Posts Tagged ‘flu’

Do Flu Vaccines Really Work? A Skeptic’s View

Do Flu Vaccines Really Work? A Skeptic’s View

By Eben Harrell, courtesy of TIME  

photo via TIME, vaccines In December, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) launched a public health campaign in the U.S. encouraging vulnerable patients — particularly the elderly — to "protect yourself and the ones you love against flu: GET VACCINATED!" At least one flu-vaccine researcher disagreed with the message: Tom Jefferson, an epidemiologist with the prestigious Cochrane Collaboration, which has headquarters in Britain.

Jefferson and colleagues have published several systematic reviews of existing studies on the efficacy of influenza vaccines. Weighing the data, they conclude that there is insufficient evidence to indicate that flu vaccines reduce infection rates or mortality, even in the elderly. Jefferson, a former British army doctor now based in Rome, spoke with TIME about his quest to spur further research into flu vaccines.

On Feb. 16, the Cochrane Library published your updated review of all major studies on the efficacy of flu vaccines for the elderly, some of the results of which you believe to be preposterous. Can you explain?

We looked at studies on vaccines in the elderly and in health care workers who work with the elderly, and we found an implausible sequence of results. We have studies that claim up to 90% effectiveness against death from all causes [in inoculated patients compared with the nonvaccinated]. If you were to believe that evidence, you would believe that flu vaccine is effective against death not only from influenza, but also from heart attack, stroke, hypothermia, accidents and all other common causes of death among the elderly. That is quite clearly nonsense.

This is not to say that these and other studies, taken together, suggest that vaccines don’t work for the elderly. The answer is a question mark. We don’t know what protection, if any, vaccines offer. I don’t think that’s a bad thing. Uncertainty is the motor of science. We need large studies to find out.

Why do you think such studies have not been done?

I don’t know. We’ve known for years that we needed proof one way or the other, and governments have not taken any notice of this. It’s an extraordinary situation. 

One argument I’ve heard is that it would be unethical to compare vaccines against a placebo because you would be withholding crucial treatment from patients. Do you agree? 

No. We don’t know these vaccines work, so you can’t…
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Flu News: What is the significance of D225G?

Swine Flu News: What is the significance of D225G?

By Ilene

Dr. Henry L. NimanWith the current rush of news about the swine flu virus morphing into more aggressive lung-shredding and tamiflu-resistant mutants, there is some confusion as to why these changes are being seen in people in "hotspots" around the world, with no clear connection to each other. Officials at the WHO and CDC suggest that the same mutations are arising spontaneously in multiple locations but this doesn’t quite make sense.  To better understand how changes in the swine flu virus may be occurring, I contacted Dr. Henry L. Niman, founder and president of Recombinomics.  Dr. Niman has been an active researcher in the evolution of flu virus.  His latest thoughts on the ongoing progression of the flu pandemic may be found at his website, Recombinomics.   

For a little background, the D222G mutation or D225G mutation (same mutation, different numbering system) was found in three cases in Norway ("Norway" mutation), and in other countries, including Brazil, China, Japan, Mexico, Ukraine, the United States, and more recently Hong Kong. The change in a single nucleotide results in an amino acid change in the virus’s receptor binding protein. This has the effect of allowing the virus to bind receptors in the lung tissue, rather than the more usual binding to cells in the upper airways. Theoretically, this may confer greater virulence to the virus, potentially leading to more severe disease as the infection invades deeper in the respiratory tract. This change was also seen in the 1918 flu pandemic, in some (but not all) cases. 

Recombinomics

The name of Dr. Niman’s company "Recombinomics" is taken from the word "recombine" or "recombination" – the driver of rapid molecular evolution and the emergence of infectious agents. Recombination* is a mechanism whereby small bits of genetic information pass between viruses so that a virus may quickly acquire a genetic change that evolved previously over the years in other viruses. Recombination is similar to reassortment, but with less genetic material being exchanged. 

Sporadic mutations do not usually lead to successful adaptive changes – often they have no effect or prove to be non-adaptive, with the mutation failing to be further replicated.  In contrast, recombination allows viruses to quickly alter their characteristics by acquiring genetic material that already exists in the viral reservoir (i.e., the pool of viruses circulating in a population). This…
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Vaccine War: Autism, Flu and Science

Vaccines: where does science end and profit motive begin? Maia Szalavitz argues, and I agree, that these are scientific questions and we need to conduct scientific research – not rely on preconceived views—to answer the questions. – Ilene

Vaccine War: Autism, Flu and Science

vaccines, autism, flu, mercuryBy Maia Szalavitz, Courtesy of TIME

Just in time for the national roll-out of the new H1N1 flu vaccine, Wired Magazine and the Atlantic have weighed in on the ongoing vaccine war: Wired has a profile of Paul Offit, a vaccine researcher and pediatrician who has consistently spoken out in favor of vaccination and pointed to the lack of evidence linking vaccines and autism; the Atlantic checks in with a piece questioning the science suggesting that flu vaccines and antiviral drugs prevent people from dying.

Both articles have elicited heated debate all over the Web: Amy Wallace, who wrote Wired’s piece, excerpted below, has received vitriolic criticism and attacks from vaccine opponents, setting records for page views.

Describing death threats and attacks on Offit, Wallace writes:

So what has this award-winning 58-year-old scientist done to elicit such venom? He boldly states — in speeches, in journal articles, and in his 2008 book Autism’s False Prophets — that vaccines do not cause autism or autoimmune disease or any of the other chronic conditions that have been blamed on them. He supports this assertion with meticulous evidence. And he calls to account those who promote bogus treatments for autism — treatments that he says not only don’t work but often cause harm.

While the Wired article has been attacked by advocates, the Atlantic’s article has been slammed by several blogs written by scientists. The authors, Shannon Brownlee and Jeanne Lenzer, reply to their critics here (scroll down). The scientists take issue with their argument that the scientific evidence does not support the use of the flu vaccine and antiviral medications like Tamiflu, detailed below

Brownlee and Lenzer ask:

… what if everything we think we know about fighting influenza is wrong? What if flu vaccines do not protect people from dying—particularly the elderly, who account for 90 percent of deaths from seasonal flu? And what if the expensive antiviral drugs that the government has stockpiled over the past few years also have little, if any, power to reduce


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Zero Hedge

Florida Suffers Record Single-Day Jump In COVID-19 Deaths: Live Updates

Courtesy of ZeroHedge View original post here.

Summary:

  • Florida reports 2nd highest jump yet
  • US reports 70k+ new COVID-19 cases
  • Deaths near 1k for 4th day
  • Global case number: 12,689,741
  • India cases top 400k
  • Japan sees record 430 new cases
  • Victoria reports 216 new cases
  • Australian official: vaccine may be 2 years away still

* * *

Update (1125ET)...



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ValueWalk

Tail risk hedges now a necessity: Nassim Taleb

By Michelle Jones. Originally published at ValueWalk.

Tail risk hedges are designed to only pay off when the markets suddenly plunge, so many investors don’t have the stomach to carry them. However, one expert on tail risk funds advises investors not to be in the market right now if they aren’t using a tail hedge.

Q2 2020 hedge fund letters, conferences and more

No V-shaped recovery

Black Swan author Nassim Nicholas Taleb told CNBC in an interview that doesn't expect a V-shaped recovery like most investors seem to expect. He considers ...



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Phil's Favorites

Actually, Mr Trump, it's stronger environmental regulation that makes economic winners

 

Actually, Mr Trump, it's stronger environmental regulation that makes economic winners

Courtesy of Ou Yang, University of Melbourne

Donald Trump has ordered US federal agencies to bypass environmental protection laws and fast-track pipeline, highway and other infrastructure projects. Signing the executive order last month, the US president declared regulatory delays would hinder “our economic recovery from the national emergency”.

Trump withdrew the US from the Paris Agreement for international climate action in 2017 for the same reason. The accord, ...



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Biotech/COVID-19

Coronavirus's painful side effect is deep budget cuts for state and local government services

 

Coronavirus's painful side effect is deep budget cuts for state and local government services

Washington state cut both merit raises and instituted furloughs as it faced a projected $8.8 billion budget deficit because of the coronavirus. Wolfgang Kaehler/LightRocket via Getty Images

Courtesy of Carla Flink, American University

Nationwide, state and local government leaders are warning of major budget cuts as a result of the pandemic. One state – ...



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Kimble Charting Solutions

Red Hot China Attempting Key Breakout, Says Joe Friday

Courtesy of Chris Kimble

China ETF (FXI) has been “Red Hot” of late? Is it about to run out of steam or will it remain on fire going forward?

This chart of FXI comes from Investors Business Daily and Marketsmith.com. It reflects that FXI is above key long-term moving averages and its RS ratings is moving sharply higher of late.

Line (1) has been support and resistance several times over the past 3-years. The rally of late has FXI ...



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The Technical Traders

Retail Traders & Investors Squeezed to Buy High-Risk Assets Again

Courtesy of Technical Traders

Yes, we certainly live in interesting times.  This, the last segment of our multi-part article on the current Q2 and Q3 2020 US and global economic expectations, as well as current data points, referencing very real ongoing concerns, we urge you to continue using common sense to help protect your assets and families from what we believe will be a very volatile end to 2020.  If you missed the first two segments of this research article, please take a moment to review them before continuing.

On May 24th, 2020, we published this ...



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Chart School

RTT browsing latest..

Courtesy of Read the Ticker

Please review a collection of WWW browsing results. The information here is delayed by a few months, members get the most recent content.



Date Found: Saturday, 14 March 2020, 05:51:16 PM

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Comment: Crash in perspective - its Bad, and not over!



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Comment: The Blood Bath Has Begun youtu.be/bmC8k1qmM0s



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Lee's Free Thinking

These Charts Show COVID 19 Is Spreading in the US and Will Kill the Economy

 

These Charts Show COVID 19 Is Spreading in the US and Will Kill the Economy

Courtesy of  

The COVID 19 pandemic is, predictably, worsening again in much of the US. Only the Northeast, and to a lesser extent some Midwestern states, have been consistently improving. And that trend could also reverse as those states fully reopen.

The problem in the US seems to be widespread public resistance to recommended practices of social distancing and mask wearing. In countries where these practices have been practi...



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Digital Currencies

Blockchains can trace foods from farm to plate, but the industry is still behind the curve

 

Blockchains can trace foods from farm to plate, but the industry is still behind the curve

App-etising? LDprod

Courtesy of Michael Rogerson, University of Bath and Glenn Parry, University of Surrey

Food supply chains were vulnerable long before the coronavirus pandemic. Recent scandals have ranged from modern slavery ...



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Members' Corner

Coronavirus, 'Plandemic' and the seven traits of conspiratorial thinking

 

Coronavirus, 'Plandemic' and the seven traits of conspiratorial thinking

No matter the details of the plot, conspiracy theories follow common patterns of thought. Ranta Images/iStock/Getty Images Plus

Courtesy of John Cook, George Mason University; Sander van der Linden, University of Cambridge; Stephan Lewandowsky...



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Insider Scoop

Economic Data Scheduled For Friday

Courtesy of Benzinga

  • Data on nonfarm payrolls and unemployment rate for March will be released at 8:30 a.m. ET.
  • US Services Purchasing Managers' Index for March is scheduled for release at 9:45 a.m. ET.
  • The ISM's non-manufacturing index for March will be released at 10:00 a.m. ET.
  • The Baker Hughes North American rig count report for the latest week is scheduled for release at 1:00 p.m. ET.
...

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Phil will discuss positions, COVID-19, market volatility -- the selloff -- and more! 

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Mapping The Market

How IPOs Are Priced

Via Jean Luc 

Funny but probably true:

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