Friday, July 30, 2021

“The war has changed”: CDC document warns Delta variant appears to spread as easily as chickenpox - CNN Politics


---------- Forwarded message ---------
From: Albert 

If this information is true about the Delta variant of COVID-19, you may want to reconsider your position regarding playing OTB chess games.

According to this article, the CDC has an unpublished briefing stating the Delta variant is as contagious as measles, chickenpox, etc. It's a top tier infectious virus able to infect vaccinated and unvaccinated people equally.

This article didn't mention the Columbian variant now infecting people.

"The war has changed": CDC document warns Delta variant appears to spread as easily as chickenpox - CNN Politics

Monday, July 12, 2021

Was COVID Created in a Lab? Here's What We Know

Face to Face With Dr. Fauci | The Truth Is…”It’s Almost Over”

As far as I can tell, every single conservative pundit has tried to use Fauci as a punching bag. Almost all of them have said that he has lied, but I see little evidence that he lied.  He has changed his position as the evidence has changed.   

Much of the public distrusts Fauci.  Senators attack him.  Given all the attacks on him, I'm surprised that he has held up under all this pressure.   He is 80 years old.  Given all this, he appears to be a heroic figure.

The only area I question Fauci is in his response about whether we have funded gain of function research in the Wuhan lab.  

'So, did the NIH's grant to EcoHealth fund gain-of-function research at the Wuhan lab? There are differing opinions on that. As noted above, whether research is "likely" or "reasonably anticipated" to enhance transmissibility can be subjective.

EcoHealth and the NIH and NIAID say no. "EcoHealth Alliance has not nor does it plan to engage in gain-of-function research," EcoHealth spokesman Robert Kessler told us in an email. Nor did the grant get an exception from the pause, as some have speculated, he said. "No dispensation was needed as no gain-of-function research was being conducted."

The NIAID told the Wall Street Journal: "The research by EcoHealth Alliance, Inc. that NIH funded was for a project that aimed to characterize at the molecular level the function of newly discovered bat spike proteins and naturally occurring pathogens. Molecular characterization examines functions of an organism at the molecular level, in this case a virus and a spike protein, without affecting the environment or development or physiological state of the organism. At no time did NIAID fund gain-of-function research to be conducted at WIV."

And in a May 19 statement, NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins said that "neither NIH nor NIAID have ever approved any grant that would have supported 'gain-of-function' research on coronaviruses that would have increased their transmissibility or lethality for humans."

Richard Ebright, a professor of chemistry and chemical biology at Rutgers University and a critic of gain-of-function research, told the Washington Post that the EcoHealth/Wuhan lab research "was — unequivocally — gain-of-function research." He said it "met the definition for gain-of-function research of concern under the 2014 Pause." That definition, as we said, pertained to "projects that may be reasonably anticipated to confer attributes to influenza, MERS, or SARS viruses such that the virus would have enhanced pathogenicity and/or transmissibility in mammals via the respiratory route."

Alina Chan, a molecular biologist and postdoctoral researcher at the Broad Institute of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard, said in a lengthy Twitter thread that the Wuhan subgrant wouldn't fall under the gain-of-function moratorium because the definition didn't include testing on naturally occurring viruses "unless the tests are reasonably anticipated to increase transmissibility and/or pathogenicity." She said the moratorium had "no teeth." But the EcoHealth/Wuhan grant "was testing naturally occurring SARS viruses, without a reasonable expectation that the tests would increase transmissibility or pathogenicity. Therefore, it is reasonable that they would have been excluded from the moratorium."

Chan, who has published research about the possibility of an accidental lab leak of the virus, also said: "But we need to separate this fight about whether a particular project is GOF vs whether it has risk of lab accident + causing an outbreak."

The University of Iowa's Perlman told us the EcoHealth research is trying to see if these viruses can infect human cells and what about the spike protein on the virus determines that. (The spike protein is what the coronavirus uses to enter cells.) The NIH, he said, wouldn't give money to anybody to do gain-of-function research "per se … especially in China," and he didn't think there was anything in the EcoHealth grant description that would be gain of function. But he said there's a lot of nuance to this discussion.

"This was not intentional gain of function," Perlman said, adding that in this type of research "these viruses are almost always attenuated," meaning weakened. The gain of function would be what comes out of the research "unintentionally," but the initial goal of the project is what you would want to look at: can these viruses infect people, how likely would they be to mutate in order to do that, and "let's get a catalog of these viruses out there."'

Saturday, July 3, 2021