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What If There Had Been No COVID Coup?

What If There Had Been No COVID Coup?

Authored by Debbie Lerman via The Brownstone Institute,

In discussions about the military and national…

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What If There Had Been No COVID Coup?

Authored by Debbie Lerman via The Brownstone Institute,

In discussions about the military and national security coup during the Covid pandemic, people often ask me:

Would it really have been so different if the NIH and CDC had remained in charge of the pandemic response?

What if the Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, and the National Security Council had never taken over

Wouldn’t the public health agencies have done basically the same things?

It is absolutely essential that everyone understand the answers to these questions.

They impact not just our awareness of what happened during Covid, but also our assessment of how to handle all viral outbreaks in the future.

In this article, I will describe how the response to the pandemic would have proceeded if normal public health guidelines had been followed, not just in the US but around the world, without interference from national security authorities or covert biowarfare experts

Public health guidelines

Before Covid, the guidelines for dealing with a new outbreak of a flu-like virus were clear:

  • avoid panic, 

  • search for cheap, widely available early treatments that may reduce the risk of serious illness,

  • plan to increase healthcare capacity if necessary, 

  • help local and state medical personnel to identify and treat cases if and when the virus causes serious illness, 

  • and keep society functioning as normally as possible. 

This was the approach used in all previous epidemics and pandemics. The guidelines are detailed in the planning documents of the WHOHHS, and EU countries.

When the military and national security agencies took over the response, these guidelines were replaced by a biowarfare paradigm: Quarantine until vaccine. In other words, keep everyone locked down while rapidly developing medical countermeasures. This is a response intended to counter biowarfare and bioterrorism attacks. It is not a public health response and is, in fact, in direct conflict with the scientific and ethical underpinnings of established public health principles.

Had we adhered to the public health protocols that were initially followed in the early months of 2020, life in the United States and around the world would have looked like life in Sweden during the pandemic, with even less panic: no masks, no school closures, no lockdowns, very low excess deaths. 

No panic

The reasons not to panic were apparent in early 2020 from the data we had gathered from China: the virus was deadly mainly to elderly people with multiple serious health conditions, did not cause life-threatening illness in children or in most people under 65, and did not seem poised to cause more of an increase in hospitalizations or deaths than a very bad flu season. 

It can be difficult at this point – after years of unrelenting censorship and propaganda – to remember that, at the beginning of 2020, the new virus emerging in China was not front and center in most people’s minds. The US media was busy covering election campaigns and economic issues, and the general attitude was that what was happening in China would not happen elsewhere.

Here are some examples of what medical and public health experts were saying in January, February and early March 2020:

January 30, 2020, CNBCDr. Ezekiel Emanuel, Obama’s White House health advisor declared that “Americans are too worried about the new coronavirus that’s spreading rapidly across China.” He added: “Everyone in America should take a very big breath, slow down and stop panicking and being hysterical.” And he explained: “I think we need to put it into context, the death rate is much lower than for SARS.”

February 27, 2020, CNN: The CNN website reported that CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield “has a simple message for Americans: No, you shouldn’t be afraid.” The website also quoted NIH Director Dr. Alex Azar saying that “most people who get coronavirus will have mild to moderate symptoms and will be able to stay home, treating it like the severe flu or cold.” And it reported that the CDC “does not recommend Americans wear surgical masks in public. Surgical masks are effective against respiratory infections but not airborne infections.”

February 28, 2020, New England Journal of MedicineDrs. Anthony Fauci and Robert Redfield wrote that “the case fatality rate may be considerably less than 1%” and “the overall clinical consequences of Covid-19 may ultimately be more akin to those of a severe seasonal influenza (which has a case fatality rate of approximately 0.1%).” They cited Chinese data showing that “either children are less likely to become infected, or their symptoms were so mild that their infection escaped detection.”

March 4, 2020, Slate : Dr. Jeremy Samuel Faust, Harvard emergency physician reassured readers that all the evidence available at the time “suggests that COVID-19 is a relatively benign disease for most young people, and a potentially devastating one for the old and chronically ill, albeit not nearly as risky as reported.” He said the mortality rate was “zero in children 10 or younger among hundreds of cases in China” and that it was important to “divert our focus away from worrying about preventing systemic spread among healthy people—which is likely either inevitable, or out of our control.”

No censorship or propaganda

If we had continued down the road of a regular public health response, opinions like these from our national public health leaders would have continued to be published and discussed openly. There would have been open discussion of the virus’s potential harms, and expert debates about various response measures. There would have been no need to censor any particular opinion or disseminate propaganda supporting any other. 

If some experts thought we should shut down the entire country (or world), they would have debated this position with those experts who thought this was a gross and dangerous overreaction. The media would most likely have taken the side of the less draconian measures, because it would have been common knowledge that the virus was not lethal for most people, and that the case fatality rate (how many people died after getting sick) was, as Fauci and Redfield reported in February 2020, around 0.1 percent in the general population, and much lower for anyone under 65.

If anyone had published a model showing millions of potential deaths based on a 2 or 3 percent or higher estimated fatality rate, their assumptions would have been openly questioned and debated, and most likely easily debunked using available data and observed fatality rates from the real world.

Here are other important topics the media would have been able to report on (as they were doing without censorship before the middle of March), had there been no intentional suppression of traditional public health guidelines, and no panic-fomenting propaganda:

China

Scientific and medical data from China was never considered reliable before Covid, because in a totalitarian regime it is assumed that the data must always conform to the regime’s agenda. Without censorship or propaganda, this would have remained true for everything related to Covid. The videos of people falling dead in the streets, the draconian lockdowns of millions of people, and the obviously absurd claims that the lockdowns in one area of the country had eradicated the virus everywhere for years on end, would all be openly questioned and debunked in the media.

Testing and quarantines

Without censorship or propaganda, the media would be able to invite top epidemiologists to explain to the public that once an airborne virus is widely disseminated in a population, you cannot stop it from spreading. You can use tests to help guide treatment. You can also use tests to figure out who has been exposed to the virus and is likely to have acquired immunity so they can interact safely with vulnerable populations. It would be common knowledge that it is not necessary or useful to test the entire population repeatedly or to quarantine healthy people.

Early spread 

It would have been reassuring for people to know that the virus probably started spreading before December 2019. This would mean that more people had already been exposed without getting sick or dying, which would support the low fatality estimates. It would also mean that since the virus was already widely disseminated, containment (using testing and quarantines) was not a viable or desirable objective, as experts were already stating (see Dr. Faust above).

Cases

Without unnecessary testing, the definition of a “case” would have remained what it had always been before Covid: someone who seeks medical care because they have serious symptoms. Thus, the media would report only on clusters of actual cases, if and when they emerged in different locations. There would be no ticker tapes with running numbers of asymptomatic people who tested positive. Instead of millions of positive “cases” (i.e., positive PCR tests), we would hear about hundreds or thousands of people who were hospitalized with serious symptoms, as in all previous epidemics and pandemics. This would happen in different places at different times, as the virus spread geographically. The vast majority of the population would never be counted as cases.

Natural immunity and herd immunity

Virologists and epidemiologists would be featured in the news, explaining that if you have been exposed to a virus you develop natural immunity. So, for example, if there were nurses at a hospital who had been sick with Covid, they could go back to work and not worry about getting seriously ill or spreading the virus. The public would also learn that the more people developed natural immunity, the closer we would get to herd immunity, which would mean the virus would have nowhere else to spread. Nobody would consider either of those terms a reckless strategy or a sociopathic plot to let the virus “rip” and kill large swaths of the population.

Early treatment

Doctors in China had several months experience treating Covid before observable clusters of cases emerged in other countries. They had developed treatment protocols with available drugs that they could have shared with the international medical community. The media would have reported on the efforts of researchers and doctors all over the world to find available treatments that could lower the risk of patients’ hospitalization or death. 

Vaccines

Without the quarantine-until-vaccine agenda, investments in vaccine development in 2020 would have been modest, and might have led to some clinical trials, although by the time they got to Phase III trials (on large numbers of patients), most people would already have natural immunity. The media would have been able to report in January 2020, as Anthony Fauci did in January 2023, that “viruses that replicate in the human respiratory mucosa without infecting systemically, including influenza A, SARS-CoV-2, endemic coronaviruses, RSV, and many other ‘common cold’ viruses” have never been “effectively controlled by licensed or experimental vaccines.” 

With a focus on early treatments and keeping most people out of the hospital and in a normally functioning society, no one would have been holding their breath waiting for a “safe and effective” vaccine to emerge after only a few months’ trials. 

Variants

Nobody would have cared about – or even heard of – variants. The discussion would have centered around who was getting seriously ill and dying, and how they could be treated to lower the numbers of hospitalizations and deaths. There would be no need to know whether someone was seriously ill with Alpha, Delta or Omicron XBB1.16, because the variant would have no impact on treatment. 

Long Covid

Every viral infection brings with it the potential for long-term symptoms, yet we’ve never talked about “long flu” or “long herpes.” There was no data back in 2020 suggesting that Covid was radically different and was more likely to result in troublesome symptoms once the initial infection was resolved. Thus, the topic probably would not even have come up. If it had, experts would have explained that feeling fatigued or depressed many months after a viral infection is probably not related, and that if you did not have a serious case of the illness you were very unlikely to have any serious long-term symptoms. 

Origins of the virus

If the biodefense experts had been honest with the public, they could have explained that the virus might have leaked from a lab, but that everything we knew about it – low fatality rate, steep fatality age gradient, no ill effects for children, etc. – was still true.

At this point, there could have been open and honest public debates about the most important topics relevant to the outbreak: What is gain-of-function research, why are we doing it, and should we continue?

There would have been no cover-ups or propaganda about the virus coming from an animal source. We would never know that pangolins or racoon dogs even existed.

Why this sounds like a fantasy

Once the biowarfare cartel took over the pandemic response, there was only one objective: scare everyone as much as possible to gain compliance with lockdowns and make everyone desperate for vaccines. Public health experts, including the leaders of the NIH, CDC, and NIAID, were no longer authorized to make their own pandemic policy decisions or public announcements. Everyone had to stick to the lockdown narrative.

The forces of panic and propaganda, in the service of enormous profits for pharmaceutical and media companies, once unleashed could not be contained.

It didn’t have to be that way.

The more people understand this, the less likely they are to go along with such devastating madness in the future.

Tyler Durden Fri, 08/18/2023 - 19:00

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Glimpse Of Sanity: Dartmouth Returns Standardized Testing For Admission After Failed Experiment

Glimpse Of Sanity: Dartmouth Returns Standardized Testing For Admission After Failed Experiment

In response to the virus pandemic and nationwide…

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Glimpse Of Sanity: Dartmouth Returns Standardized Testing For Admission After Failed Experiment

In response to the virus pandemic and nationwide Black Lives Matter riots in the summer of 2020, some elite colleges and universities shredded testing requirements for admission. Several years later, the test-optional admission has yet to produce the promising results for racial and class-based equity that many woke academic institutions wished.

The failure of test-optional admission policies has forced Dartmouth College to reinstate standardized test scores for admission starting next year. This should never have been eliminated, as merit will always prevail. 

"Nearly four years later, having studied the role of testing in our admissions process as well as its value as a predictor of student success at Dartmouth, we are removing the extended pause and reactivating the standardized testing requirement for undergraduate admission, effective with the Class of 2029," Dartmouth wrote in a press release Monday morning. 

"For Dartmouth, the evidence supporting our reactivation of a required testing policy is clear. Our bottom line is simple: we believe a standardized testing requirement will improve—not detract from—our ability to bring the most promising and diverse students to our campus," the elite college said. 

Who would've thought eliminating standardized tests for admission because a fringe minority said they were instruments of racism and a biased system was ever a good idea? 

Also, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure this out. More from Dartmouth, who commissioned the research: 

They also found that test scores represent an especially valuable tool to identify high-achieving applicants from low and middle-income backgrounds; who are first-generation college-bound; as well as students from urban and rural backgrounds.

All the colleges and universities that quickly adopted test-optional admissions in 2020 experienced a surge in applications. Perhaps the push for test-optional was under the guise of woke equality but was nothing more than protecting the bottom line for these institutions. 

A glimpse of sanity returns to woke schools: Admit qualified kids. Next up is corporate America and all tiers of the US government. 

Tyler Durden Mon, 02/05/2024 - 17:20

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Four burning questions about the future of the $16.5B Novo-Catalent deal

To build or to buy? That’s a classic question for pharma boardrooms, and Novo Nordisk is going with both.
Beyond spending billions of dollars to expand…

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To build or to buy? That’s a classic question for pharma boardrooms, and Novo Nordisk is going with both.

Beyond spending billions of dollars to expand its own production capacity for its weight loss drugs, the Danish drugmaker said Monday it will pay $11 billion to acquire three manufacturing plants from Catalent. It’s part of a broader $16.5 billion deal with Novo Holdings, the investment arm of the pharma’s parent group, which agreed to acquire the contract manufacturer and take it private.

It’s a big deal for all parties, with potential ripple effects across the biotech ecosystem. Here’s a look at some of the most pressing questions to watch after Monday’s announcement.

Why did Novo do this?

Novo Holdings isn’t the most obvious buyer for Catalent, particularly after last year’s on-and-off M&A interest from the serial acquirer Danaher. But the deal could benefit both Novo Holdings and Novo Nordisk.

Novo Nordisk’s biggest challenge has been simply making enough of the weight loss drug Wegovy and diabetes therapy Ozempic. On last week’s earnings call, Novo Nordisk CEO Lars Fruergaard Jørgensen said the company isn’t constrained by capital in its efforts to boost manufacturing. Rather, the main challenge is the limited amount of capabilities out there, he said.

“Most pharmaceutical companies in the world would be shopping among the same manufacturers,” he said. “There’s not an unlimited amount of machinery and people to build it.”

While Novo was already one of Catalent’s major customers, the manufacturer has been hamstrung by its own balance sheet. With roughly $5 billion in debt on its books, it’s had to juggle paying down debt with sufficiently investing in its facilities. That’s been particularly challenging in keeping pace with soaring demand for GLP-1 drugs.

Novo, on the other hand, has the balance sheet to funnel as much money as needed into the plants in Italy, Belgium, and Indiana. It’s also struggled to make enough of its popular GLP-1 drugs to meet their soaring demand, with documented shortages of both Ozempic and Wegovy.

The impact won’t be immediate. The parties expect the deal to close near the end of 2024. Novo Nordisk said it expects the three new sites to “gradually increase Novo Nordisk’s filling capacity from 2026 and onwards.”

As for the rest of Catalent — nearly 50 other sites employing thousands of workers — Novo Holdings will take control. The group previously acquired Altasciences in 2021 and Ritedose in 2022, so the Catalent deal builds on a core investing interest in biopharma services, Novo Holdings CEO Kasim Kutay told Endpoints News.

Kasim Kutay

When asked about possible site closures or layoffs, Kutay said the team hasn’t thought about that.

“That’s not our track record. Our track record is to invest in quality businesses and help them grow,” he said. “There’s always stuff to do with any asset you own, but we haven’t bought this company to do some of the stuff you’re talking about.”

What does it mean for Catalent’s customers? 

Until the deal closes, Catalent will operate as a standalone business. After it closes, Novo Nordisk said it will honor its customer obligations at the three sites, a spokesperson said. But they didn’t answer a question about what happens when those contracts expire.

The wrinkle is the long-term future of the three plants that Novo Nordisk is paying for. Those sites don’t exclusively pump out Wegovy, but that could be the logical long-term aim for the Danish drugmaker.

The ideal scenario is that pricing and timelines remain the same for customers, said Nicole Paulk, CEO of the gene therapy startup Siren Biotechnology.

Nicole Paulk

“The name of the group that you’re going to send your check to is now going to be Novo Holdings instead of Catalent, but otherwise everything remains the same,” Paulk told Endpoints. “That’s the best-case scenario.”

In a worst case, Paulk said she feared the new owners could wind up closing sites or laying off Catalent groups. That could create some uncertainty for customers looking for a long-term manufacturing partner.

Are shareholders and regulators happy? 

The pandemic was a wild ride for Catalent’s stock, with shares surging from about $40 to $140 and then crashing back to earth. The $63.50 share price for the takeover is a happy ending depending on the investor.

On that point, the investing giant Elliott Investment Management is satisfied. Marc Steinberg, a partner at Elliott, called the agreement “an outstanding outcome” that “clearly maximizes value for Catalent stockholders” in a statement.

Elliott helped kick off a strategic review last August that culminated in the sale agreement. Compared to Catalent’s stock price before that review started, the deal pays a nearly 40% premium.

Alessandro Maselli

But this is hardly a victory lap for CEO Alessandro Maselli, who took over in July 2022 when Catalent’s stock price was north of $100. Novo’s takeover is a tacit acknowledgment that Maselli could never fully right the ship, as operational problems plagued the company throughout 2023 while it was limited by its debt.

Additional regulatory filings in the next few weeks could give insight into just how competitive the sale process was. William Blair analysts said they don’t expect a competing bidder “given the organic investments already being pursued at other leading CDMOs and the breadth and scale of Catalent’s operations.”

The Blair analysts also noted the companies likely “expect to spend some time educating relevant government agencies” about the deal, given the lengthy closing timeline. Given Novo Nordisk’s ascent — it’s now one of Europe’s most valuable companies — paired with the limited number of large contract manufacturers, antitrust regulators could be interested in taking a close look.

Are Catalent’s problems finally a thing of the past?

Catalent ran into a mix of financial and operational problems over the past year that played no small part in attracting the interest of an activist like Elliott.

Now with a deal in place, how quickly can Novo rectify those problems? Some of the challenges were driven by the demands of being a publicly traded company, like failing to meet investors’ revenue expectations or even filing earnings reports on time.

But Catalent also struggled with its business at times, with a range of manufacturing delays, inspection reports and occasionally writing down acquisitions that didn’t pan out. Novo’s deep pockets will go a long way to a turnaround, but only the future will tell if all these issues are fixed.

Kutay said his team is excited by the opportunity and was satisfied with the due diligence it did on the company.

“We believe we’re buying a strong company with a good management team and good prospects,” Kutay said. “If that wasn’t the case, I don’t think we’d be here.”

Amber Tong and Reynald Castañeda contributed reporting.

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Petrina Kamya, Ph.D., Head of AI Platforms at Insilico Medicine, presents at BIO CEO & Investor Conference

Petrina Kamya, PhD, Head of AI Platforms and President of Insilico Medicine Canada, will present at the BIO CEO & Investor Conference happening Feb….

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Petrina Kamya, PhD, Head of AI Platforms and President of Insilico Medicine Canada, will present at the BIO CEO & Investor Conference happening Feb. 26-27 at the New York Marriott Marquis in New York City. Dr. Kamya will speak as part of the panel “AI within Biopharma: Separating Value from Hype,” on Feb. 27, 1pm ET along with Michael Nally, CEO of Generate: Biomedicines and Liz Schwarzbach, PhD, CBO of BigHat Biosciences.

Credit: Insilico Medicine

Petrina Kamya, PhD, Head of AI Platforms and President of Insilico Medicine Canada, will present at the BIO CEO & Investor Conference happening Feb. 26-27 at the New York Marriott Marquis in New York City. Dr. Kamya will speak as part of the panel “AI within Biopharma: Separating Value from Hype,” on Feb. 27, 1pm ET along with Michael Nally, CEO of Generate: Biomedicines and Liz Schwarzbach, PhD, CBO of BigHat Biosciences.

The session will look at how the latest artificial intelligence (AI) tools – including generative AI and large language models – are currently being used to advance the discovery and design of new drugs, and which technologies are still in development. 

The BIO CEO & Investor Conference brings together over 1,000 attendees and more than 700 companies across industry and institutional investment to discuss the future investment landscape of biotechnology. Sessions focus on topics such as therapeutic advancements, market outlook, and policy priorities.

Insilico Medicine is a leading, clinical stage AI-driven drug discovery company that has raised over $400m in investments since it was founded in 2014. Dr. Kamya leads the development of the Company’s end-to-end generative AI platform, Pharma.AI from Insilico’s AI R&D Center in Montreal. Using modern machine learning techniques in the context of chemistry and biology, the platform has driven the discovery and design of 30+ new therapies, with five in clinical stages – for cancer, fibrosis, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), and COVID-19. The Company’s lead drug, for the chronic, rare lung condition idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, is the first AI-designed drug for an AI-discovered target to reach Phase II clinical trials with patients. Nine of the top 20 pharmaceutical companies have used Insilico’s AI platform to advance their programs, and the Company has a number of major strategic licensing deals around its AI-designed therapeutic assets, including with Sanofi, Exelixis and Menarini. 

 

About Insilico Medicine

Insilico Medicine, a global clinical stage biotechnology company powered by generative AI, is connecting biology, chemistry, and clinical trials analysis using next-generation AI systems. The company has developed AI platforms that utilize deep generative models, reinforcement learning, transformers, and other modern machine learning techniques for novel target discovery and the generation of novel molecular structures with desired properties. Insilico Medicine is developing breakthrough solutions to discover and develop innovative drugs for cancer, fibrosis, immunity, central nervous system diseases, infectious diseases, autoimmune diseases, and aging-related diseases. www.insilico.com 


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