.

This phenomenon of immune imprinting, originally coined in 1960 as “original antigenic sin,” has been a topic of debate both within the advisory committee and within the broader immunological community.

Although innovative strategies are being developed to overcome potential problems with routinely updated vaccines, they are not yet ready to be tested in humans. In the meantime, it is unclear how bivalent versus monovalent vaccine choices might alter this phenomenon, and it is very clear that more study is needed.

Is the committee considering only mRNA vaccines?

While a significant portion of the discussion focused on the mRNA vaccine platform used by both Pfizer and Moderna, several committee members emphasized the need for new technologies that could provide broader immunological protection. Dr. Pamela McInnes, a now-retired longtime deputy director of the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, highlighted this point, saying, “I would make a plea for ongoing research on broader protection, maybe different platforms, maybe a different approach.”

A good deal of attention was also directed toward Novavax, a protein-based formulation that relies on a more traditional approach to vaccination than the mRNA-based vaccines. Although the Novavax vaccine has been authorized by the FDA for use since July 2022, it has received much less national attention – largely because of its latecomer status. Nonetheless, Novavax has boasted efficacy rates on par with its mRNA cousins, with good safety profiles and less demanding long-term storage requirements than the mRNA shots.

By simplifying the vaccine schedule to include only a single vaccine formulation, the committee reasoned, it might be easier for competing vaccination platforms to break into the market. In other words, newer vaccine contenders would not have to rely on patients’ having already received their primary series before using their products. Companies seemed ready to take advantage of that future flexibility, with researchers from Pfizer, Moderna and Novavax all revealing their companies’ exploration of a hybrid COVID-19 and flu shot at various stages of clinical trials and testing.

Would the single shot resemble flu vaccine development?

Not necessarily. Currently, the influenza vaccine is decided by committee through the World Health Organization. Because of its seasonal nature, the strains to be included in each season’s flu vaccine strain for the Southern and Northern hemispheres, with their opposing winters, are selected independently. The Northern Hemisphere’s selection is made in February for the following winter based on a vast network of flu monitoring stations around the globe.

Although there was broad consensus among panelists that the shots against SARS-CoV-2 should be updated regularly to more closely match the most current circulating viral strain, there was less agreement on how frequent that would be.

For instance, rapidly mutating strains of the virus in both summer and winter surges might necessitate two updated shots a year instead of just one. As Dr. Eric Rubin, an infectious disease expert from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, noted, “It’s hard to say that it’s going to be annual at this point.”

Matthew Woodruff receives funding from the National Institute of Health and the US Department of Defense to support his academic research.

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Measles virus ‘cooperates’ with itself to cause fatal encephalitis

Fukuoka, Japan—Researchers in Japan have uncovered the mechanism for how the measles virus can cause subacute sclerosing panencephalitis, or SSPE, a…

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Fukuoka, Japan—Researchers in Japan have uncovered the mechanism for how the measles virus can cause subacute sclerosing panencephalitis, or SSPE, a rare but fatal neurological disorder that can occur several years after a measles infection.

Credit: Kyushu University/Hidetaka Harada/Yuta Shirogane

Fukuoka, Japan—Researchers in Japan have uncovered the mechanism for how the measles virus can cause subacute sclerosing panencephalitis, or SSPE, a rare but fatal neurological disorder that can occur several years after a measles infection.

Although the normal form of the measles virus cannot infect the nervous system, the team found that viruses that persist in the body can develop mutations in a key protein that controls how they infect cells. The mutated proteins can interact with its normal form, making it capable of infecting the brain. Their findings were reported in the journal Science Advances.

If you are of a certain age, you may have gotten the measles as a child. Many born after the 1970s have never gotten it thanks to vaccines. The condition is caused by the virus of the same name, which is one of the most contagious pathogens to this day. The World Health Organization estimates that nearly nine million people worldwide were infected with measles in 2021, with the number of deaths reaching 128,000.

“Despite its availability, the recent COVID-19 pandemic has set back vaccinations, especially in the Global South,” explains Yuta Shirogane, Assistant Professor at Kyushu University’s Faculty of Medical Sciences. “SSPE is a rare but fatal condition caused by the measles virus. However, the normal measles virus does not have the ability to propagate in the brain, and thus it is unclear how it causes encephalitis.”

A virus infects cells through a series of proteins that protrude from its surface. Usually, one protein will first facilitate the virus to attach to a cell’s surface, then another surface protein will cause a reaction that lets the virus into the cell, leading to an infection. Therefore, what a virus can or cannot infect can depend heavily on the type of cell.

“Usually, the measles virus only infects your immune and epithelial cells, causing the fever and rash,” continues Shirogane. “Therefore, in patients with SSPE, the measles virus must have remained in their body and mutated, then gained the ability to infect nerve cells. RNA viruses like measles mutate and evolve at very high rates, but the mechanism of how it evolved to infect neurons has been a mystery.”

The key player in allowing the measles virus to infect a cell is a protein called fusion protein, or F protein. In the team’s previous studies, they showed that certain mutations in the F protein puts it in a ‘hyperfusongenic’ state, allowing it to fuse onto neural synapses and infect the brain.

In their latest study, the team analyzed the genome of the measles virus from SSPE patients and found that various mutations had accumulated in their F protein. Interestingly, certain mutations would increase infection activity while others actually decreased it.

“This was surprising to see, but we found an explanation. When the virus infects a neuron, it infects it through ‘en bloc transmission,’ where multiple copies of the viral genome enter the cell,” continues Shirogane. “In this case, the genome encoding the mutant F protein is transmitted simultaneously with the genome of the normal F protein, and both proteins are likely to coexist in the infected cell.”

Based on this hypothesis, the team analyzed the fusion activity of mutant F proteins when normal F proteins were present. Their results showed that fusion activity of a mutant F protein is suppressed due to interference from the normal F proteins, but that interference is overcome by the accumulation of mutations in the F protein.

In another case, the team found that a different set of mutations in the F protein results in a completely opposite result: a reduction in fusion activity. However, to their surprise, this mutation can actually cooperate with normal F proteins to increase fusion activity. Thus, even mutant F proteins that appear to be unable to infect neurons can still infect the brain.

“It is almost counter to the ‘survival of the fittest’ model for viral propagation. In fact, this phenomenon where mutations interfere and/or cooperate with each other is called ‘Sociovirology.’ It’s still a new concept, but viruses have been observed to interact with each other like a group. It’s an exciting prospect” explains Shirogane.

The team hopes that their results will help develop therapeutics for SSPE, as well as elucidate the evolutionary mechanisms common to viruses that have similar infection mechanisms to measles such as novel coronaviruses and herpesviruses.

“There are many mysteries in the mechanisms by which viruses cause diseases. Since I was a medical student, I was interested in how the measles virus caused SSPE. I am happy that we were able to elucidate the mechanism of this disease,” concludes Shirogane.

###

For more information about this research, see “Collective fusion activity determines neurotropism of an en bloc transmitted enveloped virus” Yuta Shirogane, Hidetaka Harada, Yuichi Hirai, Ryuichi Takemoto, Tateki Suzuki, Takao Hashiguchi, Yusuke Yanagi, https://doi.org/10.1126/sciadv.adf3731

About Kyushu University
Kyushu University is one of Japan’s leading research-oriented institutes of higher education since its founding in 1911. Home to around 19,000 students and 8,000 faculty and staff, Kyushu U’s world-class research centers cover a wide range of study areas and research fields, from the humanities and arts to engineering and medical sciences. Its multiple campuses—including the largest in Japan—are located around Fukuoka City, a coastal metropolis on the southwestern Japanese island of Kyushu that is frequently ranked among the world’s most livable cities and historically known as a gateway to Asia.


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Beloved Royal Caribbean Adult Event Still Missing; Another Returns

The cruise line has almost fully returned to normal after the covid pandemic, but one very popular activity hasn’t been brought back.

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The cruise line has almost fully returned to normal after the covid pandemic, but one very popular activity hasn't been brought back.

In the early days of Royal Caribbean Group's (RCL) - Get Free Report return from its 15-month covid pandemic shutdown, cruising looked a lot different. Ships sailed with limited capacities, masks were required in most indoor areas, and social distancing was a thing.

Keeping people six feet apart made certain aspects of taking a cruise impossible. Some were made easier by the lower passenger counts. For example, all Royal Caribbean Windjammer buffets required reservations to keep the crowds down, but in practice that system was generally not needed because capacities were never reached.

Dance parties and nightclub-style events had to be held on the pool decks or in larger spaces, and shows in the big theaters left open seats between parties traveling together. In most cases, accommodations were made and events more or less happened in a sort of normal fashion.

A few very popular events were not possible, however, in an environment where keeping six feet between passengers was a goal. Two of those events -- the first night balloon drop and the adult "Crazy Quest" game show -- simply did not work with social-distancing requirements.

One of those popular events has now made its comeback while the second appears to still be missing (aside from a few one-off appearances).

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Crazy Quest Is Still Mostly Missing

In late November, Royal Caribbean's adult scavenger hunt, "The Quest," (sometimes known as "Crazy Quest") began appearing on select sailings. And at the time it appeared like it was coming back across the fleet: A number of people posted about the return of the interactive adult game show in an unofficial Royal Caribbean Facebook group.

It first appeared during a Wonder of the Seas transatlantic sailing.

Since, then it's appearances continue to be spotty and it has not returned on a fleetwide basis. This might not be due to any covid-related issues directly, but covid may play a role.

On some ships, Studio B, which hosts "The Quest," has been used for show rehearsals. That has been more of an issue with the trouble Royal Caribbean has had in getting new crew members onboard. And while that staffing issue has been improving, some shows may not have had full complements of performers, so using the space for rehearsal has been a continuing need.

In addition, while covid rules have gone away, covid has not, and ill cast members may force the need for more rehearsals.

Royal Caribbean has not publicly commented on when (or whether) "The Quest" will make a full comeback

Royal Caribbean Balloon Drops Are Back   

Before the pandemic, Royal Caribbean kicked off many of its cruises with a balloon drop on the Royal Promenade. That went away because it forced people to cluster as music was performed and, at midnight, balloons fell from the ceiling.

Now, the cruise line has brought back the balloon drop, albeit with a twist. The drop itself is appearing on activity schedules for upcoming Royal Caribbean cruises. Immediately after it, however, the cruise line has added something new: "The Big Recycle Balloon Pickup."

Most of the dropped balloons get popped during the drop. Previously, crewmembers picked up the used balloons. Now, the cruise line has made it a "fun" passenger activity.

"Get environmentally friendly as you help us gather our 100% biodegradable balloons in recycle baskets," the cruise line shared in its app. 

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