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FTR#1192 The Oswald Institute of Virology, Part 11: The 800-Pound Gorilla in the Room

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FTR #1192 This pro­gram was record­ed in one, 60-minute seg­ment.

Intro­duc­tion: The title of the pro­gram stems from a dead­ly dichotomiza­tion of the dis­cus­sion of the ori­gin of Covid-19 into either: “A nat­u­ral­ly-occur­ring phe­nom­e­non” OR “The Lab Leak The­o­ry.”

Telling­ly miss­ing is the delib­er­ate­ly-cre­at­ed, bio­log­i­cal war­fare pan­dem­ic hypoth­e­sis that Mr. Emory has been advanc­ing since the very begin­ning of the pan­dem­ic. (This analy­sis was first advanced in FTR#‘s 1111 & 1112. This pro­gram was record­ed in ear­ly Feb­ru­ary of 2020.)

With Michael R. Gor­don help­ing craft jour­nal­is­tic jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for the “Lab-Leak The­o­ry” and Philip Zelikow chair­ing a com­mis­sion inves­ti­gat­ing Covid-19, we are see­ing play­ers in the PNAC/Iraqi WMD/9/11 nexus being recy­cled in con­nec­tion with that the­o­ry.

In that con­text, we review a study released by US Nation­al Acad­e­my of Sci­ences at the request of the Depart­ment of Defense about the threats of syn­thet­ic biol­o­gy con­clud­ed that the tech­niques to tweak and weaponize virus­es from known cat­a­logs of viral sequences is very fea­si­ble and rel­a­tive­ly easy to do.

Note that the Pen­ta­gon has fund­ed research into bat-borne coro­n­avirus­es in Chi­na and at the “Oswald Insti­tute of Virol­o­gy,” through var­i­ous vehi­cles, includ­ing and espe­cial­ly (in com­bi­na­tion with USAID) the Eco­Health Alliance .

That research has led to the pub­li­ca­tion of research papers includ­ing some fea­tur­ing the genomes of bat-borne coro­n­avirus­es.

Once those papers are pub­lished, the virus­es can be “print­ed out” at will, either as direct copies or as mutat­ed virus­es.

Key points of dis­cus­sion:

  1. ” . . . . Advances in the area mean that sci­en­tists now have the capa­bil­i­ty to recre­ate dan­ger­ous virus­es from scratch; make harm­ful bac­te­ria more dead­ly; and mod­i­fy com­mon microbes so that they churn out lethal tox­ins once they enter the body. . . .”
  2. ” . . . . In the report, the sci­en­tists describe how syn­thet­ic biol­o­gy, which gives researchers pre­ci­sion tools to manip­u­late liv­ing organ­isms, ‘enhances and expands’ oppor­tu­ni­ties to cre­ate bioweapons. . . .”
  3. ” . . . . Today, the genet­ic code of almost any mam­malian virus can be found online and syn­the­sized. ‘The tech­nol­o­gy to do this is avail­able now,’ said Impe­ri­ale. ‘It requires some exper­tise, but it’s some­thing that’s rel­a­tive­ly easy to do, and that is why it tops the list.’ . . .”
  4. ” . . . . Oth­er fair­ly sim­ple pro­ce­dures can be used to tweak the genes of dan­ger­ous bac­te­ria and make them resis­tant to antibi­otics, so that peo­ple infect­ed with them would be untreat­able. . . .”

Repris­ing a por­tion of an arti­cle used in FTR#1191, we note Danielle Ander­son­’s expe­ri­ence of hav­ing been vio­lent­ly exco­ri­at­ed for expos­ing false infor­ma­tion post­ed about the pan­dem­ic online.

The “last–and only” for­eign researcher at the WIV, Ms. Ander­son has shared the vit­ri­ol that many virol­o­gists have expe­ri­enced  in the wake of the pan­dem­ic.

Are we see­ing a man­i­fes­ta­tion of what might be called “anti-virol­o­gist” McCarthy­ism, not unlike the “Who Lost Chi­na” cru­sade in the 1950’s?

Are virol­o­gists being intim­i­dat­ed into supporting–or at least not refuting–the “Lab Leak The­o­ry?”

Bear in mind that Don­ald Trump’s attor­ney and polit­i­cal men­tor was the late Roy Cohn, who was Sen­a­tor Joe McCarthy’s top hatch­et man.

A chill­ing arti­cle may fore­cast the poten­tial deploy­ment of even dead­lier pan­demics, as oper­a­tional dis­guise for bio­log­i­cal war­fare and geno­cide.

Note that the sub-head­ing in the con­clu­sion refer­ring to the lab-leak hypoth­e­sis is fol­lowed by no men­tion of the lab-leak hypoth­e­sis, per se.

Why not? We feel there may be a chill­ing sub­text to this.

Is this a between-the-lines ref­er­ence to impend­ing bio­log­i­cal war­fare devel­op­ment and the deploy­ment of anoth­er pan­dem­ic?

Note that the Army sci­en­tist quot­ed in the con­clu­sion offers an obser­va­tion that is very close to a Don­ald Rums­feld quote reit­er­at­ed by Peter Daszak in an arti­cle we ref­er­ence in FTR#1170.

  1. From the Defense One arti­cle: ” . . . . ‘We don’t want to just treat what’s in front of us now,’  [Dr. Dim­i­tra] Stratis-Cul­lum said. ‘I think we real­ly need to be resilient. From an Army per­spec­tive. We need to be agile, we need to adapt to the threat that we don’t know that’s com­ing.’ . . .”
  2. From the arti­cle from Inde­pen­dent Sci­ence News: ” . . . . ‘There are known knowns; there are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns; that is to say, there are things that we know we don’t know. But there are also unknown unknowns — there are things we don’t know we don’t know.’ (This Rums­feld quote is in fact from a news con­fer­ence) . . . . In the sub­se­quent online dis­cus­sion, Daszak empha­sized the par­al­lels between his own cru­sade and Rumsfeld’s, since, accord­ing to Daszak, the ‘poten­tial for unknown attacks’ is ‘the same for virus­es’. . . .”

In FTR#456, we not­ed the eerie fore­shad­ow­ing the the 9/11 attacks by Turn­er Diaries author William Luther Pierce. Key aspects of that book, in turn, fore­shad­ow aspects of the 9/11 attacks.

  1. In 1998, the author of that tome,–William Luther Pierce–explic­it­ly fore­shad­owed the 9/11 attacks which defined and cement­ed Dubya’s admin­is­tra­tion. “ . . . . In one chill­ing com­men­tary Pierce, (after not­ing that Bin Laden and the rest of the lost gen­er­a­tion of angry Moslem youth had it with their par­ents’ com­pro­mis­es and were hell bent on revenge against infi­del Amer­i­ca) issued this stark, prophet­ic warn­ing in a 1998 radio address titled, ‘Stay Out of Tall Build­ings.’ ‘New York­ers who work in tall office build­ings any­thing close to the size of the World Trade Cen­ter might con­sid­er wear­ing hard hats . . .’ Pierce warned.’ . . . The run­ning theme in Pierce’s com­men­taries is—to para­phrase his hero Hitler—that Osama Bin Laden’s warn­ing to Amer­i­ca is ‘I Am Com­ing.’ And so is bio-ter­ror­ism.’ . . .”

In that con­text, we note that Chi­na is dev­as­tat­ed by a WMD/Third World War in Turn­er Diaries.

The pro­gram con­cludes with a look at some of the many aspects of the Covid-19 pan­dem­ic. Many of these were com­piled in FTR#1125.

1.  The title of the pro­gram stems from a dead­ly dichotomiza­tion of the dis­cus­sion of the ori­gin of Covid-19 into either: “A nat­u­ral­ly-occur­ring phe­nom­e­non” OR “The Lab Leak The­o­ry.”

Telling­ly miss­ing is the delib­er­ate­ly-cre­at­ed, bio­log­i­cal war­fare pan­dem­ic hypoth­e­sis that Mr. Emory has been advanc­ing since the very begin­ning of the pan­dem­ic. (This analy­sis was first advanced in FTR#‘s 1111 & 1112. This pro­gram was record­ed in ear­ly Feb­ru­ary of 2020.)

With Michael R. Gor­don help­ing craft jour­nal­is­tic jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for the “Lab-Leak The­o­ry” and Philip Zelikow chair­ing a com­mis­sion inves­ti­gat­ing Covid-19, we are see­ing play­ers in the PNAC/Iraqi WMD/9/11 nexus being recy­cled in con­nec­tion with that the­o­ry.

“Group of Virol­o­gists Press­es a Case Against the Covid Lab Leak The­o­ry” by Carl Zim­mer and James Gor­man; The New York Times; 7/10/2020; p. A5 [West­ern Print Edi­tion.]

. . . . “Basi­cal­ly, it real­ly boils down to an argu­ment that because near­ly all pre­vi­ous pan­demics were of nat­ur­al ori­gin, this one must be as well,” said David Rel­man, a micro­bi­ol­o­gist at Stan­ford Uni­ver­si­ty, who orga­nized the May let­ter to Sci­ence.

He not­ed that he does not object to the nat­ur­al ori­gin hypoth­e­sis as a plau­si­ble expla­na­tion for the pan­dem­ic ori­gin. But Dr. Rel­man thinks the new paper pre­sent­ed “a selec­tive sam­pling of find­ings to argue one side.”

. . . . But Richard Ebright, a mol­e­c­u­lar biol­o­gist at Rut­gers Uni­ver­si­ty and a per­sis­tent crit­ic of attempts to dimin­ish the like­li­hood of a lab­o­ra­to­ry leak, said that this was a straw-man argu­ment. . . .

2. A study released by US Nation­al Acad­e­my of Sci­ences at the request of the Depart­ment of Defense about the threats of syn­thet­ic biol­o­gy con­clud­ed that the tech­niques to tweak and weaponize virus­es from known cat­a­logs of viral sequences is very fea­si­ble and rel­a­tive­ly easy to do.

Note that the Pen­ta­gon has fund­ed research into bat-borne coro­n­avirus­es in Chi­na and at the “Oswald Insti­tute of Virol­o­gy,” through var­i­ous vehi­cles, includ­ing and espe­cial­ly (in com­bi­na­tion with USAID) the Eco­Health Alliance .

That research has led to the pub­li­ca­tion of research papers includ­ing some fea­tur­ing the genomes of bat-borne coro­n­avirus­es.

Once those papers are pub­lished, the virus­es can be “print­ed out” at will, either as direct copies or as mutat­ed virus­es.

Key points of dis­cus­sion:

  1. ” . . . . Advances in the area mean that sci­en­tists now have the capa­bil­i­ty to recre­ate dan­ger­ous virus­es from scratch; make harm­ful bac­te­ria more dead­ly; and mod­i­fy com­mon microbes so that they churn out lethal tox­ins once they enter the body. . . .”
  2. ” . . . . In the report, the sci­en­tists describe how syn­thet­ic biol­o­gy, which gives researchers pre­ci­sion tools to manip­u­late liv­ing organ­isms, ‘enhances and expands’ oppor­tu­ni­ties to cre­ate bioweapons. . . .”
  3. ” . . . . Today, the genet­ic code of almost any mam­malian virus can be found online and syn­the­sized. ‘The tech­nol­o­gy to do this is avail­able now,’ said Impe­ri­ale. ‘It requires some exper­tise, but it’s some­thing that’s rel­a­tive­ly easy to do, and that is why it tops the list.’ . . .”
  4. ” . . . . Oth­er fair­ly sim­ple pro­ce­dures can be used to tweak the genes of dan­ger­ous bac­te­ria and make them resis­tant to antibi­otics, so that peo­ple infect­ed with them would be untreat­able. . . .”

“Syn­thet­ic biol­o­gy rais­es risk of new bioweapons, US report warns” by Ian Sam­ple; The Guardian; 06/19/2018

The rapid rise of syn­thet­ic biol­o­gy, a futur­is­tic field of sci­ence that seeks to mas­ter the machin­ery of life, has raised the risk of a new gen­er­a­tion of bioweapons, accord­ing a major US report into the state of the art.

Advances in the area mean that sci­en­tists now have the capa­bil­i­ty to recre­ate dan­ger­ous virus­es from scratch; make harm­ful bac­te­ria more dead­ly; and mod­i­fy com­mon microbes so that they churn out lethal tox­ins once they enter the body.

The three sce­nar­ios are picked out as threats of high­est con­cern in a review of the field pub­lished on Tues­day by the US Nation­al Acad­e­my of Sci­ences at the request of the Depart­ment of Defense. The report was com­mis­sioned to flag up ways in which the pow­er­ful tech­nol­o­gy might be abused, and to focus minds on how best to pre­pare.

Michael Impe­ri­ale, chair of the report com­mit­tee, and pro­fes­sor of micro­bi­ol­o­gy and immunol­o­gy at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Michi­gan, said the review used only unclas­si­fied infor­ma­tion and so has no assess­ment of which groups, if any, might be pur­su­ing nov­el bio­log­i­cal weapons. “We can’t say how like­ly any of these sce­nar­ios are,” he said. “But we can talk about how fea­si­ble they are.”

In the report, the sci­en­tists describe how syn­thet­ic biol­o­gy, which gives researchers pre­ci­sion tools to manip­u­late liv­ing organ­isms, “enhances and expands” oppor­tu­ni­ties to cre­ate bioweapons. “As the pow­er of the tech­nol­o­gy increas­es, that brings a gen­er­al need to scru­ti­nise where harms could come from,” said Peter Carr, a senior sci­en­tist at MIT’s Syn­thet­ic Biol­o­gy Cen­ter in Cam­bridge, Mass­a­chu­setts.

More than 20 years ago, Eckard Wim­mer, a geneti­cist at Stony Brook Uni­ver­si­ty in New York, high­light­ed the poten­tial dan­gers of syn­thet­ic biol­o­gy in dra­mat­ic style when he recre­at­ed poliovirus in a test tube. Ear­li­er this year, a team at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Alber­ta built an infec­tious horse­pox virus. The virus is a close rel­a­tive of small­pox, which may have claimed half a bil­lion lives in the 20th cen­tu­ry. Today, the genet­ic code of almost any mam­malian virus can be found online and syn­the­sized. “The tech­nol­o­gy to do this is avail­able now,” said Impe­ri­ale. “It requires some exper­tise, but it’s some­thing that’s rel­a­tive­ly easy to do, and that is why it tops the list.”

Oth­er fair­ly sim­ple pro­ce­dures can be used to tweak the genes of dan­ger­ous bac­te­ria and make them resis­tant to antibi­otics, so that peo­ple infect­ed with them would be untreat­able. A more exot­ic bioweapon might come in the form of a genet­i­cal­ly-altered microbe that col­o­nizes the gut and churns out poi­sons. “While that is tech­ni­cal­ly more dif­fi­cult, it is a con­cern because it may not look like any­thing you nor­mal­ly watch out for in pub­lic health,” Impe­ri­ale said.

3. Repris­ing a por­tion of an arti­cle used in FTR#1191, we note Danielle Ander­son­’s expe­ri­ence of hav­ing been vio­lent­ly exco­ri­at­ed for expos­ing false infor­ma­tion post­ed about the pan­dem­ic online.

The “last–and only” for­eign researcher at the WIV, Ms. Ander­son has shared the vit­ri­ol that many virol­o­gists have expe­ri­enced  in the wake of the pan­dem­ic.

Are we see­ing a man­i­fes­ta­tion of what might be called “anti-virol­o­gist” McCarthy­ism, not unlike the “Who Lost Chi­na” cru­sade in the 1950’s?

Are virol­o­gists being intim­i­dat­ed into supporting–or at least not refuting–the “Lab Leak The­o­ry?”

Bear in mind that Don­ald Trump’s attor­ney and polit­i­cal men­tor was the late Roy Cohn, who was Sen­a­tor Joe McCarthy’s top hatch­et man.

“The Last–And Only–Foreign Sci­en­tist in the Wuhan Lab Speaks Out” by Michell Fay Cortez; Bloomberg; 06/27/2021

. . . . . Despite this, Ander­son does think an inves­ti­ga­tion is need­ed to nail down the virus’s ori­gin once and for all. She’s dumb­found­ed by the por­tray­al of the lab by some media out­side Chi­na, and the tox­ic attacks on sci­en­tists that have ensued.

One of a dozen experts appoint­ed to an inter­na­tion­al task­force in Novem­ber to study the ori­gins of the virus, Ander­son hasn’t sought pub­lic atten­tion, espe­cial­ly since being tar­get­ed by U.S. extrem­ists in ear­ly 2020 after she exposed false infor­ma­tion about the pan­dem­ic post­ed online. The vit­ri­ol that ensued prompt­ed her to file a police report. The threats of vio­lence many coro­n­avirus sci­en­tists have expe­ri­enced over the past 18 months have made them hes­i­tant to speak out because of the risk that their words will be mis­con­strued.

4. A chill­ing arti­cle may fore­cast the poten­tial deploy­ment of even dead­lier pan­demics, as oper­a­tional dis­guise for bio­log­i­cal war­fare and geno­cide.

Note that the sub-head­ing in the con­clu­sion refer­ring to the lab-leak hypoth­e­sis is fol­lowed by no men­tion of the lab-leak hypoth­e­sis, per se.

Why not? We feel there may be a chill­ing sub­text to this.

Is this a between-the-lines ref­er­ence to impend­ing bio­log­i­cal war­fare devel­op­ment and the deploy­ment of anoth­er pan­dem­ic?

Note that the Army sci­en­tist quot­ed in the con­clu­sion offers an obser­va­tion that is very close to a Don­ald Rums­feld quote reit­er­at­ed by Peter Daszak in an arti­cle we ref­er­ence in FTR#1170.

  1. From the Defense One arti­cle: ” . . . . ‘We don’t want to just treat what’s in front of us now,’  [Dr. Dim­i­tra] Stratis-Cul­lum said. ‘I think we real­ly need to be resilient. From an Army per­spec­tive. We need to be agile, we need to adapt to the threat that we don’t know that’s com­ing.’ . . .”
  2. From the arti­cle from Inde­pen­dent Sci­ence News: ” . . . . ‘There are known knowns; there are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns; that is to say, there are things that we know we don’t know. But there are also unknown unknowns — there are things we don’t know we don’t know.’ (This Rums­feld quote is in fact from a news con­fer­ence) . . . . In the sub­se­quent online dis­cus­sion, Daszak empha­sized the par­al­lels between his own cru­sade and Rumsfeld’s, since, accord­ing to Daszak, the ‘poten­tial for unknown attacks’ is ‘the same for virus­es’. . . .”

“‘This May Not Be The Big One’: Army Sci­en­tists Warn of Dead­lier Pan­demics to Come” by Tara Copp; Defense One; 6/21/2021.

The ser­vice is clos­ing in on a “pan-coro­n­avirus” vac­cine and on syn­thet­ic anti­bod­ies that could pro­tect a pop­u­la­tion before spread. But that may not be enough.
June 21, 2021

The U.S. Army sci­en­tists who have spent the last year find­ing vac­cines and ther­a­peu­tics to stop COVID-19 cau­tioned that the nation remains vul­ner­a­ble to a viral pandemic—one that could be even dead­lier than the cur­rent one. 

Since the ear­li­est days of the COVID-19 pan­dem­ic, the emerg­ing infec­tious dis­eases branch at the Wal­ter Reed Army Insti­tute of Research has worked to devel­op a vac­cine that would help patients fend off not only the orig­i­nal virus strain but also new vari­ants. 

In ini­tial tests on mon­keys, hors­es, ham­sters, and sharks, Wal­ter Reed’s spike fer­ritin nanopar­ti­cle, or SpFN, vac­cine has shown effec­tive­ness against not only the cur­rent SARS-CoV­‑2 vari­ants, but also against the com­plete­ly dif­fer­ent SARS-CoV­‑1 out­break that occurred in 2003, the head of Wal­ter Reed’s infec­tious dis­eases branch said at the Defense One 2021 Tech Sum­mit Mon­day. 

“If we try to chase the virus­es after they emerge, we’re always going to be behind,” said Dr. Kayvon Mod­jar­rad, direc­tor of Wal­ter Reed’s infec­tious dis­eases branch. “So the approach that we took with our vac­cine, the nanopar­ti­cle approach, in which we can place parts of dif­fer­ent coro­n­avirus­es on to the same vac­cine to edu­cate the immune sys­tem about dif­fer­ent coro­n­avirus­es all at the same time.”

Wal­ter Reed’s vac­cine is now in the ear­ly stages of human tri­als. 

“And we see the same thing over and over again: a very potent immune response and a very broad immune response,” Mod­jar­rad said. “So if we show even a frac­tion of what we’re see­ing in our ani­mal stud­ies in humans, then we’ll have a very good con­fi­dence that this is going to be a very good option as a next-gen­er­a­tion vac­cine.” 

Dr. Dim­i­tra Stratis-Cul­lum, direc­tor of the Army’s trans­for­ma­tion­al syn­thet­ic-biol­o­gy for mil­i­tary envi­ron­ments pro­gram at the U.S. Army Com­bat Capa­bil­i­ties Devel­op­ment Com­mand, Army Research Lab­o­ra­to­ry, was tasked ear­ly on to assist the Hous­ton Methodist Research Insti­tute devel­op blood plas­ma as a COVID-19 ther­a­peu­tic. She’s now work­ing on devel­op­ing a large dataset, a library of COVID strains that would help the lab then cre­ate and dis­trib­ute syn­thet­ic anti­bod­ies to pre­emp­tive­ly pre­vent a spread. 
Relat­ed arti­cles

If the Lab-Leak The­o­ry Is Right, What’s Next?

Cre­at­ing a pan-coro­n­avirus vaccine—or syn­the­siz­ing anti­bod­ies slight­ly ahead of a known out­break still isn’t enough, the sci­en­tists cau­tioned. 

“We don’t want to just treat what’s in front of us now,”  Stratis-Cul­lum said. “I think we real­ly need to be resilient. From an Army per­spec­tive. We need to be agile, we need to adapt to the threat that we don’t know that’s com­ing.” 

The like­li­hood this gen­er­a­tion will see anoth­er pan­dem­ic dur­ing its life­time “is high,” Mod­jar­rad said. “We have seen the accel­er­a­tion of these pathogens and the epi­demics that they pre­cip­i­tate. And it may not be a coro­n­avirus, this may not be the big one. There may be some­thing that’s more trans­mis­si­ble and more dead­ly ahead of us.”   

“We have to think more broad­ly, not just about COVID-19, not just about coro­n­avirus, but all emerg­ing infec­tious threats com­ing into the future,” he said.

5. In FTR#456, we not­ed the eerie fore­shad­ow­ing the the 9/11 attacks by Turn­er Diaries author William Luther Pierce. Key aspects of that book, in turn, fore­shad­ow aspects of the 9/11 attacks.

  1. In 1998, the author of that tome,–William Luther Pierce–explic­it­ly fore­shad­owed the 9/11 attacks which defined and cement­ed Dubya’s admin­is­tra­tion. “ . . . . In one chill­ing com­men­tary Pierce, (after not­ing that Bin Laden and the rest of the lost gen­er­a­tion of angry Moslem youth had it with their par­ents’ com­pro­mis­es and were hell bent on revenge against infi­del Amer­i­ca) issued this stark, prophet­ic warn­ing in a 1998 radio address titled, ‘Stay Out of Tall Build­ings.’ ‘New York­ers who work in tall office build­ings any­thing close to the size of the World Trade Cen­ter might con­sid­er wear­ing hard hats . . .’ Pierce warned.’ . . . The run­ning theme in Pierce’s com­men­taries is—to para­phrase his hero Hitler—that Osama Bin Laden’s warn­ing to Amer­i­ca is ‘I Am Com­ing.’ And so is bio-ter­ror­ism.’ . . .”

In that con­text, we note that Chi­na is dev­as­tat­ed by a WMD/Third World War in Turn­er Diaries.

“The Turn­er Diaries;” Wikipedia.com

. . . . the Orga­ni­za­tion attacks it [Chi­na] with nuclear, chem­i­calradi­o­log­i­cal and bio­log­i­cal weapons which ren­der the entire con­ti­nent of Asia unin­hab­it­able and rife with “mutants”. . . .

6a. The Covid-19 pan­dem­ic has served as a “Wealth-Con­cen­tra­tion Virus.”

“Heads We Win, Tails You Lose: The Fas­cist Phi­los­o­phy Behind the Lever­aged Buy­out of Every­thing”

It’s been the same head­line for months now:

* April of 2020: Amer­i­can bil­lion­aires have got­ten $280 bil­lion rich­er since the start of the COVID-19 pan­dem­ic

* May of 2020: Amer­i­can bil­lion­aires got $434 bil­lion rich­er dur­ing the pan­dem­ic

* August of 2020: Amer­i­can bil­lion­aires got $637 bil­lion rich­er dur­ing the pan­dem­ic

* Sep­tem­ber of 2020: U.S. bil­lion­aires got $845 bil­lion rich­er since the start of the pan­dem­ic/Wealth of US bil­lion­aires ris­es by near­ly a third dur­ing pan­dem­ic.

* Octo­ber of 2020: US bil­lion­aires saw their net worth rise by almost $1 tril­lion between March and Octo­ber — Jeff Bezos remains the rich­est, a study says.

From near­ly the start of the COVID-19 pan­dem­ic it’s been clear that the pub­lic health dis­as­ter was­n’t a dis­as­ter for every­one, with the wealth­i­est indi­vid­u­als being not only large­ly insu­lat­ed from the eco­nom­ic lock­down but in many cas­es well posi­tioned to prof­it from it. The pan­dem­ic was turn­ing into a giant trans­fer of wealth. But get­ting a sense of the scale of the mas­sive trans­fer of wealth was going to take time. And time has indeed passed, with the wealth of US bil­lion­aires hav­ing risen by near­ly a third since the start of the pan­dem­ic. . . .

6b. Among the numer­ous and–we believe–pre-planned aspects of the Covid-19 epi­dem­ic is to exac­er­bate the gap between the devel­op­ing world and the devel­oped world.

“Covid-19 Every Region of the World Is ‘Worst Affect­ed’ ” by Vijay Prashad; Con­sor­tium News; 6/18/2021.

Each month, the UN’s Food and Agri­cul­ture Orga­ni­za­tion (FAO) releas­es a month­ly food price index. The release on June 3 showed that food prices have surged by 40 per­cent, the largest rise since 2011. The impact of this food price rise will griev­ous­ly hit devel­op­ing coun­tries, most of which are major importers of food sta­ples. 

Prices rise for a range of rea­sons. The cur­rent rise is large­ly fueled by the col­lapse of size­able sec­tions of the glob­al econ­o­my dur­ing the pan­dem­ic. Warn­ings of gen­er­al infla­tion due to lock­down-relat­ed pent-up demand, ship­ping bot­tle­necks and oil price increas­es loom over rich­er states, which – due to the pow­er of the wealthy bond­hold­ers – have few tools to man­age infla­tion, and by poor­er states, which swirl in a cat­a­clysmic debt cri­sis.

Ris­ing food prices come at a time when unem­ploy­ment rates in many parts of the world have sky­rock­et­ed.

On June 2, the Inter­na­tion­al Labour Orga­ni­za­tion (ILO) released its annu­al “World Employ­ment and Social Out­look: Trends 2021” report, which showed, as expect­ed, that the pan­dem­ic-relat­ed eco­nom­ic col­lapse has meant the loss of hun­dreds of mil­lions of jobs and work­ing hours. The ILO shows that this col­lapse — accel­er­at­ed by Covid-19 — has brought on the “wors­en­ing of long-stand­ing struc­tur­al chal­lenges and inequal­i­ties in the world of work, under­min­ing recent progress in pover­ty reduc­tion, gen­der equal­i­ty, and decent work.”

The effects of the col­lapse are “high­ly uneven,” fur­ther exac­er­bat­ing what we call the “three aparthei­ds of our times (mon­ey, med­i­cine, and food)’. Stalled vac­ci­na­tion pro­grams in coun­tries such as India – which pro­duces 60 per­cent of the world’s vac­cines – and grave debt chal­lenges for coun­tries such as Argenti­na – which can­not get wealthy bond­hold­ers to give it a grace peri­od for debt-ser­vic­ing pay­ments – pre­vent recov­ery and fur­ther the cas­cad­ing phe­nom­e­non of hunger and despair.

The edi­tors of New Frame (Johan­nes­burg, South Africa) were struck by the fact that youth unem­ploy­ment in their coun­try has hit 74.7 per­cent (over­all unem­ploy­ment is at 42.3 per­cent, itself a jaw-drop­ping num­ber). More and more peo­ple strug­gle to sur­vive. The words of the New Frame edi­to­r­i­al are worth lin­ger­ing upon:

“Mil­lions of peo­ple endure blocked lives, pass­ing time in a sta­sis marked by tight­en­ing cir­cles of shame, fail­ure, fear, and despair. Some start to sleep most of the day. Some turn to trans­ac­tion­al forms of reli­gion, offer­ing sub­mis­sion in the hope of reward. Some suc­cumb to the temp­ta­tion to dull their pain with cheap hero­in. Some take what they can from who they can, how they can. Some, often sup­port­ed by the grace of fam­i­ly, friends, and com­mu­ni­ty, man­age to find a way to hold on to enough hope to keep going. 

The weight of what all this means for these peo­ple and their fam­i­lies, the colos­sal squan­der­ing of their gifts and pos­si­bil­i­ties, are not tak­en as a cri­sis for our state, the peo­ple that gov­ern it or most of our elite pub­lic sphere. 

Lives are ren­dered as waste, voic­es as noise rather than speech, protests as traf­fic issues or crime. Peo­ple are told that their suf­fer­ing is a mat­ter of per­son­al fail­ure, their attempts to cope with their sit­u­a­tion con­se­quent to moral dis­so­lu­tion. They can be mur­dered by the state dur­ing a protest or an evic­tion with­out con­se­quence.”

Noth­ing here will be alien to read­ers in South Amer­i­ca or in South Asia, in Papua New Guinea or in Equa­to­r­i­al Guinea. . . .

Discussion

One comment for “FTR#1192 The Oswald Institute of Virology, Part 11: The 800-Pound Gorilla in the Room”

  1. Oh great, just the world needs: there’s a new source of nov­el virus­es from Chi­na. Ancient virus­es nev­er seen before. Those were the find­ings of a new study pub­lished in the jour­nal Micro­bio­me about viral sam­ples found in ice cores obtained in 2015 from Tibetan Plateau glac­i­ers in west­ern Chi­na. When researchers ana­lyzed the ice they found genet­ic codes for 33 virus­es. Up to 28 of them were nov­el virus­es nev­er iden­ti­fied before and rough­ly half of were adapt­ed to thrive under frozen con­di­tions. So sci­en­tists get to learn about how virus­es can func­tion bet­ter in cold envi­ron­ments. And that of course trans­lates into an oppor­tu­ni­ty to learn how to cre­ate virus­es in a lab that will be extra robust in the win­ter. Oh good­ie.

    It’s rem­i­nis­cent of the 2014 study that revived a 30,000 mega-virus extract­ed from Siber­ian per­mafrost. It’s also worth not­ing that viable ancient bac­te­ria were obtained from Tibetan Plateau glac­i­ers as far back as 2000 in a study that looked at bac­te­ria trapped in ice deposits from around the world. So this lat­est study is just an exam­ple of the kind of this type of research that hunts for trapped ancient virus­es.

    And don’t for­get that ancient virus­es held in glac­i­ers aren’t going to stay in those glac­i­ers. Cli­mate change is going to take care of that.

    So we have a sit­u­a­tion where the ancient virus­es trapped in the melt­ing glac­i­ers are guar­an­teed to be ran­dom­ly released into the envi­ron­ment due to glacial melt, while oth­er glacial virus­es are going to being iden­ti­fied and stud­ied in labs. What could pos­si­bly go wrong?:

    Ohio State News

    15,000-year-old virus­es dis­cov­ered in Tibetan glac­i­er ice
    Most of the virus­es were pre­vi­ous­ly unknown to humans, study finds

    Lau­ra Aren­schield
    Ohio State News
    arenschield.2@osu.edu

    Jul 20, 2021

    Sci­en­tists who study glac­i­er ice have found virus­es near­ly 15,000 years old in two ice sam­ples tak­en from the Tibetan Plateau in Chi­na. Most of those virus­es, which sur­vived because they had remained frozen, are unlike any virus­es that have been cat­a­loged to date.

    The find­ings, pub­lished today in the jour­nal Micro­bio­me, could help sci­en­tists under­stand how virus­es have evolved over cen­turies. For this study, the sci­en­tists also cre­at­ed a new, ultra-clean method of ana­lyz­ing microbes and virus­es in ice with­out con­t­a­m­i­nat­ing it.

    “These glac­i­ers were formed grad­u­al­ly, and along with dust and gas­es, many, many virus­es were also deposit­ed in that ice,” said Zhi-Ping Zhong, lead author of the study and a researcher at The Ohio State Uni­ver­si­ty Byrd Polar and Cli­mate Research Cen­ter who also focus­es on micro­bi­ol­o­gy. “The glac­i­ers in west­ern Chi­na are not well-stud­ied, and our goal is to use this infor­ma­tion to reflect past envi­ron­ments. And virus­es are a part of those envi­ron­ments.”

    The researchers ana­lyzed ice cores tak­en in 2015 from the Guliya ice cap in west­ern Chi­na. The cores are col­lect­ed at high alti­tudes – the sum­mit of Guliya, where this ice orig­i­nat­ed, is 22,000 feet above sea lev­el. The ice cores con­tain lay­ers of ice that accu­mu­late year after year, trap­ping what­ev­er was in the atmos­phere around them at the time each lay­er froze. Those lay­ers cre­ate a time­line of sorts, which sci­en­tists have used to under­stand more about cli­mate change, microbes, virus­es and gas­es through­out his­to­ry.

    Researchers deter­mined that the ice was near­ly 15,000 years old using a com­bi­na­tion of tra­di­tion­al and new, nov­el tech­niques to date this ice core.

    When they ana­lyzed the ice, they found genet­ic codes for 33 virus­es. Four of those virus­es have already been iden­ti­fied by the sci­en­tif­ic com­mu­ni­ty. But at least 28 of them are nov­el. About half of them seemed to have sur­vived at the time they were frozen not in spite of the ice, but because of it.

    “These are virus­es that would have thrived in extreme envi­ron­ments,” said Matthew Sul­li­van, co-author of the study, pro­fes­sor of micro­bi­ol­o­gy at Ohio State and direc­tor of Ohio State’s Cen­ter of Micro­bio­me Sci­ence. “These virus­es have sig­na­tures of genes that help them infect cells in cold envi­ron­ments – just sur­re­al genet­ic sig­na­tures for how a virus is able to sur­vive in extreme con­di­tions. These are not easy sig­na­tures to pull out, and the method that Zhi-Ping devel­oped to decon­t­a­m­i­nate the cores and to study microbes and virus­es in ice could help us search for these genet­ic sequences in oth­er extreme icy envi­ron­ments – Mars, for exam­ple, the moon, or clos­er to home in Earth’s Ata­ca­ma Desert.”

    Virus­es do not share a com­mon, uni­ver­sal gene, so nam­ing a new virus – and attempt­ing to fig­ure out where it fits into the land­scape of known virus­es – involves mul­ti­ple steps. To com­pare uniden­ti­fied virus­es with known virus­es, sci­en­tists com­pare gene sets. Gene sets from known virus­es are cat­a­loged in sci­en­tif­ic data­bas­es.

    Those data­base com­par­isons showed that four of the virus­es in the Guliya ice cap cores had pre­vi­ous­ly been iden­ti­fied and were from virus fam­i­lies that typ­i­cal­ly infect bac­te­ria. The researchers found the virus­es in con­cen­tra­tions much low­er than have been found to exist in oceans or soil.

    The researchers’ analy­sis showed that the virus­es like­ly orig­i­nat­ed with soil or plants, not with ani­mals or humans, based on both the envi­ron­ment and the data­bas­es of known virus­es.

    The study of virus­es in glac­i­ers is rel­a­tive­ly new: Just two pre­vi­ous stud­ies have iden­ti­fied virus­es in ancient glac­i­er ice. But it is an area of sci­ence that is becom­ing more impor­tant as the cli­mate changes, said Lon­nie Thomp­son, senior author of the study, dis­tin­guished uni­ver­si­ty pro­fes­sor of earth sci­ences at Ohio State and senior research sci­en­tist at the Byrd Cen­ter.

    “We know very lit­tle about virus­es and microbes in these extreme envi­ron­ments, and what is actu­al­ly there,” Thomp­son said. “The doc­u­men­ta­tion and under­stand­ing of that is extreme­ly impor­tant: How do bac­te­ria and virus­es respond to cli­mate change? What hap­pens when we go from an ice age to a warm peri­od like we’re in now?”

    This study was an inter­dis­ci­pli­nary effort between Ohio State’s Byrd Cen­ter and its Cen­ter for Micro­bio­me Sci­ence. The 2015 Guliya ice cores were col­lect­ed and ana­lyzed as part of a col­lab­o­ra­tive pro­gram between the Byrd Polar and Cli­mate Research Cen­ter and the Insti­tute of Tibetan Plateau Research of the Chi­nese Acad­e­my of Sci­ences, fund­ed by the U.S. Nation­al Sci­ence Foun­da­tion and the Chi­nese Acad­e­my of Sci­ences. Fund­ing also came from the Gor­don and Bet­ty Moore Foun­da­tion and the U.S. Depart­ment of Ener­gy.

    ———-

    “15,000-year-old virus­es dis­cov­ered in Tibetan glac­i­er ice” by Lau­ra Aren­schield; Ohio State News; 07/20/2021

    “When they ana­lyzed the ice, they found genet­ic codes for 33 virus­es. Four of those virus­es have already been iden­ti­fied by the sci­en­tif­ic com­mu­ni­ty. But at least 28 of them are nov­el. About half of them seemed to have sur­vived at the time they were frozen not in spite of the ice, but because of it.

    Ice virus­es! It was prob­a­bly inevitable that virus­es spe­cial­ized in infect­ing cells under freez­ing con­di­tions. And here they are, ready for the world to study. Just in time for cli­mate change:

    ...
    “These are virus­es that would have thrived in extreme envi­ron­ments,” said Matthew Sul­li­van, co-author of the study, pro­fes­sor of micro­bi­ol­o­gy at Ohio State and direc­tor of Ohio State’s Cen­ter of Micro­bio­me Sci­ence. “These virus­es have sig­na­tures of genes that help them infect cells in cold envi­ron­ments – just sur­re­al genet­ic sig­na­tures for how a virus is able to sur­vive in extreme con­di­tions. These are not easy sig­na­tures to pull out, and the method that Zhi-Ping devel­oped to decon­t­a­m­i­nate the cores and to study microbes and virus­es in ice could help us search for these genet­ic sequences in oth­er extreme icy envi­ron­ments – Mars, for exam­ple, the moon, or clos­er to home in Earth’s Ata­ca­ma Desert.”

    ...

    The study of virus­es in glac­i­ers is rel­a­tive­ly new: Just two pre­vi­ous stud­ies have iden­ti­fied virus­es in ancient glac­i­er ice. But it is an area of sci­ence that is becom­ing more impor­tant as the cli­mate changes, said Lon­nie Thomp­son, senior author of the study, dis­tin­guished uni­ver­si­ty pro­fes­sor of earth sci­ences at Ohio State and senior research sci­en­tist at the Byrd Cen­ter.
    ...

    And note the joint spon­sor­ship of this research: this was part of a col­lab­o­ra­tive pro­gram between the Byrd Polar and Cli­mate Research Cen­ter and the Insti­tute of Tibetan Plateau Research of the Chi­nese Acad­e­my of Sci­ences, fund­ed by the U.S. Nation­al Sci­ence Foun­da­tion and the Chi­nese Acad­e­my of Sci­ences:

    ...
    This study was an inter­dis­ci­pli­nary effort between Ohio State’s Byrd Cen­ter and its Cen­ter for Micro­bio­me Sci­ence. The 2015 Guliya ice cores were col­lect­ed and ana­lyzed as part of a col­lab­o­ra­tive pro­gram between the Byrd Polar and Cli­mate Research Cen­ter and the Insti­tute of Tibetan Plateau Research of the Chi­nese Acad­e­my of Sci­ences, fund­ed by the U.S. Nation­al Sci­ence Foun­da­tion and the Chi­nese Acad­e­my of Sci­ences. Fund­ing also came from the Gor­don and Bet­ty Moore Foun­da­tion and the U.S. Depart­ment of Ener­gy.
    ...

    It rais­es the inter­est­ing ques­tion of whether or not work with these virus­es was also being done at virol­o­gy labs in Chi­na. It would make sense if that was the case. So we have anoth­er sit­u­a­tion where joint US-Chi­na research is tak­ing place on nov­el viral, mean­ing there’s prob­a­bly also a lab some­where in Chi­na work­ing on these ice virus­es. Try not to act super sur­prised if SARS-CoV­‑3 ends up ‘leak­ing out of a Chi­nese lab’ pos­sess­ing a remark­able capac­i­ty to sur­vive cold envi­ron­ments.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | July 22, 2021, 3:57 pm

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