From Development to Approval
At the end of November, it was revealed that the Oxford Vaccine Group had conducted the clinical trial showing its vaccine for COVID-19 had an efficacy of 90 per cent exclusively on volunteers aged 55 and below, thereby excluding precisely the demographic most at risk from the disease. Shares in its business partner, the British-Swedish multinational pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca, dropped 6 per cent in one week, and the race to be the first to release a vaccine on the world was back on. This has since been won by the US multinational Pfizer, by revenue the second largest pharmaceutical company in the world. Like GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson, Moderna, Roche, Sanofi and the other 23 companies working on coronavirus treatments and vaccines, Pfizer had begun tests back in May, in their case on a vaccine being developed by the German biotechnology company, BioNTech. In July, Pfizer’s CEO, Dr. Albert Bourla, stated that companies in the private sector producing a vaccine for COVID-19 should make a profit, and dismissed suggestions they shouldn’t as ‘fanatic’ and ‘radical’. That same month, trials on the BioNTech vaccine were fast-tracked by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and Pfizer agreed a $1.95 billion deal with the US Government to produce 100 million doses. The US deal priced the two-dose course at $39, and Pfizer stated that it would not lower the rates for other developed countries until coronavirus is no longer deemed to be a ‘pandemic’ by the World Health Organisation. In September, Pfizer announced it had agreed to supply an initial 200 million vaccine doses to the European Union, and expects to produce approximately 1.3 billion doses worldwide by the end of 2021. In October, Pfizer started testing the BioNTech vaccine on children as young as 12. In November, Pfizer claimed their vaccine was ‘95 per cent effective’, and applied to the FDA for its Emergency Use Authorisation, which requires less data than standard approvals and is issued based on a lower standard of proof.
95 per cent efficacy, however, does not mean that 95 out of every 100 people vaccinated will be protected from COVID-19. Pfizer conducted their clinical trial on nearly 38,000 people, took those who showed symptoms of COVID-19 within a week after the second dose, and tested them for SARS-CoV-2 to confirm the diagnosis. Out of these, 172 testing positive had received a placebo shot, while just 9 had received the BioNTech vaccine. Although the percentage of volunteers who fell sick was tiny in both the vaccinated and placebo groups (0.04% and o.83% respectively), the relative difference between them was calculated as the vaccine’s ‘efficacy’. If there was no difference between them its efficacy would be zero; if none of the people falling sick had been vaccinated, the efficacy would be 100 per cent. In contrast, the actual effectiveness of the vaccine in real-world circumstances is very different from its efficacy rating calculated from such clinical trials. As the AstraZeneca trial of people exclusively under the age of 55 revealed, volunteers are likely to constitute a very different demographic from the people who, because of age or infirmity, are likely to need the vaccine. In the Pfizer trial, 42 per cent were over 55, and 20 per cent had at least one co-morbidity. In contrast, among the 41,600 deaths in hospitals in England attributed to COVID-19, 92 per cent were over 59 and over 95 per cent had co-morbidities. Not only that, but after the first dose was administered, the difference between those given the vaccine and those given a placebo was far lower, with 50 ‘cases’ of COVID-19 in the former and 275 in the latter, which reduced the efficacy of the vaccine to 82 per cent. Between the first and second dose the difference was even smaller again, 39 to 82, resulting in a vaccine efficacy of just 52 per cent. Moreover, given that up to 80 per cent of infections with SARS-CoV-2 are asymptomatic, there were undoubtedly far more people in Pfizer’s clinical trial who became infected with SARS-CoV-2 after taking the vaccine but who showed no symptoms. Above all — and quite incredibly given all the evidence against its accuracy and fitness for such a purpose — the entire clinical trial was conduced using the RT-PCR (reverse transmission-polymerase chain reaction) test. The most decisive and as yet unanswered criticism, the Corman-Drosten Peer Review Report, published on 27 November by an international consortium of scientists in life-sciences, identified the protocol-recommendations on RT-PCR tests as having ‘10 major scientific flaws at the molecular and methodological level’ for detecting, identifying or diagnosing infection with SARS-CoV-2. None of this is reflected in Pfizer’s claim, which has been uncritically reported by the media around the world, of a ‘95 per cent efficacy’ for the BioNTech vaccine.
Undeterred by any of this, on 2 December the UK Government jumped the gun and approved the COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use, the first country in the world to do so, even though studies of its unknown long-term effects are ongoing after just 7 months of clinical trials. Importantly, neither the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine nor those being developed by AstraZeneca and Moderna have been shown either to prevent infection or to reduce the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in the population. So the Government making it a condition of lifting restrictions in the UK has, like so many of its other statements, no basis in science, and is likely to be renounced as soon as enough people have taken the vaccine to make it a condition of access to public life. Moreover, both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines use new and experimental mRNA (messenger ribonucleic acid) technology, which encodes the viral protein spikes with synthetic genetic material, and has never been licensed for use on humans before. The instability of the Pfizer vaccine also means it must be stored at minus 70 degrees celsius, which will present a considerable challenge to the unlicensed wholesale distributors newly authorised by The Human Medicines (Coronavirus and Influenza) (Amendment) Regulations 2020 to transport it. And yet, despite all these concerns and unknowns, on 8 December the unlicensed Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was released in the UK, where, following amendments in the same Regulations, it can be administered by unregistered healthcare professionals, and promoted, advertised and the public informed about its use and safety by the company manufacturing it.
The result of this decision was immediate. On Monday, 9 November, the day Pfizer announced the vaccine’s 95 per cent efficacy, the company’s stock price had risen by 15 per cent, from $36.40 per share the previous Friday to $41.94 per share, and Pfizer’s CEO promptly sold 132,508 shares for around $5.6 million. Just by making this dubious announcement, therefore, Dr. Bourla made himself $734,000. He still retains 81,812 shares, however, and is well-advised by his stockbroker to do so. From a share price of $27.48 on 23 March, the day the first lockdown was imposed in the UK, shares in Pfizer closed at $42.56 on the day it was rolled out in the UK.
In an interview with CNBC News back in September, Pfizer’s CEO said that anyone refusing to take the vaccine will become ‘the weak link that will allow the virus to replicate’, and assured the public that ‘we will develop our product, develop our vaccine using the highest ethical standards’. It’s a dangerous claim to make, even for a CEO and investor making millions out of this vaccine, since Pfizer has a long history of paying out vast sums in out-of-court settlements to avoid not only claims in civil cases but prosecution on criminal charges resulting from the fraudulent promotion, unapproved prescription and injury, including death, from use of their products, as well as offering millions in payments and bribes to doctors and scientists to prescribe, test, approve and recommend them to the public. So let’s have a look at what Albert Bourla means by Pfizer’s ‘ethical standards’.
- In 1992, Pfizer agreed to pay between $165 million and $215 million to settle lawsuits arising from the fracturing of the Bjork-Shiley Convexo-Concave heart valve, which by 2012 has resulted in 663 deaths.
- In 1996, Pfizer conducted an unapproved clinical trial on 200 Nigerian children with its experimental anti-meningitis drug, Trovafloxacin, without the consent of their parents and which led to the death of 11 children from kidney failure and left dozens more disabled. In 2011, Pfizer paid just $700,000 to four families who had lost a child, and set up a $35 million fund for the disabled. This cover-up was the basis to the John Le Carré book and film, The Constant Gardener.
- In 2004, Pfizer’s subsidiary, Warner-Lambert, was fined $430 million to resolve criminal charges and civil liabilities for the fraudulent promotion of its epilepsy drug, Neurontin, paying and bribing doctors to prescribe it for uses not approved by the Food and Drug Administration.
- In 2009, Pfizer spent $25.8 million lobbying Congressional lawmakers and federal agencies like the Department of Health and Human Services. But its expenditure on federal lobbying between 2006 and 2014 came to $89.89 million. Last year it spent $11 million lobbying the federal government.
- In 2009, Pfizer set a record for the largest health care fraud settlement and the largest criminal fine of any kind, paying $2.3 billion to avoid criminal and civil liability for fraudulently marketing its anti-inflammatory drug, Bextra, which had been refused approval by the FDA due to safety concerns.
- In 2009, Pfizer paid $750 million to settle 35,000 claims that its diabetes drug, Rezulin, was responsible for 63 deaths and dozens of liver failures. In 1999, a senior epidemiologist at the Food and Drug Administration warned that Rezulin was ‘one of the most dangerous drugs on the market’.
- In 2010, Pfizer was ordered to pay $142.1 million in damages for violating a federal anti-racketeering law by its fraudulent sale and marketing of Neurontin for uses not approved by the FDA, including for migraines and bi-polar disorder.
- In 2010, Pfizer admitted that, in the last 6 months of 2009 alone, it had paid $20 million to 4,500 doctors in the US for consulting and speaking on its behalf, and $15.3 million to 250 academic medical centres for clinical trials.
- In 2012, Pfizer paid $45 million to settle charges of bribing doctors and other health-care professionals employed by foreign governments in order to win business. The Chief of the Securities and Exchange Commission Enforcement Division’s Foreign Corrupt Practices Act Unit said: ‘Pfizer subsidiaries in several countries had bribery so entwined in their sales culture that they offered points and bonus programs to improperly reward foreign officials who proved to be their best customers’.
- By 2012, Pfizer had paid $1.226 billion to settle claims by nearly 10,000 women that its hormone replacement therapy drug, Prempro, caused breast cancer.
- In 2013, Pfizer agreed to pay $55 million to settle criminal charges of failing to warn patients and doctors about the risks of kidney disease, kidney injury, kidney failure and acute interstitial nephritis caused by its proton pump inhibitor, Protonix.
- In 2013, Pfizer set aside $288 million to settle claims by 2,700 people that its smoking cessation drug, Chantix, caused suicidal thoughts and severe psychological disorders. The Food and Drug Administration subsequently determined that Chantix is probably associated with a higher risk of heart attack.
- In 2013, Pfizer absolved itself of claims that its antidepressant, Effexor, caused congenital heart defects in the children of pregnant woman by arguing that the prescribing obstetrician was responsible for advising the patient about the medication’s use.
- In 2014, Pfizer paid a further $325 million to settle a lawsuit brought by health-care benefit providers who claimed the company marketed its epilepsy drug, Neurontin, for purposes unapproved by the FDA.
- In 2014, Pfizer paid $35 million to settle a law suit accusing its subsidiary of promoting the kidney transplant drug, Rapamune, for unapproved uses, including bribing doctors to prescribe it to patients.
- In 2016, Pfizer was fined a record £84.2 million for overcharging the NHS for its rebranded and deregulated anti-epilepsy drug, Phenytoin, by 2,600 per cent (from £2.83 to £67.50 a capsule), increasing the cost to UK taxpayers from £2 million in 2012 to about £50 million in 2013.
- In May 2018, Pfizer still had 6,000 lawsuits pending against claims that its testosterone replacement therapy products cause strokes, heart attacks, pulmonary embolism and deep vein thrombosis, and were fraudulently marketed at healthy men for uses not approved by the FDA.
Given this record of ongoing corruption and malpractice from which only its enormous profits have saved it from criminal prosecution, it seems extraordinary that Pfizer is still permitted to manufacture and sell any health care products. Yet this is the pharmaceutical company we’re being asked by the UK Government to trust with the mass vaccination of 68 million people with a product that has been rushed through clinical trials in 7 months, using an experimental technology that has never before been approved and whose side effects are still unknown, for a disease with the fatality rate of seasonal influenza, which statistically is a threat only to those over 70 years old with serious pre-existing medical conditions, and for which there is no evidence that it prevents infection by a virus for which only 1 per cent of the population is currently testing positive with a testing programme that has an average false positive rate of 2.3 per cent, and from which anything from 50-60 per cent of us already had or have since developed immunity.
Of equal concern, perhaps, is who and what is promoting — if not yet advocating mandating — the taking of vaccines for COVID-19 by the entire UK population. To take just one example of the vast campaign of propaganda in the lead up to the release of this vaccine — which has been conducted not only by the Governments of the UK, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, the Department of Health and Social Care, Public Health England, Scotland and Wales, the National Health Service, the Medicine and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, the Prime Minister, the Health Secretary, the First Minister of Scotland, and the Chief and Deputy Chief Medical Officers, but also by every privately-owned newspaper and media outlet in the UK — last week the Telegraph published an article titled ‘Is the COVID vaccine safe and will it work? Three experts answer your questions’. These three experts were:
- Trudie Lang, Professor of Global Health Research at the University of Oxford, who works in malaria vaccine development and sat on the Ebola vaccine safety board;
- Heidi Larson, Professor of Anthropology, Risk and Decision Science at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and Director of the Vaccine Confidence Project;
- Dr. Michael Fitzpatrick, GP and author of MMR and Autism: What Parents Need to Know.
As I related in my article Bread and Circuses: Who’s Behind the Oxford Vaccine for COVID-19?, over the past decade the University of Oxford has received $208 million in grants from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, including $11.64 million for vaccine development over the past 3 years. But more specifically, Professor Lang’s Global Health Research programme has received $7.68 million in 2020 alone from the BMGF. Again, the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine has received $190 million in grants from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation over the past decade, $5.8 million of it this year, of which $1.5 million has been for vaccine development. But in addition, Heidi Larson’s Vaccine Confidence Project, which was given a platform on the BBC’s Newsnight programme without a declaration of its conflicts of interest, has received funding from vaccine manufacturers GlaxoSmithKline and Merck, as well as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Wellcome Trust, 3ie, Innovative Medicines Initiative and others.
Financial influence, of course, even from the BMGF — which a decade ago invested $10 billion in vaccines and this June invested a further $1.6 billion in Gavi, the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation — isn’t in itself proof of influence over the opinions and judgements of those being funded. But in the Telegraph interview with these three ‘experts’ there are numerous examples of statements or silences that display such influence. Professor Lang, for instance, when asked about the fact that Pfizer still hasn’t published the data from its trials, responded that ‘when you submit to a regulatory body — the MHRA, the FDA or EMA — you have to send absolutely everything, the good, the bad, the whole lot’. As I reported in Bread and Circuses, the 2013 investigation by the Public Accounts Committee into the funding, withholding and selective vetting of the data for the anti-influenza drug, Tamiflu, by its manufacturer, the Swiss pharmaceutical company Roche, regulatory bodies, including the European Medicines Agency (EMA), the WHO and the CDC, all approved, recommended and encouraged the drug’s use without having first vetted the underlying data. To say otherwise is, at best, naivety or ignorance unforgivable in a designated ‘expert’ given such a platform; at worst, even more unforgivable and deliberate lying to the public. Throughout this year, doctors and scientists have been exposed for making decisions about what they think the public should know in order to ensure compliance with what they or the Government have decided in advance is the best course of action. This sounds very much like another instance of such practices; but it is not for scientists funded by global investors and manufacturers of vaccines to decide for us what information we should have before deciding what we allow in our body. Perhaps most revealingly, neither these experts nor the interviewer raises the burning question of why we need such a vaccine and to what ends.
Finally, in an article published last month in the Daily Mail, Dr. Michael Fitzpatrick had contemptuously dismissed concerns and reservations about a vaccine produced so quickly by a pharmaceutical company with Pfizer’s record of corruption, bribery and malpractice as the ‘wild conspiracy theories and political propaganda’ of ‘anti-vaxxers’. This demonstrates very clearly that he is on the side of fear and not science, which progresses by questions, not threats, smears and crude attempts to silence those who question. Since he’s written a book about it, it’s not surprising Dr. Fitzpatrick took this chance to plug a product; but he raises the case of Dr. Andrew Wakefield, who in 1998 suggested a possible link between the vaccine for measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) and neuropsychiatric dysfunction such as autism. For this he was struck off the medical register and denounced as a conspiracy theorist. The Labour MP, Hilary Benn, had also referred to this example during the House of Commons debate on the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (All Tiers) (England) Regulations 2020, and it brought forth many a knowing smile and titter. But Dr. Fitzpatrick says nothing, either in the Daily Mail or the Telegraph, about the far more numerous instances of vaccines and other medicines that have been conclusively shown to have caused injuries, disabilities and death, not least by the pharmaceutical companies competing to develop the vaccine for COVID-19, some of which I’ve listed in this article. In this respect, the Wakefield case is a prime example of how the accusation of ‘conspiracy theorist’ is being used to silence valid concerns about the vaccination programme which no scientist, let alone doctor, should be dismissing with the contempt and violence Dr. Fitzpatrick displays in this article. Unfortunately, he is not alone in employing such tactics, which have become more and more common and aggressive as the weight of evidence mounts up against the actual threat coronavirus presents to public health.
Even if all the data from the trials of all the COVID-19 vaccines was studied by individuals and institutions without the financial ties the existing ones have to the manufacturers, distributors and investors in the products they are responsible for approving before released onto the public; even if it could be proven that there was a need for such a programme of mass vaccination for a virus that the data suggests is no longer present in the UK population in significant numbers and which presents no threat of overwhelming the capacity of the NHS to treat those few endangered by its development into COVID-19; even if the RT-PCR testing programme currently using amplification cycle thresholds far higher (typically 40, according to Public Health England guidance, up to 40 to be ‘confirmed’ as a positive by the National Health Service, and up to 45 in the World Health Organisation protocols) than that at which the test can detect infectious virus (not exceeding 30 cycles in order to be reliable, with 35 cycles and above, at which dead and non-infectious virus is detected, producing 97 per cent false positives) was replaced with one that proved the purported presence, spread and dangers of the virus on which the claim for the need for a vaccine for COVID-19 is based; even if the vaccine had not been developed in an unfeasibly short time (with the record for a vaccine four years for mumps, while after four decades a vaccine for AIDS, which has killed 32.7 million worldwide, still hasn’t been developed) and studies of its long-term side-effects are, by definition, ongoing and cannot be known (within a week of the second dose, 16 per cent of participants between 16 and 55 years-old reported a fever of between 38 and 40 degrees, 35 per cent had chills, 37 per cent had muscle pain, 52 per cent had headaches, 59 per cent were fatigued, and 38 per cent had to take medication for pain or fever); even if pharmaceutical companies and health professionals were not indemnified against, but held liable for, civil claims and criminal prosecution resulting from the negative consequences of taking a vaccine they have developed, tested, manufactured, authorised, advertised, distributed and administered; even if administering this vaccine to 68 million people in the UK regardless of the threat to their individual health wasn’t an irreversible incursion of the creeping US culture of drug dependency encouraged by immensely wealthy and predatory multinational pharmaceutical companies spending billions on lobbying the UK Government; even if the vaccination was not being rolled out as part of the increasingly mandatory programmes and technologies of surveillance and control that have been implemented throughout this year on the basis of combatting this virus, and which is transforming the UK into a totalitarian state ruled by Government decree and police enforcement; even if the vaccine was made available on a voluntary basis for the vulnerable, just like any seasonal flu jab, and not weaponised by the Government as part of its threat to maintain restrictions on our human rights and civil liberties until we take it in sufficient numbers, or to make taking it a condition of our access to public life, including work and travel, or even to enforce the vaccine on the UK population through new legislation; even if all these conditions were met — none of which are even vaguely likely in the current atmosphere of fear, all of which should be an unnegotiable requirement for any reasonable person before taking this vaccine — there would still be the question of why every Government Minister, every scientist working for Government agencies, every newspaper, every news programme, every social media platform, has for 10 months conducted a campaign of propaganda, fear, terror, slander, misinformation, lies and censorship of anyone and anything that tries to question or contradict the official line about this crisis.
If coronavirus presented anything like a threat to public health that might possibly justify the temporary restrictions that have instead been legislated into our lives permanently under its cloak, there would be no need for the vast web of deception, fabrication and manipulation that has been woven around everything to do with this crisis. Although not in itself proof — of which there is an overwhelming and irrefutable preponderance, some of which is collected in the articles below — this is, perhaps, the strongest indication that we are being lied to at a level and to an extent that, unlike the coronavirus, truly can be described as ‘unprecedented’.
As a much-needed corrective to this programme of propaganda and censorship, I want to end with these reasonable doubts about gene-based vaccines such as Pfizer’s, as expressed by Dr. Sucharit Bhakdi, Professor Emeritus of Medical Microbiology and one of the most cited research scientists in German history who served for 22 years as Chairman of the Institute of Medical Microbiology and Hygiene at the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, in the book he co-authored with Dr. Karina Reiss, Corona: False Alarm?
‘A great potential danger of DNA-based vaccines is the integration of plasmid DNA into the cell genome. Insertional mutagenesis occurs rarely, but can become a realistic danger when the number of events is very large, i.e. as in mass vaccination of the population. If insertion occurs in cells of the reproductive system, the altered genetic information will be transmitted from mother to child. Other dangers of DNA vaccines are production of anti-DNA antibodies and auto-immune reactions.
‘Safety concerns linked to mRNA vaccines include systemic inflammation and potential toxic effects. A further immense danger looms that applies equally to mRNA-based coronavirus vaccines. At some time during or after production of the viral spike, waste products of the protein must be expected to become exposed on the surface of targeted cells. The majority of healthy individuals have killer lymphocytes that recognise these viral products. It is inevitable that auto-immune attacks will be mounted against the cells. Where, when, and with what effects this might occur is entirely unknown. But the prospects are simply terrifying.
‘Yet, hundreds of volunteers who were never informed of these unavoidable risks have already received injections of DNA and mRNA vaccines encoding the spike protein of the virus, and many more are soon to follow. No gene-based vaccine has even received approval for human use, and the present coronavirus vaccines have not undergone pre-clinical testing as normally required by international regulations. Laws and safety regulations have been bypassed in a manner that would, under normal circumstances, never be possible.’
Addendum 1: RT-PCR Test Protocols
On 17 January, a week before it was published by Eurosurveillance, the World Health Organisation, as part of its recommended protocols for RT-PCR tests, published the Corman-Drosten paper, ‘Detection of 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) by real-time RT-PCR’, which recommended 45 cycles of thermal amplification of samples, far higher than the number of cycles at which infectious virus can be reliably detected. But the Corman-Drosten paper isn’t the only one to recommend such exaggerated and unreliable cycle thresholds (Ct). On 11 January, the WHO had published the paper by the Institut Pasteur in Paris, ‘Protocol: Real-time RT-PCR assays for the detection of SARS-CoV-2’, which recommended an extraordinary 50 amplification cycles. Also on 23 January, the Department of Medical Sciences of the Ministry of Public Health in Thailand, in its protocol document, ‘Diagnostic detection of Novel coronavirus 2019 by Real time RT- PCR’, recommended 45 cycles. Then on 15 March, the WHO published the US Centers for Disease Control and Infection (CDC) protocol, ‘CDC 2019-Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) Real-Time RT-PCR Diagnostic Panel’, which instructed anything up to 40 Ct to be recorded as a positive result. The WHO also published a paper by the LKS Faculty of Medicine, School of Public Health in Hong Kong, ‘Detection of 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in suspected human cases by RT-PCR’, which also recommended a Ct of 40. As did the National Institute of Infectious Diseases in Japan, in an erratum to their report on ‘Detection of second case of 2019-nCoV infection in Japan’. In fact, none of the protocols adopted, published and recommended by the WHO recommend a cycle threshold lower than 40.
Why do these protocols matter? As early as 22 May, an article by the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA), ‘Predicting infectious Severe Acute Respiratory Disease Syndrome Coronavirus 2 from Diagnostic Samples’, reported that infectious virus was only detected with PRT-CR positive tests with less than 24 cycles of amplification. This was corroborated on 4 August, when scientists from the Centre for Evidence-based Medicine at Oxford University, in a paper titled ‘Viral cultures for COVID-19 infectivity assessment. Systematic review’, reported that, with RT-PCR tests using more than 30 cycles of thermal amplification, the virus detected was dead and therefore non-infectious. More recently, on 28 September, another paper published by the IDSA, ‘Correlation Between 3790 Quantitative Polymerase Chain Reaction–Positives Samples and Positive Cell Cultures, Including 1941 Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 Isolates’, reporting on the results of 250,566 RT-PCR tests for SARS-CoV-2 on 179,151 individuals, concluded that, at a cycle threshold (Ct) of 25, up to 70 per cent of positive results are real positives — that is, samples from which they are able to cultivate a virus; at a Ct of 30 this drops to 20 per cent; and at a Ct of 35 just 3 per cent of positive tests are real positives. And most recently, on 27 November, an International Consortium of Scientists of Life Scientists (ICSLS), in ‘External peer review of the RTPCR test to detect SARS-CoV-2 reveals 10 major scientific flaws at the molecular and methodological level: consequences for false positive results’, stated that for a positive RT-PCR test from 35 cycles or more of amplification, ‘the probability that said person is actually infected is less than 3 per cent’, and ‘the probability that said result is a false positive is 97 per cent.’ This review finds far more at fault in the Corman-Drosten protocol — including its failure to distinguish between fragments of dead virus and intact, infectious virus; between SARS-CoV-2 and other coronaviruses; and many other flaws making the RT-PCR test unsuitable as a diagnostic tool either for identifying SARS-CoV-2 or for making inferences about the presence of infection — but I won’t try to summarise these here.
There is also the question of conflicts of interest, which is endemic in the UK Government’s response to the coronavirus crisis. Dr. Christian Drosten, one of the authors of the Corman-Drosten paper, is also an editor of Eurosurveillance, the journal that published it within a single day of its submission. He is also the Chief Scientific Advisor to Angela Merkel’s German Government — the equivalent of Patrick Vallance in the UK. His co-author, Olfert Landt, is the CEO of TIB-Molbiol, the Berlin bio-tech company that, as early as February, was producing Real-Time RT-PCR tests based on the protocol in the Corman-Drosten manuscript, and which were subsequently distributed by Roche in their hundreds of millions. Another co-author, Chantal Ruesken, is also an editor of Eurosurveillance; and another, Marco Kaiser, is a scientific advisor to TIB-Molbiol. None of these conflicts of interest were declared in the publication of the Corman-Drosten report, either by Eurosurveillance or by the World Health Organisation, and no peer review of the paper has been forthcoming two months after it was requested by Dr. Pieter Borger, one of the authors of the ICSLS review, who in an open letter have called on Eurosurveillance to withdraw the paper.
Despite these questions over the use of RT-PCR tests to establish either rates of infection with SARS-CoV-2 or deaths from COVID-19, on 16 March, following the WHO’s lead, the National Health Service, in its ‘Guidance and standard operating procedure: COVID-19 virus testing in NHS laboratories’, recommended a cycle amplification threshold of 45, with anything below 40 to be regarded as a ‘confirmed’ positive. ‘Following’, however, is not the right word for the UK’s role in setting these deliberately misleading protocols that can only lead to huge numbers of false positives. Another of the co-authors of the Corman-Drosten paper was Maria Zambon, Professor of Virology at Imperial College London, the institution responsible for the equally exaggerated estimates of deaths from COVID-19, Director of Reference Microbiology at Public Health England, and also one of the key members of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies. And as late as October, in ‘Understanding cycle threshold (Ct) in SARS-CoV-2 RT-PCR: A guide for health protection teams’, her employer, Public Health England, the executive agency of the Department of Health and Social Care, advised those administering the tests that ‘a typical RT-PCR assay will have a maximum of 40 thermal cycles’, while also conceding that such tests are ‘not able to distinguish whether infectious virus is present’.
Addendum 2: Overall Deaths
According to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics, in the week ending 4 December, 2020, there were 12,303 deaths from all causes in England and Wales, 1,345 more than in the same week last year. This is remarkable, not because it is ‘proof’ of an epidemic requiring a vaccine but because, to the contrary, it shows why the present lockdown is being justified by so-called ‘cases’ and not deaths.
First of all, in the same week this year, 2,835 deaths were attributed to COVID-19. That leaves 9,468 deaths from all other causes, which is 1,490 deaths fewer than the same week last year. In every other respect, therefore, we’re experiencing the lowest mortality rate in years. The average number of deaths in this week over the last 5 years — that is, before COVID-19 — is 10,695. So this year the deaths from all causes in this week are 1,227 less than the average.
This is remarkable because, according to the Office for National Statistics on deaths in private homes, between 14 March and 11 September this year in England, there was a 25.9 per cent increase over the five year average in deaths from heart disease; a 85.5 per cent increase in deaths from diabetes; and a 79 per cent increase in deaths from dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. There was a 29 per cent increase in deaths from lung cancer among men and a 40 per cent increase among women. Deaths from bowel cancer among men increased 46 per cent, and deaths from prostate cancer increased 53 per cent; while among women, deaths from breast cancer increased 47 per cent. These huge increases, resulting in 24,387 excess deaths above the 5-year average in private homes in England, were slightly offset by a 22.4 per cent reduction in the number of people dying in hospital; but not enough to account for these 4,000 excess deaths per month for 6 months caused by the withdrawal and reduction of medical care for life-threatening diseases under coronavirus-justified restrictions.
This raises the question, where have all these excess deaths from heart disease, dementia, cancer, diabetes and the other main causes of death in England and Wales gone? Why is it that, besides the deaths attributed to COVID-19, we are in such amazingly good health this year?
Just as remarkable is that, in the same week, there were just 893 deaths from respiratory diseases other than COVID-19, which is 673 fewer deaths than in the same week last year. Why has the respiratory health of the population of England and Wales improved so dramatically this year? In fact, the number of deaths from respiratory diseases other than COVID-19 has actually been falling since November of this year, which must be the first time in recorded medical history this has happened.
If we look at the ages of the 1,345 more deaths in the week ending 4 December over the same week last year, 393 were aged 85 and over, 361 were between 75-84, and 277 were between 65-74, making up 77 per cent of the total excess deaths. Given the statistics on the increase in deaths from cancer, heart disease, diabetes and dementia this year caused by the changes to health care under lockdown, is it more likely that these excess deaths of people aged 65 and above were from COVID-19 or from these other causes of death? I would say that, given that RT-PCR tests are being used at amplifications far in excess of their ability to detect anything but traces of dead virus, it’s likely — in fact it’s almost certain — that what they are diagnosing as ‘COVID-deaths’ are in fact the excess deaths caused by lockdown restrictions.
If anyone else can give an explanation of why, in a year in which medical care has been reduced or withdrawn from a population subjected to sustained attacks by the Government on its mental and physical health, we are — apart from deaths attributed to COVID-19, — in such extraordinary health, I’d like to hear it. What these figures very strongly suggest, to the contrary, is that the tens of thousands of excess deaths caused by the restrictions ostensibly implemented to reduce the spread of SARS-CoV-2 are being deliberately misattributed to COVID-19 in order to justify the continuation of restrictions that will continue to cause more deaths.
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