As one of the co-signers of the letter to Science asking for increased investigation into the origins of SARS-CoV-2, I want to make two points: first, thanks very much for the two episodes of TWiV when you met with the WHO committee and with Robert Garry. These episodes are doing a great service for all to clarify these issues. Second, as a co-signer or the letter to Science, I’d like to explain my motivation for adding my name: namely, I thought the letter would have the effect of prompting more funding for searching for natural viruses in animal reservoirs, which I personally have always assumed represent the origin of SARS-CoV-2 infections in humans. Perhaps naively, I did not anticipate that the letter would be used to promote the lab origin hypothesis. Looking back on the wording of the letter, however, I now think that I should have realized this would happen and should have been more proactive — either not signed the letter at all or else requested more wording changes to make my position clear.
Thanks for everything you’re doing on TWiV. I listen to every episode and have learned a lot.
Summer is starting in Belgium. We notice that the rain gets warmer 😊.
The major news related to virology is that a terrorist is on the loose in Belgium. He is military personnel (Jürgen C.) and was recently listed as “potentially dangerous extremist”, but this was not followed up upon. So one evening he leaves work with a machine gun, a pistol, 4 rocket launchers and ammunition. He writes farewell letters in which he blames government and the experts for the semi-lockdowns and he specifically threatens the Anthony Fauci of Belgium: Prof. Marc Van Ranst. Prof Van Ranst is not only a virologist but he also fiercely criticizes any form of discrimination, so is therefore a favorite pick of right-wing extremists. No people hurt yet, but [the terrorist] did try to booby trap his car and was spotted near the house of Prof Van Ranst just before disappearing.
Anyway I hope he gives up, or they find him soon as should be doing other things these days ….
Otherwise vaccination is going ok, numbers are dropping, hopes are high! If everybody acts a bit normal we will get there !
Thanks for the podcast!
Dirk Jochmans, PhD
Senior Research Manager
Laboratory of Virology and Chemotherapy
Rega Institute for Medical Research | University of Leuven
Leuven | Belgium
A quick one for the listener whose Catholic grandmother is concerned about taking a vaccine for ethical reasons. Perhaps the grandmother can consider the ethics of NOT getting vaccinated.
For those individuals who can’t get vaccinated for medical reasons and for those individuals who have medical conditions that reduce the effectiveness of the vaccine for them, don’t we all have a responsibility to get vaccinated to protect them? I am specifically thinking of a friend who due to the drugs she is taking as a result of her kidney transplant, has been told that the likelihood the vaccine will have any antibody building effects for her are about 17%
Thank you all for the time and energy you put in. It matters.
Turns out that Michael R. Gordon, the lead author on that WSJ piece that has mainstreamed the rampant conjecture surrounding the origins of SARS-COV2, was one of the two authors who wrote the infamous September 8th 2002 article in the New York Times that mainstreamed the false allegations that Saddam Husein had weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.
Link to article about the whole thing: https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2021/06/01/wuha-j02.html
These claims of Iraqi WMDs were central to the U.S justification for invading that same country in 2003. These allegations however, were false, were known to be false by the executive branch, and were actively spread by then VP Dick Cheney.
The fact that this charlatan (I’m referring to Mr. Gordon here) has a job as a journalist after 2003 is ridiculous. The fact that his work is again being widely cited at all is a sick joke, and the fact that his evidence-free writing is being used, once again, to further stoke political animosity in this country is nothing short of a goddamn shame.
And worst of all? Not a peep about this author’s history of shameful reporting in the mainstream media in the U.S. Instead his work is given the greatest platform imaginable, while the actual science on the origins of the virus is thrown to the wayside. You have to go to outlets like the Chinese state media or the link given above to even see this connection being made. I’m at a loss for words.
Josh, an incredibly pissed off ecohydrology technician in southwestern Georgia
In my last note, I erroneously said that in 2003 the U.S invaded Afghanistan. That was false, in 2003, the U.S invaded Iraq. We had invaded Afghanistan by the end of 2001. I apologize for the error, but unlike Mr. Gordon, my ‘oopsie’ isn’t going to start a war.
It’s hot here. JUST HOT here in Sonoma county. So I will be refusing to look at the thermometer so it doesn’t get to my head more than it already has.
I have one thought and a question for you all. Please imagine the following using Dickson’s voice. I’m most like him amongst you (well, just a printmaker, however):
A thought: I dabble, in a most amateurish way, in cancer-cure-stocks. So w/o naming names, I was reading some obscure sets of agreements between an immune oncology company (<$10B market cap*) and a more basic cell therapy company (<10M*). The latter will later affirm that it will become a subsidiary of the former.
What caught my eyes was the date of this particular agreement regarding the royalty that the larger company, using the smaller company’s technologies, will be paying depending on the future milestone achievements of the larger company: January 1, 2020.
In the agreement, it references “SARS COV-2” along side “vaccines” as one of the future goals…
As we are painfully aware, here are some pertinent items in the SARS COV-2 timeline:
The first patient was sort of identified late December of 2019. (We later think we have some cases earlier but that’s not important here).
A bunch of unidentified pneumonia in Wuhan area around the same time.
January 9 — WHO Announces Mysterious Coronavirus-Related Pneumonia in Wuhan, China
The virus was first sequenced sometime between 10-12th of January 2020.
January 31st, WHO issues global health emergency.
I for myself ordered a bunch of N95 masks in late January 2020 after seeing things are starting to get out of control in Hong Kong. This was way before issues arose with the masks as we know today.
Now, given that, were these guys who worked out the agreement between the two companies just super “smart” and/or lucky? I am probably the least conspiracy theory type that I know of so I am not going there… But seems like someone really dropped the ball don’t you think? To get us to what we’ve gone thru’ the past 1.5 years? Clearly there were some people with one of our most innate of all motives, money, to draw up this document weeks before you guys even talked about SARS COV-2…
It says there were a bunch of lawyers working on the agreement on the Monday and Tuesday before the new year on Wednesday…. Oh wait, you guys need to invite them for TWiV!!!! LoL
AND A QUESTION:
You dealt briefly on this matter a few weeks back but I would like to know more in details, if I may… How does it work that some vaccines can elicit greater/better immune responses than the actual infections by the pathogens themselves? I would like to know the mechanism of that. I have a feeling it connects to tumor-associated-antigen that I read with oncology stuff…
* are all the items that are not necessary for the public consumption – as I have a vested financial interest.
GREAT THANKS AS ALWAYS!
I am writing to you in a state of anger and distress. I alternated between screaming with rage and crying with frustration. After all your good work on covering the investigations into the origin of SARS-CoV-2, the Guardian which I had till now regarded as the last man standing in decent reporting puts out this!!!
What really had me seething was this caption to a photograph of masked guards at the Wuhan Institute.
‘My own complacency on the matter was dynamited by the lab-leak essay that ran in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists earlier this month.’ Photograph: Thomas Peter/Reuters
As far as I am concerned, if the essay piece isn’t in a virology related publication, it has no credibility in my eyes. That essentially negates the rest of the article.