We’ve been flooded with enquiries over these last few weeks, by email, handwritten letters (yes, some people still do!) and phone calls, in particular since the global mass vaccination rollout began.

The high level of enquiry we’ve been experiencing is down to at least four factors:

  • we face huge scientific, political and economic uncertainty which means divergent views from different quarters are inevitable;
  • while a ‘mainstream narrative’ has emerged that’s doing its best to speak with one voice, that voice is not always trusted, sometimes with good reason (a robust answer to this would be subject of a treatise, but cronyism such as that highlighted in the UK is just one of many reasons);
  • scientific discourse has been largely abandoned through the censorship and taboos that have evolved, and;
  • A large number of people are keen to do what they can to manage their health and immunity through natural means, often through eating a healthy diet and being physically active, and taking vitamins, minerals, herbs and other natural products. The mainstream narrative has consistently denounced such approaches during the current pandemic, despite a growing evidence base of their value (examples: vitamin D, vitamin C, zinc, Andrographis

In order to get you some answers, here is a Q&A session with our founder, Rob Verkerk PhD. 

We’ve pulled a selection of your questions together (all anonymised), many of which have been asked by different people in different ways, and we’ve passed them on to Rob for his views.

QUESTION 1: ARE COVID VACCINES REALLY VACCINES?

Q. I have recently watched a video of David Martin explaining why the current Vxs are not in fact Vxs [link].

In USA terms - a Vx is "defined" slightly differently across states

Examples given:

IOWA Code: Vx = specially prepared antigen administered to a person with the purpose of providing immunity (as defined above)

Washington State Statute: Vx = a preparation of a killed / attenuated living microorganism or fraction of it (note - mRNA = synthetically created) which upon administration stimulates immunity

The question is - does the UK have a legal definition of "Vx"  regards immunity, transmissability, pathogens used? 

Apologies if you have covered this in any of your amazing articles ...... but I've got to the stage of not knowing what I have seen where !!!!!!!!!!  Unfortunately a lot of info is given by USA-based people. 

ANSWER:

It is our view that the UK interpretation of what a vaccine is and how they work will revolve around descriptions and explanations given in the Green Book. This has been recently revised to incorporate even the mode of action of mRNA covid ‘vaccines’, that rely on the host cells to produce copies of the antigen (i.e. the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein).

The description (rather than definition) proposes that:

Vaccines produce their protective effect by inducing active immunity and providing immunological memory.”

To achieve this, it would be necessary to demonstrate not only that an immunised person is protected from infection (or re-infection), it also requires that they are able to provide persistent immunity acquired by T cells, in particular, memory T cells.

While there is no conclusive evidence one way or another for either of these two mechanisms, we believe evidence will, in theory, become available in the coming weeks and months as more and more people are vaccinated. Because of the abbreviated nature of the Phase 3 trials, the researchers involved chose to avoid looking at transmission potential justifying this on the basis that the trials would have had to have been much longer to evaluate these factors properly. Also, many more vaccinated people would have needed to have been exposed to ‘wild’ SARS-CoV-2, something that’s unpredictable.

The absence of proven effectiveness (and safety) of vaccines - is one reason that the vaccines are being granted emergency authorisation and not full licenses. Therefore, they are – and should be – formally referred to as ‘experimental vaccines’. The same principle applies also to experimental drugs. The term ‘drug’ is used to denote the intended function of the product, while ‘experimental’ denotes that this function has yet to be proven.

As alluded to above, it should, theoretically, be relatively easy to prove, one way or another, if immunity is gained and how long it lasts, as well as if transmission is reduced or prevented in those vaccinated. However, such a task is complicated if it’s decided that different vaccines will be mixed and matched (as planned in the UK) and if the timing between first and second doses of the vaccines differs significantly.

We just don’t know, at this stage, how much (political) willingness there will be to undertake this work properly. A concern we have is that any reduction in cases, hospitalisations and deaths will be attributed to the vaccine when in fact any such a relationship may simply be associated, not causal. There are of course many factors that cause epidemics to wane other than vaccination, including loss of virulence of the pathogen, and the development of long-term (persistent) herd immunity via memory T cells.

In summary, we believe that we should uphold the following: while there is no current evidence of the vaccines’ ability to provide protection against infection in the real world (i.e. under non-experimental conditions) or to reduce transmission, they should, at least for the time being, be referred to as ‘experimental vaccines’. This label should remain in place until such time the vaccines have full licenses. As safety and effectiveness has yet to be proven, it should be illegal to refer to these experimental vaccines as “safe” or “effective”. This should also be made crystal clear when informed consent is being sought. Presently, in many countries, including the UK, we’re a long way from this being the case. 

QUESTION 2: - NATURAL VS LAB ORIGIN?

Q. I was wondering if you’ve come to any kind of view on whether the virus evolved naturally and then jumped from wild animals to humans or was made in a lab?

ANSWER:

We’ve been following the available science on origins since March, and while there is no conclusive proof either way. The conclusion we have come to is that it is outrageous to suggest that SARS-CoV-2 could not have originated in a lab – and it is the scale and organised response to this, as well as the concerted efforts, without plausible evidence, to relegate such views to the ‘garbage can’ of conspiracy theory that, if anything, makes us lean more towards the notion that the virus was tweaked and leaked from a lab. Shakespeare, drawing from Hamlet, would probably say they “doth protest too much.”  

What is generally agreed is that the genome of SARS-CoV-2 is 96% similar to a horseshoe bat virus (called RaTG13) found in an old mine shaft near Mojiang, China – around 1,600 km south-west of Wuhan – where the first major outbreak was discovered in December 2019

That view is contested by Li-Meng Yan, a Hong Kong scientist and virologist who was deeply involved in investigating SARS-CoV-2 in the early stage of the pandemic who blew the whistle on the official story and has sought refuge in the USA since.  Dr Li proposes that the two bat viruses coded ZC45 and ZXC21 were the origin and that SARS-CoV-2 was the result of genetic manipulation by the Chinese military.   

Returning to the consensus view, even the RaTG13 virus doesn’t have the necessary receptor binding domain on its spike protein to bind to ACE2 receptors in the airway of humans like SARS-CoV-2. There have been huge efforts to find viruses of natural origin that might have this feature and the closest match comes from a pangolin coronavirus isolated in 2019 in the Guangdong province of China. 

In November 2020, Rossana Segreto from the University of Innsbruck in Austria, writing with Yuri Deigin, a biotech entrepreneur and genetist from Toronto, Canada, made a persuasive argument in their paper in the journal Bioessays for how the genetic recombination and tweaking could have happened in a lab — or in nature. Interestingly the paper was built from an earlier preprint work submitted 7 months earlier by Segreto titled “Is considering a genetic-manipulation origin for SARS-CoV-2 a conspiracy theory that must be censored?” which says what it is on the can. These authors found it very difficult indeed to have this paper published, hence the delay. Why – when there was so much less relevant and lower quality information being published daily?

The abstract of this paper summarises perfectly our concerns, and those of many scientists around the world, whose voices have been largely silenced:

 

The origin of SARS-CoV-2 is still controversial. Comparative genomic analyses have shown that SARS-CoV-2 is likely to be chimeric, most of its sequence being very close to the CoV detected from a bat, whereas its receptor binding domain is almost identical to that of CoV obtained from pangolins. The furin cleavage site in the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2 was previously not identified in other SARS-like CoVs and might have conferred the ability to cross species and tissue barriers. Chimeric viruses can be the product of natural recombination or genetic manipulation. The latter could have aimed to identify pangolins as possible intermediate hosts for bat-CoV potentially pathogenic for humans. Theories that consider a possible artificial origin for SARS-CoV-2 are censored as they seem to support conspiracy theories. Researchers have the responsibility to carry out a thorough analysis,beyond any personal research interests, of all possible causes for SARS-CoV-2 emergence for preventing this from happening in the future.- Rossana Segreto and Yuri Deigin (April 2020)

Deigin also published something of a blockbuster on lab origins in Medium. Segreto and Deigin expose efforts by the lead virologist at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, Zheng-li Shi (aka ‘bat woman’), to change the dates that the genome of RaTG13 was sequenced. The question again is why did she do this?

The scientists also explain that gain of function research with animal coronaviruses that have novel receptor binding domains that can bind to human receptors has been going on for decades, including in Zheng-li Shi’s lab and in the lab of Ralph Baric, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Declan Butler published an interesting article in Nature in 2015 expressing concerns over Baric’s work that tweaked a SARS-like coronavirus to make it infect human cells.     

And then you have Dr Li Meng-Yan’s testimonies to consider as well – including those made in her many appearances in the Western media, most of which have been censored on mainstream social media. Examples may be found here, here and here that may have been shot down as conspiracy theory but should be considered by any open minded scientist.

For a detailed analysis of the whole debacle around lab versus natural origins, please see the brilliant piece by published in the New York magazine on 4 January 2021.

Oh – and don’t forget – it wouldn’t be the first time that a virus had escaped from a lab.

The jury may still be out – and may always be out. But to rule out the possibility of lab origins would be, in my view, pseudoscientific. Equally, to relegate the notion to conspiracy theory, would suggest, again in my view, an inability to engage in critical thinking.

QUESTION 3 – WILL SARS-COV-2 DISAPPEAR?

Q. I was wondering if you guys thought Covid 19, would take the same course as SARS did in the early 2000's, where the disease itself would eventually disappear and was wondering if you guys had covered this, at all in any of your content which you have posted.

ANSWER:

Currently, we believe SARS-CoV-2, the virus that has the potential to cause SARS-CoV-2, is unlikely to disappear any time soon. While SARS (2002-3) may have disappeared from our view, the virus might still be around and it may just be a matter of time before it pops up again. That situation has happened with other viruses including ebola. The very closely related MERs (with main its outbreak in 2012), was still around and being monitored up until the limelight got taken by SARS-CoV-2 and covid-19. The last update published in January 2020 by the World Health Organization shows that between July and December 2019, there were 51 cases of MERS, of which 33 were fatal (i.e. case fatality rate of 65%). That makes it many more times virulent (dangerous) than SARS-CoV-2 (with a case fatality rate estimated to be around 2-3%).

Viruses do sometimes disappear, while others linger for years or centuries. There are complex reasons for this and it is wrong to attribute the decline (as we’ve seen with SARS) of the ones that disappear to vaccines without supporting evidence.

It is the specific characteristics and mutation pattern linked to SARS-CoV-2 that makes us think this one will be something of a stayer. It is hoped during this time it will become less and less pathogenic and that it will be rendered to the pool of circulating human coronaviruses that are not of major health concern, like the coronaviruses responsible for a significant proportion (around 15%) of cases of common cold.

QUESTION 4 – ZINC, THE MISSING LINK

Q. Please could you answer a couple of questions about zinc.

If cereals, seeds and legumes cause a blocking effect to zinc absorption could you tell me why are they found in these foods? Such as pumpkin seeds, cashew nuts, lentils and oatmeal. As you have already said nature has been doing this far longer than us so why would she put minerals in foods that don't best deploy the mineral? Or is it our digestive system that is at fault?

Working on the dosage of between 25-50mg per day, if an adult of 70kg were to take 25mg daily then this would also allow room for food containing zinc to be consumed without overdosing?

What is the best form? I got the idea that lozenges were but as a daily supplement with working adults and while trying to avoid certain foods and/or taking between meals then taking several lozenges throughout the day is not the most convenient means. So, what is are the second and third options.

We have also be asked why we didn’t mention the zinc taste test as part of the zinc info.

ANSWER:

The foods you mention that contain zinc, don’t contain nearly as much as meat and seafood, which almost certainly were the primary sources of zinc during most of human evolution. However, even these food sources as we mention are now depleted compared with the same foods prior to the industrial farming revolution.

While phytic acid in grains does bind with zinc and reduce absorption, it doesn’t do this entirely, so some zinc is absorbed. The common low status of circulating zinc is the result of this, together with not enough zinc being absorbed in fortified foods consumed alongside phytate-rich foods like breakfast cereals and toast that many consume for breakfast alongside a multivitamin/mineral tablet or capsule.

Yes - many of the clinical studies would suggest that taking 25 mg to no more than 50 mg of zinc daily for an average adult would typically result in optimal levels, especially if this dosage is consumed with non-phytate rich foods (i.e. not grains, nuts and legumes).

If you find lozenges inconvenient, you could use forms such as zinc citrate or zinc monomethionine (both of which I have used for years and have consistently found to be optimal in zinc).

The zinc taste test is as old as the hills – and while it was viewed very favourably for years (e.g. here), the early work was based almost exclusively on zinc sulphate and more recent work has found it to be less reliable than originally thought.

But it’s not a bad rule of thumb in the absence of doing clinical testing of blood levels, but note that taste acuity tends to reduce with old age.

>>> See ANH-Intl zinc campaign - The Missing Zinc: finding your sweet spot

>>> ANH-Intl vitamin D campaign

>>> ANH-Intl vitamin C campaign

>>> ANH-Intl Covid - Adapt, don't fight campaign page