Health News Digest


April 27, 2020

More On COVID-19

By Michael D. Shaw

Let’s examine a few new aspects to this continuously unfolding story…

1.     Did the SARS-CoV-2 (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2) virus originate in that infamous Wuhan lab?

There are actually two labs in the Wuhan area where bats and humans interact. One is the Institute of Virology, eight miles (12.9 km) from the wet market; the other is the Wuhan Center for Disease Control and Prevention, barely 300 yards (274 m) from the notorious wet market. Urgent safety issues relative to both labs were raised two years ago in State Department cables.

The Institute of Virology Lab claims a Biosafety Level 4 status, while the Center claims BSL-2 status. As anyone involved with quality control knows, certifications are only as good as the diligence of the certificate holder to maintain the necessary conditions and procedures. These labs were certified by the China National Accreditation Service for Conformity Assessment, but how often they are inspected is unknown. Indeed, the Chinese government has not exactly been forthcoming with details on these labs.

Simply put, unless we can see the quality audit records of the labs, any self-proclaimed BSL level–especially as promoted amidst otherwise harsh secrecy–is pretty thin gruel. So, could a leak have occurred? Absolutely! Please note that the fact that a virus could have leaked from either lab does not mean that it was also engineered there as a bioweapon. Beware of those sources that deliberately conflate these two points, in an attempt to paint the “leak” scenario as a conspiracy theory.

Would such a leak be deliberate or accidental? There is no way to tell–any more than you could tell if a dropped pass were intentional or just legitimately missed by the receiver.

As to the “bioweapon” aspect, this, too, would be extremely difficult to prove. The best arguments against this delve into arcane details of viral genetics. But even those very experts quoted allow themselves some wiggle room:

Importantly, it (the virus’ particular spike protein) hasn’t been seen in wild coronaviruses, per Kristian Andersen, PhD, of the Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, California, and colleagues. Although the “diversity of coronaviruses in bats and other species is massively under-sampled”–absence of evidence might not be evidence of absence.

2.     What about hydroxychloroquine?

As I indicated in a previous article, the concept of using this sort of therapy is based on reports going back to at least 2005 that chloroquine is a potent inhibitor of SARS coronavirus infection and spread. In fact, Dr. Anthony Fauci himself supported the use of this drug for coronavirus. That’s why his current skepticism is a bit disingenuous.

The Trump-hating legacy media seem to be clearly lining up against hydroxychloroquine. On the one hand, they condemn the positive results of Didier Raoult as not being a fully-qualified clinical trial (which Raoult himself states); but then endlessly proclaim the preliminary results of a far-from-perfect VA study showing negative results.

The VA study was not peer-reviewed, and was anything but a randomized trial. Here’s an excerpt from the report: “However, hydroxychloroquine, with or without azithromycin, was more likely to be prescribed to patients with more severe disease, as assessed by baseline ventilatory status and metabolic and hematologic parameters. Thus, as expected, increased mortality was observed in patients treated with hydroxychloroquine, both with and without azithromycin.”

But, there is a whole lot more wrong here and none of it is being reported in the legacy media, in their zeal to attack Trump…

  • Inexplicably, the VA study did not use zinc–a key component touted by many physicians, including Los Angeles emergency room specialist Dr. Anthony Cardillo. Zinc is also used in the protocol of Dr. Vladimir Zelenko.
  • The hydroxychloroquine-treated patients were predominantly elderly black male veterans with comorbidities (including heart disease, asthma, liver disease, HIV/AIDS, diabetes, and cancer), while the control group had less severe patients. You can draw your own conclusions as to why black subjects were singled out.
  • Co-author S. Scott Sutton has a flagrant conflict of interest in that he has been paid to write three studies for Gilead Pharmaceuticals, maker of Remdesivir, a drug in trials to treat COVID-19.
  • The conclusions of this study have been contradicted by the head of the VA.

3.     Novel theory

Finally, I refer you to an interesting theory on COVID-19, from NYC ER doc Cameron Kyle-Sidell, who has been deep in the trenches with these patients. Could the disease be causing diffusion hypoxemia?

We await further developments.