Spitfire List Web site and blog of anti-fascist researcher and radio personality Dave Emory.

Today's Food for Thought

Modus Operandi of Covid-19–Does It Reflect Genetic Engineering?

An interesting piece in "The Atlantic" describes how the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19 differs from other coronaviruses known to infect humans. We present this as supplemental to discussion of DARPA research into bat-borne coronaviruses. A) The SARS-CoV-2 (Covid-19) virus is unusual in that it infects both the upper and lower respiratory tracts. The ‘spike’ part of the SARS-CoV-2 virus is unusually good at latching into a protein called ACE2 which is found on the exterior of the cells in human airways. This ability appears to be fundamental to the virus's ability to infect the upper respiratory tract. The virus appears to infect the upper airways first and then, as cells in them die and are sloughed off, it makes its way down to the lower respiratory tract and lungs where the deadly infections occur. This sequential pattern of infecting the upper respiratory tract prior to making its way down to the lungs enables it to silently spread asymptomatically before turning more lethal in the lower respiratory tract. B) We note that the ACE2 protein appears to manifest more heavily in the lung tissue of  East-Asians. As indicated in the Whitney Webb article, genetic modification has been envisioned as applicable to biological warfare to create "ethno-specific" biological weapons. C) Another key feature of the virus's ability to infect humans concerns a protein bridge connecting two halves of the virus’s spike. Activation of this spike causes the virus injects its nucleic acid into the cell. Activating the spike requires the cleavage of a protein bridge connecting the two halves of the spike. That cleavage is precipitated by the enzyme furin which is ubiquitous in human cells. In contrast, the coronavirus which caused SARS had a protein bridge that was less likely to be cleaved. SARS-CoV-2 first latches onto to human upper airway cells and, once there, has the protein bridge linking the halves of the spike severed by the furin enzyme. D) Perhaps the most notable observation made about this virus thus far: it doesn’t appear to be mutating in evolutionarily significant ways. Of the 100-plus mutations observed in the virus so far, none has emerged as evolutionarily dominant--unusual for a virus that only recently jumped to humans. and has spread prolifically. It’s as though the virus is already evolutionarily optimized for spreading among humans and there are no ‘gain-of-fuction’ mutations left for it acquire. As Lisa Gralinski, a coronavirus expert at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, described it, “The virus has been remarkably stable given how much transmission we’ve seen . . . . there’s no evolutionary pressure on the virus to transmit better. It’s doing a great job of spreading around the world right now.” E) Gralinsky works closely with Ralph Baric’s lab. Recall that Baric is the researcher who constructed a chimeric virus out of a SARS virus and horseshoe bat coronavirus in 2015. When Gralinski observes that the virus wouldn’t feel any evolutionary pressure to spread because it’s already doing such a good job that is VERY significant. Evolution doesn’t stop just because the status quo of an organism is already effective. A mutation allowing the virus to spread even more readily would be expected. And normally such an event does happen. But it hasn’t happened so for SARS-CoV-2 because it is already at something of a "coronavirus evolutionary peak". In addition, an article in "Science Direct" characterizes the advent of the furin-like cleavage site as a "gain-of-function" phenomenon. "Gain of Function" is a mechanism of action of an "Enhanced Potential Pandemic Pathogen." ". . . . Strikingly, the 2019-nCoV S-protein sequence contains 12 additional nucleotides upstream of the single Arg↓ cleavage site 1 (Fig. 1, Fig. 2) leading to a predictively solvent-exposed PRRAR↓SV sequence, which corresponds to a canonical furin-like cleavage site (Braun and Sauter, 2019; Izaguirre, 2019; Seidah and Prat, 2012). This furin-like cleavage site, is supposed to be cleaved during virus egress (Mille and Whittaker, 2014) for S-protein “priming” and may provide a gain-of-function to the 2019-nCoV for efficient spreading in the human population compared to other lineage b betacoronaviruses. This possibly illustrates a convergent evolution pathway between unrelated CoVs. Interestingly, if this site is not processed, the S-protein is expected to be cleaved at site 2 during virus endocytosis, as observed for the SARS-CoV. . . ." Read more »

News & Supplemental

For The Record

Update on the Coronavirus Outbreak

FTR #1118

MP3: FTR #1118

Lat­est Pro­grams Record­ed Are: FTR #1122 Bio-Psy-Op Apoc­a­lypse Now- Fire­side Rant about the Covid-19 Out­break  and FTR #1123 The Past Is Pro­logue: Fur­ther Reflec­tions on the Covid-19 Out­break and the Gen­e­sis of the Med­ical-Mil­i­tary Com­plex  

Mr. Emory has how fin­ished and pub­lished AFA #39: “The World Will be Plunged into an Abyss . . . .”   Mr. Emory VERY much hopes lis­ten­ers and read­ers will close­ly exam­ine, record and dis­sem­i­nate this infor­ma­tion. It may well be what the Nazi future will look like, up to a point.

You can sub­scribe to the com­ments made on pro­grams and posts–an excel­lent source of infor­ma­tion in, and of, itself HERE.

Dave Emory’s entire life­time of work is avail­able on a flash dri­ve that can be obtained here. The new dri­ve is a 32-giga­byte dri­ve that is cur­rent as of the pro­grams and arti­cles post­ed by ear­ly autumn of 2019.

Please con­sid­er sup­port­ing the WORK DAVE EMORY DOES.

As the title indi­cates, the broad­cast updates a num­ber of points of inquiry and analy­sis con­cern­ing the Covid-19 out­break. Of par­tic­u­lar note in this con­text, is the fact that the CDC shut down the Army’s research facil­i­ty at Ft. Det­rick.

In ear­ly August of 2019, short­ly before the record­ed start of the out­break in Wuhan, Chi­na, the U.S. Army Med­ical Research Insti­tute of Infec­tious Dis­eases at that facil­i­ty was closed down by the CDC due to mul­ti­ple safe­ty vio­la­tions. “All research at a Fort Det­rick lab­o­ra­to­ry that han­dles high-lev­el dis­ease-caus­ing mate­r­i­al, such as Ebo­la, is on hold indef­i­nite­ly after the Cen­ters for Dis­ease Con­trol and Pre­ven­tion found the orga­ni­za­tion failed to meet biosafe­ty stan­dards. . . . The CDC sent a cease and desist order in July. After USAMRIID received the order from the CDC, its reg­is­tra­tion with the Fed­er­al Select Agent Pro­gram, which over­sees dis­ease-caus­ing mate­r­i­al use and pos­ses­sion, was sus­pend­ed. That sus­pen­sion effec­tive­ly halt­ed all bio­log­i­cal select agents and tox­in research at USAMRIID . . . .”

Much of the pro­gram cen­ters on an arti­cle from Glob­al Research. It is Mr. Emory’s opin­ion that J. Kyle Bass’s com­ments (see above) and the State Depart­ment crack­down on Chi­nese media are relat­ed to some of the ele­ments of dis­cus­sion in this arti­cle. He had heard alle­ga­tions for weeks that there was dis­cus­sion in Chi­nese media about the virus hav­ing orig­i­nat­ed in the Unit­ed States. Up until this arti­cle came to his atten­tion, he had seen noth­ing to that effect.

NB: Although West­ern media and offi­cial treat­ment of Chi­nese media pro­nounce­ments on the coro­n­avirus’s ori­gin being in the U.S. will be dis­missed as “fake news,” “pro­pa­gan­da,” etc., the spec­u­la­tion in a major Japan­ese TV broad­cast and the analy­sis pre­sent­ed in a Tai­wanese sci­en­tif­ic video pre­sen­ta­tion are not eas­i­ly dis­missed as “Com­mu­nist Chi­nese dis­in­for­ma­tion.” It is alto­geth­er dubi­ous that major Japan­ese media or Tai­wanese sci­en­tif­ic pre­sen­ta­tion would car­ry water for the Chi­nese Com­mu­nist Par­ty.

The arti­cle rais­es a num­ber of points of dis­cus­sion and analy­sis, includ­ing:

  1. . . . . A new study by Chi­nese researchers indi­cates the nov­el coro­n­avirus may have begun human-to-human trans­mis­sion in late Novem­ber from a place oth­er than the Hua­nan seafood mar­ket in Wuhan. The study pub­lished on Chi­naX­iv, a Chi­nese open repos­i­to­ry for sci­en­tif­ic researchers, reveals the new coro­n­avirus was intro­duced to the seafood mar­ket from anoth­er location(s), and then spread rapid­ly from the mar­ket due to the large num­ber of close con­tacts. . . .”
  2. ” . . . . Chi­nese med­ical author­i­ties – and “intel­li­gence agen­cies” – then con­duct­ed a rapid and wide-rang­ing search for the ori­gin of the virus, col­lect­ing near­ly 100 sam­ples of the genome from 12 dif­fer­ent coun­tries on 4 con­ti­nents, iden­ti­fy­ing all the vari­eties and muta­tions. Dur­ing this research, they deter­mined the virus out­break had begun much ear­li­er, prob­a­bly in Novem­ber, short­ly after the Wuhan Mil­i­tary Games. . . . ”
  3. ” . . . . They then came to the same inde­pen­dent con­clu­sions as the Japan­ese researchers – that the virus did not begin in Chi­na but was intro­duced there from the out­side. China’s top res­pi­ra­to­ry spe­cial­ist Zhong Nan­shan  said on Jan­u­ary 27. ‘Though the COVID-19 was first dis­cov­ered in Chi­na, it does not mean that it orig­i­nat­ed from Chi­na.’ . . . .This of course rais­es ques­tions as to the actu­al loca­tion of ori­gin. If the author­i­ties pur­sued their analy­sis through 100 genome sam­ples from 12 coun­tries, they must have had a com­pelling rea­son to be search­ing for the orig­i­nal source out­side Chi­na. This would explain why there was such dif­fi­cul­ty in locat­ing and iden­ti­fy­ing a ‘patient zero’. . . .”
  4. ” . . . . In Feb­ru­ary of 2020, the Japan­ese Asahi news report (print and TV) claimed the coro­n­avirus orig­i­nat­ed in the US, not in Chi­na, and that some (or many) of the 14,000 Amer­i­can deaths attrib­uted to influen­za may have in fact have result­ed from the coro­n­avirus. (5) . . .”
  5. ” . . . . The TV Asahi net­work pre­sent­ed sci­en­tif­ic doc­u­men­ta­tion for their claims, rais­ing the issue that no one would know the cause of death because the US either neglect­ed to test or failed to release the results. Japan avoid­ed the ques­tions of nat­ur­al vs. man-made and acci­den­tal vs. delib­er­ate, sim­ply stat­ing that the virus out­break may first have occurred in the US. The West­ern Inter­net appears to have been scrubbed of this infor­ma­tion, but the Chi­nese media still ref­er­ence it. . . .”
  6. ” . . . . Then, Tai­wan ran a TV news pro­gram on February,27,(click here to access video (Chi­nese), that pre­sent­ed dia­grams and flow charts sug­gest­ing the coro­n­avirus orig­i­nat­ed in the US. (6) . . . .”
  7. ” . . . . The man in the video is a top virol­o­gist and phar­ma­col­o­gist who per­formed a long and detailed search for the source of the virus. He spends the first part of the video explain­ing the var­i­ous hap­lo­types (vari­eties, if you will), and explains how they are relat­ed to each oth­er, how one must have come before anoth­er, and how one type derived from anoth­er. He explains this is mere­ly ele­men­tary sci­ence and noth­ing to do with geopo­lit­i­cal issues, describ­ing how, just as with num­bers in order, 3 must always fol­low 2. . . .”
  8. ” . . . . The basic log­ic is that the geo­graph­i­cal loca­tion with the great­est diver­si­ty of virus strains must be the orig­i­nal source because a sin­gle strain can­not emerge from noth­ing. He demon­strat­ed that only the US has all the five known strains of the virus (while Wuhan and most of Chi­na have only one, as do Tai­wan and South Korea, Thai­land and Viet­nam, Sin­ga­pore, and Eng­land, Bel­gium and Ger­many), con­sti­tut­ing a the­sis that the hap­lo­types in oth­er nations may have orig­i­nat­ed in the US. . . .”
  9. ” . . . . With about 50 nations scat­tered through­out the world hav­ing iden­ti­fied at least one case at the time of writ­ing, it would be very inter­est­ing to exam­ine virus sam­ples from each of those nations to deter­mine their loca­tion of ori­gin and the world­wide sources and pat­terns of spread. . . .”
  10. ” . . . .The Tai­wanese doc­tor then stat­ed the virus out­break began ear­li­er than assumed, say­ing, ‘We must look to Sep­tem­ber of 2019’. He stat­ed the case in Sep­tem­ber of 2019 where some Japan­ese trav­eled to Hawaii and returned home infect­ed, peo­ple who had nev­er been to Chi­na. This was two months pri­or to the infec­tions in Chi­na and just after the CDC sud­den­ly and total­ly shut down the Fort Det­rick bio-weapons lab claim­ing the facil­i­ties were insuf­fi­cient to pre­vent loss of pathogens. (10) (11) He said he per­son­al­ly inves­ti­gat­ed those cas­es very care­ful­ly (as did the Japan­ese virol­o­gists who came to the same con­clu­sion).. This might indi­cate the coro­n­avirus had already spread in the US but where the symp­toms were being offi­cial­ly attrib­uted to oth­er dis­eases, and thus pos­si­bly masked. . . .”
  11. ” . . . . On Feb­ru­ary 26, ABC News affil­i­ate KJCT8 News Net­work report­ed that a woman recent­ly told the media that her sis­ter died on from coro­n­avirus infec­tion. Mon­trose, Col­orado res­i­dent Almeta Stone said, ‘They (the med­ical staff) kept us informed that it was the flu, and when I got the death cer­tifi­cate, there was a coro­n­avirus in the cause of death.’ . . .”
  12. ” . . . . In the past two years (dur­ing the trade war) Chi­na has suf­fered sev­er­al pan­demics: A) Feb­ru­ary 15, 2018: H7N4 bird flu. Sick­ened at least 1,600 peo­ple in Chi­na and killed more than 600. Many chick­ens killed. Chi­na needs to pur­chase US poul­try prod­ucts. B)June, 2018: H7N9 bird flu. Many chick­ens killed. Chi­na needs to pur­chase US poul­try prod­ucts. C) August, 2018: out­break of African swine flu. Same strain as Rus­sia, from Geor­gia. Mil­lions of pigs killed. Chi­na needs to pur­chase US pork prod­ucts. D)May 24, 2019: mas­sive infes­ta­tion of army­worms in 14 province-lev­el regions in Chi­na, which destroy most food crops. Quick­ly spread to more than 8,500 hectares of China’s grain pro­duc­tion. They pro­duce aston­ish­ing num­bers of eggs. Chi­na needs to pur­chase US agri­cul­tur­al prod­ucts – corn, soy­beans. E) Decem­ber, 2019: Coro­n­avirus appear­ance puts China’s econ­o­my on hold. F) Jan­u­ary, 2020: Chi­na is hit by a ‘high­ly path­o­gen­ic’ strain of bird flu in Hunan province. Many chick­ens died, many oth­ers killed. Chi­na needs to pur­chase US poul­try prod­ucts. . . .”

Pro­gram High­lights Include: Fur­ther dis­cus­sion of the State Depart­men­t’s crack­down on Chi­nese media out­lets; Fur­ther dis­cus­sion of Shincheonji–a South Kore­an cult that was appar­ent­ly the vehi­cle for intro­duc­ing the virus into that coun­try and which has a branch in Wuhan Chi­na; the struc­tur­al, oper­a­tional and doc­tri­nal over­lap between Shin­cheon­ji and the Uni­fi­ca­tion Church; Don­ald Rums­feld’s posi­tion as chair­man of the board of direc­tors of Gilead Sciences–at the fore­front of Big Phar­ma’s race to devel­op coun­ter­mea­sures to the Covid-19 and a major invest­ment tar­get for hedge funds; The pres­ence on Gilead­’s board of C. Ben­no Schmidt, Sr., who helped launch Richard Nixon’s War on Cancer–a cov­er for the NCI’s Spe­cial Viral Can­cer Research Pro­gram.

DEPARTMENTS

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Dave Emory's weekly For The Record program examines the interconnecting historical processes, people and institutions which shape the complex geopolitical landscape.

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