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For The Record  

FTR #1117 More Than One “Flu” Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

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FTR #1117 This pro­gram was record­ed in one, 60-minute seg­ment

NB: This descrip­tion con­tains mate­r­i­al not includ­ed in the orig­i­nal broad­cast.

Intro­duc­tion: Researchers found that lev­els of the Covid-19 virus increased soon after symp­toms first appeared, with high­er amounts in the nose than in the throats, which is also more con­sis­tent with influen­za than SARS. Of the 18 patients they exam­ined, one had mod­er­ate lev­els in their nose and throat but no symptoms–people who are asymp­to­matic can still poten­tial­ly spread the virus. It’s this com­bi­na­tion of air­borne trans­mis­sions and asymp­to­matic patients who shed the virus that makes this a par­tic­u­lar­ly infec­tious dis­ease.

This anom­alous new abil­i­ty to infect the upper res­pi­ra­to­ry tract, of course, brings up the chill­ing exper­i­ments where researchers mod­i­fied the H5N1 bird flu virus until it was capa­ble of air­borne trans­mis­sions between fer­rets. That’s the same research that was banned by the NIH fol­low­ing the uproar but has sub­se­quent­ly been real­lowed in ear­ly 2019. That orig­i­nal 2012 study specif­i­cal­ly found that it was muta­tions that gave the virus the abil­i­ty to infect the upper res­pi­ra­to­ry tracts of the fer­rets that made it an air­borne virus. We have yet to year if the SAR-CoV­‑2 virus had the same or sim­i­lar muta­tions to those that were induced in the H5N1 bird flu virus exper­i­ment but it seems like­ly.

The infec­tious­ness of the SARS-CoV­‑2 coro­n­avirus is unprece­dent­ed based on this new study. As one immu­nol­o­gist put it, “This virus is clear­ly much more capa­ble of spread­ing between humans than any oth­er nov­el coro­n­avirus we’ve ever seen. This is more akin to the spread of flu”.

In the con­text of the Covid-19’s flu-like abil­i­ty to infect the upper res­pi­ra­to­ry tract, we explore exper­i­ments adapt­ing the lethal H5N1 avian flu to fer­rets. These exper­i­ments were halt­ed in 2014 but sub­se­quent­ly resumed in 2017.

Might some of this exper­i­ment have been adapt­ed to the Covid-19?

We explore addi­tion­al exper­i­ments adapt­ing the lethal H5N1 avian flu to fer­rets. These exper­i­ments were halt­ed in 2014 but sub­se­quent­ly resumed in 2017.

Might some of this exper­i­ment have been adapt­ed to the Covid-19?

These exper­i­ments were resumed, short­ly before the out­break of Covid-19. Again, might some of the results of the adap­ta­tion of the H5N1 avian flu to fer­rets have fig­ured in the Covid-19 phe­nom­e­non?

Note that many experts were crit­i­cal of the process.

A report on the adap­ta­tion of the A/H5N1 to fer­rets notes that Oseltamivir–marketed under the brand-name Tamiflu–was suc­cess­ful in treat­ing the fer­rets. That is one of the anti-virals in a drug cock­tail used by Thai doc­tors to suc­cess­ful­ly treat a Covid-19 suf­fer­er.

In FTR#55, we not­ed in 1997 that U.S. Army researchers had suc­cess­ful­ly recov­ered genet­ic mate­r­i­al from the 1918 influen­za epi­dem­ic.

As will be seen in future pro­grams, one of the vari­ants of the Covid-19 does indeed behave like the 1918 flu virus. As we will also see in future pro­grams, that virus was res­ur­rect­ed by researchers in 2005.

In the past, we have heard it alleged by cred­i­ble sources that Ger­many was behind the 1918 flu epi­dem­ic that killed scores of mil­lions world­wide.

From Ger­many Watch comes anoth­er post rein­forc­ing this line of inquiry. 

After main­tain­ing that Ger­man agents were sab­o­tag­ing live­stock with anthrax, the post dis­cuss­es British intel­li­gence dis­til­late indi­cat­ing that, after dis­cov­er­ing the par­tic­u­lar strain of vir­u­lent flu, Ger­man agents began delib­er­ate­ly spread­ing it in the U.S.

NB: We don’t feel that the infor­ma­tion from the book Three Wars with Ger­many con­firms the hypoth­e­sis that the flu pan­dem­ic was a Ger­man bio-war­fare weapon gone awry beyond the point of debate. It DOES, how­ev­er, high­light that pos­si­bil­i­ty.

We then tack­le the sub­ject of a cult/church that is at the epi­cen­ter of a Covid-19 out­break in South Korea. The over­lap between this orga­ni­za­tion and the Uni­fi­ca­tion Church is dis­cussed in a Food For Thought post. Might this cult have been a vec­tor for intro­duc­ing the virus into Wuhan?

The fascis­tic nature of the cult and some of the rit­u­als and beliefs of the orga­ni­za­tion would ren­der the group and/or some of its mem­bers as viable “use­ful idiots” for manip­u­la­tion in con­nec­tion with this out­break.

The next two points of dis­cus­sion con­cern the fact that the cur­rent U.S. Ambas­sador to South Korea was the for­mer head of the Unit­ed States Pacif­ic Com­mand. We won­der if he might be ONI and/or CIA, and if he might have any con­nec­tion to the anti-Chi­na blitzkrieg and the Covid-19 out­break?

As the for­mer Com­man­der of the Guan­tanamo base in Cuba, Admi­ral Har­ris cer­tain­ly did have oper­a­tional links with the intel­li­gence com­mu­ni­ty.

1a. Researchers found that lev­els of the Covid-19 virus increased soon after symp­toms first appeared, with high­er amounts in the nose than in the throats, which is also more con­sis­tent with influen­za than SARS. Of the 18 patients they exam­ined, one had mod­er­ate lev­els in their nose and throat but no symptoms–people who are asymp­to­matic can still poten­tial­ly spread the virus. It’s this com­bi­na­tion of air­borne trans­mis­sions and asymp­to­matic patients who shed the virus that makes this a par­tic­u­lar­ly infec­tious dis­ease.

This anom­alous new abil­i­ty to infect the upper res­pi­ra­to­ry tract, of course, brings up the chill­ing exper­i­ments where researchers mod­i­fied the H5N1 bird flu virus until it was capa­ble of air­borne trans­mis­sions between fer­rets. That’s the same research that was banned by the NIH fol­low­ing the uproar but has sub­se­quent­ly been real­lowed in ear­ly 2019. That orig­i­nal 2012 study specif­i­cal­ly found that it was muta­tions that gave the virus the abil­i­ty to infect the upper res­pi­ra­to­ry tracts of the fer­rets that made it an air­borne virus. We have yet to year if the SAR-CoV­‑2 virus had the same or sim­i­lar muta­tions to those that were induced in the H5N1 bird flu virus exper­i­ment but it seems like­ly.

The infec­tious­ness of the SARS-CoV­‑2 coro­n­avirus is unprece­dent­ed based on this new study. As one immu­nol­o­gist put it, “This virus is clear­ly much more capa­ble of spread­ing between humans than any oth­er nov­el coro­n­avirus we’ve ever seen. This is more akin to the spread of flu”:

“New coro­n­avirus spreads more like flu than SARS: Chi­nese study” by Julie Steen­huy­sen; Reuters; 02/19/2020

Sci­en­tists in Chi­na who stud­ied nose and throat swabs from 18 patients infect­ed with the new coro­n­avirus say it behaves much more like influen­za than oth­er close­ly relat­ed virus­es, sug­gest­ing it may spread even more eas­i­ly than pre­vi­ous­ly believed.

In at least in one case, the virus was present even though the patient had no symp­toms, con­firm­ing con­cerns that asymp­to­matic patients could also spread the dis­ease.

Although pre­lim­i­nary, the find­ings pub­lished on Wednes­day in the New Eng­land Jour­nal of Med­i­cine, offer new evi­dence that this nov­el coro­n­avirus, which has killed more than 2,000 peo­ple most­ly in Chi­na, is not like its close­ly-relat­ed coro­n­avirus cousins.

“If con­firmed, this is very impor­tant,” said Dr. Gre­go­ry Poland, a virol­o­gist and vac­cine researcher with the Mayo Clin­ic in Rochester, Min­neso­ta, who was not involved with the study.

Unlike Severe Acute Res­pi­ra­to­ry Syn­drome (SARS), which caus­es infec­tions deep in the low­er res­pi­ra­to­ry tract that can result in pneu­mo­nia, COVID-19 appears to inhab­it both the upper and low­er res­pi­ra­to­ry tracts. That would make it not only capa­ble of caus­ing severe pneu­mo­nia, but of spread­ing eas­i­ly like flu or the com­mon cold.

Researchers in Guang­dong province mon­i­tored the amount of coro­n­avirus in the 18 patients. One of them, who had mod­er­ate lev­els of the virus in their nose and throat, nev­er had any dis­ease symp­toms.

Among the 17 symp­to­matic patients, the team found lev­els of the virus increased soon after symp­toms first appeared, with high­er amounts of virus present in the nose than in the throats, a pat­tern more sim­i­lar to influen­za than SARS.

The lev­el of virus in the asymp­to­matic patient was sim­i­lar to what was present in patients with symp­toms, such as fever.

“What this says is clear­ly this virus can be shed out of the upper res­pi­ra­to­ry tract and that peo­ple are shed­ding it asymp­to­mati­cal­ly,” Poland said.

The find­ings add to evi­dence that this new virus, though genet­i­cal­ly sim­i­lar, is not behav­ing like SARS, said Kris­t­ian Ander­sen, an immu­nol­o­gist at Scripps Research in La Jol­la who uses gene sequenc­ing tools to track dis­ease out­breaks.

“This virus is clear­ly much more capa­ble of spread­ing between humans than any oth­er nov­el coro­n­avirus we’ve ever seen. This is more akin to the spread of flu,” said Ander­sen, who was not involved with the study.

———–

1b. We explore exper­i­ments adapt­ing the lethal H5N1 avian flu to fer­rets. These exper­i­ments were halt­ed in 2014 but sub­se­quent­ly resumed in 2017.

Might some of this exper­i­ment have been adapt­ed to the Covid-19?

“Mutant Bird-Flu Study Fuels Fears of Air­borne H5N1 by Bran­don Keim; Wired; 6/21/2012.

After months of antic­i­pa­tion, the sec­ond of two con­tro­ver­sial exper­i­ments to increase the vir­u­lence of H5N1 avian influen­za has been pub­lished.

Many sci­en­tif­ic ques­tions are raised by the find­ings, and the same safe­ty con­cerns remain that pro­voked mas­sive pub­lic out­cry and a tem­po­rary halt to the research. But if there were any doubts about H5N1’s abil­i­ty to become air­borne, they’re gone.

In the exper­i­ment, researchers made H5N1 strains that passed through the air between fer­rets, which are often used as a mod­el for human flu infec­tion. Catch­ing the high­ly lethal virus typ­i­cal­ly requires close con­tact with an infect­ed bird or per­son.

The result­ing virus did­n’t kill the ani­mals, and it’s uncer­tain if a fer­ret-infect­ing strain could also infect peo­ple. But the fact that just five genet­ic muta­tions were need­ed to pro­duce the air­borne strain is trou­bling.

“One of the next key ques­tions is, ‘How like­ly is it that such a virus could evolve in nature?’ ” said virol­o­gist Derek Smith of the UK’s Cam­bridge Uni­ver­si­ty at a June 20 press con­fer­ence. The research was led by virol­o­gists Sander Herf­st and Ron Fouch­i­er of Eras­mus Uni­ver­si­ty in the Nether­lands and pub­lished June 21 in Sci­ence.

“It’s now clear that we’re liv­ing on a fault line,” con­tin­ued Smith. “It could real­ly do some­thing. What we need to now is how like­ly that is.”

The researchers start­ed by genet­i­cal­ly mod­i­fy­ing H5N1 to con­tain three muta­tions iden­ti­fied in pre­vi­ous pan­dem­ic flu strains as increas­ing viral trans­mis­si­bil­i­ty.

Thus mod­i­fied, the strain was man­u­al­ly intro­duced into the noses of fer­rets. Once infec­tion was estab­lished, the researchers swabbed the fer­rets and infect­ed anoth­er group. They repeat­ed the cycle mul­ti­ple times, mim­ic­k­ing a chain of infec­tion between peo­ple.

At each stage, some strains became more adapt­ed to sur­viv­ing and repli­cat­ing in the fer­rets’ upper res­pi­ra­to­ry tracts, a pre­cur­sor to mak­ing flu spread by cough or sneeze. By the 10th stage’s end, the mutant H5N1 was air­borne, pass­ing between fer­rets in sep­a­rate cages.

Fer­rets infect­ed by the air­borne strains did­n’t die, rais­ing the pos­si­bil­i­ty that becom­ing high­ly infec­tious makes H5N1 less lethal. This, how­ev­er, is far from cer­tain, and per­haps more time would have pro­duced a more-lethal vari­ant.

Mak­ing the engi­neered H5N1 go air­borne required a total of five muta­tions. “With­in the first three or four pas­sages, we already see strong adap­ta­tions of the virus,” said Fouch­i­er dur­ing the press con­fer­ence. “Only a lim­it­ed chain of trans­mis­sion is suf­fi­cient in fer­rets. We assume that in humans it would take a low num­ber of events for these or sim­i­lar muta­tions to accu­mu­late.”

In a study accom­pa­ny­ing the find­ings, researchers led by Smith and micro­bi­ol­o­gist Col­in Rus­sell, also of Cam­bridge Uni­ver­si­ty, looked for the five muta­tions in nat­u­ral­ly cir­cu­lat­ing strains of H5N1. They found them, though the muta­tions occurred indi­vid­u­al­ly or in pairs, not unit­ed simul­ta­ne­ous­ly in sin­gle strains.

Whether they could gath­er in one strain is now a press­ing ques­tion, as is a more fun­da­men­tal sci­en­tif­ic ques­tion: Do the muta­tions rep­re­sent a mech­a­nism by which H5N1 could become con­ta­gious in humans, or just in fer­rets? And if they are direct­ly rel­e­vant to human infec­tions, do they rep­re­sent a pri­ma­ry route, or one of many pos­si­ble paths?

That’s unknown, but sim­ply being able to see how muta­tions alter influen­za should help researchers, said bio­med­ical infor­mati­cist Raul Rabadan of Colum­bia Uni­ver­si­ty, who spe­cial­izes in ana­lyz­ing flu genomes.

“Beyond the par­tic­u­lar muta­tions in each paper, these stud­ies point out key nec­es­sary ele­ments for mam­malian adap­ta­tion and trans­mis­sion,” Rabadan said. “The muta­tions are impor­tant, but more impor­tant is what they are telling us about the mech­a­nisms for host adap­ta­tion and air­borne trans­mis­sion.”

Smith and Fouch­ier’s teams hope the find­ings will guide sur­veil­lance efforts, pro­vid­ing researchers who track flu’s nat­ur­al evo­lu­tion in humans and oth­er ani­mals. But in a com­men­tary also pub­lished in Sci­ence, epi­demi­ol­o­gists Marc Lip­sitch and Bar­ry Bloom of Har­vard Uni­ver­si­ty said the find­ings were less use­ful than adver­tised.

Accord­ing to Lip­sitch and Bloom, too lit­tle is known about flu genet­ics or its nat­ur­al evo­lu­tion to make lab-gen­er­at­ed changes a reli­able guide for real-world sur­veil­lance. “Pre­dic­tions about how par­tic­u­lar influen­za strains will behave in humans or, even more impor­tant, how they will evolve, remain high­ly spec­u­la­tive,” they wrote.

Cal­cu­lat­ing the risks and ben­e­fits of these exper­i­ments, along with exper­i­ments that made H5N1 more vir­u­lent by mix­ing it with the pan­dem­ic 2009 flu strain, is a com­pli­cat­ed and con­tro­ver­sial mat­ter.

Sup­port­ers of the research argue that poten­tial ben­e­fits out­weigh the risks, which are enor­mous. Beyond giv­ing recipes to would-be bioter­ror­ists, acci­den­tal dis­ease expo­sures at high-secu­ri­ty research lab­o­ra­to­ries are not uncom­mon, and flu is extra­or­di­nar­i­ly dif­fi­cult to con­trol.

Some researchers put H5N1’s human mor­tal­i­ty rate at 60 per­cent, a num­ber like­ly inflat­ed by epi­demi­ol­o­gists over­look­ing cas­es that lack severe symp­toms. But a mor­tal­i­ty rate of just 2.5 per­cent killed 40 mil­lion peo­ple in the 1918 pan­dem­ic.

Should the find­ings prove less use­ful than expect­ed, jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for H5N1 engi­neer­ing would evap­o­rate. If the find­ings do prove use­ful, there’s still pow­er­ful dis­agree­ment over how the research should be con­duct­ed. Many crit­ics say H5N1 exper­i­ments should be restrict­edto a few high­ly skilled peo­ple in the world’s most secure lab­o­ra­to­ries.

The Nation­al Insti­tutes of Health is cur­rent­ly draft­ing for­mal poli­cies to han­dle this and oth­er poten­tial­ly dan­ger­ous research, a task that should have been com­plet­ed years ago.

Asked about the study pub­lished today, epi­demi­ol­o­gist Stephen Morse of Colum­bia Uni­ver­si­ty said, “At least it’s forced us to con­front this issue direct­ly, which was nev­er real­ly resolved and bad­ly needs some good pol­i­cy.”

Cor­rec­tion 6/21: The orig­i­nal word­ing of the open­ing para­graphs implied that the new H5N1 strain could infect humans. That is unknown.

1c. A sim­i­lar adap­ta­tion of H5N1 to fer­rets also stirred con­tro­ver­sy in 2012. That exper­i­ment was also resumed fol­low­ing a 2914 mora­to­ri­um.

Again, was some of this adapt­ed to the Covid-19?

“Con­tro­ver­sy Con­tin­ues After Engi­neered-Bird-Flu Study Pub­lished” by Bran­don Keim; Wired; 5/02/2012.

After months of con­tro­ver­sy, an exper­i­ment describ­ing how H5N1 avian influen­za can be mod­i­fied into poten­tial­ly human-con­ta­gious forms was pub­lished today.

The study was orig­i­nal­ly sub­mit­ted to the jour­nal Nature in 2011. Con­cern that its details, along with those in a sim­i­lar, as-yet-unpub­lished exper­i­ment, could be turned to malev­o­lent ends delayed its pub­li­ca­tion.

Sub­se­quent pub­lic con­tro­ver­sy result­ed in a tem­po­rary mora­to­ri­um on such research that is still ongo­ing. The uproar, how­ev­er, is far from over: Flu researchers and biode­fense experts con­tin­ue to argue over the find­ings’ safe­ty and sci­en­tif­ic val­ue.

“Giv­en the pos­si­bil­i­ty of acci­den­tal escape from the lab – a not too uncom­mon event – the risks seem to me enor­mous, while the ben­e­fits are very small,” said Richard Roberts, a Nobel Prize-win­ning geneti­cist who now works at New Eng­land Bio­labs.

In the study, researchers led by virol­o­gist Yoshi­ro Kawao­ka of the Uni­ver­si­ty of Wis­con­sin intro­duced ran­dom genet­ic muta­tions to one of the flu virus’ eight genes.

The muta­tions changed the shape of the pro­tein the gene pro­duced, allow­ing H5N1 – which until now had great dif­fi­cul­ty infect­ing mam­mals, includ­ing humans – to infect and pass eas­i­ly between fer­rets, an ani­mal com­mon­ly used to mod­el human flu pathol­o­gy. The virus­es also attached more eas­i­ly to human res­pi­ra­to­ry-tract cells.

The result­ing strains were non-lethal to fer­rets, and it’s thought they’d be non-lethal to humans as well, though this is obvi­ous­ly untest­ed. Exper­i­men­tal vac­cines against nat­u­ral­ly occur­ring H5N1 appeared acti­vat­ed by expo­sure to the new strains, sug­gest­ing a pro­tec­tive effect, though this too remains unproven.

Accord­ing to the study’s authors and many flu experts, the find­ings are impor­tant in sev­er­al ways: They prove that it’s indeed pos­si­ble for H5N1 to evolve to infect humans, they flag sev­er­al genet­ic muta­tions to watch for in nat­u­ral­ly evolv­ing strains, and they under­score the need for con­tin­ued research. The poten­tial hybridiza­tion of H5N1 with the H1N1 swine flu of 2009 is espe­cial­ly trou­bling.

“These find­ings do not only pro­vide fur­ther indi­ca­tion that such a virus may arise nat­u­ral­ly; they also pave the way for improved influen­za sur­veil­lance and pan­dem­ic pre­pared­ness,” wrote Uni­ver­si­ty of Hong Kong virol­o­gists Hui-Ling Yen and Malik Peiris, the sci­en­tist who first iden­ti­fied SARS, in a com­men­tary accom­pa­ny­ing the study.

Over the last sev­er­al months, objec­tions to the research have fre­quent­ly been called unin­formed or overblown. “Fear needs to be put to rest with sol­id sci­ence and not spec­u­la­tion,” wrote micro­bi­ol­o­gist Peter Palese of the Mount Sinai School of Med­i­cine in a Jan­u­ary com­men­tary in the Pro­ceed­ings of the Nation­al Acad­e­my of Sci­ences.

Hints of that tone remain in an “inde­pen­dent risk assess­ment” com­mis­sioned by Nature, describ­ing how the find­ings “could be mis­rep­re­sent­ed by a will­ful media, in the absence of a knowl­edge­able pub­lic.”

Many experts do, how­ev­er, remain skep­ti­cal of the find­ings’ val­ue.

The muta­tions iden­ti­fied are indeed inter­est­ing, but thou­sands of oth­er as-yet-unknown muta­tions may have the same effect, poten­tial­ly lim­it­ing this work’s rel­e­vance. It’s uncer­tain whether nat­u­ral­ly occur­ring muta­tions would even behave the same way.

Glob­al flu sur­veil­lance is also piece­meal and gross­ly under­fund­ed, mak­ing it unlike­ly that the iden­ti­ty of these exper­i­men­tal muta­tions can be put to use in the near future.

“I find it rather unlike­ly that these exper­i­ments would have result­ed in the dis­cov­ery of any­thing use­ful oth­er than the knowl­edge that aeroso­lic trans­mis­sion was pos­si­ble,” said Richard Roberts of New Eng­land Bio­labs.

Virol­o­gist Michael Oster­holm of the Uni­ver­si­ty of Min­neso­ta expressed a sim­i­lar sen­ti­ment in a Jan­u­ary edi­to­r­i­al in the jour­nal Sci­ence. “The desire to dis­sem­i­nate the entire­ty of the meth­ods and results of the two H5N1 stud­ies in the gen­er­al sci­en­tif­ic lit­er­a­ture will not mate­ri­al­ly increase our abil­i­ty to pro­tect the public’s health from a future H5N1 pan­dem­ic,” he wrote. Oster­holm declined to com­ment this week.

Accord­ing to Roberts, many promi­nent virol­o­gists are afraid to crit­i­cize the find­ings pub­licly for fear of ret­ri­bu­tion from the Nation­al Insti­tutes of Health and oth­er fun­ders that promised the strat­e­gy of exper­i­men­tal­ly mak­ing dan­ger­ous pathogens more vir­u­lent would be safe and valu­able.

“That’s cer­tain­ly not the case,” said Antho­ny Fau­ci, direc­tor of the Nation­al Insti­tutes of Aller­gy and Infec­tious Dis­ease, the NIH divi­sion that fund­ed the research. “We’re dri­ven by a phi­los­o­phy of open sci­en­tif­ic dis­course. Dis­agree­ments are one of the fun­da­men­tal pos­i­tive aspects of sci­ence.”

1d. These exper­i­ments were resumed, short­ly before the out­break of Covid-19. Again, might some of the results of the adap­ta­tion of the H5N1 avian flu to fer­rets have fig­ured in the Covid-19 phe­nom­e­non?

Note that many experts were crit­i­cal of the process.

“EXCLUSIVE: Con­tro­ver­sial Exper­i­ments that Could Make Bird Blu More Risky Poised to Resume” by Joce­lyn Kaiser; Sci­ence; 2/8/2019.

Con­tro­ver­sial lab stud­ies that mod­i­fy bird flu virus­es in ways that could make them more risky to humans will soon resume after being on hold for more than 4 years. Sci­en­ceIn­sid­er has learned that last year, a U.S. gov­ern­ment review pan­el qui­et­ly approved exper­i­ments pro­posed by two labs that were pre­vi­ous­ly con­sid­ered so dan­ger­ous that fed­er­al offi­cials had imposed an unusu­al top-down mora­to­ri­um on such research.

One of the projects has already received fund­ing from the Nation­al Insti­tutes of Health’s (NIH’s) Nation­al Insti­tute of Aller­gy and Infec­tious Dis­eases (NIAID) in Bethes­da, Mary­land, and will start in a few weeks; the oth­er is await­ing fund­ing.

The out­come may not sat­is­fy sci­en­tists who believe cer­tain stud­ies that aim to make pathogens more potent or more like­ly to spread in mam­mals are so risky they should be lim­it­ed or even banned. Some are upset because the government’s review will not be made pub­lic. “After a delib­er­a­tive process that cost $1 mil­lion for [a consultant’s] exter­nal study and con­sumed count­less weeks and months of time for many sci­en­tists, we are now being asked to trust a com­plete­ly opaque process where the out­come is to per­mit the con­tin­u­a­tion of dan­ger­ous exper­i­ments,“ says Har­vard Uni­ver­si­ty epi­demi­ol­o­gist Marc Lip­sitch. 

One of the inves­ti­ga­tors lead­ing the stud­ies, how­ev­er, says he’s hap­py he can resume his exper­i­ments. “We are glad the Unit­ed States gov­ern­ment weighed the risks and ben­e­fits … and devel­oped new over­sight mech­a­nisms. We know that it does car­ry risks. We also believe it is impor­tant work to pro­tect human health,” says Yoshi­hi­ro Kawao­ka of the Uni­ver­si­ty of Wis­con­sin in Madi­son and the Uni­ver­si­ty of Tokyo. The oth­er group that got the green light is led by Ron Fouch­i­er at Eras­mus Uni­ver­si­ty Med­ical Cen­ter in Rot­ter­dam, the Nether­lands.

In 2011, Fouch­i­er and Kawao­ka alarmed the world by reveal­ing they had sep­a­rate­ly mod­i­fied the dead­ly avian H5N1 influen­za virus so that it spread between fer­rets. Advo­cates of such gain of func­tion (GOF) stud­ies say they can help pub­lic health experts bet­ter under­stand how virus­es might spread and plan for pan­demics. But by enabling the bird virus to more eas­i­ly spread among mam­mals, the exper­i­ments also raised fears that the pathogen could jump to humans. And crit­ics of the work wor­ried that such a souped-up virus could spark a pan­dem­ic if it escaped from a lab or was inten­tion­al­ly released by a bioter­ror­ist. After exten­sive dis­cus­sion about whether the two stud­ies should even be pub­lished (they ulti­mate­ly were) and a vol­un­tary mora­to­ri­um by the two labs, the exper­i­ments resumed in 2013 under new U.S. over­sight rules.

But con­cerns reignit­ed after more papers and a series of acci­dents at fed­er­al bio­con­tain­ment labs. In Octo­ber 2014, U.S. offi­cials announced an unprece­dent­ed “pause on fund­ing for 18 GOF stud­ies involv­ing influen­za or the Mid­dle East res­pi­ra­to­ry syn­drome [MERS–D.E.]  or severe acute res­pi­ra­to­ry syn­drome virus­es [SARS–D.E.]. . . .

. . . . Now, the HHS com­mit­tee has approved the same type of work in the Kawao­ka and Fouch­i­er labs that set off the furor 8 years ago. Last sum­mer, the com­mit­tee reviewed the projects and made rec­om­men­da­tions about risk-ben­e­fit analy­ses, safe­ty mea­sures to avoid expo­sures, and com­mu­ni­ca­tions plans, an HHS spokesper­son says.

After the inves­ti­ga­tors revised their plans, the HHS com­mit­tee rec­om­mend­ed that they pro­ceed. Kawao­ka learned from NIH on 10 Jan­u­ary that his grant has been fund­ed. Fouch­i­er expects the agency may hold off on mak­ing a fund­ing deci­sion until after a rou­tine U.S. inspec­tion of his lab in March.

Kawaoka’s grant is the same one on H5N1 that was paused in 2014. It includes iden­ti­fy­ing muta­tions in H5N1 that allow it to be trans­mit­ted by res­pi­ra­to­ry droplets in fer­rets. . . .

. . . . HHS can­not make the panel’s reviews pub­lic because they con­tain pro­pri­etary and grant com­pe­ti­tion infor­ma­tion, says the spokesper­son. But crit­ics say that isn’t accept­able. “Details regard­ing the deci­sion to approve and fund this work should be made trans­par­ent,” says Thomas Ingles­by, direc­tor of Cen­ter for Health Secu­ri­ty of the Johns Hop­kins Bloomberg School of Pub­lic Health in Bal­ti­more, Mary­land. The lack of open­ness “is dis­turb­ing. And inde­fen­si­ble,” says micro­bi­ol­o­gist Richard Ebright of Rut­gers Uni­ver­si­ty in Pis­cat­away, New Jer­sey. The crit­ics say the HHS pan­el should at least pub­licly explain why it thought the same ques­tions could not be answered using safer alter­na­tive meth­ods. . . .

1e. A report on the adap­ta­tion of the A/H5N1 to fer­rets notes that Oseltamivir–marketed under the brand-name Tamiflu–was suc­cess­ful in treat­ing the fer­rets. That is one of the anti-virals in a drug cock­tail used by Thai doc­tors to suc­cess­ful­ly treat a Covid-19 suf­fer­er.

“Air­borne Trans­mis­sion of Influen­za A/H5N1 Virus Between Fer­rets” Ron A.M. Fouch­i­er et al; U.S. Nation­al Library of Medicine/National Insti­tutes of Health; 6/22/2012.

High­ly path­o­gen­ic avian influen­za A/H5N1 virus can cause mor­bid­i­ty and mor­tal­i­ty in humans but thus far has not acquired the abil­i­ty to be trans­mit­ted by aerosol or res­pi­ra­to­ry droplet (“air­borne trans­mis­sion”) between humans. To address the con­cern that the virus could acquire this abil­i­ty under nat­ur­al con­di­tions, we genet­i­cal­ly mod­i­fied A/H5N1 virus by site-direct­ed muta­ge­n­e­sis and sub­se­quent ser­i­al pas­sage in fer­rets. The genet­i­cal­ly mod­i­fied A/H5N1 virus acquired muta­tions dur­ing pas­sage in fer­rets, ulti­mate­ly becom­ing air­borne trans­mis­si­ble in fer­rets. None of the recip­i­ent fer­rets died after air­borne infec­tion with the mutant A/H5N1 virus­es. Four amino acid sub­sti­tu­tions in the host recep­tor-bind­ing pro­tein hemag­glu­tinin, and one in the poly­merase com­plex pro­tein basic poly­merase 2, were con­sis­tent­ly present in air­borne-trans­mit­ted virus­es. The trans­mis­si­ble virus­es were sen­si­tive to the antivi­ral drug oseltamivir and react­ed well with anti­s­era raised against H5 influen­za vac­cine strains. Thus, avian A/H5N1 influen­za virus­es can acquire the capac­i­ty for air­borne trans­mis­sion between mam­mals with­out recom­bi­na­tion in an inter­me­di­ate host and there­fore con­sti­tute a risk for human pan­dem­ic influen­za. . . .

1f. In FTR#55, we not­ed in 1997 that U.S. Army researchers had suc­cess­ful­ly recov­ered genet­ic mate­r­i­al from the 1918 influen­za epi­dem­ic.

As will be seen in future pro­grams, one of the vari­ants of the Covid-19 does indeed behave like the 1918 flu virus. As we will also see in future pro­grams, that virus was res­ur­rect­ed by researchers in 2005.

“Genet­ic Mate­r­i­al from 1918 Flu is Found” by Gina Kola­ta; The New York Times; 3/21/1997.

A group of Defense Depart­ment researchers has found genet­ic mate­r­i­al from the noto­ri­ous Span­ish flu virus that killed at least 20 mil­lion peo­ple world­wide in the influen­za pan­dem­ic of 1918.

Frag­ments of the virus were found lurk­ing in a formalde­hyde-soaked scrap of lung tis­sue from a 21-year-old sol­dier who died of the flu near­ly 80 years ago. And now, med­ical experts say, inves­ti­ga­tors at last hope to answer a ques­tion that has trou­bled them for decades: what made this virus so dead­ly?

One part of the answer is that the Span­ish flu virus passed from birds to pigs and then to humans, a mode of trans­mis­sion that is thought to pro­duce the most dan­ger­ous strains of influen­za virus­es. Indeed, fear of a swine flu epi­dem­ic in 1976 caused Pres­i­dent Ger­ald R. Ford to mobi­lize the nation to immu­nize against a flu strain that infect­ed sol­diers at Fort Dix, N.J. That par­tic­u­lar virus, how­ev­er, turned out not to be a threat.

The search for the 1918 virus is of more than his­tor­i­cal inter­est, said Dr. Jef­frey K. Tauben­berg­er at the Armed Forces Insti­tute of Pathol­o­gy in Wash­ing­ton, the leader of the team whose report is being pub­lished today in the jour­nal Sci­ence. Dr. Tauben­berg­er and oth­er researchers hope that under­stand­ing the genet­ic code of the Span­ish flu virus might help sci­en­tists pre­pare for the next influen­za pan­dem­ic, which many sci­en­tists think is com­ing soon.

The Span­ish flu epi­dem­ic seems to have begun in the Unit­ed States in late spring and ear­ly sum­mer of 1918, when doc­tors report­ed scat­tered out­breaks in mil­i­tary instal­la­tions where recruits were report­ing for train­ing before going to France.

By Sep­tem­ber, when schools opened, the epi­dem­ic was roar­ing through the entire pop­u­la­tion and spread­ing rapid­ly to every cor­ner of the world, attack­ing the young and healthy and killing them, often with­in days.

The flu virus itself is gone, van­ished with the epi­dem­ic. But sci­en­tists have repeat­ed­ly tried to find traces of it, study­ing autop­sy spec­i­mens and even exhum­ing bod­ies buried in Alas­ka where, they hoped, the virus would have remained pre­served.

Even now, an expe­di­tion is being pro­posed to Spits­ber­gen, a Nor­we­gian arch­i­pel­ago in the Arc­tic Ocean about 400 miles north of Nor­way, to exhume the bod­ies of min­ers who died of the flu.

An epi­dem­ic like that of 1918 ”can come again, and it will,” said Dr. Robert Web­ster, chair­man of viral and mol­e­c­u­lar biol­o­gy at St. Jude’s Chil­dren’s Research Hos­pi­tal in Mem­phis.

Dr. Joshua Leder­berg, a geneti­cist and Nobel lau­re­ate who is pres­i­dent emer­i­tus of Rock­e­feller Uni­ver­si­ty in New York, called influen­za ”the most urgent, patent­ly vis­i­ble, acute threat in the world of emerg­ing infec­tions.” And, Dr. Leder­berg added, ”the soon­er we can learn what to antic­i­pate, the more like­ly we will be able to blunt the next appear­ance” of a dead­ly flu virus.

Dr. Tauben­berg­er stud­ied spec­i­mens from Span­ish flu vic­tims that are among the mil­lions of autop­sy spec­i­mens that the pathol­o­gy insti­tute has been stor­ing in ware­hous­es since the Civ­il War. But he said he doubt­ed that the study would suc­ceed in light of the dis­mal his­to­ry of failed efforts to find the virus.

For exam­ple, in the 1950’s, a group of sci­en­tists that includ­ed Dr. Mau­rice R. Hille­man, direc­tor of the Mer­ck Insti­tute in West Point, Pa., who was then direct­ing viral research at the Wal­ter Reed Army Insti­tute in Wash­ing­ton, trav­eled to Nome, Alas­ka, in a secret mis­sion to exam­ine the exhumed bod­ies of Eski­mos who had died of the 1918 flu.

When Eski­mo flu vic­tims died, Dr. Hille­man said, they were buried in the mid­dle of win­ter, in the frozen ground. The Army thought that these bod­ies, buried in the per­mafrost, might have remained frozen and pre­served. But, Dr. Hille­man said, ”the bod­ies were in such an advanced state of dete­ri­o­ra­tion that no live virus was found.”

More recent­ly sev­er­al sci­en­tists, includ­ing Dr. Web­ster, exam­ined autop­sy tis­sue from the Armed Forces Insti­tute of Pathol­o­gy but were unable to find virus­es.

Dr. Tauben­berg­er decid­ed to go ahead any­way. Look­ing in the com­put­er­ized records, he request­ed autop­sy slides of the lungs of 198 sol­diers who died of the Span­ish flu.

In exam­in­ing the slides, he looked for a par­tic­u­lar type of pathol­o­gy. Since the flu virus stops repli­cat­ing with­in a cou­ple of days after a per­son is infect­ed, Dr. Tauben­berg­er and his team want­ed lung tis­sue from some­one who died quick­ly, with­in a week after becom­ing ill, so that there might still be virus par­ti­cles present.

That was pos­si­ble, Dr. Tauben­berg­er said, because the 1918 influen­za strain was so dead­ly.

”The lungs of some who died in a few days were com­plete­ly filled with flu­ids, as if they had drowned,” he said. ”No one has ever seen that before or since. It was a unique pathol­o­gy.”

Of the 198 cas­es that Dr. Tauben­berg­er request­ed, 7 met his cri­te­ria. But only one had oth­er fea­tures that led the researchers to believe that the flu virus was active­ly repli­cat­ing when the man died.

The man was a pri­vate from New York State sta­tioned at Fort Jack­son, S.C., when he caught the flu.

”He was a healthy 21-year-old male with no med­ical his­to­ry until he got this,” Dr. Tauben­berg­er said.

The sol­dier died with­in five days of infec­tion, on Sept. 26, 1918, and in Octo­ber his lung tis­sue was shipped to Wash­ing­ton, where it was stored, undis­turbed, for near­ly 80 years.

With the sol­dier’s lung tis­sue in hand, the researchers began the tedious process of try­ing to extract the viral genet­ic mate­r­i­al. The virus car­ries its genes in eight pieces of RNA that are pack­aged togeth­er in a pro­tein coat. But over the years of stor­age, the 15,000 nucleotides that make up the viral RNA had bro­ken apart into shards about 200 nucleotides long.

The researchers spent near­ly two years ampli­fy­ing the tiny seg­ments of viral RNA so that they would have enough to ana­lyze and assem­ble like a jig­saw puz­zle. In their paper in Sci­ence, they report on the sequences of nine frag­ments of the virus that include pieces of its major genes.

The group has ana­lyzed only about 7 per­cent of the virus, Dr. Tauben­berg­er said, although he expects that he will even­tu­al­ly be able to com­plete the job. Oth­ers, like Dr. Web­ster, agree, but say it is still uncer­tain whether even that will reveal the secret of the virus’s lethal­i­ty.

But with his pre­lim­i­nary analy­sis, Dr. Tauben­berg­er and his col­leagues have already ruled out two hypothe­ses on why the virus was so dead­ly.

One was based on an analy­sis of a chick­en influen­za virus that swept through flocks of chick­ens in the ear­ly 1980’s, killing them overnight.

The chick­en virus was pecu­liar. One of its pro­teins had three basic amino acids at a spot where the host’s enzymes had to break that pro­tein in order for the virus to infect a cell. Ordi­nar­i­ly, there was only one such amino acid at that spot. So, inves­ti­ga­tors thought, maybe the three basic amino acids were a clue to lethal­i­ty, and maybe they were a fea­ture of the Span­ish flu virus.

But, Dr. Tauben­berg­er found, that was not the case. There was noth­ing unusu­al about the amino acids at that posi­tion in the Span­ish flu virus.

Anoth­er hypoth­e­sis was that the flu had gone direct­ly from birds to humans. Ordi­nar­i­ly, human flu virus­es spread only in humans, but genet­i­cal­ly dis­tinct flu virus­es also fes­ter, inde­pen­dent­ly, in birds, which do not become ill when they are infect­ed. Occa­sion­al­ly, virus­es from birds infect ani­mals like pigs, and then jump to peo­ple. Even worse, some researchers pro­posed, might be a virus that jumped direct­ly from birds to humans.

Anti­bod­ies of sur­vivors of the 1918 epi­dem­ic indi­cat­ed that the virus had lived in pigs before infect­ing humans. But the anti­body evi­dence was indi­rect, and some thought it might be incor­rect. The genet­ic analy­sis, how­ev­er, indi­cat­ed that the virus had, indeed, come to humans from pigs.

”I can’t hold up one gene frag­ment and say, ‘This is the rea­son,’ ” Dr. Tauben­berg­er said. ”This is the begin­ning of the sto­ry.”

But it rais­es addi­tion­al ques­tions, the most imme­di­ate of which is whether the planned expe­di­tion to Nor­way should go for­ward.

The trip was pro­posed by Dr. Kirsty Dun­can, who stud­ies med­i­cine and geog­ra­phy at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Wind­sor in Ontario. Dr. Dun­can learned that sev­en min­ers who were dig­ging coal in Spits­ber­gen died of the flu in 1918 and were buried there. She and her col­leagues have been work­ing with Dr. Nan­cy Cox, the chief of the influen­za branch at the Cen­ters for Dis­ease Con­trol and Pre­ven­tion in Atlanta, to plan the trip to Nor­way.

Dr. Dun­can said the team would meet in Atlanta. ”We’ll be debat­ing how to pro­ceed,” she said.

Dr. Cox said the study of viral RNA from autop­sy spec­i­mens might reveal all of the virus’s secrets.

The ques­tion, of course, is whether it is worth­while to risk unleash­ing live virus­es that might still be in the frozen tis­sue of the min­ers.

2.  In the past, we have heard it alleged by cred­i­ble sources that Ger­many was behind the 1918 flu epi­dem­ic that killed scores of mil­lions world­wide.

From Ger­many Watch comes anoth­er post rein­forc­ing this line of inquiry. 

After main­tain­ing that Ger­man agents were sab­o­tag­ing live­stock with anthrax, the post dis­cuss­es British intel­li­gence dis­til­late indi­cat­ing that, after dis­cov­er­ing the par­tic­u­lar strain of vir­u­lent flu, Ger­man agents began delib­er­ate­ly spread­ing it in the U.S.

NB: We don’t feel that the infor­ma­tion from the book Three Wars with Ger­many con­firms the hypoth­e­sis that the flu pan­dem­ic was a Ger­man bio-war­fare weapon gone awry beyond the point of debate. It DOES, how­ev­er, high­light that pos­si­bil­i­ty.

“150 Mil­lion Deaths?”; Ger­many Watch; 9/5/2012.

Was Ger­many behind the 1918 Flu virus that killed 50–150 mil­lion peo­ple?

Admi­ral Hall, Chief of British Naval Intel­li­gence dur­ing WW1, sup­plied infor­ma­tion to an Amer­i­can legal claim against Ger­man sab­o­tage with­in the USA.

The claim was orig­i­nal­ly meant for com­pen­sa­tion for the Ger­mans blow­ing up a chunk of Man­hat­tan in the biggest ter­ror attack in US his­to­ry pre‑9/11.

But when Major Peaslee, head­ing the US inves­ti­ga­tion, read copies of the British inter­cepts of Ger­man traf­fic and ciphers, he dis­cov­ered that the Ger­mans were not just blow­ing up US muni­tions depots (before a dec­la­ra­tion of war); they were using bio­log­i­cal war­fare on a large scale.
It is qui­et pub­lic knowl­edge that Ger­many was using Anthrax and oth­er bio­log­i­cals on cat­tle, with 1000s of ani­mals head­ing for the Allied war effort infect­ed by Ger­man agents at var­i­ous ports. But in 1916 the Ger­mans had dis­cov­ered a flu vari­ant that killed by over-stim­u­la­tion of the immune sys­tem, there­fore per­fect­ly tar­get­ing the health­i­est of men; Sol­diers.

The links will show you that a Ger­man agent was in the US releas­ing their new Bio-weapon in Jan­u­ary 1918. The same month the first record­ed case of 1918 flu turned up in Mary­land bar­racks.

Ger­many fought the legal case not in nor­mal terms, but tried bribery, pres­sure, every­thing they could, to not be found guilty of the sab­o­tage of the Man­hat­tan muni­tions depot, despite the US only ask­ing for $20m dam­ages. They could have even set­tled out­side of an off­i­cal ‘guilty’, but they did­n’t.

WHY? Because they knew the evi­dence could point to them releas­ing the 1918 flu.

They under­es­ti­mat­ed the effec­tive­ness of the weapon, as it of course even­tu­al­ly spread to Ger­mans via the bat­tle­field any­way.

But they did every­thing they could in des­per­a­tion to con­ceal it dur­ing legal pro­ceed­ings. The US even­tu­al­ly won dam­ages for the sab­o­tage after 15 years of lit­i­ga­tion, by which point it was 1939. So there were then oth­er imme­di­ate things to wor­ry about, and this has large­ly been for­got­ten. The Crim­i­nals run­ning Ger­many at this point, were so con­fi­dent they were about to win the next war, that they undoubt­ed­ly thought they could bury the evi­dence of their WW1 crimes after tak­ing out Britain and the US, as a bonus.

3a. We then tack­le the sub­ject of a cult/church that is at the epi­cen­ter of a Covid-19 out­break in South Korea. The over­lap between this orga­ni­za­tion and the Uni­fi­ca­tion Church is dis­cussed in a Food For Thought post. Might this cult have been a vec­tor for intro­duc­ing the virus into Wuhan?

“Shad­owy Church is at Cen­ter of Coro­n­avirus Out­break in South Korea” by Choe Sang-Hun; The New York Times; 2/21/2020.

. . . . Now, health offi­cials are zero­ing in on the church’s prac­tices as they seek to con­tain South Korea’s alarm­ing coro­n­avirus out­break, in which mem­bers of Shin­cheon­ji and their rel­a­tives account for more than two-thirds of the con­firmed infec­tions. On Fri­day, the num­ber of cas­es in the coun­try soared above 200 — sec­ond only to main­land Chi­na, if the out­break on the Dia­mond Princess cruise ship is exclud­ed from Japan’s count. . . .

. . . . As of Fri­day, more than 340 mem­bers of Shin­cheon­ji, which main­stream South Kore­an church­es con­sid­er a cult, still could not be reached, accord­ing to health offi­cials, who were fran­ti­cal­ly hop­ing to screen them for signs of infec­tion. . . .

. . . . Jung Eun-kyeong, direc­tor of the Korea Cen­ters for Dis­ease Con­trol and Pre­ven­tion, said the author­i­ties were inves­ti­gat­ing reports that Shin­cheon­ji had oper­a­tions in Hubei, the Chi­nese province that includes Wuhan, where the virus emerged. The South Kore­an news agency New­sis report­ed on Fri­day that Shin­cheon­ji had opened a church in Wuhan last year, and that ref­er­ences to it had been removed from the church’s web­site. Church offi­cials could not imme­di­ate­ly be reached for com­ment. . . .

3b. The fascis­tic nature of the cult and some of the rit­u­als and beliefs of the orga­ni­za­tion would ren­der the group and/or some of its mem­bers as viable “use­ful idiots” for manip­u­la­tion in con­nec­tion with this out­break.

“Shin­cheon­ji”; Truthbuildersonline.com

. . . . Lee Man-Hee has a very exalt­ed view of him­self.  He teach­es that just as the Old Tes­ta­ment point­ed to Jesus and was full of prophe­cies about him, so the New Tes­ta­ment points to Lee and has many prophe­cies about him.  For exam­ple, in John’s Gospel Christ repeat­ed­ly referred to the “Com­forter” or “Coun­selor” who was to come.  Lee states clear­ly that he is the “sec­ond advo­cate,” and the “spir­it of truth.”  For this rea­son only Lee has the right to speak on behalf of Jesus—for he is the “spir­it of truth.”  Essen­tial­ly when Lee had his vision and answered God’s call to be the last days’ mes­sen­ger, he ful­filled the prophe­cies of the Sec­ond Com­ing.  Jesus has spir­i­tu­al­ly returned to earth through the words and min­istry of Lee Man-Hee.  Lee says he is the very embod­i­ment of Jesus Christ, as well as the embod­i­ment of the Holy Spir­it also.

One of the most com­mon des­ig­na­tions for Lee as God’s mes­sen­ger is “the promised pas­tor.”  He is sup­posed to be the shep­herd and leader of God’s peo­ple for these end times.  The promised pas­tor is the leader of God’s church.  The time will come when God and Christ will rule over the nations through the promised pas­tor.  In addi­tion to “promised pas­tor” anoth­er com­mon title for Lee is “Teacher.”  In Kore­an this is Seon Saeng Nim; so Lee is often called sim­ply “SSN.”

As God’s anoint­ed mes­sen­ger, it is rumored that Lee is immor­tal, and can­not die.  Lee is reluc­tant to declare this pub­licly.  How­ev­er, it is com­mon­ly accept­ed as true by his fol­low­ers. . . .

. . . . Here is a sum­ma­ry of the doc­trine taught by Lee and the SCJ:

  • There is no Trin­i­ty. This is a false and dev­il­ish belief.
  • Jesus is not God.
  • The Holy Spir­it is just one of many spir­its in heav­en. All angels are holy spir­its.
  • The SCJ is the only the true church. All oth­er church­es are cor­rupt and evil.
  • Since they see every­thing as sym­bol­ic in Scrip­ture, then they nat­u­ral­ly see the new heav­en and new earth as some­thing spir­i­tu­al. The church, SCJ, is the new heav­en and new earth.
  • Sal­va­tion does not con­sist in just believ­ing in Jesus. Sal­va­tion is in fol­low­ing the promised pas­tor and in obe­di­ence to God’s com­mands.  Lee says, “It is only when a per­son believes in the promised pas­tor and keeps the words of his tes­ti­mo­ny that he or she can attain sal­va­tion”
  • Under­stand­ing the SCJ’s teach­ing on Rev­e­la­tion is espe­cial­ly nec­es­sary for sal­va­tion.
  • Jesus’s world has end­ed. There is now a new heav­en which is the SCJ.  Lee calls for all peo­ple, all reli­gions, to come to this new heav­en.  They must become part of the 12 Tribes (SCJ) in order to achieve sal­va­tion.  They must learn the “new song,” which is SCJ doc­trine.  Those who refuse will be destroyed.
  • Any­one who oppos­es SCJ is a Satan and the antichrist. Who­ev­er lis­tens to the teach­ing of min­is­ters oth­er than the promised pas­tor has received the mark of the Beast.
  • Some­time in the future, before the Mil­len­ni­um, the souls of mar­tyrs and oth­er believ­ers will come back to earth with Jesus. The souls of the dead believ­ers will merge with liv­ing mem­bers of the SCJ and indwell them.  They will be unit­ed togeth­er.  This is what the Bible means by the first res­ur­rec­tion of Rev­e­la­tion 20:4–6.
  • Through­out his­to­ry God has sent dif­fer­ent mes­sen­gers for each age. Noah, Moses and Jesus were God’s mes­sen­gers for their time.  Lee (SSN) is the mes­sen­ger for this new age.  This is the plan that God has been work­ing on for the 6000 years of human his­to­ry.
  • The 144,000 spo­ken of in Rev­e­la­tion 7 and 14 refer to the SCJ. It is believed that with­in the 144,000 there are 12 spir­i­tu­al tribes.  The com­ple­tion of the 144,000 will result in the end of all things, and a new heav­en and new earth.
  • The 144,000 will rule over the earth. Earth’s inhab­i­tants will have an oppor­tu­ni­ty to accept the heav­en­ly state and become part of the king­dom.  Any­one who rejects the heav­en­ly state will be cast into hell.
  • Indi­vid­ual church­es are orga­nized into 12 Tribes. Each tribe is named after an Apos­tle.  So each mem­ber of the SCJ is iden­ti­fied as being a mem­ber of the one of the 12 Tribes.

It is a Cult!

  • Even sec­u­lar sources rec­og­nize the cul­tic nature of this group.  They use typ­i­cal cul­tic tech­niques of manip­u­la­tion and mind con­trol to enlist and main­tain their mem­bers.  Some of these con­trol­ling tech­niques include sleep depri­va­tion, fatigue due to exces­sive meet­ings and events, intense indoc­tri­na­tion, and mil­i­tary style exer­cise pro­grams.  The church keeps close watch over its mem­bers, with lit­tle out­side con­tact.  There is con­trolled iso­la­tion from fam­i­ly, friends and any­one out­side the group.  When join­ing the SCJ, fol­low­ers typ­i­cal­ly give all their mon­ey to the SCJ.  They work for the cult for free.  The cult is all con­sum­ing.  If there ever is a time when they are allowed to meet with fam­i­ly, SCJ mem­bers are present.
  • The church at large needs to be aware of the SCJ and wary of con­tact with them.  They are extreme­ly decep­tive in their recruit­ing.  They are infa­mous for invit­ing peo­ple to social events under one of their var­i­ous front orga­ni­za­tions.  They also are known for encour­ag­ing peo­ple to a Bible study (often through the inter­net, e.g., by Skype), with­out any ref­er­ence to the SCJ or Lee.  Peo­ple often are seduced by their aber­rant doc­trine before they even real­ize what group they have become involved with.  As with oth­er cults, knowl­edge and aware­ness of their teach­ing is a front­line defense against “seduc­ing spir­its and doc­trines of demons”

4a. The next two points of dis­cus­sion con­cern the fact that the cur­rent U.S. Ambas­sador to South Korea was the for­mer head of the Unit­ed States Pacif­ic Com­mand. We won­der if he might be ONI and/or CIA, and if he might have any con­nec­tion to the anti-Chi­na blitzkrieg and the Covid-19 out­break.

“The Amer­i­can Mous­tache Ruf­fling Feath­ers in South Korea” by Choe Sang-Hun; The New York Times; 1/16/2020.

. . . . ​In an inter­view with The Korea Times​ last month​, Mr. Har­ris not­ed that through­out his career, his eth­nic back­ground had come into play ​only ​twice — by the Chi­nese and now by South Koreans​. When he [retired Admi­ral Har­ry B. Har­ris, Jr.] was head of the Unit­ed States Pacif­ic Com­mand, he was out­spo­ken about China’s aggres­sive moves in the East and South Chi­na Seas, and China’s state-run news media ​often cit­ed his eth­nic back­ground when attack­ing him. ​. . . .

4b. As the for­mer Com­man­der of the Guan­tanamo base in Cuba, he cer­tain­ly did have oper­a­tional links with the intel­li­gence com­mu­ni­ty.

Har­ry B. Har­ris, Jr.; Wikipedia.com

Director, Current Operations and Anti-Terrorism/Force Protection Division (OPNAV N31/34)[edit]

In August 2004, in his first Flag assign­ment, he report­ed to the staff of the Chief of Naval Oper­a­tions, where he was respon­si­ble for Navy cur­rent oper­a­tions, the Navy Com­mand Cen­ter, and anti-ter­ror­is­m/­force pro­tec­tion pol­i­cy.

Commander, Joint Task Force Guantanamo[edit]

In March 2006, he assumed com­mand of Joint Task Force Guan­tanamo in Cuba. His ser­vice was notable as he was in charge when three pris­on­ers, Mani Shaman Tur­ki al-Habar­di Al-Utay­biSalah Ali Abdul­lah Ahmed al-Sala­mi and Yass­er Talal Al Zahranidied in the cus­tody of US forces. Defense report­ed the deaths as sui­cides. Har­ris said at the time,

I believe this was not an act of des­per­a­tion, but an act of asym­met­ri­cal war­fare waged against us.[20]

Har­ris ordered a full inves­ti­ga­tion by the Naval Crim­i­nal Inves­tiga­tive Ser­vice (NCIS), which pub­lished its report in a heav­i­ly redact­ed ver­sion in August 2008.

Main arti­cle: Guan­tanamo Bay homi­cide accu­sa­tions

Main arti­cle: Guan­tanamo Bay deten­tion camp sui­cide attempts

A report, Death in Camp Delta, was pub­lished in Decem­ber 2009 by the Cen­ter for Pol­i­cy & Research of Seton Hall Uni­ver­si­ty School of Law, under the super­vi­sion of its direc­tor, Pro­fes­sor Mark Den­beaux, attor­ney for two Guan­tanamo detainees, crit­i­ciz­ing numer­ous incon­sis­ten­cies in the offi­cial accounts of these deaths.[21][22][23] The report sug­gest­ed there had either been gross neg­li­gence or an attempt to cov­er up homi­cides of the men, per­haps due to tor­ture under inter­ro­ga­tion.

On 18 Jan­u­ary 2010, Scott Hor­ton of Harper’s Mag­a­zine pub­lished a sto­ry sug­gest­ing that al-Sala­mi, Al-Utay­bi and Al-Zahrani had died as a result of acci­den­tal manslaugh­ter dur­ing a tor­ture ses­sion, and that the offi­cial account was a cov­er-up.[20] Hor­ton had under­tak­en a joint inves­ti­ga­tion with NBC News, based on an account by four for­mer guards at Guan­tanamo Bay deten­tion camp. They sug­gest­ed that the men had died at a black site, infor­mal­ly called “Camp No,” used for inter­ro­ga­tion includ­ing tor­ture. It was locat­ed about a mile out­side the reg­u­lar camp bound­aries.[20]

5. We note the fore­shad­ow­ing of the Covid-19 out­break in an Octo­ber, 2019 exercise–“Event 201” in New York City.

Dr. Mer­co­la not­ed that:” . . . . As men­tioned, a num­ber of reports raise ques­tions about the source of the 2019-nCoV [The Chi­nese coronavirus–D.E.]. For starters, a 2014 NPR arti­cle32 was rather prophet­ic. It dis­cuss­es the Octo­ber 2014 U.S. mora­to­ri­um on exper­i­ments on coro­n­avirus­es like SARS and MERS, as well as influen­za virus, that might make the virus­es more path­o­gen­ic and/or easy to spread among humans. The ban came on the heels of  ‘high-pro­file lab mishaps’ at the CDC and ‘extreme­ly con­tro­ver­sial flu exper­i­ments’ in which the bird flu virus was engi­neered to become more lethal and con­ta­gious between fer­rets. The goal was to see if it could mutate and become more lethal and con­ta­gious between humans, caus­ing future pan­demics. . . . How­ev­er, for the past decade there have been red flags raised in the sci­en­tif­ic com­mu­ni­ty about biose­cu­ri­ty breach­es in high con­tain­ment bio­log­i­cal labs in the U.S. . . . The fed­er­al mora­to­ri­um on lethal virus exper­i­ments in the U.S. was lift­ed at the end of Decem­ber 2017,38 even though researchers announced in 2015 they had cre­at­ed a lab-cre­at­ed hybrid coro­n­avirus sim­i­lar to that of SARS that was capa­ble of infect­ing both human air­way cells and mice. . . .

” . . . . Equal­ly curi­ous is the fact that Johns Hop­kins Cen­ter for Health Secu­ri­ty, the World Eco­nom­ic Forum and the Bill and Melin­da Gates Foun­da­tion spon­sored a nov­el coro­n­avirus pan­dem­ic pre­pared­ness exer­cise Octo­ber 18, 2019, in New York called ‘Event 201.‘46 The sim­u­la­tion pre­dict­ed a glob­al death toll of 65 mil­lion peo­ple with­in a span of 18 months.47 As report­ed by Forbes Decem­ber 12, 2019:48

‘The experts ran through a care­ful­ly designed, detailed sim­u­la­tion of a new (fic­tion­al) viral ill­ness called CAPS or coro­n­avirus acute pul­monary syn­drome. This was mod­eled after pre­vi­ous epi­demics like SARS and MERS.’ 

Sounds exact­ly like NCIP, does­n’t it? Yet the new coro­n­avirus respon­si­ble for NCIP had not yet been iden­ti­fied at the time of the sim­u­la­tion, and the first case was­n’t report­ed until two months lat­er. 

Forbes also refers to the fic­tion­al pan­dem­ic as ‘Dis­ease X’ — the same des­ig­na­tion used by The Tele­graph in its Jan­u­ary 24, 2020, video report, “Could This Coro­n­avirus be Dis­ease X?“49 which sug­gests that media out­lets were briefed and there was coor­di­na­tion ahead of time with regard to use of cer­tain key­words and catch­phras­es in news reports and opin­ion arti­cles. 

Johns Hop­kins Uni­ver­si­ty (JHU) is the biggest recip­i­ent of research grants from fed­er­al agen­cies, includ­ing the Nation­al Insti­tutes of Health, Nation­al Sci­ence Foun­da­tion and Depart­ment of Defense and has received mil­lions of dol­lars in research grants from the Gates Foun­da­tion.50 In 2016, Johns Hop­kins spent more than $2 bil­lion on research projects, lead­ing all U.S. uni­ver­si­ties in research spend­ing for the 38th year in a row.51

If research fund­ed by fed­er­al agen­cies, such as the DOD or HHS is clas­si­fied as being per­formed ‘in the inter­est of nation­al secu­ri­ty,’ it is exempt from Free­dom of Infor­ma­tion Act (FOIA) requests.52

Research con­duct­ed under the Bio­med­ical Advanced Research and Devel­op­ment Author­i­ty (BARDA) is com­plete­ly shield­ed from FOIA requests by the pub­lic.53 Addi­tion­al­ly, agen­cies may deny FOIA requests and with­hold infor­ma­tion if gov­ern­ment offi­cials con­clude that shield­ing it from pub­lic view ‘pro­tects trade secrets and com­mer­cial or finan­cial infor­ma­tion which could harm the com­pet­i­tive pos­ture or busi­ness inter­ests of a com­pa­ny.’ . . . .”

  “Nov­el Coronavirus–The Lat­est Pan­dem­ic Scare” by Dr. Joseph Mer­co­la; Mer­co­la; 2/4/2020.

. . . . Mora­to­ri­um on SARS/MERS Exper­i­ments Lift­ed in 2017

As men­tioned, a num­ber of reports raise ques­tions about the source of the 2019-nCoV [The Chi­nese coronavirus–D.E.]. For starters, a 2014 NPR arti­cle32 was rather prophet­ic. It dis­cuss­es the Octo­ber 2014 U.S. mora­to­ri­um on exper­i­ments on coro­n­avirus­es like SARS and MERS, as well as influen­za virus, that might make the virus­es more path­o­gen­ic and/or easy to spread among humans.

The ban came on the heels of “high-pro­file lab mishaps” at the CDC and “extreme­ly con­tro­ver­sial flu exper­i­ments” in which the bird flu virus was engi­neered to become more lethal and con­ta­gious between fer­rets. The goal was to see if it could mutate and become more lethal and con­ta­gious between humans, caus­ing future pan­demics.

How­ev­er, for the past decade there have been red flags raised in the sci­en­tif­ic com­mu­ni­ty about biose­cu­ri­ty breach­es in high con­tain­ment bio­log­i­cal labs in the U.S. and glob­al­ly.33 There were legit­i­mate fears that a lab-cre­at­ed super­flu pathogen might escape the con­fines of biose­cu­ri­ty labs where researchers are con­duct­ing exper­i­ments. It’s a rea­son­able fear, cer­tain­ly, con­sid­er­ing that there have been many safe­ty breach­es at bio­labs in the U.S. and oth­er coun­tries.34,35,36,37

The fed­er­al mora­to­ri­um on lethal virus exper­i­ments in the U.S. was lift­ed at the end of Decem­ber 2017,38 even though researchers announced in 2015 they had cre­at­ed a lab-cre­at­ed hybrid coro­n­avirus sim­i­lar to that of SARS that was capa­ble of infect­ing both human air­way cells and mice.

The NIH had allowed the con­tro­ver­sial research to pro­ceed because it had begun before the mora­to­ri­um was put in place — a deci­sion crit­i­cized by Simon Wain-Hob­son, a virol­o­gist at Pas­teur Insti­tute in Paris, who point­ed out that “If the [new] virus escaped, nobody could pre­dict the tra­jec­to­ry.“39

Oth­ers, such as Richard Ebright, a mol­e­c­u­lar biol­o­gist and biode­fence expert at Rut­gers Uni­ver­si­ty, agreed, say­ing “The only impact of this work is the cre­ation, in a lab, of a new, non-nat­ur­al risk.“40

Wuhan is Home to Lab Study­ing World’s Lat­est Pathogens

In Jan­u­ary 2018, Chi­na’s first max­i­mum secu­ri­ty virol­o­gy lab­o­ra­to­ry (biose­cu­ri­ty lev­el 4) designed for the study of the world’s most dan­ger­ous pathogens opened its doors — in Wuhan.41,42 Is it pure coin­ci­dence that Wuhan City is now the epi­cen­ter of this nov­el coro­n­avirus infec­tion? 

The year before, Tim Tre­van, a Mary­land biosafe­ty con­sul­tant, expressed con­cern about viral threats poten­tial­ly escap­ing the Wuhan Nation­al Biosafe­ty Lab­o­ra­to­ry,43 which hap­pens to be locat­ed just 20 miles from the Wuhan mar­ket iden­ti­fied as ground zero for the cur­rent NCIP out­break.44 As report­ed by the Dai­ly Mail:45

“The Wuhan lab is also equipped for ani­mal research,” and “Reg­u­la­tions for ani­mal research — espe­cial­ly that con­duct­ed on pri­mates — are much loos­er in Chi­na than in the U.S. and oth­er West­ern coun­tries … But that was also cause for con­cern for Tre­van. 

Study­ing the behav­ior of a virus like 209-nCoV and devel­op­ing treat­ments or vac­cines for it requires infect­ing these research mon­keys, an impor­tant step before human test­ing. 

Mon­keys are unpre­dictable though, warned [Rut­gers Uni­ver­si­ty micro­bi­ol­o­gist Dr. Richard] Ebright. ‘They can run, they can scratch they can bite,’ he said, and the virus­es they car­ry would go where their feet, nails and teeth do.’ ” 

Coro­n­avirus Out­break Sim­u­la­tion Took Place in Octo­ber 2019

Equal­ly curi­ous is the fact that Johns Hop­kins Cen­ter for Health Secu­ri­ty, the World Eco­nom­ic Forum and the Bill and Melin­da Gates Foun­da­tion spon­sored a nov­el coro­n­avirus pan­dem­ic pre­pared­ness exer­cise Octo­ber 18, 2019, in New York called “Event 201.“46 The sim­u­la­tion pre­dict­ed a glob­al death toll of 65 mil­lion peo­ple with­in a span of 18 months.47 As report­ed by Forbes Decem­ber 12, 2019:48

“The experts ran through a care­ful­ly designed, detailed sim­u­la­tion of a new (fic­tion­al) viral ill­ness called CAPS or coro­n­avirus acute pul­monary syn­drome. This was mod­eled after pre­vi­ous epi­demics like SARS and MERS.” 

Sounds exact­ly like NCIP, does­n’t it? Yet the new coro­n­avirus respon­si­ble for NCIP had not yet been iden­ti­fied at the time of the sim­u­la­tion, and the first case was­n’t report­ed until two months lat­er. 

Forbes also refers to the fic­tion­al pan­dem­ic as “Dis­ease X” — the same des­ig­na­tion used by The Tele­graph in its Jan­u­ary 24, 2020, video report, “Could This Coro­n­avirus be Dis­ease X?“49 which sug­gests that media out­lets were briefed and there was coor­di­na­tion ahead of time with regard to use of cer­tain key­words and catch­phras­es in news reports and opin­ion arti­cles. 

Johns Hop­kins Uni­ver­si­ty (JHU) is the biggest recip­i­ent of research grants from fed­er­al agen­cies, includ­ing the Nation­al Insti­tutes of Health, Nation­al Sci­ence Foun­da­tion and Depart­ment of Defense and has received mil­lions of dol­lars in research grants from the Gates Foun­da­tion.50 In 2016, Johns Hop­kins spent more than $2 bil­lion on research projects, lead­ing all U.S. uni­ver­si­ties in research spend­ing for the 38th year in a row.51

If research fund­ed by fed­er­al agen­cies, such as the DOD or HHS is clas­si­fied as being per­formed “in the inter­est of nation­al secu­ri­ty,” it is exempt from Free­dom of Infor­ma­tion Act (FOIA) requests.52

Research con­duct­ed under the Bio­med­ical Advanced Research and Devel­op­ment Author­i­ty (BARDA) is com­plete­ly shield­ed from FOIA requests by the pub­lic.53 Addi­tion­al­ly, agen­cies may deny FOIA requests and with­hold infor­ma­tion if gov­ern­ment offi­cials con­clude that shield­ing it from pub­lic view “pro­tects trade secrets and com­mer­cial or finan­cial infor­ma­tion which could harm the com­pet­i­tive pos­ture or busi­ness inter­ests of a com­pa­ny.“54

The U.S. Cen­ters for Dis­ease Con­trol and Pre­ven­tion under the U.S. Depart­ment of Health and Human Ser­vices states that its mis­sion is “to pro­tect Amer­i­ca from health, safe­ty and secu­ri­ty threats, both for­eign and in the U.S.“55 Clear­ly, it will be dif­fi­cult to obtain infor­ma­tion about gov­ern­ment-fund­ed bio­med­ical research on microbes like coro­n­avirus con­duct­ed at major uni­ver­si­ties or by phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal cor­po­ra­tions in bio­haz­ard labs. 

How like­ly is it, then, that the coro­n­avirus out­break mak­ing peo­ple so sick today “sud­den­ly” emerged sim­ply because peo­ple ate bats and snakes in a Wuhan mar­ket? It looks more like a biose­cu­ri­ty acci­dent but, until more is known, inevitably there will be more ques­tions than answers about whether this lat­est glob­al pub­lic health emer­gency is a more ambi­tious tac­ti­cal “sand table exer­cise,” echo­ing unan­swered ques­tions about the 2009 swine flu pan­dem­ic fias­co. 

This time, there could be a lot more bod­ies left on the field, although some sta­tis­ti­cians con­duct­ing ben­e­fit cost analy­ses may con­sid­er 65 mil­lion casu­al­ties in a glob­al human pop­u­la­tion of 7.8 bil­lion peo­ple56 to be rel­a­tive­ly small when advanc­ing med­ical research con­duct­ed in the name of “the greater good.”

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