Just as the coronavirus pandemic seems to fade, signs of another viral variation are appearing. More disappointing than surprising, progress along the torturous course toward a global health recovery has all the feel of a merry-go-round ride that can’t be stopped. It is all the more reason to redouble efforts to trace the novel virus to its source and build safeguards against its recurrence.
A fresh form of COVID-19’s omicron variant burst out in Singapore earlier this month. Labeled XBB, the subvariant is reportedly more contagious and resistant to some currently available treatments. The new round of mRNA boosters formulated by Pfizer and Moderna to fight omicron seem to greatly reduce XBB’s capacity for causing severe illness and death. The new outbreak only bolsters evidence, though, that the vaccines only mitigate symptoms while exposing some recipients to new health threats.
Against the backdrop of the pandemic saga’s next chapter, fresh evidence of COVID-19’s origin has appeared in the form of a book, “The Truth About Wuhan: How I Uncovered the Biggest Lie in History.” It is written by Andrew G. Huff, a whistleblowing insider at EcoHealth Alliance, a firm reportedly linked to the pandemic’s outbreak in Wuhan.
The epidemiologist holds a doctorate in environmental health science from the University of Minnesota and researched bioterrorism for the Department of Homeland Security before joining EcoHealth Alliance as a senior scientist and advancing to vice president. He describes his experience as a firsthand witness to the close ties between his company and the Wuhan Institute of Virology. The “biggest lie,” he argues, is that the Wuhan lab, with U.S. government’s funding, played no role in the novel virus’ creation.
To the contrary, Mr. Huff’s account in “The Truth About Wuhan” bolsters the claims that others have made: China’s gain-of-function experimentation — performed without proper biosecurity measures — led to a lab leak that allowed the deadly pathogen to transmit globally.
Identifying the start of the disease cycle, though, may prove easier than halting it. The vaccine manufacturer Moderna has announced it is now testing a new mRNA injection to repair heart muscles after a heart attack. Ironically, the experimental COVID-19 vaccines formulated by Moderna, Pfizer and other pharmaceutical firms have been linked to damaging inflammation of heart muscle, particularly in young men. An 84% rise in cardiac-related deaths among Florida men aged 18-39 following vaccination has prompted the state’s surgeon general to advise men of that age cohort to refrain from getting vaccinated.
All the while, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention added the drug companies’ mRNA vaccines to the nation’s child and adolescent immunization schedules. Currently, only California and the District of Columbia have student COVID-19 immunization mandates approved to take effect, in 2023, according to the National Academy for State Health Policy. With the CDC’s green light, other states are likely to follow suit — heart issues notwithstanding.
The sickening merry-go-round ride of coronavirus infection, cure and cure for the cure continues unabated. The lesson teaches the necessity of scientific safeguards that ensure the disease cycle never starts in the first place.