Thinking about Evolution & Economics and Some Notes on the Natural Selection of Ideas
Part 16 - Immunity from Treachery
Evolutionary Economics & Complex Adaptive Systems
Understanding Adaptive Immune Systems
Old Men, Obese, Slothful, Stressed, Insomniacs
Now God said, and I agree with him -
'go forth and multiply, be fruitful and fill the earth and subdue it'
But the great unwashed & the hoi polloi just didn't get it and in Matthew Chapter 14 verse 31, God chided them something rotten -
'oh thou of little faith why did thou doubt?' ...
Xenophanes was one of the first to hatch an inkling about what was not going on -
‘The Gods did not reveal, from the beginning, all things to us, but in the course of time through seeking we may learn & know things better. But as for certain truth no man knows it, nor shall he know it, neither of the Gods nor yet of all things that I speak. For even if by chance he were to utter The Final Truth, he would himself not know it: for all is but a woven web of guesses’
Aristotle himself claimed –
‘admitting ignorance is the first stage in acquiring
George L S Shackle (1902-92) an English economist famously confirmed an uninpeacheable truth –
‘we are ignorant of what it is we do not know ... even though we know more than we can ever say'
Douglas Adams had different ideas and wrote inspiring fiction -
‘A Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy’ proclaimed that the 'Answer to the Ultimate Questions of Life, the Universe, and Everything', calculated by the ginormous supercomputer 'Deep Thought' over a period of 7.5 million years was ... wait for it ... ‘42’!
Then others immediately & inevitably cried 'wrong'! ... the last time they looked happenings were a tad more complicated than that ... the answer was ... 'Vitamin D'!
Charles Darwin, as was his wont, eventually calmed everyone down with his eternal perspicacity -
'Slow though the process of selection may be, if feeble man can do much by
his powers of 'artificial' selection, I can see no limit to the amount of
change, to the beauty and infinite complexity of the co-adaptations between
all organic beings, one with another and with their physical conditions of
life, which may be effected in the long course of time by nature's power of
We are profoundly ignorant of the causes producing slight and unimportant variations; and we are immediately made conscious of this by reflecting on the differences in the breeds of our domesticated animals in different countries,—more especially in the less civilized countries where there has been but little 'artificial' selection'
Darwinian Musings were pertinent ... Thoughts for the Day - March 17th 2020 Lockdown @ The Meister - we could all learn why Covid ain't daft - the why and the how ... the differential survival of inherited variants ... our Piano Player was emphatic you get F all for nowt !
Covid 19 was devilishly clever at survival, the bestie fed on an immensely successful globalised
social species, Homo Sapiens. Folk survived & thrived
thru the synergies available from their greatest defining characteristic – we were all
hard wired to be sociable
& empathetic - 'cos being sociable & empathetic turned out to be a superb survival aid.
At the starting gate such feelings for cooperation enabled us to discover suitable mates and to discover, accumulate & reproduce survival success ... of course such moral sentiments were complex, conflicting, changing & scarce and cost big time ... 'cos as soon as there were stocks there were an inevitable profusion of parasites & predators ... to cope with such treachery -
bigger & bigger brains emerged and
better & better immune systems emerged. QED it was an arms race.
Meanwhile Covid confirmed yet again that we
constantly need to
rediscover how to live our lives in a world full of evolving parasites &
predators without sacrificing the synergies of
sociability ... it was an arms race ... but the
dice were loaded in favour of our big brains & better immune systems ... stay alert and live an exciting life
fearlessly with common sense ... and everyone had common sense, it was hard
The beastie was in the business of survival and not killing hosts. Our very own immune systems did the killing. Cytokine storms of inflammation were aided and abetted as we abused our equipment and ate ourselves to death from the day we were born; an indulgent, obsequious, unctuous trail of old men, obesity sloth, stress & insomnia ...
Was the best way to save the beloved gold plated NHS to pass a law to ban obesity, sloth, insomnia & stress? ... wot? ... wot happens when the 50% say no? ... wot happens when 49% say no? ... ?
In the face of unknowable uncertainty, Darwin was a voice in the wilderness, wot about personal responsibility & autonomy to go for longevity in our own particular way ... just as Elizabeth Hancock did in Eyam in 1658?
Lockdown @ The Meister ... we remembered the date March 17th 2020 ... the day fear & emotion burst unannounced through our door as excitement & science went out of the window ... and Covid floated in thru every nook & cranny, insidiously ghostly, primed and unnoticed as the beastie unlocked our A2 receptors ...
Honest introspection niggled our sensitivities, we knew a bit about the history of natural selection, we guessed immunity from treachery lay in our very own evolved immune systems ... physically ... & mentally ... throughout 2020 we kept a diary ... all about fritness & nous ...
Covid ain't daft ... but folk ain't daft either ... folk had learned about Elizabeth Hancock?
Fear & Fritness
1 Panic - Blame Games & Personal Responsibility
2 Quick Look Busy - Advanced Planning Committees & Micromanaging a Tsunami
3 Lockdown Folly - Beloved Gold Plated NHS & Flattening the Curve
4 Dysthymia - Socially Deprived & Beer Depleted
Excitement & Enthusiasm
5 Innovative Work - Weeding out Failures & Gathering the Evidence - Literature Search
6 Empirical Science - DNA Helix & Reading the Genome - Printing Proteins
7 Adaptive Immune Systems - Innate & Adaptive
8 Turbocharge @ Warp Speed - Therapeutics & Vaccines
Personal Responsibility & Nous
9 Good Social Behaviour - Hard Work, Honesty, Thrift & Torts, Trade, Technology - Obese, Slothful, Stressed, Insomniacs & Old Men
11 Fantastical Opportunities - Tomorrow Today
Panic - collective knee jerk hysteria & fritness
Blame Games & Personal Responsibility
Covid ain't daft it arrived in dark deadly silence, without fanfare and heavily disguised as a strip of invisible RiboNeucleicAcid ... identified only by the fearsome trail of death and destruction left in its wake.
Covid ain't daft it didn't kill its innocent unsuspecting hosts rather it fed & thrived on the stocks of goodies available in the abundance from the teeming social interactions of folk.
Covid ain't daft it spread its progeny throughout the globe on the back of the social intimacy of sniffling sneezing folk ... to survive it exploited the instinctive success practised by our species where survival depended on being paid up members of a cooperating social group.
Covid ain't daft it survived by a clever strategy of random mutations which were tested against our very personal immune systems in an arms race
Covid ain't daft, there was no pre-announcement and very quick defence wasn't quick enough.
Covid ain't daft its subterfuge was sophisticated some said up to 40% of infections were spread asymptomatically.
This was real evil, parasitic & predatory evil ... surviving on the success of others ... but, and it was a big but, dead hosts were of no use whatsoever.
Covid ain't daft ... but folk ain't daft either ... folk had learned about Elizabeth Hancock? and science had a good year in 2020 ... Daniel announced he was already scientist at primary school and Jake sussed out his science subjects for '0' levels!
Soooo ... on Jan 11th 2020 the Covid genome was published on the interweb by some Chinaman for the world to see ... he was immediately sacked? It turned out to be just a bit of RNA but it was on a roll ... with a mind of its own ... and with a treacherous survival strategy ... clearly and easily able to defeat the innate and adaptive immune systems of folk? ... or could it? ... some of us remembered Elizabeth Hancock?
The tsunami of death & destruction raged but nobody new what it was, where it was coming from, when it was coming, who was involved nor how it would evolve? Folk were real frit and coward. No doubt 'bout that. Everybody longed for clarity about an unknowable future ... and panicked ... frit took over and hunker down and the storm will blow itself out ... but would it?
Covid ain't daft, Covid was in charge running riot but panicers, knee jerkers & hystericals immediately started to blame other folk; as they usually did. This time round they didn't blame the Pope as they did in 1358 and nobody even looked for the modern day Elizabeth Hancock who almost single handedly beat the beastly bugs in 1665.
The blame game started early ... the talk of the town was 'who do you blame for Covid?' ... 'China lied. Americans died.'
Folk blamed other folk 'cos it was useless blaming bats nor zoonotic intermediaries, and nobody got anywhere blaming complex chemistry that no souls yet understood.
In most necks of the woods they blamed the 'powers that be' who should have known better and 'done something about it' ... even The Queen murmured, 'why didn't someone see it coming'? ... the top honchos everywhere got it in the neck and the alien Chinese were easy targets for blame ... 'cos it was plain obvious that 'they' were at work manipulating random mutations in RNA.
Who was to blame? What were 'they' going to do about 'it'? What was the right thing to do? When was the right time to do it? Why were 'they' slow to do 'it'? Why did others close borders, mask up, test & trace everybody, offer smart Apps on Smart phones and isolate & lockdown in hunker bunkers before them? Why didn't 'they' see it coming? Did folk die with it or of it? Why had the powers that be lost control? Why didn't 'they' do the 'right thing' at the right time? How well did 'they' manage Covid?
Why was death something that always happened to other folk?
Daft questions & pontification distracted, diverted, distorted and slowed down real experiments. How stoopid to try to identify a difference between doing happenings 'for votes' and doing happenings 'from evidence' ... 'cos, for certain, folk did not, never ever, voted for death & fake noos ... that must be the quickest route to Armageddon. Folk always voted for happiness & truth ... ask them?
We remembered the hilarity during the 1988 Armenian earthquake when Gorbachev was asked by one interviewer, 'Who was to blame for all the death & destruction'? ... His answer was pat, Maggie was to blame for profiteering ... jeez ...
It seemed to us that Fake Noos had been a virus of the mind since forever ... very early on we wanted to know the identity of the 'fact checkers' who had privileged access to knowledge - 'Who were these eminences grises hoarding the know how?'
So the Bishops, Princes, Generals & Bureaucrats were pilloried as eyes & beliefs were focused & locked on the 'top down' rather than the beavering of scientists who got on with the job ... 'bottom up' at the coalface. The knee jerk hysteria & panic spread ... who won? ... who lost? ... the incomprehensible complexity of physiology & serology was neglected, big time, persisted to both mesmerise and inflame.
Blame 'someone else' waxed rampant -
'they' did too little too late to stop the beastly bugs ... twice ... first in the
Spring first wave ... and lo, exactly the same too little to late during the
second wave in the autumn ... how on earth can the same cock up happen twice
in 6 months? ... and 'they' kept the biggest and baddist bummer for the third
wave ... wotever happened to learning?
'they' pushed the bestie into to care homes and killed granny before her time ... wotever happened to care in the community?
'they' defunded our beloved centralised, inadequate & unprepared beloved gold plated NHS ... wotever happened to all the endless reorganisations for improved efficiency every other which year?
'they' encouraged crowds & infestation in the seething urban treks to Heathrow & Anfield & Benidorm ... wotever happened to urban planning of London with its 20m population density?
'they' killed off swathes of bulging obese Wrinklies with comorbidities ...
wotever happened to the supplications, 'we're eating ourselves to death from the day we are born'?
'they' must have a plan, they must micro manage a tsunami in full flow ... surely? ... wotever happened to common sense?
'they' price gouged, as profit seeking pariahs and private companies monoplised the productivity of nerd scientists messing about with new fangled immunotherapeutics & vaccines ... wotever happened to the breakthrough scientists at Genentech?
All this malarkey inevitably led to arse covering and more blame games. And when the heat was up, blame inexorably turned into hatred. Blame targeted all the 'other theys' and was par for the well trodden course ... over the years the Bishops, Princes, General & Bureaucrats, who didn't know, were always pressurised into hubris & always ended up claiming privileged access to 'know how' about the unknowable future.
Covid ain't daft ... and in 2020 the beastly bugs took advantage of all these distractions, distortions & diversions of effort from science to politics and mutated and spread with fit alacrity and rampaged with renewed vigour ... everywhere ... and like the last headless chicken in death throes, frit folk singled out the ultimate 'they' and blamed the clever scientists at Oxford and AstraZeneca -
'they' were too slow, 'they' published fiddled figures, 'they' ignored peer review, 'they' broke promises about the future ... and instead of killing viruses 'they' produced blood clots!
Nobody asked snarky questions about Charles Darwin 'cos nobody seemed to get Darwin's drift -
it would always better if every single modicum of science based 'know how' had been discovered a day earlier ... good happenings were always better when good happenings happened the day before ... but, of course, the day before 'they' didn't know ... did they?
Personal Responsibility waned pathetic -
wash your hands, work from home, social distance, lose weight
exercise ... and grow rainy day funds for next time then move to the
sunshine in rural Mouldsworth (common sense and
quite right too?) ... but never forget the poor souls at the wrong end of the
coal face who ate themselves to death from the day they were born ...
'fairness of shares'
good behaviour please (do unto others?) ... but never forget the parasites & predators,
thieves, fraudsters, counterfeiters, illegal sellers,
smugglers as unlicensed scams proliferated ...
'resentment of cheats'
spontaneously applaud at 8pm every Thursday the palliative carers in the underfunded hospitals & community carers for vulnerables (quite right too?) ... but never forget the scientists at the sharp end of the coal face ...
The truth came out early ... 'some of our loved ones will be taken before their time' ... and remember above all everyone was personally responsible for growing old ... 'they' could not be blamed for senility!
Personal responsibility for nurturing your very own evolved immune system hardly got a mention - obese, slothful, stressed, insomniacs & old men - were in a pickle, a foul predicament, wot to do about their own compromised immune system?
Think about it ... Covid ain't daft ... impervious to pandering politics and good intentions ... the besties just loved prolific homo sapiens, cosy winters, packed GPs waiting rooms, overloaded hospitals, infested care homes, seething urban conurbations, London's 20m commuters & all the above as the beasties preyed on old Wrinklies with pre-existing conditions.
In this way 'expecting' answers from 'the powers that be' at the top just slowed down the discovery & accumulation of experimental evidence from the hard work of Empirical Science at the bottom.
The scientists were on it from the go go ... although the BBC and the fake noos media had great difficulty reporting about ignorance & the incomprehensible science which was always complex, changing, conflicting & scarce ... fluster & bluster and doom & gloom were much easier headlines ... and, in a strange sort of way, more captivating & somehow more satisfying ... especially when folk were frit ... blaming the bureaucrats was even better than blaming the Pope who nowadays nobody believed in any case.
It was all very understandable. Frit folk wanted action, not cost/benefit analysis paralysis. Folk looked to the powers that be for protection rather than new fangled biotech science. And they certainly didn't want a cure worse than the disease. Elected ministers must be seen to be 'in charge' and 'doing things' as fake noos amplified the general panic & collective knee jerk hysteria.
Covid ain't daft ... was Covid in charge of happenings? ... old men, obese, slothful, stressed, insomniacs had rolled over ... wotever the bureaucrats weres compelled to look busy and 'do something' ... so they did ... group think for fear of doing wrong ... everybody was out of step except our Johnny ... look Mummy the Emperor has no clothes ...
Quick look Busy Jesus is Coming - Do Something
Advanced Planning Committees & Micro Managing a Tsunami
We all guessed that macho petty politicking politicos must be seen to do something ... otherwise no one would vote for them ... would they?
But we also guessed that 'know how' like all knowledge had always been diverse, dispersed, tacit & incomplete. So what to do?
In The Goshawk our own well trained Designer asked the ultimate question -
'give me an example of an unknown unknown so we can plan?'
Folk muttered ... when in doubt 'splash the cash', that was popular last time ... especially when it was someone else's money. So we chased hares. Jumped on bandwagons. Clutched at straws. We couldn't see the wood for the trees. We bent over backwards. We knew a stitch in time saved nine. A rain dance perhaps? Or self flagellation? ... or just blame the Pope? So as the unsolved problems queued up, the unknowns mutated even the panickers panicked ... we threw money at it ... we threw printed $s at unproven unedifying flavours of the day?
Was it guilt money? Danegeld? Or crazy panic to avoid blame & curry favour?
Printed money was splashed around desperately hoping some of it would stick somewhere. But inevitably some of it stuck ... but apparently rewarding bad behaviour ... known killers were around & proliferating ... sloth, dishonesty, spendthrift, waste, corruption, fraud ... as zombies rose up around the globe. The inevitable truth was that a profusion of £50,000 Covid 'loans' were dished out, in hasty disregard, to businesses which didn't exist.
We ran around like blue arsed flies. ... then floundering we passed the buck to other folk and blamed them.
'Nought's had all's spent' ...
Advanced Planning Committees
There were 'facts' and 'alternative facts' ... get real, wake up and smell the coffee!
Fact ... there had been Plenty of Planning ... all the experts & hangers on were at it - but it seemed all the frenzy & lucre went into flavours of the day & bureaucratic kludge, there was scant evidence of any nous -
There came upon the multitude a tsunami of committees each charged with international and national salvation ... and the preening gloat of satisfaction settled around the corridors of Westminster (and Brussels & Washington) -
UN and their agencies Security Council, WHO (World Health Organisation), WTO (World Trade Organisation), UNICEF (UN International Children's Emergency Fund), WOF (World Obesity Federation), IMF (International Monetary Fund) ... World Bank ... global squabbling
Gavi (Global alliance vaccines & immunisations) ... without clarity on intra venous & intra muscular
NHS (National Health Service) ... bureaucracy sitting idly on valuable big data which Genentech wanted and Facebook already had
PHE (Public Health England) ... obesity, sloth, sleep deprivation & dysthymia
CDC (Centre for Disease Control) ... 'control' of the unknown
SAGE (Scientific Advisory Group for Emergences) ... transparent minutes published
COBRA (Cabinet Office Briefing Rooms) ... speeding up responses
CEPI (Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness & Innovation) ... Davos joined in
FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) ... and the USA
BARDA (Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority) ... the USA even targeted their science
Emergent BioSolutions: 2012 Department of Health & Human Services to produce medical countermeasures in the event of a national pandemic
The bureaucrats & central planning failed again? The only thing that was missing was a know how response!
But, and it was a big but, politicised centralised bureaucracies local or global never ever coped with ignorance by bureaucratic definition ... which made the politicking of the petty politicos & the blame game embarrassingly irrelevant. In the face of ignorance 'advice' poured into intrays as different 'experts' at different times in different places offered different advice ... which experiment to try first? ... tossing a coin would have been just as appropriate!
One of the first bureaucratic fascinations went something like a sequence ... but it was not a sequence but a mess ... WHO reported that there was no evidence of human to human transmission and banning travel from China was racist ... recent 2012 MERS experience was that the bug spread came from cess pits of infection in big hospitals & crowded doctors waiting rooms ... ancient folk with comorbidities were the most vulnerable (surprise surprise) ... care in the community was the best protection ... but Covid ain't daft the beastly bug spread like there was no tomorrow in crowded nursing homes ... disaster! ... disaster? ... but then some wag remarked that Covid ain't daft, the beastly bug would also have spread like there was no tomorrow in crowded anywheres? ... wot a mess ... a mess? ... in 2000 the Open University Systems Thinking module defined a mess for us in 1995 -
Complex Adaptive Systems, non-linear, intractable, interconnected, interacting, whole shebangs & caboodles ... blunders, chaos, confusion, complex, changing, conflicting, difficult, dirty, disarranged, disarrayed, disheveled, disordered, embarrassing, free-for-all, havoc, heck, hell, litter, jumble, lax, mare's nest, misconduct, misorder, muddle, offensive, untidy, unpleasant, shambles, snake pit, tumble, welter ...
Enormous costs of bureaucratic kludge & regulation was a big barrier to innovators and forced a few vaccine companies - GSK, Merck, Pfizer and Sanofi - to set up their own stifling bureaucracies to cope with the unintended consequences of the kludge ... if you follow the circus.
'it gives me no pride as an Englishman that our record on this pandemic is the worst in the world bar none'.
Others thought they were Yorkshire men, not Englishmen, or Cestrians or even Russians & Chinese ... but most ageed they were victims of avoidable disaster. They blamed the planners who told lies about the future but didn't know owt about virus mutations? Or was this just another example of fritness & frustration, a demonstration of actually 'doing something' to look busier than all the others ... a futile sort of complaint about one upmanship to con folk into voting for you while you debunk the opposition who also didn't know owt about the virus mutations? ... However ... a month earlier in May 2020, unnoticed the unknown & lovely Kate Bingham started to mobilise the scientists who continued their work at the coal face and got on with the job ... the brilliant breakthroughs on the benches of free discovery in Oxford ... and Mainz ... AstraZeneca noticed ... Pfizer noticed ...
Meanwhile happenings got real dirty some said filthy. The hysterical FT reported -
'remoaners had much to bang on about, from hard Brexit to an exceptionally disastrous death toll from the coronavirus. The government has repeatedly killed people by closing down late or opening up prematurely, while the economy collapsed regardless'
Some other activists were even Trumpeting Brexit in a vain and equally irrelevant attempt to escape from the stifling moribund bureaucracies in Brussels, Washington & Westminster. Then just as everybody thought he was in charge, the beastly bugs got Boris; he succumbed. Tweeted orders were no better, nobody believed them, and the Trumpet also succumbed.
Meanwhile Covid ain't daft ... the chemistry was relentless as wave after wave just confirmed the success of sneezes & wheeses and the abject failure of good intentions. Being in charge of death & destruction was not all it was cracked up to be.
Were cultural norms for courtesy & good behaviour and the synergies of trade forgotten for Viral & Cyber Warfare ... & Rocket Men?
Was there a destruction of trust in the ‘almighty’ US $ as lethal debt surged and surged ... 2008? ... 2020? ... where was all the emollient dosh coming from? We were drowning in it ... maybe that was why so many folk died?
We were managers of manufactories we knew about action and the best laid plans ... but 'the powers that be' always stuck with their guns, they had little else to stick to ... and even little Johnny knew The Emperor had no clothes ... it seemed they honestly believed it was their job to design the lives of other folks ... few of the big cheeses were scientists who knew about the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics and the non linear maths of 'complex adaptive systems' ... and Grannie knew years & years ago that the road to hell was paved with good intentions ... and we weren't name dropping ... but Gilbert Longden suggested in 1974 that the future of any country depended upon -
'the defence of excellence against the ceaseless attacks of the the envious, and that the party opposite was the eradicator of excellence and the midwife of the second-rate'
Question Time was an embarrassing circus ... Parliament was broken in two ... and the Supreme Court had no evidence ... we couldn't even supply toilet rolls to Tescos?
There were 'facts' and 'alternative facts' ... get real wake up and smell the coffee!
Fact ... there was Plenty of Activity ... all the experts & hangers on were at it - but it seemed all the frenzy & lucre went into flavours of the day & bureaucratic kludge, there was scant evidence of any nous -
There came upon the multitude a tsunami of flavours of the day ... and the hysterical cries reverberated around the corridors of Westminster (and Brussels & Washington) - everyone agreed the lessons from history suggested the focus must be on speed to herd immunity ... but the question was which was the best way what where & how?
'more ventilators' ! - but worse than useless and actually real harmful for Cytokine storms
where lungs drowned and blood clotted !
Vacuum cleaner manufactures were immediately put on the job of making sophisticated medical control equipment with predictable results ... the supply of oxygen ran out long before any machines were delivered
'more Nightingales' ! - but when they were built in record time they were unused, plenty of beds but no doctors !
'more PPE' ! - but all the hospital laundries had been closed down and cheap
'n' cheerful disposable stuff was all made in rogue China ! The cost of caps
& gowns went through the roof and the filthy rich Chancellor of the
Exchequer was printing money to pay the bills.
Buzz words were invented to inject discipline into the system and 'get a grip' on the raging beastly bugs -
Prevention ... Containment ... Mitigation ...
Prevention and protection (we already had superb immune systems which were consistently abused).
'soap & water kills the bug' - Hands, Face, Space, Ventilate ...
encouraged by all the scientists.
We tried it but stock piles of soap for Africa and toilet rolls by the billion emptied the supermarket shelves as everybody tried washing their hands and cleaning their bums which seemed to be a good idea at the time. But soft toilet tissues involved a filthy habit, it was the bidet & soap that was second to Godliness. But then the WHO mentioned 3 billion folk did not have running water at home ...
'don't touch your face' - we tried it but osculation, snogs, hugs, smooches, hand shakes, itch scratching, eye rubbing and nose picking were all ingrained habits & pleasures of a lifetime and social necessities.
Hancock didn't know about PPE and Florence Nightingale herself murmured,
'The germ hypothesis, logically followed, must stop all human intercourse
whatever, on pain or risk of disease or death'
... intricate interactions of doctor and patient became strained, clumsy and communication smothered where, it was rumoured, there were fearful problems of their own making so they put the price up and supply down ... series of shortcomings £17bn of contracts to private companies included deals to supply PPE to NHS staff ... vast quantities of public money on pandemic panic as folk were dying ... there was nobody around to dot all the 'i's and cross all the 't's they were hunkered down in their bunkers we now need money to fund a public inquiry
'more test, test, test' ! - but
there were no labs & no logistics & no time available to perform 'gold plated' PCR tests
... there were no meaningful tests available ... The Swan of Roche brought everyone down
to earth in April 2020. All the tests rushed out at vast expense didn't work ... the head
honcho of Roche said it was hubris, the PCR gold standard antigen
test involved a 24 hour supervised procedures, in distributed laboratories, which
involved a complex chemical ritual which
few could perform and when they could the malarkey involved days on the waiting list.
Testing was not fit for purpose ... false +ves, false -ves flooded the air waves and muddied the waters ... tests, just like mask wearing, were interpreted as a licence or passport to indulge in bad behaviour ... together with an associated false sense of security or dysthymia.
Containment and isolation (social
necessities were impossible to curtail) -
'keep your distance' - Courtesy and Good Behaviour ... was encouraged by all the
We tried it but it was a blunderbuss of impossible social distance. Anathema as the ravers insisted it was impossible to pull at 2 metres and hopeless even in a double bed. Isolation was not on for pulling and nobody we knew suggested 'No Sex Please we're British'. In our state of ancient decrepitude just imagine how the marriagables & those in the running feel as they seek the social intimacy of the raves, parties, hoedowns, meatouts, fish fries, weddings, christenings, and all the other opportunities for amassing in the crowds for sports, musics, theatres and all manner of entertainments, even funerals where folk can gather for fun and pulls. All were tactile opportunities to increase social intimacy, carnal knowledge and empathetic sharing ... the defining extended characteristic of our social species. Regular raves, super spreaders, lady killers and village bicycles. It was as if we didn't remember that the pinnacle of fun for the youngsters demanded intimacy. And we'll never forget we met Carole with an 'e' at a great social meatout ... the Hunt Ball ... and just like the shishi smokes they were soon to be verboten ... as such social extravaganzas were mistaken for hugging Granny ... please hug Jessica every day but resist hugging Granny until she's vaccinated.
And Liverpool played Athletico and supporting our team was more important than a matter of life & death.
Everything depended on quick, accurate, sensitive testing - all
the exciting known tests were slow, inaccurate &
insensitive and ... in any case more tests majestically revealed more cases, wot
use? Cases were pouring out of the woodwork there was no problem
identifying them, sneezes & wheezes were everywhere, the problem was saving
the multitudes from infecting & dying ... and, of course, the august WHO
bureaucrats were suggesting there was 'no person to person transmission' ... and
asymptomatic transmission was thus irrelevant.
If you looked and opened your eyes the beastly bugs were discovered in their thousands & thousands. Some wag pointed out that if you wanted the cases to go down the easiest way was to stop the tests!
Tests were excruciatingly slow, inaccurate & insensitive ... dogs were better!
When the fuss & panic had died down an 'official' survey revealed 25% of individuals with signs of coronavirus failed to go for a test and in any case more than a third of all adults were unable to identify the three main symptoms from the common cold ... folk were frit and did not behave ...
Tests needed to identify who should be contained, for how long. Speed (when?) -
sensitivity (did Covid fragments load trigger the test?) ... LF tests identified real disease 80-85% of the time by 2022
specificity (was the correct Covid antigen, antibody identified?) ... LF tests gave a false positive 3-4% of the time by 2022
Instant automatic serology or tonsil gagging tests were a pipedream.
Micro management of meaningless data didn't cut the mustard.
At best tests were a temporary guess but immunity had 5 levels of complexity so a quick, accurate & sensitive passport to work didn't exist.
Antigen tests = identified who had it at the time of the test? ... but a minute later was different and more cases could mean unnecessary isolation and no innovative work
Antibody tests = identified who had immunity and could work? ... but how long did immunity last?
Blood tests marketed to tell people if they had had the virus were a 'disaster'.
'more test, trace & isolate' ! - learn from South Korea & Taiwan proved impossible? But there were too many cases too quickly for such alien logic? It's obvious just break the chain of infection, let's go but we didn't go and it wasn't obvious ... happenings were different over there and nobody knew which strange behaviours Covid disliked!
Mitigation and the NHS - 'stay at home' - 'work from home
if you can' -
'avoid the cess pits of GP surgeries & hospitals'
... encouraged by all the scientists.
We tried it but more folk died of alternative evils like Big C, cardiovasculars and dysthymia ... as 'care in the community' cottoned the nursing homes followed the surgeries & hospitals and became additional hot beds of infestation.
We tried it but staying at home also stopped the production lines of goods & services ... in the manufactories, shops, labs, salons & exchanges.
We tried it but innovative work really thrived on personal interaction at the coffee machine & water fountain.
... 'test, trace & isolate' was the hysterical cry and the grandiose test & trace & isolate programed was primed with a staggering £37bn budget some said £22bn was wasted ... and more, the figures were incomprehensible
PCR took 24 hours with massive overcapacity, but tracing was a bureaucratic nightmare and then folk only pretended to isolate as they found it was impossible to drink a real convivial pint at home and no one even tried to pull in isolation.
An army of expensive bureaucrats ... sorry 'consultants' paid up yo £6,600 per day without the proper tools failed to test, failed to trace & failed to isolate the masses of infected folk ... too many to identify, isolate & contact trace resulting in lockdown 2 and lockdown 3.
Apple & Google knew about iPhones and had an App for everything but such were not invented here ... and our beloved gold plated NHS tried to invent their own new fangled technology ... and failed.
Then the numbers changed & surged, more tests, more cases, more folk to trace ... prompting a restart An array of flaws money and no measurable difference to the spread of the pandemic. This was panic, 2,000 to 750,000 inaccurate & non specific tests per day by March. 2,500 consultants at up to £6,600.
The courts got involved at more cost as legal challenges over the failure to meet strict time limits as state contracts award notices must be published within a 30 day period of the deals being finalised.
For sure the peer reviewed science was proven to be the same in Scunthorpe & the Antipodes ... hello?
Germany were out of the blocks fast fastidiously ... but they didn't have better science ... did they?
Almost over nite a new 'test, trace & isolate' organisation was built, no
expense sparred, which ended up the same size as Tescos ... but it didn't
work? We knew from old the cries of our Marketing Managers, 'Don't
manufacture crap ... the customers don't like it'.
The final conundrum ... as the
Apps pinged & alerted, some folk were allergic to iPhones while others
pinged acknowledgement ... but ... when the test accuracy/sensitivity became
and trace bit was done at vast bureaucratic and fraudulent expense ... some know alls didn't change their behaviour
and escaped the ignominy of hunkering down in a bunker especially as the
were raring to go and didn't even have a sniffle ... how on earth did you isolate the spreaders who
all seem to have desperate social needs, and didn't believe the test result
in any case? And likened the tracers to the Gestapo? Ban social activity! But how to persuade and enforce? Our
policemen were citizens in uniform not enforcers of whims ... especially
when the whimpers themselves also had desperate social needs and were making
the head lines on Facebook & The Daily Mail.
Good intentions, everything was hunky dory with test and trace until it came to isolation ... to isolate a social animal was deadly ... get a life.
... if only we'd known then what we now now ... 20% of the infections were asymptomatic and didn't even raise a sniffle ... only 1% of the population were super spreaders and 70% were needed for herd immunity ... and mavericks like Tim Spector were still gathering the data.
Covid wasn't daft it made a bee line straight for the community ... where tracing was easy ... it was everywhere!
Then the final final conundrum ... as the 'rules' changed almost daily, a survey suggested 30-40% of folk didn't understand the 'rules' ... and more, they didn't understand the difference between the law of the land, sound advice and the whims of kings?
At the end of the day ... isolation was physically impossible ... for multigenerational families, youngsters alone at the top of tower blocks ... for anyone without wages to pay for expensive hotel bills ... as Elizabeth Hancock discovered in Eyam in 1665 someone had to bury the dead ... the important question, rarely asked, was, why did Elizabeth Hancock survive?
'more masks' ! - but folk were suffocated and stopped smiling and wallowed in a naive sense of security
and in any case it was just a courteous South Korean cultural habit ... !
... in truth we loved face masks as good behaviour & a common courtesy, and the evidence was, they traped the deadly Covid aerosols. We had only one thing against them, it was impossible to sup a pint with a mask on ... masks were a courtesy and they 'worked'.
So masks were anti social that's why the 'worked' ... but they were a social courtesy 'cos they 'worked'?
Masks became a viral side show ... the issue became politicised ... masks
were for wimps only scientist work masks and when
the evidence of benefit was clear & peer reviewed ... lots of folk objected
to a mandate and were turned off simply 'cos it was dictated from above!
Meaning for starters in polarised politics on 50% did as mandated ... then
there were the disbelievers another word for dissenters.
Dr John said, 'I just don't get the politics of masks' ... but it was political mandates that folk that were against not the science of masks!
'more hydroquinone' ! - but no evidence of efficacy just lots of noise and hope ...
Hydroquinone became a viral side show ... the issue became politicised ...
and when the evidence of benefit was clear & peer reviewed ... lots of folk
still objected to a mandate and were turned off simply 'cos it was dictated
from above! and when the evidence of early use benefit was clear the issue
had become politicised ... and lots of folk objected and were turned off
simply 'cos it was mandated from above!
Dr John said, 'I just don't get the politics of hydroquinone' ... but it was political mandates that folk that were against not the science of therapeutics!
'more disinfectant' ! - but don't swallow it !
... just gargle with 'Listerine' & 'Optrex ' your eyes, 'Dettol' disinfectant killed all known germs dead ... but there was no evidence they were very efficacious against the dreaded Covid and its cytokine storm
Nasal sprays became a viral side show ... the issue became politicised ...
and when the evidence of benefit was clear & peer reviewed ... lots of folk
still objected to a mandate and were turned off simply 'cos it was dictated
Dr John said, 'I just don't get the politics of nasal sprays' ... but it was political mandates that folk that were against not the science of disinfectants!
'more clapping on pots & pans' ! - but the virus easily survived gratuitous clapping as
folk also sang and shouted out the virus !
... some wag suggested this ritual was a modern day rain dance ... but we thought it was a bit of fun and 'our Ed' at the coalface in the NHS needed a bit of appreciation amongst all the doom & gloom ... everybody needed a bit of fun !
NHS became a viral side show ... the issue became politised ... the killer
was obesity & sloth and our very own mal functioning immune systems ... and
the 'opportunity costs' ICUs & bed occupancy ... the life savers were vaccines
Dr John said, 'We don't do politics on this channel' ... but the scientific evidence was inaccessible and much not yet discovered or accumulated!
'more fresh air' ! - ventilation appeared rather late in the day and when the icy beast from the east arrived folk hunkered down in their cosy warmth as always !
Antigens fiasco - test for antigens in the blood were pretty meaningless distortions of statistics as more tests resulted in more cases ... funny that?!
Antibodies fiasco - tests for antibodies in the blood were pretty meaningless as they naturally declined as other layers of the immune system took over ... T memory cells were in bone marrow?
Excess deaths fiasco - stats for deaths was pretty meaningless for Covid as data included obesity & sloth, comorbidities, and untreated ailments due to pressure on the NHS and lack of productive work on treatments and dysthymia following lockdown folly.
The headlines raged, but the statistics were pretty meaningless, the panic dominated the news bulletins, frit folk became agog for salvation ... but they looked for deliverance in the wrong place. Although the daily press conferences included in the 'respectable' scientists they soon became window dressing, manipulated pawns in a game of chicken ... flapping their wings and losing their heads ... devoid of evidence 'cos there wasn't any. How often at daily briefings could folk stand up to a microphone and say, 'I don't know'? Folk seemed to listen avidly but didn't hear.
We had to force ourselves to disengage from all the froth and focus on the science ... but how to shut out the daily dose of puerile pantomime?
'Some problems are too pressing to wait for the inevitable trial & error process. Covid-19 has forced some governments to rethink their approach to competition & industrial policy'
We were agog to learn about this process which was deemed to be faster than the trial & error process of science - observation, maths theory, testable hypotheses, experimental validation & peer review ... alas there was no information on the mysterious better option?
Thanks to the miracle of YouTube we could now choose our news ... suddenly there was no communications monopoly, we could choose to listen to scientists (or politicians). No censorship, no editors ... just the discovery.
Of course others said we were just feeding our prejudices but we knew science had a built in peer review system? Then things got so hot that YouTube itself became politised as 'cancel culture' insidiously crept into our 1st Amendment protection ... Covid ain't daft it had long tentacles.
Two unlikely Stars in all the Doom & Gloom
We vowed to focus on the words & actions of two unlikely sources of evidence ... Dr Debbie Birx and Dr John Campbell ... not because they had answers but because they were plugged into the scientific community ... and they both spoke English with a smile.
The lovely Dr Debbie Birx was a scientist, a lady from the military, action girl, ready willing & able to help as 'the powers that be' floundered as they forgot all about the previous advanced planning committees that had been set up and proudly repeated the folly and tried another ... this time grandly called a 'Task Force' and Chaired by the Vice President himself ...
Immediately Debbie clarified the position - there was no peer reviewed evidence on Covid therapeutic & prophylactic interventions ... the vaccines will come ... but remember the time to prevent epidemics with vaccines was before they started.
She outlined the task -
'we just don't know' ... yet ... but we're all on it big time ... pharma and global others ... meanwhile be patient and wait for the evidence of the multi pronged scientific attacks to secure evidence & efficacy -
genome had been been published, open & accessible
rapid, accurate & sensitive diagnostic tests developed
existing therapeutics were being screened for efficacy
new anti viral therapeutics needed to be discovered
and above all the detailed hard work on discovery, safety, efficacy, manufacture, distribution and treatment of vaccines ... was underway everywhere ... years of work ... a cooperative effort by the scientific community ... science like Covid did not respect national boundaries ...
Meanwhile ... wait patiently for the vaccine ... stop eating & start running ... and think of others ...
Dr Debbie was a positive inspiration amongst all the knee jerk hysteria - 'Thanks for doing all you can to kill the virus and slow the spread ... don't 'cancel' Christmas ... just postpone it ...'
'Firm advice' was confirmed ...
current best way to protect vulnerable folk was to avoid giving them the virus which can only replicate within the eukaryotic cells of sociable folk
wash your hands - soap & water
keep your distance - don't kill Grandpa
work from home if you can - good alert behaviour but don't stop work
avoid the cesspits of infection in hospitals & doctors waiting rooms
don't panic we've seen it all before and we will gather the evidence at 'Warp Speed' ... meanwhile get the viral load down to help the hospitals ...
'Follow the evidence of science from double blind random control experiments ... meanwhile hands, face, space, ventilate and don't be selfish and pass Covid onto others'.
The agreeable Dr John became a YouTube star, enthusiastically abandoning fear and doom & gloom in an exciting quest for understanding of our own immune systems and our personal responsibility for looking after such a wonder of evolutionary triumph which resided within every soul on the planet.
It was all a bit immensely complicated so as Dr John waited patiently for
the vaccine, he dug his allotment in the sun and took his Vitamin D tablets ... and
tried to teach everyone about our very own personable
responsibility for our own immune systems and our
personal obligation to protect others from evil
... so we tried to do the same ... thanks
Dr John tried to stop hares running - focus on the knitting
Dr John tried to be optimistic - science will discover the answer
Dr John tried to calm down macho men knowalls - nurture good behaviour
Dr John tried to flatten the curve - to protect the NHS
Dr John tried to focus on cures - do the science
Dr John tried to alert the fake noos media that the opinion of scientists was not the same thing as scientific evidence
But even Dr John could not stop the issue becoming politically polarised and only occasionally did he slip into participation in the quagmire of 'the thought police' ... nobody could stop Dr John from using his brain.
We were convinced ... follow the evidence, forget the politics ... a diversity of rigorous experiments were required rather than knee jerk acceptance of the first initiative to avoid finger pointing blame.
The pettiness of politics was exposed as, in the middle of a global pandemic, the UK & Switzerland were excluded from participation in European scientific projects as a punishment for Brexit ...
As with exclusion from 'free trade', exclusion from 'empirical science' was an oxymoron!
But it seemed to the BBC and the fake noos that there was always an election coming up ... so as the scientist were outlining the bullet points ... the politicians stole the press conferences and the limelight so they could bask in the glorious discoveries of the scientists in the pharma companies ... and blame the others for the failures.
Even though we didn't know, we must be seen to have a 'plan'! We must micro manage a tsunami in full flow!
In this way in 2020 Covid managed to knacker the economy by 10% lost £400 billion in tax revenues printed £300 billion to fund the stay of execution by the beastly bugs ... at the same time excess deaths due to early demise of wrinklies with comorbidities rose inexorably ... and sneakily, all the delayed interventions from the beloved gold plated NHS added more excess deaths ... if you follow the drift of evil.
France managed only an 8% knackering and preened themselves ... but they forgot to order the vaccines and didn't learn that the future was all about personal services not the easy task of growing tomatoes! Services demanded intimate personal interactions in urban conurbations with high population densities.
The headlines raged - 90% steeper decline, 80% more spend, 60% more deaths ... but nobody believed the figures, the measurement system wasn't up to speed. The figures couldn't tell the story 'cos no one could create money out of nothing and nobody could distinguish between fake noos & alternative facts ... and the reality was chock full of incomprehensible complexity, change, conflict & scarcity.
As more & more folk died in the infested, seething centralised hospital cesspits, every Thursday night at 8 pm, pots & pans were wrecked in a cacophony of celebration for our beloved gold plated NHS ... meanwhile the pharma companies were pursued by angry mobs and accused of price gouging and exploitation ... perhaps some of us needed to act less like grateful patients, sitting dumbly for hours while a grumpy administrator searched for our lost test results, and become more discerning consumers. Not aggressive bolshies but rather carrying our own health records on a memory stick and taking more responsibility for our health ... and above all asking more curious questions.
Around the same time a quiet unnoticed zoom awarded the Nobel Prize for Chemistry to Emmanuelle Carpentier & Jennifer Doudna for a CRISPE game changer.
Wot on earth was going on!
Covid ain't daft ... nobody knew so frit folk hunkered down in their bunkers and complained ... 'lockdown to stop the spread'!
But how to stop the creeping evil? How did we measure Covid deaths when folk were dying of comorbidities - how to identify the vulnerable population if it were only 0.1% of homo sapiens and the tests didn't work?
Lockdown Folly - Speed to Herd Immunity, Beloved Gold Plated NHS & Flattening the Curve
Speed to Herd Immunity
Some cried quick lockdown to save lives!
Others cried quick work harder to save lives!
The unseemly infighting started as the hat dropped ... in their ignorance the experts, and everyone else, spluttered and disagreed ... Imperial College fought with Oxford over all the flavours of the day as the opinion of scientists was again mistaken for scientific evidence.
... and both may have been right ... such were not alternatives ... lockdown hindered the discovery & accumulation of the genomic 'know how' ... most folk could not afford to lockdown they had a job to do ... to live ... but it was more than that, folk from hairdressers to tradesmen, piano tuners to village store wanted to work ... for family, friends and their own peace & tranquility of mind ... it was as if we all needed to work, a sort of mental fix. Busy was good!
Lockdown ... for everyone ? ... was sold by the powers that be as a moral protective shield for vulnerable old men oozing with self inflicted sloth, obesity & comorbidities ... few argued ... and ingenious enterprise continued unabated in a variety of ways, some novel and innovative, many as before, all over the globe. All sorely missed hugs from the grandkids ... but all wanted for nothing as long as Amazon Prime delivered to the doorstep within a couple of days, at a lower price ... and the miracle of fibre optics could deliver to our iPads ... including quick, efficient medical consultations which avoided the cesspits of crowded waiting rooms.
The dawn was slow ... the folk who were dying were not the folk who were working ... and the key to unlock the dilemma was that -
workers were everywhere beavering away for crumbs for them, their mates & their families
kids only got a sniffle
vulnerables were long past their sell by date ... and the obese slothful Wrinklies had been killing themselves since the day they were born ... and every day the evidence mounted
hunckered down in bunkers and innovative work suffered
succumbed to comorbidities which were on a free run field day
developed raging dysthymia which added insidiously to the toll
nurtured the twin evils of obesity & sloth with indulgence in more comfort eating & drinking and inactivity ... it was now easy to 'justify' brain treats ... and furlough treats in Tahoe ... 'look in the mirror' became uncomfortable infra dig kill joy
Lockdown, the fatal flaws of reality as youngsters -
felt fit & well and raring to go ... remember when you were 19?
hungered to eat & pull ...
zestfully busied themselves with hormonic activity for work & play ... busy was always good at 19, you had a mate to find before they were all lost to the rampants?
were inspired to discover, test & produce therapeutics & vaccines ... there was a always a solution when you were 19? ... some even tried pot!
So the jetset revelers reveled ... 12 months at 19 was a helluva long time.
The powers that be with guns at the heads of submissives believed they were omnipotent and could impose the isolation which hindered the spread ... but a gun to the head might change behaviour in dictatorships but it don't never ever change beliefs ... and once genies were out of the bottles in a liberal democracy folk loved to choose for themselves and found they didn't need a gun if they didn't harm others?
There was no doubt China locked down big time, Xi decided. But such also locked down on the info flow. The powers that be over there in the east not only had all the guns, they had a habit of using them against the unruly mob ... no wonder there was a whole history of (enviable?) obedience after the mandates?
In the west happenings were different. Any old fool could see that hunckering down in a bunker kept the bug at bay. So wot? Then wot? For how long?
Lockdown was daft but Covid wasn't, we were a social species ... the new plan was - 'the media only reports doom & gloom and was still preoccupied with Trumpeting Brexit', 'scare the pants off everyone', 'ever changing rules to confuse', 'timing of new variant discovery announcement for maximum impact', 'Mail on Sunday was all let it rip as the powers that be were hogging the vaccine salvation limelight' ... it was a political circus ... then there was the saving face with the pingdemic as 20m folk were told to isolate! This fraudulent pinging cost fiasco was not scrapped until Feb 2022!
Meanwhile the youngsters had sniffles and those old aged, obese, slothful, stressed & insomniac succumbed to their comorbidities ... Covid ain't daft it didn't kill its host.
Everyone on the globe was on the same strategy for fear of getting it wrong on their own. Let it rip as we learned from Eyam was quickly ridiculed! Italy led the way in Europe and got away with it.
Remember the Black Death and 40 days quarantine came from Venice ... but not Lombardy ... Italian fritness on the front line in Europe made lockdown the only answer to overwhelmed hospitals.
also seemed to have a track record of success (we owned a Merc), they were good
at production and had lots of super quality laboratories and hospital beds all over the place
... some said beds were even coming out of their ears.
They also had 'ways & means' of making decentalised federalists behave themselves ... Uber Alles ... when instructed to self isolate on false +ve test results and false -ve test results they did, did do ... obligingly without fuss either thru fritness or common courtesy ... even the 19 year old studs thought it was a good idea.
But for us Brits (and the Yanks) the 'ways & means' didn't work ... we had the beloved gold plated centralised NHS ... and there was no chance of any agreement with the whims of Bishops, Princes, Generals & Bureaucrats and their stoopid 'restrictive practices' and 'restraints on trade' ... we'd been there before ... it was 'much ado about nothing' ... 'Fake Noos' & 'Project Fear' ... everybody knew trumpeting brexit was buffoonery ... lying about the future?
Many Brits did wot they'd always done, they were still learning, but they were Anglo Saxons loyal, courageous, determined, inspired & autonomous ... their guts had become wary of all dictators, long long times ago ... they went for longevity in their own way ... working it all out for themselves, family & friends ...
In our neck of the woods of free abandon, good behaviour was always learned thru the loaded dice of moral sentiments & personal responsibility. The decentralised nature of the social goings on was not an accident. Legislation, statutes & mandates from above were never ever routes to behaviour change ... otherwise everything would be huncky dorey ... think about it ... Bishops, Princes, General & Bureaucrats have always tried to ban parasites & predators and always failed ... Covid ain't daft ... and was looking like real clever.
Furthermore there existed an emotional antidote to fritness ... excitement ... which fed a cultural reaction to imposition, bureaucratic kludge, parasites & predators, tyranny & oppression, bribery & corruption ... we remembered -
in 1649 a king lost his head trying to change beliefs and behaviour by mandate!
in 2008 blame was heaped on the irresponsible con merchants in the banks as personal responsibility for buying cheap Chinese Barbie Dolls was forgotten as imbalances soared ...
in 2016 trumpeting brexit was really all about the 10th Amendment freedoms, cemented in place by the 14th Amendment protections ... folk only had themselves to blame as en masse the hoi polloi looked upwards to Bishops, Princes, Generals & Bureaucrats for solutions ... but Parasites & Predators were everywhere ... how to 'drain the swamp'? ... how to 'get it done'?
in 2020 autonomous states & devolved mayors demanded payment for implementing centrally mandated policy!
Funny but it seemed to the youngsters that incarceration at home was no way to protect health & happiness?
The bottom line - a decision about RISK ... hugs v. disease ... was a very personal decision ... everybody was different ... an impossible decision for politicians to mandate ... the only answer was good behaviour but good behaviour was real difficult ... and Covid ain't daft ... in fact it was real clever ... social folk socialised ... lockdown only worked until it didn't?
There was evidence that vaccines reduced death ... there was no evidence vaccines reduced infection !
Lockdown simply delayed natural selection resolution and brought on dysthymia which overloaded the NHS?
Beloved Gold Plated NHS
The big problem emerged immediately. The big story of the NHS was of directives raining down from on high as politicians tried to get a grip on something they assumed they could control but they couldn’t. They had no chance ... all politicians could do was to throw fictitious money around. NHS spend grew more than fourfold in real terms 1980 to 2022.
Sooo ... lockdown could never ever keep the business supply chains running which in turn kept alive our beloved gold plated NHS ... and everything else ... and there was more ... 'saving the NHS' could only switch capacity from existing waiting lists for cancers to non existent cures for Covid ... and there was more more ... the associated mental stress of lockdown added more physical stress on physiology which extended the waiting lists ... and ... then ... after the Nightingales were built ... some wag noticed it took 5 years to train additional docs ... a dog's breakfast or a dog chasing tails!
Out of the hat came the answer ... throw even more money at the problem or they won't vote for us. After all, hadn't all the advanced planning of the expert committees had failed miserably 'cos of lack of more wherewithal? Hadn't all the continuous gold plating of the NHS since 1944 failed miserably 'cos of lack of more wherewithal?
It seemed the gold plating wasn't thick enough ... so ... the big print TINA?
Furloughs, support, bailouts, bounce back loans, euphemistically called 'stimulus' were essential to keep the wheels turning? But evolutionary economists were certain growth came from innovation as inefficient companies went bankrupt! Help the enterprising to discover proper jobs and avoid keeping zombies alive ... oh dear ... does that mean furlough missed the point?
'Stimulating' a lockdown was an interesting idea? Some folk worked while others were locked down ... but which who did what, where, when and how?
Furlough? A new word, we didn't know what it meant but we soon found out. Was it a scam to prey on escalating fear? Folk were to be paid to stop work and hunker down in their bunkers ... and their was more ... yet another opportunity for thieves to pretend to stop work as the feverishly filled in pages of fraudulent claims as new businesses were invented to buy Porsches?
Covid ain't daft ... but hello ... folk weren't daft either -
as soon as there were stocks there were thieves - £50,000 (or a quarter of
turnover) loan free for 12 months then 2% interest fixed for 10 years (lots
of companies suddenly had turnovers of £200,000)
some were taking the lucre and investing in equities ... and Bitcoins ...
all kosher within the law!
Money to tide over poured into disasters as the bills remained unpaid.
The Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS) was another monstrosity of good intentions and unintended consequences. In the name of prudence banks, some like the upstart Greensill, advised by ex PMs, were instructed to restrict funds to £50 million per company ... as folk jostled to get their hands on the handouts of lucre ... some worthy, some fraudsters ... and some were surprised when new companies, as legal entities, appeared in the queue like Jack in a Boxes.
Due Diligence &
Caveat Emptor became a neglected personal responsibility. Easy come easy go
was a fun game. Rampant fraud deluged email inboxes and banks 'loaned' to
conmen who then filed for bankruptcy 12 months later when the Porsche had been purchased ...
then they secured same loan from the bank across the road ... jeez ...
Then, inevitably, Covid money ended up financing Gupta's bankrupt steel mills and Greensils lethal debt ... and a £42 million house in Belgravia ... wot? Of course there was a maximum Covid 'relief' loan for each company ... but inevitably Gupta's empire was reorganised into more and more separate companies ... wot? Remember Gupta was the saviour of the welsh steel industry and thousands of jobs that rescued politician from front page ignominy ...
We remembered the same trick in Nigeria in 1772 - free loans for cement to build the new capital city - then free loans for spends ... then why bother to order the cement just take the loan? ... in any case the cement ships never arrived, the cement solidified in the intolerable humidity of 'cement city' as hundreds of ships anchored outside of the Lagos lagoon turned into rock as they awaited non existent berths at the Apapa wharf .
We also remembered the tricks in China in 2008 ... when money comes out of your ears it goes into a real estate bubble the Los Angeles, USA.
wot was the point of saving for a rainy day? Especially when unearned income or wealth was taxed twice. Money to gold plate the NHS could now just be printed; easy? Why bother?
Somebody said this was the age of 'Modern Monetary Theory' which some arrogant boffins insisted 'demanded an understanding of effective demand' ... jeez ... evolutionary economists guessed that without trust & moral sentiments both supply & demand in the economy would collapse into chaos ... and then who would pay for all the gluts & queues?
And remember the bit of RNA wasn't daft ... if it were daft it would not be alive & kicking would it? Think about it?
Our mate Crawf was a brilliant engineer and also a paragon of good behaviour ... the folly of lockdown didn't deter his hands, face, space & ventilate of good social behaviour as he reveled & raved with friends and scientists at his weekly outdoor street parties (although Crawf admitted that he found drinking through a mask fouled up the taste of the beer).
Of course, as the first wave flowed & ebbed, the centralised and submissives arrogantly and prematurely preened themselves.
Of course, as the second wave relentlessly emerged there was inevitable crowd trouble in the decentralised pockets of free thinking, restless, enterprising youngsters who refused to miss out on the once in a life time opportunities ... we were all only 19 years old once ... testosterone always proved more efficacious than the impositions of Bishops, Princes, Generals & Bureaucrats ... who, for certain, have no privileged access to know how.
Then out of the blue came more obnoxion, the toffs had the temerity to arbitrarily, discriminate, victimise and ostracise my mates who were placed ignominiously in the wrong foul 'tier' which was already full up. Others thought tiers were echelons and demanded a resit. They had voted only last January and some had even passed their driving test, yet they were singled out for the squalor of tier 3½, just because they lived on the left side of the road ... or was it tier 5½? ... nobody could remember because some of the 'i's had not been dotted and 't's not crossed ... and lots of folk couldn't even remember which side of the road they lived. This was banditry perpetrated by a few of the new aliens in Westminster who claimed new powers and used their laptops to perform unknown but statistically potent regression analysis 'at the touch of a button' ... but some suspected these hidden persuaders didn't wash their hands and many insisted they were secret West Ham supporters from tier 1 ... leave my mates alone they didn't want to be separated like sheep into oblivion while we were swanning it in Benidorm ... and in any case Covid ain't daft, it didn't care about the 'echelons' and couldn't even spell it ... wot a mean mess!
Then the wretched little string of RNA had another trick up its sleeve.
Black and minority ethnic communities suffered disproportionately from the beastly bugs, adding more grim social and political dimensions to hysteria. The blame game spread to our mates who were identified as emotionally 'racist', even though some of them loved Fred Katimba & Dixieland Jazz, as they relentlessly focused on the science of Vitamin D & obesity.
It was not all doom and gloom. There were one or two scientists who became politicians ... but not many ... most were searching for evidence.
David Davies was a lad from welsh Wales, well trained as a thinking scientist who started shouting about evidence with the superb Dr John Cambell, our very own YouTube star from Cumbria. In parliament and in Cumbria, evidence about vitamin D was paraded for peer review ... long before it was accepted by the bureaucracy as common curry for resurrecting our immune systems. Why on earth didn't the powers that be organise a 'proper' double blind randomise control trial? Some suggested such lethargy was due to the mundane character of cheap & cheerful Vitamin D ... there was no excitement in such banal profitless trite.
However it must be said that others suggested the evidence was crystal clear ... but was it cause or consequence? Most agreed effects could be causes but had no idea which causes caused which effects and which effects effected which causes ... even the laptops couldn't seem to sort it all out ... and, secretly, some even thought the laptops themselves had been infected by rouge viruses ... they'd heard about that on the BBC.
Nevertheless pill popping Vitamin D quickly became a fad 'cos it was cheap cheap and might even be effective ... there was nothing to lose?
But ... pill popping had always been a quick fix alternative to onerous clean living and good behaviour associated with actively shedding the flab and exercising every day in the sunshine?
Dave had good experience of strange notions, just like we the ones we had promulgated in Quality Assurance in Port Sunlight ... dotting 'i's and crossing 't's in the specifications could never replace loyal cooperation with trusted suppliers who knew far more about their own products than we did ... our 'specifications' at Port Sunlight were simple in principle - 'your product must run on our machines'!
In 2016 Dave had previously tried to point out the folly of the acres & acres and stacks & stacks of fine print as the French tried to detail their Civil Law tradition handed down from the Bishops, Princes, General & Bureaucrats in their ivory towers in Rome & Brussels. But the simple principles, rules of thumb and custom & practice of English Common Civil Law was not on the menu ... this unholy separation of compromise or cooperation was summarised hilariously in a photo opportunity which lives longer than words?
The rule of law in liberal democracies was a slippery problem presented for all to digest in the Jonathan Sumption Reith Lectures ... just as the Covid flotsam began to appear.
The matter was of burning interest ... in a liberal democracy, how could anyone 'enforce' a 'mandate' of social distancing for 19 year old studs (or 80 year old geriatrics for that matter) ... ?
Imposing good behaviour was an oxymoron, especially for us Brits, the Pope tried it and lost his credentials ... the king tried it and lost his head ... and if the Boris tried it he would lose more than his Carrie.
Polarising squabbles & 'civil wars' broke out as crowd trouble simmered. The headlines were dominated, as always, by short term flavours of the day, palliative care not the science ... which no one understood anyway ... what on earth was mRNA?
Egged on by a hysterical BBC and serious & fun newspapers alike, all claimed privileged access to know how and the cries got loud and louder.
A priority question emerged ... how to save our beloved gold plated NHS?
Protect the NHS ! ... was the cry ... although there were one or two frit & perplexed souls who murmured quietly ... '... I thought the NHS was there to protect us' ?
Then there was another wag who was closer to home ... save the NHS ! ban obesity & sloth !
Flattening the Curve
USA put the Vice President 'in charge' of 'Warp Speed' ... Operation Warp Speed in the US aimed to subsidise research, testing and production of vaccine candidates, as well as dramatically accelerating the process of regulatory approval ... was this the 1st hunk of public expenditure that we ever approved of?
Or were we just frit?
... and was it knackered by the 14 Amendment?
... and why was the 'free' Oxford vaccine never approved in the USA?
UK put the Gold Plated NHS in charge of delivering to the coal face the country’s biggest ever mass vaccination campaign ... but were they knackered as they forgot to order the PPE ... and the needles?
A flat curve was the priority but the challenge was to avoid the hubristic problems that had befallen the highly centralised, top down, vastly expensive fiascos ... unimaginably vast cost of printed money -
Test & Trace
both threw money at projects which were to be delivered by outsourcing to companies which largely ignored expertise problems at the coal face.
The question was quixotic ... natural herd immunity was approached at 80% globally ... but was too slow and too unethical ... there must be a better alternative?
How to achieve herd immunity without paying the price of deaths?
can the NHS cope? - care in the community was a good bet? - but the community was also a cess pit of infection
buy time? - quarantine everybody were we all in it together? - but lockdown stopped the spread, any fool could grasp that? or could they? ... was it lockdown or hand washing & good behaviour? ... and who were the vulnerable? and the spreaders? ... the workers socially distanced for their own good? ... were workers OK?
go balls down for therapies & vaccines? - but off the shelf
didn't seem to work, wot was needed was a cure ... quick ... fast, safe,
efficacious, manufactured & distributed in parallel ... globally ... no
chance that there would be a vaccine available
before the second wave?
Hard work, honesty & thrift were needed ... good behaviour & good technology ... the cavalry ain't coming ... folk could see waves and waves of XS deaths but ... big but ... we couldn't even measure who died of what, where, when & how ... there was a lot going on -
Covid was killing folk
cancelled & delayed treatment of other ailments was killing folk
mental stress of lockdown was killing folk thru eating, boozing, pill popping, sloth and compromised immune systems
but there were less accidents on the roads and at the work place
and a whole season without a flu death
and Covid was 'blamed' for deaths that would have happened regardless!
... so scientists minded their own business and got on with the job of gathering the evidence and developing therapies & vaccines ... at warp speed.
Meanwhile Covid ain't daft ... the beastly bug just waited until the herd was hungry & horny and came crawling out of the woodwork with further diminished immunities and no sign of vitamin D, emaciated, yellowed and defenceless against the next wave of the infective onslaught.
Covid ain't daft ... the onslaught was not continuous, it came in insidious waves ... hitting just when you thought you'd cracked it ... so happenings got bad bad, nobody could stop the mutations and surprise surprise just as we were all groveling on our uppers more infectious variants evolved more deadly evil ... a new highly infectious variant appeared in Kent ... we knew the number of variant possibilities were legion ... we also knew that the overwhelming majority were neutral and no good to man nor beast but there was always one that was a bit better at worming its way into our eukaryotic cells ... its called Murphy's Law ...
Covid ain't daft it mutated ... we were gobsmacked the timing was immaculate just in time for a supercharged sprint as we all cosied down in our indoor dens just as the cold flu season started up ... and way before the vaccines slowed things down -
'There was a young man from Kent
whose virus sequence got bent
it made him no sicker
but passed on much quicker
so faster and faster it went'
Although some knew the process of natural selection was inevitable ... but B.1.1.7 ... oh gawd ... in Dec clever genomic testing by those who continued to work hard at the science identified B.1.1.7 ... a diminutive happening as little amino acids at position 484 randomly mutated and wow E-484-K delivered a massive 50% more infections just as the weather became accommodatingly cold ... all hell was let loose on defenceless mortals ... the 3rd wave was a tsunami, an unflattenable curve was rampant as evil Covid picked off the ancients with comorbidities while the youngsters stopped work and raved in a strange inversion of the established demographic of an impoverished generation which distorted the Lorenz Curve. There were more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than were dreamt of in your philosophy ...
This trick was real evil and even the polished revered German production and test, trace, isolate didn't do their tricks ... but Covid ain't daft the beastly bugs also had 'ways & means' in the survival arms race ... the mighty fell with the rest of us ...
Covid ain't daft ... the winter had come and the variants made hay in the warmth of indoor lockdowns.
Despite all the multitudinous efforts with 'restrictive practices' and 'restraints on trade' the third wave raged ... everywhere ... apparently the superb 'management' of the tsunami was a fig leaf the only salvation was ... the vaccines ... and it was an arms race against the beastly bugs ... and Covid ain't daft it was everywhere ... black white girls boys Muslim Christian Catholic Protestant rich poor north south east west ... all that was needed was a eukaryotic cell and a compromised immune system.
Meanwhile ... we all suffered something rotten and blamed and squabbled amongst ourselves ... the evil Covid was winning? Folk paid big time for cures but not for folly ... the crowd got restless ... and the blame gamers went berserk ... who the hell did the random mutation? ... stop it mutating ... defund the authorities!
Were the protestors and the anti vaxers getting the upper hand as they continually seized on every bit of doubtful gossip and pointed pointedly? ... the hysteria grabbed the headlines avidly concocted by the doom & gloom merchants in the BBC and the fake noos media ... jeez ...
And to top the lot, the gold plated NHS itself with its army of lovely dedicated Nightingale nurses had itself become infiltrated by a strange cult of anti-vaxers who had become infected and possessed with aberrant science and went rogue ... NHS staff were refusing the jab!
Flattening the curve was solid sound sense ... but ... and it was a big but ... the freedom to innovate should not and could not never ever be locked down ... that was madness.
Such were not alternatives ... and ... and it was a big and ... lots & lots of cooperative folk were intermingled, intertwined and intimately involved with innovation.
Time for honest introspection and good behaviour ... cultural habits, mood & family & friends became the only cavalry on hand to help to avoid mental stress ... and physical stress? Or were they the same thing? Stress itself was knackering our immune systems as we cosied down in our bunkers with larger & larger helpings of sloth, alcohol and comfort food ... and no sunlight as we all turned blue.
Wot on earth was going on in 2020? Woe?
Dysthymia - Confusion & Mental Stress
To aggregate the value of very different activities that take place in an economy statisticians used market prices to enable them to compare the production of both apples and oranges on a common scale. But the absence of these prices for much of healthcare & education forced statisticians impute the value of production from the input costs. The government spend. The disruptions to hospitals & schools and delays in administering non-coronavirus medical care is missed. Spending on healthcare might have increased but on a net basis societies got far less value for their money.
Public parks and other green spaces have become much more important but their contribution to the economy will not be registered as part of GDP. Unpaid labour too, those who tried to teach their children at home, sewed personal protective equipment or baked banana bread, will not appear in the story of the year told by national income figures. Nor will the drop in air pollution or the volunteers who took care of neighbour
accurate counting of the drop in production this year would still miss the
psychological damage done by prolonged isolation and loneliness; the 'hidden
pandemic' of mental health problems. That suggests the solution would not be
to expand the definition of gross domestic product to include the production
it misses but to consider focusing on wellbeing directly
A wider definition of wellbeing than a pure economic one is implicitly being used to inform policy. Daily count cases and death rates have played a much bigger role in policymaking than quarterly growth figures. Suggestions that health measures represent a trade-off with economic fortunes have also been overplayed. The best way of protecting jobs this year has been keeping the virus under control:
The goal should be to create the kind of society where economic growth and wellbeing go hand in hand they are not alternatives.
When the chips were counted after three, or was it four, lockdowns there was no evidence that lockdowns worked. The persistence of a naive belief that our leaders had access to know how that did not exist ... was irritating, frustrating, incomprehensible and alarming ... for all who understood Darwin's insight of trial & error learning and the weeding out of failures ... one error was bad luck, two errors was habit but three errors was certifiable?
The analysis of big data collected by punters with the App on their iPhones indicated that infections & death were on the way down before lockdowns were decreed ... it depended on how you counted.
Covid ain't daft it had a life of its own ... but folk weren't daft either ... perhaps as death & destruction became more & more visible ... folk changed their behaviour?!
When the facts change I change my mind ... what do you do?
Perhaps 'good behaviour' became more prevalent as consequences of bad behaviour became vividly apparent? Just sayin'.
Frozen with fear in a bunker didn't seem like a good strategy ... wotever happened to enterprise & personal responsibility?
No hugs, no '3 no trumps' at the village hall, no Smithy Lane Stompers, no convivial pints at The Goshawk ...
But there was family, home & garden and the village shop ... there was fun of the virtual experience ... Zooming to 'Bridge On Line' and the mp3 sounds of 'Dapper Dan, the Ladies Man'.
As we chose to abandon the all pervasive doom & gloom merchants who were paid big dollops of fake $s at the BBC and the 'serious' newspaper as their death throes were prolonged ... even as customers went AWOL and flocked to more exciting virtual interactions and social intimacy as they tweeted facetime and googled windows.
It appeared to us Evolutionary Economists that just like the Council, the BBC and the 'serious' newspapers were well past their sell by dates and even the pink defuncted FT succumbed and peddled anti-business rhetoric with #metoos ... 'the case for business' was hidden in the raging headlines. The technological innovations which powered the esoterical, or perhaps hysterical, stock market valuations of Unilever & AstraZeneca ... were themselves mere guesses about an unknowable future ... it was all very difficult.
Soon it was apparent that the fun of zoom wore off. Sure there were no 'Monday blues' and no wasteful commute time became an opportunity but we missed face time. Zoom ended up in a disaster 'cos the gossip, title tattle, crack and chit-chat before and after the action was missing ... we sensed that innovative work really thrived on personal interaction at the coffee machine & water fountain and the pub ... and it seemed nobody could find the timing, wit & fun as a talking head on zoom ... it seemed hard to ask 'daft questions' with a smile when the camera was muted ... and even when it was on folk found it difficult to smile with a mask on ... the fun mavericks we knew of old became stilted for fear of offence. Even though we smiled with our eyes latency messed up the moment that mattered ... especially when accompanied by dotted eighth notes. Networks collapsed as social capital was slowly eroded and inefficiency crept into interactions, we became unplugged. We missed the coffee breaks not for the caffeine stimulus but for chatter. It became all work and no play made Jack a dull boy. Fatigue set in and dysthymic burnout loomed when nobody could go home to family pad and switch off. First we worked from home but in the end we lived at work ... we felt excluded and ostracised and no longer part of the team ... even though last season we led the field. Even specified 'team days' became a formal imposition and our best players went awol.
All & every 'restraint of trade' and 'restrictive practice' put the kybosh, or even kibosh, on innovation ...
We all learned long ago that innovative work was not done in committees, it is really really done where the 'crack' was ... where you could connect hitherto unconnected connections ... such was impossible to do formally, 'give me an example of an unknown unknown' ... what news on The Rialto?' was secured in the old crowded coffee houses ... 'round the coffee machine', 'in the pub', 'on the golf course', 'at the water fountain' ... no wonder Jamie Diamond ordered hustlers & bustlers back to the 'office' ... only the 'disengaged' could work from home ... and such can be replaced by software!?
Busy was good - 'providing individuals with a wide range of benefits besides the opportunity to earn a pay cheque. A time structure to the day, opportunities to interact with others outside the family, and the means of establishing an identity outside of the home.'
Virtual life on line was better than nothing but nothing could beat the real thing ... the digital latency & laptop quirks messed up 3 no trumps & swinging the blues and the digital mystery boxes and associated finger trouble messed up mental health ... there was no escape ... Zooming virtual life, working & playing from home, Windows 10, were better than nothing ... but nothing like the real thing.
Somebody said us Wrinklies were vulnerable ... jeez ... everybody over 80 was always vulnerable ... when the dust settled, all Wrinklies were in trouble especially us men, we was all in the same boat, in the UK there were monstrous deaths, some said most were previously in robust health. Come to think about it most folk had been in healthy before they died? ... and in any case death was always something that happened to other folk?
No one said it was easy ... some wag said death & taxes were the only certainties, and JJ had it sussed all out, 'life's a sod, then you die' ... SJ was a tad more sanguine, 'when its all over we can reflect and all be a little wiser'.
Folk wuz confused because the answer to all the difficult questions was -
‘we don’t know yet but we're working on it’
Yet the Politicking & Politicos and leaders of the pack continued to make their pronouncements & lies which were nowt but impossible promises as they guessed about an unknowable future ... they new nowt abour random mutations.
And there was more, us wrinkled males were beer depleted and found it impossible to chew it all over and discover the answer 'cos The Goshawk was shut and the beer rotting & seething in casks in the cool cellars. Too heavy to lift out of the deep and too noxious for NorthWest Water to accept in their drains. In enlightened desperation Ozzie made his own home brew which showed excellent taste but, of course, failed the produce the legendary 'convivial pint' ... which was available only when paid for by your mates!
As sobriety took over all we could do was to remember the crack from the past. We confronted unknown unkowns head on as champions of liberal democracy, individual freedoms & protection of minorities through checks & balances separation of powers & devolution breaking the stranglehold of bureaucratic kludge, parasites & predators, tyranny & oppression, bribery & corruption in broken parliaments ... but all the good exciting happenings seemed to be exactly what Covid loved.
Folk were a social species that's how Covid spread ... Covid ain't daft -
urbanisation, densely packed London conurbations, personal services ...
An entangled bank of wonder & diversity ... and Darwin was an Englishman!
Meanwhile hang on in there, Christmas wasn't cancelled, just postponed'.
The stress levels rocketed as Covid had its evil way ... Covid ain't daft -
'The mayor and the governor were in a pissing contest, the people in the middle got urinated on' ... as always
'Covid didn't discriminate', 'we were all in it together' as BAMEs 'took the knee' ...
'puerile arguments' about who should choose between death & work raged something rotten ... who should decide ... as if death & work were somehow alternatives, but we all knew death always happened to other people and we always had to do the work? ...
Or were we all obese Vitamin D deficient free thinkers?
Stress led directly to mental health problems. Mental stress led to physical health. How do you get your mind round that?
Stress became cancer, cardiovascular sclerosis, auto immune disease, delayed interventions, poverty, unemployment, uncertainty ...
We were students of business and knew we were all in it together ... we knew about 'moral sentiments' and the natural selection of empathy & cooperation. We knew about Psychological Therapy & Productivity - mitigate fear, encourage excitement thru personal interaction, stroking, chatting, ... fun music & beer drinking! Right brain suppression of emotions in the pursuit of left brain reasonable evidence ... think about the contradictions, the paradox, the stoopidity of regulation of psychotherapy! Thinking fast & thinking slow as Daniel Kahneman suggested.
The rapid cycling of excitement &
fear the production of serotonin & adrenalin & endocrine physically stressed
the brain. There were physical effects of excitement & fear! e.g. heart rate,
BP and cortisol primes movement not imagination.
Loss of appetite and social withdrawal follow uncertainty as the focus moves to action to avoid parasites & predators rather than relaxation.
So what were folk to do? Become victims or be positive?
How to feel tickety boo and once again be in fine fettle in the absence of convivial pints? Everybody needed an arm round the shoulder when they felt deprived ... folk really needed hugs ... folk really needed convivial pints.
There were bright spots if you looked?
family & friends - peace & tranquility in the rural hinterland - The Village Shop - The Cheese Web - Zooming to The Knoll, Surgery ... care in the community ... and even the 'local' was desperately trying to open for business before the beer went off ... then there was even the hope that the beloved gold plated centralised NHS & free comprehensive education could be made to work with more effort!
Sales of Lifebuoy & Dettol went through the roof.
Look at the Unilever share price ... we always knew soap making was an 'essential job'
... it was needed to kill the beastly bugs ... cleanliness was next to
What about Beer and Magnums? Yes please, both were needed to relieve stress and increase brain function for scientific endeavour which was an intensely social activity ... experimenting to discover & accumulate the cooperative synergies of specialisation and scale ... impossible in a hermetically sealed bunker.
Sales of Durex religiously followed the lockdown waves. We were investors in Reckitt Benkiser ... look at the share price ... the sales of condoms followed the Covid waves ... boringly fell of during the fearsome lockdowns, perked up during the exciting raves.
It was possible to keep going during lockdown, suppression was up against chemistry and the deadly game of inactivity was anathema and could be defeated by sticking to the knitting and experimenting ... evidence was mounting that we continued to discover & accumulate 'know how' thru hard work, honesty & thrift ... social behaviour was irrepressible ... in the main folk went with the flow but remained courteous and alert ... a few behaved badly and inevitably stole the headlines.
There were some who were immensely proud of English Empirical Science and the unfolding process which led to the discovery & accumulation of evidence of vaccine efficacy and the superb design of our very own immune systems.
Occasionally even the FT reported some good news ... but not very often ... and science had always been a cooperative effort of peer review, citations & patents ... think about it!
The world closed down to try and halt the spread of the disease, but
scientists got on with the job and raced to develop a vaccine. The crisis
unleashed unprecedented cooperation; data sharing and interactions between
scientist in private companies, academia, governments and philanthropist.
10 years in just 10 months, without cutting any corners and maintaining
standards of design, testing and manufacture.
Progress that would have been unthinkable prior to 2008. Lockdown did not stop vital activity; fast broadband and the emergence of new online platforms ... nor the raves essential for the youngsters.
In March, a man from London became only the second person in the world to be cured of HIV. In August, the World Health Organization announced the eradication of the wild polio virus in Africa following its disappearance in Nigeria. Researchers from DeepMind, the UK-based artificial intelligence company, announced they had cracked a challenge that has eluded scientists for decades: how to determine a protein’s 3D shape from its amino-acid sequence.
In 2020 humanity responded in real time with effectual medicines progress. After such a challenging year, the triumph of science — both practically and symbolically — was fantastical!
The dice were loaded, statistics didn't lie, bad ideas died out. Securing votes and securing evidence can't be alternatives for a Darwinian; Darwinian change makes a mockery of naive differences between short term & long term which have no relevance when mutations are random ... think about it? ... and the evidence mounts day by day ... all done without the elixir of beer!
Us Brits maybe be a United Kingdom but we were an island nation first and never ever did as we were told but we always did as we imagined was best. The 'powers that be', the Bishops, Princes, Generals & Bureaucrats ... lost out big time when they tried arrogant imposition. Joe Sixpack on the Clapham Omnibus, with his family & friends, were all stuffed with deep down nous, 'fairness of shares' and 'resentment of cheats'. Their heroes were the smiling mavericks with guile & cunning not the scowling machos who had no clothes - Arthur, Boadicea, Hereward the Wake, Robin Hood ... the Romans overreached but the Anglo-Saxons assimilated, the Danes divided, the Normans tryrannised, the French lost, the Pope bribed, the Kings taxed, the Generals killed, the Parliaments corrupted ... but at the coalface Joe beavered away, the Second Law of Thermodynamics was confronted by hard work, honesty & thrift as copy/vary/select was the only game in town ... and in any case, it was always the girls who decided they had control over the investment! We were beginning to feel tickety boo and a smidgen of fine fettle.
There were also us evolutionary economists who championed personal responsibility and rose above the bureaucratic fray, chewed it all over, minded our own business and got on with our own job. The dice were loaded, statistics didn't lie, bad ideas died out. Securing votes and securing evidence can't be alternatives for a Darwinian. Darwinian change makes a mockery of naive differences between short term & long term which have no relevance when mutations were instantly random ... think about it? ... and the evidence mounted day by day!
Without doubt the panic and mental stress caused collateral damage and resulted in more deaths than the natural course of fizzle out? Just look at the Smith & Nephew share price ...
Hunker in the bunker or get on with the job? Such were not alternatives ... on with data gathering, therapeutics and vaccinations ... and alongside the froth & dysthymia, the hard work of the 'arms race' between an evolving bit of RNA and our adaptive immune systems continued to adapt.
Scientists got to work the same day if not before, but this was no idle choice of life or death ... it was more serious than that!
On Feb 26 2021 Yuval Noah Harari rhetorically asserted -
Why has there been so much death and suffering? Because of bad political decisions. Science cannot replace politics, there is no scientific way to decide what we should do in the absence of scientific evidence.
It was just guess work! No wonder folk were feeling blue? Wot about Dr Debbie Birx - 'take care and wait patiently for the vaccine'? Was it a call for sloth or hard work?
Perhaps, in our ignorance, we should all remember Darwin was a scientist and his insight was all about learning and differential survival of random variants.
We all knew, for certain, that the worms in our heads both frightened & excited us ... and as we flip flopped between such moods & emotions we all behaved in accord with such feelings ... we could learn everyday as the evidence mounted ... there was no doubt that we were learning more about the evolution of the electro-chemistry of neuro science ... of cortisol, dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin, endorphins ... there was relentless progress.
We were 'controlled' by flip flopping worms in our heads? ... give us a break?
Ignorance and the fear of the unknown? Or knowledge and the excitement of discovery?
Perhaps Covid was a cause of so much death and suffering? A cause of 'dysthymia'?
Covid ain't daft ... it had access to A2 receptors? ... Say again?
Oct 15th 2021 the FT declared 'Disruption on the top of Disruption', a global supply chain crisis. We had learned all about disruptions underneath the soap pans in Apapa ... the problems queued up, folk chased their tails, interventions demanded more, like the old lady who swallowed a fly ... unintended consequences ... as the waves came in ever increasing intensity ... how to slow down and by pass the blockages and let the blood flow?
Covid lockdown forced frit folk into bunkers. Lockdown folly led to stress and dysthymia big time ... 'cos busy was good but swanning it at home wasn't bad?
Pent up demand on 'freedom day' exploded as everybody started spending their 'fair share' of the furlough handouts as it there was no tomorrow.
We knew all about global supply chain disruption from the Unilever Planning Manual from 1966!
Then the blame game raged ... and, of course, Brexit was really to blame ...
As a ripple turned into a global tsunami ... there was no shortage of blame targets ... shortages of containers, shortages of lorry drivers, blockages in the Suez canal, Mrs Thatcher, too many immigrants, too much off shoring, affordability, the previous administration, China ...
... and out of the chaos Drastic Dave Lewis, who had received a knighthood for action in 2021, was rumored to have accepted a poisoned chalice, he was charged with sorting it all out!
Impacts of China’s
solid waste import ban and COVID-19 in the copper supply chain
John Ryter, Xinkai Fu, Karan Bhuwalka, Richard Roth & Elsa A. Olivetti
Nature Communications volume 12, Article number: 3753 (2021)
Climate change will increase the frequency and severity of supply chain disruptions and large-scale economic crises, also prompting environmentally protective local policies. Here we use econometric time series analysis, inventory-driven price formation, dynamic material flow analysis, and life cycle assessment to model each copper supply chain actor’s response to China’s solid waste import ban and the COVID-19 pandemic. We demonstrate that the economic changes associated with China’s solid waste import ban increase primary refining within China, offsetting the environmental benefits of decreased copper scrap refining and generating a cumulative increase in CO2-equivalent emissions of up to 13 Mt by 2040. Increasing China’s refined copper imports reverses this trend, decreasing CO2e emissions in China (up to 180 Mt by 2040) and globally (up to 20 Mt). We test sensitivity to supply chain disruptions using GDP, mining, and refining shocks associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, showing the results translate onto disruption effects.
The warehouses were full but the the stocks were in the wrong place ... there was no petrol and the ports were blocked and once again we ran out of toilet rolls for Christmas, folk were sh1ting themselves.
Then POTUS was reminded he was supposed to do something and so he immediately announced -
'We are losing patience! Masks will be mandated!'
... but why not keep it simple? ... POTUS had a majority in Congress why not -
'Mandate a ban on supply chain disruption'
... after all he had already legislated wealth for all from the printing press!?
... when evidence was in on 25th Oct 2021 the FT declared -
Sooo ... all this malarkey of Fear & Fritness, Panic, Blame Games, Personal Responsibility, Quick Look Busy, Advanced Planning Committees, Micromanaging a Tsunami, Lockdown Folly, Beloved Gold Plated NHS, Flattening the Curve, Dysthymia, Socially Deprived & Beer Depleted ... in the face of a global pandemic from a bit of DNA ... provoked different outcomes for different folk in different places at different times with different others ... and produced different chaos & confusion.
In our neck of the woods we discovered many different differences that made us different - all & everyone had different viewpoints and some were rumoured to have different viewpoints even after the evidence was in -
focus on vax science & history of Elizabeth Hancock in Eyam
care in the community & protection of hospitals / GP surgeries
slow down herd immunity & lockdown folly
Astra Zeneca vax & waning irrelevant antibodies
independent free thinkers & holy rollers (religious anti vaxers) / reckless revelers (uncontrollable 19 year old super stud spreaders)
freedom day & pent up celebrations
ginormous testing spend & false +ves & -ves
wait for the evidence & more tests more cases
compassionate importation of the devilishly clever Indian variant ...
Covid ain't daft ... the arrival of the Indian variant in April 2021 upset the apple cart ... zero Covid was impossible ... this beast had an R0 of 5 ... herd immunity required 80% ... it was clear to a few that the one & only way to 'protect' the beloved gold plated NHS ... and folk everywhere ... was to nurture & deploy very our own immune systems - out variant the variants - understanding this complex, changing, conflicting & scarce (particularly for us Wrinklies) CAS (complex adaptive system) was a tad difficult ... and folk were too frit to contemplate the predicament.
Covid ain't daft ... but folk weren't daft either ... we were learning ... amongst all the 'dysthymia' there was now 'anosmia' ... and glimmers of excitement?
Enter stage left ... Tim Spector ... maverick, experimenter, rheumatologist, genetic epidemiologist, epigeneticist ... weaned on 15,000 sets of identical twins, and renowned for blowing up the nature/nurture confusion. He laid bare the genetic origins of the twins’ political views and their sense of humour.
Tim was focused on gut bugs and obesity, heart disease, diabetes ... and Covid ... and gathering data.
Evidence was everywhere if you looked. This was solid, not p-hacking nor data torture, managed samples, manipulated time periods, selected variables ... this was instant reality at the speed of light ... a way to cope with complexity, change, conflict & scarcity!
In 2020 4.6 million Brits downloaded the ZOE App and provided lifestyle data which proved to track the epidemic far far quicker and more accurately than the beloved gold plated NHSX or Public Health England. We remembered the fiasco of the NHS IT Project?
Tim Spector, Zoe and Kings College started to gather big data with an 'App' on an iPhone and soon came up with breakthroughs ... and 'anosmia' ... wot!
.... and there was more ... the same app could trace bits of cancer, heart disease, arthritis, dementia and mental health!
Bingo! Mourn the passing of the GPs as gatekeeper blockers to the specialist care in the beloved gold plated NHS.
Diagnostic manna from heaven as big data gathering & analysis exploited new innovative methods unavailable only a few years ago!
Amongst all the evil there were enterprising groups hard at work ... and the crowning glory was confirmation of the escape from lockdown folly on July 19th 'freedom day' ...
On Aug 5th Dr John reported 'UK wins the reopening gamble'! ... on August 12th ZOE reported - ' if vaccinated and pinged the likelihood of having Covid was quite low & changes in the rules planned for Aug 16 where you don't need to isolate make a lot of sense ... however we all need to continue to act responsibly' ... good behaviour was a better bet than knee jerk hysteria! There was some optimism and excitement around after all.
Innovative Work - Trial & Error - Weeding out Failures
The creative diversity of the ingenious human imagination. Experimental Diversity - the launch pad for the innovation funnel - essential by definition of innovation: hitherto unconnected connections in the unknowable future.
Public money couldn't pick winners so no wonder it was always scarce, slow, and wasteful. But public money could be invested in a diversity of experiments ... and then surprise surprise all the inevitable failures became political footballs.
Private money was risked when evidence emerged from double blind random control experiments - an experiment in Scunthorpe repeated 17 1/2 days later in the Antipodes with the same peer reviewed results is meaningful ... not necessarily the right answer ... but not yet proved to be wrong.
Exciting experiments were plentiful, fast and focused on evidence!
No condition was permanent, if something couldn't go on for ever it stopped!
When the evidence changed I changed my mind ... what did you do?
Don't shoot the messenger! Don't ask daft questions about an unknowable uncertain in the future. 'Don't just stand there, do something' ... experiment with 'mad money'?
Unilever Innovation funnel adopted the essential principles of copy - vary -
REPLICATION Memory, RANDOM Diversity, NATURAL Selection.
Discounting the future was a survival instinct.
Why worry about the future when the only thing that mattered was innovation today?
David Sandoz designed the 'Connoisseur' control system, a breakthrough - everything was measured, including the colour of the operators sox, and statistical analysis teased out relevance ... we remembered Roger Brace way back in 1987 (read about Prof Friston and dynamic causal modeling)
Freedom to innovate confronted 'restrictive practices & restraints on trade' by the forces of 'fairness of shares & resentment of cheats' -
'not invented here' tyrants who imposed their whims
'bureaucratic kludge' oppressors who offered the illusion of protection against external threats
'delusions of grandeur' dictators who wasted time with blame games ...
Survival and hard work were not alternatives they were the same thing! The 'choice' was not between death or hard work. Hard work was necessary to avoid death and survive.
There was nothing new about the demonisation of groups believed to be responsible for spreading illness. Florence herself had said,
'The germ hypothesis, if logically followed out, must stop all human intercourse whatever, on pain or risk of disease or death'
In eye of a tsunami a laser sharp focus on evidence was essential ... during the year the youngsters reminded us, ‘I don’t see the point of learning about Chemistry’! And our Covid slogans fell on stony ground ... 'we don’t know R nought ...’ ... 'social behaviour can be good & bad, you & your ancestors, influenced the pre-existing conditions ... ‘ ... 'scientists are working hard on the solutions ... therapeutics & vaccines’ ... the scientists weren't starting from a blank sheet, foul besties had been around before ... but this time round 'big data' was available ... we could learn faster.
Wot better place to start? Start with history?
Literature Search - The History of Eyam in 1665
Lessons from History -
1348 The Black Death 40%
– who was to blame! ... The Jews? ... The Pope? ... The Witches? ... The Flagellators? ... The Foul Miasmic Vapours? ... and what about all the false hopes of fire cures & blood letting & prayer?
Scientific historians suggested that germs ... viruses, bacteria and parasites directly caused disease and led to quarantining & isolation of infected individuals and groups. It was not miasma, nor the rats & their fleas that spread the disease but social contact between folk along the Silk Road that did the damage ... and frit Folk always tried to protect themselves against transmissible diseases through quarantines, social distancing ... and masks ... this led to quarantine in Venice where the rats were but not in Lombardy where the folk were?
1588 Mercantilism & the Spanish Armada
– conquistadors were pugnacious evil as gold was stolen from slaughtered native Americans?
Scientific historians suggested it was European diseases that did the damage ... and wealth creation came from production 'know how'?
1665 Untimely death in Eyam,
– filthy flea infested bundles of cloth from London quarantined an entire village. Families buried their own dead. Outdoor church services were in household groups. Trade continued via marked rocks on the village circumference. Vinegar disinfected payments. Elizabeth Hancock buried six children and her husband in eight days. Over 14 months 273 died of plague in a population of 350 – 800. Hopeless quarantine ... but Elizabeth Hancock was in the thick of it and survived? How? Why?
Scientific historians suggested there was hope, Elizabeth Hancock survived ... if a thing can't go on for ever it will stop, exponential growth was impossible, there was always saturation points and fizzle out? Hope 'cos we knew for certain that the chemistry could be stopped, Elizabeth acquired innate or adaptive immunity from a less vulnerable sub population or from a previous exposure? Elizabeth was certainly not to be described as an ... old man, obese, slothful, stressed, insomniac ... wot was going on?
1796 Smallpox 9%
- Edward Jenner experimented ... with cowpox inoculation ... had Elizabeth Hancock been previously ill? ... how many babies did she have?
Scientific historians suggested our immune systems could be primed to cope?
1917/8 Spanish Flu 2.4%
– massive death & destruction from defenseless mortals. WW2 killed worldwide 75m USA 291,000 ... Spanish Flu killed worldwide 50m USA 675,000
Scientific historians suggested viruses didn't kill their hosts ... Covid ain't daft ... 50% of XS deaths resulted from subsequent bacterial infections with no antibiotics?
Antibiotics didn't appear until 1940s!
1957/8 Asian Flu
– mutations were too fast for vaccines but antibiotics did the trick?
Scientific historians suggested antibiotics were miracles but inevitably the variant bugs became resistant?
It was an arms race!
1972 Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine
– immunity from the Apapa Drains was more efficient than Milton or Guanamicine, cure better than prevention, containment or mitigation
Scientific Historians suggested immune systems were not only innate but also adaptive?The appropriate cure for Jonathan was to throw him back in the drains!
1980s HIV / AIDS 0.7%
– evolved social behaviour cannot be stopped easily, slow speed to therapies & vaccines
Scientific historians suggested identify the target sub population and change social behaviour?
Blanket bombing with therapeutics & vaccines takes years ... and years!
Foot & Mouth
– herd immunity & vaccination were abandoned to knee jerk hysteria and the culling of valuable stock
Scientific historians suggested homo sapiens were immune and herd immunity for the cow was the cheapest effective?
Mass culls were immoral, nurturing herd immunity was the answer!
2000 Millennium Bugs and
2001 Mad Cows
– not only bacteria and viruses but now novel infectious digital bugs and protein prions!
Scientific historians suggested evolution was relentless, as soon as there were stocks there were parasites & predators, due diligence & caveat emptor were essential, sometimes it was 'much ado about nothing' sometimes it was an 'arms race'?
2001 Psychological Warfare & Terrorists
– fear of unknown WMD
Scientific historians suggested 'know how' to manufacture a lethal virus was now available.
But 'know how' to defeat a lethal virus was available!
2003 SARS - Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome - zoonotic coronavirus originally from bats ... humans were
typically infected from civets. Airborne virus, spread thru aerosols similar
way to the cold and flu. It was the first severe and readily transmissible
new disease to emerge in the 21st century and showed a clear capacity to
spread along the routes of international air travel.
Most patients identified were old. The case fatality was around 3%.
– testing and contact tracing early
– urban, asymptomatic superspreaders in crowds.
– bad anti social behaviour and paranoid fear of foreigners & neighbours
Scientific historians suggested speed to herd immunity without vaccines eradicated the virus?
No evolutionary pressure for a virus to kill hosts!
2012 MERS - Middle East Respiratory Syndrome - zoonotic coronavirus originally from bats ... humans were
typically infected from camels
South Korea suffered something rotten, and were more sensitive to the next threat
– uncommon outside of hospitals
Scientific historians suggested wash your hands when you play with dirt and keep away from the cesspits of hospitals & GP waiting rooms?
Care in the community!
2014 Ebola - perhaps the most evil ever
Scientific historians suggested vaccines took too long a time to develop?
Be prepared with SAGE, COBRA and CEPI!
2015 paper - Shi Zhengli 'Bat Lady' @ Whuhan' Virologist and Prof Ralph
Baric, Professor of Epidemiology North Carolina and the 'furin cleavage'
confronted the defences - masks, hydrocholroquine, nasal sprays and gargles ...
the science became politicised?
Polarisation & 'Never Trumpers'!
2020 Covid 0.03% - corona spike used as the
vector for delivery of pathogen - biological warfare in Wuham?
– comorbidities, cytokine storms, dysthymia = OBESITY, SLOTH, INSOMNIA & STRESS kills not the virus ... stay YOUNG!
Scientific historians suggested each should nurture their very own immune systems and nurture the scientific interventions that assist?
The future was immunotherapy @ Warp Speed! ...
It seemed to us throughout the key question was - Why did Elizabeth Hancock avoid the foul lurgi death?
Scientific evidence confirmed existing adaptive immune systems with in situ manufacture of antibodies was a miracle and therein was the answer.
We debated as if we had a choice, as if there were alternatives, stick to the knitting -
Empirical Science (social co-operation) - innovative technology - biology & psychology - Big Data & AI
Evolutionary Economics ( synergies of specialisation and scale) - structural reforms (more hard work, honesty & thrift and torts, trade & technology)
The natural selection of good ideas ... 7 ... or was it more? ... big ones! ... genome 'platforms' for understanding the interventions ... the collaborative progress of science ... wot a story ...
1. The Double Helix - 1953 - DNA
James Watson & Francis Crick defined the chemical & physical structure of DNA. A double helix which unzipped & rebuilt copies of sequences of coded instructions.
A backbone of sugar and phosphate groups from photo synthesis cross lincked by 4 bases attached to the sugar which link A (adenine) to T (thymine) and C (cytosine) to G (guanine) ... specific chemical bonding of the nucleotides synthesized 20 amino acids.
The genes were the specific order of any 3 bases (codons) as each length of the codons produced a sequence of the 20 amino acids of all life (genotype).
The amino acids didn't interact in isolation, but in different complex interacting combinations to produce proteins which interacted physically (folding) and chemically (prolifically) producing the enormous variety of the structures of life (the phenotype).
The bases of the codons in the genotype were constantly and randomly mutating producing variations.
'It has not escaped our notice that the specific pairing we have postulated immediately suggests a possible copying mechanism for the genetic material. The precise sequence of the bases is the code which carries the genetic information'
Wow! Faithful, Stable, Replication of information with just enough copying errors to make life interesting. Darwin was vindicated.
This was the 'software' code which built the proteins of life, of metabolism & physiology. Copying errors and sex provided variation for differential survival ... and evolutionary change.
As & when Covid hung around in the calls & bodies of folk the beastly bugs naturally mutated. The vast majority of variants were deleterious of neutral but a diminutive few differentially survived and prospered as the others died out. New variants hung around -
in asymptomatic infections secured 'time' to try out more transmissive variants
in immunodepressants where partial immunity does not kill all and survivors linger to further mutate
in low efficacy vaccination where residuals hang around and mutate further
Lung Cancer & Smoking - 1956 - Richard Doll and Bradford Hill - criteria for causality. An eternal question for science: was it cause or correlation?
2. Fred Sanger - 1955 - sequenced the amino acids in insulin
3. The Ribosome - 1961- RNA
1961 mRNA was sussed - the nucleus contained the DNA of life. Unwinding into mRNA which transported the recipe for proteins to the ribosomes in the cytoplasm for the 'production' process ... the manufactory.
The ribosomes were the protein production units ... processing the right molecules at the right time in the right place in the right environment ... all about chemicals, timing, contex and physical conditions ... otherwise you produced zilch ... nowt survived.
2000 the Ribosome was sussed - a chemical wonderland ... complexity to hurt the mortal brain ... no wonder folk believed in myth, magic and mirrors ... The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2009 was awarded to Venkatraman Ramakrishnan.
The ribosomes themselves were synthesised in the nucleus and subjects of mutations and evolution before passing into the cytoplasm for action ...
A sort of regression of evolution ... back to an RNA world ... back to the origin of life ... a replicating molecule?
A nested set of sets all interdependent, interacting ... a whole shebang & caboodle ...
4. Shankar Balasubramanian & David Klenerman - 1998 - Solexa / Illumina
Understanding electrophoresis was mind boggling but worth it! A method for separation and analysis of DNA, RNA and proteins and their fragments, based on their size and charge.
In 2001 on the 50th anniversary of the identification of DNA, Craig Venter & Francis Collins published the first reading of the human genome.
Fred Sanger & Craig Venter mapped the human Genome which contained just 21,000 protein coding genes that worked in teams and generated phenotype structural & behavioural traits ... and 97% was mysterious 'junk'? For scaffolding, switching, punctuating, sequencing in time & location ... and repeats & redundancies? Confirming robustness from a modular building of complexity from the bottom up by a simple repetitive process. Copy - Two copies of each gene resided in alleles. Vary - Diversity came from copying errors, symbiosis, sex & allele alternatives. Select - Natural Selection acted on these differences.
Uncontaminated DNA helixes were extracted, then split by heat into a single strand, cut by enzymes into pieces of differing lengths and beginnings marked with an annealed 'primer' and fluorescence terminator. The mix of lengths was added to 4 separate enzyme concoctions which stopped the DNA growth at the 4 different fluoro marked base positions; A T C G. Each of the four resultant mixes of different length fragments marked from the same primer beginning to a known base ending were migrated through a charged medium as short fragments moved faster than large fragments four patterns emerged which identified the positions of the know base. Similar details for all the four base patterns were aligned and matched to show the positions in the sequence of all the 4 bases ... exceedingly neat and clever ... real amazing chemistry ... thank you Fred Sanger... have you got it?
Planning the future after 10 years & enormous cost - 1. improved sequencing methods (20020 < $1,000 & 1 day) - 2. cataloguing global variation (6bn nucleotides, 5 mn variants, 150 never seen before, 60 unique to the individual) - 3. discover the relationships to diseases (cell specialisation, genes switched on / off in different contexts, DNA 'decoration' epigenetic outcomes, 3d protein folding effects) - 5. individual medicine (everyone is different).
6. Emmanuelle Carpentier & Jennifer Doudna - 2012 - CRISPR/Cas9 genetic scissors
In 2012 thanks to a couple of remarkable girls, the writing of life became an awe inspiring possibility. CRISPR - clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats - but who cares about words? They showed how snippets of Crispr could be used to identify stretches of DNA, guiding an enzyme known as Cas9 to snip out or change their function. With painful effort, targeted bits of RNA could be manipulated ... but not random bits of an unknown bit of RNA ... ?
Wow. So when Covid arrived alive & kicking in stricken folk in 2020 we remarkably quickly knew exactly what the beastly bug was and how it might be confronted.
2020 Nobel Prize for Chemistry went to Emmanuelle Charpentier (Max Plank) and Jennifer A Doudna (Berkeley) who discovered one of gene technology’s sharpest tools: the CRISPR/Cas9 genetic scissors. Using these, researchers can change the DNA of animals, plants and microorganisms with extremely high precision. This technology has had a revolutionary impact on the life sciences, is contributing to new cancer therapies and may make the dream of curing inherited diseases come true.
7. Writing the Genome - 2020
By 2020 we could write the instructions! In 1961 RNA discovered in 1984 RNA synthesised.
Understand - eukaryotic cells contain, a nucleus which contains the DNA double helix, which unravels and delivers mRNA message to the ribosome which processes the codons and manufactures the proteins for metabolism. Oh my ... more miracles of organic chemistry.
Two problems for vaccine production -
how to stop inflammation response to the alien RNA (modify the bases) and
how to deliver the RNA to the host cell (encapsulate in lipids).
Prof Ugur Sahin and Dr Ozlem Türeci led the way.
Helped muchly by Vinod Balachandran.
Vinod noted that a tiny number of folk had T-cells circulating in the blood that developed an ability to identify, remember and fight back against alien proteins associated with deadly new pathogens and tumours.
Was Elizabeth Hancock one of such a tiny number of individuals? And if so how many babies did she have?
Pioneering scientists went ballistic and focused initially on the cancer problem. They removed tissue from rouge tumours through a biopsy and then sequenced the mutations they found in the cancer cells. The findings were compared to the DNA in a patient’s blood and algorithms were then used to predict which specific proteins would elicit the strongest immune response. These proteins were then encoded - 20 of them, by both BioNTech and Moderna - into an mRNA molecule that formed the essence of the new cancer vaccines.
When Covid came along there was a pivot to spikes at warp speed.
However the quick FDA approval and the ensuing safety record has a bib boost to wider application of the technology to individualised medicine ... Elizabeth Hancock suggested 'one size didn't fit all' everybody was different ... and very tumour was different ... there was no silver bullet it was an evolutionary arms race.
8 Folding the Proteins - AI / DeepMind / Isomorphic Labs / AlphaFold2 - 2021
There was no end to the innovations as technology roared ahead supercharged by artificial intelligence ... Demis Hassabis was a smart cookie.
Nov 2021 Google's 'Deep Mind' spun off Isomorphic Labs to cash in on AI applications ... in silico testing became a reality, an option to ease the enormous cost of labourious, time consuming, trial & error discovery ... at the touch of a button. 'Development of patient-specific models to form virtual cohorts for testing the safety & efficacy of new drugs and of new medical devices' ... wow!
The AlphaFold2 algorithm predicted the shape of every protein expressed in the human body with almost perfect accuracy. Thus solved one of the trickiest problems in biology by taking a sequence of amino acids and mapping the twists and turns of ithe 3D structure of the associated protein. The algorithm replaced painstaking laboratory work to identify the structures of proteins, which dictated how they behaved. Protein structures matter because they dictate how proteins do their jobs.
A huge range of scientific applications could follow - developing new drugs & treatments for disease, future crops that to withstand climate change, enzymes to degrade plastics, opportunities limited only by imaginations.
A double whammy misshapen proteins cause diseases ... Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, cystic fibrosis ... tailored shaped proteins can deactivate evil pathogens ...
Perhaps the most significant contribution AI has made to advancing scientific knowledge.
The eukaryotic environment was complex, changing, conflicting & scarce ... but proteins were dynamic evolving molecules that changed their composition, shape & behaviour ... depending on their environment ... there was no end to future opportunities.
Body metabolism via the ribosome strings together amino acids to make proteins which are active due to chemistry & shape. An enzyme from the pancreas, 3CL protease, cuts & tailors proteins into efficacious composition, size & shape ... this 'tailoring' of DNA also produces viruses which infect eukaryotic cells and create havoc ... protease inhibitors can be designed in silico to block up the works of the tailoring scissors ...
... or something! ... wow again!
Individual Medicine -
Such technology had the potential to individualise medicine and to confront the astronomical complexity, cost and delay of clinical trials for both producers and regulators.
A sort of confirmation that freedom to 'use your imagination and try' and seek 'hitherto unconnected connections' was a way to speed up the copy/vary/select of natural selection. Confirmation that diverse freedom & autonomy underpinned by moral sentiments could produce synergies of specialisation & scale and innovative outcomes at individual cellular level?
Work, home, shops, entertainment, education and healthcare were local and diverse ... urbanisation & globalisation of ideas followed ... if they worked.
Covid confirmed our own inclinations & aptitudes. After all we always walked to our local and found lots of ideas buzzing around to try ... there was never ever no shortage of ideas just a shortage of autonomous space for trying them out ... random mutations & combinations & recombinations guaranteed diversity.
Folk smiled with their eyes and communication was much better in the flesh ... some said some communication must be in the flesh. Masks were a courtesy to strangers but folk couldn't see smiles with masks on? Jamie Dimon urged his employees to get back to the water fountain and hustle. Even the Bishops, who claimed to have the best ideas, knew all about the weaknesses of the flesh ... however natural selection favoured the strengths of the flesh as weaknesses were weeded out ... and we concurred.
The vulnerables were often stuck in apartments alone at the top of a tower block where mental stress induced the physical stress of the pre-existing conditions. We plumped for rural living in Mouldsworth ... which wasn't luck ... but rather a sensible strategy ... just like saving for a rainy day. Why do we need cars if we can marry the girl in the next village?
Advantage USA = diversity = Single US States may, if its citizens choose, serve as a laboratory; and try novel social and economic experiments without risk to the rest of the country.
As frit folk clung to the biased BBC and the fake noos media, overflowing with the doom & gloom of impotent bureaucratic kludge ... a few enlightened souls suggested that maybe, just maybe, the fight against Covid had given science a modicum more prominence in the imaginations of folk during the epic year of 2020 ... than any year in living memory apart from the possible exception of 1969 when mankind took a giant step on the moon?
Eventuality of evolution ... deep down we all guessed that the answer to our prayers was not to be found in Washington or Brussels or Westminster ... and clearly not with the dictators of death in Kabul, Pyongyang ... Moscow, Beijing ...
However the methods of empirical science were not easily grasped ... the essential detail which was complex, changing, conflicting & scarce ... but with the Covid experience it was confirmed that the one size fits all of the beloved gold plated NHS was on the wrong track ... 'medicine' was to be personalised; individualised. Our very own genomes were involved in the abuse of obesity, sloth, stress, insomnia & old age ... and the cures for cancers, rare disease and infectious disease required individualised action and personal responsibility ... Pascal Soriot was discovering effective treatments ... Elizabeth Hancock survived ... but there was no magic bullet.
Evolutionary Economics explains the unleashing of a process of technological & institutional innovation involving generating & testing a diversity of ideas which discover & accumulate more survival value for the costs incurred than competing alternatives. The evidence suggests that it could be adaptive efficiency that defines economic efficiency.
Know how, embedded in the knowledge base of Empirical Science (observation, maths theory, testable hypotheses, experimental validation, peer review), grows at 3% compound from simple rules of thumb. Rules of good behaviour, hard work, honesty & thrift.
Economic growth comes from the discarding of failures from the past rather than whims of Bishops, Princes, Generals & Bureaucrats as emergent institutional cultures.
Different folk, at different times, in different places, with different opportunity costs & comparative advantages shape global networks of deals as folk 'truck, barter & exchange' their skills, aptitudes, merits, talents, efforts & know how to secure cooperative synergies of specialisation & scale. The genes themselves calculate costs & benefits, it is not a zero sum game everybody have friendships to trade.
A pre-existing inherited variant with a survival advantage in the local environment always increases in population frequency in the gene pool as alternative variants die out. Thus the environment is changed which then feeds back and influences the survival chances of any new variants. This is natural selection not 'intelligent design'; short necked giraffes died out.
It is physically impossible to control the process of
natural selection by human intention because human intention, not only
arrived late on the scene, but is an
integral part of one whole complex adaptive system. Rather natural selection
evolves universal human immune systems & moral sentiments as survival aids.
Cooperative team work produces synergies & stocks but as soon as their are stocks there is theft - bureaucratic kludge, parasites & predators, tyranny & oppression, bribery & corruption. Cooperative systems & defence systems must co-evolve.
But synergies load the dice, cooperation trumps cheating, the rule of law trumps violence and production trumps theft.
A double blind randomised control experiment in Scunthorpe which was repeated in the Antipodes 17½ nights later with the same peer reviewed results is meaningful evidence.
Science did not produce the right answer just one that had not yet been falsified.
Science built the knowledge base but the learning process, in the long run, discovered & accumulated immensely valuable 'know how' about strange happenings.
A process full of -
complexity, conflict, change & scarcity ...
seeking 'know how' which was -
diverse, dispersed, tacit & incomplete ...
In this way scientific evidence was a big problem when mass communication was dominated by ignorant, emotional and polarised viewpoints making increasingly complex scientific evidence inaccessible -
it all began with observation, then maths theory, testable hypotheses, experimental validation, peer reviews & citations
all stuff happened in
an evolutionary arms race for survival as Darwin explained.
Natural selection – copy/vary/select – there was never ever no evidence that owt else was going on. But it was an awful stretcher and most folk just didn't get it?
Understanding the evolutionary 'hard work' was the task of Empirical Science - discovering & accumulating meaningful evidence not tittle tattle.
Science saved more lives and caused less economic harm than 'a woven web of inspired guessing' and failed rain dances ... but 'fake noos' & 'alternative facts' abounded as did the parasites & predators.
Good News covid19 wasn't daft it exploited a global social species but it didn't kill the host - viruses that killed the host didn't survive - repeat viruses that killed the host didn't survive - but bats were social animals, massing in dense groups, flying to pastures new and enjoyed longevity from adaptive immune systems ... wow!
Bad News covid19 wasn't daft ... the enemy was
invisible - ~20% asymptomatic but infectious - ~20% presymptomatic but
infectious - new more infectious mutations spread in the population like
This was proper devious behaviour Covid ain't playing the game it was conning us!
It was our very own immune systems, cytokine storms, which killed the host not the virus ... as inflammation caused mayhem ... drowning, blood clots, micro thrombosis, sepsis and all manner of comorbidities in all vital organs ... pre-existing conditions surged rampant ... there was no respite!
Three diseases and our very own the immune systems and our very own self inflicted behavioural comorbidities ... sloth & obesity ... were we all committing slow suicide? ... not good news ... but it looked like when things calmed down the scientists were hard at it and had a plan to gather the evidence?
pre-existing conditions loomed large - comorbidities - folk died of old age and antisocial behaviour as age, obesity, diabetes, hypertension, sloth were all interconnected ... August 2020 - PHE said data showed that for people with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30-35, the risk of death from COVID-19 increased by 40%, and it increased by 90% for those with a BMI over 40 compared to those of a healthy weight.
But their were strange silences about sloth & obesity ... it was infra dig to call folk 'Fattie' ... such were offended ... and it wasn't PC ... were we were all 'woke' now? ... apart from the scientists. But folk didn't understand science speak ... it was jargon ... instead infuriatingly they seemed to hang on to every word perpetrated by the politicos and obediently regurgitated by the 'balanced' BBC and fake noos media.
stop the spread - good behaviour and sensitive & accurate diagnostic science -
hard work - from home if possible ... but only cooperative work with others discovered solutions ... quarantine did not stop the hard work of science - informal networks of innovation - technology, trade & torts. At vast expense lockdowns just bought a bit of time time nothing more ... quarantine? - don't talk? ... jeez!
care in the community - 'wash your hands' - 'social distance' - 'stay at home' ... avoid the plague pits, hospitals, doctors waiting rooms, public transport, avoid crowds, nurture decentralised bubbles ... 110 hot line mental/physical stress - palliative care for the vulnerable, old & obese
nurture our very own existing immune systems - stop abuse & bad behaviour and nurture ... with Vitamin D ... but was Vitamin D deficiency a cause or consequence?
anti-virals & anti-inflammatories & blood thinners & clot busters –
- JJ's clot buster in New York !
- Warfarin blood thinner
- Dexamethasone Steroid - anti inflammatory - steroids impede Cytokine Storms
hospitalisation - ICU and the critical timings of interventions into three diseases ... which disease was being treated?
breathing position, oxygen levels, blood thinners (Heparin), immune depressants (Dexomethasone), MABs
Activase clot buster - Jonathan in California.
antibodies – treatments are
used to bolster the immune systems of patients struggling to mount their own
response. Plasma from recovered patients, or grown to a more effective variety in
hamsters or cows, and re-introduced into critical patients .... testing
hundreds of different antibodies to identify ones that work against the new
- Regeneron - combination of casirivimab & imdevimab
- Eli Lilley - combination of bamlanivimab & etesevimab
- GSK/Vir Biotechnology - antibody treatment - March 11th 2021 in vitro study suggested the therapy remained effective against variants of concern. Plan to seek authorisation from the US immediately.
The approval would add to other antibody treatments including those from Eli Lilly and Regeneron that the US Food and Drug Administration has authorised.
An independent data monitoring committee had recommended stopping the GSK trial early due to evidence of profound efficacy.
bio techs - in vitro proteins grown by DNA
immunotherapies – in situ ‘manufacture’ by deployment of existing adaptive immune systems to work on alien viruses
herd immunity - vaccines were the quickest way! ... but and it was a big but ... the time to prevent epidemics with or without vaccines was before they started! Were all plagues auto immune diseases from over reaction causing inflammation?
Then came the jab grab? And cries of 'ban patents'! Let every one share?
Yes ... that was exactly what the patent, peer review and citation system did! The knowledge base of science was shared ... peer review & citations! Sharing a patent was never ever an alternative to innovation ... innovation, the discovery & accumulation of 'know how' through hard work, honesty and thrift ... was not a facile process jam packed full of -
complexity, conflict, change & scarcity ...
seeking 'know how' which was -
diverse, dispersed, tacit & incomplete ...
In the panic it seemed no one remembered revolutionary France and the forced 'sharing' of the Le Blanc process? ... a strange arrogance which accelerated the defoliation of French trees & the fouling of environments and stopped the development of the ammonia soda process and cheap & plentiful alkalis?
Meanwhile bills had to be paid?
Vaccines - superb science, pity about injection technique -
mRNA vaccines - instructions to make the spike proteins (in vivo) rather than 'presenting' premanufactured spikes (in vitro). Which ever the spikes goad the existing immune system to reacting and making the antibodies and T cells - mRNA, tailor made messenger sending genetic instructions to cells ... wow! Problems to solve thermo storage, scale up, costs.
Pfizer/BioNTech - $20 Pfizer UK 2 Dec 2020 (EU 21 Dec 2020) - 40 million - Pfizer and BioNTech: $2bn pre-order for 100m doses, if the vaccine is approved
Moderna - 95% two shot - minus 70 centigrade $35 Moderna - 70 million - Moderna: up to $955m investment for development, $1.5bn for manufacturing and delivery, including a pre-order for 100m doses
Curvac - German & Bill Gates
a third mRNA shot to the market. different formulation will give it
advantages over the Pfizer and Moderna shots.
By requiring a much lower dose, its cost of production is relatively low and it could be easier to combine vaccines targeting different variants in a single shot. CureVac’s scientists also believe that by not making any chemical modifications to the mRNA the shot may be able to elicit a stronger response from the body’s T-cells, which supplement antibodies in the immune system.
Pierre Kemula, CureVac’s chief financial officer, believes these factors will be important selling points once the pandemic is more under control. “Lower dose, decent cost of goods, broader solution mix of large, mid and small scale production and flexibility. It will be really interesting to see what this can bring to the world.”
GSK/CureVac - mRNA Germany abandoned in Oct 2021.
adenosine antibody vaccines – prophylactic agents manufactured in vitro, administered to healthy individuals to induce long term immunity against pathogens but must be insanely safe. Also elicits an immune responses to the spike protein.
Oxford/AstraZeneca - 66% & 85% two shot fridge - $5 AZ UK 30 Dec 2020 (EU 29 Jan 2021) - 100 million - AstraZeneca and Oxford university: up to $1.2bn for development and manufacturing, including a pre-order for 300m doses
Johnson & Johnson - 72% & 66% one shot fridge temp adenosine $10 J&J - 30 million - one dose adenosine - Johnson & Johnson: $456m investment for development, $1bn for manufacturing and delivery, including a pre-order for 100m doses
Sputnik V - two adenosine frozen
saRNA - Genetic instructions to make viral proteins, which prime the immune system to fight future infection. Makes multiple copies of its RNA inside human cells, which means that much smaller doses are needed Imperial College -
deactivated virus old technology. Deactivated real virus teaches the immune system to recognised all parts of the alien virus.
Sinovac - fridge temp two doses $60
Valneva - deactivated whole Covid virus French from Livingston Scotland - backed
Valneva - 60 million. So more proteins were recognised as alien.
The French vaccine maker, which has a large deal with the UK government because of its Scottish production facilities, is using one of the oldest vaccination technologies: a whole inactivated virus. It says this could be an advantage against variants when compared with those vaccines that only use the spike protein, as it should enable the body to recognise other proteins in Sars-Cov-2 if the spike mutates significantly. The company, which has started its phase 3 trial, also believes the adjuvant it uses to boost the immune response to the vaccine may make the shot more effective in older people or the immuno-compromised.
Novavax - Novavax Maryland-based start-up
with a tortuous 33-year journey to its first vaccine, Novavax is likely to
be the first of this second wave of shots to win approval. Recombinant protein
based vaccine, two doses fridge temp. Instructions to make spike antigen
proteins grown in moth cells via nano vector. c.f. mRNA vaccine -
instructions to make spike antigen proteins grown in our own cells via lipid
vector. c.f. adenosine vaccine - instructions to make spike antigen proteins
grown in our our cells via deactivated adenosine virus vector.
Growing mammalian cells from low volumes to high thousand litre volumes ... very complicated Novavax - 60 million - Novavax: $1.6bn for manufacturing, including a pre-order for 100m doses -
Recombinant fusion protein - technology plus Novavax adjuvant pushed 77% efficacy April 21st almost unnoticed in all the Covid turmoil? Many scientists like its traditional protein-based jab, which has an unusual production method — its proteins are grown in moth cells — and a proprietary adjuvant, which boosts the body’s immune response to the vaccine.
The shot was created and trialed alongside the first wave of vaccines, proving 89 per cent effective against the original strain of coronavirus. But it has taken longer for the company to scale production.
“We’re the 1.5, last of the first generation,” said Greg Glenn, head of research and development at the biotech. The company expects to apply for approval in the third quarter and Glenn said the jab, which could be stored long term in a refrigerator, would 'contribute in a major way to the unmet need' for doses across the globe. Approved for emergency use Nov 1st 2021
GSK/Sanofi - failed $10 GSK/Sanofi - failed - 60 million - Sanofi and GSK: $2bn for development and manufacturing,
including a pre-order for 100m doses. Sanofi and GSK large vaccine
manufacturers despite failing to keep up with likes of Pfizer last
year, are also expected to play an important role supplying middle- and
lower-income countries with their co-developed protein-based vaccine. The
companies were forced to redo their phase 2 trial, eventually showing a
strong immune response after a dosing mistake. But their existing production
capacity and the potential to distribute the shot alongside other vaccines,
like the flu jab where Sanofi is dominant, could mean they eventually play a
ImmunityBio, California-based biotech founded
by billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong is testing four delivery methods for its
new vaccine — a jab, capsule, pill to take under the tongue, and a nasal
spray. ImmunityBio, which has a market capitalisation of $6.2bn and focuses
on cancer treatments, hopes its viral-vector vaccine, which stimulates
T-cells and is currently in phase 1 trials, will deliver longer-lasting
“There’s always going to be Pfizer, Moderna, J&J, AstraZeneca, and there should be, but will that be enough for the world?” said Soon-Shiong, who also owns the LA Times newspaper.
Vaxart, another Californian biotech, is
creating oral vaccines that could be easier to administer, particularly in
lower and middle income countries. In Vaxart’s phase 1 study, the company
said its coronavirus vaccine tablet elicited higher T-cell responses than
those seen in people who had received Pfizer and Moderna’s jabs.
Vaxart’s vaccine aims to induce immunity in the nose and mouth. “You swallow the tablet, it gets into your intestine, makes the protein of interest [then] tricks your body into thinking it’s been infected and makes an immune response,” said Sean Tucker, founder and chief scientific officer.
Medicago, the Canadian vaccine maker that is
also partnering with GSK for its adjuvant, are hoping to differentiate
themselves with their production methods. Medicago grows its vaccine
proteins in a plant from the tobacco family, mashing up the leaves into a
smoothie to extract what it needs, bypassing the struggles vaccine makers
often face when scaling up in animal cells.
For some of these smaller companies, even crumbs from the table could be big profit generators. Olga Smolentseva, equity analyst at investment bank Bryan, Garnier & Co, said she expected mRNA vaccines to dominate in the developed world but that smaller players could still end up with a slice significant for their size. “The scale of the game is different,” she said.
Serum Institute India -
Oxford University were moving on to greater promise as malaria with the
Novavax ajuvant produced R21 ...
On April 20th 2021 The Lancet announced some immaculate phase 2 trial results ... almost ignored by mass communicators ...
Therapeutics - repurposing cheap & ready, safe & plentiful existing drugs - Hydroxychloroquine, Ivermectin, Povidone-iodine throat sprays and zinc/vitamin D & C ... but all became political footballs for 'Never Trumpers' ... who never gargled ... and mRNA was sexy and expensive?
Remdesivir - Ebola drug - virus stopper, from Gilead’s
Baricitinib - Eli Lilly drug to treat rheumatoid arthritis tackled both the virus and the body’s inflammatory reaction. AI discovered a drug to repurpose ... not only AI screening but also 'Alphafold' software
Sofosbuvir & Daclatasvir - Hepatitis C drugs - synthetised drugs which impede the replication of viruses in infected folk at several intervention points
Actemra rheumatoid arthritis - stops immune systems from going berserk and cytokine storms ... March 11th 2021 Roche announced Actemra plus Remdesivir showed no reduction of risk of death or length of stay in hospital ... June 24th 2021 USA approves Actemra for hospital patients ... every little bit helps as vaccine 'hesitancy' persists ... in spite of bribery & corruption!
Regeneron - monoclonal antibodies from Regeneron, Eli Lilly & GSK -
Ivermectin - cheap off patent anti parasitic anti viral and anti inflammatory ... reduced viral load ... therefore lowered transmissibility!
Molnupiravir - new effort @ $700 a throw ... mutated the DNA to
inactivate (but could mutate our own DNA?)
Lagevrio (Molnupiravir) - Nov 4th 2021 UK approval - an antiviral pill from Merck & biotech Ridgeback taken early at home ... 50% education in severe illness
Fluvoxamine - anti depressant ... dramatic effect of stress relief ... @ $5 a throw
Paxlovid - protease inhibitor from Pfizer ... Ritonavin for HIV old hat ... claimed as a game changer and testing stopped it was so good ... 5th Nov 2021 trial results - an antiviral pill taken early at home ... phenomenal progress! ... 89% reduction in severe illness ... blocks an enzyme which the foul Covid needs for replication ...
BioNTech/Pfizer vaccine won? but why?
Oxford/AstraZeneca, J&J Janssen or Moderna had more side effects? but short ter or long term?
GlaxoSmithKline, Merck and Sanofi all failed to deliver first time.
Upstarts CureVac, Novavax and Valneva didn't make it ... yet?
NB absence of evidence was not evidence of absence!
NB all interventions with activity in physiology had side effects
Understand the immune system was the essential science - physiology, metabolism, cardiovascular system - immense complexity, forget the simple pill popping science of antibiotics and existing germs this virus was evil & devious
Covid ain't daft ... and difficult to understand ... wot on earth was a genome, why did some suffer grave illness while others were asymptomatic in the same environment? Why? -
ACE2 receptors ?
Blood Group A ?
12 of 68 genes identified as different were linked to the cardiovascular system ?
Vitamin D ?
'dark matter' ?
And there was more, any success of mRNA vaccine technology in a Covid crisis opened the door to regulatory approval for more indications.
Therapeutic cancer vaccines aimed to stimulate an immune response against existing tumours, rather than preventing disease like a Covid of flu shot. They were tailored to the specific mutations in a patient’s tumour. Scientists removed tissue from the tumour through a biopsy and then sequence the mutations found in the cancer cells. The findings were compared to the DNA in a patient’s blood and algorithms were used to predict which specific proteins would elicit the strongest immune response.
Adaptive Immune Systems - Essential Diversity
In 1928 Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin and science triumphed over bacterial infections ... antibiotics we born ... but viruses were a tad more of a problem -
As you encounter a virus naturally, your body puts up a generalised fight to
try to stop it from entering cells, which the virus needs to do to make
copies of itself.
In some people, that is enough to prevent symptoms and illness. Within a week or two, a more 'adaptive' response emerges: B cells in your body make bespoke antibodies, which bind specifically to the virus and neutralise it, and killer T cells remove cells that have already been infected.
Vaccines are designed to elicit this adaptive response artificially: by serving up a safe molecular doppelganger of the virus to the immune system. This masquerade tricks the immune system into generating the same antibodies and T cells that the natural virus would.
Vaccination also builds a biological 'memory' of the virus but without the danger of natural infection. If the virus does come knocking, a vaccinated body should be primed and ready to fight back.
Specific pathogens can enter the blood and lymphatic systems and inflict their foul treachery as infections and disease as bacterium and viruses.
Bacterium have a life of their own from their own DNA - viruses infect eukaryotic cells of a host and replicate in replicating host cells ... that's real sneaky ...
Covid ain't daft ... but folk ain't daft either ... folk had learned about Elizabeth Hancock?
Defence systems coevolved ... so sophisticated that the aliens were first stopped in their tracks and then killed and remembered as if by magic ... as antigens were recognised as alien and triggered a neutralising antibody response. The human immune system was a marvel!
The defence system -
- physical barriers - eukaryotic membranes - mucous membranes - tonsils - skin
- chemical barriers - sweat, tears, acids
- complements - chemicals circulating
- filtration - spleen - kidney - lymph nodes
- drainage - lymphatic system carries the specific antigens which are killed & remembered
- inflammation - increased blood flow and more
NB failure of the defence system triggers the cytokine alarm as inflammation (increased blood flow recruits help ... fever ... clotting ... peroxides ... histamine ... acids ... )
Generally an opsonin - any molecule which marks or identifies a phagocyte for action i.e. the eating of a relishing meal aka the alien pathogen (bacterium or virus) ...
We try to simplify understanding by trying to split happenings down into sequential bits ... but it ain't sequential and they ain't bits -
There were big lymphocytes, natural killer cells and small lymphocytes, B cells & T cells and T cells were 'helpers' & 'cytotoxic' & 'immune suppressors' ... B cells manufactured Antibodies to attack the virus ... but T cytotoxic cells to attack infected cells ... this was ongoing defence in depth ... a cavorting chemical dance of incomprehensible complexity ...
Even distinguishing between big & small hurt the brain ... they were different sub systems-
natural killer cells (big lymphocytes) recognised the 'alien virus' and 'ate' and killed such pathogens ... proliferated and killed infected cells directly rather than the virus directly or manufactured neutralising antibodies ... all takes time
killer T cells - (small lymphocytes) were cytotoxic cells and recognised specific virus proteins on the surface of infected cells and destroyed them
Antibodies = reponses to antigens (aliens) - 1 bacteria - 2 virus - 3 auto immunity can destroy normal cells (auto immune disease). Aliens from allergies, natural infections or artificially thru vaccination or auto-immunity from mistaken identity.
Humoral primary response = antibodies in the
blood = antibodies in mucus interfaces (lungs, throat, mouth, nose & sinuses
to gut & stools) = recognition - activation - replication - differentiation
- production of antibodies = B cell factories
Different types of antibodies = igm - iga - igd - ige - igg ...
Cellular secondary response = B and T cells in the
bone marrow = CD4 & CD8 & H17 =
destruction of infected or alien cells (cancer) = T cells were
tasting the virus in the infected cells whereas the antibodies were feeling the virus
... all systems worked together as a multilayered 'complex adaptive system'
B cell manufactories (small lymphocytes) -
- neutralising antibodies
available from birth, or from infection, or from vaccine, of from
auto-immunity ... smother & kill the aliens
Antigens (alien pathogens) were recognised and Antibodies (specific immunoglobulin) were generated
- 'igm' (innate in the blood) quick short lived first attempts with multi Y shaped arms
- 'iga' (in mucosal membranes 1960) with 2 Y arms go to the mucous protective membranes as an additional first line defence ...
- 'igd' activate B cells ?
- 'igg' (blood 'generals' recruit foot soldiers to help fight and calm down auto immune response) come later last 6 months and are more specific attempt to out variant the variant with just one good fit Y shape arm
- 'ige' from allergies
A cell manufactories (small lymphocytes) -
- dendritic cells communicate ... present the novel antigen to the T cells & activate the T cell system
- T cells - discover thru trial & error the one of diverse thousands that 'best fits' the antigen, they then proliferate and trigger response and stored in the lymph nodes, - killers, helpers and memory- 'remember' past infections and kill pathogens if they reappear
- helper T cells - small lymphocytes - stimulate the novel protein production instructions for MEMORY T cells & B cells for the future ... takes time to build this immunity
- suppressor T cells - small lymphocytes - restrict excessive immune response from the B cells
- cytotoxic T cells - small lymphocytes - recognise the alien proteins on the surface of infected eukaryotic cells and kill the cell with released chemicals ... probably the major protection from disease ...
- memory T cells - long lasting immunity
B cell manufactories -
- production B cells - small lymphocytes - ex bone marrow are antibody manufacturing cells producing antibodies in the blood plasma - essential category of white blood cells ... quick immune response fades away
A massive diversity of different B & T cells produced in bone marrow will recognise different antigen 'determinants' presented to them by dendritic cells. Only about 2% of capable lymphocytes (immunocompetence) will recognise and mature to produce thousand of surface receptors the rest die (apoptosis).
2 trillion lymphocytes (40% of wbc) 2% circulate in the blood (& lymph) searching for pathogens which they mark for recognition & destruction by phagocytes.
'Ain't 'alf clever Mum!' ... real clever ... yes ... but not magic it's all done by chemistry, natural section and evolutionary time!
Incomprehensively difficult to understand as modular interactions of reductionism ... the reality, a system a whole interacting shebang & caboodle where everything effects everything else and effects ate always causes of unimaginable complexity, change, conflict & scarcity!
Crucial to understanding was that antibodies were -
specific to a specific alien protein
manufactured in situ by B cells in the bone marrow and triggered in situ by dendritic 'communication' cells
... immunity was not measured by antibodies in the blood ... oh gawd ... serology said nothing about the T cells in the bone marrow lying low until triggered by the alien infection cells.
'immunological dark matter' = type of pre-existing immunity that can’t be detected with specific Covid antibody tests.
Antibodies are produced by the body’s B-cells in response to a specific virus. Dark matter, however, involves a feature of the innate immune system termed 'T-cell mediated immunity'. T-cells are produced by the thymus and when they encounter the molecules that combat viruses, known as antigens, they become programmed to fight the same or similar viruses in the future.
It was all a bit complicated but we appreciated the
FT visuals from Ian Bott
... good effort.
By Nov 2021 we were struggling and calling for tugs ... it seemed most folk still didn't understand what was going on ... us for one!
Then we came across Shane Crotty who seemed to be a real scientist who explained a lot about his pioneering ignorance and started by distinguishing between innate inherited immunity which was general and multilayered adaptive immunity specific to Covid -
antibodies from B cell manufactories went about their business in the blood stream and latched onto the spikes of evil and neutralised them. The first line of attack in nose and throat ... before the lungs became bugged.
antibodies could attack up to 25 different proteins identified as alien but vaccines focused on the 'spike' initially but later B cells adapted and bettered their performance ... B cells produced antibody variants to cope with the antigen variants. A profusion of anti body variants was produced and those that 'worked' reproduced and were remembered ... and evolutionary arms race! Speed of virus replication, viral load, versus response time of the antibodies and then the adaptive antibodies ...
T helpers cells were CD4s that 'helped' manufacture antibodies AND
T cytotoxic cells had independent anti viral effects
T natural killer cells identified infected cells and ate the infected cells
The attack line up -
IgG 'innate' quick antibodies but decrease with time
B memory takes time but increase with time giving tears of immunity
T CD4s helpers, suppressors,
T CD8s natural killer cells
IgA 'spike' slower antibodies from the adaptive system
Shane Crotty's commentary - Cd4 cells help B cell response - T & B cells physically interact - not just any T cell but a specific sub lineage T follicular helper cells which differentiate into specialized B cell helpers with specific skills & ability to specialise into particular molecules at particular places - a rather extraordinary process, an amazing immunological process - clusters of T & B cells interacting to make better antibody responses to antigens - The B cell actually mutate the antibodies in a random way to try to make better antibodies and memory cells - so you go from an antibody with a certain ability to neutralise the virus to an antibody that has a 1,000 fold better ability - an incredible improvement in evolution - after infection T cell and antibodies slowly decreased but without a cliff edge but memory B cells increased - lasting immunity for years.
Pharma companies were on it - iReceptor+ - Adaptive Biotechnologies ImmuneCode and 'big data' was generated. Big Data gathering, analysis & sharing greatly accelerated research into anti-Covid therapeutics and vaccines.
Wonderful science no doubt vax saved lives Covid was bad news.
Vaxes had side effects in complex physiology ... proof they were active!
Massive heterogeneity but young people and those with mild infections are more likely to have good T-cell immune response than old people – the reservoir of programmable T-cells declines with age and decrepitude but B memory cells don't!
But one thing is certain all these natural mechanisms have a better chance to work if we are in a good state of health to begin with. We need to optimise the immune system ... and avoid slothful obesity and ... perhaps at last there was a new surge in the understanding of evolution!
When a virus crosses the species barrier there is strong Darwinian pressure to adapt to its new environment. Evolutionary theory suggests that viruses do not want to kill their hosts but to spread through them as efficiently as possible while doing little harm ... we had an amazing opportunity to watch in real time as a virus evolved ... and immune systems responded!
An arms race to out variant the variants!
All folk had made a phenomenal genetic investment in being able to produce vast numbers of different receptors for recognising different pathogens. There exists a miraculous diversity of immune cells generated by the process of genetic recombination called V(D)J where the body joins together three different components to make receptors that can tackle brand spanking new pathogens. Billions of differently composed & shaped receptors were produced. Each individual was likely to have between 10m and 100m different T-cells & B-cells, depending on the condition of the immune system and how many antigens had been encountered through life.
Arrangements of the different genetic components that 'fit' the antigen best and deal with the infection were copied profusely and rapidly as clones.
It seemed ‘public’ receptors with genetic sequences that were shared by many people but ‘private’ ones that were seen infrequently were rare.
Elizabeth Hancock had very private receptors ... but did she have lots of babies?
Prof Robert Clancy - Professor Robert Llewellyn Clancy AM a leading Australian clinical immunologist and a pioneer in the field of mucosal immunology (260 Publications). Known for research and development of therapies for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), commonly known as emphysema.
Our ignorance was mind
bending ... the science of our immune systems was infuriatingly complex and
real exciting ... But were Dr John and Dr Robert Clancy asking pertinent
questions of of evidence & empirical science ... or were they on a political
fake noos mission of their own? We tried to stick to the evidence rather
than follow the money!
Perhaps Covid was a mucosal disease cleverly designed to make us sneeze not to make us die?
Unfortunately the alien spread down to the 'inside' antiseptic blood / outside alien interfaces in the alveoli in the lungs (thru SARS) and in the gut (thru swallowed phlegm). Once in the blood the alien then activated the immune system something rotten which exploded in the cytokine storm which killed.
It was T cells and early treatment with antivirals to get the viral load down which suppressed the immune response ... the focus on vaccine antibodies in blood was daft.
Vaccine = law of diminishing returns. Antibodies wane but the 'primed' natural immune system does everything to balance the infection kill and auto immune response.
Think food allergies where treatment involved slow toleration of peanuts not elimination of peanuts but suppression of auto immune reaction ... so you can eat fried eggs and not explode.
Natural immunity was good, good. Antibodies and early treatment to get the viral load down in the mucous was the answer ... disinfectants ... never not not filling the body with replicating spikes!
Why the Moderna investment? The answer was personalised cancer, specific to specific individuals with specific cancers!
For Covid mRNA vaccines get into the blood and thru fatty vectors into all cells in all parts of the body. The antigens, spikes, foreigners appear every where. No control over the right drug at the right time, in the right patient, at the right dose via the right route! The ground up attenuated vaccines were a one off dose the mRNA went into continuous production ... did they get into the germ line? We have to discover why Elizabeth Hancock survived? Why did some with Covid die and others had a sniffle? Vaccination immune response, cytokine storm, inflammation suppressors. Repeated doses tolerance was 'squeezed'?
The debate raged ... fake noos, misinformation, cancel culture ... we kept our powder dry, we asked questions and searched for evidence ... ... to be continued ... unfinished business.
Natural immunity was best! Oh dear !
1 no vax + no previous diagnosis = no immunity
2 vax + no previous diagnosis = vax big help but effect waned
3 no vax + diagnosis = did good - 3rd equal
4 vax + diagnosis = vax no help - 3rd equal
Covid ain't daft ... but our very own evolved immune systems weren't daft either ... they were learning ... and folk themselves were also learning ... don't abuse your very own immune system!
Our wonderful immune systems turned out to be a balance of complex, changing, conflicting & scarce chemistry where cytokine storms were a balance between killing aliens and suppressing excessive defensive inflammation ... BALANCE ... in the fog of war we can have to much of a good thing ... friendly fire was a risk! Look after your own immune system!
But the folly continued - Science became Politicised ... there was no evidence backing new decisions. Politicos were floundering all they could do was print money and throw it around ... you never know some of it may even stick ... somewhere?
Washington was a swamp, Westminster was broken and Brussels froze in the headlights ... Brussels couldn't speak the lingo and had opted out of Nobel Prizes, activity at the coalface was verboten by the constitution with every 'i' dotted and every 't' crossed ... but the silence was deafening there was no mention of SARS-CoV-2 or Wuhan A501E mutations.
Then as the scientists started to publish their interim work for folk to misinterpret ... new hares started rerunning ... every glimmer of hope became an imperative as fake money was thrown around on the flavour of the day without an inkling of structural reforms at the sharp end.
The FT headlines blazed -
The federal government has given more than 169m stimulus cheques worth about $395bn since the American Rescue Plan was passed in March, the Internal Revenue Service, US Treasury Department and Bureau of the Fiscal Service said on Wednesday.
... wot was being 'stimulated' by all this XS ... excitement or fear?
Jonathan was working hard to deliver scientific breakthroughs, nobody must wait idly for complex drug-based interventions and Covid-19 vaccines which will save lives but just as important everyone worked on existing packages of behavioural science which will solve so many systems failures and better prepare us for the next crisis.
In 2009 young Josh was 5 and equipped with 25% of our very own genetic material Jonathan Birchall (1968-) without plan or foresight packed his bags and went balls down for a new job in Silicon Valley ... that was where all the action was. It seemed like a good idea at the time and in any case the money was real and the kids maintained a voracious appetite for cash just like their dad. The Yankee predecessors who went West were on a roll, they understood the risk reward conundrum, they all to a man ... worshiped Thomas Jefferson, (1743-1826) -
'My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government'.
therapies & vaccines - mRNA contained in a lipid is injected into the arm which easily enters the cytoplasm of muscles cells, and an organelle, and then importantly presenter cells in the lymph nodes, where the mRNA manufactures 'spikes' which emerge on the cell surface to be 'recognised' as alien by billions of marauding T cells which proliferate if & when they discover a protein 'fit' to the spike, and producing B cells which manufacture antibodies and killer T cells which destroy infected cells and memory T cells which await subsequent presentations of spikes and, if & when, repeat the process. DNA (or vaccine) makes mRNA which make proteins (enzymes, hormones, structural proteins ... peptides) from 4 bases which make 20 amino acids in the cytoplasm which interact etc etc ...
R0 = 2.5 = (a - number of subsequent infections) x (b - length of time infectious)
k = dispersion parameter - high k = uniform dispersion - low k = clustering ... superspreaders or dead ends?
a = how contagious? how many contacts? speed of mutations?
b = how much immunity for how long? how much mortality?
Was all this much ado about nothing?
Eyam historians knew how the cookie crumbled, years ago?
Wot on earth was R0 -
Different behaviours in every US state resulted in different R0 values. One size didn't fit all ... look at the evidence
Folk chose to wear face masks and to trap some mobile virus as a courtesy to others ... look at the evidence
Three families chose to stay at home and play Pictionary to avoid mental health problems which overload health systems ... look at the evidence
Veneto quarantined at home but Lombardy treated in hospital ... look at the evidence
Queuing for Bog Rolls fed a filthy habit ... look at the evidence
November 9th - Pfizer / BioNTech -
November 16th - Moderna -
November 23rd - AstraZeneca / Oxford - Team Leader Jonathan's mate Pascal Soriot delivered
But then there was the unseemly Jab Grab - or did the EU still have a Brexit grudge? ... some wags expected the French PM to blot his copy book ... but Germany knew all about the follies of protectionism & inflation and had become connoisseurs of international trade especially with a devalued € ?
The EU excelled and orchestrated a new pantomime to screw the Oxford &
AstraZeneca British Brexiteers ... a matter of life & death! Lo
after all the sweat & tears the French Honcho announced to the world, 'the
AstraZeneca vaccine doesn't work' ...
- Tuesday Jan 26th 2021 - 'we’re going to block all vaccines exported to Brexited UK' ... its in the agreement section 6a paragraph 17, footnote 3 page 17,338 ... with all the 'i's dotted and the 't's crossed ...
- Wednesday Jan 27th - 'we demand you give us our Oxford & AstraZeneca vaccines produced in Brexited UK' ...
- Thursday Jan 28th - 'we don't want and won’t FDA approve your Oxford & AstraZeneca vaccines we are demanding'
... jeez ... then we ran out of needles ...
By Feb 4th the boss hencho of the EU, Ursula von der Leyen, eventually got
Brussels bureaucratic kludge impeded the EU 'oil tanker, enabling 'the UK 'speedboat' ... but we can still cooperate & trade ... not only life securing vaccines but also cars, cheese & wine, fintech, security and even Barbie Dolls for the kids ... why compromise ... go for cooperation ... cheers 2+2=5 ...
Feb 28th the comeuppance, the FT headlined - 'Europe’s AstraZeneca stockpile mounts as citizens snub jab' ... 'Macron forced to extol its virtues after efficacy doubts and adverse publicity damped trust' ...
But wait a minute ... the target was not any old arm it was all supposed to be very rigorously sensible -
priority vulnerable groups were defined ... but suddenly in Italy there was a mass of new health care workers presenting their arms for action, far exceeding those actually employed, everyone became a carer overnight ... the wrong or right arm invited a grand fraud to jump the queue
injecting into deltoid muscle cells was essential ... but injecting into blood vessels was a no no ... the wrong place too high or too low and blood clots could clot
End of lockdown? ... as the scientists got on with the job funded by the warp speed risk investments, others in Europe funded the bureaucracy instead?
And almost everywhere the statistics were misinterpreted ... and some cynics said deliberately misinterpreted for political gain ... but interpretation of statistics was always difficult for mere mortals who only needed to count ... 1 ... 2 ... many ...
On the 29th March 2021 the FT were still reporting on the blame game -
political vacillation, shilly shallying politicos, a laughing stock of
the world, supposed to be world champions at organising things, and just
look at us ... a pharmacist to fill the syringes, a nurse to administer the
shots, a doctor to explain the procedure and three Red Cross employees to do
all the paperwork ... speechless ...
'Our World in Data' - Germany & France 15 per cent of the population vaxxed, 50 per cent in the UK, 43 per cent in the US and 115 per cent in Israel ...
... Germany blamed the EU bureaucracy for the shortage of doses?
... France blamed the Oxford scientists ... and there was even mention of another Anglo-Saxon plot!?
and surprise surprise vax hesitancy was rife in the EU with 27% of adults (and half in France) unlikely to accept Covid jabs.
So as XS deaths from the beastly bugs and all the comorbidities plummeted as arms were jabbed ... AstraZeneca got a bad press. Jonathan's mate Pascal Soriot was not best pleased ... there was more panic headlines as blood began to clot ... we recalled ...
SJ was on the ball 20 years ago when her research suggested, if the drug was working there were always side effects ... in the trade jargon, 'when meeting its primary endpoint there will be indications & contraindications' ... physiology was a complex adaptive system, a whole shebang & caboodle of immense interactivity & interdependency with unintended consequences for interventions ... surgical precision was not an apt description of the fight against unseen beastly bugs
Richard Doll and Bradford Hill were on the ball when they sussed out cause & correlation in 1956
As the bugs curled & wilted few clapped and banged pans on the doorsteps ... but the stocks prices rose as folk voted with their depleted savings and saluted science where the action was.
The scientists had done their job with alacrity and the Generals powered with military logistics smoothly carried vials at minus 70C from factory to conurbations ... straight forward? No, the 14th Amendment banned the Generals from the 50 states and each had its very own henchos who were going for longevity their own independent autonomous way ... inevitably some states forgot to order the needles and the last mile to the arm muscle, as with fibre optics, proved to be rather shy of warp speed ... as all factory managers knew the cracks in the floor boards were always unknown unknowns ... and this although this was not rocket science ... even the high tech companies forgot to secure 'the plastic bags' ... 'sterile liners' ... vital to encase the growing bugs in the complex production process ... pride always came before a fall and the last time we looked happenings were a tad more difficult than hoped ... jeez ...
Covid ain't daft ... the beastly bug cleverly by passed the arm muscle altogether and got at the action via sneezes & weezes and existing ready made bodily orifices!
Wot on earth was an ACE2 receptor? ... but then came the Indian variant ... quaintly called 'Delta' just to confuse ...
The science was mind-bogglingly excellent ... but was the evidence too slow for politicians ... but then the evidence was not as good as the real thing ... the latest vaccines all targeted the 'spike' protein ... which inconveniently mutated ... and inconveniently overloaded the immune system ... natural herd immunity targeted all the alien proteins - the spike (S) protein, nucleocapsid (N) protein, membrane (M) protein, and the envelope (E) protein ... including the 'suppressor' T cells ... jeez ...
Covid ain't daft ...
Personal Responsibility & Good Behaviour
The Gathered Evidence -
When the fear subsided we began to understand the explanatory power of natural selection and the relentless progress of cooperation and innovative science & technology.
Day by day evidence mounted - Old Men, Obese, Slothful, Stressed, Insomniacs were the most vulnerable problem sub population from the go go -
Social Behaviour of our species produced prosperity & economic growth ... the growth of 'know how' ... but with it came increasing exposure to inevitable parasites & predators ... the foul beasties from congestion, indulgence in meat & fatty sweetness, intensive urbanisation, excessive globalisation, forest encroachment ... and all sorts of unintended consequences ... even warm/steamy climate change and the domestication, protection & trade in exotic & new species ... all breeding grounds for aliens and environment change ... which challenged our compromised immune systems.
Relaxing Good Behaviour nurtured physiological efficacy and kept immunity in good nick - daily exercise, 5 a day, beer & fun ... and garlic onions ... sunshine ... hard work, honesty & thrift ... torts, trade & technology.
Stressful Bad Behaviour abused physiological efficacy and knackered immunity as parasites & predators thrived - physical & mental sloth and obesity ... all the comorbidities had a free run ... the foul besties were able to attack our naturally designed system which had been ravaged & abused by willful neglect ... our whole shebang & caboodle was at risk - Loss of Smell (anosmia) - High Temperature (fever) - Persistent Cough - Severe Tiredness (fatigue) - Headache - Abdominal Pain - Chest Pain - Sore Throat - Severe Shortness of Breath - Skipping Meals - Muscle Pains - Hoarse Voice - Confusion (delirium) - Diarrhea - Skin Rash
All deaths matter ... but Covid ain't daft ... Covid was seriously evil ... such an all pervading attack, in three intermingled stages of slow torture leading to the most terrifying of finalities ... drowning in our own abuse ... was unprecedented ...
Good Social Behaviour - Hard Work, Honesty & Thrift - Torts, Trade & Technology
Hidden from view in 2020 ... World Obesity Federation (WOF), which represents scientists, medical professionals and researchers from more than 50 regional and national obesity associations, showed mortality rates were 10 times higher where at least 50 per cent of the population was overweight.
No one said it was easy but emotional empathies & 'moral sentiments' were defining characteristics of our species which separated folk from odious rats & bats ... even though we always had to suss out immunities from the treachery of our own kind who, would turn parasitic & predatory at the drop of a hat!
Health hazards always seemed to be cleverly disguised as addictive pleasures of body and soul.
That was why SJ did biology AND psychology at Leicester?
We remembered our first encounter with the Sword of Damacles in 1987 and the sage advice delivered by the doc of the moment ... Mr Enevolson -
'Avoid the cow, we are eating ourselves to death from the day we were born!'
Real hard lessons for comfort loving mortals ... maybe the problem was lifestyle choices ...
Old Men, Obese, Slothful, Stressed, Insomniacs
Empirical science had been neglected as dysthymic souls froze into inactivity and decay in their bunkers ... the rot set in and gridlock hindered freedoms to go balls down and lend a hand with the hard work ... no double blind randomised controlled experiments in Scunthorpe nor the Antipodes, no hope of discovery & accumulation of evidence ... no 'know how' ... nobody bothered to ask how many babies Elizabeth Hancock had? Only ignorance, change, complexity, conflict & scarcity were for certain.
Blame game hatreds seethed in a toxic swamp of filth & tyrannical corruption.
The wheels came off.
It took a very long time to learn about the consequences of behaviour. There was no magic bullet just alert nousness, personal responsibility for good social behaviour and ostracism of anti social behaviour.
For us evolutionary economists quality was about real opportunity costs and not a whimsical figments.
Obesity, Sloth & Old Aged Men were catch alls for comorbidities ... no one said it was easy ... a sort of self inflicted addiction to comfort, rest and delicious victuals.
We were 'all in this together' was all about 'fairness of shares' and lingered in everyone's psyche ... but hang on ... the dreaded anti social anti ethical lockdown was to 'stop the spread to avoid death of the vulnerable in our beloved gold plated NHS' ... so wot about 'resentment of cheats' ... and personal responsibility for good behaviour? ... obese, slothful & wrinklies vaccinated folk past their sell by date were being given 'passports to freedom' and the svelt, active young anti vaxxers with productive life ahead were being discriminated against and denied access to herd immunity ... and called cheats! ... and even painfully forced to try and sup their pints thru germ soaked face masks ...
... jeez ... wot was going on ...
Cosy alternatives to personal responsibility loomed and tempted folk to pass the buck ... as 'Never Trumpers' & 'Remoaners' were 50% of the polarised enthusiastic voters.
In our ignorance, when push came to shove, we could all work to get the evidence ... experiment ... we could forget bureaucracy and go for action & innovation, choose between options available and look see and 'help' existing immune systems to kill viruses. There was no limit to the imagination, human ingenuity was impossible to subdue. We were an adaptive species. Everybody had an adaptive immune system and some Brits believed they had an adaptive culture, an island nation of free traders as classical liberal conservative Sir Winston suggested ... with a long history of resistance to alien invaders corrupt Bishops, tyrannical Princes, dictatorial Generals, and arrogant Bureaucrats ... and rogue viruses.
Science was now leaping ahead ... 'know how' to defeat the evil virus was progressing at warp speed ... let it rip!
But all this was too slow for the politicians ... as if they could do the job faster in the absence of evidence ... jeez ...
Without randomness the algorithm gets stuck ... so stir the pot ... suck it and see ... without trials there were no errors, and in our ignorance we only learned from errors. All 'interventions' were experiments and as SJ said, 'side effects proved the intervention was working' ... but pill popping looked like a mugs game?
There was an old lady who swallowed a fly;
I don't know why she swallowed a fly - Perhaps she'll die!
There was an old lady who swallowed a spider
That wriggled and jiggled and tickled inside her!
She swallowed the spider to catch the fly;
I don't know why she swallowed a fly - Perhaps she'll die!
There was an old lady who swallowed a bird;
How absurd to swallow a bird!
She swallowed the bird to catch the spider
That wriggled and jiggled and tickled inside her!
She swallowed the spider to catch the fly;
I don't know why she swallowed a fly - Perhaps she'll die!
There was an old lady who swallowed a cat;
Imagine that! She swallowed a cat!
She swallowed the cat to catch the bird,
She swallowed the bird to catch the spider
That wriggled and jiggled and tickled inside her!
She swallowed the spider to catch the fly;
I don't know why she swallowed a fly - Perhaps she'll die!
Clean living with cultural habits grew a successful social species ... instinctively our ancestors went for longevity thru the autonomy of trial & error ... Covid in a strange way was catapulting us into the future -
work from home - co-operate in local coffee house, pub, club
home deliveries - production & services & vaccines - Baron's Quay was decaying years before Covid ...
social courtesy - protective membranes, borders, corrals ... and masks
distance learning - globalisation
care in the community - decentralised diversity,
streaming entertainment - instant music, movies, sport, books, newspapers
virtual help at warp speed - A I - ideas - 3D printing of genomes - health & safety, education, travel, dating
They told me virtual sex gave the same orgasmic rush of oxytocin but others told me it ain't all as good as the real thing?
Winners seized personal responsibility for good behaviour - empathy, courtesy, smiles & bowing if not high fives, tea drinking, soap & water, face mask courtesy, bidets & toilet paper ... experimental opportunities ...
walk or bike to the local to get the crack!
Gomer Davies never managed to teach me any chemistry but I do remember one of his idle comments –
‘an expert is not someone who possesses privileged knowledge but rather someone who knows where to find it’.
So in this way individuals defined their own unnecessary risk ... and necessary risk ... 19 year old studs had a different time pressure in getting up to speed than geriatric Wrinklies who were coasting at best ... and decaying for sure ... personal responsibility for good behaviour ... effervescent Boris smiled & bubbled with optimistic enthusiasm but his task of deciding on your behalf was impossible.
We tried for personal responsibility for good behaviour but as science was substituted by 'guidance', then 'rules', then 'mandates' we lost the track in the chaos & incompetence of the ignorance & hysteria of the failure to micro manage a tsunami.
Global personal responsibility for hard work, honesty & thrift unlocked access to synergies of specialisation & scale which were discovered & accumulated in technology, torts & trade. So how to cope with Terra Incognito ?
Torts, Trade & Technology - problems were opportunities
Covid ain't daft ... but wot an opportunity to expose the power of science and the impotence of the Bishops, Princes, Generals & Bureaucrats and all the global pontificating prancers.
Most most didn't read the book and those that did wallowed in the catalogue of doom & gloom problem extrapolations ... but each chapter mentioned, as if in passing, the unknown future possibilities ... the opportunities for science & technology.
Terra Incognito - opportunities for the Unilever Knitting and 3% growth compound -
Globalisation - case for business - lethal debt - money printing, monopolies & zombies, unemployment, poverty = WTO parasites & predators - Covid = WH v shaped recovery reactivating just in time supply chains take longer than instant services - but AI, robots & 3D-printing render 'cheap labour' manufacturing uncompetitive and obsolete. Customisation & speed to market are trumps. big data moves banks - insurers & even law courts on line ... m/cs don't get sick ...
Climate Change - clean energy - sea levels
environmental degradation - plastic
sustainability - no investment in fossil fuels, red meat & dairy, farming & slaughter of animals
print proteins green sustainability & Brexit build back better by net zero Unilever - eclectic cars and zoom meetings
Realistic path to a sustainable city - greener, cheaper, happier, healthier,
equal and productive and less polluted and lonely.
From cars, offices and shops and to houses, community and nature.
Bicycles, farms and 18th-century-style homeworking
Filthy, congested, expensive cities were for intensifying social interactions and exchange of goods and ideas.
Offices and pubs will remain hubs of ideas exchange.
Commuting, no rush hour and underground ...
Avoid the Big Separation.
Alchemy of face-to-face meetings plus the flexibility with parenting & caring at home.
24 hour communities, replacing pollution with exercise and E-bikes
heat pumps extract heat from sh1t in a circular economy
PV cells and roof gardens everywhere
Urbanisation - intensification of ingenious interactions - congestion, commuting and the urban trek wastes time & effort - no commuting and demographic reversals
Technology - Google Big Data, AI personal services - intimacy, travel, congestion blockchain control is regulated by Adam Smith's 'Moral Sentiments' which underpin the 'Synergies of Specialisation and Scale' countries with advanced digital economies and digital skills, robust social safety nets and previous experience dealing with epidemics have better managed the impact of the pandemic on their economies and citizens'
Inequality - copy/vary/select - celebrate diversity
Geopolitics - vote with your feet & join a club of your choice - hatred of differences - polarisation of politics and centralised intervention, compromise and cooperation
Violence - Angels of our Better Nature - moral sentiments
Demography - Robotics, 3 D Printing and reversal
Migration - Borders were meaningless for ideas & know how ... and RNA viruses ... and capital as almighty $s proliferated.
Food - Vegetable protein - photosynthesis
Health - DNA writing hands face space and fresh air = established good behaviour = never inhibiting social interaction immunotherapy and writing m RNA cures
Culture - village shops & pubs for local 150 folk productive interactions - more equals less the rise & rise of the 'local' not the tower block water fountain but the local beer pump
Fantastical opportunities! ... but too slow for politicians ... 'as if the knew better!?
Unilever Knitting profit from offering global customers what they wished for - long term sustainability - quality/price/services/innovation - value in values. Customers didn't want a race to the bottom! COP26 was Unilever 10 years ago?
In 2020 life went virtual - folk, friends & companies moved on line ... cooperation & know how at the speed of light ... but fake noos ... and fake money ... sifted only by the methods of science (and double entry bookkeeping) ... as the 'power of the press' & broadcast ... and 'data driven' Central Banks and 'evidence driven' science & technology led the way ...
But something was missing it didn't feel right ...
The uninhibited global future arrived early. Centralised urban office space at the top of a tower block, became an expensive underutilised asset, the destination at the end of an excruciating, congested, time consuming commute which involved hanging onto a leather strap in abject isolation while spewing foul aerosols around hapless human robots ... such 9 to 5 torture with 1,000s of folk congested in a prime real estate offices, became a thing of the past? It was dead easy to install Bloomberg machines with all the profusion of data needed to work & trade at home. Working from home turned out to be far easier than imagined.
Exciting happenings were hatched far away from such hum drum physical & mental stress, in more congenial surrounds where ingenious human brains were inspired for action rather than dulled by kludge.
cohesion online was OK in small teams but it fragmented with size & time.
No doubt communication was harder without physical cues and casual conversation,
a social space seemed to be essential for understanding of meaning as social capital. Subtly customizing our digital news fed our prejudices we got stuck in
a mental echo chamber with lost peripheral vision.
Involved action was needed to consume information from a diversity of sources. The intimacy of interaction was important ... sprinkling the desert with a teaspoon was all to easy.
Soon we were forced back, not into our offices but into an inherently social space where we worked in a localised hubs closer to our homes ... the local pub ... where ideas of substance were always hatched and bounced.
Jonathan was not only a Vice President but also a 'Team Leader' ... but how on earth could anyone be a Team Leader in a business where you were isolated in idyllic Tahoe with the pubs closed? ... unable to buy your round and with a sopping masks obliterating the smiles, debilitating communication and ruining the taste of beer?
Bureaucracies required a rethink?
So how were teams to be inspired in the future?
Covid ain't daft ... no borders, no nation states but deeper social interactions
and interdependence. White hot science & technology just got hotter as folk began to
understand the meaning of exponential and the incredible speed of
Scientific progress, know how and evidence. Bureaucracy & border walls couldn't stop viruses ... nor ideas ... nor death & taxes, nor survival & avoidance ... nor the almighty $ ...
The Ashton Hayes Village Shop never closed and maintained supplies of goodies with apparent ease ... the village pub closed but immediately enhanced demand ... and there was a rumour that a Silicon Farm was springing to life at the bottom end of Smithy Lane ... as property prices went through the roof Mouldsworth became a haven for staycations ... raves in Benidorm were OK but there was proof on Ancestry.com that the farmer's daughter from next door was also expertly capable at mixing the genes for the next generation of essential diversity which built Darwin's 'entangled bank'.
Digital Economy focused on the Local Community -
Inspired leadership from the new science & technology pioneers at the coalface ... FANGES ... and AZ, Roche & BioNTech rather than -
bureaucratic kludge in Brussels, Westminster & Washington ... nor
politicised global bureaucracies - UN, IMF, World Banks, WTO, WHO, WOF, Supreme Courts.
Terrific global science & technology leadership. Diverse interweb technology owned & accessed by everyone and policed by good behaviour as 'Good Guys Finished First' as sellers of snake oil were instantly exposed ... little boys were no longer needed to spot the 'The Emperor had no clothes' ... (untouchable & untaxable by corrupt bureaucracies where national borders were irrelevant and global coordination unnecessary) -
Microsoft developed platforms - 'Office, Teams & Azure clouds' not WWW & Skype & Zoom?
Apple innovated with experiments &
models - 'health watches' -
Project Haven Jan 2018 - Disruptors announced plans to enter the US healthcare
industry by teaming up with Amazon, Apple, Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase to form a
company dedicated to lowering costs by cutting out the middlemen - insurers,
drug makers, wholesalers and pharmacy benefits managers
Technology solutions using big data & software apps and scale to provide their workers and families with simplified, quality and transparent healthcare at a reasonable cost.
An incubator of ideas which folded Jan 2021.
Amazon undermined the effort with in house innovation 'Amazon Care App'
Google = data analysis & AI
Apple Watch = monitor our conditions
Amazon distributed - electric vehicles & drones @ social distance,
Google informed - 'Search & YouTube'
Netflicks & Spotify & The Mail on Line entertained -
Facebook supercharged social interaction - Cheese Wedges
Twitter communicated - Siteground built the virtual world that speeds up happening happenings
But never forget it was the social interactions which inspired ... most of them in the local pub, during the coffee breaks or at the water fountain. Play to your social strengths. Listen to the scientists not the twaddle! Good behaviour not mandates.
The Big Print focused on 3% Compound Growth - 'Structural Reforms', Synergies of Specialisation & Scale not bureaucratic kludge and zombies
Science & Technology focused on Sustainable Immunity from Treachery - building on the success of existing defence systems -
immunotherapy biological systems -
liberal democratic cultural systems -
Terrific - liberal democracy cultures protected diversity & mavericks from bureaucratic kludge - checks & balances - separation of powers - diversity not bureaucracy ... but we repeat ourselves ...
Technology catalysed social behaviour ... it did not replace it ... the unimpeachable status of the convivial pint was confirmed?
Opportunities - Introspective Adventures
When the fear subsided please understand the explanatory power of natural selection and the relentless progress of innovative science & technology.
When it was all over Kate summed it all up in an interview with the FT April 2021 -
Kate with a first class degree in biochemistry from Oxford, secured a
portfolio of safe & effective vaccines against a virus unknown to the world
just four months earlier with agreed prices per dose and an agreed schedule.
Kate the Great, the girl who saved Britain from disaster? ... but it was really & clearly a team exercise ... unprecedented scientific & industrial achievement in developing, testing, manufacturing & distributing.
It was off the charts amazing that more than one vaccine was created in nine months, with around 90 per cent effectiveness.
The vaccines were safe and they were protecting millions of people ... in terms of the global co-operative effort, I am just gobsmacked!
AstraZeneca were heroes for the way the UK-Swedish company picked up an experimental vaccine invented at Oxford university and worked out how to test, manufacture & distribute it at low temperature, low cost, one shot around the world ...
Deals were completely bespoke to address the different things that the companies needed, with milestones that they had to achieve to get each set of money ... partners, not adversaries, co-operation not compromise, expecting failure was the norm ... very different than in government when if you had one failure, the press were all over you.
'I miss the Brownian motion of being in the office where it’s non-stop buzzy'!
Problems will be much easier next time ... there will be evidence ... and there will be a next time ... we learn about opportunities.
Twilight years were positive. On the day we were born life expectancy was so depressing that Mama asked furtively what have we done bringing him into a world of war. Everyday since that moment life expectancy has inexorably increased ... and will continue ... after all, death was something that always happened to other people.
We knew about manufactories and production where useful was built & grown by folk from the bottom up - Theory Y from Bill Vale - delegation from Mike Cowan - leadership from Derek Holdsworth - modular construction from Vernon Hockley - bureaucratic kludge from Fred Hall - selection, annual estimates, 5 year plans, CP rewards & after tax surpluses from the Unilever Accounts Manual ... and fun from all friends ... and our friends at work were mavericks like Marshall, Stevens and Coathup, never macho bureaucrats & politicians in grey suits. We had bought the T-shirt and from the go we never tried to emulate the stereotypes and their narcissistic rhetoric. Covid taught the world the necessity of 'water cooler' moments but Ken Robbo and I saved 6d pieces for the coffee m/c when we exchanged the latest crack on Quality Control as right first time and zero defects.
We understood group think won promotions in bureaucracies and elections in democracies but such were ineffective in manufactories ... we used to call them sclerotic big heads & know alls, prancers at a rain dance ... fools not to be suffered gladly ... our strategy was to get a grip and by pass the blockages and let the blood flow ... the cooperative synergies of specialisation & scale.
In truth we searched for the warm serotonin glow of happy and tried to avoid the cytokine storms. We recalled Jake's first school report - courteous, enthusiastic and happy ... and the warm glow!
Good behaviour was available and produced the same warm glow!
Towards the end of the panic we noted a fine Pennington summary -
Socio-economic systems should be understood as ‘complex’ phenomena that cannot effectively be controlled or managed through central planning. In general, markets and other decentralised governance mechanisms that rely on competition and signaling are better placed to facilitate learning and adaptation in conditions of complexity.
Pandemics such as the new coronavirus are also complex systems that interact in often unpredictable ways with socio-economic processes.
Markets and decentralised governance mechanisms may not be able to coordinate an effective pandemic response owing to high transaction costs. However, the complexity of the interactions between socio-economic processes and the coronavirus means that policy-makers lack the knowledge to discern which interventions will address the health and economic dimensions of the pandemic at a tolerable cost.
Expectations for public responses to the pandemic should, therefore, be modest and should recognise that to a large extent the complexity of the policy challenge will mean that successful responses may owe as much to accident as to design.
Government action, however clumsy, may be necessary in ‘emergency situations’ but that does not mean that such action should continue to substitute for markets when the emergency has passed. On the contrary, the difficulties that governments face in responding to the coronavirus could be multiplied if attempts to plan economic activity became the norm in the post-pandemic age.
China became hubristic and instructed 'how toos' in Hong Kong & Taiwan ... but there was inevitable crowd trouble.
USA was relearning about crowd trouble as instructions from The White House fell on stony ground ... 50 different states were in charge of public health without the wherewithal ... and without the evidence.
The Brits escaped from one bureaucratic kludge, but the post covid question was how to avoid another?
Human Nature revealed by deep down introspection survived. Self regulating social animals had evolved -
some immunity from treachery - inevitable parasites & predators
some feelings - of fairness of shares & resentment of cheats
some biases - favouring cooperation not compromise
some bewares - 'restraints of trade' & 'restrictive practices'
some abhorrents - hierarchies, violence & inequalities - Bishops, Princes, Generals & Bureaucrats which were mocked & ostracised
some inspirations - personal responsibility for social networks - synergies of science specialisation & social scale
some tactics - Theory Y replaced Theory X
The Covid saga demonstrated that when push came to shove the most effective joint health ventures were innovative scientists teaming up with successful pharma companies with Warp Speed risk investment.
When the chips were down -
money can't be created out of nothing ... and it was good behaviour that provided access to synergies thru
Covid ain't daft ... but as the piano player said, 'we can choose' ... and we ain't daft either ... but 'which, wot, who, why. where & when'? ... as we jumped on our horses and rode off in all directions !
Dr Debbie and Dr John said it all at the start gun -
we just don't know' ... yet ... but we're all on it big time ... pharma and global others ... meanwhile be patient and wait for the evidence of the multi pronged scientific attacks to secure evidence & efficacy
The Time Line - Getting immune folk back to work to discover & accumulate 'know how' -
Nov 2019 - a Wuhan happening? But at the market or at the lab?
Dec 1st - 1st confirmed case of flue like ailment
Dec 31st - covid19 identified as a threat -
Jan 3rd 2020 - severe pneumonia of unknown
Great Firewall - wait for orders from higher level - reprimands by police for 'spreading rumours' - Twitter ban - doctors who had raised the alarm were silenced and WHO refused request to send observers
Jan 10th - genome isolated in Wuhan and published on the internet ... at Wuhan was the Wuhan Institute of Virology doing 'gain of function' research?
Jan 13th - Wuhan to Bangkok
Jan 14th - WHO preliminary investigations conducted by the authorities have found no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission
Jan 18th - 40,000 families celebrate the New Year in Wuhan
Jan 20th - correction ... yes ... virus does spread human-to-human
Jan 23rd - strict quarantine urged by WHO & China even when its citizens were the primary targets of such bans
Jan 28th - WHO & China demonstrated serious commitment to
leadership, data sharing and
WHO working side-by-side with China and all other countries to protect health and keep people safe.
(but simply following orders from China’s authoritarian system may make containment easier but lacks transparency necessary for folk to take care of themselves.
Hong Kong - 'without freedom, the people of China are deprived of information and facts they need to be able to take care of themselves').
Jan 30th - WHO praised China for 'setting new standards for outbreak control' no reason to ban travel.
Jan 31st - WHO claimed the US travel ban from China was a 'racist reaction'.
Feb 14th - containment in the UK was easy there were only 9 cases ... Boris was clear 'let it rip'! 'herd immunity'! ... but more cases appeared in Italy
Feb 25th - 2020 Mardi Gras then bang, zoom & take off, exponential growth was 'slow' to start.
March 6th - Italy lockdown
March 11th - big super spreader event at Anfield, Liverpool v. Athletico Madrid
March 11th - WHO declared pandemic!
March 16th - Ferguson Panic paper from Imperial College - mitigation necessary to avoid NHS overload.
March 17th - Lockdown! - panic starts - Ventilators, PPE ... Tests ...
- 'care in the community', 'hot beds of infection' in hospitals & GP surgeries - but cancer treatments and health care delayed and compromised male immune systems struggle with slothful obesity
- death in Lombardy
- Spanish tourists super spreaders
- death in care homes in France
- Germany banned export of PPE Made in China ... as regional flexibility tangled with centralised control
March 30th - Red Cross ship on the Hudson River ... Warp Speed & the Generals earn their spurs
April - Roche Swann declares all testing unreliable - insensitive (non specific false -ve) and inaccurate (false -ves) data speed (when?), sensitivity (how much? fragment load false -ve), specificity (what? antigen or antibody false +ve).
April - 76 vaccine candidates in development
May - re-entry into work - the relaxed summer lulled folk back to 'normal'?
Aug 27 2020 - Dr John reported 'Hydroxychloroquine, evidence of efficacy @ low dosage' ... becaame politised ... 'never Trumpers' red faces?
October - seasonal second wave - 'tiered lockdown' response as in USA States ...
immediate response, 'we're in the wrong tier!'.
Centralised imposition on States and local communities, unconstitutional, as devolved subsidiarity exposes the reality of diversity and different circumstances required different responses?
USA and UK and many Democracies were not like China and other cultural hierarchies.
Decentralised 'authority', The Mayor of Manchester, demanded payment for implementing centrally recommended or mandated action
Sept 20th - Kent variant B.1.1.7 first detected with clever genomic testing in the UK. Natural mutations proliferate only a diminutive few were effective, the vast majority died out. More infectious spread by human behaviour as folk travelled afar.
Oct 4th - The Great Barrington Declaration - some eminent medics fell on stoney ground of group think?
Nov 9th - Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine effective!
Nov 16th - Moderna effective!
Nov 23rd - AstraZeneca / Oxford ... Team Leader Pascal Soriot delivered the goods!
Nov 2020 - Emergent BioSolutions - issues at the Department of Health & Human Services plant resulted in throwing out 2-3 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine and a batch of Johnson & Johnson vaccine ... and again March 2021 about 15 million doses of Johnson & Johnson's vaccine were lost ... not easy to create a back-up factory, ready for action, and even harder to devise a comprehensive plan for a new crisis! The task of Government is to remove barriers to a free flow of goods and open free trade ! Rather than picking the wrong technologies, or backing companies that can’t keep up with innovation !
Nov - the Kent variant ruined the party
Dec 8th 2020 - jpb 1st Pfizer vax
Dec 29th - jpb 2nd Pfizer vax
Jan 22nd 2021- cmb 1st AZ vax
Jan 29th - European Medicines Agency (EMA) approved the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine on for use for all age groups in the EU, French president Emmanuel Macron claimed that the AZ vaccine was only 'quasi-ineffective' for people over 65 ... jeez ...
Feb 2021 - 1st Tcell test approved in USA
Feb 21st - 468,000 genomes in the public domain - 3 variants of concern B.1.1.7 (Kent Sept 2020) - B.1.351 (SA Dec 2020) - P.1 (Brazil Dec 2020) - and then a 4th B.1.617 (India April 2021) ... or was it B.1.617.2 ... wotever it was it was clever and spread like billy-o ? Then the powers that bee changed the names to Alpha ... Delta ... just to confuse folk and remind them they were doing something?
Feb 22nd - Lockdown Escape Plan - based on data evidence not dates ... great idea we concurred ... assumed - 1 vaccinations continued apace 2 efficacy was confirmed 3 no hospitalisation surge 4 no more lethal variants
March 8th - stage 1 - 5 weeks review period - schools open, 2 people outside - March 29th - 6 people or 2 households outside
April 12th - stage 2 - 5 weeks review period - outdoor hols, non essential shops -
May 17th - stage 3 - 5 weeks review period - 6 people or 2 households indoors & in pub, 10,000 in stadiums - passport review
June 21st - stage 4 - 5 weeks review period - freedom !
... then numbers changed ... delayed until July 19th!
April 23rd - Indian variant ! More infectious spread by human behaviour as Indian travellers returned home to multi generational homes in Bolton.
May 12th 2021 - Roche chief executive Severin Schwan has warned
that waiving Covid-19 vaccine patents would be a 'catastrophe', comparable
to East Germany’s nationalisation of drug makers.
Schwan said the US-backed proposal to allow free access to pharmaceutical companies’ intellectual property, in an effort to boost vaccine production, would be 'counterproductive' and would not solve supply shortages.
The Biden administration’s decision to back a proposal to waive patents on Covid-19 vaccines during the pandemic surprised many and has negatively affected the share price of vaccine makers ... how do they pay their bills?
Sun July 11th - England v. Germany Euros Final - pubs full
Sat August 14th - Footy ... stadiums full ... jeez ... back to 'normal'? ... but the numbers always changed, the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics saw to that ... never make forecasts especially about the future ... Covid ain't daft ... but some folk were ... trained as empirical scientists, we had a skimpy understanding of the 2nd Law to back up our own meagre experiments.
We were initially very pleased when someone told us that Boris had outlined a phased plan based on evidence and 5 week evaluation periods before the next stage. But of course, the best laid plans always come to nought ... 'cos the numbers changed ... and the notion that a minute before midnight we 'must’ wear a mask and a minute after we were ‘allowed’ to take it off ... seemed like rubbish. We were all for the vax with all guns blazing ... but, and it was a big but, we were all against some upstart instructing us how to behave ... so we were thrilled when the said Boris started to use the words ‘personal responsibility for good behaviour’. But we must admit that we have consistently stressed the very same words with our grandkids and now we have evidence that that did’t work either!
Sept 6th Kids back to school - Jake isolated his mate Lennon has the bug
Sept 16th Booster shots were announced for the over 50s - here we go again ...
Sept 17th Jonathan 53 ... jeez ...
Sept 18th Eda 114 ... Rileys bring food parcels to the The Meister
Sept 19th Josh 18 ... !
On Sept 26th john p was boosted by Pfizer!
On Sept 27th Jake has Covid!
On Nov 4th 2021 cmb was boosted by Pfizer!
Nov 19th Austria mandates vaccinations for all - first in Europe to make jabs compulsory for citizens
Nov 25th B.1.1.529 ... Omicron ... SA then Belgium then everywhere ...
here we go again ... panic & knee jerk hysteria ... will obese, slothful, wrinklies
... out variant the variants?
Nov 26th 4 days of freezing power cuts seeded the variant.
By the end of 2021 ... the story was not over there was no 'normal' to get back to ... and, in any case, who wanted to go back to 2019? ... and all the failures which led to 2020?
So as 2021 closed Dr John Campbell gave us a glimpse of a new learning opportunity -
'The mapping of the Covid beast indicated Omicron evolved from the
original Wuhan virus not from Delta. Did Omicron come to infect the world
Just suppose laboratory mice were being used in gain of function research for biological warfare and infected humans - transmissible and pathogenic. Delta naturally evolved which was more transmissible and pathogenic but we were 'saved' by vaccinations.
Omicron appeared which was more transmissible but less pathogenic and out competed Wuhan and saved the world from the pandemic.
Question could loss of function be engineered in the laboratory an used as for inoculations.
Evolutionary biologists understand the difference between vaccinations and inoculations and the ACE2 receptor's role in transmissibility ... and how one virus can be used to protect us from another virus ... interesting?
Keep asking questions Dr John!
Omicron was the best vaccine we never made? !
... an opportunity for modern science or a conspiracy theory?
Jan 2022 - John Hopkins - 'meta-analysis concludes that lockdowns have had
little to no public health effects,
they have imposed enormous economic and social costs' ! ... re-read the Barrington Declaration, 'targeted shielding of the vulnerable' and thank you family & friends ...
Jan 1st 2022 ... as a 'PS' Dr John publicised some Covid ONS figures for 2020 & 2021
137,133 = deaths within 28 days of +ve test
17,371 = death certificate Covids with no comorbidities
(3,774 under age 65 + 13,579 over age 65 = average age 82.5 and life expectancy declined by 7 weeks)
Extra cancer deaths 50,000 and 6 million were on the beloved gold plated NHS waiting list ... ?
Jan 7th Dr John formally abandoned 'lockdowns' and went for obesity, roughage, biomes, sloth, insomnia, exercise, sunlight, ordinary beer, stress ... and social courtesy
Covid ain't daft ... it knew how to survive ...
but folk ain't daft either ... they knew how to learn ... John Campbell summed it all up ... the complex interactions for our very own Health & Happiness (maybe he forgot a good nights sleep!) ... and our own Gran was also spot on - 'use your imagination and try'!
'Learn to live with the beast. Never go back to lockdown and hunkering down in our bunkers & shutting down lives but forward to common sense & personal responsibility. It is an arms race, there will be more variants, we have to out variant the variants with measures we can live with 'cos dysthymia is a bigger risk than the cytokine storms. Move from more mandates from ignorant bureaucrats & the heavy hand of Government to more personal responsibility as adults, personal responsibility for our own communities and our own health. Get vaccinated and stop the destruction of our own immune systems thru obesity, sloth, sleep deprivation and stress. Understand the need to take responsibility for your own health.
The problem was Old Men, Obesity, Sloth, Stress & Insomnia.
Omicron was the best vaccine we never made? !
Jan 23rd 2022 Robert Clancy explained why there was not an auto immune reaction to fried eggs
Jan 29th Dr John was fact checked by the BBC !
Feb 3rd Denmark ended the pandemic
Feb 7th BMJ fact checked by Facebook !
On it went ... the politicians took over from science ...
Dr John was black balled ... in the absence of evidence had he strayed into politics as he tried to maintain his 'click count' and vast following and revenues? or was he just asking awkward questions?
We hadn't had a bad Covid. In an attempt to learn & understand wot the hell was going on (some said it was to feed our prejudices!) we watched Dr John Campbell on YouTube and Dr Debbie at Press Conferences. Dr John was a scientist & a medic with good manners who, from the get go, vowed to follow the evidence and not be distracted by the dreadful distortions of demagoguery & dirigisme from the powers that be! (... don’t tell them but we were quietly pleased that our grandkids also didn’t do everything they were told)
Did Dr John abandon science and himself become embroiled in politics?
Did Dr John lose the plot as his search for evidence and replace it by rants against Governments, Big Pharma and China?
As if governments and bureaucracies could do anything about the complex, changing, conflicting, scarcity of 'know how' about human behaviour, human physiology & the 'speed of science' ... especially as the 'speed of science' was ridiculed as meaningless ... geez ...
Wotever Dr John was saying on YouTube, the right to ask questions and seek evidence through empirical science was always unimpeachable ... censorship was taboo and misinformation was never a matter for politics, we were with Voltaire -
'I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it'
And wot was the '77th Brigade' doing with Covid? The military were getting involved in 'misinformation? Unbelievable ... Orwellian 'oversight' in the UK? ... to be revisited when the hullabaloo has died down ... the truth will out? The book on the '77th Brigade' will be written ...
We thought it was all about science? But this was Project Fear? Everyone had a personal responsibility to sort out the wheat from the chaff and we went for empirical science!
April 25th 2022 ... was the remainder of 2022 spent on speculation & rants against bribery & corruption and incompetence & cover-ups of Governments, Big Pharma and China? As Dr John continued into 2023 to follow the evidence and ask awkward questions, we applauded ... but, and there was a but ... more & more instead of personal responsibility for old age, obesity, sloth, stress & insomnia Dr John seemed to naively pour blame & scorn on Governments, Big Pharma, GPs neglect of individual advice and lack of education?
Did Dr John himself forget his personal responsibility to follow the evidence and never blame someone else?
'Learning from China' = a rampant airborne infection was confronted by scientifically impossible 'zero Covid' mandates ... a final 6 min rant on Scientific Methodology and how it worked.
'Xi Thought' = dictated 'fake noos' knowledge from above.
Such was censorship, 'persistence was not victory'.
Was Xi Thought also creeping into our western scientific culture?
Were folk no longer free to disagree? Was evidence hidden?
Long before the Covid insurrection we had switched off the fake noos from the BBC and shut off the broken politicians in Westminster, Washington and Brussels.
Was it time to switch off the great Dr John Campbell who, in the absence of evidence whether deliberately withheld or not, turned to politics and innuendo ... and blame?
Us evolutionary economists guessed that it was 'know how' itself that was evolving. Admitting ignorance was a better bet than blame ... especially about the future ... and we didn't even agree about past history ... 'know how' was slippery ... complex, changing, conflicting and scarce ... diverse, dispersed, tacit & incomplete ...
we were fed up with folk, who in their ignorance, arrogantly claimed to know how and know what was best for us & for others ...
we were more well fed up with folk, who in their ignorance, naively expected someone ‘up there’ to know what was best for us & for others ... and take decisions for them absolving them from personal responsibility for a contribution!
In the end we knew everyone was bent on going for longevity in their own autonomous with the help of family & friends. In the end it was the same for every country & every global company with operations across North America & Europe.
Personal responsibility and crowd trouble reverberated round the beastie!
The Big Quit propelled companies to recruit, train & reward folk who matched their own specialised requirements ... no longer found during the Milk Round & presentations on Egyptian Mythology ... more likely to be found around rural Mouldsworth and in the local pub. Unilever & Jamie Dimon were clear ... if you could work from home with Zoom you could be replaced by silicon & AI ... and if tea leaf pickers in Kenya rebelled? ... the way to peace, tranquility & happiness for all was to design & build solar powered 24/7 machines with batteries ... or something?
Group Think, Cancel Culture, Sanitised Zooms, Commute Time, Censorship of Fake Noos, Fact Checking of Alternative Facts ... together with the pious hope of legislating wealth and mandating personal responsibility for good behaviour ... had driven the innovation mavericks & water fountain hustlers ... and lorry drivers ... out of town.
Folk wanted excitement & friends not fear, instructions & mandates. If government mandates were the answer why not start with banning - old age, obesity, sloth, stress & insomnia ... or just ban bad happenings ... easy, simple and wrong!
No doubt our learning will be continued with a convivial pint at The Goshawk, Mouldsworth, CH3 8AJ as evidence mounts ... say from double blind randomised control experiments in Scunthorpe which were repeated in the Antipodes 17½ nights later with the same peer reviewed statistically significant results ... and no p-hacking, data torture, managed samples, manipulated time periods or selected variables!
We were very interested to know where we were going wrong? Carol with an 'e' says it was from the beginning ... and we daren’t ask for a 2nd opinion.
... and admitted that our quest for ‘clarity’ in the middle of all this ‘brain fog’ was a tad ambitious ... but we vowed to keep trying ����
Covid ain't daft ... but Elizabeth Hancock wasn't daft either ...
End Note - The Omicron Saga?
The lessons - Elizabeth Hancock survived the plague in Eyam in 1665, immune from the beastly bugs ... it was just like 'auto-vaccination'.
... everyone was different
... everyone had to nurture their very own brains and immune systems ...
Covid ain't daft ... all it wanted to do was survive ...
Omicron was the best vaccine we never made? !
The breakthrough was to focus on nurturing the efficacy of our own natural individual auto immune response and avoid the cytokine storms.
Stop searching for a one size fits all messiah, each & every one of us has an individual brain and an individual immune system - each immensely complex, changing, conflicting with scarce individual responses to parasites & predators in an evolutionary arms race.
Natural selection has provided us folk with two gigantic & fantastical tools for our survival and betterment -
our very own brain
our very own immune system
... look after both of them and use them... both have a spooky capacity to LEARN ... fantastical opportunities!
When faced with all pervading ignorance beware of all the experts who disagree.
Experiment in Scunthorpe, or 'at length' bankruptcy beckons.
Launcelot Gobbo, 'but at the length truth will out'.
Lancelot Gobo knows his conscience tells him to stay with Shylock out of loyalty, but some fiend in his brain tells him he should leave. His conscience tells him to stay with the devil incarnate? Emotion or reason? ...
Covid ain't daft ... but folk can learn ... it's an arms race ...
Covid ain't daft ... but folk ain't daft either ... folk had learned about Elizabeth Hancock?
john p birchall
back to some fun