by DAVE MIHALOVIC
According to our beloved public health specialists, the flu pandemic boogeyman is around the corner again and this one, like clock work, is undergoing genetic tweaking to prepare for what researchers are claiming is a virus with ‘pandemic potential’.
Earlier this year I highlighted details in a report on how the next flu pandemic fear campaign is quietly evolving and was well underway. The orchestrator’s have not disappointed me.
Researchers plan to start tweaking the genome of the H7N9 bird flu virus in laboratories, to see what changes might randomly occur in nature that could make the virus more deadly to people.
That may sound familiar because in 2009, during the H1N1 pandemic, scientists at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control had been conducting experiments in which they infected ferrets with both the H1N1 swine virus and the H5N1 bird flu virus to see if they will “reassort” and create a new hybrid flu virus.
At that time, the rationale for these reckless experiments was that scientists wanted to know if a combination of H1N1 and H5N1 could become a “super flu” that would be both easily transmissible from human to human and highly fatal at the same time. Things haven’t changed.
In a letter published today (Aug. 7) and signed by nearly two dozen so-called “experts” in the field of infectious disease, researchers argue that such experiments — which have been controversial in the past — are urgently needed to better understand the threat of H7N9, and to prepare for a worst-case scenario.
The new virus, which emerged in March, has so far sickened 133 people in Asia, including 43 who died. Cases appear to have tapered off for the summer, but as expected, will conveniently re-emerge in the fall, these same experts are predicting.
Currently, the H7N9 virus does not easily spread between people, but researchers insist that will change if the virus acquires certain genetic changes that allow it to better adapt to humans. Just like the laboratory concoctions of H5N1, the idea behind the new research is to try to predict what changes might increase the virus’ pandemic potential.
This latest avian influenza virus strain is still considered a low pathogenic avian influenza virus.
So far, there have been no reports of sustained human-to-human transmission with H7N9 bird flu. But they keep putting out media alerts that new findings are bringing new evidence that the virus likely needs to undergo just a few genetic mutations to gain the ability to spread between people.
H7N9 is similar to its closer cousins, H7N2, H7N3 and H7N7 and its more distant cousin H5N1 in that they are all influenza viruses (IFAV) and they usually infect birds. However they always seem to make headlines in the news somewhere as the ‘flu season’ begins, spikes or is otherwise noteworthy in one hemisphere or the other.
Scam After Scam
I already detailed how a compilation of research has exposed the entire flu season as one big scam perpetrated by national and international governments. The highest levels of conspirators orchestrate mass media campaigns while deliberately causing illness through national aerial spraying and inoculation schedules.
Like all respiratory viruses, repeat infection by the same “strain” is highly likely over a lifetime. Vaccines and antivirals don’t stop a virus from being breathed in and contrary to mainstream medicine, they certainly don’t interrupt a virus from doing its job.
According to a study in the New England Journal of Medicine, sequencing analyses revealed that all the genes from this virus are of avian origin, with six internal genes from avian influenza A (H9N2) viruses.
“I can tell you this thing is real and definitely has the markings of being a killer,” says Jason Tetro, coordinator of the Emerging Pathogens Research Centre in Ottawa, which examined gene sequences from three of China’s H7N9 cases.
So does H7N9 have pandemic potential? “I’d say that the majority of virus comes from H9N2, which many researchers have suspected could be the next pandemic. The makeup of this virus is similar to one that researchers have suspected could be the next pandemic. However it’s not quite there yet,” says Tetro. “We know that it is not spreading from human to human, but we know that in some cases, direct or close contact with poultry or birds is a route of infection.”
A genetic analysis of H7N9 portrays a virus evolving to adapt to human cells, raising concern about its potential to spark a new global flu pandemic.
“Many of us believe that this virus hasn’t gone away, and there’s a reasonable chance that when the conditions become favorable again, we might start to see more human infection,” said Dr. Richard Webby, a bird-flu expert at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn.
Webby said that human-to-human spread of H7N9 is not inevitable. “We can’t say is a sure thing,” Webby said.
In general terms, the new research — referred to as “gain-of-function” experiments” — will involve making genetic changes to H7N9, and testing how those changes affect the viruses’ ability to cause infection, spread between mammals. Just as H5N1, the experiments would be done in animals, such as ferrets, as well as cells in lab dishes.
When researchers announced last year that they had created a strain of H5N1 bird flu virus that could transmit efficiently in animal studies with just four mutations, some critics said the experiments should not have been done.
Even if precautions are taken, there’s still a small risk that a person could be infected with the mutated virus, and start a pandemic, the critics argued. The research was halted for a time while officials assessed safety issues, but was eventually allowed to resume.
The Vaccine Connection For The Next Strain
Making a vaccine for the new H7N9 flu virus has proven problematic, influenza experts acknowledge. There hasn’t been enough time to produce even the seed strain to make H7N9 vaccine, let alone small batches of a prototype vaccine for testing. So researchers haven’t had a chance to see how a vaccine against this new flu strain might work in people.
But clinical trials of vaccines made to protect against other viruses in the H7 family have shown the vaccines don’t induce much of an immune response, even when people are given what would be considered very large doses.
“In all cases where these vaccines were trialed, it was found that the vaccines were poorly immunogenic,” said Nancy Cox, the virologist who heads the influenza branch at the U.S. Centers for Diseases Control in Atlanta.
“And so this is a signal that we might be facing challenges with producing an immunogenic vaccine using this particular virus. But that remains to be determined.”
Studies with previous H7 vaccines have shown poor responses in healthy adults who get a total of 180 micrograms of vaccine divided into two 90 microgram doses, said Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Diseases Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota.
That means that even with 12 times the dose people get for seasonal flu, healthy adults don’t get a great response to the vaccine. And given that the immune system wanes later in life, one would assume the challenge would be uphill from there.
“If we can’t get a good response there” — with healthy adults — “the question is: Why would you ever expect a better response in the older population,” noted Osterholm, whose team produced a major report on flu vaccine last year, called the CIDRAP Comprehensive Influenza Vaccine Initiative.
Countries with standing pandemic flu vaccine contracts are holding off on making a decision about whether to order H7N9 vaccine, watching how the outbreak unfolds. That’s where H9N2 come in.
Since sequencing analyses revealed that all the genes from the virus had six internal genes from avian influenza A (H9N2) viruses, the potential for a lethal mutation which would conveniently play right into the hands of vaccine developers is very possible.
H9N2 viruses have circulated in domestic poultry in Mainland China since 1994, and an inactivated vaccine has been used in chickens to control the disease since 1998.
To understand the molecular evolution of the H9N2 viruses in Mainland China, the entire genomes of the 27 Chinese isolates and the North American strain, were completely sequenced.
WHO Collaborating Centres of the Global Influenza Surveillance and Response System have a document reporting the development, preparation and availability of H9N2 vaccines since 2011 of which the CDC (USA) and NIBSC (UK) are both involved.
The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), has issued a task order under an existing contract to Chiron Corporation of Emeryville, CA, for the production of an investigational vaccine based on an H9N2 strain of avian influenza virus that has infected humans.
Based on the above evidence, my prediction has not changed and that the 2013/2014 flu season in the Northern Hemisphere will be the next target for a massive flu vaccine campaign based on pandemic potential. It will be based on an international announcment on the reassortment of the H7N9 flu strain likely involving H9N2, or a similar strain that infects humans and one that has been actively been pursued for vaccine development.
Dave Mihalovic is a Naturopathic Doctor who specializes in vaccine research, cancer prevention and a natural approach to treatment.