Thursday, November 12, 2020

Cure for the Sheeple

It was very telling that the CEO of Pfizer sold the majority of his holdings in the company right after all the happy talk of the success of the covid vaccine they have been testing. If the man in charge takes the money and runs, what does that say?

Authorities desperate to restart the economy and reassure the populace are poised to approve novel vaccines using a new mechanism to generate an immune response: messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines. Having studied microbiology and how the human metabolism works in college, I have some understanding about the subject, though I would never claim to be an authority. The way it works is that vaccines against viruses work by introducing an inactive virus or viral particle into the bloodstream where this new foreign particle activates our immune system to create antibodies against this specific virus. If the live virus infects us at some later date, our immune systems are already primed to identify and destroy the dangerous virus.

Messenger RNA was only discovered in 1961. DNA is the set of instructions, the "blueprint", and mRNA is a key part of the cellular machinery that copies a strand of the DNA "blueprint" and builds a protein based on the DNA instructions. Messenger RNA vaccines don't introduce a viral particle to our immune systems - they deliver cellular instructions (i.e. a "blueprint") for a viral particle which our cells reproduce once the mRNA enters our cells and delivers the "blueprint" for assembling the viral particle.

Many in the field see the potential for mRNA to deliver superior vaccines because they can generate T-Cell responses as well as the conventional immune responses to viral particles. They are also easier and cheaper to manufacture, and may be stable at room temperature for a week, unlike the Pfizer vaccine which must be refrigerated at extremely cold temperatures. But these are the first mRNA vaccines ever seeking approval for human use, and so there are no long-term studies of what might go wrong down the road.

The immune system has several levels of response. A conventional vaccine triggers the production of a specific antibody that "recognizes" a specific invader. In other cases, the immune system can activate an "all hands on deck" generalized response. The danger is that the mRNA could trigger an "all hands on deck" response that could then cascade into autoimmune disorders in which the immune system goes haywire and starts attacking the body's own cells rather than limiting its destructive capabilities to foreign viruses, bacteria, etc.

If covid was killing people right and left like the Black Plaque, then there might be cause for a rush to judgement, but mortality for covid is low, acute treatments are improving, transmission is preventable, and the greatest risk now appears to be longer term morbidity. mRNA vaccines by the very nature of their components elicit an interferon response that triggers generalized autoimmunity. This may, in fact, be part of the mechanism of longer term morbidity associated with COVID infection. Mass introduction of mRNA strands into the populations may indeed reduce acute COVID morbidity and mortality, but how many autoimmune complications will result? No one knows. It's never been done before--ever. And it would take years of carefully controlled and limited trials across all ethnic groups to find out.

Shouldn't there be a discussion before 'immunity passports' are mandated? For that matter, shouldn't we discover how long natural immunity lasts before trying to provoke induced immunity? With the proposed approval timetable, this path is even being considered at a population level, let alone considered without an extensive discussion. What happened to the Hippocratic Oath/ First do no harm.

Should anyone trust that Big Pharma corporations will act in the public good rather than in pursuit of maximizing profits? The mad rush of profiteering Big Pharma corporations to own the first vaccine approved will create needless and potentially dangerous confusion about which vaccine actually works best over the longer term. Let's just hurry to approve it and worry about the chaos and confusion down the road, right?

The danger here in my view is the poorly-informed, politically polarized general public will assume a Covid vaccine is essentially 100% effective like a measles vaccine, when the real-world efficacy might be considerably less certain. Maybe the vaccines will only work for 75% of the recipients. How will anyone be able to tell if they're one of the 25% for whom the vaccine offers only false confidence?

No one knows how long the immunity generated by these vaccines will last. These two uncertainties generate insurmountable doubts, very likely muddying the waters and making it more difficult to ascertain which vaccines actually work and for how long they offer immunity.

America's choice to optimize healthcare profiteering (a.k.a. "shareholder value") over the public good is about to reap a whirlwind. Our educational deficiencies won't help, as a populace which has a limited grasp of statistics and basic biology has few means to sort the wheat of real-world results from the chaff of self-interested PR.

Maybe the mRNA vaccines will fulfill their promise the first time out of the gate, with near-perfect efficacy and long-lasting immunity. The problem is it will take a long time and careful, de-politicized, independently confirmed studies to reach any trustworthy conclusions.

In such a highly polarized, politicized environment, is such a scrupulously objective study even possible? In a system that rewards self-serving statistical analysis and "first to market," a system where Big Pharma insiders reap millions of dollars selling their stock on the PR of happy-talk, is it even possible to have truly objective studies of a vaccine's efficacy and long-term effects?

It seems doubtful. And that's a problem that extends far beyond the unknowns of mRNA vaccines. I would decline any vaccine, first and foremost because the entire covid crisis has been way overblown; it's a bad cold or flu virus at worst, with very low mortality. And secondly, it has not been proven safe. All we have to go on is the word of a Big Pharma company whose CEO just sold most of his stock. Really? And they want us to line up for this? Fuggedaboutit.

Adaapted from the blog of Charles Hugh Smith, November 11, 2020

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