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Scientists Instrumental To COVID-19 ‘Natural Origins’ Narrative Received Over $50 Million In NIAID Funding In 2020-2021

Scientists Instrumental To COVID-19 ‘Natural Origins’ Narrative Received Over $50 Million In NIAID Funding In 2020-2021

Authored by Jeff Carlson and Hans Mahncke via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

Four prominent scientists who played key..

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Scientists Instrumental To COVID-19 'Natural Origins' Narrative Received Over $50 Million In NIAID Funding In 2020-2021

Authored by Jeff Carlson and Hans Mahncke via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

Four prominent scientists who played key roles in shaping the public narrative around the origin of COVID-19 received substantial increases in grant money from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), headed by Dr. Anthony Fauci, in the subsequent two years, a review of funding data by The Epoch Times has found.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, White House Chief Medical Advisor and Director of the NIAID, makes a phone call during a break in a Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee hearing on Jan. 11, 2022. (Greg Nash/Pool/AFP via Getty Images)

Three of these scientists—Kristian Andersen, Robert Garry, and Michael Farzan—were advisers to a teleconference organized by Fauci held on Feb. 1, 2020, in response to increasing public questions about the origin of the virus.

The scientists were also instrumental in the publication of Proximal Origin, a highly influential paper that promoted a natural origins theory for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, and has been frequently cited by the government and media.

Emails released under Freedom of Information Act requests, showed that the scientists had told the senior members of Fauci’s teleconference that they were 60 to 80 percent sure that COVID-19 had come out of a lab.

Then-director of NIH Francis Collins at the National Institutes of Health, in Bethesda, Md., on Jan. 26, 2021. (Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images)

Notably, despite their private concerns about the origin of the virus, the first draft of Proximal Origin was completed on the same day as the teleconference. Andersen and Garry were co-authors of Proximal Origin and Farzan was acknowledged in the Nature version of Proximal Origin for his participatory discussions in the article’s creation.

Additionally, Fauci’s NIAID provided a substantial increase in funding to EcoHealth’s Peter Daszak, through whom NIAID had funded controversial gain-of-function coronavirus research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology in China.

Some of these funding amounts have continued through 2021—and one of the newest grants will continue through at least 2025.

A significant portion of the funding increase for Daszak, as well as for Andersen and Garry, was provided through NIAID’s creation of the Centers for Research in Emerging Infectious Diseases (CREID).

The program, which was originally referred to as Emerging Infectious Diseases Research Centers (EIDRCs) during the early planning stages in 2019, was formally announced under a new name on Aug. 27, 2020. It is not known why the program was initially delayed or why it was renamed.

The new initiative, described as a global network that involves “multidisciplinary investigations into how and where viruses and other pathogens emerge from wildlife and spillover to cause disease in people,” provided eleven new grants totaling $17 million of new funding in the first year and $82 million in total funding across five years.

The P4 laboratory on the campus of the Wuhan Institute of Virology in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China, on May 13, 2020. (Hector Retamal/AFP via Getty Images)

Andersen and Garry were the co-recipients of a new $8.9 million 5-year grant made under the CREID initiative that established the West African Research Network for Infectious Diseases (WARN-ID). Daszak was the recipient of a new $7.5 million, 5-year CREID grant that established the Emerging Infectious Diseases: South East Asia Research Collaboration Hub (EID-SEARCH). The other participants of the NIAID CREID program can be found here.

Notably, although the creation of CREID was not publicly announced until Aug. 27, 2020, the Award Notice Date for the grants to Andersen and Garry are listed as May 21, 2020. The CREID grant to Daszak lists an Award Notice Date of June 17, 2020. The timing of Daszak’s grant is particularly noteworthy as it came shortly after President Donald Trump had revoked Daszak’s previous grant from Fauci’s NIAID in April 2020 due to Daszak’s entanglements with the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

Andersen, who had privately told Fauci on Jan. 31, 2020, that the virus “looked engineered,” but later helped spearhead Fauci’s efforts to promote a natural origins narrative, received a total of $7.4 million in funding in 2020 as compared to $4.5 million in grant proceeds in 2019. Andersen’s total grant funding increased to nearly $9 million in 2021. The new CREID grants (co-awarded with Garry) accounted for approximately $1.9 million of his 2020 grant proceeds and $2 million of his grant proceeds in 2021. Included in Andersen’s 2021 figure is a $266,250 CREID grant that was made to Andersen but did not include Garry as a co-recipient.

While it is not known at this point whether there was a connection between the increased funding and the scientists’ involvement in shaping the public natural origins narrative, these new revelations raise an obvious question: How is it that among the thousands of scientists eligible to participate in the much-desired funding from the eleven grants provided by Fauci’s new $82 million CREID initiative, three of those chosen happened to be the same individuals who had led the way in promoting Fauci’s natural origins narrative—despite their private concerns that the virus had been created in a lab.

Peter Daszak, right, the president of the EcoHealth Alliance, in Wuhan, China, on Feb. 3, 2021. (Hector Retamal/AFP via Getty Images)

During the Feb. 1, 2020, teleconference, Andersen claimed to be “60 to 70 percent sure the virus came from a laboratory.” One of Andersen’s Proximal Origin co-authors, Edward Holmes, put that figure even higher, at “80 percent.”

Garry, who told the senior members of Fauci’s teleconference group that he “really can’t think of a plausible natural scenario where you get from the bat virus” to SARS-CoV-2, received $7 million in NIAID grants in 2020 as compared to $5.7 million in 2019. Garry also received $6.6 million in grants in 2021. The new CREID grant (co-awarded with Andersen) accounted for approximately $1.9 million of his 2020 grant proceeds and $1.8 million of his grant proceeds in 2021.

During the Feb. 1, 2020, teleconference, Garry cited the remarkable sequences of mutations that would have to occur for SARS-CoV-2 to arise naturally, telling the group, “I just can’t figure out how this gets accomplished in nature.” However, Garry noted that a lab-created virus would easily explain the virus data he was seeing, telling Fauci’s group that “in the lab, it would be easy to generate the perfect 12 base insert that you wanted.”

Notably, Garry recently admitted in written correspondence with The Intercept that he had been advised not to discuss a lab leak in the Proximal Origin paper, stating, “The major feedback we got from the Feb 1 teleconference was: 1. Don’t try to write a paper at all—it’s unnecessary or 2. If you do write it, don’t mention a lab origin as that will just add fuel to the conspiracists.”

Garry—along with Andersen—must have heeded that directive because on Feb. 1, 2020, the same day as Fauci’s teleconference, both men had helped to complete the first draft of Proximal Origin promoting the idea that the virus had originated in nature. That paper became the media’s and the public health establishment’s go-to evidence for a natural origin for the virus.

The choice of Andersen as a lead author for Proximal Origin is particularly curious as Andersen had no material experience in researching coronaviruses. His stated focus was related to the Zika virus, Ebola virus, West Nile virus, and Lassa virus. It wasn’t until sometime after the Feb. 1 teleconference that he changed his biography to incorporate SARS-CoV-2.

A screenshot of the Proximal Origin paper. (Screenshot/Virological)

Proximal Origin was published online on Feb. 16, 2020, and sought to exclude the possibility of a lab leak. The article would prove to be highly influential and has been extensively used by Fauci and media organizations in their promotion of the natural origins narrative.

Another recipient of funding under the CREID initiative was EcoHealth president Peter Daszak, who received a total of $1.5 million in both 2020 and 2021. Unlike either Andersen or Garry, proceeds from his CREID grant make up the entirety of his listed NIAID grants in both years. By way of comparison, Daszak had received approximately $662,000 in NIAID grant money in 2019. Put another way, Daszak’s post-pandemic funding increased by approximately 130 percent.

Daszak, who heavily promoted the natural origins narrative, was personally involved in gain-of-function work with the Wuhan Institute of Virology, which continued until at least April 2020. Most prominently, Daszak authored a 2018 research proposal which details the creation of a virus in a lab that bears a remarkable similarity to the defining features of COVID-19.

That proposal, dated March 27, 2018, details EcoHealth’s plans, in conjunction with the Wuhan Institute, to create entirely new coronaviruses through the synthetic combination of preexisting virus backbones. It describes how those viruses were going to be made more virulent in humans by the insertion of a furin cleavage site, a feature that distinguishes COVID-19 from all other SARS-related coronaviruses.

Another scientist who advised the Feb. 1, 2020, teleconference, Michael Farzan, received $9.9 million in grants from Fauci’s NIAID in 2020, followed by another $7.9 million in 2021 and an additional $919,000 at the start of 2022. By comparison, Farzan had received $3.8 million in grant money from NIAID in 2019. Although Farzan received substantial increases in grant funding, none of that money appears to have come under grants provided by the CREID initiative.

Medics wait to transport a woman with possible Covid-19 symptoms to the hospital in Austin, Texas, on Aug. 7, 2020. (John Moore/Getty Images)

Farzan, an immunologist who in 2005 discovered the receptor of the original severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) virus, had told the senior members of Fauci’s teleconference group in emails that the pandemic likely originated from a lab in which live coronaviruses were passed repeatedly through human-like tissue, accelerating virus mutations with the end result being that one of the mutated viruses may have leaked from the lab. Farzan told Fauci’s group that he placed the likelihood of a leak from a Wuhan lab at 60 to 70 percent.

But in an Oct. 5, 2021, paper, Farzan appeared to agree with conclusions put forth in Proximal Origin, when he claimed that a “comparison of the S protein sequences indicates SARS-CoV-2 may have emerged from the recombination between bat and pangolin coronaviruses.” Farzan, like Andersen, works at the Scripps laboratory.

Tyler Durden Fri, 01/21/2022 - 19:40

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Growing Number Of Doctors Say They Won’t Get COVID-19 Booster Shots

Growing Number Of Doctors Say They Won’t Get COVID-19 Booster Shots

Authored by Zachary Stieber via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

A…

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Growing Number Of Doctors Say They Won’t Get COVID-19 Booster Shots

Authored by Zachary Stieber via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

A growing number of doctors say that they will not get COVID-19 vaccine boosters, citing a lack of clinical trial evidence.

I have taken my last COVID vaccine without RCT level evidence it will reduce my risk of severe disease,” Dr. Todd Lee, an infectious disease expert at McGill University, wrote on Twitter.

A vial of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is seen in a file photograph. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Lee was pointing to the lack of randomized clinical trial (RCT) results for the updated boosters, which were cleared in the United States and Canada in the fall of 2022 primarily based on data from experiments with mice.

Lee, who has received three vaccine doses, noted that he was infected with the Omicron virus variant—the vaccines provide little protection against infection—and described himself as a healthy male in his 40s.

Dr. Vinay Prasad, a professor of epidemiology and biostatics at the University of California, San Francisco, also said he wouldn’t take any additional shots until clinical trial data become available.

“I took at least 1 dose against my will. It was unethical and scientifically bankrupt,” he said.

Allison Krug, an epidemiologist who co-authored a study that found teenage boys were more likely to suffer heart inflammation after COVID-19 vaccination than COVID-19 infection, recounted explaining to her doctor why she was refusing a booster and said her doctor agreed with her position.

She called on people to “join the movement to demand appropriate evidence,” pointing to a blog post from Prasad.

“Pay close attention to note this isn’t anti-vaccine sentiment. This is ‘provide [hard] evidence of benefit to justify ongoing use’ which is very different. It is only fair for a 30 billion dollar a year product given to hundreds of millions,” Lee said.

Dr. Mark Silverberg, who founded the Toronto Immune and Digestive Health Institute; Kevin Bass, a medical student; and Dr. Tracy Høeg, an epidemiologist at the University of California, San Francisco, joined Lee and Prasad in stating their opposition to more boosters, at least for now.

Høeg said she did not need clinical trials to know she’s not getting any boosters after receiving a two-dose primary series, adding that she took the second dose “against my will.”

I also had an adverse reaction to dose 1 moderna and, if I could do it again, I would not have had any covid vaccines,” she said on Twitter. “I was glad my parents in their 70s could get covid vaccinated but have yet to see non-confounded data to advise them about the bivalent booster. I would have liked to see an RCT for the bivalent for people their age and for adults with health conditions that put them at risk.”

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted emergency use authorization to updated boosters, or bivalent shots, from Pfizer and Moderna in August 2022 despite there being no human data.

Observational data suggests the boosters provide little protection against infection and solid shielding against severe illness, at least initially.

Five months after the authorization was granted, no clinical trial data has been made available for the bivalents, which target the Wuhan strain as well as the BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants of Omicron. Moderna presented efficacy estimates for a different bivalent, which has never been used in the United States, during a recent meeting. The company estimated the booster increased protection against infection by just 10 percent.

The FDA is preparing to order all Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines be replaced with the bivalents. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which issues recommendations on vaccines, continues advising virtually all Americans to get a primary series and multiple boosters.

Professor Calls for Halt to Messenger RNA Vaccines

A professor, meanwhile, became the latest to call for a halt to the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, which are both based on messenger RNA technology.

At this point in time, all COVID mRNA vaccination program[s] should stop immediately,” Retsef Levi, a professor of operations management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said in a video statement. “They should stop because they completely failed to fulfill any of their advertised promise[s] regarding efficacy. And more importantly, they should stop because of the mounting and indisputable evidence that they cause unprecedented level of harm, including the death of young people and children.”

Levi was referring to post-vaccination heart inflammation, or myocarditis. The condition is one of the few that authorities have acknowledged is caused by the messenger RNA vaccines.

Read more here...

Tyler Durden Thu, 02/02/2023 - 19:10

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Apple Pares Much Of Drop During Earnings Call

Apple Pares Much Of Drop During Earnings Call

Update 6:00pm:  Apple has staged a remarkable reversal after hours, and erased almost the entire…

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Apple Pares Much Of Drop During Earnings Call

Update 6:00pm:  Apple has staged a remarkable reversal after hours, and erased almost the entire loss after the company said that it expects a 5% impact from FX rates in Q2, and also expects iPhone revenue growth to accelerate in Q2. CEO Tim Cook was also asked whether the move to higher ASPs for the iPhone is sustainable in light of the sharp decline in sales, and whether this will continue in a worsening economy. Cook said the 14 Pro and 14 Pro Max did extremely well until the supply-chain constraints. He says this is definitely a “strong Pro cycle” and credits the new features in the device. He says he’s happy that Apple is now shipping to the demand.

Tim Cook also said that AI is critical to Apple and mentions features like crash-and-fall detection and the use of AI in features like EKG on the Apple Watch. He says AI will effect everything the company does, including all products and services.

Apple is quite bullish on India and other emerging markets, with CEO Tim Cook saying the company will soon open its first retail stores in India. He also said Apple saw marked improvement in China in December (versus November) after another round of Covid re-openings.

As Bloomberg notes, the company also stuck to a line that revenue and sales of individual product categories would have been higher if not for supply-chain constraints and issues stemming from the macroeconomic environment.

* * *

With both Amazon and Google sliding after reporting disappointing earnings and mixed guidance, it was all up to the world's biggest company, AAPL, to provide some hail mary for the tech earnings season which for better or worse is concentrated in a one hour stretch this afternoon. Alas, it was not meant to be and after missing on the top and bottom line, AAPL has joined the parade of selling and tumbled after hours due to numbers which the market was clearly not impressed with.

  • EPS $1.88 vs. $2.10 y/y, missing estimate $1.94
  • Gross margin $50.33 billion, -7.2% y/y, missing estimate $52.03 billion
  • Revenue $117.15 billion, -5.5% y/y, missing estimate $121.14 billion
    • Products revenue $96.39 billion, -7.7% y/y, missing estimate $98.98 billion
    • IPhone revenue $65.78 billion, -8.2% y/y, missing estimate $68.3 billion
    • Mac revenue $7.74 billion, -29% y/y, missing estimate $9.72 billion
    • IPad revenue $9.40 billion, +30% y/y, beating estimate $7.78 billion
    • Wearables, home and accessories $13.48 billion, -8.3% y/y, missing estimate $15.32 billion
    • Service revenue $20.77 billion, +6.4% y/y, beating estimate $20.47 billion
    • Greater China rev. $23.91 billion, -7.3% y/y, beating estimate $21.8 billion
  • Cash and cash equivalents $20.54 billion, -45% y/y, estimate $29.91 billion

And here is AAPL's diluted EPS in context: needless to say, could have been better.

Commenting on the quarter, Tim Cook said that “during the December quarter, we achieved a major milestone and are excited to report that we now have more than 2 billion active devices as part of our growing installed base.”

CFO Luca Maester chimed in: “our record September quarter results continue to demonstrate our ability to execute effectively in spite of a challenging and volatile macroeconomic backdrop. We continued to invest in our long-term growth plans, generated over $24 billion in operating cash flow, and returned over $29 billion to our shareholders during the quarter. The strength of our ecosystem, unmatched customer loyalty, and record sales spurred our active installed base of devices to a new all-time high. This quarter capped another record-breaking year for Apple, with revenue growing over $28 billion and operating cash flow up $18 billion versus last year.”

Going back to the results, Apple missed consensus revenue in most product categories, with the exception of iPads, to wit:

  • IPhone revenue $65.78 billion, missing estimate $68.3 billion
  • Mac revenue $7.74 billion, missing estimate $9.72 billion
  • Wearables, home and accessories $13.48 billion, missing estimate $15.32 billion
  • IPad revenue $9.40 billion, beating estimate $7.78 billion

Of note: Apple recorded its first decline in iPhone revenue since the third quarter of 2020; yet in context, the 8% drop was still less than the 20% decrease reported by Samsung. Other major smartphone providers that have yet to report are expecting to see double-digit losses. Ironically, Apple may have fared comparatively well on smartphone revenue.

The silver lining: service revenue $20.77 billion, +6.4% y/y, beating estimates of $20.47 billion...

... and rose 6.5% Y/Y, an improvement from last quarter's 5.0%

One other place where investors were pleasantly surprised was China sales, which at $23.91 billion, beat the estimate of $21.8 billion by more than $2 billion.

None of that changes the fact that AAPL's sales by region were uniformly negative across the board.

And another potential problem: AAPL's gross cash continues to slide, dropping to $165 billion, the lowest since June 2014...

... while cash net of debt rebounded modestly from $49 billion to $54 billion, just above a 12 year low with the company having spent hundreds of billions on stock buybacks. Let's hope that Apple doesn't actually need to use that cash.

Commenting on the results, Bloomberg writes that the results show that Apple hasn’t been able to dodge the tech slowdown afflicting many of its competitors. Demand for smartphones and computers has slumped in the past year, and Covid-19 restrictions in China added to Apple’s woes during the holiday sales period. Timing was another issue: The company didn’t launch new Macs and HomePods until recent weeks, missing the end of the first quarter.

In response to these disappointing earnings, the stock predictably slumped as much as 4% before recouping some losses, although even with the drop it is back to where it was... yesterday.

Tyler Durden Thu, 02/02/2023 - 18:05

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Apple Slides After Missing On Top And Bottom-Line, First iPhone Revenue Drop Since 2020

Apple Slides After Missing On Top And Bottom-Line, First iPhone Revenue Drop Since 2020

With both Amazon and Google sliding after reporting…

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Apple Slides After Missing On Top And Bottom-Line, First iPhone Revenue Drop Since 2020

With both Amazon and Google sliding after reporting disappointing earnings and mixed guidance, it was all up to the world's biggest company, AAPL, to provide some hail mary for the tech earnings season which for better or worse is concentrated in a one hour stretch this afternoon. Alas, it was not meant to be and after missing on the top and bottom line, AAPL has joined the parade of selling and tumbled after hours due to numbers which the market was clearly not impressed with.

  • EPS $1.88 vs. $2.10 y/y, missing estimate $1.94
  • Gross margin $50.33 billion, -7.2% y/y, missing estimate $52.03 billion
  • Revenue $117.15 billion, -5.5% y/y, missing estimate $121.14 billion
    • Products revenue $96.39 billion, -7.7% y/y, missing estimate $98.98 billion
    • IPhone revenue $65.78 billion, -8.2% y/y, missing estimate $68.3 billion
    • Mac revenue $7.74 billion, -29% y/y, missing estimate $9.72 billion
    • IPad revenue $9.40 billion, +30% y/y, beating estimate $7.78 billion
    • Wearables, home and accessories $13.48 billion, -8.3% y/y, missing estimate $15.32 billion
    • Service revenue $20.77 billion, +6.4% y/y, beating estimate $20.47 billion
    • Greater China rev. $23.91 billion, -7.3% y/y, beating estimate $21.8 billion
  • Cash and cash equivalents $20.54 billion, -45% y/y, estimate $29.91 billion

And here is AAPL's diluted EPS in context: needless to say, could have been better.

Commenting on the quarter, Tim Cook said that “during the December quarter, we achieved a major milestone and are excited to report that we now have more than 2 billion active devices as part of our growing installed base.”

CFO Luca Maester chimed in: “our record September quarter results continue to demonstrate our ability to execute effectively in spite of a challenging and volatile macroeconomic backdrop. We continued to invest in our long-term growth plans, generated over $24 billion in operating cash flow, and returned over $29 billion to our shareholders during the quarter. The strength of our ecosystem, unmatched customer loyalty, and record sales spurred our active installed base of devices to a new all-time high. This quarter capped another record-breaking year for Apple, with revenue growing over $28 billion and operating cash flow up $18 billion versus last year.”

Going back to the results, Apple missed consensus revenue in most product categories, with the exception of iPads, to wit:

  • IPhone revenue $65.78 billion, missing estimate $68.3 billion
  • Mac revenue $7.74 billion, missing estimate $9.72 billion
  • Wearables, home and accessories $13.48 billion, missing estimate $15.32 billion
  • IPad revenue $9.40 billion, beating estimate $7.78 billion

Of note: Apple recorded its first decline in iPhone revenue since the third quarter of 2020; yet in context, the 8% drop was still less than the 20% decrease reported by Samsung. Other major smartphone providers that have yet to report are expecting to see double-digit losses. Ironically, Apple may have fared comparatively well on smartphone revenue.

The silver lining: service revenue $20.77 billion, +6.4% y/y, beating estimates of $20.47 billion...

... and rose 6.5% Y/Y, an improvement from last quarter's 5.0%

One other place where investors were pleasantly surprised was China sales, which at $23.91 billion, beat the estimate of $21.8 billion by more than $2 billion.

None of that changes the fact that AAPL's sales by region were uniformly negative across the board.

Commenting on the results, Goldman writes that the results show that Apple hasn’t been able to dodge the tech slowdown afflicting many of its competitors. Demand for smartphones and computers has slumped in the past year, and Covid-19 restrictions in China added to Apple’s woes during the holiday sales period. Timing was another issue: The company didn’t launch new Macs and HomePods until recent weeks, missing the end of the first quarter.

In response to these disappointing earnings, the stock predictably slumped as much as 4% before recouping some losses, although even with the drop it is back to where it was... yesterday.

Tyler Durden Thu, 02/02/2023 - 17:01

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