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Who Watches The Watchmen? – Fauci’s “Noble Lie” Exposed

Who Watches The Watchmen? – Fauci’s "Noble Lie" Exposed

Authored by Charles Rixey via Prometheus Shrugged,

*Note — This article details current historical research into COVID-19’s origins, as part of the D.R.A.S.T.I.C. team of scientists,…

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Who Watches The Watchmen? - Fauci's "Noble Lie" Exposed

Authored by Charles Rixey via Prometheus Shrugged,

*Note — This article details current historical research into COVID-19’s origins, as part of the D.R.A.S.T.I.C. team of scientists, journalists & researchers. Recent news: D.R.A.S.T.I.C.’s research forms a large portion of the basis for investigations begun by the US Senate, House & National Institutes of Health. Recent appearances and/or discussion on 60 Minutes, The Joe Rogan Exp., Fox News, JRE [again], Bill Maher, & CNN.

All references for this and other articles are compiled under my research project The Arc of Inquiry Bends Towards Enlightenment. The files include my statistical analysis of the impact of censorship on the search for the origin of SARS-CoV-2.

More than 100K pages of FOIA documents referenced here have been condensed into 173 pages of the most relevant selections in my appendix Prometheus Shrugged. It was here, last February, that the role of Dr. Fauci in ongoing academic censorship of COVID’s origin was first exposed. A chronological narrative of the events described throughout my research will included in a forthcoming volume of DRASTIC’s set of published collections of evidence.

A medieval doodle of William of Ockham accompanying a litany of scientists using his razor to shred evidence.

 The philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer once wrote that truth goes through 3 stages:

1st, it is ridiculed; 2nd, it is violently opposed; and 3rd, it is accepted as being self-evident

Guess what’s next for us?


Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? - Who Watches the Watchers?

Six months ago, I began my first article on scientific censorship during COVID-19 by introducing Dr. Fauci as a surprise character that had emerged unexpectedly while digging through what was then 83,000 FOIA emails, published by US Right-to-Know over the course of the last year:

[see files related to Ralph Baric, Linda Saif, Rita Colwell, Colorado State/Rocky Mountain National Laboratory & the NCBI; other FOIA releases from Judicial Watch, Buzzfeed & the Washington Post include NIH funding of the WIV & Dr. Fauci's emails]

I've been trying for quite some time to get people to understand the full scope of the Dr. Fauci ‘situation,’ but it’s clear that segments of our national leadership are preventing an honest and open inquiry into his actions because they fear the backlash/collateral damage that will result from the tarnishing of their sacred cow. It's time Americans were told the truth - that the grant money sent to the Wuhan Institute of Virology [WIV] is merely a footnote in this narrative. After all, Dr. Fauci controls nearly $4 billion of annual grant funding for the NIAID, the institute within the NIH he has directed since 1984; over 37 years, more than 50,000 research projects have been supported with more than $50 billion [conservatively] of taxpayer funds have been doled out to them.

It’s reasonable to hold him accountable for the results of his organization’s efforts, but the direct funding received by the WIV for Gain-of-Function (GOF) research represents only a tiny fraction of Fauci’s involvement in enabling risky research - the 2017 repeal of the GOF ban was decided without the consultation of the Trump administration, even though news coverage during the pandemic blamed him for the decision. Neither Fauci nor his boss Francis Collins [the NIH director] bothered to clarify the record, which looks especially disgusting in the wake of persistent rejections of Senator Rand Paul’s assertions [with accompanying evidence] that the NIH ever financially supported such research:

Contents:

  • Dr. Fauci’s true legacy

  • The evidence of his involvement

  • The questions Congress [and everyone else] should be asking Dr. Fauci

  • The impact of his efforts

First, do no harm … to Fauci’s Legacy

It’s important to plainly state that I’m aware of the intense politicization of virtually every aspect of the pandemic and the pandemic response. Since many readers may not be aware, I’ll point out that my specific motivation for building a COVID-19 website and speaking to a broader audience about the various facets of the pandemic was to offer unfiltered information to counter the disgusting polarization I observed:

I felt obligated to re-iterate my stance, but the nature and importance of the situation can’t be ignored any longer, because Congress is now actively engaged in investigating the pandemic’s origins, and we must confront the truth if we are to gain meaningful insight that can help us prepare for future crises. There is no level of partisanship that justifies ignoring a tragedy of this magnitude.

“Everything rises and falls on leadership” - John Maxwell

It’s hard to place a dollar value on the impact of Fauci’s leadership decisions upon almost all aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic, which is why it’s not difficult to understand the willingness of some to avoid a legitimate inquiry into the issue altogether. After all, he sits at the nexus of -

A) the NIH’s role in supporting the research & development of mRNA technology and new antiviral drugs like Remdesivir, and the resulting conflicts of interest that the NIH continues to ignore

B) His role in pushing those NIH-sponsored inventions; specifically, advocating for Remdesivir on the basis of weak evidence while rejecting legitimate investigations into generic alternatives with no less statistical support, as well as…

C) …His role in obfuscating concerning data and censoring public debate over the risk/benefit evidence emerging about COVID-19 vaccines. Had Fauci been bluntly honest about the unknowns involving the new technology throughout the pandemic, Americans would still largely have assumed the risk - at least, assuming that antibody dependent enhancement [ADE] was not a likely outcome. Oops.

D) His evolving stances on masking, lockdowns, school closures and other non-pharmaceutical interventions [NPI], largely the result of growing public awareness that those decisions have consistently been based upon reducing the accountability of cowardly officials, not the best interest of their constituents [Note: this is a conclusion from my research focus last year, that I will return to once the origin issue allows me to do so].

E) His refusal to address the blatant censorship of vaccine side-effect data; it takes a disturbing level of cynicism to witness the large-scale skepticism and uncertainty that has resulted from such censorship and then vilify those willing to speak up - and blaming them for any future vaccine breakout when one of the most likely causes would be ADE. ADE with SARS-CoV-2 would most likely result from the specific targeting of the MRNA vaccines, not vaccine hesitancy [in the absence of a simultaneous global administration of the jabs - which was never feasible under the geopolitical and temporal constraints of the pandemic.

Each of those factors has contributed to the fading perception of Fauci as ‘America’s Doctor, but each has also become a divisive litmus test for which the evidence for and against is hotly debated. My purpose here is not to offer judgment on those issues; rather, I want to highlight the fact that Dr. Fauci’s legacy includes elements far beyond the scope of my research - and the context of those debates is directly relevant for the proper framing of the failures illuminated here. The same hubris and gaslighting in defense of ‘Science’ has plagued everything.

My disgust doesn't stem from casual reflection & an exaggeration of weak assertions to fan partisan flames. It stems from my analysis of 100K pages of FOIA documents, 1,000+ research articles reviewed, and my own published analysis of the the impact of Fauci's censorship, which was the 1st of its kind:

My approach was external to science - from the perspective of an historian seeking to understand the 'why' behind the further collapse of trust in our institutions during the pandemic. My conclusions were formed over six months of investigation, and focused on the realization that one of the worst developments of the pandemic is the evaporation of public trust in scientists [see Edifice Wrecks]. I’ve never sought to inflame conspiracies or ignore evidence in support of zoonosis, but I’ve personally entered into discussions with a half-dozen of the scientists highlighted below, and none of them ever addressed the emerging evidence that, under normal circumstances, would’ve been part of the open debate that Fauci pretends already took place.

Every additional moment spent in denial and suppression just adds fuel to the coming backlash, and thus far discussions have ignored what I believe is the largest and most consequential elephant in the room:

F) Fauci quietly but directly ensured that scientific censorship was implemented, in large measure, to prevent public awareness of the extent of his role in GOF research and the controversies surrounding it. The evidence proves that, at the start of the pandemic, Dr. Fauci and many leading scientists moved to protect themselves - not us, who weren’t yet aware of the potential calamity at our doorstep. Fauci LED the efforts to obstruct research into COVID's origins, colluding with the President's Science Advisor Kelvin Dreogemeier and Wellcome Trust head Jeremy Farrar, to proactively undermine consideration of the evidence that directly tied their global research initiatives to the lab at the center of the COVID-19 pandemic.

To date, all of their efforts have been focused on preventing disclosure of embarrassing connections - not preventing another novel pathogen from sparking a global pandemic; to prevent future scrutiny, not future tragedy.

Scientists, if you’re struggling to understand the distinction between degrees of commitment to truth, I offer the example of Thích Quảng Đức, pictured here protesting the corrupt S. Vietnam regime in a prologue of the Vietnam War:

You see, the message for scientists who believe that a threat is existential is that words gain true meaning when they are supported by the actions & sacrifices of the speaker. What message are we supposed to derive from the COVID-19 pandemic?

I’d recommend pausing for reflection - on the image above, specifically - because what the world is beginning to see is that the scientific establishment made a mockery of the trust it had been given. The world’s leading experts in virology and public health called attention to a threat by setting the world on fire, rather than themselves - and then blaming us for being too simple to believe their noble lie.

Priorities

The baseline assumption of the public at large has been that Dr. Fauci has earned the benefit of the doubt thanks to his five decades of public service and consistency in defending establishment science - the admiration of which has risen nearly to cult worship in recent decades. The cognitive dissonance between appearance and reality have created a situation where trust in ‘science’ has reached its sacred peak at the exact moment when such trust is least deserved.

At the center of this incestuous arrogance is Dr. Anthony Fauci, the recipient of unquestioned adulation by those in the political sphere who have spent more than a century arguing that a Platonic ‘philosopher-king’ ideal must be forced upon intellectually vacuous masses whom, left to their own devices, would inevitably self-immolate.

Scientists reached new heights in the ivory tower when they warned us that man’s evil nature had left previous generations protected only by the horrific death equation of Mutually Assured Destruction. Setting aside the obvious complicity of scientists in the creation of nuclear weapons, trusting science over many decades has simply led to a new formulation of that Faustian bargain - Mutually Assured Corruption.

A Study in Scarlet

Before heading down the long and winding road, it’s important to explain what zoonosis is and why Fauci’s denial of basic facts simply kicks the accountability can down the road. Should we really be surprised that Dr. Fauci is ‘confused’ by the definition of “Gain if Function?” After all, not that long ago, he also ridiculed the idea that the virus could’ve come from a lab before finally admitting that it was a statistical possibility.

Zoonosis in the context of viral emergence doesn’t mean a virus originally sprung from nature - all viruses do. It means that the jump from animals to humans happened in the wild, as the result of a fortuitous combination of mutations that allow a virus to survive the switch. If human intervention artificially encouraged the process of adaptation by experimentation, or simply by virtue of bringing a virus to a lab and increasing the odds of such exposure, then the origin of a viral pandemic is a lab.

What’s sickening about his tortured twisting of language is that Fauci knows this better than almost anyone; thus his lies aren’t borne of ignorance. What he’s done is use his scientific gravitas to pretend that observers’ understanding of literal definitions is flawed because we are too ignorant to appreciate the complexity of the issues. The truth, however, is that our generation’s most prominent infectious disease expert is gaslighting the citizens of the country he swore an oath to protect [one could also use the term epistemic injustice].


We begin this story on 1/31/2020, on the eve of a 4-day stretch that seemingly made true believers out of serious skeptics:

*[Note - I’ve published this article, but I’m still adding in pictures and links]

The brief exchange above was a precursor to a conference call the next day [2/1/20], organized by Jeremy Farrar & Dr. Fauci for the explicit purpose of addressing the swirling rumors that had emerged following the publication of an Indian pre-print that alleged the discovery of inserts identical to sequence segments within the HIV genome

As far as sparking the intense reaction, the proof is in the pudding - between the various collections of FOIA emails, the Indian paper and Zero Hedge commentary are explicitly mentioned. The purpose of this meeting was to address several aspects of the SARS-CoV-2 genome that pointed towards an artificial origin, by means of generating adaptive changes through passaging and/or direct manipulation of the genome. Immediately afterwards, Baric's 2015 paper was investigated and shared amongst Fauci, his assistant Hugh Auchincloss, and others.

There's no reason to discuss the meeting’s purpose as a hypothetical - the Indian paper proposed a possible method of tweaking, and the Sirotkins' paper & Adrian Bond's arguments, as later magnified via Zero Hedge, discussed the general outline of how the WIV would've approached it, based on published experiments. The assembled experts on the conference call knew this, and they also knew [by 2/1, anyway], that Baric's chimaera and the methods within that paper needed to be compared and considered to determine what to do next. I took it as quite likely that the reference to 'backbone' directly stems from that paper.

In retrospect, it makes sense for there to be questions about the lovechild from that 2015 experiment, because the full sequence wasn’t added to the article’s supplementary files until May 22, 2020- 3 months after that conference call. Given that the experiments immediately triggered renewed debate about gain-of-function [GOF] research, less than a year after the GOF ban began, pretending that repeated corrections [in this case, relatively minor sequence segments] are acceptable for the world’s leading coronavirologist publishing a landmark paper in the world’s most prestigious journal is stupid.

Also completely obscured is the fact that at least one, and very likely all, of the people on the conference call were aware of the existence of the FCS, since Bill Gallaher had pointed it out on 1/29 and Robert Garry reiterated it [just a day before the conference call]: [Analysis of Wuhan Coronavirus: Deja Vu - SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus / nCoV-2019 Evolutionary History - Virological]. There is some confusion as to whether or not Garry actually made it onto the call, given a comment just prior, but further emails show that Garry’s input nonetheless was received by 2/2.

-2/2 was also the day that Marion Koopmans mentioned a “backbone” and an “insert.”

Thus, just like Zheng-Li Shi, the Proximals [the five editors of The Proximal Origin of SARS-CoV-2, plus their running mates in the virological community] already knew about the existence of the FCS, certainly by the end of the conference call. If not, then they lied later about 'nothing emerging to change their mind about the possibility of engineering.' Then, they said nothing for two weeks and let Etienne Decroly & co. break the news. That's pretty shitty, since the first notions of asymptomatic spread were also arising,

and the implications for many scientific disciplines, diplomatic interactions and public health interventions are profound.

It’s even worse when you consider that 18 months later, they still can’t explain it - the Proximals refuse to respond to the fact that the FCS doesn’t exist within the sarbecovirus sub-genus that SARS-CoV-2 falls under. This is a problem, because members of the sub-genus are too distinct to recombine with the varieties of SARS-like viruses from other branches that do contain the FCS.

In sum, having gone through now 100K pages of FOIA emails and all 600+ articles on my origin-only reference list, I'd be comfortable testifying that:

1) The Proximals were gathered by Farrar & Fauci explicitly to compare emerging arguments with what was known of Baric's work, the spectrum of experiments conducted at the Wuhan Institute of Virology [WIV]

2) Whatever specifics they covered that were pulled from the Indian paper & Zero Hedge included elements from Baric's experiments with SHC014[?] 

3) They were nervous about the claims within the Indian paper [even if not tied to HIV per se] even though it had already been pulled - it struck a nerve

4) They were concerned that unrestrained interest would lead back to them directly

5) They were concerned about transgenic mice [header for 1 discussion], the ZH article, the Indian retraction, a backbone, an insert, Baric/Shi's SHC014 love child, and preventing further inquiries into all of them. 

6) They almost certainly also knew about the FCS on 2/1, but Garry might never have made it to the conference call, per the emails, so it's possible that [if no one saw the virological posting] this news had to wait until 2/3, when the Proximals were summoned again.

7) Based on continuing conversations, the decision to censor might not have been formally made until 2/3. 

Public alarm? Lol, that's not the emotion they're afraid of. 

Why? Because the part that everyone is mostly missing is the far more important aspect of the Baric emails that got lost in their 83K pages. The big news last fall was that Daszak et all conspired to shape the narrative. 3 months later, I found and pointed out that the biggest nugget had been missed. Sadly, It mostly stayed that way even after the Fauci emails, despite my efforts. 

The Proximals' 2/4 collusion efforts were spawned by the 2/3 OSTP meeting, of which the stated purpose was to combat 'misinformation.' There were obviously still concerns amongst the 2/4 crowd, but they intentionally suppressed them for the OSTP letter. This wasn't their own secret plan - Kelvin Droegemeier, the recipient of said letter, was a speaker at the meeting on 2/3, so they weren't obfuscating for him, or Fauci, or the NASEM presidents in whose name the letter was being written.

That was a quick turnaround - this letter was emailed the morning of 2/3, and the meeting it called for took place that afternoon [I’ve added in pictures of the speakers/participants]:

Note) NIAID Director Dr. Fauci coordinated this meeting with Kelvin Droegemeier, the Presidential Science Advisor, and included WMD/PPP expert Chris Hassell & the National Academies’ policy director Alexander Pope.

The meeting’s purpose:

The outcome: This group slapped the table on what the narrative was going to be - not what the science indicated. They hid their conflicts of interest from the NSTC & the President; most still continue to fight tooth and nail to suppress that information. This esteemed group of virologists expended more effort and publications in advancing their cover-up than leading the charge against the exploding pandemic, until at least the summer of 2020.

The biggest picture-the 2/1 attendees included:

1) The world's largest public (Fauci) and private (Farrar) grant money distributors, whom organized the call; Farrar is also an editor of the New England Journal of Medicine

2) seemingly no GOF opponents

3) Nearly all of the major scientists with conflicts of interest (COI) related to the WIV who later published zoonosis materials

4) Francis Ross but no other HHS, DHS, Ex. branch officials

5) Ron Fouchier, famous for his Spanish Flu concoction

The 2/3 meeting that decided to censor included:

1) The policy head of the NASEM academies that controlled fellowship conferral & published Science

2) Heads of most of the most prestigious virology labs on the planet

3) The president's science advisor/OSTP head

4) The HHS science advisor/PPP authority

5) A mandate to control the narrative

Therefore, the signal was sent to all scientists that pursuing the lab origins angle meant career death (no academy membership), no funding (via Fauci or Ross or Farrar), no publication in the big 4 journals during the historic pandemic (NEJM, Science, The Lancet & Nature [by virtue of their publishing of the tone-setting pieces]), no executive patronage for things like generic drugs, etc. 

The disparity between peer-reviewed articles and everything else is stark:

If sorted chronologically, the impact from February to May of 2020 is even clearer.

It's disgusting, and the extension of that censorship to all Americans just ices the cake.

Edifice Wrecks

I’ve pondered the contents of the emails that were redacted before release, but I can't imagine what could possibly be redacted that is worth protecting. The West didn't make COVID-19, even if they taught the Chinese how to do major aspects of it. But, these people did decide to lie from the start, and then continued to do so after it exploded from 40 deaths to 4 million. It means that they refuse to call a spade a spade even now, and the prospect of China getting off scot-free as a direct result is horrifying. The protection of Fauci is a mid-term election decision only, and that means the goal is to drag this out until the electoral damage can be mitigated. Anything that clarifies this to the public negates being worthy of redaction. 

The recent Congressional appearances by Fauci, however, have shown that he is willing to drag this fight out forever in defense of his legacy, and many politicians are sympathetic to his plight. Thus, it’s clear that better questions are needed to build the proper level of awareness amongst the public to the full implications of Fauci’s concerted effort to prevent that same public discourse he claimed to support in 2012. Below are the questions I would lead with, were I appearing at his future hearings.

10 questions for Fauci:

1) Where did the buck stop? In 2014, who served as the final approval authority for Baric's pending research, which ultimately allowed it to be grandfathered under the impending GOF ban? Why did the experiment not get forwarded to Chris Hassell's committee for review?

-why did no one notice that the experiment included the use of humanized mice to increase human pathogenicity, which David Relman had asked Ralph Baric about directly in November of 2014, and which Baric denied any current research interest in that area?

-Coincidentally, it was also the research that Zheng-Li Shi was in North Carolina working with Baric on, and then immediately returned to the Wuhan Institute of Virology and continued in 2016?

2) Holding Dr. Fauci to his word - In 2012, Dr. Fauci called for an open, public debate on the GOF issue, saying that scientists should justify their research to the broader public any time the risks of such research carried a non-negligible probability of an accident that could affect them. Why then, in 2017, did the NIH rescind the GOF pause - without first engaging the public or its constitutionally elected president/representatives?

3) Secrecy - What did Peter Daszak tell Erik Stemmy & Alan Embry "off the record" on 1/8/20? When did they pass on the contents of that discussion to Dr. Fauci?

4) Redactions - When did you first learn of the existence of the furin cleavage site within the genome of SARS-CoV-2 -What were the insert/backbone referred to by Marion Koopmans? Was the insert the FCS? Why were emails with the topic heading “humanized mice” redacted?

5) Silence - Why did Victor Dzau and the other two academy presidents of NASEM ultimately remove the forceful pro-zoonotic statements inserted by Daszak et al from the final version of their public letter to the OSTP? What reservations justified that decision, and why did they not speak out when censorship prevented the doubts of others from being published?

6) Selective Inclusion - Why was Robert Kadlec, the HHS Assistant Secretary for Preparedness & Response, not included in any correspondence with Jeremy Farrar or your gathered audience of world-renowned virologists? His deputy is the chair of the PPP oversight panel and he is an expert on C-WMD & biological weapons. The existence of any doubt in the possibility of a zoonotic source [doubts which you harbored] should've made his inclusion mandatory.

-instead, you shaped the information provided to those outside the scientific community.

7) Why were you and Francis Collins the only US officials involved in the 2/1 conference call?

8) Subversion - Did you, Collins or Droegemeier alert Matt Pottinger, Robert Redfield, President Trump or any member of the National Security Council to the substance of the 2/1 conference call, or the decision-making over the next 3 days that led to an un-announced censorship of non-natural origin hypothesis for the origin of SARS-CoV-2? Why not?

9) Diverging Narratives - Jeremy Farrar's experts decided on natural origins of COVID-19 on 3/17? So, Fauci & the Pres. Sci. Adv. lied to us/Trump in the OSTP letter on 2/7? And in 'Proximal,' on 2/16? -written by your future dream team? What was the basis of the 2/4 decision to reject a lab-leak origin and produce “Proximal Origin” - if no additional evidence was added to the 2/16 version prior to its 3/17 online appearance in Nature?

Both Fauci & Farrar explained the general make-up and purpose of a ‘group of experts:’

By this point [2/13] 10 days had passed since the ‘Proximals’ & Fauci had held a second conclave, this time with the OSTP director, that was followed directly by a flurry of peer-reviewed letter, articles and ‘collaboration’ [collusion] to smother the scientific community with pro-zoonotic propaganda.

10) Prove it? Which evidence, specifically, led to the ‘Proximals’ reversal from 2/1 to 2/4? The arguments made in the following weeks were pathetically unsubstantiated. If stronger evidence exists, why wouldn’t it have been shown.

The answer, of course, is that the driving force behind the shift had nothing to do with the quality or quantity of the supporting evidence.

Paved by Good Intentions

The only proper action for Dr. Fauci to take at this point is to resign immediately, and apologizing for prioritizing the suppression of embarrassing & extensive conflicts of interest, double standards and political decisions masked as sound policy. Ideally, such a statement would include a call for the retraction of Proximal Origin of SARS-CoV-2, the most-read [and potentially most impactful] scientific propaganda published in at least a generation. Each of its 5 authors intentionally framed the COVID origin debate around ‘evidence’ and ‘facts’ that they couldn’t prove, and a finality of their conclusions that the known facts couldn’t justify.

These actions are independent of the ultimate answer to the origin question, because the failures of leadership I’ve described are ethically and morally indefensible, regardless of China’s guilt or innocence in the sparking of the pandemic. Any remaining shreds of credibility left in the public’s perception of scientists must be salvaged by new leaders who are willing to do what needs to be done to clean the Augean Stables.

Sufficient evidence already exists for Congress to do the right thing moving forward. Given the enormity of the failures, and of the efforts to hide, censor and destroy the credibility of anyone who spoke out against lockdowns, vaccines, masks, generic drugs, mRNA efficacy vs. risks, and the curtailment of numerous constitutional/human rights in the last 18 months, it will take historic leadership to honestly converse with a righteously indignant citizenry [in the US and everywhere else]. We must accept that our current representatives have proven manifestly unqualified to assume such leadership - in the last 6 months, censorship has been expanding, not receding.

The COVID-19 pandemic has manifestly proven that there is no lie so 'noble' that it overrides the rights and wisdom of a free and informed public. That doesn't mean that the public will inherently do better.

It's just acknowledging the inescapable conclusion - that we can't possibly do worse.

C. H. Rixey


Epilogue: Alan Moore’s prophetic vision, from a generation ago

 

Tyler Durden Sat, 07/24/2021 - 12:30

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Addressing the HIV epidemic in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

Working in partnership will be key, says Alex Kalomparis, vice president, public affairs, international at Gilead Sciences. 2021
The post Addressing the HIV epidemic in Eastern Europe and Central Asia appeared first on .

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Working in partnership will be key, says Alex Kalomparis, vice president, public affairs, international at Gilead Sciences.

2021 marks 40 years since the first cases of HIV were reported. In that time, over 79 million people have been diagnosed with HIV, with more than 36 million dying from AIDS-related illnesses, more than any other infectious disease.

While there has been incredible progress in the HIV response, nearly 38 million people are living with HIV, with more than a million new cases every year, jeopardising the goal to end AIDS as a public health threat by 2030.

HIV places enormous burdens on the communities it affects most, straining health systems and government budgets. In the era of the global COVID-19 pandemic, where health systems are already stretched to breaking, it is tempting to cut costs in other areas, including HIV. If commitment to the HIV response wanes, the progress we have made is at risk, leading to increases in new infections in regions that can least afford to tackle them.

“An epidemic somewhere is an epidemic everywhere”

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen the temptation to focus on one’s own backyard, isolate oneself from the rest of the world, and believe one is safe and protected. We know now that this protection is an illusion. Regardless of the protections we erect in our own countries, allowing public health crises to persist in other parts of the world threatens our own progress and safety.

The message is clear: an epidemic somewhere is an epidemic everywhere. To find our way out of a pandemic, we must broaden our ideas of how to respond, and address the problems and inequities that allow diseases to thrive in other parts of the world. To be effective, our response must be global.

The same is true for HIV. HIV has persisted for 40 years, and is still here because root problems continue to drive the epidemic: stigma and discrimination, poverty, lack of access to services and treatments, lack of access to education, and the marginalisation of the people and communities most at risk of HIV. These are not issues that can be addressed by any one government, group, or company. They can be addressed only in partnership with one another, and by engaging those key marginalised communities in our effort to end the HIV epidemic.

Whilst the global community has the tools it needs to meaningfully address new HIV infections, HIV is on the rise in Eastern Europe and Central Asia (EECA). Unlike other regions in the world, rates of HIV in EECA have increased, with infections up by 72 per cent, and AIDS-related deaths up by 24 per cent since 2010.

Working with the Elton John AIDS Foundation

However, across EECA, a range of community partners are making significant contributions in the fight against HIV, such as the first wave of the RADIAN ‘Unmet Need’ fund and Model City grantees, previously announced in 2020. In the first nine months of the programme, these partners have already reached more than 12,000 people from vulnerable communities directly with services, initiating life-saving care in over 2,000 people living with HIV.

RADIAN, a ground-breaking partnership between Gilead Sciences and the Elton John AIDS Foundation, works with local experts to target new HIV infections and deaths from AIDS-related illnesses in EECA in the communities most vulnerable to HIV.

Focusing on the groups most affected by HIV in EECA (eg men who have sex with men, transgender people, sex workers, and people who use drugs), RADIAN engages with groups led by these communities and are sensitive to the difficulties unique to the region.

“We all have one common goal: ending HIV”

Anne Aslett, CEO of the Elton John AIDS Foundation, is clear that for the partnership to reach its goals, it’s crucial to listen to and amplify the voices of people for whom HIV is a tangible, daily reality.

“They understand better than anyone the challenges associated with the virus, and what works to stop it. No matter where we are in the world, we must partner with them, and follow their leadership. We are proud of our RADIAN partnership with Gilead, to champion the vital work of communities to bring an end to the AIDS epidemic in Eastern Europe and Central Asia.”

Companies like Gilead Sciences provide industry leading expertise, while Governments bring an understanding of health systems and funding, developing an infrastructure that enables access.

However, these efforts need community leadership because they know best how to ensure people can access those systems to get tested, and adhere to medication. They understand the fears and sensitivities, the strengths and stigma within those communities, the nuances that make the difference in linking their members to the care they need. No two regions of the world experience the ‘same’ HIV epidemic. People living with HIV are critical to the success of any HIV response.

This autumn, RADIAN will launch a campaign telling the inspirational stories of ordinary, yet remarkable, community members who are taking action to turn the tide of the HIV epidemic in EECA.

We all have one common goal: ending HIV. It is crucial that we all understand the role we can play to achieve this. Our access to global networks of public health expertise, government funding, and innovative HIV treatments are meaningless unless they are used in service of people living with, and at risk of, HIV. They are the core of any successful response, regardless of country or region. Working in partnership with them is the key to ending HIV. By respecting them as leaders and giving them the seat at the head of the table, we make our work more effective and responsive to local needs, bringing us closer to the end of the HIV epidemic globally.

About the author 

Alex Kalomparis is vice president, public affairs, international at Gilead Sciences. He joined the company in January 2017 and is responsible for all communications and patient advocacy activities across Africa, Asia, Australia, Canada, Europe, Latin America and the Middle East. Prior to that Alex held senior communication roles with a number of consumer and pharmaceutical companies, including Unilever, Rolls Royce, Novartis, Roche, AstraZeneca and GlaxoSmithKline.

The post Addressing the HIV epidemic in Eastern Europe and Central Asia appeared first on .

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Science

Your immune system is as unique as your fingerprint – new study

New discovery could help scientists develop more targeted drugs and vaccines.

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Christoph Burgstedt/Shutterstock

Every person appears to have a unique immune system. My colleagues and I discovered this immune diversity after charting antibodies in the blood from healthy and sick people. The discovery could help explain why, for example, COVID vaccines appear to be less effective for some people. At the same time, it points to the possibility of identifying and retrieving particularly effective antibodies from individuals and using them to cure others.

In our daily life, our body is confronted and attacked by many germs that use clever tricks to enter our body, aiming to take control. Luckily, we have a powerful defence: our immune system.

With a well-functioning immune system, we can combat most of the germs that continuously and aggressively approach us. Part of our arsenal of weapons to neutralise invading germs are protein molecules called antibodies. These antibodies are abundant in the blood, streaming throughout our body, forming the first line of defence when a new nasty germ appears.

Each different germ requires a different arsenal of weapons (antibodies) to combat them most efficiently. Luckily, our body has provided us with a means to make millions to even billions of different antibodies, but they cannot all be made at the same time. Often, specific antibodies are only made as a response to a particular germ.

If we are infected by bacteria, we start to make antibodies to attack and kill those bacteria. If we are infected by the coronavirus, we start to make antibodies to neutralise that virus. When infected with the flu virus, we again make other ones.

How antibodies fight coronavirus.

How many different antibodies are made at a given moment and are thus present in our blood, was not known. Many scientists estimated it to be over several billion and hence almost immeasurable. Using a few droplets of blood and a technique called mass spectrometry, my colleagues and I were able to capture and measure the number of different antibodies in the blood and also assess the exact concentration of each of them.

Two surprises

Although theoretically, our body has the capacity to make trillions of different antibodies, a first surprise came when we noted that in the bloodstream of both healthy and diseased people just a few tens to hundreds of distinct antibodies were present at high concentrations.

Monitoring these profiles from just a few droplets of blood, we were surprised for a second time when we noticed that the way the immune system responds to germs varies highly from person to person, with each person’s antibody profile being unique. And the concentrations of these antibodies change in a unique way during illness or after a vaccination. The results may explain why some people are more prone to becoming ill from flu or COVID, or why they recover faster from some illnesses than others do.

Until now, scientists considered it impossible to accurately map the highly complex mixture of antibodies in the blood. But mass spectrometry separates substances based on their molecular composition, and since each specific antibody has a distinct molecular composition, we were able to use a refinement of the technique to measure all antibodies individually.

The method has been used to measure antibody profiles in about 100 people, including COVID patients and people vaccinated with different COVID vaccines. Not once did we encounter the same antibodies in two different people, even if they had received the same vaccine. It’s safe to say that everyone’s antibody profile is as unique as their fingerprint.

Even though the differences in antibodies are small, they greatly influence the course of a disease. If someone makes fewer antibodies against a certain germ, or only antibodies that are less effective at killing the germ, then a disease might strike harder or several times. On the other hand, if people produce antibodies that are excellent at neutralising the germ, that antibody could be produced therapeutically and used to vaccinate or treat patients.

Our research creates opportunities to make optimal vaccinations and drugs tailored to an individual’s immune system. By mapping someone’s antibody profile, you can track how their body responds to a vaccine or infection – or even a drug treatment. This way, you can also check whether the body produces enough of the desired antibodies, for example, those against the coronavirus. If they don’t produce enough, you can consider offering booster shots or antibodies that worked for other people.

Albert Heck receives funding from the Netherlands Organization fro Scientific Research

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Government

The Bloc’s Secrets of Success: 5 Ways The Health Creative Agency Won 200 Awards

As a global pandemic has reshaped society, The Bloc has been at the forefront of changing not just what stories get told about healthcare, but how they are told. In doing so, the health creative agency has won more than 200 film and advertising awards…

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The Bloc’s Secrets of Success: 5 Ways The Health Creative Agency Won 200 Awards

The Bloc achieved unprecedented levels of acclaim and recognition by embracing creativity, racial justice, technology, new practices, and people

New York, NY, September 22 – Over the past two years, The Bloc has redefined health creative to become one of America’s most talked about agencies. As a global pandemic has reshaped society, The Bloc has been at the forefront of changing not just what stories get told about healthcare, but how they’re told. In doing so, they’ve won over 200 film and advertising awards in 2020 and 2021. Recently, The Bloc became the first ever health agency listed on the “Of The Year” ranking for the entire Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. In addition, The Bloc is a founding member of The BlocPartners, the acclaimed global network of independent health creative agencies. The BlocPartners recently placed second in the “Health Network of the Festival” category at the Cannes Lions Health Festival.

The Bloc CEO Jennifer Matthews (PRNewsfoto/The Bloc)

“The work we’ve been so awarded for lately has been a natural extension of our motto ‘Be Great to Do Good,’” said Jennifer Matthews, CEO at The Bloc. “Health is life. It deserves the very best in creative excellence.”

  1. Invest in Hollywood Level Filmmaking 

A man walks through a futuristic train station, suffering from a cough, and decides to seek help from an automated doctor. That’s the premise of The Bloc’s award-winning short film Instant Doctor. Made so as to give thanks to doctors and released on National Doctor’s Day (March 30, 2020), the film highlighted the importance of the human element in healthcare by showing a world where medicine is done via machines.  

Instant Doctor won the Grand Jury Award for Best Short at the New York International Film Awards and was declared the Best Sci-fi Short Film at the 2020 Rhode Island International Film Festival.

“Instant Doctor has shown the industry that healthcare advertising can have not just the production quality but also the storytelling excellence of Hollywood movies,” said Bernardo Romero, Chief Creative Officer at The Bloc. “Healthcare has never been more important, which means health creative should be of the same quality as what you would see in a movie theatre or stream on Netflix.”

  1. Tackle the Biggest Issues – Including Racism and Racial Bias in Healthcare

Some of The Bloc’s most acclaimed recent work has centered around racial justice, both in healthcare and in the broader world. 

In early 2020, The Bloc, in partnership with acclaimed ballet dancer Ingrid Silva’s EmpowHer New York, released “The Call,” a short film where an actress went undercover on nursing advice hotlines to expose racial disparities in healthcare treatment. 

The Bloc went on to work with Ingrid on two more films. First came Skindeep, an animated story about racial trauma told through watercolor frames by Black women illustrators. Skindeep was followed by Making Space, a documentary about Ingrid’s life journey which premiered at Cannes Lions. 

In partnership with the National Black Child Development Institute, The Bloc created ABC’s of Survival, a tear-apart book for black children and their parents. The book aims to support mental health and change laws by including postcards that can be sent to congress. The ebook can be found at abcsofsurvival.com.

  1. Hire and Promote the Best People

The Bloc continues to grow rapidly and has recently hired Stuart Goldstein as COO and promoted Antoinette Bobbitt to EVP, strategy director. Stuart will be The Bloc’s first COO, and he’ll oversee the management for over 4,500 projects a year, with the goal of increasing efficiency and profitability. Meanwhile, Antoinette will ensure that The Bloc’s competitive differentiation is present in all client work.

The Bloc’s commitment to its employees was underscored this summer when Fortune magazine listed it as one of the best workplaces in New York for 2021. The Bloc is one of three advertising agencies on the list, and the only health creative agency focused exclusively on health.

  1. Get High Tech

More and more agencies are realizing that their creative skills can be used to power tech innovations, and The Bloc has focused on the development of tech to address pressing health needs. At the beginning of the pandemic, The Bloc pioneered SafeCode, a device concept which combined a bar-code scanner with UV light to help stop the spread of disease on delivery packages. 

The Bloc has also created a tool to aid mental health. At the end of 2020, they worked with Rockwell Ventures to create Scrollaby, an app which takes the habit of “doomscrolling” and turns it into a sleep aid, with over 1,000 pieces of custom content that support rest and relaxation.

  1. Rethink Agency Practices

To expand upon the capabilities it has developed, The Bloc has established new practice areas that distinguish it in the healthcare agency space.

One new practice area is The Bloc Science Foundry, which applies behavioral science and scientific expertise to medical communications. The other is The Bloc Storytellers

And this year, The Bloc announced its Storytellers department, which is dedicated to bringing unsurpassed production and narrative quality to healthcare creative. Storytellers seeks to replicate the success The Bloc has had with The Call, Skindeep, and Instant Doctor. The Bloc is currently searching for the best creative minds from the film, theater, and TV industries to join their team. Resumes can be sent to storytellers@thebloc.com.

 

About The Bloc

The Bloc is a leading independent health creative agency in the United States. Celebrating 21 years in 2021, The Bloc delivers comprehensive omnichannel communications for audiences across the health spectrum and partners with innovative clients who are doing some of the most meaningful and exciting work in health today. A founding member of The BlocPartners, the leading global network of independent health creative agencies, The Bloc’s work has been globally recognized for creativity and innovation. For more information, visit www.thebloc.com.

 

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