Johnson & Johnson, Explanations for Clotting ? – Part 3

We continue from Johnson & Johnson, Explanations for Clotting ? – Part 2, where the liver is described as a kind of jail for viruses. It is also an EPA Superfund site,  where many of the features of the blood-borne immune response are replicated as stationary recycling operations. In goes a shiny virus with a blown motor; out comes scrap metal. This operation looks like a typical by-the-side-of-the-railroad-tracks recycler. Awaiting their fate, pathogens are stuck to walls with glue, or stored inside cells, sorted in special sacks, called endosomes.

The liver does all this while metabolizing myriad small-molecule poisons, such as the ethanol in the fine Chablis you just had.

Adenoviruses are natively toxic to the liver, just by being themselves. But what about the inner genome, which is activated when a virus successfully enters a cell? A competent virus hijacks a cell to make more of itself, frequently destroying the cell.  An adenovirus vector does not have the ability to reproduce. It still frequently destroys the transfected cell, which in measured degree is thought to be a good thing.

It might not be such a good thing if the transfected cell is in the liver. Nota bene: While specific features of the immune system are understood in great detail, the overall regulation of immune response remains a mystery. The  most viable theory has a huge hole.  In place of this, piecemeal ideas fill the gap. The immune system responds more reliably to a possible pathogen  if there is also some  damage, indicated by the signals of a dying cell.

Spike protein has been found to be toxic, even when not formed into a complete spike:

Quoting from the last,

Evidence provided suggests that the SARS-CoV-2 spike proteins trigger a pro-inflammatory response on brain endothelial cells that may contribute to an altered state of BBB function. Together, these results are the first to show the direct impact that the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein could have on brain endothelial cells; thereby offering a plausible explanation for the neurological consequences seen in COVID-19 patients.

From the sum of three papers, a suspicion arises that might otherwise be dismissed: Even short peptide sub units of spike protein  may cause harm  if sufficient quantities end up in the wrong places.

The quantity of spike protein that ends up in the wrong place depends on  mobility (how well it travels). There is a crucial difference between traditional  vaccines that contain antigen, and the new technologies: mRNA, and adenovirus-vector, which cause cells of the recipient to make antigen.

A vaccine which contains antigen usually contains an adjuvant substance. How adjuvants improve vaccines is frequently revised, but there is one constant. Whether an adjuvant consists of microscopic oily droplets of squalene, or tiny crystals of alum, it binds the small antigen molecule to a much larger one. This reduces the mobility of the antigen, so it sticks near the injection site.

  • When the spike antigen produced by a new vaccine leaves the cell, it is bound to nothing larger. Compared to spike protein bound to adjuvant, it can travel fast and far.
  • This is mitigated with mRNA vaccines by the fragility of mRNA, so the producing cells remain clustered.
  • This is exacerbated by adenovirus vectors, which are stable.

To be continued.


(CNN) US investigating possible mysterious directed energy attack near White House

(CNN) US investigating possible mysterious directed energy attack near White House. Quoting CNN,

Federal agencies are investigating at least two possible incidents on US soil, including one near the White House in November of last year, that appear similar to mysterious, invisible attacks that have led to debilitating symptoms for dozens of US personnel abroad.

A bookmark with links to 16 articles: (CNN)’Sonic attacks’ suffered by US diplomats likely caused by microwave energy, government study says. I am one of the dissenters to the microwave theory.  The White House is a particularly unlikely locale for a microwave attack.

Near the White House, the radio spectrum is subject to intense monitoring, in search of electronic espionage bugs that might communicate with nearby controllers. The surveillance receivers are very sensitive, because bugs transmit weak signals. At least some information from these receivers is recorded.

A microwave attack near the White House would inevitably leave a trace in the record of a surveillance receiver, either through direct detection, or inter modulation products. The microwave power levels required of a weapon tend to leak into  monitoring receivers,  leaving  traces, even if not by design.

A decade ago, it might have been possible, if the adversary had detailed knowledge of the monitoring equipment. But in the ’90’s, a chip innovation, the flash A/D converter, combined with software radio allowed monitoring, and recording the entire radio/microwave spectrum simultaneously, with no tuning required. This technology is now widely deployed.The equipment is surprisingly compact.

The electronic records of the surveillance receivers should indicate anomalies simultaneous with the presumed attacks — unless the discrimination software discards them as noise.

If you’d like to get started with detecting microwave weapons, you need 32 bucks:  NooElec USB Stick. It tunes up to 2.3 gHz, but should be sensitive to overload/intermod birdies at much higher frequencies. If one had been operating near the Ellipse, it would have blown the whistle.

If there are no indications, ultrasound might be worth another look.


Johnson & Johnson, Explanations for Clotting ? – Part 2

We continue from Johnson & Johnson, Explanations for Clotting ?

Most immunizations are into the deltoid muscle of the upper arm.  In recent years, there has been increased interest in subcutaneous injection. This can result in more immune response with less antigen, or the reverse.  That tissue is more delicate, more susceptible to damage.  And there have been some tragic failures, when the immunization did not “take”. So whatever site is used in the clinical trials is baked into the usage.

The deltoid muscle is resistant to damage, and there is a simple “finger rule” to avoid hitting a nerve with the needle. Some muscle fibers die as a result of the injection, but they are replaced in days. The muscle has strong blood supply and high metabolic rate, which protects it from occasional bacterial pathogens.

A fraction of active material of the injection stays in muscle to “transfect” muscle cells, causing them to produce spike protein, which in turn induces immunity. Most of the injected material does not remain in place.  Muscle is so well supplied with circulation that most of the active material drains out. Another fraction drains through the lymphatic system, reaching the axial lymph nodes, in the armpit, where it may still make a contribution to immunity, if it can find suitable cells to transfect.

The remaining fraction enters the blood circulation. With a classical vaccine, consisting of inert materials, this fraction is lost; it makes no contribution to developing immunity and has no further effect on the body. The bulk of it is caught by the liver, degraded into less suspicious substances, and excreted.

We are going to accumulate Tinkertoy pieces that may be useful in building a hypothesis bridge from a place called Mystery,  to another called Prospect, spanning the River Doubt. If and when the bridge is complete, it will be a theory that can be tested. Cast a wide net at first. Keep  Occam’s Razor always within sight. Back in August 2020, I had some suspicion. There are some Tinkertoys in (CNN) More European nations pause AstraZeneca vaccine use as blood clot reports investigated, but I’m not eager to pick them up. If in the future, they make an Occam contribution, well and good; let them lie for now.

An adenovirus vaccine is not inert. Even though the vector cannot reproduce, it pries its way into cells. The fraction that enters the blood may not be benign. Adenoviruses are generally toxic to the liver; (BMJ) The promise and potential hazards of adenovirus gene therapy. Quoting,

What’s toxic about adenovirus vectors?

Much concern has focused on the direct toxic effects of adenoviruses, particularly as intravenous administration of the virus can induce acute liver injury, as shown in animal models. It is this effect which may have triggered the cascade of events leading to the death of the patient with OTC deficiency—

AstraZeneca/J&J know this well, and think they have their bases covered, with a comparatively minute quantity of vaccine reaching the liver. Maybe, maybe not. It may depend upon prior infections, which often leave live viruses, jailed, in the liver. Until something comes along with the key.

You’re probably wondering what this has to do with CVST.  We’ll get to that. To be continued shortly.



Johnson & Johnson, Explanations for Clotting ?

In what follows, J&J and Astrazeneca are considered identical. The eventual explanation may fork into separate ones for each vaccine, but nothing’s showing now.

Let’s define some terms. The scientific method names two classes of explanation:

  • Theory –an explanation that has a test, and can be proven false.
  • Hypothesis — a good idea, with clues that point in a direction, with plenty of imagined glue to tie it together.

(BioSpace) COVID-19 Brief: Theories on the COVID-19 Blood Clotting and More Top Stories blurbs an incomplete theory, first described for  AstraZeneca  in this paper: Thrombosis and Thrombocytopenia after ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 Vaccination. It’s  better than a hypothesis but not a complete explanation either. Quoting from the blurb:

The leading theory appears to be an unusual and rare immune response similar to heparin-induced thrombocytopenia (HIT), where the immune system makes antibodies to a complex of heparin and a protein known as platelet factor 4 (PF4). This causes platelets to form dangerous clots throughout the body. Some research has found that patients with clots had antibodies to PF4.

Antibodies were observed. They were created by the immune system in response to antigen which mimics portions of PF4 with pathological features. This antigen remains unidentified.

It was almost a complete theory. If part of the spike antigen made by these vaccines were shown to be the antigen by cross-reaction with PF4, it would be complete. An unreviewed preprint with good methodology, (ResearchSquare, pdf) Anti-SARS-CoV-2 Spike Protein and Anti-Platelet Factor 4 Antibody Responses Induced by COVID-19 Disease and ChAdOx1 nCov-19 vaccination, shows that it does not cross-react.

So to be complete,  this “leading theory” requires that some other antigen, made by some other action of the vaccine, reacts with PF4. The BioSpace blurb offers this:

A research team out of the University of Griefswal…Their theory is that there are about 50 billion virus particles in each dose of the vaccine, and some might break apart and release their DNA. Like heparin, DNA has a negative charge that might help bind it to PF4, which has a positive charge. That bound complex might trigger antibodies’ production, which could signal the body to increase blood coagulation.

This is not a theory. It’s a completely legitimate hypothesis.  To describe it as a theory in a specialty website does no service to the subject. It erodes clear thinking.

Next: A few more hypotheses, which you may elaborate with your own imaginative, well-founded logic.





Conviction of Derek Chauvin — Black Lives Matter

The law is a blunt instrument, but sometimes, justice is done. The problem of Black Lives Matter runs so  deep that the guilty verdict serves as an admission and a statement — but not as a solution. Previous articles:

Police brutality and racial discrimination have ample precedent in U.S. history, though we thought we had banished the worst of the past. Why has the social climate in the U.S. has deteriorated so much since 9/11?

  • Delayed effect of external pressure from terrorism?
  • Modest expansions of liberality by the Obama presidency, or awakening of latent racism by a Black president?
  • Decline of the standard of living, bringing illegal immigration to the fore?
  • Or is it the Web, which has spawned millions of tiny hate channels?

How much has changed!, since JFK’s inaugural (YouTube):

(click for full text) And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country. My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man.

The U.S. is not a failed state. It is a troubled state, with generosity and compassion under siege.


Biden: Leaving Afghanistan

The argument for leaving is laid out in Trump Wants to Fire U.S. Commander in Afghanistan, in which I explained that the unsolvable part of the Afghan problem is civil, not military. Quoting,

The bare-bones boiled-down essence of modern government is just a few things:

    • Raise revenue by taxation.
    • Use at least some of the taxes to provide services.
    • Facilitate commerce.
    • The services provided justify the taxes enough for popular acquiescence.

You can add all the bells and whistles. But it’s the irreducible minimum. Anything less, and it becomes a protection racket.

Afghanistan has no legitimate economy.

Hence there is no way for the legitimate government to differentiate itself from the Taliban, save social values, which are not enough. We could stay there forever, as Lindsay Graham advised Trump. But when forever is over, the result would be the same. Liza Minnelli: Money makes the world go around.

(The Hill) Top general: Counterterrorism strikes in Afghanistan after withdrawal ‘harder’ but ‘not impossible’ Quoting ,

On Tuesday, [Gen. Frank] McKenzie also said he continues to have “grave doubts” about the Taliban’s reliability in upholding its commitments under the deal signed last year.

I have grave certainty that they won’t uphold. This will be a slaughter of the good. The   future reeks of the fall of Saigon, when our friends were falling off helicopter skids as they begged for rescue. I suspect that the slaughter of innocents bothers H.R. McMaster even more than the strategic retreat.

To remain would only delay the inevitable. Afghanistan is caught in the gyre of a primitive cultural ocean.  Eventually, China, and perhaps India will, in exploitation, bring some measure of humanity.

A legacy of attitude promotes Indefinite commitment. In 2001, the U.S. was the unchallenged superpower. Now it is challenged. We are not quite through that era, but we can see the sunset. Now, we must prioritize.

With the withdrawals, ceding large territories to the Taliban, costs are down. The cost of regaining control of the country approximates the $100BN/ year peak costs. But the budget bleed is not the deciding factor.

Afghanistan is not supplied by a sustainable air bridge. For gross tonnage, we rely on Pakistan, which has strong ties to China. The other bordering states are potential, if not actual, adversaries. U.S. troops could be isolated as hostages if hostilities occur elsewhere. Our presence in Afghanistan interferes with credible deterrence elsewhere.

This is not hawk versus dove. Most military, particularly those who are familiar with the hard truths of simulations, know this: A superior military can be destroyed by over-extension.

To those who idealize the U.S. posture without thought of strategic balance, there’s always common sense:

You don’t go into a gunfight with your nuts hanging out.




CNN takes on CDC and FDA! “These unlikely events are still more likely than a blood clot after the J&J vaccine

John Avlon takes on the medical establishment in video: These unlikely events are still more likely than a blood clot after the J&J vaccine.

All news teams encounter a  universal problem when the issue goes beyond the general competence implied by a modern, liberal education. Avlon’s team has grabbed statistics for a way into the problem. But as I wrote in AstraZeneca, What to Do?,

Statistics needs mechanisms. If peculiarities of cases are not correctly weighted, the statistical  threshold, surpassing chance, could be missed. Mechanisms  focus statistics.

Without the mechanism of these clots, the stats of the video are useless as reassurance. The FDA and CDC are concerned about adverse effects that are buried in noise of the unknown future. With mechanisms, you know what you are looking for. With knowledge of mechanisms, you can rule things out, like future mass casualties.

If you were to time travel back 60 years, to the time of dark ignorance preceding molecular biology,  to a med school class in tropical diseases, the prof might remark, if not in writing,  “Eventually, if an individual receives enough immunizations, the recipient will probably die.”

The current state of knowledge is vastly greater. Nevertheless, it might surprise that it is still  not possible to predict with certainty whether a particular virus, for which the genome is completely known, can reproduce in a particular host. The viral landscape remains shrouded in twilight, with at least the possibility of long term effects that must be ruled out by rigorous investigation. Statistics  by itself does not suffice.

The chance of widespread harm, from a vaccine administered to a mass population, is the nightmare of vaccinology. Here presents a hazard, on a scale Hippocrates could not have imagined, which reminds us of the first principle of bioethics: “First, do no harm.”

News teams cannot be expected to have specialist knowledge. They may rely on individuals who have been misqualified as competent on the issue. What systematic could a news team find useful to plug this gap? It’s worth taking a look at the (Wikipedia) Delphi method. Quoting,

Delphi is based on the principle that forecasts (or decisions) from a structured group of individuals are more accurate than those from unstructured groups.[6]

CNN, you might find it fascinating to assemble a group to address John Avlon’s question, and watch them work. Just by watching, you get insights into the structure of knowledge of the field in question.

AstraZeneca, What to Do?

Suppose the  rare but multiple deaths/injuries, by cerebral venous sinus thrombosis, have been caused by the AstraZeneca vaccine. Although my suspicions date to August 2020, a blog like this is in no position to establish causality. As with the Havana Sonic attacks, the determination of causality/reality requires national resources to acquire and analyze data.

Statistics needs mechanisms. If peculiarities of cases are not correctly weighted, the statistical  threshold, surpassing chance, could be missed. Mechanisms  focus statistics. (CNN) More European nations pause AstraZeneca vaccine use as blood clot reports investigated offers a possible mechanism.

The dilemma may recapitulate the yellow fever vaccine. It saves many lives, and takes a few. Over generations, inhabitants of regions where yellow fever is endemic  have learned the penalty, and correctly weigh the two risks. If COVID goes on long enough, we might arrive at the same understanding.

It is possible the AstraZeneca vaccine saves many lives and takes a few. The choice would be clear, except that the alternatives save many lives and take no lives, or far fewer. With the push of AstraZeneca, justified in the race against time, public health planners should be aware of the primitive logic people use to get by:

  • Random risk. Ever present and possibly avoidable, “if I am careful”, “if I have no risk factors”, and so forth.
  • Severe risk. For example, advanced cancer.
  • Assumed risk. From a choice you make.

We are willing to assume just a little risk to minimize random risk. With severe risk, we are willing to assume considerably more, as with a bone marrow transplant. All the sophistication of the human brain permits just this simple weighing of pros and cons. COVID straddles the border of random and severe.

Unless strong counter-evidence emerges, as opposed to “no evidence”, that AstraZeneca is blameless of CVST, a blow back may result, playing into the hands of the antivaxers, in a highly disruptive way.

There are less fortunate places than the developed countries, where life is cheap and death is plentiful, where the inhabitants will be more appreciative of AstraZeneca.



Biden versus Putin Part 1

We begin with the reality of political murder in Russia; then to bilateral relations.

With implied reference to the attempted Novichok poisoning of Alexei Navalny, Biden called Putin a killer. Putin responded with “It takes one to know one”, which shows that snappy retorts are multicultural. Putin may occasionally view this blog. I will not convict him here. A crime detective would note that he has the means and motive to kill Alexei Navalny, but open source proof is unavailable. Proof from clandestine sources could exist, but such proof could never be revealed without endangering the sources.

In Western law, conviction of a crime requires proof beyond reasonable doubt. Since this is unlikely to ever be available in Russia for a particular individual, only the Court of Public Opinion can convict. The proof exists for the Kremlin as a whole. (Guardian) Russian FSB hit squad poisoned Alexei Navalny, report says.

Motive: Navalny really is a mortal danger to Putin’s Russia. In Alexei Navalny, Poisoned Again? The Russian Poison Trick, I wrote

But why must Navalny be silenced now? Navalny has recently positioned himself as a pro-Western democrat, but his history includes association with the ultra-right. While his impulsive rants are harmless to the Kremlin, Navalny-the-strategist is the ultimate of danger…

(New Yorker, paywall) How Putin Controls Russia interviews Masha Lipman, a Moscow-based political analyst. Quoting one of the few points I actually agree with,

There’s reluctance to organize, as I mentioned earlier, around a political cause, a political leader, or form a political party or a movement. And this protest being limited to a particular cause or a locality is beneficial for the government…

Navalny is pan-Russian, attempting to forge a coalition of disparate and contradictory groups: Western, liberal, fascist, racist, nationalist-excluding the Caucasus, et. al., united only in opposition.

State execution by poisoning dates back to at least December 17 1916, when Prince Felix Felixovich Yusupov fed Grigori Rasputin cakes and wine laced with cyanide. Nothing happened; the Russians had adventitiously discovered the protective effect of sucrose.  The Bolsheviks got better; they established a  lab to make reliable poisons. This has been going on a long time. As with Navalny, failures occasionally happen. We don’t hear much about the successes.

Having committed the sin of surviving state-executed poisoning, Navalny is now in Penal Colony No. 2. How do you kill someone without making a martyr? It would not be surprising for Navalny to be murdered by well-paid convicts, guards, or plants. It would be tragic, since Navalny, the unrealistic idealist, is in many ways a man too good for today’s Russia. History is full  of deconstructions of governments that lead to renaissances. Russia desperately needs a renaissance.

As Putin himself has remarked, Russia ‘s government is historically paternal. In the West we think our way to our own destinies. In Russia,there is an almost universal, quasi-religious faith in rulers. So resulted the initial denial, in emotional terms, by Vladimir Kara-Murza Sr.,  that his son had been poisoned. (RFE) Kremlin Critic Emerges From Coma. Vladimir Kara-Murza Sr. died in 2019 at age 59. In Russia, you have to wonder.

We now have a circular sustaining loop. You can start at any point and work your way around:

  • Paternal government, sustained by popular attitudes which deny misdeeds of government, such as political murder.
  • Opposition, rejecting paternal tradition, who seek to overthrow the paternal government by political means, via the existing facade of democracy.
  • Political murders of the opposition, with  effect to sustain the paternal government.
  • Loop to the top.

Putin might say that the paternal government must be maintained because there is no bridge to something better. This was explored in:

Takeaway: Political murder is organic in Russia. It has a long tradition, it is not rooted in a single individual, and we have zero chance to keep Navalny breathing if the Kremlin wishes otherwise.

To be continued shortly.






(CNN) More European nations pause AstraZeneca vaccine use as blood clot reports investigated

(CNN) More European nations pause AstraZeneca vaccine use as blood clot reports investigated. Quoting,

Denmark, Iceland and Norway have suspended the use of the Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine while the European Union’s medicines regulator investigates whether the shot could be linked to a number of reports of blood clots.

Please refer to:

An adenovirus vaccine uses an adenovirus vector to  transport a transgene cassette, a complete set of  instructions for making spike protein, into cells at the injection site.

The manufacturing process  of an adenovirus based vaccine uses a live “helper virus” to grow the vector virus, which cannot replicate. The proposed mechanism exploits the inability to completely purify the vaccine product of trace amounts of helper virus.  There is more to this, which is explained in (CNN)NIH ‘very concerned’ about serious side effect in AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine trial.

It is frequently stated that adenoviruses are stable against recombination. This has been found to be false. For this mechanism to generate an actual adverse event would depend upon random recombination, and the particular strain of adenovirus used as a helper.

J&J’s vaccine uses similar technology, adenovirus-as-a-vector, but a different adenovirus strain. This may be why, for unknown reasons of detail, adverse events have not occurred with a frequency that suggests causality.


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