Profiting from Coronavirus 429

On 5 May, the British security services released to their pet media the claim that Russia, China and Iran were attempting to hack into British research institutes conducting coronavirus research. The BBC reported it. Britain’s shameful copy and paste media all, without exception, just copy and pasted the government press release.

The Guardian gave the quote:

“Any attack against efforts to combat the coronavirus crisis is utterly reprehensible. We have seen an increased proportion of cyber-attacks related to coronavirus and our experts work around the clock to help organisations targeted”.

If Britain had one single mainstream media journalist willing to think, rather than just regurgitate government propaganda, they might have realised that there is a massive story here if you look at it the other way round. The quote from the Guardian deliberately attempted to give the impression that Russia, China and Iran were trying to disable, destroy or hamper coronavirus research: “Any attack against efforts to combat the coronavirus”. But if you read carefully through those articles, you find that the allegation is merely that they are attempting hack in to gain access to the research.

Because the UK and the US are attempting to hide their vaccine and treatment research results from the rest of the world to make money out of them.

Much has been written about the possibility for a new and better kind of world to emerge after coronavirus. Yet our governments cannot conceive of any model for fighting this threat to the whole world, other than the capitalist, money-making model. The much-touted “race to develop a vaccine” is not a race to save lives. It is a race to make billions.

The United States and the United Kingdom are working in all international fora to head off efforts to pool global research and to make any vaccine or medicine a good for the world. Governments can reward those working on the vaccine, and the companies for providing the facilities, using economic models other than the patent and the potential for massive profit.

It may come as a shock to you to realise that at the moment all those lovely vaccine and medicine researchers you see being interviewed on TV about their efforts to compress trials and approvals and get the product to the marketplace, are not sharing their results with fellow researchers around the world. They are rather jealously guarding them and each working in a bubble hoping to be the first in order to cash in. It is certainly true that many of the researchers themselves do not like this, but are controlled by their bosses.

For me, the failure to set up a worldwide shared scientific database on all coronavirus vaccine and medicine research, and the failure to set up a prior agreement on free manufacture worldwide of effective resulting vaccines and treatments, is the most revealing fact about the entire coronavirus episode. The fact that the British government is putting massive resources into ensuring the Chinese or Russians cannot “steal” our research – and doubtless the Chinese and Russians are doing the same, all states are hypocrites in these matters – should sicken everybody.

Our politicians repeatedly attack China for an alleged lack of openness on the pandemic while upholding a profit-led model for tackling it. That model not only excludes openness on research but necessitates security service action to protect the research from being accessed by other researchers in other countries whose collaboration could be invaluable to the world.

There is a report tucked away in today’s Guardian that opens a window on all this:

The sole resolution before the assembly this year is an EU proposal for a voluntary patent pool. Drug and vaccine companies would then be under pressure to give up the monopoly that patents allow them on their inventions, which means they can charge high prices, so that all countries can make or buy affordable versions.

In the weeks of negotiations leading up to the meeting, which is scheduled to last for less than a day, there has been a dispute over the language of the resolution. Countries with major pharmaceutical companies argue they need patents to guarantee sufficiently high prices in wealthy nations to recoup their research and development costs.

Even more fraught have been attempts to reinforce countries’ existing rights to break drug and vaccine company patent monopolies if they need to for the sake of public health. A hard-fought battle over Aids drugs 20 years ago led to the World Trade Organization’s Doha declaration on trade-related intellectual property (Trips) in favour of access to medicines for all, but the US, which has some of the world’s biggest drug companies, has strongly opposed wording that would encourage the use of Trips.

But this refers to protecting the rights in the product eventually to be manufactured. There is prior action needed on lifting all veils on research and the free interflow in real time between companies, institutions and nations of all research ideas and date in the struggle to develop vaccines and treatments. It should be a great joint enterprise bringing the world together, not a race between nations to cash in. The free real time sharing of all research worldwide could make progress substantially quicker, to the benefit of everybody on the planet we share.

If we cannot put aside profit in favour of altruism as the motive in the fight against a massive common threat, then I despair for the future of human society. No wonder we are prey to pandemics.


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429 thoughts on “Profiting from Coronavirus

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  • A.C.Doyle

    The profit motive and the secrecy that surrounds pathogen research and the commercial (and state security) interests in this field may lead to a situation which exposes humanity to grave danger. Even greater than if no such research existed.

    One can see benefits if there exists a slick process chain from (1) isolating and identifying a pathogen (virus etc.), (2) developing a vaccine and ensuring its safety and (3) implementing an wide scale immunisation program. All that, especially if that pathogen has a pandemic potential. Of course even that is not uncontroversial, raising issues about vaccine safety, individual rights etc.

    The main problems come if all this is not done for the good of humanity, but for the benefits of narrower interest groups. You don’t have to look very far for examples of dishonest and greed in virus research (for example, the story of the controversy surrounding the discovery of HIV mentioned earlier in this thread) to understand that the good of humanity comes low in the list of priorities.

    Let’s, as an illustration, take an imaginary mad scientist who wants to hold humanity to ransom. He develops both a pandemic virus and a matching vaccine. He offers to sell the vaccine with the implied thread that he would release the virus. OK. You can’t imagine an individual organising and benefiting from such a crude scheme. But could a state sponsored or even a commercial operation benefit from an adaption of that scheme ?

    Let’s take an example of regime A, again as the mad scientist above, developing a virus with pandemic potential and matching vaccine then including that virus as part of a national immunisation program. That could be a military check mate move. Of course that is if you don’t look too far at what the world would be like afterwards. But then, again, it would not be that much different to the MAD (mutually assured destruction) concept of nuclear weapons, but with the dubious benefit of being probably several orders of magnitude cheaper. That is, secret pathogen research could lead to an arms race in pandemic pathogens creating doomsday weapons cheaper and more effective than the current nuclear arsenals.

    Actually, for such a scheme to be effective, it is theoretically possible, with a reduction in precision, to consider pathogens which target specific race characteristics. If the suspicion that such research is being carried out could lead to programs to develop counter threats. All this increasing the risk of accidental release.

    Incidentally, development of dangerous pathogens can be done on relatively modest budget:

    In conclusion, unless all research in this field of pandemic pathogens is made visible, and verifiably so, the suspicion of abuse is likely to promote a potentially dangerous counter reaction. Since elimination of secrecy is not compatible with commercial interests, the latter must concede.

    • N_

      Many thanks for that interesting link from 2014. But rather than a mad scientist, I think it’s more useful to suppose that the world ruling class wants to reduce the population fast in a way that brings the additional benefit of conditioning the survivors the way it wants to. That fits with the known facts of the past few months as well as with a sensible overall take on the dynamic of the epoch.

    • Clark

      I agree that all the surveillance is pointing the wrong way, observing the public and placing the data in private or governmental control. It should be turned around, observing government, boardrooms, labs and factories and making it all public. We the public are an utterly insignificant risk compared with what goes on behind commercial and governmental secrecy.

    • SA

      Some of these checks are in place but have been heavily dominated by the US and their powers subverted or blunted. There are two examples, the 1972 Convention on the Prohibition of Biological weapons which has been accepted and ratified by most states, exceptions below, and the WHO.
      1972 Convention on the Prohibition of Biological weapons has since been
      modified several times , but two notable facts need to be highlighted, Israel is one of the non-signatory member and also from the first Wikipedia entry above
      ” Verification and compliance issues[edit]
      A long process of negotiation to add a verification mechanism began in the 1990s. Previously, at the second Review Conference of State Parties in 1986, member states agreed to strengthen the treaty by reporting annually on Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) to the United Nations. (Currently, only about half of the treaty signatories actually submit these voluntary annual reports.) The following Review Conference in 1991 established a group of government experts (known as VEREX). Negotiations towards an internationally binding verification protocol to the BWC took place between 1995 and 2001 in a forum known as the Ad Hoc Group. On 25 July 2001, the Bush administration, after conducting a review of policy on biological weapons, decided that the proposed protocol did not suit the national interests of the United States. ”
      So this convention is very weakened and probably ineffective, unless, as happened with Syria in 2015, the US wants to ienforce compliance. As we all well know the OPCW has been taken over and despite Syria’s verification of getting rid of all CW, something the US has not completed, they have been attacked several times under false pretences.
      The second institution that is supposed to look after the welfare of the world population is the WHO. As we all know the US under Trump has now decided to withhold funding from the WHO because in the WHO it is one of many equals, but they would like to use the WHO instead as an instrument of US foreign policy. The US is even threatening to withdraw altogether from the WHO, thereby probably weakening it to the extent that it will become ineffective. This is a lesson to be heeded by those conspiracy theorists who keep telling us that the WHO is one of the instruments of World Government’.
      So why on earth would a country want to weaken or ignore those two world bodies?

  • Stevie Boy

    “… the British security services … claim that Russia, China and Iran were attempting to hack into British research institutes conducting coronavirus research.”
    Any semi proficient hacker would be very easily able to hide their identity and their location. VPNs, spoofing IP addresses and maliciously inserted false meta data are all methods readily available to Joe Public, let alone the security services. You only need to recall the disclosures of Edward Snowden to realise the security services cannot be trusted or believed, not just in the UK but everywhere and specifically wrt the members of the ‘Five Eyes’ and Mossad.

    • Piotr+Berman

      Who knows, perhaps there was a specific “attempt” as opposed to an ordinary phishing junk mail that everyone gets or a vapor of imagination of the properly instructed agents of those “security services” — misinformation is one of their lines of work.

      But if there was a dossier released to the public… wait, would that be really reassuring?

  • michael norton

    In the U.K. the total number of deaths seen so far this year is nearly 260,000 – 44,700 above what would be expected.

    It would seem that inmates ( like nursing homes) make up about half of all who have died of covid-19.
    This is a disgrace.

    • michael norton

      I’d like to change my statement.

      It would seem that now, inmates ( like nursing homes) make up about half of those currently dying of covid-19,
      this was not the case in the early days.

      • Yalt

        Here in Ohio we’ve discovered a solution to this problem. We stopped testing prisoners, and the number of “new cases” in our prisons plummeted overnight.

        I mean we couldn’t in good conscience have reopened our prison intake services if there were a deadly pandemic going on inside, could we?

  • Clark

    Martinned, I request some legal advice.

    It seems the UK government is planning to permit up to 100,000 avoidable deaths:

    I’m no lawyer, but if this isn’t illegal I can’t imagine what is. Nearly all of these deaths could be avoided:

    How can a legal challenge be made?

    • N_

      @Clark – I don’t know the answer, but it would be interesting to see whether the British government claims “public interest immunity” when refusing to reveal its planning documents.

      Even before the army-driven “NHS vans” trundle in to poor areas, the middle classes are having their lifelong prejudices stoked up by most of the media against proletarians who supposedly have low intelligence, poorer hygiene, and who constitute some kind of flood tide of “untermenschen”, hell-bent on assuaging their animalistic urges as if the virus never existed. “They’ve got it coming to them” is the idea that’s building.

      if there’s one idea that British middle class types are indoctrinated with by their parents from a very young age, it’s that working class people spread germs. Anybody reading these words who belongs to the said demographic, you know damned well that this is true. The idea is implicit whenever a middle class tosser uses the phrase “general public” (or perhaps, if they’re “educated”, “cross-section of the population”). They think proletarians a) smell and b) shag like rabbits, and essentially both of these ideas are brought together in the single idea that associates the dispossessed majority with the idea of the spread of disease, or the danger thereof.

      Whoever doesn’t suss that this is the message in the media is REALLY failing to pay attention.

      And the next move by the elite is…


      This is class war with only one side fighting.

      • N_

        Even if free movement were restored right away, I doubt there would be even 50% of the usual summer holidaymaking by “white working class” (or Sun-reading lower middle class) British people in Spain. How could there be when unemployment has shot up so fast? And it is by no means affecting only those whose incomes when they had jobs were relatively low. Yet the media are full of phrases such as “flouting quarantine” and references to “Easyjet” and (with a nudge and a wink) “low risk” countries – “as if Spain were one of those” being the message that gets through to those who consider themselves a cut above the “unwashed”. Which is not to say the rulers are trying to push that percentage down. On the contrary, they are trying to push it up. Here’s a helpy “air bridge”. Then the next message will be “the scum followed their debased instincts and now they’re back, and ooh, look at those graphs – how dare they think they can get away with endangering the lives of all decent people”. “NHϟ! NHϟ!” (I am so much thinking of rallying Trumpers from 2016 when I type that acronym: “UϟA! UϟA!”)

        • N_

          There ought to be some way that those of us who oppose the massacre can put aside our differences and unite. Best we don’t become conscious of that need only somewhat later when it’s too late.

          • Bayard

            Thanks for the ϟ character, now saved for future use. Pity the DHϟϟ is no more.

          • N_

            I turned the radio on today for the first time in several weeks. “Today had the peak temperature this year so far,” said the weatherman. Note how the lingo has been affected by virus discourse. What does he expect? It’s spring! June will be even warmer. Then there were two paramedics who, asked what were they were finding different at work, replied that all their colleagues said it was “weird” (i.e. they’ve been conditioned not to verbalise what’s happening, and to talk about it rather like infants), there was a lot of “camaraderie” (sounds like the army), and as far as actually serving the people their organisation is supposed to serve goes, they are finding that they are “exploring a lot of alternative pathways”. Truth is that much of what used to be the state health service has shut down.

    • Jack


      I agree with you, this can not be legal, its negligence or even worse, I don’t know the correct term but something like ?

      The first move forward should be for all these people that have lost a person where they do not believe this very person got the proper treatment they were entitled to, to come together and create a mass opinion about it and eventually build a legal case from it.

      Globally, I fear that nothing will be learnt from this mess, no culpability will be taken or punishment will be committed.

    • N_

      Relevant: “Britons required to ‘lend a hand’ this summer to ‘bring harvest home’ due to lack of foreign workers, says environment secretary George Eustice. “(O)ne thing is clear and that is that this year we will need to rely on British workers to lend a hand to help bring that harvest home.”

      “Mr Eustice said British workers, ‘particularly those who are furloughed’, should visit the (Pick for Britain) website in order to ‘help bring that harvest home’ because ‘only about a third’ of the normal fruit picking workforce is available this year.”

      So there is a “go to our website” policy against famine. Does anybody think it will work?

      Guess what. The Pick for Britain site is down. Nice contract for somebody!

      The campaign has also been advertised by the deranged crown prince. Wearing spotless “country” clothes, the Rudolf Steiner-praising heir to the throne called for volunteering by “pickers who are stickers”. “We need an army of people to help” and “food doesn’t happen by magic”, explained the mentally challenged billionaire, standing with one hand in his pocket and gesticulating with the other, looking like an aging thespian. He added that the harvest continues into the autumn, for those who didn’t get into Cambridge with two Es at A Level, probably awarded because of who their parents were, and who would otherwise believe, unlike such a wise polymath as him, that most crops in Britain were picked in February.

      Reminder: the whole toilet paper business was propaganda, misdirecting from food. You don’t have to be a “behavioural economist” or to have read Daniel Kahneman to realise that people buy stuff if they’re told it’s running out.

      • N_

        Since several media organs commented on how the Pick for Britain website advertised by the crown prince and at the 10 Downing Street briefing wasn’t working, someone has published some old cr*p there, exhorting people to please “bare with us” (sic). They seem to have strong armed forces connections. I was expecting Gloucestershire connections, but the company is registered in Winchester and the only named person associated with it is Miranda Knyvett, whose main work history she describes as making high profile families feel at ease. What qualifications do you need for that kind of career! But a more important question is why can’t the government itself do something about bringing the harvest in? One could also ask what the f*** this has to do with”supporting Britain’s farmers”? I thought it was about feeding the population, most of whom aren’t big landowners. Watch this space. Not much PR spend is going on this at the moment – that’s obvious – but that will change. Funny how the rulers love us so much they can keep us separated from each other in every shop in the country but the can’t send the army in to pick vegetables, so many will soon get reacquainted with their ribs. In fact you could say one of the functions of the lockdown is to wear people down so they don’t get their act together to do something against starving, which of course as in any country requires mass collective violent action against the forces of the rulers’ Order on the streets, especially in large cities.

    • fwl


      If your complaining of ineptitude, perversity, turpitude, wickedness, incompetence and injustice then it may be your thinking of maladministration.

      Alternative – voting booth remedy.

      • N_

        Seriously? Should those who didn’t stock up on food eat three or four of their own limbs and then make sure they vote in 2024…oh dear…no polling station…and here are our own graves…and which party would have been the right one to vote for anyway?

        If physical polling stations do reopen perhaps they will be in hospitals. Reopening schools before the productive economy is reopened is kind of stage two after the slaughter of the elderly in care homes. Or stage three if one includes what’s happening to the homeless. Some homeless people who have managed to stay alive having been kicked out of temporary lodgings are sleeping at Heathrow airport right now. And as the press are reminding their readers they are British people who have gone to Heathrow for the simple reasons that a) it’s warm and b) unlike in city centres they aren’t being hassled by the police there. They are not homeless foreigners who have managed somehow to buy themselves air tickets (nice trick if you can do it) before arriving in the Softy Handouts Land of Tory legend and swanning past the border guards to make a beeline for all the freebies.

        For many who are not in such destitute conditions it’s still not too late to hoard food, given that rationing is only per supermarket and by implication it is per person per whatever period is reasonable for the supermarket staff not to realise you’ve gone back in a second time, rather than a straightforward per person per week ration card model as during WW2. The flag is well and truly UP now. There is no way that all of this year’s harvest is coming in.

  • Blissex

    There are two separate issues here:

    * Hacking attempts: I have spoken with some “geek” friends and they are skeptical that the chinese are specifically attempting to steal COVID trade secrets, their guess is that most hacking comes from organized gangs, not the governments, of China and Russia (and Nigeria…), and those gangs make attempts all the time on everything, and the political propaganda simply points out at some of those attempts as if they were special or government run. Some even suspect that some chinese or russian gangs are being paid by western companies to hack their competitors, as industrial espionage is very common.

    * As to the profit motive, that’s how it is supposed to work: greed is meant to be “the invisible hand” that propels most people to work hard to earn money, whether it is the butcher or the pharmacist. I would not criticize the pharmaceutical companies for their (ravenous indeed) greed, but the governments for not funding public research alternatives, and for listening to the pharma lobby when they argue that public research alternatives would “confiscate” their chances of making lots of money.

  • Christopher Barclay

    It’s very naive to think that the hackers are not motivated themselves by money. They would not share the research. They would use it for their own commercial gain.

    There is an international organisation whose aim is to combat pandemics. Its called the World Health Organisation and it used its accumulated wisdom to tell us that Covid-19 could not be transmitted from person to person when its sponsor, the Chinese Government, knew this to be untrue.

    • ET

      No, they did not. They said there was no evidence of human to human transmission at the time whilst at the same time recommended that the most strict measures to protect against human to human transmission be used.

      Based on the preliminary information from the Chinese investigation team, no evidence of significant human-to-human transmission and no health care worker infections have been reported.

      Based on information provided by national authorities, WHO’s recommendations on public health measures and surveillance of influenza and severe acute respiratory infections still apply.

      Their protocol on said measures and surveillance can be found here:

      Any public health employee reading this statement on Jan 5 from the WHO would have known that whilst they had no evidence of human to human transmission they recommended to deal with it as if it had.

  • Republicofscotland

    Well Trump has admitted he’s taking a anti-malaria drug to stop him from catching Covid-19, Trump has also threatened the (WHO) with cutting their funding to it permanently if they don’t sort themselves out in thirty days.

    I suspect Trump means that the (WHO) should take the USA’s side over China’s with regards to Covid-19, and hold China to account in some way. Trump then goes on to call the (WHO) especially its head, Tedross Adhanom, a puppet of China. The USA has a history of using funding to get what it wants, or try to, the American president of the day tried to have the then UN Secretary General Boutros Boutros Ghali removed from office because he didn’t comply enough to their liking.

    Trump like Johnson, is desperate to pin his abysmal handling of this pandemic, (Johnson has singled out the Civil Service and in particular its head Sir Mark Sedwell) on anyone or any nation, or organisation, Australia is already singling out China, a hazardous route as China is Australia’s main trading partner, already China has banned Aussie beef imports that will cost thousands of Australian jobs.

    Meanwhile the (ONS) puts deaths from Covid-19 in England and Wales close to 40,000.

    • N_

      Trump wants to win or keep blue-collar support in swing states in the rust belt in the November election [1] by demonising China. Since much of what is sold at supermarket chain Walmart is currently imported from China, US citizens may soon learn that you can’t eat guns.

      1) Things may not get that far. Got to wonder whether that drug used against malaria, an illness caused by neither a virus nor a bacterium, is contraindicated by Trump’s other favourite, disinfectant.

      • Ken Kenn

        Trump and the Neo – liberal coterie suffer from a non understanding of how capitalism works.

        Ideally they would like the US workers to work at Chinese labour hourly rates but buy his mates goods at US retail prices.

        If they can’t do that they want the banks to lend the workers money to do so.

        The problem is the banks ( for they are no fools ) would say ” How are these workers going to pay us back when they are only on Chinese wages? ”

        I’ve no doubt the UK Randists think the same.

        Imagine if the Pope admitted that he had never read the Bible and then it will all become clear to every Catholic.

        I’m utterly convinced that these alleged Market movers and shakers have no idea what the business they are in actually is and absolutely no idea of how it works.

        That is why we are in the mess we’re in.

        They have no answers because they don’t even know what the questions should be.

    • Scientist

      With T`rump I think it’s more visceral than that. Sure blaming China shifts the blame but he could have blamed anything or anyone – why China?

      I believe that’s from his long standing fear of China and its rise as a world super-power.

      China had an opportunity to come out of this pretty well – contained it pretty well, providing PPE around the world, and might be one of the first to a vaccine etc.

      Trump is desperate to stop this – he wants him and the US to be number one – by any means.

  • Jo+Dominich

    Ah, the problem is here, how is a vaccine being developed for a virus that has not yet been isolated so its properties not known. If, of course, Covid-19 actually exists. Big Pharma are not going to relinquish extortionate profits for anything. The USA will block that. Also, just another note, a few days ago the head of WHO said the alleged virus (let’s call it a strong flu) would ‘burn itself out’ and therefore, would not require a vaccine.

    I certainly wouldn’t take any vaccine given the lack of effectiveness and some of the hidden health consequences of the flu jab. Last year I took a friend to hospital who was running a high temperature, was sick and dizzy and was feeling very ill. The Consultant in A&E told her to go away, she had a virus and they didn’t treat viruses because they could not be treated. I have to say she is in the much lower income bracket and the NHS are very seduced by middle class and wealth. So, what is it? Can viruses be treated? If not as the Drs in A&E said, what are we wasting our time on trying to get a vaccine when the Head of WHO has said it will burn itself out and will not require a vaccine?

    Add to that all the internationally renowned virologist and epidemiologists are clearly saying, and talking a lot of common sense, that this is a virus that is nothing more than a strong flu. It is not a killer virus unless you are in the 80yrs+ vulnerable group with two or more co morbid conditions. There is no vaccine or anything else that will change anything. It is an extended flu season. I am in no doubt Big Pharma is pulling a fast one here. “Money makes the world go around, the world go around…..”

    We are being subjected to the most extensive propaganda campaign that I can think of in my lifetime. The MSM are daily publishing fake news, disinformation and fear mongering stories that have no merit or truth to them. Let’s end lockdown and this idiocy. No Vaccine. No New World Order. No profits for Big Pharma. No world domination for the USA.

    • Brian c

      You need to somehow get your message to Cuba, Venezuela, China, Vietnam et al. Tell them they’re being duped by western MSM.

      • Jo+Dominich

        Brian C interesting – precisely countries who have and are currently being targetted by the USA. Added to which of course, three days ago the new Chinese Ambassador to Israel was found dead in his home (which was not reported in the MSM), alone two days after Mike Pompeo arrived in Israel and blamed the virus on China. Said Ambassador, who has had a long and successful career as a diplomat by all accounts, denounces the USA and Pompeo and hey presto, two days later he’s dead.

        Yes there is a virus but it is not one that’s a killer virus and it is nothing more than a strong flu. What the underlying political agenda is I should think by now, is pretty obvious.

        • pretzelattack

          i think it is pretty obvious it is much more dangerous than a strong flu, unless you mean the spanish flu.

    • ET

      “Ah, the problem is here, how is a vaccine being developed for a virus that has not yet been isolated”
      China shared the genetic sequence of the novel coronavirus on 12 January. Uncontested fact.

      “that this is a virus that is nothing more than a strong flu”
      Case fatality rate is in the region of 1-1-5% for SARS-Cov-2. Influenza virus is in the region of 0.1-0.2% generally.

      “Can viruses be treated? ”
      In general, aside from supportive measures, no. HIV has specific treatmenmts and measuresto reduce viral load and reduce, for example, transmission from mother to baby during delivery. Some viruses have specific pooled immunoglobulin treatments that can be given in specific cases of potential exposure (for example, non-immune pregnant women exposed to chicken pox). For the most part there are no specific drugs available to treat viruses. There are non-specific drugs such as interferon.
      Treatment of virus depends on a preventitive approach mainly on vaccines and herd immunity.

      “It is not a killer virus unless you are in the 80yrs+ vulnerable group with two or more co morbid conditions”
      Whilst the majotity of deaths are in the elderly approx 26% deaths are under 75. The top 5 pre-existing conditions are Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, Ischaemic heart diseases, Influenza and pneumonia, Chronic lower respiratory diseases,no pre-existing conditions. IHD is widely prevalent in the general population.

      “There is no vaccine or anything else that will change anything”
      Small pox, polio, TB, pertussis (whooping cough) all very successful vaccine programs.

      “It is an extended flu season”
      No it isn’t.

      Will it “burn” itself out. More than likely it will just like the 1918 flu after it has killed millions of people across the world. Or maybe we can intervene in some way to reduce that mortality.

      • Spencer Eagle

        ‘Case fatality rate is in the region of 1-1-5% for SARS-Cov-2. Influenza virus is in the region of 0.1-0.2% generally’…’s unlikely to be anywhere near 0.5% let alone 1% because of the way in which doctors are pressurized into recording covid as the cause of death. It’s happening in both the US and the UK. Drs. Dan Erickson and Dr. Artin Massihi revealed the truth on Youtube but their video was removed.

        Doctors Are Incentivized to List COVID-19 on Death Certificates, by Jon Miltimore (

        • glenn_uk

          See this:

          You’re referring us to a Koch brothers, multi-multi- billionaire funded organisation that pushes “free enterprise” and religious values. Why do you want to be a stooge for an organisation like that? Of course they want people to “Get back to work!!!” and want to dismiss the death and danger that will incur.

          We went through this crap about artificially inflated figures some time back, whereas more reputable sources say the count is undoubtedly much higher than that reported.

          Of course, you’ll only find one side of a story there – the right wing one – and that’s what you’re pushing. All the time.


          • Spencer Eagle

            It all depends on who you cherry pick to be ‘reputable’, so far those considered so by the media have been anything but. Triggered not?

          • glenn_uk

            My “cherry-picking” is of reputable scientists who want to stay reputable, Spencer. Your selection would appear to be far-right stooges who are saying what that corporate-friendly libertarian death-cult led by Trump want them to say.

            “Triggered?” I don’t know about that, but certainly annoyed at deadly misinformation being lazily pasted around everywhere by the useful idiots of the far-right.

          • Johny Conspiranoid

            So who funds Sourcewatch and why?
            Can we check with a reputable source to see if this source is reputable?

          • Spencer Eagle

            ”annoyed at deadly misinformation being lazily pasted around everywhere” …….who made you the arbiter of what is or what isn’t misinformation? I see you must have complained to the mods (or maybe you are one?) and had the link to Fox news interview with those two Dr’s removed, the truth just too painful, eh? Your ‘it’s my way, no debate’ attitude is in a way every bit as dangerous as the virus.

          • Clark

            “the truth just too painful, eh?”

            If it was the truth it would seem to be good news, until you look a bit deeper. If the IFR really was about 0.1% then the excess deaths would have to be caused by lockdown followed by deliberate misclassification. That would require massive collaboration by millions of ordinary working people. Disinformation from swathes of the working public seems far more painful to accept than disinformation by a Koch-funded think tank.

        • ET

          @Spencer Eagle

          There may be some financial incentive for docs in USA but in NHS in the UK there is no such financial incentive. I will agree that the changes to death certification process are a bit odd in UK probably more unthought through than malfeasance. Those arguments aside there are almost 200 other countries in which this is happening. Many are recording excess deaths way in excess of what would be expected for this time of year and considerably over the highest peak deaths for any month in years. So, all of a sudden, these deaths occur because of what? A conspiracy to make up deaths? All docs and nurses in the UK decided en masse to hodwink the public for the benefit of their Big Pharma masters or tyrannical government masters? Those docs, nurses, funeral directors, morticians, lab staff all come from the community you live in. Do you really think they would all go along with this?

          I don’t doubt that governments around the world will spin so as to make themselves look better but there is still that issue of large numbers of excess deaths to figure out. Those deaths are coming from somewhere. Those deaths in care homes are coming from somewhere. What is your explaination for these deaths?

          At some point, you have to look at the balance of probabilities. There is a new virus going around and there are large excess deaths figures. Health authorities around the world, not just USA and UK are stating that it is covid-19 causing the excess deaths. The clinical picture fits a virus. On the balance of probabilities don’t you think that it is highly likely that it is this new virus rather than an all encompassing world conspiracy? It’s not like similar events haven’t happened before like 1918 and many others since. What is more likely? Tens of thousands of docs and hundreds of thousands of nurses are all conspiring to make this all up?

          It’s not like there isn’t a receptive audience here on this blog. We are all reading it because of Craig’s insight primarily but also because we all see the corruption of MSM, the corruption of corporatism, the lobbying, the lack of governmental transparancy, the inequality in the community etc etc and are looking for information uncorrupted by all of that.

          If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck then it’s, on the balance of probabilities, a f***ing duck.
          If there is a new virus discovered because of the presentation of a new primarily respiratory clinical picture, it’s spreading like a virus does, there are excess deaths from a respiratory illness, said virus has been gemome sequenced, isolated from patients then it’s, on the balance of probabilities, a virus.

        • George+McI

          “My “cherry-picking” is of reputable scientists who want to stay reputable”

          What curious phrasing. It’s not a matter of people just telling the truth but of wanting to “stay reputable” i.e. keep on the right side of those who deliver “repute”.

    • Clark

      “No Vaccine. No New World Order. No profits for Big Pharma. No world domination for the USA>/strike> UN”

      These memes have always come from the US Right. Now we see their utility; “get the bastards back to working and shopping. I want my profits!”

      “No profits for Big Pharma”

      You think Big Pharma won’t make profit out of treating millions of sick people? This is always forgotten in the anti-vax arguments; Big Pharma make their profit either way, either selling the vaccine, or selling the treatments when the unvaccinated get ill. I haven’t done the sums, but I bet Option Two has greater profit potential per patient, because treatment is ongoing, whereas vaccination is done and over with.

      • squirrel

        Clark, if you did the sums you would see your bet is lost.

        There’s little money in infections. A course of antibiotics or anti-virals at most. A few times in someone’s lifetime.

        There significant money in a course of vaccinations.

        The huge payoff though is in treating chronic disease. Ideally they want the vaccines to be damaging the immune system to lead to diseases of immune dysfunction, neurological problems, cancer.

        Diseases of ‘civilisation’ that persist requiring ongoing drug therapy.

        Guess what we have ever more as the vaccine burden increases?

        • Clark

          I’ll bet my bet isn’t lost. I wrote “Option Two has greater profit potential per patient“. You’re considering the total, based on the situation now, when very few get ill due in significant part to mass vaccination.

          “Ideally they want…”

          Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn – “If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?”

          There is no “them”, only us, or do you neither work nor purchase? The problem is systemic.

          • Clark

            “Diseases of ‘civilisation’ that persist requiring ongoing drug therapy”

            Well of course! The low-hanging fruit has all been picked, the easier cures have been found – antibiotics, vaccination etc. Ongoing treatments are what’s left, but there are plenty of researchers looking for cures for them.

    • N_

      Does that joker consultant think measles for example is caused by bacteria?

      Most medics have problems interpreting test results given the percentages for true positives and false negatives. They literally cannot do the maths.

      No sensible person gets annual flu jabs. I thought what was in them changed every year?

  • Jack

    Professor Edmunds was one of the SAGE scientists who advertised the #HerdImmunity scam in the UK, leading to 60,000 excess deaths. This is what it looks like when reality catches up with someone who was responsible for saving lives but didn’t.

    Here is prof. Edmunds in March advertising the #HerdImmunity scam and the proper response by a real epidemiologist

    • J Galt

      Herd immunity is not a “scam”. It is the way populations acquire immunity to a disease.

      It has to be acquired somehow unless we are prepared to be in perpetual lockdown.

      • Jack

        Since we do not know if it will work and how many people that might not only fall ill but die I think its not only a scam but a inhumane experiment with humans.

        WHO devastatingly brands coronavirus herd immunity plan ‘dangerous’ without vaccine

        “No more than five per cent of the population of France and Spain, two of the countries hardest hit by coronavirus, have contracted the disease, two new studies have found in a major blow to hopes of “herd immunity”.”

      • Scientist

        > It has to be acquired somehow unless we are prepared to be in perpetual lockdown.

        Which may of course be through a vaccine.

        The problem is with early government modelling is that they

        – didn’t think lockdown was politically possible – so didn’t ask the scientists to model it
        – had overly pessimistic estimates on wait times for treatments or vaccines – ie lockdown would have to be for too long.

        If you think the population won’t comply and effective treatment is years away – there is only one choice – however if you see lockdown working in other similar countries and only have to wait it out for 9 months rather than 2 years, then suddenly a lockdown approach seems more feasible.

        So I point the finger at old codgers like Patrick Vallance and Fauci saying vaccine is two years away, and at politicians who thought lockdown was unthinkable.

      • Bramble

        It is normally achieved through the use of vaccines. This reduces the collateral damage to the “herd”. If we have an excess of hands and non productive feeders, I can see why a neoliberal government would be ready to achieve immunity for its herd by throwing them to the virus instead.

        • N_

          Big Pharma tell us it’s normally achieved through vaccines. Better sanitation has played a major role in the decline of infectious diseases such as TB. I’m not sure whether it is even claimed there is herd immunity to flu.

          • squirrel

            The vaccinists keep pointing to days when we threw our sewage out of the window, or sprayed children with DDT, as proof that vaccines saved us.

          • Jack


            It is normally achived through that, infecting the population deliberately with a virus is not normal in any sense.
            You refuse to take a vaccine just because companies make money out of producing vaccines? Why not stop buying food or everything else since someone is always make money from your purchases?

          • Scientist

            Vaccines are really not that profitable, not at least by big pharma standards. Most spend their time chasing treatments cancer, diabetes, heart problems.

            To make a vaccine is typically a long slog – not because there are particular hard to make normally – but it takes you a very long time to build up the business – you need to show it’s safe and you have to work with large entities like countries or WHO that tend to move very slowly.

            It’s a big thing for a country to decide to roll out a vaccination programme. So customer acquisition is very lumpy – making it hard to plan – you might have to be investment phase for quite a while.

            The upside is once a vaccine is established then it’s a stable, if not spectacular, source of revenue year on year.

            A vaccine is typically a handful of dollars a shot retail – the profit margin could be low as a couple of dollars per shot.
            It’s all psychology really – it would appear the appetite for paying from prevention is much less than cure.

            Now a handful of people at Oxford might get personally rich from this – but forget you big pharma conspiracy here – the money isn’t there.

          • Kempe

            Better treatment and sanitation reduced the number of deaths but only vaccination reduced the number of cases otherwise how is that the incidence of certain preventable diseases has increased as vaccination rates have fallen. Have standards of hygiene fallen back to medieval levels?

          • Paul Barbara

            @ Scientist May 20, 2020 at 10:19
            ‘…but forget you big pharma conspiracy here – the money isn’t there.’
            ‘..The global vaccine market is showing some escalating growth and it is expected that it will reach total revenues of nearly 60 billion U.S. dollars by 2020…’ (
            And that was before Covid – 19. They could buy their own Polaris submarines for that kind of dosh.

      • N_

        “It has to be acquired somehow unless we are prepared to be in perpetual lockdown.”

        That kind of false logic reminds me of the shopkeeper who when I expressed exasperation about the lockdown said that it should not be lifted fast because “then it would all have been a waste.”

        There cannot be a perpetual lockdown. It is impossible.

        • Clark

          The shopkeeper is right; removing restrictions would permit covid-19 to multiply and infections would return to increasing as fast as they were in March. Within days, the hospitals would fill again and the lockdown would have to be reimposed. That, or let hundreds of thousands of people suffocate for days until death with no care.

          But there are more intelligent solutions than the government’s stupid half measures. Where the hell are the masks? Can the UK not make them? This could all have been solved in five weeks:

          • Deb O'Nair

            The lockdown could have been eased long ago if effective testing, tracing and isolating were put in place at the start, i.e. if they followed all the advice that was flying about in the months before it kicked off here. As it is that testing infrastructure is still not in place, tracing will not be possible through a phone app and so the UK is no better prepared for a second wave than it was in the first. The UKG is betting on the virus fizzling out or a vaccine being developed and if that bet doesn’t pay out the UK economy will be permanently smashed.

        • bevin

          Nobody is calling for a perpetual lockdown. What is required as has been repeated here again and again, is for those infected with the disease to be isolated, treated and tested. Once those spreading the infection have been identified and prevented from spreading the virus, it can be ‘stamped out.’

          It is utter nonsense to suggest that this policy of quarantining and treating patients, which has been around for centuries in all cultures, is aimed at anything more than saving lives. That there are elements in society ready to attempt to turn every event to their own advantage is not in doubt. Unhappily in the internet culture one way of making money out of disease is to deny the existence of the problem, attribute it to a conspiracy against society and present oneself as the source of unpopular information.

          As to the shopkeeper that you quote his logic is impeccable: to end isolatory measures prematurely will lead to millions more deaths.

      • Deb O'Nair

        “Herd immunity is not a “scam”. It is the way populations acquire immunity to a disease.”

        Try selling that one to a commercial farmer. “Herd immunity” does not exist in farming, just vaccines or mass slaughter. “Herd immunity” is feckless talk from a feckless aberration that means “do nothing”.

        • Nick

          Not so sure about that kit bee
          In USA measles had dropped from 13.3 deaths per 100000 population to 0.2 per 100000 between 1900 and 1960. Yet the vaccination program was rolled out in 1963.
          So something else other than vaccination was responsible for this huge drop in fatality.

    • Fwl

      Wow thanks Jack. Watching those two interviews before and after is not just telling but shocking. Composure in the 1st on the need for her immunity and then all over the place in the 2nd. Although he made his final point well – that they never thought it would be so easy to achieve lockdown.

      Gov thought we were a rebellious lot and lockdown would be difficult but we have shown that we are not – we do what we are told. What a lesson this has been for Government.

  • Scientist

    In reality scientists ( whether working in companies or at academic research labs ) are sharing at an unprecedented level.

    Just look at the pre-print server ( the fastest way to get research out ).

    I personally doubt whether any pharma company will want to or even be seen to make money from this.

    However there is clearly maneuvering – but I believe this is not driven by profit but by the two following factors:

    – the desire for politicians to ‘get it first’ for their people and economy.
    – the desire to show ‘leadership’ – imagine what a blow to US prestige if the Chinese got one first ? ( Perhaps now difficult for them, because although they were ahead at one point, the lack of cases in China will slow down testing ).

    Even worse imagine China having one first and then making it and offering it to other countries? It would mark a seismic shift in the world order.

    That is what is really driving this – not small amounts of profit on vaccines ( vaccines don’t make a lot of money – a typical shot is a few dollars – it’s only really worth your while unless you can sell it for decades to come ).

  • James Hugh

    What person in their right mind, will be rushing to be one of the 30 million guinea pigs in September when the miracle vaccine is made available?

    Bearing in mind that no vaccine has ever been successfully created for coronavirus and that a genuine vaccine usually takes years to produce so as to make sure that it’s safe and effective.

    Mr Fauci, the other day stated that at best, if the vaccine works it’ll be 10% effective, but that they won’t be able to tell if there are any dangerous side effects..

    I reckon i’ll do my best to enhance my immune system the natural way instead of having a cocktail of toxins injected into my body along with substances that interfere with the RNA in my precious cells.

    Anybody with any insights around this matter to convince me that i’m misguided then do let me know.


    • Jack

      There is always a risk with vaccine, still history proves the imporance of vaccine to curb transmission and ultimately protect human lives.

    • Scientist

      On timescale – making this stuff isn’t that hard in general – for example they make a new flu vaccine every single year ( as the strains change ) – in fact there are only a few weeks between finding out what the new strains are circulating to having the new vaccine – what takes up most of the time is scaling manufacture.

      Now new viruses throw up new challenges, but the evidence so far is it should be possible.

      The 2 year timescale floating around where the typical timescale when nobody is under pressure, you are taking everything slowly and sedately, and carefully.

      There is no reason it can’t be done by year end – at what cost to safety testing is of course an interesting point – but for a lot of these vaccine platforms the innate risk is much lower than say a new drug – they are well understood. ie you could argue the normal process is far too slow and risk adverse.

      In terms of timing:
      One of the main constraining factor is the ability to make it. Enough doses for 7 billion people will take a while to make – the capacity isn’t there and will have to be built – this is where the race to be the first country to get it is interesting.

      In terms of safety: as always you have to balance the risk of the vaccine, against the risk of covid. In reality the vaccine is likely to be extremely low risk – the same can’t be said of covid.

      • glenn_uk

        Interesting points. I imagine the ethics board might have to curb their usual objections in order to reduce the time.

        For instance, once a possible vaccine has proven it is not likely to kill an individual, it would be time consuming to inoculate, say, 1000 people and follow up with them in a year to see whether any has contracted C-19. A much faster way would be to give a smaller sample of volunteers the vaccination, wait for it to take effect, then deliberately expose them to C-19 to see if they get infected. (The Chinese have no shortage of such ‘volunteers’ in their prisons and re-education camps, and the Americans have no shortage of poor who can be bribed into taking such risks relatively cheaply.)

        As to inoculating 7 billion, I don’t imagine that will happen soon. First we will get royalty and the top political classes (and their lackies) vaccinated, along with the extremely rich. They will be followed by the front line medical staff, along with the merely very wealthy. Next would be police, the vulnerable and elderly, and then front line workers generally.

        People who are relatively young and healthy will come right at the bottom, but of course still a long time before anybody who lives in poorer countries, and those in the “third world” would come absolutely last, if they got any vaccine at all.

        In the meantime, the anti-vaxxers are more than welcome to take their chances. But they would have to self-isolate for the duration in order to stop spreading it to people of sense who have not been vaccinated yet, or cannot be for some reason.

        • Spencer Eagle

          ‘First we will get royalty and the top political classes (and their lackies) vaccinated, along with the extremely rich.’……are you really that naive ? Royalty won’t be vaccinated, certainly not with a rapidly developed and untested vaccine. The very bottom rung of societies will be used as a testing ground.

          • Clark

            “The very bottom rung of societies will be used as a testing ground.”

            This goes on. Pharmaceutical companies have multiple subsidiaries in undeveloped countries testing new pharmaceuticals on the poor of the world, because there are lower costs, less regulation, and poorer scrutiny of results including long term effects.

          • glenn_uk

            Spencer – please do not willfully misinterpret like that. The rich etc. will have their vaccines AFTER the “volunteers” I’d mentioned above the comment you quoted have proven its efficacy.

          • Nick

            Reading into how this vaccination is to work…essentially rewriting RNA and altering us at a genetic level…leads me to think it cannot be rushed out. Unlike you scientist,it does need long range testing rather than your assumption that it will be less harmful than covid19. That’s not good enough. They are attempting to do something with this jab that they have failed to succeed with since 1990. I would far rather isolate till everyone who wants it receives it. I am not an anti vaxxer but there are safety measures with stuff like this for a damn good reason. I utterly disagree with your analysis…this has the long term potential to do far more damage than covid 19 and should be treated as such. You can’t skip vital procedures and inoculate millions. Especially as this is not a traditional live vaccine.

  • Geoffrey

    Many unnecessary deaths it appears have been caused by government employees moving sick Covid patients out of hospitals and into care homes, I don’t expect we will get any estimates of how many people have died as a result.

    • Republicofscotland

      A fall guy will need to be found first, someone who’ll fall on his/her sword for the greater good of the Tory government. Incidentally South Korea has no care home deaths yet, they quarantine those leaving hospitals for care homes for fourteen days first before they enter them.

      The UK administrations have handled this pandemic abysmally.

      • michael norton

        I agree RoS.

        you have chosen the correct word.

        possibly the worse response of any major country.

      • Cubby


        I said back in March that Johnson would do a Trump and sooner or later sack Hancock and attempt to put all the blame on him. It’s just a matter of Johnson getting the timing right.

      • Ken Kenn

        Rumour only but I hear that the fall guy will not be Hancock and may well be Johnson.

        Only rumour, but remember around 9 or so months ago it was ABJ – Anyone But Johnson.

        You have to admire the Tory instinct to survive – unlike the Labour party.

        By the way if you were Starmer would you want the job?

        He ceratinly doesn’t and possibly ABC – Anyone But Corbyn may well have dodged a bullet.

        End of June: Yes or No to an extension.

        Five weeks to go and the reason why Rees Mogg wants Parliament to reconvene physically.

        Peter Bone is literally a Co- Morbidity and Mark Francois is ( how can i put this politely?) portly?

        Surely a risk to the elderly and overfed?

        By the end of June it’s Make your Mind Up Time Folks ( Thank you Hughie ) and we”ll see what happens.

        It’s going to be a rocky ride.

        Stay at Home – Go to Work.

        SAGE advice.

    • Paul Barbara

      @ Geoffrey May 19, 2020 at 18:20
      Around half of all deaths has been mentioned for Care Homes in Europe and UK, so a very high proportion would likely be a partial answer to your question.
      And it must have been expected by those who made the decisions – how on earth can you send people who may be still carrying the virus into extremely vulnerable Care Homes? Can the hospital staff who ordered these transfers be so completely incompetent? Who made the decisions?

  • ET

    Guardian columnist Martin Kettle.

    To the surprise of many of those watching, and perhaps even to Johnson himself, it turned out that the coronavirus outbreak has changed the prime minister of the United Kingdom into the prime minister of England.

    Differences over Covid management within the UK shouldn’t be exaggerated but they are provoking a rethink of how the UK is governed………………..
    From an article:

  • Cubby

    I see the Glasgow Evening Times has taken a pop at your arrangements for the Doune the Rabbit Hole Festival this summer. Is the Evening Times not now edited by a fellow independence supporter the editor of The National – Mr Baird. Did they check out their story with you? If not it’s a sorry state of affairs.

    • Republicofscotland

      That’s right Cubby, though the Glasgow Evening Times is a shit unionist Labour supporting rag, that specialises in murder, football and bygone days of Glasgow in the empire via old pictures. It’s really quite pathetic and a niche rag at best.

      I expect it to be Calum Baird or not, hostile towards Craig or any other prominent indy supporter.

      • Cubby


        Not sure how in good conscience you can be editor of a Britnat paper and be an independence supporter editing The National.

        • Republicofscotland

          Cubby, not sure how you can be FM of Scotland (Sturgeon) and promise to hold a indyref but then do nothing except help fit up a previous FM who did hold a indyref.

          In Scotland treachery and gatekeepers are everywhere.

          • Cubby

            In the IRA, in the run up to the ceasefire, the British state had so many people working for them that some thought the best way to get rid of the infiltrators was for all the IRA members to take part in a circular firing squad.

          • AliTee

            I read that as goalkeepers. Treacherous goalkeepers. I really must go to bed.

  • Laguerre

    Johnson’s absence is beginning to look not good. Some leadership is required, and I would have thought some 1922 committee members are getting uncomfortable. Perhaps not yet to the point of revolt, but not far off.

    • Ken Kenn

      Read William Keegan for a pretty sober view of the economics in the Guardian.

      Always had a soft spot for him despite him being a Namby Pamby Keynesian.

      Talks sense.

      Johnson may well be already doomed.

      Trump too – but the Biden question is who is going to be VP?

      Extremely important in my view.

      You can’t lead from behind.

      • Laguerre

        NYT and the Express, you have to be joking. Any word from those rags is not worth the pixels they are dribbled onto when it comes to France. France’s experience has been pretty much similar to other European countries. Things have been run better than in UK, but worse than in Germany.

        You obviously know so little of France that you don’t even know that the French complain all the time, and I mean all the time, at the slightest problem. It’s taken as a national characteristic by the French themselves – “Les Français sont des râleurs”. The Express of course bigs up a minor story to continue its hate-EU campaign.

      • Anthony

        You should know better than to believe such reports, Jack. Only one voice (besides Macron’s) can be trusted to relay the truth about France.

        • Jack


          Yeah silly me! I think its interesting to note how every criticism against France, Macron is deemed as fake no matter what source you use, not even doctors in France have no right to criticise Macron apparently according to our frenchman.

          • Anthony

            If they complain about treating Covid patients with masks that expired in 2001 they would complain about anything. Macron was right to abruptly end the conversation and be on his way.

          • Anthony

            Macron isn’t even the worst of them though. Bozo has not been seen at all for over a week now and he’s overseen the 2nd highest death toll on earth

          • Laguerre

            Your antennae evidently didn’t get that I’m not French. French don’t write English like that. My antennae got that you dislike the French from the beginning, like many Brexiters.

          • Jack


            Then I am sorry I thought you were french (nothing wrong with being that though).
            You seems to have a dislike for the brits’ regardless.

          • Laguerre

            …and I reveal to you the secret that everyone else figured out long ago: I am a Brit, but not an idiot jingoist like you.

          • michael norton

            The U.K. now has more cases and deaths ( with covid-19) than does either France or Italy,
            However the number of deaths in France and Italy is not far behind U.K.
            Yesterday London, which was the worse region of the U.K. did not have a single new reported case of covid-19

            So at last, in France, Italy and the U.K. it seems to be burning out.

  • DavidH

    “the struggle to develop vaccines and treatments… should be a great joint enterprise bringing the world together”

    Wonderful sentiment, but ain’t going to happen. There’s nobody with the will, the muscle, and the resources to put it together. The WHO? Bill Gates? Those sainted Russians?

    The same could be said of global food and water distribution. In the grand scheme of things much more critically needed for the planet’s population, and equally sadly unattainable.

    It’s difficult not to be drawn to Mr Murray’s general philosophical arc over the years – from earnestly trying to do good within the system to the awful realization that really it all needs to be torn down to achieve anything reasonable.

    • James

      Yes – Craig Murray’s `general philosophical arc’ does, on the whole, look attractive – he is quite correct that it all needs to be torn down to achieve anything reasonable. Unfortunately, on the `my enemy’s enemy is my friend’ principle, he does sometimes ally himself with the sick and sinister. For example – his support of Sinn Fein a.k.a. the IRA – a group that enjoys ethnic cleansing.

      (I do strongly favour a united Ireland).

      Some of the things he has said about the methods he favours for achieving Scottish independence could very easily ignite a civil war. Now, that would really tear everything down – in a way that would make it impossible to rebuild.

    • Giyane

      David H

      Craig’s ” arc ” merely provides a seed for discussion.
      What comes out of that discussion is not always palatable before 9 p.m. so it gets redacted because in the real world we don’t have freedom of speech or religion.
      That was a political slogan in 1640 and it’s still a slogan now.

      In 1640 the intelligentsia had understood that the Arabic knowledge of Islam was true, from their study of Arabic in the universities, and that the incumbent status quo that followed the Bible would chop off head or hang
      drawer and quarter them if they said otherwise.

      China has ” found ” a cure for this disease, not a vaccine.
      It has also been discovered that this coronavirus differs from previous ones in that SARS underwent rapid genetic change and this virus is already stable. That means that it has already been through its stage of change by living in the human community , adapted to humans, for some time before being introduced in Wuhan.

      Obviously nobody would release a virus until they had discovered a cure. A weapon is no good if it explodes in the firer’s face. We already know that all governments in the world are on exactly the same page in relation to 24/7 spying. Its marketed a little differently in the West, but it is in fact identical globally.

      Why then, if they are in lockstep on controlling dissent, would they not be in lockstep in selectively being able to assassinate dissenters? After all, hanging drawing and quartering and head chopping have been around for hundreds of years and they came in hand recently in the Middle East to reconcile Iraqis to submit to having their oil stolen.

      Sorry, it isn’t 9 p.m. yet so the adult stuff will be deleted.
      I won’t bother to waste any more time.

    • ET

      In vitro only, so far. One of the reasons there was hope for chloraquine/hydroxychloraquine was that either seemed to have significant effect on in vitro cell cultures (like the study you cited). That didn’t translate into in vivo situations.

        • Jiyane


          I took malaria pills in 2000 and I coincidentally later had irreparable damage to my left eye. Possibly it is effective against covid19 but the side effects palpitations, vision etc make it too dangerous for Wrstetn doctors to approve it.

          In Kurdistan there is a factory that produces the quinine drug and it has been distributed free to all Iraq. In Kurdistan the markets and the mosques are open and bustling because there were so few cases, and those that became infected recovered except for a very few.

          I can see my comments on this blog but they are invisible to others. Sugar-free doesn’t mean sugar is free..

          • Paul Barbara

            @ Jiyane May 20, 2020 at 12:06
            ‘..I can see my comments on this blog but they are invisible to others..’
            You are wrong there – this site does not shadow-ban, it removes comments or bans, but doesn’t shadow-ban.

    • Republicofscotland

      At this moment in time it looks unlikely with Sturgeon heading up the SNP, though Salmond coming book might, hopefully will, shift her and her treacherous Civil Service and woke clique. For now we need to give our list votes next year to the new indy party at Holyrood, the SNP got four list seats from one million votes previously, letting in the likes of Murdo Fraser.

      So we must give our list votes to the new party next year.

  • Godfree Roberts

    Happily, China is well ahead both in vaccine development (Eli Lilly just paid $10 million for rights to one +$245M promised royalties) and in a preventive, antibody treatment.

    A drug being tested at Peking University could not only shorten the recovery time for those infected, but even offer short-term immunity from the virus, researchers say. “When we injected neutralising antibodies into infected mice, after five days the viral load was reduced by a factor of 2,500,” said Xie. “That means this potential drug has (a) therapeutic effect.” The drug uses neutralizing antibodies – produced by the human immune system to prevent the virus infecting cells – which Xie’s team isolated from the blood of 60 recovered patients. “Our expertise is single-cell genomics rather than immunology or virology. When we realised that the single-cell genomic approach can effectively find the neutralizing antibody we were thrilled.” He added that the drug should be ready for use later this year and in time for any potential winter outbreak of the virus. “Planning for the clinical trial is underway and we hope to release it onto the market before the end of the year.”

    I say ‘happily’ because President Xi has promised to donate the IP to the world community, free.

    IF the antibody works AND China donates it AND it is proven that the virus started in the USA (watch AND its economy grows 5%+ then it’s game over and China wins the match.

    • Nick

      I hope this proves to be effective as the American moderns vaccine is about cultivating RNA and altering genetic material. This seems much more traditional a method.

  • Rhys Jaggar

    Mr Murray

    I worked on the research coalface for a decade and there are two sides to any story. Pooling things is fine if everyone pulls their weight, but reality always shows that there are a few loafing spongers who expect the rest of us to do the hard work so they can swan along lazily as well as us.

    Science has never been a cooperative endeavour. It has always attracted emotionally stunted, highly competitive characters with a bent for doing certain types of technological innovation. What do you think Nobel Prizes are awarded for? They are to reward lonely pioneers who spent years doing things everyone else thought were impossible, indescribably boring or both.

    Claiming as you do that most scientists are cooperative shows you have not worked on the coalface, any more than me claiming that all diplomats are MI6 drones would be unevidenced assertions of the worst kind. We all know that MI6 has penetrated the FCO, but we have no clue from the outside quite how many diplomats are ‘compromised’. But we do know that you get promoted faster if you support the US and oppose Russia and China….

    Securing grant funding is a highly competitive endeavour, also highly amenable to corruption of the kind impossible to prove to the satisfaction of a court of law. Old boys clubs, mutual backscratching, editorships of top journals being used to control the careers of others etc etc. It all happens. Science has just as much grubby politics as anything else. Always has done, always will.

    I also do not know why you oppose the patent system. It is a very good system for rewarding novelty and innovation which can be applied to industrial processes. In other words, it is a boon for the applied scientist not the blue skies thinker. Britain has always had the reputation of being too obsessed with basic research and constantly denigrating its translation into commercial/public value. I do not see why scientists should get paid less than diplomats in their 20s and not have the chance to make a decent pot of gold through filing and exploiting patentable material. After all, most folks would think that diplomats, on the whole, do more harm than good because they are too cowardly to call their political masters the sometimes unmentionable names that alone might get such chancers to modify their behaviour patterns (asking them nicely to behave will get you nowhere, after all).

    It is very easy to claim that ‘pooling resources’ is always good.

    It is always good for the lazy second-raters.

    It is less good for those who made a commitment to excellence and expect to be rewarded as a result.

    • Johny Conspiranoid

      Rhys Jagger
      Yes but aren’t most patents held by the firms funding the research? They can sit on patents to deny a licence to their rivals, or file patents whose real purpose is to prevent generic products from being marketed. In effect using patent law to enforce a monopoly without making usefull inovation.

  • Loony

    …and so we are treated to another toxic combination of British self loathing infused with naked racism.

    What is so amazing about Anglo-American scientists that is not shared by Russian or Chinese scientists? Why can’t they do their own research? Why do they need to steal things from Anglo-Americans? The Chinese population is almost 4 times larger than the combined populations of the UK and the US. By sheer weight of numbers the Chinese should be well ahead of anything being researched in the UK or US.

    How come Russia has the technological capability to produce hypersonic weapons but need Anglo-American brains for virus research.

    Ah the effortless superiority of the WASP. Then we have these same superior people acting in such a vicious and evil manner by refusing to hand over the product of their superiority to the inferior people.

    But wait there are even more inferior people than we may first imagine. These inferior people are the vast bulk of the population who are somehow clogging up the lands inhabited by the superior people. Superior people like Neil Ferguson who produces a model for other superior people but resolutely refuses to share his coding and assumptions with the inferior people – who are so inferior that their only purpose was to pay his wages. Now that other superior people have invented money printing the domestic inferior people are not even needed as tax paying serfs.

    Should all work out well.

    • Giyane


      Every pound lent in mortgages = 3 more pounds in free profit to the banks for sitting doing sfa.
      Importing stuff from China is probably even more profitable because at times like these the overheads are minimal. The UK economy is like bicycle going downhill.
      Even if all us superannues died prematurely, some younger suckers are going to pick up the balls of paying interest and tweaking decor in their homes.

      The capitalist Tories do not see death as a problem because they believe that the young are even more manipuable than their parents. That is a big miscalculation and underestimation of young people.
      Young people are deeply disturbed at this last final convulsive spasm of capitalism, to sacrifice their parents and grandparents to herd immunity.

      Or as Thatcher put it in Steve Bell’s cartoon.
      Why is this pit still open? As she descends into Tory hell.

    • Clark

      “Neil Ferguson who produces a model for other superior people but resolutely refuses to share his coding and assumptions”

      Ah, a name to hate! C’mon everyone, hate, hate hate! Hate those bloody egg-heads, never the politicians, no. Don’t go after Condoleezza Rice and Dick Cheney, go after NIST and FEMA; they’re responsible for the torture programme, not the State Department.

      Yes, of course, public health science is all secret, be very afraid. You need text books and study, and it has funny long words in it that put you off your beer and football, and the websites look technical without any totty:

      Listen to Loony the liar; he’ll save you.

  • ET

    Human error in high-biocontainment labs: a likely pandemic threat:
    This is an alarming read.

    Will the WHO call for an international investigation into the coronavirus’s origins?:

    Profiting from Coronavirus may have another aspect. The profit (silver lining) could be the proper recognition of the dangers posed by the kinds of research going on in such biosecutity labs around the world and the possibility of “Significant new thinking on international mechanisms for responding to biological threats is clearly afoot. COVID-19 might just give the international community the push it needs to do something about improved monitoring of biological risks.”

  • WhoIsTopNation

    It’s not about money to be made from vaccines.

    It’s about:

    1. Competitive advantage from being able to come out of lockdown first.
    2. Prestige and soft-power.

    So the ideal for any country is to have access to a vaccine first, be first out of the blocks, and then magnanimously let everyone else have it.

    The stories about foreign hacking are insurance policies on the prestige side, in case China or Russia win the vaccine race – that’s all.

    • Steviemac

      It IS about money to be made from a vaccine. The UK is pushing to be the 1st to develop one precisely to cash in, sold to the public as as a wonderful beneficial Great British Truimph. The wet dream for certain vested interests is mandatory annual vaccination to allow us to go about our lives – the New Normal so to speak. Multiply 66 million people by £££ each year. This vaccination will be marketed as to emulate the flu jab, but for everyone, for a virus that doesn’t warrant it.
      If it works it will be franchsed to the rest of the world. The fact that they appear to be boasting about ‘fast tracking’ should raise a red flag as it is a euphenism for cutting corners in the race for profits.

      • WhoIsTopNation

        You are missing the big picture – is it the 50 million from vaccines or the 1000 000 million impact on the economy that is driving this?

        I know which I would choose.

        Details below.

        > Multiply 66 million people by £££ each year.

        You do realise that £££ in this case would mean what you typed – around 3-5 quid. Vaccines don’t sell for 1000’s unlike other patented drugs, and obviously you have to take away cost of manufacture to get at the profit.

        So when you pay 12.99 for a flu jab at boots – most of that cost is the person doing the jab – Boots might get the shot at 4 quid, of which 3 quid is cost of actually making it and getting it to boots – so the pharma company might be make a pound a shot or less.

        However, it’s true that vaccines can be good long term business – safety concerns means once you establish a dominant position they can be very hard to displace – as why risk a new kid on the block if there are no problems with the existing one?

        Also, as I said, they are priced fairly low such it’s hard to undercut substantially to gain volume.

        So established vaccines are very sticky in the market place, even out of patent – which is in stark contrast to normal drugs. Something like Prevnar from Pfizer brings in 5 billion in revenue world wide.

        However this is less true if the infectious agent is a moving target like flu – here you have to make a new vaccine every year – so the effect is much less, and there is a risk that in any particular year your’s isn’t as good as the competition. Covid is more likely to be like flu, and less like prevnar – which is against a bacteria and not a virus

        So I don’t think it’s a sure fire money making scheme as you appear to think it is. For example, you could sink in huge R&D costs and the virus just disappear like SARs or MERS.

        What you are doing is looking at the nickels and dimes – let’s say 50 million profit on the vaccine in the UK and missing the big picture the damage to the UK economy by lockdown.

        UK GDP is around 3 trillion – estimates are of a drop of 35% – that’s a *trillion*.

        So is it the 50 million or the 1000 000 million driving behaviour?

    • Tatyana

      Today is the day of the end of the 42nd cycle of this planet’s rotation around the nearest star with me on board, and I only see for the first time this magnificent logical construction that completely coincides with my own.
      Thank you, WhoIsTopNation!

  • John Manning

    I think you do not understand the purpose of patents. A patent is a publication of scientific data and discovery, but in a way that protects an inventors claim to ownership of that knowledge. The patent provides the inventor with a time window to monopolise commercial use of the information in exchange for making that information public. Publication then allows other researchers to use that science to progress their own work.

    The effectiveness of this strategy varies widely but is better for scientific progress than trade secrets especially in the area of biological research.

    What I find ridiculous about the spying scare stories released by western media is the proposal that China needs to spy on western laboratories for it’s medical science developments. Just take a brief look at how well China handled Covid19 and compare that to UK and USA. Do you still think China is a backward country unable to lead the world in research? The arrogance of western minds is the unbelievable extreme here.

  • Clark

    When my washing machine blew up I called the man out and he had a book that was all lines and numbers like secret codes and then he did something to the wires and his firm sells parts to Lockheed and his school gets a grant from BAE so it’s working now but he must have put in a death ray and all my friends on Facebook say so too wake up and do your own research sheeple:

    • glenn_uk

      I wonder about you sometimes, Clark, maybe you’re actually part of the Deep State – looks like you’re trying to throw attention off the real story –


      The Truth about Murder Hornets
      Murder hornets were created in a lab in Indonesia as a weapon of war against Scottish invaders. President Obama gave them 140 million dollars. And guess who owns stock? That’s right: Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, George Soros and Joe Biden.

      Hillary Clinton had the scientist killed because he told Nancy Pelosi he was going public, and Hunter Biden got on the board of a gas company in Ukraine. Guess what country supplied the lab with bee food? Yup – Ukraine.

      Are you connecting the dots yet??

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