Dr Malcolm Kendrick on how lockdowns were just an idea that became truth

You can kill a person, but you can rarely kill an idea once it takes hold. All it takes are seven simple steps. Ideas take root and can quickly become accepted regardless of whether or not there is sufficient evidence to support the idea or intervention. Such has been the case with lockdowns. At the beginning of the pandemic, they were initially dismissed as something that wouldn’t work in western societies. But the idea quickly took root as scientists portrayed a doomsday scenario unless something radical was done and quickly. Taking inspiration from China, lockdowns were implemented resulting in the ‘idea’ becoming the truth. Do they work? Have they worked? Malcolm Kendrick zeros in on how such an idea without merit or evidence can come about and become gospel and whether or not lockdowns work in his latest article. Most definitely worth a read.

Freedom Network

The Freedom Network is a new ‘movement for liberty’ set up in the UK to help citizens reclaim their freedoms after the imposition of draconian laws instigated to purportedly tackle the pandemic. Originally designed for UK citizens, the network has already spread across the globe with hubs being set up in the USA and South America. The Network describes itself as a “non-political, inclusive movement taking action to reclaim our freedom through the individual and collective”. Bringing people together to move towards a future where our freedoms are never again treated as being optional and regain the freedoms that have been removed from us due to the pandemic is an absolute. Together we are stronger!

Covid, autoantibodies and autoimmunity

New papers are raising concern that some individuals’ immune systems may be overreacting to SARS-CoV-2 to the point their immune system starts to attack their own bodies. In this paper, published in Nature, researchers are pursuing the idea that infection with SARS-CoV-2 is driving the development of autoantibodies, which in turn heightens an individual’s response to the disease. This is not a new theory in relation to viral infections though, with scientists previously identifying numerous instances where an infection triggers an autoimmune reaction. Publishing in Frontiers in Immunology researchers sought to determine whether infection by SARS-CoV-2 can trigger an autoimmune reaction. A diverse range of human tissue types were found to react against SARS-CoV-2 antibodies. Out of 55 tissue types tested 28 reacted indicating the possibility of the development of autoimmune conditions following infection. The team behind the research raise a red flag in regard to the very “daunting and real” possibility that new vaccines being developed to counter covid-19 will further trigger the development of autoantibodies leading to an increase in autoimmune disease in susceptible individuals. As the vaccines have had limited testing in healthy populations, humans are now taking part in a massive experiment.

Homeopathy and cancer

Conventional medicine and homeopathy work well together in the treatment and support of cancer patients. A prospective, randomised, placebo-controlled, double-blind, three-arm, multicenter study published in Oncologist, evaluated the use of homeopathic treatments alongside standard treatments compared to placebo and standard treatments in patients with stage 4 non-small cell lung cancer. Efficacy was measured in terms of quality of life (QoL) and patient survival. QoL and survival rates improved significantly in the homeopathy group suggesting a positive benefit for the co-administration of homeopathic treatments alongside conventional cancer treatments. This study provides further high-quality evidence of the effectiveness and benefits of homeopathy to counter the attacks being made on homeopathy by those opposed to the use of non-pharmaceutical medicine to support health.

Pandemic impact on young people

Young people have been significantly impacted by the response to the pandemic, both psychologically and academically. Rates of suicide in students in and around Las Vegas are reported to have seen an exponential increase since March last year. The rise in suicide rates has prompted the reopening of schools to support young people’s mental health. In the UK, an Ofsted survey has illustrated the terrible toll the closure of schools is taking on children and their families as they struggle to home school. Study after study has shown younger children have little role to play in the spread of the virus responsible for covid-19, including a new study published in JAMA Pediatrics, which found the spread of SARS-CoV-2 was particularly low in children aged 1 to 10 years. Can the ongoing toll on our children and young people’s lives really be justified on the pretext of protecting unsustainable creaking health care systems?

Coca-Cola breaks ties with ILSI

Coca-Cola is reported to have removed its backing for the hugely powerful International Life Sciences Institute (ILSI), which was created by a former Coke executive in 1978. However, the beverage giant is being coy about the reason, saying merely that membership has ended “after a routine review”. This will be a major blow to ILSI at a time when increasingly health-conscious consumers are turning away from sugar-laden beverages. Coca-Cola’s undue influence on health policy in China was spotlighted by an investigation in 2019. ILSI has persistently promoted the industry-friendly idea that obesity can be combatted through physical exercise, not a change in diet. Watchdog group, Corporate Accountability, suggests that Coke now sees “more risk than reward” continuing membership of ILSI. Are Coke trying to sweeten their image by dumping the sugar from their beverages? Time will tell.

Ineos fund new institute at Oxford for antimicrobial research

Ineos, one of the world's largest global chemicals companies and the largest private company in the UK, has donated £100m to establish the Ineos Oxford Institute (IOI) for antimicrobial research, specifically to focus on trying to reduce the risk of antimicrobial resistance in humans by focusing on developing novel antibiotics for use in farm animals, given that overuse is known to contribute to antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in humans. AMR is thought to contribute to 1.5 million excess deaths each year and could contribute to as many 10 million deaths annually by 2050 if not better controlled.

The claimed rationale behind the development is that the majority (by volume) of global antibiotic use is in animals and that is driving antibiotic resistance in humans. According to the website Farm Antibiotics, in the UK, for example, this is not the case, with 66.4% of antibiotics being used in humans versus 33.6% in humans in a weight for weight basis.

Ineos claims that developing novel antibiotics for use in animals will reduce the incidence of antibiotic resistance in humans and safeguard human antibiotics. In the press release announcing Ineos' donation, Professor Chris Schofield, Head of Organic Chemistry at Oxford, said: "The IOI provides us with a wonderful opportunity to link world class synthetic chemistry and microbiology within a single institute with the aim of enabling breakthrough new treatments in medicine and agriculture". This would seemingly put a nail in the coffin over any possibility of the new institute funding research on natural products, notably herbal and botanical compounds, that hold significant promise given their typical multi-target modes of action.