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April 22, 2022

HOLLYWOOD blockbuster Contagion was pro-vaccine protective big state big pharma anti-conspiracy theory-led unregulated online “disinformation and misinformation” propaganda (“blogging is not writing, it’s graffiti with punctuation”, a respected scientific specialist played by Elliot Gould in a business suit dismissively told Alan Krumwiede (sounds like Alien Untrustworthy), played by Jude Law, the maverick blogger in casual clothes) which prepared us for the COVID-19 pandemic caused by SARS-CoV-2 virus and the biotech cash bonanza it prompted.

Starting with Gwyneth Paltrow coughing in an Asian airport terminal after casual sex with a stranger on her way back to the US, all the deliberately disproportionately magnified threats about a virus which in the film originated with bats infecting pigs in China – “as many as 70 million could die”, said Dr Ellis Cheever (sounds like Doctor Achiever), played by Laurence Fishburne, but just over six million have in real life according to the latest World Health Organisation figures  were used on the big screen.

Contentious stuff including credit cards and touch screens being infected (that frighteningly ludicrously alarmist business of not touching your face which dominated health messaging early in 2020 when we thought twice about using the handrails on stairs needlessly, enforced cremation of the dead on health grounds with cemeteries closed to the public and the digital tracing of all contacts by the infected, the closing down of all international borders to make us the problem and scientists and a ruling elite the only solution legitimised in the psyche of individuals for some reason in this 2011 film.

And in that, just like in real life (spooky and uncanny, eh!) it was a vaccine which saved humankind from the spread of death and disease in a deliberately magnified predicted doomsday scenario (remember mad Dominic Cummings and his Independence Day ravings about Jeff Goldblum rescuing humanity?) and it emerged surprisingly quickly from pure and virtuous scientists backed unconditionally by big pharma and big government.

Yes, SARS-CoV-2 is novel and treacherous because it could affect kidneys, heart, liver as well circulatory and gastrointestinal systems with a unique ability to inhibit the virus fighting T and B cells with the potential for the body to attack it’s own cells but Contagion-style end of times?

Watching it again today brought home exactly how deviously, devilishly deliberate that movie really was in bringing about compliance and obedience in a frightened worldwide populace (“we need to make sure that nobody knows until everybody knows”) who might have put up more resistance (the filmed violence among hooded and masked people desperate to get the jabs and the riots outside shops cooked up to warn us of complete breakdown in society which never really materialised because people too lamely accepted whatever restrictions and medication they were given purely and simply out of irrational fear).

Considering it time to get serious about science after agreeing to be vaccinated by the state (twice summoned to a surgery with bizarre personal telephone calls from doctors to my mobile phone and once to a converted leisure centre staffed by strangers after being bombarded with text messages) under considerable pressure and without any proper qualitative or informed consent or knowledge of things like what is actually in the AstraZeneca and Pfizer BioNTech doses I received nor their possible side effects and how they were made so stunningly quickly, I decided to read a book which would hopefully tell me.

A Shot to Save the World (ironically, employing exactly the same Hollywood hyperbole in the title for commercial reasons as was used regularly in Contagion and relying on many of its assumptions about lethality rather too trustingly) by New York Times business and investment writer Gregory Zuckerman is mainly concerned with the potential for profit to boost the incomes of scientists and researchers by increasing sales to worldwide health authorities and injecting growth in stock exchange shares for anyone invested in, say, AstraZeneca or Pfizer BioNTech. Speculators in the know presumably switched all their funds into such stocks around 2018 and are now rolling in filthy lucre vaccinated against infection and poverty, raising the thorny issue of advance knowledge by select insiders, a persistent trope among conspiracy theorists.

The biological research community needs money to prosper and grow so will not turn down profit, which acts as THE greatest natural motivator for most. My poorly informed view had always been that university laboratory boffins were motivated purely by the greater good and increasing life expectancy for anyone threatened with death or serious infection from AIDS, cancer, and/or COVID-19 while shunning greed like trappist monks in monasteries in the Andes pursuing higher, more spiritual goals. Zuckerman explains how wrong that assumption is.

Injecting mRNA into the body has a potential to cure all ills by effectively giving us our own in-built vaccine factory which acts fast and effectively to fight or cure cancers and other diseases so the battle between competing laboratory researchers to be the first to publish findings then win drug company cash bringing massive profits has been ferociously bitter and bloody.

“If mRNA molecules were employed to create short-term proteins, they would have to be reapplied on a regular basis, potentially leading to repeated sales of any mRNA medication. In other words, the fact that it was more more fleeting could make it more profitable,” he writes.

Vaccines teach our cells how to make a protein that will trigger an immune response inside our bodies. Like all vaccines, mRNA jabs benefit people who get vaccinated by giving them protection against diseases like COVID-19 without risking the potentially serious consequences of getting sick, goes the theory.

My personal view about COVID-19 was firmly, for some reason, that I was not vulnerable but that the best possible protection I would have would be to catch it and fight it off naturally, thereby building immunity in the same way as I did fighting Chicken pox in my fifties.

It is a secular, fundamentally scientific evangelical proactive (before not after the possible event) medicinal intervention which seeks to alter the way your body naturally defends itself with anti-bodies to fight destructive cancerous or other malignant tumours and infections which act rather like devastation and destruction seeking devils intent on spreading and, ironically, also prospering and growing like stock exchange shares until they eventually bring about their desired end, death.

Controversy is based very firmly in the fact that some people may be allergic to the ingredients in the vaccines and cases of myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle) and pericarditis (inflammation of the lining outside the heart) have been reported after vaccination with Comirnaty, a 30 microgram dose of which I received in December at Newport Leisure Centre. My understanding was that I had the freedom to decline but would be denied free movement and international travel and may have faced difficulties ever again engaging with the NHS and could be socially stigmatised and denied health insurance and other basic protections. This left me with no viable alternative but to roll up my sleeve.

The package leaflet for this Pfizer BIOnTech vaccine says this:

“Like all vaccines, Comirnaty can cause side effects, although not everybody gets them.

“Very common side effects (may affect more than one in ten people some slightly more frequent in 12 to 13 year olds than in adults) Injection site pain and swelling, tiredness, headache, muscle pain, chills, joint pain, diarrhoea and fever. Common side effects (one in ten) Injection site redness, nausea and vomiting. Uncommon side effects (one in 100) enlarged lymph nodes, feeling unwell, arm pain, insomnia, injection site itching, allergic reactions such as rash or itching, feeling weak or lack of energy/sleepy, decreased appetite, excessive sweating, night sweats. Rare side effects (one in 1,000) one-sided facial drooping, allergic reaction such as hives or swelling of the face. Not known (cannot be estimated from the available data) Severe allergic reaction, myocarditis and pericarditis, palpitations and chest pain, extensive swelling of the vaccinated limb, swelling of the face.

The vaccine sceptics and conspiracy theorists know people HAVE died as a result of taking these vaccines, Tory MP Chris Chope has met resistance to his efforts to protect people with legislation at Westminster and a very cunningly collusive and collaborative media and ruling elite has branded all independent truth seekers seeking to debate online as conspiracists spreading misinformation and lies, very seriously heightening the understandable suspicion.

I take a list of medication daily, some NHS prescribed some not, to treat other underlying conditions and all of these carry warnings of possible side effects, too, so I persistently debate internally the pros versus cons of prescribed medication (if only Elvis Presley and many others more locally had seriously contemplated this before killing themselves with Dr Feelgood’s pills) and often wonder if they are negatively causing or positively preventing some of these troubling new health conditions.

The move from face-to-face consultations with medics at surgeries to a cocktail of jabs and a remote, inaccessible NHS with fewer meetings with GPs and hospitals in “black alert” troubles me greatly, too, and I fear being mandated to accept all biotech interventions routinely proactively for problems I neither have nor may ever get, thereby becoming a passive pincushion rather than an active collaborator with a doctor who really knows me and can accurately measure risk.

Indeed, mRNA vaccine technology threatens conventional medicine and its practitioners, many traditionalists adamant that the common cold should run its course for instance, because it seeks to eliminate ills by injecting proteins into cells, harking a new age of injected health and safety and protection with little or no need for doctors at all. Herein lies its most potent and polarising power.

Members of the born-again evangelical charismatic Christian fraternity and many other religious faiths like the Mormons – locked in opposed fundamentals to science because they believe in scriptural absolutes such as the Allmighty’s Will being obeyed and undiluted in this and the next life, many relying on prayer and a Pastor’s spiritual healing for protection, are the most stubborn in their opposition to this spectacular scientific advance partly because it artificially interferes with their creator’s creation and normalises a reliance on science rather than belief to cure all ills while removing external locus of control over issues like birth and death again being in the hands of a creator.

They, of course, also oppose homosexuality so those stricken with AIDS – in their eyes God’s judgement for sin – in the 1980s would never have benefited from perhaps the most groundbreaking advances achieved after experimenting on insects, rats and then humans using laboratory petri dishes then administering real vaccines compared with a placebo to accurately and systematically gauge reliability and efficacy of the jabs. Life expectancy for AIDS victims was, consequently, radically altered and improved to the point where now it no longer kills. Other advances in mRNA technology have brought about massive changes to many other health outcomes.

Many of the often zany, brilliant and unconventional scientists who offered Zuckerman evidence and explanation of their work in laboratories all over the world to overcome very considerable opposition and hostility from mRNA sceptics in the scientific community who doubted their methods talk about “playing God” and “being evangelical” about their discoveries – adding greatly to the belief/faith versus science/reason dispute underpinning the current controversy around giving repeated COVID-19 jabs, particularly to children and young people with no symptoms.

In Contagion, the MEV-1 virus is successfully grown in a laboratory using monkeys by a scientist and their vaccination  is presented as our only hope of relief from mass extinction and Aussie blogger Law’s mocked and deranged natural drug Forsythia, which he presents as a wonder cure, is deliberately set against it as a crazy and typically irresponsible malign wild online misinformation hoax threatening scientific authority and human life.

Watson and Crick’s discovery of the structure of DNA, first published in 1953, gave rise to modern molecular biology, which is largely concerned with understanding how genes control the chemical processes within cells, yielding ground-breaking insights into the genetic code and protein synthesis and paving the way for exciting and groundbreaking work to make anti-viral drugs to treat AIDS and cancer and, now, COVID-19.

Zuckerman takes us chronologically through the scientific progress starting in 1979 with advances in treating pneumocystis pheumonia and other puzzling infections and tumours with a sideline on the 1774 southern England farmer’s smallpox treatment after scraping pus from one of his cows showing signs of cowpox which led scientists to adopt similar procedures and further science and life expectancy.

Bitter battles between US firm Moderna and the German one which became BioNTech and was helped by Pfizer dominate the 1990s and early 2000s with Oxford-based boffins then offering AstraZeneca their discoveries.

Biotech scientific pioneers in laboratories competing with each other are here described as frequently foul-mouthed, socially inadequate or isolated, manically driven egotists, sloppily dressed outsiders struggling to engage and get good rapport with ordinary people and, crucially, with the big pharma big bucks suits who have the power to make or break them by awarding contracts.

Zuckerman is clear on the Chinese government’s malign efforts in December 2019 to keep secret the emergence of a killer virus emanating out of a Wuhan wet market where bats were bought and eaten by locals and goes on to speculate about a Chinese lab leak.

On January 23, 2020, Chinese leaders locked down Wuhan and three other cities in the biggest quarantine in history. “They were going to push to make a vaccine before the end of the year, faster than any vaccine had ever been made. But BioNTech only had about $300 million on its balance sheet, even less cash than Moderna”.

Other scientists who had worked on AIDS also shifted to COVID-19, to genetically engineer antibodies in the lab in a worldwide race to save lives.

Oxford University collaborators Adrian Hill and Sarah Gilbert screened healthy volunteers in the Thames Valley who were under 55 and we’re confident their vaccine worked and they raced past everyone in the early stages certain they were safe so AstraZeneca, the Cambridge-based firm, distributed it.

Zuckerman too easily falls for the charm and romantic patter of hubris-infected bio-tech pioneers and their carefully curated claim to be lifesavers and the intense egotism and power this engendered in them, failing to properly assess critically the demerits of a proactive biotech intervention heralding a new jab and isolate system.

COVID-19 has turned our political public servants into our private rulers ordering altruistic behaviour in us they are incapable of themselves and it is now forcing us to protect a national health service which was designed to protect us by us agreeing to avoid using it so staff within it can cope.

It has removed face-to-face GP appointments and normalised distant and remote care, invasive surveillance and an insulting and psychologically devastating legitimised view that people are a danger unless they can prove otherwise so are forced to put the safety of others first and regularly now face suspicion.

Be thankful that you’re alive, especially if you have shares in Pfizer BioNTech and keep taking the jabs is well and good but only for so long.

When people start to realise what has really happened to us in the past two years and all the things we have lost and will never regain, however, many will wonder why we accepted tamely so much of it for such relatively low comparable risk to health and they will wonder why we had to be nudged so forcibly by corny confected claptrap like Contagion.



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