Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
May 02, 2020

Some Covid-19 Science

Dr. Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, recently declared the anti-viral drug remdesivir as a "standard of care" based on unpublished trials. But the judgment was sketchy and has come under question as it seems that the government moved the goalposts to achieve this outcome:

Instead of counting how many people taking the drug were kept alive on ventilators or died, among other measures, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases said it would judge the drug primarily on a different outcome: how long it took surviving patients to recover.

Death and other negative outcomes were moved to secondary measure status: They would still be tracked, but they would no longer be the key measure of remdesivir’s performance. The switch — which specialists said is unusual in major clinical trials but not unheard of — was publicly disclosed on the government’s website on April 16 but did not receive much attention at the time.
“It raises a lot of flags, and it requires a lot of answers,” Walid F. Gellad, a professor of health policy and management at the University of Pittsburgh’s Department of Medicine, said in an interview, “especially when people start saying it’s become the standard of care, and all we saw was a news release in a trial with an outcome that was changed two weeks ago. It really is striking."

A Chinese double blind study of remdesivir, previously published in Lancet, had come to the conclusion that the drug had no statistically noticeable influence on the length of recovery and the outcome.

One wonders how much White House influence was used to push that drug. White House influence may also have been used in this ventilator acquisition that was paid for but never delivered.


Children are less prone to catch the Covid-19 disease. Within households in China their chance of getting infected was only 30% of the average chance for all household members. For individuals over 65 years of age the chance was 150% of the household average. Children who catch the Coronavirus have in general only very mild symptoms. But they carry the same load of viruses as grownups do. That means that they are generally as infectious as adults.

During a normal school day a child will have often intense contact with some 47 other individuals. Typical adults only have some 15 inter-human contacts during a normal work day. That is why children, even when less susceptible to the disease, are still a very important epidemic vector. While closing schools can not completely interrupt an epidemic and is expensive it can lower the epidemic's peak by some 60%.


There were reports from South Korea that recovered Covid-19 patients had again caught the disease. This was always unlikely to be true. To test the patients the usual RT-PCR test was used. That test does not directly look for the virus but for distinct sections of its genetic RNA code.

We know that people can be infectious two days after they were infected. Around day five the first symptoms occur. Eight days later the infected persons will have stopped infecting other people.

But recovered patients may continue to shed non-infectious virus debris for several month. Professor Drosten, the now famous German coronavirus specialist, explained in one of his podcasts that it takes a while until clotted parts of the lungs reopen. When they do the virus debris contained in those parts will be shed just by normal breathing. An RT-PCR test may show these patients as positive but we can be sure that they are cured.

South Korea has now used other tests to confirm that those 're-infected persons' were indeed cured and no longer infectious.

Another Chinese study found that all people they tested who successfully recuperated from Covid-19 had developed antibodies:

Within 19 days after symptom onset, 100% of patients tested positive for antiviral immunoglobulin-G (IgG). Seroconversion for IgG and IgM occurred simultaneously or sequentially. Both IgG and IgM titers plateaued within 6 days after seroconversion.

The study used a special laboratory test, not the less reliable fast blood tests, to confirm the results.

That both types of antibodies reliably occur is very good news. We know from human reactions to other coronaviruses that these antibodies give immunity for at least a year. Even after that the body will react to a new infection much faster to find and kill the virus than in people who catch the virus for the first time. The symptoms of the second infection will therefore be much milder than those of the first one.

It is likely that the immunity will stay even longer than a year because the novel Coronavirus is so far less prone to mutate than the typical influenza viruses:

In fact, researchers have found that the coronavirus is mutating relatively slowly compared to some other RNA viruses, in part because virus proteins acting as proofreaders are able to fix some mistakes. Each month, a lineage of coronaviruses might acquire only two single-letter mutations.
That bodes well for vaccines currently in development for Covid-19. If people get vaccinated in 2021 against the new coronavirus, they may well enjoy a protection that lasts for years.

The genetic code of the novel Coronavirus is about 30,000 letters long. Two modifications per month per strain are unlikely to change its immune-system appearance or function. A vaccine that creates sufficient antibodies will likely be long lasting.


The evidence is piling up that severe cases of the Covid-19 disease are related to an unusual immune system response caused by the SARS-CoV-19 virus:

Benjamin tenOever at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City and his colleagues found that cells infected with SARS-CoV-2 produce unusually low levels of antiviral proteins called interferons compared with cells infected with other respiratory viruses (D. Blanco-Melo et al. Cell, 2020). But levels of some proteins, such as IL-6, that activate more general immune responses are higher in infected ferrets and people than in uninfected controls.

During the outbreak in Hubei province one local Chinese hospital tested a new way to keep its staff healthy. It used the human interferon alpha, an immune system related messenger substance, in nasal drops applied four times a day. Out of nearly 3,000 staff, a third of whom cared for Covid-19 cases, none got infected. While this was not a randomized double blind study it points into an interesting direction.

Nicotine can also play a role in balancing the immune system response in Covid-19 cases. Smokers have been the accidental guinea pigs that allowed for these findings:

A quarter of French adults smoke. Many people were surprised, therefore, when researchers reported late in April that only 5% of 482 covid-19 patients who came to the Pitié-Salpêtrière hospital in Paris between February 28th and April 9th were daily smokers. The ratios of smokers to non-smokers in earlier tallies at hospitals in America, China and elsewhere in France varied. But all revealed habitual smokers to be significantly underrepresented among those requiring hospital treatment for the illness.

A new paper in Toxicology Reports explains in detail why this may indeed happen. If the SARS-CoV-19 virus is not defeated early and replicates in huge numbers it creates an imbalances of the mixture of chemical messengers substances that keep the immune system under control. Then a so called cytokine storm happens and the immune system starts to attack the inner organs. This explains why doctors see such a wide range of different organ failures in critical Covid-19 cases. The authors of the study conclude:

Once someone is infected with SARS-CoV-2, the immune system is mobilized. As the virus replicates, cell and viral debris or virions may interact with the nAChRs blocking the action of the cholinergic anti-inflammatory pathway. If the initial immune response is not enough to combat the viral invasion at an early stage, the extensive and prolonged replication of the virus will eventually block a large part the cholinergic anti-inflammatory pathway seriously compromising its ability to control and regulate the immune response. The uncontrolled action of pro-inflammatory cytokines will result in the development of cytokine storm, with acute lung injury leading to ARDS, coagulation disturbances and multiorgan failure. Based on this hypothesis, COVID-19 appears to eventually become a disease of the nicotinic cholinergic system. Nicotine could maintain or restore the function of the cholinergic anti-inflammatory system and thus control the release and therapy for Covid-19 cases.

Other researchers have investigated old and well known drugs that might be useful to influence the interaction between virus proteins and human ones. They found a few that work well in monkey cells and will now go on human trial. But they also found an often used drug that may help rather than hinder the virus. This one is of serious concern:

Interestingly, a seventh compound – an ingredient commonly found in cough suppressants, called dextromethorphan – does the opposite: Its presence helps the virus. When our partners tested infected cells with this compound, the virus was able to replicate more easily, and more cells died.

This is potentially a very important finding, but, and I cannot stress this enough, more tests are needed to determine if cough syrup with this ingredient should be avoided by someone who has COVID-19.

Dextromethorphan or the derivative dextromethorphanhydrobromid is not only used in cough suppressants but also in combination drugs which are regularly used against the flu. The last time I caught a bad flu I used "Wick MediNait", a Procter & Gamble product. It is a combination of paracetamol, dextromethorphanhydrobromid and some other ingredients. If the next 'flu-like' disease hits me I will be back to pure paracetamol to suppress the fever and to syrup with thyme extracts to lighten the cough. If it gets worse a Codein prescription will hopefully help.

Posted by b on May 2, 2020 at 19:15 UTC | Permalink

« previous page

@Phil #93
Switzerland enacted a lockdown.
In the grand scheme of things:
No exposure to people is more effective than making person-to-person transmission more difficult by having everyone wear masks.

Posted by: c1ue | May 3 2020 16:53 utc | 101

Regardless of anyone's take on the matter:
Number of posts equals competence?
Sane science? Curious about its definition.

Posted by: Hmpf | May 3 2020 16:53 utc | 102

@Posted by: jadan | May 3 2020 13:44 utc | 89

RE: "I suddenly snap back to reality when I see a headline about "Pharma Bro" Martin Shkreli, or some other outrageous behavior, .... Shkreli was not put in prison because he raised the price of a drug, Daraprim, 5000%...."

Ahh... That great humanitarian genius, Martin Shkreli has been seeking a jail furlough since early April from his New Jersey (Fort Dix Federal) prison (ie., covid incubator/deathtrap), to do vital research on covid cures.

Seems he's already zeroed in on at least eight targets for covid treatment from his prison cell .

Maybe its working for him, but then again maybe not: As of last week He's been transferred out of the New Jersey prison, but is now being held in the NYC "Jeffery Epstein Memorial Euthanasia Facility" aka the Metropolitan Detention Center", (yikes!) awaiting relocation to a minimum security (?) Allenwood Federal prison in PA.

Posted by: gm | May 3 2020 16:55 utc | 103

Ooops, sorry to have repeated Likklemore @ 97 it took me longer than I thought to type, we won't go into why, so I missed his much more comprehensive explanation og the subject.

Posted by: JohninMK | May 3 2020 16:56 utc | 104

"96% equivalent to which bat coronavirus? There are dozens. There is only 1 identified as the likely immediate progenitor of nCOV." --c1ue @99

That's the one.

Now we only need to figure out where in the pandemic timeline we can fit a half century of natural evolution for that virus.

Posted by: William Gruff | May 3 2020 16:56 utc | 105

ha ha, vk 2, you beat me to it. Remdesivir (imho) has no effect whatsoever, positive or negative, so it will work as a placebo and a show of ‘good treatment’. On the whole ppl are apt to judge that what is expensive (as opposed to dirt cheap and used by lesser folks) and can be touted as ‘innovative’ (hmm..) is well -classier!- therefore more effective!

An indirect result might be that less /very seriously affected/ patients are put on vents. (Intubated with breathing done outside the body.)

One can argue: that patients put on vents are close to death and will die without, saving 10% with vents (NY city - note % who recover is higher is some other places) is worth it or, b) vents actually are harmful and more would survive if one abstained from this invasive last-ditch measure to only offer oxygen plus careful care. (I suspect b) but nobody can know at this point.)

Heart-warming story of a man ‘set to die’ sent home at his request and kept alive with a CPAP machine and family. :)

b, and everyone.

Fever. Stimulates immunological reaction, it is a natural response. Viruses and bacteria love 37 C. but not over. Fever inhibits the reproduction of these organisms. Fever helps! If we lower -usually..- the fever, the viruses and bacteria can reproduce more… and complications may arise, damage to various organs, etc.

J. Campbell, a measured and seasoned professional, not some kind of natural health nut (see vid link) explains. It is better to let the fever run its course. Not treat the symptoms (fever, chills, diarrea, vomiting, rash or whatever…), but the cause, if that can be done of course.

Paracetamol (tylenol) is anti-pyretic (fever) but not anti-inflamatory. (See the vid for distinction / anti-inflamatory like aspirin, ibuprofen.)

Anti-pyritec drugs taken for viral flu correlates with 5% increased deaths. Animal studies show that supressing fever increases deaths by… huge %.

Avoid drugs with paracetamol or others that reduce fever in case of serious illness. Syrup with honey, thyme, etc. will do fine.

Campbell’s vids are good, he is very didactic, I recommend.

Posted by: Noirette | May 3 2020 17:05 utc | 106

@William Gruff #105
The problem, even if the 96% target is the likely progenitor, is that nCOV evolved to be able to infect humans to a significant degree.
The monthly mutations you quote are after nCOV already was infectious.
Nobody knows how long nCOV was incubating in an intermediate host or in humans before it made its big jump.
For example: if the vector was pangolins, it is unlikely that the mutation duration was long since pangolins are mostly held around people for consumption. There also likely aren't huge populations of pangolins, but then again, Chinese were wildlife farming so this isn't impossible.
What is far more likely is that nCOV jumped into the pig population. Because of Swine flu, it is unlikely nCOV would ave been noticed in the context of 25% to 50% of all the pigs in China dying due to swine flu.
But the core points are the same:
1) The mutations rates are for nCOV now - starting from roughly November which is when the Nextstrain surveys started.
2) We don't know how long nCOV was incubating, where and in how many hosts. This matters because nCOV in 100 million pigs is different than nCOV in 1000 pangolins. China's pig population was over 680 million pigs before swine flu...

Posted by: c1ue | May 3 2020 17:10 utc | 107

c1ue @99

By the way, your argument basically appears to be that the time to evolve a 4% genetic divergence in a virus through natural selection would be dramatically longer than 50 years. I do not disagree with that. The half-century figure I used assumed that every single mutation led from the source virus to the one that is now infecting people, and that there were no regressions along the way. That's not even remotely likely, as you point out, but that is the best argument for a natural origin for the strain that appeared in Wuhan late last year.

It is my opinion that it would take centuries (many of them) for that 4% divergence to occur naturally.

To keep things in perspective, human and chimpanzee DNA has also diverged by 4%. Our common ancestor lived somewhere between 6 and 8 million years ago. To be sure, viruses version faster than primates, but just 50 years to account for that difference through mutation and natural selection is ludicrous, particularly when noting "Each month, a lineage of coronaviruses might acquire only two single-letter mutations."

Posted by: William Gruff | May 3 2020 17:15 utc | 108

Hi,i don't want seed doubt.Maybe you did understand my question wrong.Because i think this blog very informative i asked that question in genuine.I live in switzerland and know exactly whats happen here.
The lockdown is harder than sweden but less than all other countrys.Nobody is locked in,everybody can go out when he wants even to germany and austria.with us, everything is only recommendations and not laws.the people here wear almost no masks even on public transport.the article you have linked is old and here in switzerland the shops will almost all open 11th of may and the people do no more follow the rules so the 2nd picture there are a few that wear masks but they are not representative for switzerland,many from that people wearing a mask a foreigner especially this link you can view the same scenery as a movie.

Posted by: Phil | May 3 2020 17:26 utc | 109

@William Gruff #108
You said

By the way, your argument basically appears to be that the time to evolve a 4% genetic divergence in a virus through natural selection would be dramatically longer than 50 years

No, that's your argument.

What I'm saying is that it is unknowable how much time or how many mutations were required for nCOV to jump from bats to a potential intermediate host to its highly infectious human form.

I am also saying that the 5 month averages of mutations for nCOV in a total world nCOV-infected population of 1 to maybe 5 million isn't either long enough or representative enough (if say, pigs were the intermediary) to have any idea of actual mutability.

And lastly, I'm saying that averages are just that: averages. Statistically, nCOV becoming dramatically transmissive to humans is a forcing factor much like the Powerball is a forcing factor for lotteries.

The odds of any one ticket winning the PowerBall lottery is 1 in 292 million or so. 12 million tickets are sold, on average, for each drawing and 20 drawings are averaged per Powerball win.
As you can see, 20 times 12 million is significantly less than 292 million.

The odds of nCOV changing from a run-of-the-mill bat coronavirus to what it is today is much greater than the chance of winning Powerball, but it isn't zero. If nCOV was mutating in 100 million pigs, the odds wouldn't even be that bad (note that each "ticket" is a mutated nCOV virii; each pig would produce literally trillions of mutant virii. At least trillions because billions of cells in each pig would be infected; thousands of mutated nCOV virii would be produced by each cell because single strand RNA viruses are shit at accurately reproducing.

100 million pigs times 1 trillion cells times 9990 mutated virii per cell = a shit pot full of lottery tickets.

Posted by: c1ue | May 3 2020 17:30 utc | 110

Much greater in post above should be "much lower" odds. As in less likely.

Posted by: c1ue | May 3 2020 17:31 utc | 111

>Maybe its working for him, but then again maybe not: As of last week He's
>been transferred out of the New Jersey prison, but is now being held in
>the NYC "Jeffery Epstein Memorial Euthanasia Facility" aka the
>Metropolitan Detention Center", (yikes!) awaiting relocation to a minimum
>security (?) Allenwood Federal prison in PA

Sounds like an "arrogant complainer" is getting the "Diesel Treatment" from his guards. He can look forward to being endlessly shackled and transported from place to place for as long as they want to torment him, or until he shuts up. This is standard operating procedure for the federal prisons. Uncle Sam really is run by a bunch of sadists.

Posted by: Trailer Trash | May 3 2020 17:40 utc | 112

@noirette and everyone:
indeed, taking antipyretics like paracetamol, aspirine, ibuprofen is insane, particularly for anyone who was ever called "Bunny".

"Even stronger effects were observed in animal studies. In rabbits infected with rinderpest virus, use of antipyretics to reduce fever, resulted in mortality increase, from 16% to 70%."

So, tell everybody, tell it to Minister of Health Olivier Veran, the idiot doctor who recommends paracetamol (tylenol)

Posted by: mattjanovic | May 3 2020 17:45 utc | 113

I don't know if Anthony Fauci is a good guy or a bad guy. All I know is that he is attractive fodder for conspiracy theorists.

Posted by: Rob | May 3 2020 17:54 utc | 114

to matt at 112, and all,

It is not only the pills, medecines to lower fever (repeat, like paracetamol) but any other method that accomplishes it, like cold baths, ice dunking, that are contra-indicated in severe viral infections. Up to normal 'sick' levels - 39, even 40, that last off the cuff. Veran knows nothing about viruses, illness, health, etc. and btw doesn't care - it is a start up Nation and neo-liberalism will fix everything.

Posted by: Noirette | May 3 2020 18:22 utc | 115

Phil said: "Switzerland has never introduced a mask-wearing obligation and people hardly wear masks, but the cases are brought down like other countries, how does that come about?It gives an explanation for that?"

Population-M ~April26 deaths % deaths/1,000,000

UK 68 19,500 0.028 280
Italy 60 25,900 0.046. 460
France 67 22,245 0.033 330
Switzerland 8 1,308 0.016 160
Sweden 10 2,150 0.021 210
Germany 83 5,500 0.006 60
Singapore 6 12 0.002 20
Japan 126 334 0.0002 2
Korea 52 240 0.0004 4
Hong Kong 7 4 0.000057 0.57
NewYorkCity. 8 ~12,000. 0.15 1500
Taiwan 24 6 0.000025 0.25

What's better 160 unmasked Swiss dead/million, or 0.25 masked Taiwanese dead/million?

Posted by: mattjanovic | May 3 2020 18:32 utc | 116

Sorry, the chart did not work.
You can see chart at in article "Under-house-arrest France has 1000 times worse corona death rates than free Taiwan. NYC has death rates 3000 times worse than Hong Kong."

Posted by: mattjanovic | May 3 2020 18:38 utc | 117

to mattjanovic
for me its not the question whats it better,mask or not mask but why the cases falls like other countrys without masks.
Even our Dr.Koch(Fauci from switzerland)says masks don't help because people can not handle them.I compare switzerland with other european countrys.Taiwan and so are in another league with pandemies.Second switzerland was really not prepare for that outbreak.

Posted by: Phil | May 3 2020 18:45 utc | 118

To repeat, on re-infection, not soon (see b top):

This many part series from an anthropologist has been making the rounds it is good, worth posting, here part 3 of 5 of Covid-19 series. Heavy on the Yeats poem, heh.


Here an attempt is made at gathering studies that tests hydroxy-chloroquine, with or without other adjuncts, antibiotics, zinc, etc. Says it will be updated.

light relief:

Italian mayors raging, in great It. style, against miscreants, eng subs:

Posted by: Noirette | May 3 2020 18:59 utc | 119

Right, no comparison between panicky Eurpean countries led by jerks and thinking countries led by competent people: Taiwan, Hong Kong, Korea. Were they forewarned? No, they looked at what was happening in China, and did the same: masks, testing, mandatory quarantine, closing some schools.

Notice that Taiwan had very close personal and commercial relations with China. Hong Kong is 5 hours by train from Wuhan.
Italian PM did nothing, then panicked, imitating Wuhan but only in lockdown. And all Eurojerks followed except crazy Sweden

Posted by: mattjanovic | May 3 2020 19:00 utc | 120

Problem is cultural--all presidents in East Asia wear masks, our presidents will not, they cannot bring themselves to weaken the source of their power, their lying mouths.

So we all feel funny about wearing masks, and we agreed to take house detention instead.

Posted by: mattjanovic | May 3 2020 19:24 utc | 121

@mattjanovic #120
I would point out that Taiwan is an unusual situation.
1) It is an island. US Island territories are also doing extremely well regarding nCOV infection and mortality rates: Guam, Marianas Islands, Hawaii, Puerto Rico.
2) Due to Taiwan being the "Republic of China" - there is a lot less traffic by mainland Chinese nationals to Taiwan.
3) Taiwan's industries, by and large, don't overlap with Wuhan unlike say, Lombardy.
4) Taiwan, unlike Singapore or even Japan, doesn't have huge numbers of migrant workers.

So while it is great that Taiwan has done very well, it is not entirely due to their response.

Posted by: c1ue | May 3 2020 20:59 utc | 122

@ c1ue | May 3 2020 17:10 utc | 107

C1ue, you often make coherent arguments, unfortunately not in this instance. I know you can do better, if you do a minimum of trivial research on the hypothesized factual backgrounds for your claims.

Obviously the susceptibility of pigs to SARS-COV-2 has alrady been investigated and the results were negative, as they were with SARS-COV-1.

SARS-CoV-2 replicates poorly in dogs, pigs, chickens, and ducks, but ferrets and cats are permissive to infection.

(Same for SARS-COV-1:)

Also, by logical inference: Assuming hundreds of millions of pigs susceptible to this virus, forming a giant pool for mutations would have surely gotten notice by the time they started dying by the millions or even thousands - long before the virus could have jumped onto humans. None of that seems to have occurred.

Posted by: Lurk | May 3 2020 21:35 utc | 123

Puerto Rico had 32 deaths per million,100 times that of Taiwan. That's low only in comparison to NYC

Taiwan is an island with very close connections to China, dire flights to Wuhan. From Wuhan they needed a number of flight to bring people home to Taiwan. Very close commercial relations.

Hong Kong is 5 hours y train from Wuhan. Open borders.
Korea also has close commercial relations to China, direct flight to Wuhan.

We must examine this resistance to admit that there is something very wrong: in NYC we have 1500 dead per million, Hong Kong, a city of very similar density, has 0.57 deaths/M.

Posted by: mattjanvic | May 3 2020 21:46 utc | 124

@Posted by: Lurk | May 3 2020 21:35 utc | 123

"Obviously the susceptibility of pigs to SARS-COV-2 has alrady been investigated and the results were negative, as they were with SARS-COV-1.

SARS-CoV-2 replicates poorly in dogs, pigs, chickens, and ducks, but ferrets and cats are permissive to infection."

Hmm? What to believe?

This peer-reviewed JVirology paper by a U Minn/ UNC chapel hill group says the opposite regarding pigs

" Pigs, ferrets, cats and non-human primates contain largely favorable 2019-nCoV-contacting residues in their ACE2, and hence may serve as animal models or intermediate hosts for 2019-nCoV"
(from lines 247-250 of the galley proof).

Posted by: gm | May 3 2020 22:08 utc | 125

Re: Posted by: gm | May 3 2020 22:08 utc | 125

One more thing I just noticed:

I notice the Wan et al (01/29/2020)J J virology paper I linked to was NOT cited by the (04/08/2020) Science paper's 'reference and notes' section in Lurk's post. That is somewhat curious.

Posted by: gm | May 3 2020 22:26 utc | 126

Normally, B, I enjoy reading your posts but this virus hoax is just too much. I was perusing the AMA Medical Encyclopedia circa 1989 and Corona virus was described in this exact way: THE COMMON COLD. One day I got curious to see which viruses were listed on the back of my Lysol wipes, sure enough it said Human corona virus.
I've also been following the work of Whitney Webb as well as James Corbett, both like yourself, known for great integrity and brilliance in their work and it has been mind blowing.
"One wonders how much White House influence was used to push that drug. White House influence may also have been used in this ventilator acquisition that was paid for but never delivered."
It is NOT the White House pushing any of this, although the globalist do tend to work in tandem with one another, but the big money behind this virus is BILL GATES, who has been all over MSM pushing VACCINES and that we cannot go back to normal until ome is found. His money behind vaccine and Big Pharma companies. At the Robert F. Kennedy Jr Website, Children's health defense there is some great reading behind Gates and the CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY his Foundation has been involved in. His vaccines have injured and killed 1000's in India & Africa. Dr. FRAUD FAUCI is also aligned with Gates in this push as GATES is the main funder of WHO and involved with every aspect of this plandemic as per his Foundations Event 201 pandemic simulation held last October.
For as wonderful as a researcher you are and as someone I read faithfully, I'm struggling to understand how you don't know these things.
James Corbett on YouTube has just started a series on Gates. I encourage all to go to YT and watch.
And B, PLEASE do your own research into this. The information is not difficult to find.
So much respect, Annie

Posted by: Annie | May 3 2020 22:29 utc | 127

c1ue @110

I think you might be misunderstanding how evolution works. Having a hundred million strains doesn't make the mutation process any faster. Furthermore, the selection process of viruses within livestock will be attenuated. Livestock populations are kept isolated from each other (they don't get on planes to visit relatives during holidays), sick populations are culled, and even healthy populations don't live very long before they are slaughtered. In modern farming practices there are not a lot of opportunities for contagions to spread from one product lot to another. Farming processes are actually deliberately designed to prevent that from happening.

No, somewhere in the few months timeline of pandemic we have to find room for hundreds of thousands of generations of the virus within a single strain for there to be natural evolution of the virus. Unfortunately, without time travel there is no room for that.

Posted by: William Gruff | May 3 2020 22:44 utc | 128

Yes the remsvedir thing is irritating.

Somewhat realistic disccusion of the Wuhan lab issue on lightweight pro US site:

Posted by: jared | May 3 2020 22:51 utc | 129

Posted by: mattjanvic | May 3 2020 21:46 utc | 124

Puerto Rico had 32 deaths per million,100 times that of Taiwan. That's low only in comparison to NYC

But it is quite comparable with the rate in Serbia which is about ~27-28 per million. And Serbia has all harsh measures in place: mandatory mask wearing, lockdowns, stay-at home orders, 24/7 curfew for the elderly, 14 day on site shifts for long care homes staff, help from Russia, from China, whole nine yards.
Your death rate is as same as ours in British Columbia, but we do not have ANY of those above mentioned measures: We do not have stay-at-home order, no curfew, no mandatory mask wearing. Our seniors go freely around as everybody else. Some with mask, some without it, up to them.

Posted by: hopehely | May 3 2020 23:22 utc | 130

#86 William Gruff

That was the most perplexing mathematical deconstruction I've ever seen.

Your statement implies one singular virus specimen, followed over time, disregarding the fact there are populations of trillions of them swarming a host body. Each viral "lifeform" represents an individual random chance for mutation.

Re-do your math considering this sorta important facet...

Posted by: Garbage in... | May 4 2020 0:52 utc | 131

@ gm | May 3 2020 22:08 utc | 125

In theory, theory and practice are the same. In practice, they are not.

The jvirology article that you referenced is ALL theory. The "materials and methods" lists two software packages, nothing else.

The other article did actual exposure and transmission testing on actual animals.

gm, did you read anything but the title of the "research" that you present here?

Posted by: Lurk | May 4 2020 9:17 utc | 132

Big fan of MoA, but I'm often dismayed by the COVID coverage. Please do not take anything to reduce fever - your temperature is high for a reason!

Posted by: Jim Bruce | May 4 2020 11:35 utc | 133

@Posted by: Lurk | May 4 2020 9:17 utc | 132

Not only the media but even the scientific literature is being warped by political influence/pressures post Covid-19 after ~Feb 2020.

That Wan et al (2020) paper you cast shade on as 'just being theoretical [paraphrasing]' was good enough for eminent Toronto pulmonary physician/researcher Arthur S Slutsky (google him) to cite (Ref 4) in his (March 3. 2020) Covid-19 ACE2 receptor binding site paper:

Curious that the Beijing group April 7, 2020 Science paper couldn't find/didn't see fit to even address the Wan et al (2020) paper that conflicted with the Science paper's findings.

Furthermore, I would be very hesitant to embrace that weak "negative" result based on only a n=5 pig test group size studied for only 6 (?) or 8(?) or how many days? [data description for that "negative pig" result is pretty loosey-goosey if you look at it].

On top of that (and since you appear to know the literature), this 2013 Nature paper "Isolation and characterization of a bat SARS-like coronavirus that uses the ACE2 receptor"

authored by the US/Chinese researcher (derided endlessly by Fake media as the Wuhan Bat Lady), Zheng-Li Shi , and her collaborator(handler?) Peter Daszak of EcoHealth NGO (cia/US mil front?), and the table linked below, showing positive infectivity in cultured PIG kidney cells, must have slipped your mind. .

And finally, you also must have forgotten this (04/04/2018) Nature paper:"Fatal swine acute diarrhoea syndrome caused by an HKU2-related coronavirus of bat origin"

Which reports on the extremely deadly (to pigs) bat cov variant with tissue selectivity that was evolved (tweeked??) to attack the pig ACE2 receptors lining the intestinal tract rather than the respiratory tract.

Posted by: gm | May 4 2020 13:50 utc | 134

Re: gm | May 4 2020 13:50 utc | 134

Bad link on the first link above to the Mar 2020 Slutsky paper. Should be:

Another thought regarding pigs and corona virus: If pigs could fly... we would likely have also been dealing here in the US with the very same massive and deadly cov-disease fatal pig diarrhea outbreak that struck China in 2016. From the last paper link above:

"From 28 October 2016 onwards, a fatal swine disease outbreak was observed in a pig farm in Qingyuan, Guangdong province, China, very close to the location of the first known index case of SARS in 2002, who lived in Foshan (Extended Data Fig. 1a). Porcine epidemic diarrhoea virus (PEDV, a coronavirus) had caused prior outbreaks at this farm, and was detected in the intestines of deceased piglets at the start of the outbreak. However, PEDV could no longer be detected in deceased piglets after 12 January 2017, despite accelerating mortality (Fig. 1a), and extensive testing for other common swine viruses yielded no results (Extended Data Table 1). These findings suggested that this was an outbreak of a novel disease. Clinical signs are similar to those caused by other known swine enteric coronaviruses17, 18 and include severe and acute diarrhoea and acute vomiting, leading to death due to rapid weight loss in newborn piglets that are less than five days of age. Infected piglets died 2–6 days after disease onset, whereas infected sows suffered only mild diarrhoea and most sows recovered within two days. The disease caused no signs of febrile illness in piglets or sows. The mortality rate was as high as 90% in piglets that were five days or younger, whereas in piglets that were older than eight days, the mortality dropped to 5%. Subsequently, SADS-related outbreaks were found in three additional pig farms within 20–150 km of the index farm (Extended Data Fig. 1a) and, by 2 May 2017, the disease had caused the death of 24,693 piglets at these four farms (Fig. 1a). In farm A alone, 64% (4,659 out of 7,268) of all piglets that were born in February died. "

Posted by: gm | May 4 2020 14:12 utc | 135

@89 had an
Great post. I for one won’t mind going all French Revolution with you. As Mark Blyth said a couple of years ago ‘The Hamptons are not a defensible position. Sooner or later, the people, they will come for you.’ Indeed this crisis is more an illustration of the lack of social cohesion as a species. How hard will they attempt to wrestle the future dialogue away from system failure...? It will be a mighty effort. Already the square-sure finger pointing.

Posted by: MadMax2 | May 4 2020 15:02 utc | 136

Now that people ares starting to question the "2nd Wave" Prapaganda will go into full swing.

I think the will see those 2 contradicting approaves:

- In countries with lockdowns where the herd immunity is low they will say we will have to avoid the "2nd Wave" because herd immunity is so low. But hey its so low because the lockdown did work so "good" ;)

- In countries without major measures they will say the "2nd Wave" will hit so hard that harder measures are necessary.

I wonder what they will say in lockdown countries where they did get large death rates and the results are not so good (like Italy and Spain).

I do expect a 2nd Wave with will hit in Europe in December but imo thats your normal Corona Virus variants.

Posted by: TheWatcher | May 4 2020 17:31 utc | 137

Switzerland has never introduced a mask-wearing obligation and people hardly wear masks, but the cases are brought down like other countries, how does that come about? Phil.

here the latest curves, see down to almost zero.

CH did not have an obligatory lock-down, merely a plea from authorities to respect confinement, going out only for necessities, though bit by bit I have seen ppl exercising in parks, alone, far away from others. (I live in green poor-ish suburbia.) The Swiss tend to be more subservient to authority and more disciplined than for ex. the French. (There were no enforcement mechanisms, no fines, etc.)

ALL meets of more than 5 ppl (save housemates, large famililes) were banned. This put an end to almost all social activity, as well as court-cases, weddings (divorce: only on-line), political meets, board meetings, etc. Exceptions could be made (to be judged by whomever in charge) for emergency weddings (deathbed, deportation) where 6 or 7 ppl had to be present, as well as for funerals (only close family 2 m. apart). All child-care and educational inst. closed. All non-essential work stopped. (Lawyers, dentists, opticians — shut or by urgent personal appointment only.) In my building, a police person and a nurse have been home since 15 march. - Crime rate is now zero and hospital has multiple spare beds.

Every commercial venue / service except food shops, kiosks (cigs, mags, sweets, scratch cards) and pharmacies were shut. Banks (except one main office for urgent face-to-face biz, I went, fewer ppl than usual..) and post office (one main office by district) were shut. Public transport went to Sunday schedule or less - it was not forbidden to travel but there were few ppl.

Surveillance is done by Swisscom. They plot out places where more than 25 ppl are close together. They anomyse the data, sit on it for 24 hours, and then inform the relevant authorities (local park > municipality, private home > cantonal police, clinic waiting room > sanitary authorities etc.) I saw near me, a park closed off, as well as a ‘book cabinet’ (free exchange of books which attracts when libraries are closed..)

Epidemic vanquished by these measures? Nobody knows. Next week (11 May >) there will be much re-opening, etc.

Ppl here have an automatic aversion to masks and ‘disguise’ in general. Face coverings / masks / disguises have been forbidden in law in various ways since centuries, with some exceptions made, for ex. for New Year’s Eve, one night of Carnival, or one local festival - per year. Motorcyclists are not allowed to wear their helmets unless on the bike. Etc. Few ppl wear anti-covid masks here, maybe 15% - 20% *tops.*

2006. Anodin, le port de masque? Certainement pas à Genève. L'Association du carnaval de Genève en sait quelque chose. Pour obtenir le droit au déguisement, elle a dû adresser une requête officielle au Conseil d'Etat. Car le règlement concernant les spectacles et divertissements «interdit les masques et travestis sur la voie publique, sauf les jours autorisés par le Conseil d'Etat».

Posted by: Noirette | May 4 2020 18:28 utc | 138

... imho sharing local experience, knowledge, etc. is more worthwhile, certainly more interesting, than blaming trump, macron, blackstone, etc.

Posted by: Noirette | May 4 2020 18:42 utc | 139

@William Gruff #128
My understanding of evolution is 100% correct.
The rate of mutation is a function of the number of mutations that are induced, some number of which survive.
A high order life form like a human mutates immensely more slowly - both in time and in generations - than a virus because the viruses generate huge numbers of mutations simply via their process of replication.
For high order life forms, mutation occurs through secondary means such as radiation, chemical or environmental factors because high order, double strand DNA life forms are really good at error correction during the replication process.

Secondly, a virus present in 100 million people will mutate faster than a virus in 100 people (or pigs) because of the above replication mutations. 100 million people, on the other hand, don't create mutations just by having kids.

Posted by: c1ue | May 4 2020 23:05 utc | 140

@ gm | May 4 2020 13:50 utc | 134,135

For all your huffing and puffing, your still being simply disingeuous. There is no material to support your claims and suggestions about pigs being a carrier or host for SRS-COV-2.

After carefully re-reading your Slutsky, the jvirology and Lancet articles that he references, particularly the "results" section, a few observations stand out.

Slutsky does not live up to the reputation that you attribute to him. His claim that "A phylogenetic analysis [3, 4] found a bat origin for the SARS-CoV-2" cannot be sourced from the jvirology article that he references for that claim, nor can it be to his other ref, the jan 30 article in the Lancet. Neither article makes statements as definitive as Slutsky portrays it, they even mention only 50% to 75% similarities for the spike protein, crucial for the binding action to ACE2. Well at least Slutsky does not make silly claims that SARS-COV-2 came from pigs.

The jvirology article talks mostly about cross-relations between human and civet variants of the SARS-COV virus(es) on the one hand and their respective ACE2 receptors on the other hand. Bats, and other species, are mentioned only as an afterthought in the final paragraph, without any basis in factual reasoning provided. In fact the only reference is given wrt. bats and it actually denies simple linking to bats, as there are so many different ways different bats express ACE2.

None of the above provides any grounds for making positive assumptions about pigs as origin for SARS-COS-2.

The Lancet article mostly points out the differences between SARS-COV and SARS-COV-2, while identifying two bat viruses as having a greater similarity to the new virus. But even in those comparisons, only 80% similarity was found for the spike protein encoding. The article even states explicitly that these two viruses are NOT direct ancestors of SARS-COV-2.

After that, the scientific reasoning part of the Lancet article ends. It continues with high octane speculation, stating that since no bats were sold in the Wuhan market, some other animal must have been an intermediate vector. Let me add some more octane and put the species "Maatje Benassi" to the list (google that for fun and giggles).

Allright, back to your other links. These all discuss viruses other than SARS-COV-2. The ones that infected pigs and piglets did not infect humans. The ability to infect a particular cell line in vitro is not an accurate or realistic measure for the infectivity or even virulence in the wild.

In the case of the outbreak of one of these other coronaviruses (which was not a respiratory infection and only affected piglets, not mature pigs), it was at the quickly noticed and measures were taken rapidly. If SARS-COV-2 had been similarly infectious in pigs, any outbreaks would have clearly been noted (no social distance in agroindustrial pig pens) and measures taken. China has had to deal with several pig disease outbreaks and they are quick to act. This would not have gone unnoticed until people had been dying like in Wuhan.

As to the low n in the article that I quoted (still higher than n=0 in a computer sim), do you really think that no testing on pigs has been performed in all the areas in the world where a lot of pig farming is done? Think again.

Anecdotally, not far from where I live, there has been a Covid-19 cluster area that also features a lot of pig farms. Curiously, two mink farms in that area had infections in several animals, spread by infected workers. No pigs in any of the pig farms in the area (or any other for that matter) were found infected, confirming the testing on pigs that had been done earlier by agricultural authorities. You see, the business had been hit hard by several swine flu outbreaks in the past and since then, they have been right on top of this sort of thing from the start.

If you want to continue making silly claims about pigs, please quote any factual pointers in support chapter and verse, instead of spamming with urls of articles that do not bear out any of your claims upon actual inspection.

Posted by: Lurk | May 4 2020 23:10 utc | 141

@ c1ue | May 4 2020 23:05 utc | 140

The mutations still have to occur in a linear and sequential order. That is the rate limiting step, even if the population that forms the pool for mutations is large.

Furthermore, your hypothesized correctness of understanding of evolution will have to be borne out by evolution. If you want to play omniscient god about it in the mean time, that is your personal religious freedom. Science it aint.

Posted by: Lurk | May 4 2020 23:16 utc | 142

To all the "I want to disbelieve" nutjobs out there and in here who like to parade a lineup of strawmen concerning the pandemic response:

The aim of lockdowns is not to stop the virus. The virus is everywhere and it won't go away. This has been abundantly clear since early March. The aim is to save the medical infrastructure from being overwhelmed or even destroyed. Nurses and doctors do get sick with covid-19 and even die. Real nurses and doctors, not "crisis actors".

Some hope that the measures also help buying time for the development of a vaccine, but I personally don't count on that much, as the vaccines for SARS-COV-1 never materialized until now, more than 15 years after.

Posted by: Lurk | May 4 2020 23:27 utc | 143

Here is a French care home that proves it is not necessary to force old people into solitary confinement to die alone with no care, in an attempt to "protect them from the Evil Virus":

French care home where staff locked themselves in with patients for 47 days avoids coronavirus

To stop COVID-19 from infecting and killing the vulnerable older adults in her care, Ms Martin and her staff locked themselves in with the 106 residents, while the illness killed more than 9,000 people in other homes in France.

How is it that Ms Martin is the only care home administrator in the world that was able to think of and implement this obvious policy?

Posted by: Trailer Trash | May 5 2020 14:34 utc | 144

>The aim of lockdowns is not to stop the virus.

Why not? Eradication is the policy in China, Taiwan, S. Korea, etc. and they are succeeding. Perhaps the rest of the world is just too primitive. Or maybe Dear Leaders who are determined to "contain China" prefer to take advantage of the opportunity presented by the virus to surround China with virus-infected populations.

Posted by: Trailer Trash | May 5 2020 14:40 utc | 145

@Lurk #123
The absolute ability of nCOV to transmit into pigs isn't in question. The link you presented is, as others have noted, countered by other studies.

Most importantly, the link you put forward - the pigs in question weren't industrially farmed pigs: thousands of genetically identical animals in extremely close proximity living in unhygienic conditions as clearly demonstrated by the swine flu transmission profile.

For that matter, the tests were conducted by the Harbin Veterinary Research Institute - some might say there could be a conflict of interest against showing nCOV in farm animals.

But what is certain is that the 8 pigs in the study you linked to isn't a conclusive sample unless we know that these 8 pigs are representative of the farmed pig population, in appropriately representative conditions. The latter clearly was not since the animals were kept in biohazard containment...

You focus on lethality: it isn't the case that nCOV is necessarily lethal in pigs, or dogs, or cats - all of whom have been demonstrated to be susceptible to infection by nCOV so intermediate species mortality is not likely a requirement for being a transmission vector. Even so, I clearly noted that the swine flu epidemic was raging before nCOV; should nCOV-intermediate have caused deaths in pigs, it would be completely covered by the much bigger swine flu.

Lastly, your assertion that

The mutations still have to occur in a linear and sequential order. That is the rate limiting step, even if the population that forms the pool for mutations is large.

Perhaps you should look into just how many mutations were required in order for nCOV to achieve its human transmissibility leap.
To my understanding, it is 2-4. For SARS-1, it was 2 thus a multiple mutation jump from bat coronavirus to human coronavirus is clearly possible and in a short time frame.

Nor it is clear they had to occur in a linear order; if there is an intermediate host, a mutation to jump into the intermediate is a likely way to account for the proliferation of one variant, before the mutation required to leap into high human transmissibility.

To make the original point I made even stronger, it now appears that nCOV may have mutated in its spike protein attachment already biorxiv source

If this is true, then both your and William Gruff's assertion that nCOV evolution would require XX years because its mutation rate is YY is obviously false - most likely because, as I also noted previously, a few month's sampling of nCOV mutation rates is not robust.

Mutation rates in paleobiology work fine because that profession works on millenia plus time frames. The absolute numbers of mutations over a huge period of time is fine for averaging. For short time scale and numbers like nCOV thus far? Not so much.

In any case, I am unconvinced with your arguments thus far: that either my speculations regarding evolution or of nCOV progression are fundamentally flawed. The speculations are based largely on mathematical principles - which you have not clearly shown to be invalid.

If 9990 or more unviable virii are produced in one cell for each 10 "correct" virii during replication - the 9990+ are all mutations. One single organism will have millions to billions of cells infected, so this 9990+ potential variants - any of which could potentially be viable - is multiplied by number of infected cells.

I used millions to billions as a WAG. Looking into this in more detail: humans have about 30 trillion cells. 3.1% are endothelial and/or respiratory (the majority are blood cells). So potentially it is more like 0.9 trillion cells per person - let's cut that to a mere .1 trillion for argument sake.

And let's say pigs have an approximately similar number of infected cells per organism. 100 million pigs time 0.9 trillion times 9990+, with turnover every 5-6 months = 10 to the 21st power per pig generation.

10 to the 21st power is roughly equal to 2 exp 70. This is a lot smaller than 2 exp 32000 - which is the maximum theoretical space, but the actual addressable space is a lot smaller.

In particular, there is very possibly some emergent factor at work which "controls" single strand RNA virus mutation. This is an interesting paper talking about this Why are RNA virus mutation rates so damn high?

RNA viruses are perhaps the most intriguing biological entities in which to study mutation rates. They encode their replication machinery, and thus their mutation rates can be optimized for their fitness (in comparison to small DNA viruses that use the polymerases of their host cells). Their inherently high mutation rates yield offspring that differ by 1–2 mutations each from their parent [9], producing a mutant cloud of descendants that complicates our conception of a genotype’s fitness.


Researchers have suggested that RNA virus mutation rates have evolved to be just under the threshold for lethal mutagenesis (sometimes referred to as error threshold [16]) but that selection for genetic diversity and other consequences of a high mutation rate push RNA viruses to near their catastrophic limits. It has been hard to assess this assumption and verify that RNA viruses have their optimal mutation rates due to natural selection on mutation rate.


One of the best-studied systems for RNA virus mutation is poliovirus, in which a now frequently used lower mutation rate mutant (G64S in the 3D RNA-dependent RNA polymerase, 3D:G64S) was characterized, simultaneously, by virologists working at two locations in the San Francisco Bay Area [17, 18]. The 3D:G64S strains not only have a lower mutation rate than wild-type polio but also are less fit in several ways: in one-step growth curves, in cell culture passaging, and in mice, in which they have reduced virulence (the 3D:G64S strains more slowly invade the central nervous system). They are more fit than wild-type poliovirus only in the presence of mutagens, in which their lower mutation rate reduces the inherent number of mutations in each progeny genome, so more exogenous mutations can be tolerated.


Fitzsimmons and colleagues demonstrate that a compensatory mutation in 3D:G64S can restore replication speed but not affect the lower mutation rate of 3D:G64S, and this increases viral fitness (2C:V127L). This key experiment teased apart two highly correlated traits to reveal that replication rate affects fitness more than mutation rate.

Note what is talked about here: the poliovirus variants can actually evolve to take on both greater and lesser mutability rates via evolved replication rates, as well as mutability to increase "viral fitness" = transmission.

In mathematical terms - what is referenced above is that a single strand RNA virus is more like a self-modifying function than a random collection of mutations.

Posted by: c1ue | May 6 2020 15:00 utc | 146

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