Category Archives: Science

Cannabis can help fight coronavirus, study says

Cannabis could be a new weapon in the fight against the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19), researchers say. A new study by scientists at the University of Lethbridge in Alberta says that cannabidiol (CBD) — the main non-psychoactive component of marijuana — can help fight the coronavirus by lowering the number of cell receptors available for the latter to attach to.

“There’s a lot of documented information about cannabis in cancer, cannabis in inflammation, anxiety, obesity and whatnot,” said Dr. Igor Kovalchuk, who co-authored the study alongside his wife, Dr. Olga Kovalchuck, and a team of other researchers from Lethbridge. “When COVID-19 started, Olga had the idea to revisit our data, and see if we can utilize it for COVID.”

“It was like a joker card, you know, coronavirus. It just mixes up everybody’s plans,” Olga added.

The Kovalchuks’ have been working with cannabis since 2015, using varieties from around the world to create new hybrids and develop extracts that demonstrate certain therapeutic properties.

CBD reduces available ACE2 receptors for the virus to latch on to

For the study, published in pre-peer review server Preprints, the researchers partnered with cannabis therapy research company Pathway Rx — of which Igor Kovalchuck is the CEO — and cannabinoid-based research company Swysh.

The team created 3D tissue models with human oral, mucociliary and intestinal tissues and tested them with different samples of high CBD extracts. The extracts were low in tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. (Related: CBD vs. coronavirus? Potential natural remedies that promote immunity.)

With this setup, the researchers then observed the effect that the extracts had on angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2), the receptor that the virus uses to enter human cells.

The results of the researchers’ tests demonstrated that the extracts helped reduce the number of these receptors that the coronavirus could use to “hijack” host cells.

“A number of them have reduced the number of [ACE2] receptors by 73 percent, the chance of it getting in is much lower,” stated Igor.

“If they can reduce the number of receptors, there’s much less chance of getting infected,” he added.

In addition to ACE2, the researchers also looked into other receptors such as transmembrane serine protease 2 (TMPRSS2), which allows the virus to invade cells more easily and multiply quickly.

“Imagine a cell being a large building,” explained Kovalchuk to CTV News. “Cannabinoids decrease the number of doors in the building by, say, 70 percent, so it means the level of entry will be restricted. So, therefore, you have more chance to fight it.”

Clinical trials still needed but exploring therapeutic options is important

The researchers’ early findings indicate that the CBD extracts could be used in inhalers, mouthwash and throat gargle products for both clinical and home treatment.

However, they say that people looking for CBD extracts to fight the coronavirus won’t be able to do so at their local dispensaries yet. They state that the current medical cannabis and CBD products, while helpful for a lot of ailments, are not designed to treat or prevent infection from COVID-19.

“The key thing is not that any cannabis you would pick up at the store will do the trick,” said Olga.

With this in mind, the researchers are now actively pursuing clinical trials. They stressed that their data is already based on human tissue models, so these trials are a natural next step.

They also highlight the importance of exploring every therapeutic option when it comes to fighting the coronavirus.

“Given the current dire and rapidly developing epidemiological situation, every possible therapeutic opportunity and avenue needs to be considered.”

“We need to bring it to the people,” says Olga. “We need to fight the beast.”

Visit Pandemic.news to learn more about how health experts are learning to fight the coronavirus.

Sources include:

DailyMail.co.uk

Preprints.org

Calgary.CTVNews.ca

Study: Cannabis plant contains molecules that are 30 times more effective at reducing inflammation than aspirin

Conditions that cause chronic pain can be difficult to deal with. Severe and persistent pain not only affects a person’s ability to perform his daily tasks, it also reduces his quality of life. Often, physicians prescribe strong opioids that can block pain receptors in the brain to help patients get pain relief. However, the use of opioids comes with undesirable side effects, as well as a high risk of developing an addiction to these synthetic drugs. Therefore, scientists have expanded their search for safer and more efficient alternatives to opioids by looking into the potential of medicinal plants.

Cannabis (Cannabis sativa) is a medicinal plant widely used in the U.S. for the management of pain. Although it isn’t strong enough to relieve severe pain caused by surgery or a broken bone, the plant is effective enough to treat age-related chronic pain. Many people prefer to use cannabis as it is safer and less addictive than opioids. It is also an excellent substitute for nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), which are not recommended for people with kidney problems, ulcers or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

In a recent study, researchers at the University of Guelph in Canada looked into the analgesic properties of cannabis. They focused specifically on its flavonoid content, which is made up of non-psychoactive compounds that are also present in many plant-derived human foods. The researchers reported that some of the compounds in cannabis exhibit strong anti-inflammatory properties. Two flavonoids, in particular, also known as cannflavins, showed promise as natural painkillers with very few side effects. The researchers reported their findings in an article published in the journal Phytochemistry.

Cannflavins in cannabis can fight inflammation and provide pain relief

First discovered more than three decades ago, when cannabis research was still heavily regulated, cannflavins are now well-known for their strong anti-inflammatory properties. These compounds are among the many specialized metabolites — besides psychoactive chemicals — produced by cannabis that are believed to contribute to the plant’s medicinal versatility.

In their study, Canadian researchers identified cannflavin A and cannflavin B as promising analgesic compounds exclusively produced by cannabis. They reported that the two flavonoids are synthesized via a branch point from the phenylpropanoid pathway, which is required for the production of polymers used to make plant cell walls. The phenylpropanoid pathway is also known as a rich source of phytonutrients and the starting point of flavonoid production.

According to a previous study, cannflavins A and B are 30 times more effective at reducing inflammation than aspirin. Analysis using cultured cells revealed that both compounds can inhibit the production of two pro-inflammatory mediators, namely prostaglandin E2 and leukotrienes. This led the researchers to believe that the two compounds are behind the positive effects shown by cannabis in trials where it was used to treat neuropathy pain in diabetics.

“These molecules are non-psychoactive and they target the inflammation at the source, making them ideal painkillers,” said Tariq Akhtar, a professor at the University of Guelph and senior author of the study. (Related: Cannabis could be an alternative treatment for pain and sleeping troubles.)

“Being able to offer a new pain relief option is exciting, and we are proud that our work has the potential to become a new tool in the pain relief arsenal,” added Professor Steven Rothstein, one of the co-authors of the study, who also shared a huge challenge they are currently facing.

“The problem with these molecules is they are present in cannabis at such low levels, it’s not feasible to try to engineer the cannabis plant to create more of these substances. We are now working to develop a biological system to create these molecules, which would give us the opportunity to engineer large quantities.”

HempScience.news has the latest stories about cannabis and its medicinal uses.

Sources include:

Health.Harvard.edu

Diabetes.co.uk

ScienceDirect.com

BioOne.org

NeuroscienceNews.com

Another Gates Vaccine Bites the Dust—Sick Monkeys Everywhere!

childrenshealthdefense.org
By Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., Chairman, Children’s Health Defense
MAY 26, 2020
One day after revelations that the Gates/Fauci Moderna vaccine caused severe illnesses in 20% of high-dose recipients, Bill Gates got devastating news about his other “warp-speed” COVAX bet. The Oxford Vaccine Group (OVG) spike-protein vaccine was on an even faster track than Moderna. In May, Melinda Gates predicted it would be jab-ready by years’ end. Oxford and UK officials promised 30 million doses by September.

On April 24, OVG scientists announced that a small macaque study proved the vaccine effective. OVG quickly recruited 510 healthy volunteers for human trialsPre-publication data released on May 13th reveals the vaccine is less promising than the OVG team implied.

All vaccinated macaques sickened after exposure to COVID-19. Edinburgh University’s Eleanor Riley told Forbes the vaccine provided “insufficient” antibodies to prevent infection and viral shedding. Vaccinated monkeys spread the disease as readily as unvaccinated.

Pollard used his power and deceitful puffery about the monkey trial to bulldoze his COVID vaccine into human trials. He shunned inert placebo tests and restricted safety studies to three weeks to hide long-term injuries.

Andrew Pollard strikes again

The OVG is politically wired. Lead developer Andrew Pollard juggles scandalous conflicts that allow him to licenseregister, and mandate his own untested vaccines to the masses. Pollard is Senior Advisor to Britain’s MRHA Panel which licenses vaccines, chairs Britain’s JVCI committee that mandates them, and advises the European Medicine Agency (EMA). He takes payments from virtually all the big vaccine makers.  In 2014, Pollard developed GlaxoSmithKline’s notorious Bexsero meningitis vaccine, and then mandated it to children despite significant safety signals for Kawasaki Disease and the rarity of meningococcal B infections. The package insert says Bexsero may cause Kawasaki disease in as many as one out of every 1000 children based on reports in the clinical trials.

Pollard used his power and deceitful puffery about the monkey trial to bulldoze his COVID vaccine into human trials. He shunned inert placebo tests and restricted safety studies to three weeks to hide long-term injuries.

Forbes reported on May 21 that the U.S. Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) has given $1 billion to Astra Zeneca in partnership with Oxford for a rushed rollout of the vaccine in September.

In an update on May 22, the Oxford researchers revealed that “1,000 immunisations have been completed” and that next study will enroll “up to 10,260 adults and children and will involve a number of partner institutions across the country.”

Pollard is steaming ahead with his ineffective vaccine. But a vaccine that hides symptoms and allows transmission is worse than no vaccine at all.

“Like It Was Designed To Infect Humans”: COVID-19 ‘Cell Culture’ Theory Gains Steam

A scientific study which found COVID-19 may have been a “cell-culture” uniquely adapted for transmission to humans (more so than any other animal – including bats), is gaining steam.

The paper, currently under peer review, comes from Flinders University Professor Nikolai Petrovsky, who has spent over two decades developing vaccines against influenza, Ebola, and animal Sars. He says his findings allow for the possibility that COVID-19 leaked from a laboratory, according to Sky News.

“The two possibilities which I think are both still open is that it was a chance transmission of a virus from an as yet unidentified animal to human. The other possibility is that it was an accidental release of the virus from a laboratory,” said Petrovsky, adding “Certainly we can’t exclude the possibility that this came from a laboratory experiment rather than from an animal. They are both open possibilities.”

Professor Petrovsky, who is the Chairman and Research Director of Vaxine Pty Ltd, said COVID-19 has genetic elements similar to bat coronaviruses as well as other coronaviruses.

The way coronavirus enters human cells is by binding to a protein on the surface of lung-cells called ACE2. The study showed the virus bound more tightly to human-ACE2 than to any of the other animals they tested.

It was like it was designed to infect humans,” he said.

“One of the possibilities is that an animal host was infected by two coronaviruses at the same time and COVID-19 is the progeny of that interaction between the two viruses. –Sky News

“The same process can happen in a petri-dish,” added Petrovsky. “If you have cells in culture and you have human cells in that culture which the viruses are infecting, then if there are two viruses in that dish, they can swap genetic information and you can accidentally or deliberately create a whole third new virus out of that system.”

“In other words COVID-19 could have been created from that recombination event in an animal host or it could have occurred in a cell-culture experiment.”

In January, Petrovsky began modeling the virus to try and create a vaccine candidate. According to the report, he then began to explore “what animal species might have been involved in the transmission to humans” in order to better understand the origins of the virus, when he discovered how well it infects humans over other species.

We found that the COVID-19 virus was particularly well-adapted to bind to human cells and that was far superior to its ability to bind to the cells of any other animal species which is quite unusual because typically when a virus is well-adapted to an animal and then it by chance crosses to a human, typically, you would expect it to have lower-binding to human cells than to the original host animal. We found the opposite so that was a big surprise,” he said.

When asked why mainstream scientists are still clinging to the theory that the virus originated in a Wuhan wet market, he said that scientists “try not to be political” but that scientists who support the lab escape theory risk negatively impacting their industry with tighter laboratory controls.

“For instance, if it was to turn out that this virus may have come about because of an accidental lab release that would have implications for how we do viral research in laboratories all around the world which could make doing research much harder,” he said, adding “So I think the inclination of virus researchers would be to presume that it came from an animal until proven otherwise because that would have less ramifications for how we are able to do research in the future. The alternative obviously has quite major implications for science and science on viruses, not just obviously political ramifications which we’re all well aware of.”

Petrovsky has called for immediate investigation now, and not when the pandemic is over – calling any delay in fact-finding a “mistake.”

“I’m certainly very much in favour of a scientific investigation. Its only objective should be to get to the bottom of how did this pandemic happen and how do we prevent a future pandemic…. not to have a witch-hunt.”

Ten reasons why immunity passports are a bad idea

Pic added by Tales
Restricting movement on the basis of biology threatens freedom, fairness and public health.
Women in Beijing display a health QR code on their phones as a security guard takes their temperature with a remote sensor

A woman in Beijing shows a health QR code on her phone to access a shopping area, as a security guard checks her temperature. Credit: Kevin Frayer/Getty

Imagine a world where your ability to get a job, housing or a loan depends on passing a blood test. You are confined to your home and locked out of society if you lack certain antibodies.

It has happened before. For most of the nineteenth century, immunity to yellow fever divided people in New Orleans, Louisiana, between the ‘acclimated’ who had survived yellow fever and the ‘unacclimated’, who had not had the disease1. Lack of immunity dictated whom people could marry, where they could work, and, for those forced into slavery, how much they were worth. Presumed immunity concentrated political and economic power in the hands of the wealthy elite, and was weaponized to justify white supremacy.

Something similar could be our dystopian future if governments introduce ‘immunity passports’ in efforts to reverse the economic catastrophe of the COVID-19 pandemic. The idea is that such certificates would be issued to those who have recovered and tested positive for antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 — the coronavirus that causes the disease. Authorities would lift restrictions on those who are presumed to have immunity, allowing them to return to work, to socialize and to travel. This idea has so many flaws that it is hard to know where to begin.

On 24 April, the World Health Organization (WHO) cautioned against issuing immunity passports because their accuracy could not be guaranteed. It stated that: “There is currently no evidence that people who have recovered from COVID-19 and have antibodies are protected from a second infection”(see go.nature.com/3cutjqz). Nonetheless, the idea is being floated in the United States, Germany, the United Kingdom and other nations.

China has already introduced virtual health checks, contact tracing and digital QR codes to limit the movement of people. Antibody test results could easily be integrated into this system. And Chile, in a game of semantics, says that it intends to issue ‘medical release certificates’ with three months’ validity to people who have recovered from the disease2.

In our view, any documentation that limits individual freedoms on the basis of biology risks becoming a platform for restricting human rights, increasing discrimination and threatening — rather than protecting — public health. Here we present ten reasons why immunity passports won’t, can’t and shouldn’t be allowed to work.

Ten points

Four huge practical problems and six ethical objections add up to one very bad idea.

COVID-19 immunity is a mystery. Recent data3 suggest that a majority of recovered patients produce some antibodies against SARS-CoV-2. But scientists don’t know whether everyone produces enough antibodies to guarantee future protection, what a safe level might be or how long immunity might last. Current estimates, based on immune responses to closely related viruses such as those that cause severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), suggest that recovered individuals could be protected from re-infection for one to two years. But if SARS-CoV-2 immunity instead mimics that seen with the common cold, the protection period could be shorter.

Serological tests are unreliable. Tests to measure SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in the blood can be a valuable tool to assess the prevalence and spread of the virus. But they vary widely in quality and efficacy. This has led the WHO and former US Food and Drug Administration commissioner Scott Gottlieb to caution against their use in assessing individual health or immune status. Several available tests are sufficiently accurate, meaning they are validated to have at least 99% specificity and sensitivity. But preliminary data suggest that the vast majority aren’t reliable4. Low specificity means the test measures antibodies other than those that are specific to SARS-CoV-2. This causes false positives, leading people to think they are immune when they aren’t. Low sensitivity means that the test requires a person to have a high concentration of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies for them to be measured effectively. This causes false negatives in people who have few antibodies, leading to potentially immune individuals being incorrectly labelled as not immune.

The volume of testing needed is unfeasible. Tens to hundreds of millions of serological tests would be needed for a national immunity certification programme. For example, Germany has a population of nearly 84 million people, so would require at least 168 million serological tests to validate every resident’s COVID-19 immune status at least twice. Two tests per person are the minimum, because anyone who tested negative might later become infected and would need to be retested to be immune certified. Repeat testing, on no less than an annual basis, would be necessary to ensure ongoing immunity. From June, the German government will receive 5 million serological tests a month from the Swiss firm Roche Pharmaceuticals — a leading supplier of one SARS-CoV-2 serological test that has been approved by regulators. This will allow only 6% of the German population to be tested each month.

Even if immunity passports were limited to health-care workers, the number of tests required could still be unfeasible. The United States, for example, would need more than 16 million such tests. At the time of writing, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and US public-health laboratories have performed more than 12 million diagnostic tests for SARS-CoV-2 (3% of the total US population; see go.nature.com/2wemdd2). Even South Korea, a country with high testing rates, had managed to test only 1.5% of its population by 20 May (see go.nature.com/2aztfvp).

Health-care worker draw blood samples from a family wearing facemasks sitting at the dining table in their home in Munich

Health-care workers in Munich, Germany, take blood to test for antibodies to SARS-CoV-2.Credit: Laetitia Vancon/NYT/Redux/eyevine

Too few survivors to boost the economy. The proportion of individuals known to have recovered from COVID-19 varies widely in different populations. Reports from hot spots in Germany and the United States suggest some locations could have recovery rates between 14% and 30%. In New York state, for example, where 3,000 people were tested at random in grocery shops and other public locations, 14.9% had antibodies against COVID-19 (see go.nature.com/2waaku9). But these seem to be the exception. In an April press conference, the WHO estimated that only 2–3% of the global population had recovered from the virus.

Low disease prevalence combined with limited testing capacity, not to mention highly unreliable tests, means that only a small fraction of any population would be certified as free to work. Based on current numbers of confirmed US cases, for example, only 0.43% of the population would be certified. Such percentages are inconsequential for the economy and for safety. A cafe can’t open and serve customers without risk if only a fraction of its staff are certified as immune. A shop can’t turn a profit if only a minuscule proportion of customers are allowed to enter.

Monitoring erodes privacy. The whole point of immunity passports is to control movement. Thus, any strategy for immunity certification must include a system for identification and monitoring. Paper documentation could be vulnerable to forgery. Electronic documentation integrated into a smartphone app would be more resistant to fraud and more effective for contact tracing, retesting and updates of immune status.

But electronic documents present a more serious risk to privacy5. In some Chinese provinces, QR codes on smartphones control entrance into public places on the basis of the individual’s COVID-19 health status. However, these apps report more than COVID-19 information — including people’s locations, travel history, who they’ve come into contact with and other health information, ranging from their body temperature to whether they’ve recently had a cold. Taiwan is also using smartphone apps with alert systems that are directly linked to police departments. The United Kingdom, United States and many other countries are testing various app options. Yet there’s no guarantee that the apps will recede when COVID-19 does. China has announced that elements of its QR-code tracking system are likely to remain in place after the pandemic ends.

Marginalized groups will face more scrutiny. With increased monitoring comes increased policing, and with it higher risks of profiling and potential harms to racial, sexual, religious or other minority groups. During the pandemic, China has been accused of racially profiling residents by forcing all African nationals to be tested for the virus. In other parts of the world, people from Asia have faced spikes in racialized prejudice.

Before this pandemic, stop-and-frisk laws in the United States already disproportionately affected people of colour. In 2019, 88% of people who were stopped and searched in New York City were African American or Latin American (go.nature.com/2jntjym). And during the pandemic, policing continues to target people from minority groups. Between mid-March and the start of May in Brooklyn, New York, 35 of the 40 people arrested for violating physical distancing laws were black6.

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Russian researchers test coronavirus vaccine on THEMSELVES, team leader says they now have antibodies

rt.com
ByJonny Tickle
Russian researchers test coronavirus vaccine on THEMSELVES, team leader says they now have antibodies
Scientists in Russia have carried out the first unofficial trial of a Covid-19 vaccine – and they say it’s effective. Epidemiologists in Moscow took the unorthodox step of injecting themselves and examining their own results.

The test, conducted by employees at the National Research Center for Epidemiology and Microbiology, reportedly saw the participants gaining immunity to the virus with no adverse effects. According to the research center’s director, Alexander Ginzburg, this is a step towards state-sanctioned trials.

“We will consider the experiment successful when we get permission for official trials from the Ministry of Health and carry them out,” he said, speaking to Russian news agency TASS.

ALSO ON RT.COMFor the first time, Russian coronavirus recoveries OUTNUMBER new diagnoses

According to Ginzburg, the scientists chose to vaccinate not only to prove the effectiveness of their creation but also to defend themselves from the virus and gain immunity, enabling them to continue working throughout the pandemic. The director did not specify how many people were vaccinated, but described them all as “alive, healthy and happy.”

Ginzburg believes that it would take about six months to immunize the entire country once the vaccine is officially approved. If everything goes to plan, he hopes it will be approved by the end of summer. In his opinion, the first people to be immunized should be frontline doctors and the elderly.

ALSO ON RT.COMNormal life in Moscow will resume ONLY after 60% of residents have Covid-19 immunity – official

On Thursday, Health Minister Mikhail Murashko told TV channel Russia 1 that “access to wider use of the vaccine should appear sometime at the end of July.” Previously, Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova had reported that 47 different vaccines were being developed throughout the country.

According to the latest government data, Russia has had 326,448 confirmed cases of Covid-19. Thus far, 99,825 people have recovered, and 3,249 have died.

Study Points To COVID-19 Lab Creation; Lead Author Suggests ‘Forced Selection’ Vs. Genetic Engineering

 

study led by Flinders University vaccine researcher Nikolai Petrovsky in Australia reveals that SARS-CoV-2, the virus which causes COVID-19, is optimized for penetration into human cells vs. animal cells – undermining the theory that it naturally evolved in animals before jumping to humans, according to LifeSiteNews‘ Matthew Cullinan Hoffman.

Petrovsky says that the results, which are not peer-reviewed, suggest “a remarkable coincidence or a sign of human intervention.”

The authors of the study, led by vaccine researcher Nikolai Petrovsky of Flinders University in Australia, used a version of the novel coronavirus collected in the earliest days of the outbreak and applied computer models to test its capacity to bind to certain cell receptor enzymes, called “ACE2,” that allow the virus to infect human and animal cells to varying degrees of efficacy.

They tested the propensity of the COVID-19 virus’s spike protein, which it uses to enter cells, to bind to the human type of ACE2 as well as to many different animal versions of ACE2, and found that the novel coronavirus most powerfully binds with human ACE2, and with variously lesser degrees of effectiveness with animal versions of the receptor.

According to the study’s authors, this implies that the virus that causes COVID-19 did not come from an animal intermediary, but became specialized for human cell penetration by living previously in human cells, quite possibly in a laboratory. –LifeSiteNews

Typically, “a virus would be expected to have highest affinity for the receptor in its original host species, e.g. bat, with a lower initial binding affinity for the receptor of any new host, e.g. humans. However, in this case, the affinity of SARS-CoV-2 is higher for humans than for the putative original host species, bats, or for any potential intermediary host species,” wrote the authors.

A “possibility which still cannot be excluded is that SARSCoV-2 was created by a recombination event that occurred inadvertently or consciously in a laboratory handling coronaviruses, with the new virus then accidentally released into the local human population,” they added.

Engineered, naturally…

In a separate statement about the research, Petrovsky suggested that SARS-CoV-2 may not have been ‘spliced’ – which would leave fingerprints of genetic manipulation – but was instead ‘cultured’ to evolve.

“Our and other analyses of the genomic sequence of the virus do not reveal any artificial gene inserts that would be the hallmark of a gene jockey, genetic engineers who manipulate or even create viruses by splicing in artificial inserts into their genome. These are generally easily recognisable and hence clear signatures of human intervention in the creation of a virus. The fact that these artificial inserts are not present has been interpreted by some to mean this virus is not the result of human manipulation.

However, this logic is incorrect as there are other ways in which humans can manipulate viruses and that is caused by natural selection. What do I mean? All viruses and bacteria mutate and adapt to their environment over time, with selection of the fittest individuals for survival in that particular environment.

Take a bat coronavirus that is not infectious to humans, and force its selection by culturing it with cells that express human ACE2 receptor, such cells having been created many years ago to culture SARS coronaviruses and you can force the bat virus to adapt to infect human cells via mutations in its spike protein, which would have the effect of increasing the strength of its binding to human ACE2, and inevitably reducing the strength of its binding to bat ACE2.

Viruses in prolonged culture will also develop other random mutations that do not affect its function. The result of these experiments is a virus that is highly virulent in humans but is sufficiently different that it no longer resembles the original bat virus. Because the mutations are acquired randomly by selection there is no signature of a human gene jockey, but this is clearly a virus still created by human intervention.” -Nikolai Petrovsky

Petrovsky finishes the thought by suggesting that the virus “could have escaped the facility either through accidental infection of a staff member who then visited the fish market several blocks away and there infected others, or by inappropriate disposal of waste from the facility that either infected humans outside the facility directly or via a susceptible vector such as a stray cat that then frequented the market and resulted in transmission there to humans.”

In an email to LifeSite, Petrovsky said that his study suggests that “there are some highly unusual features, including optimal human adaptation, that in the absence of identification of a close to identical virus in an animal population from which COVID19 could have arisen, would point in the direction of human intervention at some point in the evolution of COVID19.”

He also noted that researchers around the world have been unable to produce evidence of the novel coronavirus in animals, which would support their theory of natural development.

“If an animal vector and virus could be found then of course this would resolve the matter completely,” he told the outlet, adding “One would have thought that the Chinese would be intensively sampling all conceivable animals trying to find such a virus to exonerate their labs. If no such intense search is going on (which I don’t know one way or the other) then the inference could be that they are not looking because they already know what they might find.”

That said, Rutgers molecular biologist Richard Ebright urged caution over the conclusion – teling LifeSite that while Petrovsky’s results “are plausible,” they are “from computational modelling, not from experiments, and therefore must be considered provisional at best.”

Ebright noted that an earlier study on ACE2 receptor binding found that a bat coronavirus similar to the COVID-19 virus had strong binding power with the ACE2 of tree shrews and ferrets, making them possible animal intermediary candidates. However, the study did not compare the binding power of the virus’ animal species’ ACE2 receptors with the binding power with humans, as does Petrovsky’s study. Moreover, it did not use a gene sequence from an early version of the novel coronavirus itself, as does Petrovsky’s study, but rather used the gene sequence of a similar bat coronavirus reported by the Wuhan Institute of Virology, called RaTG13.

Ebright told LifeSite that he believes that multiple physical experiments that will ultimately determine if the novel coronavirus is optimized for binding with human cells are “probably underway in multiple locations,” although he did not cite any specific studies. –LifeSiteNews

According to Petrovsky, an international investigation into the real origins of COVID-19 is required – something the Chinese government has refused to collaborate over.

“Whilst the facts cannot be known at this time, the nature of this event and its proximity to a high-risk biosecurity facility at the epicentre of the outbreak demands a full and independent international enquiry to ascertain whether a virus of this kind of COVID-19 was being cultured in the facility and might have been accidentally released,” wrote Petrovsky.

Vitamin D appears to play role in COVID-19 mortality rates

Source

news.northwestern.edu

Vadim Backman

Corresponding author

Walter Dill Scott Professor of Biomedical Engineering

May 7, 2020

Patients with severe deficiency are twice as likely to experience severe complications, including death

Led by Northwestern University, the research team conducted a statistical analysis of data from hospitals and clinics across China, France, Germany, Italy, Iran, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, the United Kingdom (UK) and the United States.

The researchers noted that patients from countries with high COVID-19 mortality rates, such as Italy, Spain and the UK, had lower levels of vitamin D compared to patients in countries that were not as severely affected.

This does not mean that everyone — especially those without a known deficiency — needs to start hoarding supplements, the researchers caution.

“While I think it is important for people to know that vitamin D deficiency might play a role in mortality, we don’t need to push vitamin D on everybody,” said Northwestern’s Vadim Backman, who led the research. “This needs further study, and I hope our work will stimulate interest in this area. The data also may illuminate the mechanism of mortality, which, if proven, could lead to new therapeutic targets.”

The research is available on medRxiv, a preprint server for health sciences.

Backman is the Walter Dill Scott Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Northwestern’s McCormick School of Engineering. Ali Daneshkhah, a postdoctoral research associate in Backman’s laboratory, is the paper’s first author.

Backman and his team were inspired to examine vitamin D levels after noticing unexplained differences in COVID-19 mortality rates from country to country. Some people hypothesized that differences in healthcare quality, age distributions in population, testing rates or different strains of the coronavirus might be responsible. But Backman remained skeptical.

“None of these factors appears to play a significant role,” Backman said. “The healthcare system in northern Italy is one of the best in the world. Differences in mortality exist even if one looks across the same age group. And, while the restrictions on testing do indeed vary, the disparities in mortality still exist even when we looked at countries or populations for which similar testing rates apply.

“Instead, we saw a significant correlation with vitamin D deficiency,” he said.

By analyzing publicly available patient data from around the globe, Backman and his team discovered a strong correlation between vitamin D levels and cytokine storm — a hyperinflammatory condition caused by an overactive immune system — as well as a correlation between vitamin D deficiency and mortality.

“Cytokine storm can severely damage lungs and lead to acute respiratory distress syndrome and death in patients,” Daneshkhah said. “This is what seems to kill a majority of COVID-19 patients, not the destruction of the lungs by the virus itself. It is the complications from the misdirected fire from the immune system.”

This is exactly where Backman believes vitamin D plays a major role. Not only does vitamin D enhance our innate immune systems, it also prevents our immune systems from becoming dangerously overactive. This means that having healthy levels of vitamin D could protect patients against severe complications, including death, from COVID-19.

“Our analysis shows that it might be as high as cutting the mortality rate in half,” Backman said. “It will not prevent a patient from contracting the virus, but it may reduce complications and prevent death in those who are infected.”

Backman said this correlation might help explain the many mysteries surrounding COVID-19, such as why children are less likely to die. Children do not yet have a fully developed acquired immune system, which is the immune system’s second line of defense and more likely to overreact.

“Children primarily rely on their innate immune system,” Backman said. “This may explain why their mortality rate is lower.”

Backman is careful to note that people should not take excessive doses of vitamin D, which might come with negative side effects. He said the subject needs much more research to know how vitamin D could be used most effectively to protect against COVID-19 complications.

“It is hard to say which dose is most beneficial for COVID-19,” Backman said. “However, it is clear that vitamin D deficiency is harmful, and it can be easily addressed with appropriate supplementation. This might be another key to helping protect vulnerable populations, such as African-American and elderly patients, who have a prevalence of vitamin D deficiency.”

Backman is the director of Northwestern’s Center for Physical Genomics and Engineering and the associate director for Research Technology and Infrastructure at the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center at Northwestern University.

62 Countries Collectively Call For Investigation Into Coronavirus Origin, W.H.O.

Resolution demands investigation of “the actions of WHO and their timelines pertaining to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

62 Countries Collectively Call For Investigation Into Coronavirus Origin, W.H.O.

United Nations Headquarters | Flags of member nations flying… | Flickr

Resolution demands investigation of “the actions of WHO and their timelines pertaining to the COVID-19 pandemic”

Sixty-two countries have collectively called for an independent investigation into the origin of the coronavirus and the reaction of the World Health Organisation.

A resolution led by European countries and Australia has been backed by every EU country, as well as the UK, New Zealand, Indonesia, Japan, India, Canada, Russia, Mexico and Brazil.

It is set to be presented to the World Health Assembly, the grouping of health ministers that sets policy for the WHO, on Tuesday, where a vote will be held.

The resolution states that WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus must “initiate at the earliest appropriate moment, and in consultation with Member States, a stepwise process of impartial, independent and comprehensive evaluation” of the origin of COVID-19.

It also asks for an evaluation of “experience gained and lessons learned from the WHO-coordinated international health response to COVID-19”.

The resolution also demands an evaluation of the “effectiveness of the mechanisms at WHO’s disposal”, and “the actions of WHO and their timelines pertaining to the COVID-19 pandemic”.

The draft also suggests that the WHO should work with the World Organisation for Animal Health to “identify the zoonotic source of the virus and the route of introduction to the human population, including the possible role of intermediate hosts, including through efforts such as scientific and collaborative field missions.”

It does not, however, specifically mention China at all, most probably in an effort to avoid further enraging the communist state, which has already threatened to ruin Australia’s economy by imposing strict tariffs.

The WHO has come under intense scrutiny for repeating Chinese claims in January that the virus was not contagious between humans. The body has since complained that it has not been invited to take part in China’s investigations of the outbreak.

As we highlighted last month, the WHO blocked doctors from urging countries to impose border controls to stop the spread of coronavirus and repeatedly told countries not to close borders, despite this being proven to be an effective way of controlling the spread of the virus.

According to sources who told Fox News that the virus was leaked from a lab in Wuhan, this represented the “costliest government coverup of all time” and “the World Health Organization (WHO) was complicit from the beginning in helping China cover its tracks.”

Study Points To COVID-19 Lab Creation; Lead Author Suggests ‘Forced Selection’ Vs. Genetic Engineering

study led by Flinders University vaccine researcher Nikolai Petrovsky in Australia reveals that SARS-CoV-2, the virus which causes COVID-19, is optimized for penetration into human cells vs. animal cells – undermining the theory that it naturally evolved in animals before jumping to humans, according to LifeSiteNews‘ Matthew Cullinan Hoffman.

Petrovsky says that the results, which are not peer-reviewed, suggest “a remarkable coincidence or a sign of human intervention.”

The authors of the study, led by vaccine researcher Nikolai Petrovsky of Flinders University in Australia, used a version of the novel coronavirus collected in the earliest days of the outbreak and applied computer models to test its capacity to bind to certain cell receptor enzymes, called “ACE2,” that allow the virus to infect human and animal cells to varying degrees of efficacy.

They tested the propensity of the COVID-19 virus’s spike protein, which it uses to enter cells, to bind to the human type of ACE2 as well as to many different animal versions of ACE2, and found that the novel coronavirus most powerfully binds with human ACE2, and with variously lesser degrees of effectiveness with animal versions of the receptor.

According to the study’s authors, this implies that the virus that causes COVID-19 did not come from an animal intermediary, but became specialized for human cell penetration by living previously in human cells, quite possibly in a laboratory. –LifeSiteNews

Typically, “a virus would be expected to have highest affinity for the receptor in its original host species, e.g. bat, with a lower initial binding affinity for the receptor of any new host, e.g. humans. However, in this case, the affinity of SARS-CoV-2 is higher for humans than for the putative original host species, bats, or for any potential intermediary host species,” wrote the authors.

A “possibility which still cannot be excluded is that SARSCoV-2 was created by a recombination event that occurred inadvertently or consciously in a laboratory handling coronaviruses, with the new virus then accidentally released into the local human population,” they added.

Engineered, naturally…

In a separate statement about the research, Petrovsky suggested that SARS-CoV-2 may not have been ‘spliced’ – which would leave fingerprints of genetic manipulation – but was instead ‘cultured’ to evolve.

“Our and other analyses of the genomic sequence of the virus do not reveal any artificial gene inserts that would be the hallmark of a gene jockey, genetic engineers who manipulate or even create viruses by splicing in artificial inserts into their genome. These are generally easily recognisable and hence clear signatures of human intervention in the creation of a virus. The fact that these artificial inserts are not present has been interpreted by some to mean this virus is not the result of human manipulation.

However, this logic is incorrect as there are other ways in which humans can manipulate viruses and that is caused by natural selection. What do I mean? All viruses and bacteria mutate and adapt to their environment over time, with selection of the fittest individuals for survival in that particular environment.

Take a bat coronavirus that is not infectious to humans, and force its selection by culturing it with cells that express human ACE2 receptor, such cells having been created many years ago to culture SARS coronaviruses and you can force the bat virus to adapt to infect human cells via mutations in its spike protein, which would have the effect of increasing the strength of its binding to human ACE2, and inevitably reducing the strength of its binding to bat ACE2.

Viruses in prolonged culture will also develop other random mutations that do not affect its function. The result of these experiments is a virus that is highly virulent in humans but is sufficiently different that it no longer resembles the original bat virus. Because the mutations are acquired randomly by selection there is no signature of a human gene jockey, but this is clearly a virus still created by human intervention.” -Nikolai Petrovsky

Petrovsky finishes the thought by suggesting that the virus “could have escaped the facility either through accidental infection of a staff member who then visited the fish market several blocks away and there infected others, or by inappropriate disposal of waste from the facility that either infected humans outside the facility directly or via a susceptible vector such as a stray cat that then frequented the market and resulted in transmission there to humans.”

In an email to LifeSite, Petrovsky said that his study suggests that “there are some highly unusual features, including optimal human adaptation, that in the absence of identification of a close to identical virus in an animal population from which COVID19 could have arisen, would point in the direction of human intervention at some point in the evolution of COVID19.”

He also noted that researchers around the world have been unable to produce evidence of the novel coronavirus in animals, which would support their theory of natural development.

“If an animal vector and virus could be found then of course this would resolve the matter completely,” he told the outlet, adding “One would have thought that the Chinese would be intensively sampling all conceivable animals trying to find such a virus to exonerate their labs. If no such intense search is going on (which I don’t know one way or the other) then the inference could be that they are not looking because they already know what they might find.”

That said, Rutgers molecular biologist Richard Ebright urged caution over the conclusion – teling LifeSite that while Petrovsky’s results “are plausible,” they are “from computational modelling, not from experiments, and therefore must be considered provisional at best.”

Ebright noted that an earlier study on ACE2 receptor binding found that a bat coronavirus similar to the COVID-19 virus had strong binding power with the ACE2 of tree shrews and ferrets, making them possible animal intermediary candidates. However, the study did not compare the binding power of the virus’ animal species’ ACE2 receptors with the binding power with humans, as does Petrovsky’s study. Moreover, it did not use a gene sequence from an early version of the novel coronavirus itself, as does Petrovsky’s study, but rather used the gene sequence of a similar bat coronavirus reported by the Wuhan Institute of Virology, called RaTG13.

Ebright told LifeSite that he believes that multiple physical experiments that will ultimately determine if the novel coronavirus is optimized for binding with human cells are “probably underway in multiple locations,” although he did not cite any specific studies. –LifeSiteNews

According to Petrovsky, an international investigation into the real origins of COVID-19 is required – something the Chinese government has refused to collaborate over.

“Whilst the facts cannot be known at this time, the nature of this event and its proximity to a high-risk biosecurity facility at the epicentre of the outbreak demands a full and independent international enquiry to ascertain whether a virus of this kind of COVID-19 was being cultured in the facility and might have been accidentally released,” wrote Petrovsky.