W.H.O. Chief: Future virus ‘more deadly’ than COVID-19 will spark new pandemic
A virus even more transmissible and fatal than COVID-19 will lead the world into the next pandemic, the director-general of the World Health Organization (WHO) has said, noting the “evolutionary certainty” of such an occurrence.
“Make no mistake, this will not be the last time the world faces the threat of pandemic,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told the UN agency’s annual assembly of health ministers from its 194 member states on Monday. “It’s an evolutionary certainty that there will be another virus with the potential to be more transmittable and more deadly than this one.”
On a more positive note, Ghebreyesus said the global number of Covid-19 cases and deaths reported has been decreasing for three consecutive weeks.
But the WHO chief stressed that the world remains “in a fragile situation” and cautioned against any nation assuming it is “out of the woods, no matter its [Covid] vaccination rate.”
He also reiterated his previous calls for governments to donate Covid-19 inoculation doses to the COVAX vaccine-sharing facility backed by the WHO and the Gavi vaccine alliance.
So far, the global rollout of Covid jabs has seen more than 75% of all doses administered in just 10 countries, according to WHO data. Ghebreyesus said such “scandalous inequity” is “perpetuating” the pandemic. He has previously referred to the situation as “vaccine apartheid.”
The efficacy of the world’s current crop of Covid-19 vaccines does not appear to be undermined by emerging variants of the virus, such as the strain first detected in India, Ghebreyesus said. But he did warn variants are “changing constantly” and that any future strains could “render our tools ineffective and drag us back to square one.”
Big Pharma already preparing vaccines for next global pandemic
Now that Pfizer and Moderna have demonstrated just how profitable a vaccine business can be during a global pandemic, drug companies around the world are rushing to prepare for either a resurgence of mutant COVID-19, or perhaps some new virus, as Dr. Anthony Fauci and others concede that SARS-CoV-2 may have escaped from a Chinese lab, instead of emerging from the wild.
In a report published Monday, Bloomberg pointed to the efforts of GlaxoSmithKline, which is investing in its vaccine business in order to get ahead of the next pandemic, while continuing to develop the next generation of COVID-19 vaccines (since its international production capabilities could give it a leg up in catering to the developing world).
It’s just the latest indication that President Biden’s support for a WTO proposal to waive IP protections for COVID vaccines is mostly lip service, and that the pharmaceutical industry will do everything in its (considerable) power to stop it.
What’s more, GSK is in talks with the British government to onshore more of its vaccine development and research capabilities, alongside production, according to the company’s vaccines chief, Roger Connor. These labs will be equipped with “vaccine technologies to tackle deadly viruses of the future, he said in an interview.” Presently, Glaxo’s main R&D vaccine hubs are based in Belgium, Italy and the US.
“When every government does their after-action review from this pandemic, they’ll start to think about manufacturing within their own boundary, or within their own region at least,” said Connor. We want to “create in-country manufacturing and vaccine development capability for the future.”
GSK and its hedge fund backers, which include Paul Singer’s Elliott Management, are in the process of spinning off the company’s consumer health division next year and leaving its biopharma and vaccine arms, businesses that Connor describes as the company’s “crown jewels.”
Whether the next pandemic is bird flu, or ebola, Connor ays GSK will be prepared: “We’ve got one of the widest range of technology platforms of any vaccine company,” he said. To prepare for a future pandemic, “you need to have fill-finish, you need to have bulk, you need to have technology choice, you need to have an R&D engine that connects very well to academia, to government monitoring of virus evolution, and GSK brings all of those things.”
Of course, the best-case scenario for GSK would be that it’s present COVID jab trials lead to approval by year’s end, leaving it plenty of time to tap into the massive international market for the next generation of vaccines, would require a proposal to waive IP for vaccines to fail.
GSK and its partner Sanofi plan to start advanced trials with more than 37,000 people in coming weeks, with multiple formulations of the vaccine to better protect against variants such as those first found in South Africa and India. The studies will predominantly be outside the U.S. and focused on geographies with higher infection rates to give “every chance of making the trial successful,” Connor said.
“Yes, there are others making more from Covid in the short term,” said Connor. “However, when we look at the overall portfolio, innovation and current assets that we have, we think it’s stronger than anyone’s and slightly under-appreciated at the moment.”
Even before COVID, the company’s vaccine revenues were rising, having climbed 50% in a four-year period. Shingles vaccine Shingrix is one of the company’s biggest products and Connor says there are other blockbusters in the pipeline, including its Respiratory Syncytial Virus shots for older adults and pregnant mothers, both in advanced trials.
To sum up: anybody looking to invest in a company that’s well-positioned to combat the next pandemic ought to give GSK a look.
mRNA vaccines weaken immune system even after COVID-19 recovery, according to UK data
COVID-19 vaccines appear to inhibit the body’s natural ability to produce antibodies, leaving vaccinated people vulnerable to infection.
The alarming information was contained in the UK government’s latest “COVID-19 vaccine surveillance report,” which noted that “N antibody levels appear to be lower in people who acquire infection following two doses of vaccination.”
Vaccine researcher Alex Berenson first highlighted the UK government’s alarming admission, warning it means vaccinated people will never be able to acquire full immunity even after they’ve recovered from an infection.
“What the British are saying is they are now finding the vaccine interferes with your body’s innate ability after infection to produce antibodies against not just the spike protein but other pieces of the virus,” Berenson explained.
“Specifically, vaccinated people don’t seem to be producing antibodies to the nucleocapsid protein, the shell of the virus, which are a crucial part of the response in unvaccinated people.”
The result is “vaccinated people will be far more vulnerable to mutations in the spike protein EVEN AFTER THEY HAVE BEEN INFECTED AND RECOVERED ONCE,” Berenson writes.
“It also means the virus is likely to select for mutations that go in exactly that direction, because those will essentially give it an enormous vulnerable population to infect. And it probably is still more evidence the vaccines may interfere with the development of robust long-term immunity post-infection.”
Berenson’s research dovetails with results from an independent study conducted by an Illinois physician who demonstrated how the COVID vaccine suppresses the body’s adaptive immune system, leaving vaccinated individuals more susceptible to illness and possibly explaining the phenomenon of “breakthrough infections.”
“If they have this low [immunity] and it stays and it persists… and that adaptive immune system response persists… it’s going to have a bad response to any other kind of viral infection,” claimed Dr. Nathan Thompson.
“If you looked at that blood work, would you say that this person is very susceptible to having another viral infection, and maybe…you just might call it a breakthrough infection, you guys see that? A breakthrough infection.”
“Could it be that after this maybe this is happening in a lot of people and leaving them wide open to have breakthrough infections after that?” the doctor questioned, imploring other doctors to conduct their own tests.
COVID-19 vaccine developer Dr. David LV Bauer also admitted the jabs destroy the body’s immune response, lowering crucial antibodies necessary to fight off disease.
Last week, Berenson during an appearance on the ‘Joe Rogan Experience’ also broke down how UK government data also showed double-vaccinated individuals contracted COVID at higher rates than unvaccinated people.
Washington Post editorial board calls for United States military invasion of Haiti
The Washington Post editorial board is calling for yet more military action in foreign nations, this time much closer to home in a seeming throwback to the era of the Monroe Doctrine.
“Haiti’s spiraling mayhem, florid lawlessness and humanitarian meltdown were predictable following the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse in July,” the op-ed published earlier in the week began. “In a country already crippled by governmental dysfunction, the vacuum of political legitimacy and authority after that murder left a breeding ground for anarchy.”
The article links Biden administration ‘inaction’ with the recent kidnapping of 17 Ohio-based missionaries in Port-au-Prince. Currently, a criminal gang is demanding $17 million for their release, as FBI agents are reportedly on the ground searching for clues as to where they are being held.
“The mess was largely ignored by the Biden administration, which has been preoccupied with other crises, until the kidnapping Saturday of 17 missionaries — a Canadian and 16 Americans, including five children — near the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince,” WaPo continues.
“Now the maelstrom in the hemisphere’s poorest nation is no longer ignorable,” the editorial board writes.
Here are the key lines calling for US military action:
Yet for all its unintended consequences, outside intervention could also establish a modicum of stability and order that would represent a major humanitarian improvement on the status quo, and with it, the prospect of lives saved and livelihoods enabled.
In 2010, the U.S. sent a major Navy and Marine deployment to Haiti as part of Operation Unified Response in the wake of a deadly earthquake that devastated the country. Also this summer, a couple hundred Marines were sent in response to an earthquake that resulted in the deaths of more that 2,000 Haitians.
The editorial board concludes, “In the cost-benefit analysis that would attend any fresh intervention, policymakers must be alert to the risks, but also to the enormous peril of continuing to do nothing.”
How Florida could save Christmas: Port authority tells cargo vessels waiting to dock in California to divert via Panama Canal to The Sunshine State where there are no backlogs
The Jacksonville Port Authority said it’s the solution to an unprecedented logjam at The Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, where weeks-long queues are slowing commerce ahead of the year’s busiest shopping season.
It’s a sharp contrast from the scene in Jacksonville, which officials said has maintained terminal fluidity – and set a new container volume record – despite market disruptions.
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