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Romans 12:2

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Hilary's Desk

When Swine Flu isn't swine flu

Hilary Butler - Monday, April 27, 2009

Here we go again. Another media beat up. Make a huge story out of... what??? An influenza virus which has caused thousands of cases, which in that horribly polluted smoggy lung coughing place called Mexico City, has caused serious pneumonia in some of them, which killed just over 100 of them.  Some thousands of cases you say?  Maybe.  Cruising all the medical reports, it's pretty obvious that there are far more cases than we're being told. More importantly, why call this the "Swine flu pandemic"?  Where did the media get that idea from?  Maybe some medic whose repeatedly cried wolf, and really needs to justify their job?  They made a cash cow out of the non-existent bird flu, so why not bolster Wall street yet again.  What a sound-bite to get the adrenalin running! "Swine Flu epidemic here to kill us all"!  It's time the media got real, and started doing some real journalism; real reading; and asking some real questions. Like... who called this particular strain a swine flu virus? Why has there been absolutely NO contact with pigs in even ONE case, anywhere in the world? Unlike the media, a professional medical organisation called PROMED has questioned the name "swine flu". They say it's a human flu.  But just what sort of human flu? Where did it come from? This is what PROMED has to say:

Paragraph 6 and 7:

Finally, it appears as if no exposure to swine has occurred among people who have come down with the current novel H1N1 virus. The virus has elements of human, swine, and avian viruses normally found in Europe or Asia. It is this genetic analysis of the virus which has really developed the level of concern for this outbreak. If there wasn't a match with the US virus the fact that it is being transmitted out of season and in young, healthy adults might have even been overlooked. So, in summary, the reason that we are calling this virus swine flu is the history and evolution of the virus.

It also rests on the fact that some of the genetic analysis indicates that elements from viruses that have traditionally been found in swine populations are incorporated. However since we know nothing of how this particular virus has gotten into the human population but there apparently is no history of swine exposure, it probably makes more sense epidemiologically to refer to this simply as an H1N1 influenza virus.

Before I go any further, let me clearly state what I believe.  The virus described in the four URLS on this page, cannot possible be a natural virus, developed in pigs in Mexico.   Anyone who says this combination, as described, is a natural mutant, has gone some really tough questions to answer to justify such a statement.  I believe what is described in these items can only be a laboratory constructed virus.  Why?  Read on.

Another internet item describes the virus this way:

The CDC said genetic sequencing of samples from the first two patients, California children who lived in adjacent counties, show that the swine flu virus contains segments from four different viruses: some North American swine, some North American avian, one human influenza, and two Eurasian swine. 

Another story on the same site said:

The viruses from the two patients are similar, and ....the majority of their genes, including the hemagglutinin gene, are similar to those of swine flu viruses that have circulated in US pigs since about 1999, the CDC reports. But the genes for the neuraminidase (NA) and matrix (M) proteins are similar to corresponding genes of Eurasian swine flu viruses. "This particular genetic combination of swine influenza virus segments has not been recognized previously among swine or human isolates in the United States, or elsewhere based on analyses of influenza genomic sequences available on GenBank," the report states.

So there you go. 

But there's something that doesn't add up here.  Exactly WHAT has this got to do with Mexico, apart from the fact that it "started" there?  If all those viruses orginated everywhere else BUT Mexico, just why are Mexico pork products being banned?  Why is Mexico taking the rap? Why is no-one asking serious questions about the make up of this virus?

Even MSN has something interesting to say:

Near the bottom you read this gem:

CDC officials described the virus as having a unique combination of gene segments not seen in people or pigs before. The bug contains human virus, avian virus from North America and pig viruses from North America, Europe and Asia.

Health officials have seen mixes of bird, pig and human virus before, but never such an intercontinental combination with more than one pig virus in the mix.

Note that word, "intercontinental".  And what about this little "item" which someone emailed me this morning?

_________________________________________________

Receptor Specificity and Host Adaptation of Recent Swine Influenza Viruses

Primary Author:
Shobana Raghunath
(shoba@vt.edu)
Biomedical and Veterinary Sciences
Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine
Secondary Authors:
Laure Deflube (ladeflub@vt.edu)
Biomedical and Veterinary Sciences
Thomas Rogers-Cottrone (trogersc@vt.edu)
Biomedical and Veterinary Sciences
Dan Qiao (qiao@vt.edu)
Biomedical and Veterinary Sciences
Vrushali Chavan (vrushali@vt.edu)
Biomedical and Veterinary Sciences
Elankumaran Subbiah (kumarans@vt.edu)
Biomedical Sciences and Pathobiology

Influenza A viruses (IAV) are generally host specific and they rarely establish stable lineages in another species. Although whole viruses may rarely transmit, gene segments can reassort and viruses cross the species barrier. However, swine influenza A viruses (SIV) have established stable genetic lineages in turkeys in the United States in recent years. Despite their uniform ability to bind to oligosaccharide-containing sialic acids, IAVs show differences in receptor specificity. The preferential binding to ?-2, 3 (avian) or ?-2, 6 (swine and human)-linked oligosaccharides can be altered by changes in HA-specific amino acids that influence both host specificity and cell tropism.

To identify the minimal amino acid changes involved in receptor specificity and efficient transmission of SIV to turkeys, we have sequentially passaged five recent triple reassortant H3N2 SIV isolates from Minnesota in nine to 11 day-old specific-pathogen-free turkey embryos. Complete nucleotide sequencing of the PB1, HA and NA genes before and after each passage was undertaken to identify the host-adapted changes in the antigenic sites and host specific amino acids. We showed that virus replication in turkey embryos leads to mutations in the HA gene of SIVs that are similar to those found in triple reassortant turkey H3N2 viruses. Glycan-HA interactions in the respiratory epithelial cells of swine and turkeys was analyzed. Homology modeling of HA1 proteins indicated a switch in the glycan topology from the open umbrella structure to the cone form after passaging the viruses in turkey embryos. Our results suggest that turkey embryos could serve as an alternative model to study virus evolution and interspecies transmission of SIVs.

___________________________________________________


How many labs, apart from this American Lab, have been tinkering around with bird/human/swine combination viruses like this?  Might this be some "oops"   errr... um... "accidental" release? Sort of like the Barker incident? Or ....what?

In the meantime, the media, instead of asking real questions, goes straight for the emotional jugular.  Take people's mind off the recession/depression??? Ramp up fear, so that everyone's immune system is so stressed that it crashes out, making them more susceptible to any disease?

The "experts" are saying that this might fizzle out into a hugely big yawn, but my gut doesn't tell me that, yet.... 

If it does fizzle out, will anyone ask why it is, that deaths only hit in Mexico, with viruses that didn't even orginate there?   Are we being told the truth about how many deaths in Mexico?  Is Mexico doing a "China" to protect their tourism, and shot economy? Is there more to this than is being told?

The medical profession in this country as reported by the New Zealand Herald, have attempted to stop the media giving the drama the full monty, which is good in one respect, but highly unusual, since New Zealand doctors don't like to miss an opportunity to persuade people to believe the worst, and get a needle.  If they're being honest, good on them:

Dr Jacobs reiterated cases of influenza A on flight NZ5 had not been confirmed.

"At this stage there's nothing about NZ5 that makes it any different to any other group of people coming back from the US and Mexico, because we don't have confirmed cases of influenza A on that flight."

Dr Jacobs said he was happy with the way the suspected swine flu cases had been handled.

"Until late yesterday afternoon we didn't even know for sure these people had influenza.

"What they had was mild upper respiratory infection, so it could just have easily been a cold," he said.

"It could turn out to be one of the many other forms of influenza A."

Dr Jacobs said health officials had been reacting to information as it became available.

He said that only a small group of people would have had contact with the students and of the students themselves, very few were feeling unwell.

He said New Zealand was in quite a different situation to Mexico where there were potentially many infections but only a small number of tests for the virus had been carried out.

"The great, great majority of potential cases in Mexico still haven't been confirmed as linked to this particular swine flu," he said.

"It's still early days in terms of what we know but there's no indication it's any more infectious than any other strain of influenza."

That, ladies and gentlemen, is a real yawn. 

Or is it a mirage?  Who knows?

There's part of me that says that the official laisse-faire attitude, might turn out to be wrong.  I felt from the start, that the Bird Flu was simply a cash cow... but this time... something is niggling in my instincts, starting with the "origin" of this very suspiciously unnatural mixture of viruses.

Lots of other questions percolate ... just a few are.... why now?  Coincidence?   Why... just after the USA elections? Coincidence? Why just after so many little people have had their livelihoods fleeced by banks? Coincidence???

There are also a whole lot of medical "coincidences" which I've not mentioned here, that also don't add up.  So I will wait, and watch, and think.  And maybe blog some more...

But ... before you shut your eyes completely on this blog..., do read this.  It could be very very important....

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