Apologeet.nlThe Corona crisis was expected, but nothing was done. By Peter Borger (21-03-2020)
It was common knowledge that some strain of Corona virus—sooner or later—was going to cause a pandemic. It was known for almost 20 years.
Why was no action taken by our governments? Why not by the WHO? The Corona crisis was not only conceivable and foreseeable, but the world could have been prepared. We could have had medication and we could have had a vaccine long ago. That is, when there had been the political will. Where is the government when we need them?
Corona viruses are well-known respiratory viruses. They are the causative vectors for the common cold. As such most of them are nearly harmless, but we know since decades they can become dangerous. A strain of corona viruses, now known as SARS-CoV, was the first which turned bad.
While visiting the yearly congress TZANZSRS of lung specialists in Adelaide, Australia in 2003, I clearly recall the special attention given to SARS-CoV, which caused severe acute respiratory syndrome. SARS-CoV had a mortality rate of 9% and was seen as a severe threat to western society. Fortunately, SARS-CoV was not as contagious as feared. Within months the threat faded. Still, we all knew this was not going to be the last corona challenge.
In 2012, the next corona virus, MERS-CoV, roared its ugly head. With a mortality of over 30% of infected persons, it is the most aggressive corona virus thus far. This virus also disappeared from the radar without causing a pandemic. Still, we all knew there would be another corona virus. It would only be a matter of time.
Now it is there: SARS-CoV2. This virus causes COVID-19. And it already went pandemic. With a mortality of 3-4% SARS-CoV2 is not as deadly as the earlier Corona viruses, but is far more contagious. Therefore, COVID-19 can be—and will be—lethal for the weakest part of our society.
Corona viruses are positive sense, single stranded RNA viruses. They originate in the genomes of higher organisms and new strains emerge all the time through recombination. Currently, we know of seven types of corona viruses that can infect humans. Infected with these viruses, humans develop respiratory symptoms of various severities. Two of them, HCoV-229E and HCoV-OC43, cause common cold. The other coronaviruses can lead to more severe respiratory tract infections and can be potentially lethal.
Between the outbreak of SARS in 2003 and the outbreak of COVID-19 in 2019 lie 16 years. In these years, the smart phone was developed. Facebook, Snapchat, and Amazon saw the light. Virtual reality, artificial intelligence, and machine learning were developed. The human genome was sequenced and charted, as well as the genomes of over 250 other organisms. The genomes of hundreds of viruses, including all corona viruses, were sequenced and mapped. On top of that, the gene editing technology Crispr-Cas was developed. In 16 years one can develop a lot of high tech gadgets and technologies. In these 16 years, was there a treatment for Corona viruses developed? Was a vaccine developed? Was a blocking antibody developed? All knowledge to do so was available. And we knew there was going to be another corona virus outbreak, most likely in China. The shocking fact is that nothing to fight the next outbreak of a deadly Corona virus was developed! Nothing at all!
Thousands of people died during the epidemics of 2003 and 2012, while surprisingly no vaccine, treatment, or diagnostic had been established. Now again, another deadly Corona Virus kills thousands and thousands of people—and there will be many more. Yes, today there are diagnostic kits available, but a vaccine or treatment was not developed since the last corona virus outbreak. I find this very hard to believe. We may really ask ourselves why our governments, led by the Who, did not install a research and development program to be prepared for the next outbreak. It would not have been a huge scientific challenge, and not very costly either, to be properly prepared. All deadly coronaviruses share very similar molecular structures. The viral genome encodes several proteins of unique functions, including a spike (S) protein and an N protein. The N protein, which is found in all aggressive Corona strains, is currently used as a diagnostic marker. The S protein provides the best target for development of vaccines and antibodies, because the protease activity of the S protein functions to enter the cells of the human body.
Studies by Markus Hoffman, which researches at the Leipnitz Institute for primate research in Göttingen, Germany, recently showed that COVID-19 uses the same ACE2 receptor to infect human cells as the 2003 SARS. An ACE2-based cure for SARS would thus have been a cure for COVID-19. That is, if it had been developed. But a cure for SARS was never developed. Neither for the highly lethal MERS of 2012. Like SARS and MERS, COVID-19 is another wake-up call for our sleeping governments, who should have taken responsibility for their citizens a long time ago. There was ample opportunity to develop cures and vaccines to prevent the Corona crisis, which in fact started 16 years ago. If they had listened to what the experts had to say about Corona, there would have now been a solution. This time they learn it the hard way. If they had spent a few millions in preventive and curative research, the world would have been prepared. They chose to be blind and risk the life of thousands of people, risking the bankruptcy of the economic system. The life of the victims cannot be reimbursed by money. But let me guess who will have to reimburse the banks next year?
Peter Borger, MSc, PhD Worked 20 years as a molecular biologist in pulmonary science and is author of Darwin Revisited.
https://www.rd.nl/opinie/lakse-overheden-oorzaak-coronacrisis-1.1643440 See also this interview with Dr. David Ho (go to 09:35):