Covid-19: “The virus is not new, and neither is the disease.”

The statement

“This virus was termed a new virus, and Covid-19 was termed a new disease.  But in fact neither the virus is really new, nor is the disease really new, because the Corona viruses have been with us since man … since the beginning of mankind.  These are viruses that co-exist with us, and so every year, and every few months, a virus will change a little bit, because they mutate all the time.  They have to mutate, otherwise they can’t keep on (you know) going back and forth between you and me and animals and whatever you want.  So it’s a completely normal thing that these viruses which are the most successful viruses in the world – together with the flu viruses, by the way –  because they manage to keep the host alive. They don’t kill the host.  They don’t want to kill us.  They want to come and visit me, and then they want to go and visit the next guy (you know).  And in order to be able to do this they change very little, all the time, so that when they come back next year they come and visit me again.  Otherwise my immune system would not allow their entry at all.  You see this is something that people don’t really understand.  So when we started reading up to see what’s going on we realised that no-one knew about this.”

The source

Prof. Sucharit Bhakdi, former head of the Institute of Medical Microbiology and Hygiene at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (Germany); and co-author of Corona, False Alarm?: Facts and Figures.  ( )

My take on it

If you relied on the mainstream media you would struggle to take in what Dr Bhakdi is saying. 

Which is precisely what he has been motivated to say it, and to write about it.

Most of us have heard something about gut health, and about ‘good’ and ‘bad bacteria’.  But if you relied on the mainstream media you would probably not know that each of us also has over 300 trillion viruses on board, broadly categorised into six groups and 22 Families, of which Corona viruses are one.  Those viruses are collectively called our virome.  It would be fair to say that this field of scientific endeavour is in its infancy, as to characterisation, and behaviour, and function, and in its understanding of the virome’s dynamic interaction with our own cells and with the other fellow travellers in this walking zoo of ours – bacteria, fungi, archaea, exosomes and other extra-cellular vesicles – our human biome.

However you choose to explain it, we are indeed ‘fearfully and wonderfully made’.

Professor Bhakdi is a subject matter expert.  His knowledge is in conflict with mainstream health policy and medical practice in this matter.

As always, you have your choice of experts.  You get to choose who you believe, and what you believe.

I believe there is a case for a T-shirt that says

I am positive

I have Corona virus.

And on the back?

Free hug.

“The PCR test cannot be used to diagnose anything.”

The statement

”Then the PCR test came out, and became the Gold Standard for diagnosing Covid-19.  Now anyone who has studied infectious diseases knows that the PCR test cannot be used to diagnose anything.  A PCR test is a lab test that may be used to support a diagnosis.  So if you think someone is ill, has fever, is coughing, and is short of breath, then it’s quite legitimate to do a PCR test to try to find the gene of that virus that you are looking for; and if you find it – or parts of the gene, because the PCR test only looks at parts of the virus genome, very small parts – then it’s OK.  Then you say, ‘Alright, this would confirm the clinical diagnosis.’  But a real doctor doesn’t go around testing people with a test that has never been put on the market for use to diagnose a disease.

There’s something fishy going on.  The way of diagnosing this disease Covid-19 is at variance with everything that anyone learns in infectious diseases.  You are using a lab test to abase a very serious diagnosis. All right? 

…..   it’s criminal to say that these are Covid-19 cases.”

The source:

Prof. Sucharit Bhakdi, former head of the Institute of Medical Microbiology and Hygiene at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (Germany); and co-author of Corona, False Alarm?: Facts and Figures.  ( )

My take on it:

At the core of the malfeasance around Covid-19 lies a faulty KPI:  ‘cases’.

The number of ‘cases’ relies in turn on a faulty diagnostic test:  the PCR test.

We are driving ourselves down the wrong road, and over the cliff.  To quote Professor Gigi Foster, “We have stabbed our economy in the belly.”

What is our objective in all this?  What are we trying to achieve?

If we are trying to save lives, then Deaths is a relevant parameter.

Deaths from all causes is a fairly safe statistic.*

If we are focusing in on fatalities caused by Covid-19, the statistics need careful attention:

  • is it proven that Covid-19 is present?  (If a primary diagnosis has been made based on the presenting symptoms, then the PCR test provides some secondary support;  I ignore for now the false positives and other limitations of such testing, or the failure thus far to validate the virus itself via Koch’s Postulates;)
  • is it clear that Covid-19 was causative, rather than just associative?  Was Covid-19 the only or primary cause of death, or were co-morbidities present? (this is the attribution issue;)
  • if co-morbidities were present, are these reflected appropriately in the death certificate?  (The evidence suggests that in deaths attributed to Covid-19, multiple co-morbidities are the norm; but do the death certificates reflect that?)
  • in some domains there are reported to be financial incentives to classify patients as Covid-19-affected (and to use respirators);
  • health regulations may encourage specific attribution of sickness or death to Covid-19 ‘if in doubt’.

One way to reduce these real or suspected influences is to elevate the analysis to a higher classification of disease, eg ‘All respiratory illnesses’.   If Covid-19 really was so impactful, we would expect it to show up as an incremental influence.

*Some months ago, and for precisely this reason, Dr Andrew Kaufman examined the CDC data on all-cause mortality in the United States, year to date, and compared it with the two preceding years.  He reported a 2% drop for the current year.

This week brought an update to that exercise, worthy of a separate post:

“If you examine the actual deaths in the USA during 2020 as compared to
previous years, you’ll notice something interesting. In 2018, there were
2,839,000 deaths. In 2019, there were 2,855,000 deaths. And through
November 22, 2020 there have been 2,533,214 deaths. If we extrapolate
the deaths at year’s end, we get 2,818,000 deaths in the USA, which
is 37K fewer deaths than last year!” 

The bogeyman that was used to kick this whole thing off, is revealed for what it always was.

But the policy response will only change when the KPI does.

The advent of Covid-19 did not require a new definition of ‘case’.  It is already established medical practice, as set out by eg the CDC:

Before counting cases, the epidemiologist must decide what to count, that
is, what to call a case. For that, the epidemiologist uses a case definition.
A case definition is a set of standard criteria for classifying whether a
person has a particular disease, syndrome, or other health condition.  

A case is about “classifying whether a person has a particular disease, syndrome, or other health condition.”  A syndrome is a set of symptoms.

That classification first happens professionally when an individual becomes sufficiently ill to seek medical attention.  That is when the primary statistic is generated, whether by the local doctor or by the outpatient clinic of a hospital.

The identification of some genetic material in somebody’s body fluids does not meet the definition of a case.  It fails the test of medical best practice.

(And No, I am not a doctor.)