Friday, May 01, 2009

The H1N1 Influenza Shell Game Begins: Surprise! It's Really Just Kinds of Swine Flu.

Scout's Honor (I'm holding my three fingers in the appropriate formation): I am not a Conspiracy Theorist...

Nor am I trying to start a Conspiracy...

I only write this with the sincere hope that it gives you something else to think about... something other than what is said in the mass media, by the CDC, by the government, by any of the parade of scientists that are undoubtedly lining up.

I am not saying that any or all of the afore-mentioned are or will be blatantly lying to you.

I only encourage you to think for yourselves. Be critical thinkers. Question Authority Figures - no matter what their credentials.

Here's my (perhaps unique/perhaps not)view of the poorly-named "Swine Flu" Pandemic. ('poorly-named' because no pig or piglet has ever developed it, according to scientists.)

These are my thoughts - How I see it - through 'glasses' colored by researching documented historical events when our Uncle Sam, the US military or CIA, etc. are known to have used civilians - without those civilians knowledge or consent - as test subjects.

I'm not saying that is what is happening now. I'm just saying leave room for other possibilities.

When I first heard the news reports of Swine Flu cases exclusively in Mexico, something - no, a few things - set off alerts in my head.

First, every single report that I watched stated without hesitation that the Deadly H1N1 virus in Mexico was actually a hodgepodge of at least 3 different viral strains: One Avian. One Human. One Swine.
(They even displayed a blown-up, black-and-white image of the virus - which definitely looked like it contained at least 3 distinct-looking organisms in it.) After hearing this and that it was believed that no pigs have actually had it, I thought, matter-of-factly, "Oh, someone made it in a lab somewhere."

I have had no formal medical training, but, that information and image stood out and struck my fairly well-read mind as 'Odd'.

Next - Those same news reports also stated that - in no uncertain terms - not one of the confirmed Swine Flu cases in Mexico had had any close contact with pigs or pig farms. (again...Odd.)

Unfortunately, the network news seemed to have no other as-juicy stories to Sensationalize and Shock-n-Awe the public with... at least that were on par with the "Deadly Swine Flu Pandemic" story... And, boy! They ran and ran and ran with it.

Congratulations, Network/Affiliate News Departments: Yesterday, here in San Francisco, our local hospitals had bust their butts to set up Outdoor "Swine Flu" Triage Tents to accomodate the growing numbers of people who were showing up at their Emergency Rooms (*Meant for Genuine "Emergencies") who were convinced that they had caught it or that their offspring had caught it.
Earlier today, I heard that the hospitals were pleading with the public to "Please don't come to the Emergency Room, unless you are REALLY VERY SICK."

Needless to say, none of the hypochondriacs had it. In fact, our first confirmed case was only announced today. That's ONE Confirmed Case, people. ONE Case that doesn't require hospitalization.

Which brings me to a third Odd Thing: From what I understand, those confirmed cases in Mexico seemed to be fatal. While cases in the US seem to be able to be treated with the appropriate meds and a stay at home - with a prognosis of expected full-recovery. Why is that? Doesn't Mexico have access to the same pharmaceuticals? Or, is it not the same "Swine Flu" in Mexico as it is in the US? Or, did (all?) the victims in Mexico not seek medical attention until they were beyond the point where available & effective meds would be effective?

Now... Arriving straight outta God-Knows-Where... I come across an article article in Wired Magazine (online) that really caught me off-guard. It has this jaw-dropping title: "Swine Flu Genes From Pigs Only, Not Humans or Birds"

As I read the article, I find myself shaking my head and unconsciously saying, "Bullshit.", softly and somewhat under my breath.

The article basically quotes a Univ. of Edinburgh viral geneticist, a PA virus evolution specialist and a Maryland bioinformaticist (What the Hell is a 'bioinformaticist'?)... who all seem to have come to the remarkable conclusion that (drum-roll, please!):
According to them, all earlier reports from all sources were ALL WRONG! The World Health Organization is Wrong!
Rather than being a a combination of pig, human and bird flu strains, as previously stated... The H1N1 Virus is actually "... a hybrid of two common pig flu strains."

The only thing - according to the scientists in the article - that the countless earlier reports got right is that it still "... hasn’t been seen before in pigs."(Still "Odd".)

My first response to the article: Sounds like SPIN to me. As in: "You Spin me 'round and 'round, like a record, baby...".

One of the three scientists came to their ground-breaking conclusion after he analyzed gene sequences of viral samples taken from just two California cases.

The samples were collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC then made the samples available to "... researchers through an international database of flu genomes".

That's all well and good... If... A.)You trust that the California cases of Influenza A H1N1 are the Same Strain as the Fatal one in Mexico. B.)You completely trust Everyone at the CDC. and C.)You trust that the three scientists were given the correct samples.

I've learned that, in forensics, you have to have a detailed accounting for the handling/testing/documenting of evidence. How many people handled the samples between their collection in California and the CDC in Atlanta, Georgia? After that, how many people were involved with the project until it reached the stage of flu genomes in the database? Who has access to the database?

Another nagging thought of mine: knowing of the military's interest in developing so-called "non-lethal" weapons (not that I'm complaining. Non-lethal is better than Lethal.)

What I'm saying is this: The Military wouldn't exclude Non-Lethal Biological Weapons from their testing programs.

In closing... I offer a quote and 2 bits of (Un)Common Sense:

"Just Because You're Paranoid, Doesn't Mean They're Not Out To Get You..."

1.)Wash Your Hands, Regularly.
And 2.)Please Cover Your Mouth With The Crook of Your Arm - Not Your Hands When Coughing Or Sneezing.

Peace... And Good Health.



Colorized image, released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention April 24, 2009. Depicts the influenza A H1N1 "swine flu" virus from an outbreak in 1976. A deadly strain of this flu virus that has never been seen before may be behind the deaths of more than 100 people in Mexico and its spread into the United States, where 40 people have become infected, though none have died so far. (Dr. Erskine Palmer and R.E. Bates/Centers for Disease Control/Handout/Reuters )


Swine Flu Genes From Pigs Only, Not Humans or Birds

The deadly H1N1 influenza virus that’s fueling fears of a global pandemic is a hybrid of two common pig flu strains, scientists who have studied the disease told Tuesday. Earlier reports called it a combination of pig, human and avian influenza strains.

The findings may resolve some uncertainty about the nature of the virus, but much is still unknown about its origins and effects.

“This is what we call a reassortment between two currently circulating pig flu viruses,” said Andrew Rambaut, a University of Edinburgh viral geneticist. “Why it’s emerged in humans is anyone’s guess. It hasn’t been seen before in pigs as far as I know.”

Rambaut analyzed the gene sequences of viral samples taken from two infected California children. The samples were collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and made available to researchers through an international database of flu genomes.

His conclusions were echoed by Eddie Holmes, a virus evolution specialist at the University of Pennsylvania, and Steven Salzberg, a University of Maryland bioinformaticist. Both have looked at the CDC-provided sequences. The CDC could not be reached for comment, but a document released to scientists and obtained by affirms their analysis. The samples from California are the same viral strain as one that’s believed to have killed as many as 150 of an estimated 1,600 hospitalized Mexicans, and caused hundreds more infections worldwide, including at least 64 in the United States.

The two strains whose genes are found in the hybrid belong to influenza families known generally as North American and Eurasian pig flu. The former was first described in the 1930s, and the latter in 1979. The Eurasian strain is generally found in Europe and Asia, rather than North America.

Neither of the strains have ever proven contagious in humans. One of the genes inherited from the Eurasian strain has reportedly never been seen in humans. It codes for the neuraminidase enzyme — the N1 in H1N1 — which controls the expansion of the virus from infected cells.

“The new neuraminidase gene that came in from Eurasian swine is one we’ve never before seen circulating in humans,” said Rambaut. “That’s one of the reasons it’s spreading rapidly. Very few people will have any immunity to this particular combination, which is what gives the concern that this will be a pandemic rather than just a normal seasonal flu outbreak. It remains to be seen how much and to what extent there is existing immunity.”

In medical terms, the genetic origins of the virus may not matter. Whether it come solely from pigs rather than a mix of pigs, birds and humans doesn’t change its immunological novelty.

However, understanding the origins could eventually help scientists determine how the virus evolved and where it originally emerged.

The earliest cases occurred in the town of La Gloria in the Mexican state of Veracruz, not far from a large and notoriously unsanitary hog farm operated by Granjas Carroll, a subsidiary of giant American food company Smithfield Foods.

Vercruz residents and some journalists have alleged that the virus could have evolved in the farm’s pigs, then passed into humans through water or insects tainted by infected waste. Many researchers, including the authors of a report issued last year by the Pew Commission on Industrial Farm Animal Production, have warned that unsanitary conditions at industrial hog farms could prove a breeding ground for new forms of influenza.

The World Health Organization has sent inspectors to the Granjas Carroll farm. The results of the investigation have not been announced. Smithfield issued a press release on Saturday stating that “it has found no clinical signs or symptoms of the presence of swine influenza in the company’s swine herd or its employees at its joint ventures in Mexico.” The company declined further comment, though CEO Larry Pope told USA Today that “(The term) swine flu is a misnomer.”

Rambaut, Holmes and Salzberg declined to speculate on whether the new H1N1 virus evolved on a hog farm or specifically in the Granjas Carroll facility.

However, it seems likely that pigs were the original host.

“That’s a logical conclusion,” said Salzberg. “It was probably two different pigs, or one who got co-infected from others. The two strains mixed, and now you have a brand-new strain.”

“Presumably somewhere there was a pig infected with both forms. We don’t know where or when. It could have been circulating in this form for a while,” said Rambaut.

What comes next is anyone’s guess.

“Influenza virus mutates remarkably rapidly so there is no doubt that the virus will mutate and evolve in humans,” said Holmes. “Quite what this evolution will result in is difficult to tell.”

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