Edward Hopper Summertime 1943
A little reminder.
"Within hours, turned around; within days, immense improvement."
— Wake Up From COVID (@wakeupfromcovid) June 24, 2021
Singaporean researchers believe that they have discovered a new mechanism of action of Hydroxychloroquine in Covid-19 and very boldly conclude:
“HCQ is a promising candidate to help terminate the pandemic”.
“Most importantly, HCQ-binding residues are identical in SARS-CoV-2 variants and therefore HCQ is likely effective to them all.”
Great efforts have led to successfully developing the spike-based vaccines but challenges still exist to completely terminate the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid (N) protein plays the essential roles in almost all key steps of the viral life cycle, thus representing a top drug target. Almost all key functions of N protein including liquid-liquid phase separation (LLPS) depend on its capacity in interacting with nucleic acids. Therefore, only the variants with their N proteins functional in binding nucleic acids might survive and spread in evolution and indeed, the residues critical for binding nucleic acids are highly conserved.
Very recently, hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) was shown to prevent the transmission in a large-scale clinical study in Singapore but so far, no specific SARS-CoV-2 protein was experimentally identified to be targeted by HCQ. Here by NMR, we unambiguously decode that HCQ specifically binds NTD and CTD of SARS- CoV-2 N protein with Kd of 112.1 and 57.1 µM respectively to inhibit their interaction with nucleic acid, as well as to disrupt LLPS essential for the viral life cycle.
Most importantly, HCQ-binding residues are identical in SARS-CoV-2 variants and therefore HCQ is likely effective to them all. The results not only provide a structural basis for the anti-SARS-CoV-2 activity of HCQ, but also renders HCQ to be the first known drug capable of targeting LLPS. Furthermore, the unique structure of the HCQ-CTD complex decodes a promising strategy for further design of better anti-SARS-CoV-2 drugs from HCQ. Therefore, HCQ is a promising candidate to help terminate the pandemic.
VanDen Bossche strikes again.
Israel’s campaign to promote the coronavirus vaccine – now focusing on young teens – is going full steam ahead, in spite of statistics presented by government officials showing that half of those recently infected with Covid-19 were fully vaccinated, Behadrey Haredim reports. Head of Public Health Services, Dr. Sharon Alray-Price, revealed the disturbing facts at a media presentation on Wednesday. According to her data, of the 891 cases of coronavirus confirmed in the last month alone, half had received both doses of Pfizer’s mRNA vaccine. According to a report on Channel 12, in the months since the vaccines were rolled out, 6,765 people who received both shots have contracted coronavirus, and epidemiological tracing has revealed that an additional 3,133 people contracted Covid-19 from those vaccinated individuals.
The 6,765 represent a little more than one percent of the total number of those vaccinated, which now stands at over 5,100,000. It is clear that officials were already aware that the vaccine does not provide sufficient protection, as quarantine regulations for those returning from abroad have recently been changed, requiring even those fully vaccinated to self-isolate upon return from certain countries. In addition, military intelligence has been warning of such a scenario at least since January, when a report was published that suggested a mass vaccination campaign would lead to vaccine-resistant strains of Covid-19 emerging. Also on Wednesday, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett convened a panel of experts together with the heads of the various health service organizations in the country.
“Our aim at the present moment, first and foremost, is to protect Israeli citizens from the Delta strain that is running amok around the world,” Bennett said at the meeting. “As we do so, we will endeavor to limit the impact this has on daily life in Israel. Therefore, we have decided to take immediate action in order to avoid paying a heavier price at a later stage. It all depends on us. If we are meticulous in adhering to the guidelines and behaving responsibly, we will overcome this – together.”
This doesn’t appear to rhyme with Doc Robinson’s numbers yesterday.
Nearly all recent COVID-19 deaths in the US were of people who had not been vaccinated, a new analysis found. The examination by the Associated Press of data provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was released as about 63 percent of all eligible American adults have received at least one dose of the vaccine — and 53 percent are fully vaccinated. The AP found that only 150 of the more than 18,000 coronavirus deaths in May were of people who were fully vaccinated. In the same month, more than 853,000 people were hospitalized with COVID-19. Less than 1,200 of them, or roughly 0.1 percent, were fully vaccinated.
On Tuesday, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky spoke of the effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccine. “Nearly every death, especially among adults, due to COVID-19, is, at this point, entirely preventable,” Walensky said. AP’s findings come as COVID-19 deaths per day in the nation have dropped dramatically — from a daily high of about 3,400 in mid-January to currently under 300.
The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms represents Dr. Francis Christian, Clinical Professor of General Surgery at the University of Saskatchewan and a practising surgeon in Saskatoon. Dr. Christian was called into a meeting today, suspended from all teaching responsibilities effective immediately, and fired from his position with the University of Saskatchewan as of September 2021. There is a recording of Dr. Christian’s meeting today between Dr. Christian and Dr. Preston Smith, the Dean of Medicine at the University of Saskatchewan, College of Medicine, Dr. Susan Shaw, the Chief Medical Officer of the Saskatchewan Health Authority, and Dr. Brian Ulmer, Head of the Department of Surgery at the Saskatchewan College of Medicine.
In addition, the Justice Centre will represent Dr. Christian in his defence of a complaint that was made against him and an investigation by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Saskatchewan. The complaint objects to Dr. Christian having advocated for the informed consent of Covid vaccines for children. Dr. Christian has been a surgeon for more than 20 years and began working in Saskatoon in 2007. He was appointed Director of the Surgical Humanities Program and Director of Quality and Patient Safety in 2018 and co-founded the Surgical Humanities Program. Dr. Christian is also the Editor of the Journal of The Surgical Humanities.
On June 17, Dr. Christian released a statement to over 200 doctors which contained his concerns regarding giving the Covid shots to children. In it he noted that he is pro-vaccine, and that he did not represent any group, the Saskatchewan Health Authority, or the University of Saskatchewan. “I speak to you directly as a physician, a surgeon, and a fellow human being.” Dr. Christian noted that the principle of informed consent was sacrosanct and noted that a patient should always be “fully aware of the risks of the medical intervention, the benefits of the intervention, and if any alternatives exist to the intervention.” “This should apply particularly to a new vaccine that has never before been tried in humans… before the vaccine is rolled out to children, both children and parents must know the risks of m-RNA vaccines,” he wrote.
Interviews in yesterday’s Debt Rattle.
The man who invented the mRNA technology used in some coronavirus vaccines says he was censored by YouTube for sharing his concerns on the vaccines in a podcast. “[O]ne of my concerns are that the government is not being transparent with us about what those risks are. And so, I’m of the opinion that people have the right to decide whether to accept a vaccine or not, especially since these are experimental vaccines,” said Dr. Robert Malone during a Wednesday segment on Fox News’s Tucker Carlson Tonight, saying YouTube deleted a video of him speaking about the associated risks. Opening the segment, Carlson shared some studies showing heart inflammation and death correlating with the use of the vaccines.
“A Norwegian study conducted of 100 nursing home residents who died after receiving Pfizer’s corona shots. They found that at least 10 of those deaths were likely caused by the vaccine. 10%,” Carlson said. “Young adults in the prime of their lives are being forced to take the vaccine because Tony Fauci said that,” he said, contending Malone’s expertise makes him “the single most qualified” person to share information about the technology and warrants him “a right to speak.” Malone clarified that he was not discouraging the use of the vaccine but was providing people with as much fair information as he could about their risks.
“This is a fundamental right having to do with clinical research ethics,” he said. “And so, my concern is that I know that there are risks. But we don’t have access to the data, and the data haven’t been captured rigorously enough so that we can accurately assess those risks — and therefore … we don’t really have the information that we need to make a reasonable decision.” “That’s one of my other objections, is that we toss about these words, risk-benefit analysis, casually as if it’s a very deep science. It’s not. Normally, at this stage, the CDC [Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices] would have performed those risk-benefit analyses. They would be data-based and science-based. They’re not right now,” Malone said.
Malone also said he has “a bias that the benefits probably don’t outweigh the risks” for younger people who are being encouraged or required to take the vaccine. “I can say that the risk-benefit ratio for those 18 and below doesn’t justify vaccines, and there’s a pretty good chance that it doesn’t justify vaccination in these very young adults,” he added. Malone discovered in-vitro and in-vivo RNA transfection when he was at the Salk Institute in 1988, and he subsequently invented mRNA vaccines, which are being used over 20 years later to combat the spread of the coronavirus.
ha ha ha
A US Centers for Disease Control official stated on Wednesday that, according to information available at present, there is no need for a booster shot for the coronavirus vaccine. However, certain at-risk populations will be closely monitored for the possibility of a booster, including residents of long-term care facilities, adults who are 65 and older, those who are immunocompromised and those who work in health care. The findings so far in mid-June, according to Sara Oliver of the CDC, indicate that the world’s major Covid-19 vaccines offer lasting protection that could diminish any need for frequent booster shots. However, she cautioned that more research is still needed and that virus mutations remain a concern worldwide.
No data that is currently available supports a recommendation for coronavirus booster shots, Oliver told an advisory group, the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, yesterday. Oliver assured the committee that officials will continue to monitor all incoming data to determine if a booster shot is necessary at some point as time goes on. A recommendation for booster shots would likely “only occur” after “evidence of declining protection against illness, such as declines in vaccine effectiveness” or the detection of a “variant of concern substantially impacting vaccine protection,” Oliver told the Committee.
HCQ works against all of them.
The variant, called “Delta Plus” in India, was first reported in a Public Health England bulletin on June 11. It is a sub-lineage of the Delta variant first detected in India and has acquired the spike protein mutation called K417N which is also found in the Beta variant first identified in South Africa. Some scientists worry that the mutation, coupled with other existing features of the Delta variant, could make it more transmissible. “The mutation K417N has been of interest as it is present in the Beta variant (B.1.351 lineage), which was reported to have immune evasion property,” India’s health ministry said in a statement. Shahid Jameel, a top Indian virologist, said the K417N was known to reduce the effectiveness of a cocktail of therapeutic monoclonal antibodies.
As of June 16, at least 197 cases has been found from 11 countries – Britain (36), Canada (one), India (eight), Japan (15), Nepal (three), Poland (9), Portugal (22), Russia (one), Switzerland (18), Turkey (one), the United States (83). India said on Wednesday around 40 cases of the variant have been observed in the states of Maharashtra, Kerala and Madhya Pradesh, with “no significant increase in prevalence.” The earliest case in India is from a sample taken on April 5. Britain said its first five cases were sequenced on April 26 and they were contacts of individuals who had traveled from, or transited through, Nepal and Turkey. No deaths were reported among the U.K. and Indian cases.
Almost 600m lateral flow tests given to the public in England may not yet have been used, according to a report that says the hugely expensive test-and-trace system is still bedevilled by problems. The National Audit Office said NHS Test and Trace (NSHT&T), which Boris Johnson promised would be world-beating and has a budget exceeding that of the Department for Transport, was struggling with some “fundamental parts” of its role. In a move to help track and suppress the spread of coronavirus, NHST&T distributed 691m quick-result tests to people across England with the aim of helping people to return to workplaces.
The NAO said results from only 14% of them had been registered, meaning almost 600m had gone unaccounted for. “NHST&T does not know whether the tests that have not been registered have been used or not,” the report says. “It has started a programme of research to understand why the registration of test results is so low and is working to increase public awareness of the need to register results and improve its ability to track tests.” The startling finding will increase scrutiny of the test-and-trace system, which was hailed by the prime minister as a vital part of the government’s plan to beat coronavirus, and of its former head Dido Harding, who is seeking to become the next head of the NHS.
When will the wax melt that holds up the global economy? Hubris is driving humans and markets ever higher and closer to the sun. The higher everything goes, the greater the risk that the wax melts and the wings that are supporting the global economy just fall off and everything crashes to the ground. Investing successfully is primarily about managing risk rather than maximising profits. As we reach the end of the biggest bull market in history, investors feel so secure that risk has become an irrelevance. The Hocus Pocus system of finance has offered total downside protection for investors for 1/2 a century. The last big crash that affected a whole generation was the 1929 crash. After a 90% fall in the Dow, it took 1/4 of a century to recover to the 1929 high.
But since Nixon caused the Hocus Pocus system to thrive from 1971, all major crashes have quickly retraced to new highs. The Dow has fallen 40-60% in 1973, 1987, 2000, 2008 and 2020. But instead of taking 25 years to recover like after the 1929 crash, no retracement since 1971 has taken more than 2 years. This is the beauty of Hocus Pocus finance. Through printing and credit expansion you create unlimited access to liquidity for the big investors. Virtually no funds reach ordinary people who need it but instead the Hocus Focus system rewards the Croesus investors which means the haves get more and the have nots become relatively much poorer.
Funny that “Putin Puppet” was never called a conspiracy theory.
“Conspiracy theory” is often a flag of convenience for the media. In 2018, the New York Times asserted that Trump’s use of the term “Deep State” and similar rhetoric “fanned fears that he is eroding public trust in institutions, undermining the idea of objective truth and sowing widespread suspicions about the government and news media.” However, after allegations by anonymous government officials spurred Trump’s first impeachment in 2019, New York Times columnist James Stewart cheered, “There is a Deep State, there is a bureaucracy in our country who has pledged to respect the Constitution, respect the rule of law… They work for the American people.” New York Times editorial writer Michelle Cottle proclaimed, “The deep state is alive and well” and hailed it as “a collection of patriotic public servants.” Almost immediately after its existence was no longer denied, the Deep State became the incarnation of virtue in Washington.
The media elite can fabricate “conspiracy theory” designations almost with the flip of a headline. A week after Election Day 2020, the New York Times ran a banner headline across the top of the front page: “Election Officials Nationwide Find No Fraud.” How did the Times know? Their reporters effectively called each state and asked, “Did y’all see any fraud?” Election officials answered “no,” thus proving that anyone who subsequently questioned Biden’s victory was promoting a groundless conspiracy. While top liberal politicians denounced electronic voting companies as unaccountable and dishonest in 2019, any doubts about such companies became “conspiracies” after that headline in the Times. The Times helped spur a media cacophony drowning out anyone complaining about ballot harvesting, illegal mass mailing of absentee ballots, or widespread failures to verify voter identification.
Actually, “conspiracy theory” accusations helped Biden win the 2020 presidential election. As Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) recently noted, if Americans believed that the COVID-19 virus was created in a Chinese government lab, Trump would have likely won the election because voters would have sought a leader who could be tough on China. But the lab origin explanation was quickly labeled a pro-Trump heresy. The Washington Post denounced Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR,) for suggesting the virus originated in the lab, which supposedly was a “conspiracy theory that was already debunked.” Twenty-seven prominent scientists signed a letter in the Lancet: “We stand together to strongly condemn conspiracy theories suggesting that COVID-19 does not have a natural origin… Conspiracy theories do nothing but create fear, rumours, and prejudice that jeopardise our global collaboration in the fight against this virus.”
The Lancet did not reveal until last week that one of the signers and the person who organized the letter signing campaign ran an organization that received U.S. government subsidies for its work at the Wuhan Institute of Virology lab. President Biden has ordered U.S. intelligence agencies to take another look to seek to determine the origin of COVID-19. Will “conspiracy theory” charges provide a “get out of jail free” card for the FBI and other federal agencies regarding the January 6 clash at the Capitol? After Fox News’s Tucker Carlson featured allegations that FBI informants or agents may have instigated the ruckus, the Washington Post speedily denounced his “wild, baseless theory” while Huffington Post denounced his “laughable conspiracy theory.”
And the EU said no.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Thursday called on the EU to establish high-level talks with Vladimir Putin, seeking to buttress a Franco-German proposal for a summit with the Russian president that opened up serious divisions within the EU. “In my opinion, we as the European Union must also seek direct contact with Russia and the Russian president,” Merkel told the German Bundestag in a government statement ahead of an EU leaders’ meeting in Brussels on Thursday afternoon, where relations with Russia will be discussed. “It is not enough for U.S. President Joe Biden to talk to the Russian president — I very much welcome that — but the European Union must also create formats for talks here,” she added, referencing Biden’s recent one-on-one meeting with Putin in Geneva. “There is no other way to resolve conflicts.”
The chancellor’s comments were an apparent defense of a Franco-German overture to Putin that was unveiled to EU partners on Wednesday. The divisive proposal suggested EU leaders should endorse both the threat of new economic sanctions against Moscow while also signaling openness to a summit with Putin himself. The offer was immediately met with opposition from some EU countries, especially the three Baltic countries and Poland. The latest draft conclusions for the European Council meeting in Brussels indicate the Franco-German offer is at least being considered, saying EU leaders “will review the existing formats of dialogue with Russia, including at Leaders’ level.” But the phrasing is in brackets, meaning it has not been agreed to and could easily be dropped.
The conclusions also mention the possibility of further economic sanctions against Russia, while also noting the EU’s “openness to a selective engagement with Russia in areas of EU interest” on areas like climate, energy, health, terrorism and some foreign policy areas.
British officials acknowledged they were taken by surprise by the speed of the Russian reaction to HMS Defender’s 36-minute passage through Crimean waters on Wednesday as the British ambassador to Moscow was summoned to the Kremlin. Although a Russian response to the Royal Navy warship’s passage within the 12-mile territorial limit was anticipated, the UK Ministry of Defence did not expect the Kremlin to speedily declare that warning shots had been fired. That dramatically escalated the situation on Wednesday lunchtime, forcing the MoD in London to scramble to establish what had happened, before concluding that the Russians had fired cannon at a safe distance behind the British warship.
“We knew that something might happen, but we didn’t quite expect the Russians to say that,” a defence source said. What had been expected to be a tense, if routine, mission to assert navigation rights in the Black Sea, had escalated into a military and diplomatic incident. The Russian military also claimed that a jet had dropped four bombs in the path of the British destroyer to force it to change course, but that was rapidly debunked, because there was no evidence to support it. Speaking on Thursday, Boris Johnson, the UK prime minister, said the deployment of the HMS Defender was “wholly appropriate” – although Downing St would not confirm whether he personally authorised the mission.
The prime minister added: “The important point is that we don’t recognise the Russian annexation of Crimea. This is part of a sovereign Ukrainian territory, it was entirely right that we should vindicate the law and pursue freedom of navigation in the way that we did, take the shortest route between two points, and that’s what we did.” Russia said it would summon the British ambassador to the foreign ministry in a political escalation after the unexpected diplomatic and military clash in the Black Sea on Wednesday.
Makes you wonder who did the predicting.
Environmentalists’ bright promises of utilising solar energy to power the world are darkening quickly as it becomes clear how much dangerous trash is generated, with tonnes of old panels being discarded in landfill sites. The basic pitch for ‘net zero’ policies to combat climate change is this: a warming world will be devastating, but we can cut emissions down to next-to-nothing by using renewable energy technologies like wind and solar, which will keep on getting cheaper and cheaper. But the idea that we can have it all – energy that is plentiful, zero-carbon, and cheap – is a mirage, at least when it comes to renewables.
There are some obvious, long-standing problems with renewables: what happens when the sun doesn’t shine or the wind doesn’t blow? Some argue in favour of nuclear energy, others for using biomass (which basically means burning wood pellets and planting new trees to soak up the CO2 eventually), while some hope that energy storage using batteries will save the day. Whatever the solution, the problem of low-carbon electricity is going to keep getting bigger as we demand the phasing out of fossil fuels – including a shift to electric cars and banning gas boilers.
Still, renewables do, on the face of it, look like they might be getting cheaper. Solar panels are slowly getting more efficient. More importantly, the price for each panel has plummeted – perhaps by 70 percent. But the total cost of sticking solar panels onto a network has to take into account paying for backup for when those panels aren’t producing power. Yet that backup is very often treated as if it is a separate cost, rather than a necessary consequence of using an intermittent power source. In reality, renewables are a lot more expensive than proponents like to admit. But a new article in the Harvard Business Review points to another cost that is frequently downplayed: waste.
Solar panels are supposed to last for 30 years, and calculations about how much waste will be produced are based on that assumption. The trouble is that as the panels have got cheaper, and a bit more efficient, the economics have changed. Replacing them sooner could make a lot of sense, financially. As the authors of the article point out, that could lead to a tsunami of solar panel waste: “If early replacements occur as predicted by our statistical model, they can produce 50 times more waste in just four years than IRENA [International Renewable Energy Agency] anticipates. That figure translates to around 315,000 metric tonnes of waste, based on an estimate of 90 tonnes per MW weight-to-power ratio.”
And that estimate is just for domestic solar panel users. Throw in commercial users, too, and the mountain of waste will be enormous. Ah, supporters of solar will say, the panels can simply be recycled. But there isn’t much of value to be stripped from old solar panels. They are mostly made of glass, and they’re a pain to remove and transport safely. Recycling could cost $20-$30 per panel. Landfill, by contrast, would cost $1-$2 per panel. So if we’re going to recycle the panels, we need to work out who is going to pay the difference.
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Why power corrupts. pic.twitter.com/cwbKHcaQsd
— John McAfee (@officialmcafee) June 17, 2020
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