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THE COMING WAVE (An Interview With Mother Abigail)
Tokuisei.Com ^ | 12-14-11 | James Oscar

Posted on 12/14/2011 4:59:02 AM PST by James Oscar


(An Interview With Mother Abigail)

I came in from the wilderness, a creature void of form.
"Come in," she said, "I'll give you—shelter From the storm”

-Bob Dylan-

TOPICS: Health/Medicine; History; Science
KEYWORDS: freerepublic; h1n1; hiv; lusby; mddeaths; motherabigail; pandemic; ruthblake; tokuisei; virus
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1 posted on 12/14/2011 4:59:07 AM PST by James Oscar
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To: James Oscar

Page #1



While researching the New Media, I became fascinated with the development of the “Flu Blog” [Any internet web site dedicated to monitoring outbreaks of infectious disease]. It seemed to represent – not only the direction – but the form and structure of the changing media in the Internet Age.

My original thesis was to write a series of articles detailing, as thoroughly as possible, the creation of the “Flu Blog” – from inception to mainstream assimilation.

However, as often happens in war and creativity, events overtook the plan.

My derailment occurred in the following manner:

By December of 2006 I had researched, compiled and databased every conceivable factoid relating to the early years of flu blogging. I felt ready to publish my first article and on the second day of 2007 I started posting on various web sites.

I was very pleased with the finished product believing that both technically and factually I had established the main point of my thesis – control of the media was being altered forever and that the evolution was being driven from the bottom up.

Here is that article:



Every beginning is a consequence - every beginning ends some thing
(Paul Valery)

In February of 2003 newspapers, cable news and radio were the interface between the American public and breaking news. It had long been such.

No one set out to destroy the relevancy of these institutions.

Like so much change it just happened. Passion and need mixed with a witches blend of electronic gadgetry created a new paradigm. A paradigm where power was snatched from the media elite and taken by the citizenry - and no one has ever looked back.

Until now.

2 posted on 12/14/2011 4:59:43 AM PST by James Oscar
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To: James Oscar

Page #2

(2007 Article Continued)


As the concept of the "Discussion Forum" caught on across the growing Internet, a couple of standard formulas became the norm.

The first was a single poster copying and pasting a news article from the Main Stream Media and then adding his/her comments. This early Blog form still exists today.

The second formula developed largely during the "Clinton Scandals".

Liberals and conservatives separated and started their own discussion forums where they would post an article from the Drudge Report or the New York Times and then proceed to beat it to death with everyone making comments.

There were a few science centered Blogs, but they also followed these same two formats. And they were out in the periphery - with few members and very few visitors.

No it was the mega sites where the action was - a huge group of diverse members, lots of visitor traffic and a stable infrastructure.

The elements were now all in place for the perfect storm.


This is the way the world ends Not with a bang, but a whimper

-T. S. Eliot-

It was the Ides of March, late in the night - on the hottest conservative forum on the Internet - that she appeared.

In an obscure section of that web site she posted a cryptically titled thread, made a comment about Ebola, a comment about God and then posted an advisory about a "worldwide health threat."

In a section that had seen only seven threads in the past seven days, she wove a strange, exotic and haunting thread for two days.

Then on the 17th of March she posted the first of 20 highly technical medical threads about the SARS outbreak - and over the next eleven days guided both lay and professionals, transformed the web site, crushed the paradigm and changed the way we interface with breaking news forever.

Oh, and there is that strange aspect of her name.

Every literate person on the Web knew and understood, not only what it meant, but the endless nuances that lay associated with that name, in this context.

She signed on as Mother Abigail.

3 posted on 12/14/2011 5:01:54 AM PST by James Oscar
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To: James Oscar

Page #3

(2007 Article Continued)


Among the hundreds of posters and thousands of viewers on the Mother Abigail threads were; Doctors, Lawyers, Nurses, Pharmacists, Veterinarians and Health Care workers of every stripe.

It became apparent quite early that this was not to be the normal flu talk. This is an early post:

"Doug had an interesting observation in picking a Morbillivirus as a likely agent. Hendra and Nipah are both zoonotic and it might well be a mutant of the Paramyxoviridae family.

Symptoms are right.

"Just because I have had tooooo much coffee, I will mention that both Hendra and Nipah have been given their own genus (Henipavirus).

Henipavirus becomes the fourth genus within the Paramyxovirinae subfamily of the Paramyxoviridae family. The other genera within the subfamily are Rubulavirus, Morbillivirus and Respirovirus."

52 posted on 03/17/2003 10:49:23 PM PST by Mother Abigail"

And so it began.

Why was this different? Because local MD's discovered ProMed, because an army of netizens began searching every corner of our world for information, because citizens of other countries began translating information that would normally be missed - because the whole was larger than the sum of the parts.

One poster who tried to write about Mother Abigail soon after the incident, and was quickly banned, called it SARS Central.

Sounds right to me.

She hijacked a web site, created a forum for the "in depth" discussion of Virology, Taxonomy and Microbiology. But interactive.

And it is that interactivity that opened the flood gates. Now it was possible to monitor breaking news in a far off land, have experts opine on that news, react to their opinions and post information of your own.

NBC Nightly News was never going to be the same.

The "Flu Blog" was born.

4 posted on 12/14/2011 5:03:35 AM PST by James Oscar
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To: James Oscar

Page #4

(2007 Article Continued)


Eleven days. From March the 15th to March the 26 she posted, wrote and guided. Then with the same grace and dignity that marked every word she ever wrote - she said goodbye.

"It appears I have worked myself out of a job.

Many of you are now posting threads on SARS, and the information seems to be flowing in an accurate and timely manner.

So I will take this opportunity to thank all the posters for their hard work and diligence.

NOTE: I have tried to answer all the e-mails, except of course, the many that asked for personal information. Hope I was of some help

Stay Strong, Come and see me and - bring all your nice friends.......

20 posted on 03/26/2003 8:12:57 PM PST by Mother Abigail"

Some help indeed....

Mother Abigail had become, in the wink of an eye, the focal point for much praise and some derision. Then she was gone.

A year or so later she began posting, from time to time, on various web sites - always modest - never speaking of those days again.

She continues to this day.

(End of 2007 Article)

5 posted on 12/14/2011 5:06:44 AM PST by James Oscar
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To: James Oscar

Page #5


I anticipated a flood of e-mails either disputing my research or my thesis. Ever confident in my work I eagerly prepared for the debate. For the next few months my Yahoo mailbox was smoking – but the questions were not what I had envisioned. In fact, I could not have been more wrong.

The e-mails all asked the same questions and they were all about Mother Abigail. Did I know her? Who did she work for? Had I met her? Basically the same e-mail over and over again.

This pretty much let all the wind out of my sails for quite a while. Because the truth is that I knew nothing of her. I had exchanged a couple of brief “web-based” e-mails and although I had read every word she had ever written on the subject, my knowledge of the person was ZIP.

The only consistent trait of my personality, as several of my ex-wives will tell you, is that I have no great fidelity to any concept. So I fell back and reviewed my goals.

After a season of Tanqueray and tonic I decided to change my focus.


Via e-mail I asked MA if she would be willing to allow me to interview her and write an article about her. My operating paradigm at that time was that this lady was a seminal pioneer of the New Media and a scientist of serious reputation.

How naïve I was.

In the late summer of 2008 I was invited to visit her at her home on Lake Tahoe. It was a visit that would change my life.


The following is a summary of conversations that occurred from 2008 until 2010. All the words are mine and mine alone. When I asked MA if she would like to edit my work or review it for errors – she declined. Prior to the final draft I asked MA for a quote and she declined but requested that I include her favorite poem – “While the Rain Is Easy” – which I did.

"While the Rain Is Easy" is from a collection of Tokuisei Verse called "My River". It is used with permission from the author.

6 posted on 12/14/2011 5:08:01 AM PST by James Oscar
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To: James Oscar


7 posted on 12/14/2011 5:08:49 AM PST by caver (Obama: Home of the Whopper)
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To: James Oscar


Winds are hard
To recreate
Once cast



8 posted on 12/14/2011 5:13:11 AM PST by James Oscar
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To: James Oscar

Page #7

August 2008

Mother Abigail has a beautiful townhouse near the Governors' mansion in Nevada's capital city - Carson City. But it is her "cabin" at Lake Tahoe that she loves and nurtures. As I drove up to meet her for the first time there on that hot August day my thoughts were very scattered. I make my living with words - but I have no background as an interviewer and very little desire to be one. But "follow the story" had me driving up highway 50 with about 10 million other lost souls on that weekend - bumper to bumper.

Science writing is a gentle art. You learn as you write. The terminology, the doctrine and the search are all absorbed like cool water on a hot day. So I felt certain that I would be able to communicate at an educated level - even though I had absolutely no idea what I was looking for. Or so I though....


In order for me to have this conversation with you (the reader) we have to share certain mindsets and presuppositions that will allow us frame our discussion in common terms. I did not share that Weltanschauung with Mother Abigail at first and because it is central to understanding her - I will attempt to teach you (the way she has taught me) to see things from a slightly different perspective.


There is religion and there is science. There is creationism and there is evolution. Seems pretty clear cut to me but, as we often learn in life, the black and white choices can be terribly muddled in the middle.

To MA creation is an ongoing process. She smiles gently at those who argue for or against evolution/creationism. She explains that it is only our poor perceptual abilities that constantly force us into these dichotomous choices.

She explains it to me by using the following example:

Science vs/ God - no matter which side you start from you are destined to meet at a point that is defined by the number 4.66920160910299067185320382. (Sure and "thanks for all the fish".. I laugh to myself)

She relates that a young man named Mitchell Feigenbaum settled that entire question long ago. It seems that Mr. Feigenbaum (using science) discovered the fingerprints of God.

When you search for God you seek perfection and transcendence. In science you search for universal truths. So far so good… What young Mr. Feigenbaum did was discover that they are the same. Pick your favorite word to describe the results but here is the play by play.

The Feigenbaum Constant was discovered in 1975 by a whiz kid on pocket calculator. In this veil of tears we find two dynamic systems order and chaos - with a whole bunch of stuff in the middle moving between those two systems.

Well it appears (you can check it for yourself) that as any system moves from Order to Chaos there is a rhythm that is both perfect and transcendental. It is called the Feigenbaum Constant. It is so universal and so exact in its expression that it has been called the fingerprints of God.

9 posted on 12/14/2011 5:14:43 AM PST by James Oscar
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To: James Oscar


If you are going to present something, do so in a coherent manner.

10 posted on 12/14/2011 5:18:19 AM PST by Texas Fossil (Government, even in its best state is but a necessary evil; in its worst state an intolerable one)
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To: James Oscar

Page #8

When you go to explain how such perfection occurs in the movement of fluid in a pipeline, a plague of locusts and every other dynamic system in the universe - you might want to bring a lunch.

See it doesn't matter. Words will just get in your way. MA explains that these mathematical rhythms being found at the edge of chaos simply illustrates how dichotomous our reasoning is. We can't predict what will happen past a certain number of variables and so we call it Chaos.

She teaches that there are rhythms in the Chaos and it is only our lack of perception that fails us. Using perception she explains evolution.

MA is a very religious woman yet she slips seamlessly back and forth between the two worlds. It has been very hard for me to grasp that continuity. I am a non-religious person and have a bit of a problem following some of the finer points.

However, she explains current human evolution in terms that I follow with ease.

She gave me a copy of the following paper with this passage highlighted.

Evolutionary Differentiation In Cognitive Function

"The level of understanding past and present determines the possible level of understanding the future. Non-conscious effects of the past, as produced by classical conditioning, can result in same-level anticipations of future (e.g. Pavlov's dogs salivated before meat powder was present). Conscious awareness of past episodes, however, can result in an awareness of potential future episodes. Mental time travel into the future may be achieved through extrapolation from similar past episodes (prediction by analogy) or, more important for the understanding of humans' extraordinary impact on the world over the last 10,000 years, through the application of semantic knowledge (prediction by theory) about the laws that govern nature."

Thomas Suddendorf
University of Waikato

An examination of the cognitive perception of the human species reveals a wide spectrum of differentiation. Like any biological variation, some changes prove to be beneficial to the individual and others prove damaging or even fatal.

Man has risen to be the dominant species on Earth by natural selection of those individuals with more beneficial cognitive skills.

A careful examination of those perceptual skills which have been most beneficial to mans ascendance reveals:

1. There has been a small amount of advancement in three-dimensional ability. The dexterity necessary to paint on cave walls and fashion stone tools has not, in large measure, been radically improved.

2. Sensory function such as smell, vision and hearing are difficult to quantify, but improvements, if they exist at all, are small. Some might even argue for a diminishing of ability.

3. It is the realm of fourth-dimensional perception where the human species has focused its evolutionary development

11 posted on 12/14/2011 5:18:29 AM PST by James Oscar
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To: James Oscar

Page #9

I don’t mean to get sidetracked on these issues but it is important that you understand how interlocked all these natural processes are in MA’s world. When you speak to her you hear a very tidy understanding of our place in time and space.

She does not believe that God/Nature micromanages every aspect of life - but she does firmly adhere to the belief of a predictable future.

MA insists that human development is directional and purpose driven.

This leads me into the heart of our discussion and brings the circle back to epidemiology.

August 2008

As we sat in her garden overlooking the most beautiful body of water on earth we chatted about the SARS days and about her current life and what she was working on.

Having long ago retired from the medical profession MA now occupies herself with her gardening in the summer and, of all things, playing video poker in the winter.

I explained that a lot of people were curious about her because of the SARS threads - and she seemed amazed that anyone would care about something so trivial. I tried to explain my work and how important I believe those original treads were to the development of the media. But, I believe to this day, she considers it a bit goofy.

Nice polite chatter - two strangers putting on their best manners. Mine were forced hers were polished and elegant.

When the talk slowed and the sun became a little slanted, I ventured into the realm of H1N1, H5N1, Ebola and AIDS.

I am not certain how many hours passed as I listened to MA. I should have taken notes or recorded the time or something but I just sat there slacked jawed as a yokel seeing his first Unicorn.

Never changing her manner she proceeded to tell a riveting tale of current and future events that left me physically weak and emotionally empty. I don't really remember what I felt except numb. Very numb.

Strangely I wanted to leave. For the moment I had forgotten all the trouble required to get me in that garden and why it was so important to me. I just wanted to leave.

But the sun was fading and the air was getting that alpine nip so when offered a real drink I quickly accepted. I went to the rent-a-car and grabbed my jacket and gathered my soul just a bit.

The problem was that I believed her - every nuance of her reading of events struck me as absolutely accurate. Somewhere in my business brain a little synapse was asking a very important question "how in the hell can you ever tell that story?"

A drink, a cordial goodbye and promise to visit again and I was gone. Now driving down that stupid mountain I reflected on my decision to visit and my absolute resolve that I would return. Then I remembered something I had written two years ago (having called her by her given name all day) - and it was not the night air that sent the chill up my spine

"She signed on as Mother Abigail"

12 posted on 12/14/2011 5:19:53 AM PST by James Oscar
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To: James Oscar

Page #10

SEPT 6, 2008

I drove up to the Lake listening to Pink Floyd - don't know why, just seemed right. I had a tape recorder, a legal pad full of questions and a good attitude.

I have a deep distrust of TV preachers, doomsayers and end of the worlders. But MA was none of that. More a teacher than anything else. It seems to me (now) that she was guiding me step by step to be able to see the answer to a very complex question, but never overloading my ability.

But still she had, in no uncertain terms, described to me on my last visit a vision of our near future that stood in stark contrast to the endless traffic of the Lake in the summer.

I needed to resolve those strange conflicting emotions. And one thing I know best - is how to research a problem.

We spent the entire day on the porch. Lunch was an Ahi salad to die for and we had iced tea in large glasses. She spoke about the evolutionary track that we were all on. My science background allowed me to follow most aspects and certainly the general theme.

It is still strange how she sees evolution as part of Gods creation. Kind of like a tool or art instrument - working the clay, guiding the work. I have never heard anyone in my entire life speak of such a belief system.

I know plenty of Christians who believe God created the earth in 7 days and plenty of Scientists who view such people as cretins. But I had never met anyone who sees the world like MA.

So I asked her "did God create the world in 7 days?"

You know that look you give a kid when he asks a question that reveals that he is, after all, only a child and has no real concept of how life works - a look that has a special kindness with just a touch of humor. I got the look.

She replied, "God is creating the world. The dynamic system is always in play and life is an ongoing creation - ever changing, ever moving to the next goal."

I asked "And what would that next goal be?" She replied, "Well it is different for every species and different for most populations within those species."

And for humans? "Our legends, our religious prophesies and our science fiction/fantasies are overwhelmingly about leaving earth. Our science is moving us ever closer to smaller scale rocket projects and you may in your lifetime see a very wealthy person leave."

We have always been the pioneers. "It is hard-wired in us, it is part of what we are - we will move to dead planets and become a type of God ourselves - bringing life and change with us. All the Industrial Revolution and the Technological Revolution will come to climax (like helicopter seeds in the wind) with our leaving. We are the seed of life and light and our destiny is in the stars."

Do you believe in life on other planets? "No, not at this time."

Do you believe in Evil? "Yes, of course."

13 posted on 12/14/2011 5:21:09 AM PST by James Oscar
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To: James Oscar

Page #11

Fall 2008

During the fall I visited twice more. These sessions became a sort of "Epidemiology/Virology for Dummies" training. Slowly MA tried to bring my knowledge level up a notch or two.

We spent quite a bit of time on Ebola (her specialty). Using Ebola and it's history she explained how important viral recombination can be in a major pandemic.

January 2009

I spent the winter learning about sialic acid, neuraminidase, Mannose-binding lectin and viral mutation. It was not something that I was particularly good at. But bless her heart MA allowed me to slowly absorb a bit of the background I would need to understand her thesis. For example one cold Saturday afternoon she walked me through a series of lessons on viral glycoproteins. Glycosylation can be an important factor in virulence. Not a point I would soon forget in the coming months.

I was beginning to understand the strange language she spoke.

I did not know that April would change my chalkboard to a real world lesson and that she had been preparing me for events that were still yet to come.

Early Summer 2009

The H1N1 pandemic was building up steam. The outbreak was highly contagious but, on balance, only mildly lethal. However, the fatalities fell mostly within two subsets:

1. Young and healthy
2. Or ill.

As it rolled south, there was a sense of dread. Just a little too close to the 1918 paradigm for most folks.

I had taken an apartment in Carson and felt ready to write online of my long strange trip under the tutelage of Mother Abigail. There really wasn’t that much more to consider - I understood, as best as a layman can, her thesis and vision.

But knowing and believing is a long step from creating. I am a science writer not a futurist.

Facts are my friends and the form and structure of this story mostly eluded me – how to tell this tale seemed far more formidable than the theme. The theme was burned into my heart and mind.

So I went up to the Lake again. MA, I asked, “How in the world do I write this story?”

14 posted on 12/14/2011 5:22:42 AM PST by James Oscar
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To: James Oscar

Page #12

It was June and we were setting down by the boat dock in the shade of that huge tree that I had come to love so much.

It had been a cool summer thus far and I had a tall gin and tonic to fight off the cold of the Lake. While I sipped, she stared off at the cross of snow still visible on the mountain across the Lake. Then she smiled that smile that those who know her so cherish and said, “Just start telling it and God will see you through”.

Now I have had editors, co-authors and technical advisors – but the thought of Devine Guidance steering my syntax was a bit much for me. But it was all she would say.

As I drove down to Carson, I pondered her response. Could I write in a “stream of consciousness” mode? Trust me; I am structured from my flip flops to my fedora and about as likely to write something that had not been re-written, edited and polished as you are to win at keno.

But it might work.

I could post on a couple of sites and let the story flow from me naturally with my only allegiance being to tell it honestly and to be fair to Mother Abigail.

It might work.

JULY 2009

Last weekend my lady friend Kate had told me in no uncertain terms that my latest gift was inappropriate. Well so be it…

I had spent a lot of time and effort to find that special something for her. It is what it is. Young women are both a blessing and curse to those of us with a little seasoning.

So, what the hell, I booked. Next thing I knew I was going over Donner Pass heading for the bay. I often use the ocean breeze as some use yoga – it is my ultimate soothing place.

And I needed soothing. I could not pull the trigger on my piece. I had tried to write the first three segments for a month and had wasted more electrons than a toaster oven. It didn’t feel right; it didn’t seem honest or genuine.

So July 3rd found me setting in the Xterra (a fine rental vehicle) overlooking Seal Rock and writing on my laptop – again.

July 4th found me back at the resort on the peninsula – it was a perfect day. The sun was hot and the sky perfect. So I just stopped and relaxed by the pool – the accidental tourist.

There are lines we cross with full knowledge and conviction, and those we just stumble over. This was the former.

Unwilling to wait any longer I decided to just do as MA had suggested – I would start the work with no outline and very little organization and see what happens.

I still don’t know what will happen.

15 posted on 12/14/2011 5:24:15 AM PST by James Oscar
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To: James Oscar

High in the trees
The wind speaks
Then breathes



16 posted on 12/14/2011 5:27:36 AM PST by James Oscar
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To: caver

Is someone off their meds?

Did I finally manage to get IBTZ?

17 posted on 12/14/2011 5:28:17 AM PST by Malacoda (CO(NH2)2 on OBAMA.)
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To: James Oscar

Page #14

(An Interview With Mother Abigail)

Q. There are many people worried about the novel H1N1 virus combining with the H5N1 virus. What are your feelings on the issue?

MA. The HPAI A(H5N1) virus is an avian disease - panzootic in poultry and wild birds - and while there have been over 250 human deaths in the last six years from H5N1 infection there is very limited human-to-human transmission of the virus.

But it is worrisome considering it's:

1. High lethality
2. Worldwide host reservoir
3. And propensity for mutation

We know, for instance, that in Indonesia the virus may be adapting to pigs.

The H5N1 virus isolated from pigs is less harmful to mice than the H5N1 isolated from chickens.

This means that the virus growing in pigs might well be adapting to a new host - which, in turn, suggest that it might eventually adapt to humans as well.

Pigs are seen as a possible intermediate host that can help in that adaptation because the epithelial cells in pigs' trachea can be infected by both avian and human flu. Where, in the event of co-infection, viral reassortment might occur.

It seems prudent to be concerned.

However, the normal seasonal flu kills over 30,000 per year which is a quantum leap in risk.

As to the novel H1N1 virus now spreading like wildfire around the globe - the issue is different. The new H1N1 virus is more deadly than common seasonal influenza because of its ability to infect cells deep in the lungs where it can cause scarring and pneumonia.

Also it is more virulent. At least in animal models that is, what we see in the human population is a rather low (0.2%) lethality. Time will tell what the final verdict on virulence is.

We know for certain that it does not have the mitochondrial killing prowess of the 1918 flu virus. However it seems to have spread in six weeks as much as the seasonal flu spreads in six months.

It is hot.

18 posted on 12/14/2011 5:28:44 AM PST by James Oscar
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To: James Oscar

Page #15

As to your question of the two mixing and somehow acquiring the lethality of H5N1 and infectiousness of H1N1 - it is of course possible.

Antigenic shift between avian influenza and human influenza is not something unheard of. The "Asian" flu pandemic of 1957 and the "Hong Kong" flu pandemic of 1968 both introduced novel strains.

The H2 that appeared in 1957 and the H3 that appeared in 1968 came from influenza viruses circulating in birds.

So when we consider that the human population has absolutely no immunity against any H5 viruses the red flags go very high indeed.

Will H5N1 reassort with H1N1 or with H3N2, or will it "drift" into another host like pigs and then move to other mammals?

It has failed over the last few years to combine with H3N2 and has yet to find a non-avian host.

When novel H1N1 becomes ubiquitous, as it certainly appears headed, will the increased opportunity for antigenic shift finally create a specific case of reassortment or viral shift that confers a phenotypic change?

I don't know. No one does, but we can use our experience and make educated calculations as to the possibilities. I would rate the chance of H1 acquiring a polybasic cleavage site at nil, but the odds of H1 picking up lethal genes or polymorphisms at >5%.

There are, in my opinion, far greater risks on the horizon

Q. When you speak of “far greater problems” what are your concerns

MA. There are several. In recent pandemics, a second wave of influenza activity occurred 3 to 12 months after the first wave. We must anticipate this pandemic to do the same.

In 1957 the second wave began 3 months after the peak of the first wave, while in 1968 the second wave began 12 months after peak of the first wave.

The first wave of the 1918 flu occurred in the spring of that year ending in March. That flu was very severe by usual standards but the second wave beginning 6 months later in September was the most fatal.

During the 1918 pandemic, the deadly second wave was responsible for more than 90% of the deaths for the entire pandemic. The third wave occurred more than a year later, during the following 1919-1920 winter/spring, and was the mildest of all.

So when we think of the fall of 2009 and the children returning to classes we must be cognizant of this huge potential for a second wave of flu infections.

In the previous century, pandemics traveled from continent to continent along sea lanes, with global spread complete within six to eight months.

19 posted on 12/14/2011 5:30:01 AM PST by James Oscar
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To: James Oscar

Page #16

The 1957 pandemic, during an era with much less globalization, spread to the US within 4-5 months of its detection in China, and the 1968 pandemic spread to the US from Hong Kong within 2-3 months. Now we live in the era of “overnight” delivery – and that speed of travel might well come to do us harm.

I am sure you understand that we were able to stop the SARS outbreak by rigidly enforcing “barrier nursing techniques”. However, many of the public health interventions that successfully contained SARS will not be effective against a disease that is far more contagious, has a very short incubation period, and can be transmitted prior to the onset of symptoms.

We have a roughly 20-24% divergence of this novel 2009 H1 from the seasonal influenza H1 virus. This antigenic shift will play itself out with the novel virus replacing the seasonal influenza as the dominate strain. As that happens you should look for new risk groups to emerge and for the tracking of classical period doubling episodes in the infection rates.

In phase transitions there are three universal routes:

• Period doubling
• Intermittency
• Quasiperiodicity

But as an epidemic moves from its initial introduction into a population to mass infection - it is period doubling that best defines that route. At some point along that transition the health authorities will cease to count cases and use macro metrics to measure the disease penetration.

We are very near that phase.

Q: Do you believe that this virus (H1N1) will lead to the type of deaths and disruption that the 1918 flu caused?

MA: In the field of medicine anything is possible, but on balance I would have to say no. In fact, there is some evidence that this influenza A (H1N1) might even be less lethal than our seasonal flu.

That does not mean that there will not be problems. When you have a virus that targets the young, pregnant and those with asthma, respiratory illness and compromised immune systems- then there will be suffering.

But we have fought this battle many times.

However, because of the level of transmission in this pandemic we must be prepared for a huge spike in the fall.

We can’t completely prevent its spread, but we can minimize it through simple measures: frequent handwashing, covering our mouths with the crook of our elbows when we cough, and staying home from work or school when we’re sick.

For people who are exposed and at high risk from influenza, medications such as oseltamavir (TamiFlu) are still effective against H1N1, although there is always a risk that widespread resistance to these drugs could develop.

A vaccine for H1N1 influenza is under development, and people at high risk of illness from infection (such as the elderly) or at high risk to transmit the infection (such as schoolchildren) should be strongly recommended to receive it.

20 posted on 12/14/2011 5:31:11 AM PST by James Oscar
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To: James Oscar

Page #17

This vaccine will be in addition to the regular seasonal influenza vaccine.

Again, people over 65 years of age, young children, pregnant women, and people with diseases of the heart or lungs should all receive these vaccines assuming they are not allergic to some component of the vaccine.

Q: If that is true, then why are you so worried about this new virus?

MA: Just as it is often not the seminal event that results in huge problems but the ensuing poor decisions (think Watergate)- thus it might be with this outbreak.

What we can safely assume is that (baring some very profound discovery) when fall arrives in the Northern Hemisphere and school resumes there will be a second wave of novel H1N1 cases flooding the world.

We can also reasonably infer that by then there will be a huge storehouse of neuraminidase inhibitors stockpiled and ready for distribution to millions of patients.

Individuals are buying these products online and with prescriptions just to have them ready for the first small symptom of the flu.

So what you will most certainly see in the next few months is a massive introduction into the human species of a mixture of novel H1N1 virus, a rapidly developed flu vaccine and million and millions of doses of neuraminidase inhibitors - many self-administered and many given long after the brief window where they might have helped.

We as scientists owe everyone a calm and reasoned examination of the effects of such a cocktail.

Have we evaluated the repercussions of these actions?

Are there any potential contraindications of which we should be aware?

I would like to discuss these issues with you.

Q. Please go ahead.

MA. Influenza viruses multiply by gaining entry into a host cell and upon entering these cells they commandeer the host machinery to produce new viral progeny. And they do this very well. So, if we may, let us spend a bit of time visualizing exactly how this event occurs.

The virion is generally a circular entity enveloped in a lipid membrane with two different types of spikes emerging from this surface. These spikes are proteins – actually glycoproteins - because they consist of protein linked to sugars – and are known as HA (hemagglutinin) and NA (neuraminidase).

One of the spikes, a triangular rod-shaped molecule, has haemagglutinin activity, while the other spike, a mushroom-shaped molecule, with a square box-like head sitting on top of long thin stalk, is the enzyme, neuraminidase.

Hemagglutinin is the method by which the flu virus takes hold on the infected cell whereas the neuraminidase is the enzyme that clips off the newly formed virus, so that the ‘free’ virus will infect another cell. But we can discuss that later. For it is neuraminidase and it's association with virulence that will be the focus of our discussion after we review the basics.

Q: (I did not know, at the time, that the review would take all winter)

21 posted on 12/14/2011 5:33:21 AM PST by James Oscar
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To: James Oscar

Interesting. Had to look up “Mother Abigail” to see why the reference would be so chilling.

22 posted on 12/14/2011 5:34:55 AM PST by knittnmom (Save the earth! It's the only planet with chocolate!)
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To: James Oscar
Very creative, James, and I actually enjoyed reading this, as I am a big fan of "Mother Abagail" (the Stand was the only one of King's books that I really liked).

But in the end, we already know the answer..... it's 42 of course!

23 posted on 12/14/2011 5:38:03 AM PST by Apple Pan Dowdy (... as American as Apple Pie mmm mmm mmm)
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To: All

For those of you new to Free Republic, this short work is the story of one of the most famous posters in the history of this web site.

In 2003 she took over this site for 11 days and changed the way we interact with our world.

This is the first three chapters - over the next few days I will post the entire work.

History is our friend.

24 posted on 12/14/2011 5:39:28 AM PST by James Oscar
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To: Apple Pan Dowdy

Thanks for all the fish....

25 posted on 12/14/2011 5:40:29 AM PST by James Oscar
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To: James Oscar

Say, what is this??

26 posted on 12/14/2011 5:45:44 AM PST by ExtremeUnction
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To: James Oscar

Say, what is this??

27 posted on 12/14/2011 5:46:02 AM PST by ExtremeUnction
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To: ExtremeUnction

Please see #24

28 posted on 12/14/2011 5:49:41 AM PST by James Oscar
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To: James Oscar

Restless leaves
spent and faded



29 posted on 12/14/2011 5:59:21 AM PST by James Oscar
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To: James Oscar

Page #19

JUNE 2009

We sat under that big old tree by the Lake in the late evening. I was enjoying the questioning from MA. She seemed pleased that, at long last, I was able to understand and converse about Influenza Virology (in some small way) with her.

There had been no articles to read and no materials to study on this trip up and so far it had been more like a final exam than anything else.

For the best part of the afternoon MA had explored my understanding of the subject matter and my ability to answer fairly difficult questions concerning the replication process.

I felt I must have passed, because she smiled and asked if I would like to walk back to the house and have a cocktail.

Now there are few times in my life when anything sounds better than a tall Gin and Tonic. So I jumped up from the old wooden chase chairs and said "very much so".

As MA was getting up from her chair it seemed she was a having a little trouble rising. I immediately reached over and offered her my hand and she gladly used my hand to smoothly rise and start back the path.

It may seem a small thing but it made an impression at the time. Other than the original handshake upon meeting MA - I had never touched her.

She carries herself with such a dignified and professional aura that the normal hug or cheek peck seems totally out of the question.

From the lake, the path leading back to the main house is little more than two worn tracks where people have driven down to the beach. It is like a walk in the country. She has two small cabins between the lake and her house that are rarely used but are what she calls "guest houses".

They stand in stark contrast to the magnificent lakefront house that her neighbor has built on the adjacent property. Simple wooden cabins with wooden porches. They are both beautiful and entirely fitting.

As we were about halfway back to her house she did something entirely unexpected - she placed her small hand on my arm and smiled at me. I can not explain what joy it gave me.

Then she said "when you come up next weekend please bring your tape recorder, we need to look forward a bit". And so I did.....

30 posted on 12/14/2011 6:00:30 AM PST by James Oscar
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To: James Oscar

Page #20


MA: What is the most efficient and economical way of fighting viral disease?

Q: Vaccination?

MA: Yes of course. Vaccines are the most efficient means for preventing human and animal disease.

Smallpox and measles are excellent examples of successful vaccines, however some enveloped viruses still are without vaccines – think HIV as the most prominent example.

MA: So here is my question for you. How can the measles virus vaccine still function after over 40 years, whereas the influenza virus vaccine needs to be replaced almost every year, and it has proven impossible to produce an HIV vaccine?

Q: I don't believe I can answer that.

MA: It is all about mutations child - all about mutations. The replicating enzymes of RNA viruses, such as measles, influenza, and HIV, make approximately one mistake per every 10,000 nucleotides.

But the answer to the differences in affectivity lie in the peculiar structure of the measles H glycoprotein, against which neutralizing antibodies are produced.

The influenza virus hemagglutinin glycoprotein, which binds to the viral receptor sialic acid, is richly covered with sugar chains. The receptor binding site at the top of the molecule is a shallow hollow.

Most of the amino acids around this hollow and others on the surface of HA can mutate without significantly affecting receptor binding. However, HA has a rather rigid structure, and many mutations are not allowed because they would destabilize the molecule or lead to a nonfunctional molecule.

MA: You see why that could not be allowed?

Q: Sure, you get some mutations in non-essential areas, but none in the binding site or in a "mission critical" area.

MA: Yes. The accumulation of mutations, selected and directed by the immune pressure in the host population, is such that the vaccine strains have to be frequently replaced - in order to be effective. H1N1 is such a strain. The vaccine needs to be adjusted to be effective.

However, the HIV surface glycoprotein, against which neutralizing antibodies should be made, is GP120.

This molecule is much more flexible than influenza virus HA. GP120 has a number of highly variable surface loops that do not seem to have a specific three-dimensional structure.

These structural changes are very large and are possible because the molecule is plastic. The combination of the sugar chains on the surface of GP120 together with its plastic structure and the variable loops that have no sequence constraint results in a molecule that is too flexible and variable for the production of neutralizing antibodies.

Because of the flexibility in its design the glycoprotein for HIV (GP120) prevents the production of neutralizing antibodies - making an effective vacine targeted at the binding site an almost impossible task.

This is an important factor to consider when explaining how HIV could be so hard to defeat.

31 posted on 12/14/2011 6:02:38 AM PST by James Oscar
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To: James Oscar

Page #21

MA: So we have seen that some viral infections are fought rather succesfully using vaccines and some are not.

Do you know of any other problems with vaccines?

Q: I remember the dust-up about there being mercury in some vaccines.

MA: Yes some vaccines do contain Thimerasol, a mercury-containing preservative. However, there is no hard evidence that this product causes autism - and that is what has been claimed. But I do believe that children under 5 or 6 are often given Thimerasol free vaccines if possible, but my information might be a bit dated.

It is another aspect of vaccines that I would like to make you aware of and especially with the coming flu season.

Q: And what is that?

MA: It is a phenomena called antibody-dependent enhancement.

As we discussed this winter the majority of viral infections of animals and man are not fatal, but are followed by recovery and the development of a state of relative or absolute resistance against re-infection with the same virus.

Much of this resistance can be attributed to specific antiviral antibodies, although cellular immune mechanisms also contribute to the protection of the host.

However not all antiviral antibodies are necessarily virus neutralizing antibodies - in addition to these virus neutralizing antibodies or non-neutralizing antibodies a further group of antibodies exist: antibodies which enhance the infectivity of the virus.

This phenomenon is known as antibody-dependent-enhancement (ADE) of viral infectivity and has been observed with various macrophage-infecting viruses.

The common features of viruses exhibiting ADE are:

1. preferential replication in macrophages
2. ability to establish persistence
3. and antigenic diversity

Q: That's odd. How does it work?

MA: ADE occurs when the host is more efficiently infected by a combination of virus plus antibody than by the virus alone.

Can you see that?

Q: Yea, I guess. But it seems strange that an antibody would aid the virus in infection.

MA: Child, nothing in the world of Virology is strange. Let's go back to our favorite subject the HIV virus for a moment.

32 posted on 12/14/2011 6:03:55 AM PST by James Oscar
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To: James Oscar
"Thanks for all the fish...."

OMG, that's exactly what is says on the little crystal bowl that suddenly appeared here on my desk last year!! Must be a sign. I'll just go make sure that I know where my towel is, just in case, ya know. You can never be too careful these days with stuff like flu going around and Golgafrinchans being sited and photographed by some guy minding his own business and just counting shooting stars last weekend on an overlook near Mt Rushmore.

33 posted on 12/14/2011 6:04:19 AM PST by Apple Pan Dowdy (... as American as Apple Pie mmm mmm mmm)
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To: James Oscar

Page #22

MA: A recent article explains that a vaccine trial for HIV was stopped prematurely in September 2007 due to evidence that vaccinees may have been more susceptible to HIV infection than the placebo given control group.

This is very important - do you understand what I just said?

Q: Yes, they were trying to find a vaccine for AIDS and when the tried the experimental vaccine they had to stop the trials because the vaccinated subjects were acquiring AIDS faster than the control group. That not only seems Greek to me but a bit out of the way, as related to our discussion of the novel H1N1 virus.

MA: But it is central to our conversation. Some cells do not have the usual receptors on their surfaces that viruses use to gain entry. The antibodies bind to antibody Fc receptors that some of these cells have in their plasma membrane. The viruses then bind to the antigen binding site at the other end of the antibody - thus enhancing the infection.

So it is possible for antibodies to a virus to acctually enhance the ability of the virus to infect the host. That is why when you challange any host with either a virus or vaccine, you must be certain that the results are overwhelmingly positive. We must always look at the pitfalls that might appear in the very near future. It is kinda what they pay us for.

Q: OK, it's just that I don’t really get the problem yet. I understand that there is an inherent danger in giving new vaccines to large numbers of people. As you point out - sometimes these things can backfire. But do you really anticipate a problem with the flu vaccine - whatever that may be?

MA: No I don't, but as we started this conversation last summer - it is often the results that you do not plan for that are the most damaging.

Q: I don't understand?

MA: I did not expect you to - yet. We have discussed how influenza is spread, how it replicates, how it can be inhibited, , how vaccines are effective in preventing diseases in humans and animals and how some vaccines can have unintended consequences. We have spent some extra time on Neuraminidase, Glycosylation and SIAS. Now, we need to return our conversation to where we started on that hot summer day when I first met you. Is that OK with you?

Q: Good to go...

MA: When we first met last summer, we had a long conversation about the state of human evolution. How we as a species are doing in the big picture sort of thing. Because I am a bug doctor, my overall perspective is always going to be a bit skewed, and there is no denying that. However, let me ask you this. In the year since our conversation is there any development that alters your very steadfast opinion that, on balance, there are no real "game altering" factors on the horizon?

Q: MA, an asteroid could hit tomorrow, Russia might get pissed at the Chinese or the sun might send a toasty little flare our way. No one can know what might be.

MA: Well that is certainly true to a degree, but we make intelligent predictions every day on the future. When you buy a home, or sell some stock you are looking at future events and making an informed decision on the outlook for tomorrow. Wouldn't you agree?

Q: Well sure, to some degree. But, I know that you are speaking of a much larger evaluation with much greater consequences. And I am still not convinced that we can predict events on that scale.

34 posted on 12/14/2011 6:05:15 AM PST by James Oscar
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To: James Oscar

Page #23

MA: Very well.

Let's discuss what we do know for a bit, and see if we have any common ground in our worldview.

Q: Rock on....

MA: There is a collogue of mine who long ago wrote this famous phrase:


Do you think that is accurate?

Q: I am not sure, I know that wild animals (when they loose their predators) multiply until starvation or hunters or something weeds them back down. Is that what you mean?

MA: Pretty much. Few, if any natural populations are constantly at equilibrium densities. Variation in the weather, predation, health and other environmental parameters results in great variability in populations.

In our discussion of rhythms or Chaos, I explained that Chaos is a set of rhythms that lie outside our normal perception. A nonlinear system will be chugging along with easily understood parameters, but often it will move to a "period doubling" phase and on to chaotic dynamics (which can be read as "all hell breaking loose" or "I can't tell what is going on).

MA: Which brings us to human population, which is following an exponential growth pattern. With the advent of modern medicine, better sanitation, and increased food supplies, the biggest constraints on population growth were removed.

Many people feel uncomfortable discussing this issue, but because I am very old and have spent a large part of my life in close contact with issues of disease and death - I do not have that reservation. Can you and I have that conversation?

Q: Yes of course.

MA: Would you like a drink first?

Q: Very much so....

MA: When we look at the potential outcomes for any event we are required as scientists to look at a broad spectrum of possible results.

That does not make us negative, nor does it leave us without recourse. It simply makes us prudent in our approach and honest in our work.

Would you agree?

Q: Yes

MA: Very well, lets you and I consider the novel H1N1 flu pandemic of 2009 in a larger context and see if there are any issues that are being overlooked.

Would you consider influenza to be the most threatening virus to us as a species?

35 posted on 12/14/2011 6:06:38 AM PST by James Oscar
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To: James Oscar

Page #24

Q: No, I would think Ebola or Marburg would be far more likely to do real damage.

MA: I believe I disagree. While Ebola and Marburg are very deadly bugs, they are rare and geographically contained.

Q: What about Reston?

MA: Yes, there was a huge potential for an outbreak in that situation, but even if Ebola Reston proved lethal to humans - the old tried and true measures of isolation, barrier nursing and containment would have prevailed. It is a matter of how easily the virus spreads.

Ebola is extremely deadly but difficult to catch. If you spend a lot of time butchering primates, then you have some serious infectious issues, but even then it is just not that easy to transmit.

The most common vector is actually preparing the dead.

MA: That is not to say that strange things couldn't happen and mutation or biological warfare or some nut job could really cause problems but it is largely just a very rare and distant medical oddity - no, Influenza is far more threatening than that.

Q: O.K. the flu is much more dangerous because of how easily it spreads.

MA: That and the introduction of new strains to a naive population can have devastating effects.

Do you see any other pathogens as being very dangerous to the species as a whole?

Q: Well...... how about SARS?

MA: SARS gave us quite a startle; I must admit that for a brief few weeks there was a very dark cloud hanging over health care workers of all stripes.

But, in the end the application of the most basic nursing techniques - Barrier Nursing - was enough to crush the outbreak. I might mention that contact tracing was, and will always be, a necessity in these types of outbreaks.

But on balance SARS is now just another notch on our collective gun belts.

Q: To me those are the major players, I don't know of anything else that raises red flags or is in any way "scary".

MA: What about AIDS?

Q: AIDS? My thoughts are that unless you live in Africa or participate in very risky sexual activity then it is a moot point.

MA: I don't believe that is quite accurate; however I will grant you that it is the normal mindset.

What do you know about the pathogen that causes AIDS?

36 posted on 12/14/2011 6:07:53 AM PST by James Oscar
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To: James Oscar

Page #25

Q: Not much. It is a virus and from our lessons this winter I know that it has some similar mechanisms as the Influenza A virus.

MA: Yes it is a virus, it is called HIV. It stands for the Human Immunodeficiency Virus and is a Retrovirus.

The target cells for HIV are immune cells, called CD4+T cells, these cells help the body fight infection and disease. But they are HIV's primary target.

HIV is spherical in shape. The outer coat of the virus, known as the viral envelope, is composed of two layers of fatty molecules called lipids, taken from the membrane of a human cell when a newly formed virus particle buds from the cell.

MA: Does that sound familiar?

Q: Very much so - that sounds just like the Influenza A virus.

MA: Yes indeed it does.

Also similar is that embedded in the viral envelope are proteins from the host cell, as well as copies of a complex HIV protein (frequently called “spikes”) that protrudes through the surface of the virus particle.

This protein, known as Env, consists of a cap made of three molecules called glycoprotein (gp) 120, and a stem consisting of three gp41 molecules that anchor the structure in the viral envelope.

When you think back to the functions of HA and NA in the Influenza A virus, GP 120 is very similar.

The HIV glycoproteins aid in its attachment to the target cells - CD4, the primary HIV-1 receptor.

This binding exposes a site on gp120 that enables interactions with secondary coreceptors and further conformational changes. Remember how the HA in H1N1 unfolds and attaches.

Q: Yes, that is a very dramatic little trick it does.

MA: But the point is that the viral structure in both these pathogens, while differing in many key ways, is fundamentally a variation of the same form.

Q: OK I understand that, but why is it important?

MA: I believe it to be very important. But before we get back to how patterns of glycosylation of a virus can be an important factor in its virulence, would you indulge me in a bit of a sidebar?

Q: Why of course.

MA: When we had our original discussion last summer and I explained to you that I had very serious concerns about our vulnerability, as a species, to emerging pathogens you thought that H1N1 was my major worry - did you not?

Q: Yes - I assumed it was the flu - what with your log in name and such.

MA: Well, the answer is both yes and no. As with much of science - when you hear hoof beats it is normally a horse - but occasionally it is a zebra.

37 posted on 12/14/2011 6:09:13 AM PST by James Oscar
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To: Apple Pan Dowdy

42. Correct.

38 posted on 12/14/2011 6:10:23 AM PST by RandallFlagg (Look for the union label, then buy elsewhere.)
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To: James Oscar

Page #26

Why don't we go back up to the house and I will tell you a very interesting story.

Q: Let me go to my car and get the tape recorder and I will be right there.

MA:Thank you.

The reason that I so enjoy the new math of Chaos is that I find life so full of beautiful rhythms. Most are obvious - when the bees start hanging around the garbage cans in the late summer then I know it is time to start thinking about winterizing the cabin.

Some are not.

In the 1980's I was still working in the wonderful world of nasty bugs and everyone I knew was all gaga about monoclonal antibody technology. We could literally see the magic bullet on the horizon - where a specific drug, bound to a monoclonal antibody zeroes in on its target and delivers the drug or toxin there where it is needed. ABC stuff, we were about to cure it all.

Didn't happen. But during that exchange of information I became aware of a new and strange development in the world of microbiology. In the summer of 1981 after a huge increase in requests for the drug pentaminere, a smart young lady in Atlanta reported to the CDC that there was an outbreak of pneumocystis carinii pneumonia in Los Angeles. Now this was off the chart for a rare disease cluster so it sparked my attention.

In the winter of that year PCP was being found in IV drug users. I might note that this outbreak was not considered to be caused by an infectious agent at that time.

By the summer of 1982 homosexuals, Haitians and hemophiliacs were all getting sick and contact tracing was beginning to point at an infectious agent.

However in December of 82 there was a case of a 20-month old child (who had received multiple transfusions) dying of what was now being called Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome - and all doubt was removed.

We had a bug.

While my research at that time was centered on DHF (dengue hemorrhagic fever) and especially the outbreaks in Puerto Rico - the new bug caught my attention and I followed the developments very closely.

During the next few years the homosexual connection became apparent and we discovered that it was not airborne.

As the disease gained a foothold in America there developed a battle about one of the most important tools in epidemiology - contact tracing.

I won't go into all the arguments but in the mid to late 80's there was stiff opposition to the medical community doing normal contact tracing (as we would with any sexually transmitted disease) in AIDS cases.

The disease had become political.

And so it was - the virus, even though it is a poorly transmitted bug, had obtained it's beachhead in the human species.

39 posted on 12/14/2011 6:10:31 AM PST by James Oscar
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To: James Oscar

Page #27

MA: And so it went. The decades have past and we have made great strides in many medical fields but this deadly HIV virus has thrived in our midst.

But that is not surprising considering that it lives to destroy our immune system and kill human beings.

I understand that bugs have no drive and no destiny, but this deadly bit of RNA frightens me.

What we have learned is not good. It hides out for years in long term memory cells multiplying and waiting for an opportunity to re-emerge and ravage the carrier.

It has actually developed numerous strategies for eluding the body's defenses and our best medications. We also know that HIV modifies the cell structure system of the host cells enabling them to enter the cells more easily.

HIV especially attacks immune cells of the T-helper type. These cells support not only direct defense against the bugs, but are also necessary for building sufficient antibodies against the invader. For this, they must rely on their mobility.

The cell structure element actin, which also gives muscles their mobility, aids in the motility of immune cells. This is necessary for immune cells to be able to establish contact with each other and combat the virus.

And now we discover that cell mobility is inhibited by the HIV Nef protein.

Nef causes an enzyme that normally has nothing to do with cell mobility to deactivate a regulator for actin regeneration. Nef therefore causes a short-circuit of two cellular mechanisms, thus inhibiting the reorganization of the cell structure element actin and the cell's ability to move. Thus, the affected immune cells can no longer fulfill their function.

MA: Do you understand how important that is?

Q: I guess that by short-circuiting the method that the immune cell uses to have good mobility the HIV virus prevents the body from mounting a good defense.

MA: Well yes, but the negative effect of Nef on the mobility of T-helper cells also has far reaching consequences for the efficient formation of antibodies by B-lymphocytes in the patient.

We often see a malfunction of B-lymphocytes in AIDS patients and now we understand why.

It is not this one extraordinary thing about HIV but the multitude of functions and abilities that gives me great pause and eventually intrigued me enough to study the mechanism of HIV virulence.

Q: I see – and that is going to bring us around to your theory on Neuraminidase isn’t it?

MA : Yes it is.

40 posted on 12/14/2011 6:11:52 AM PST by James Oscar
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To: James Oscar

Page #28

Q: You said that you "understand that bugs have no drive and no destiny, but this deadly bit of RNA frightens me." Why is that?

MA: Because it is so different and it is so extremely targeted.

Most of science involves making accurate observations and correctly interpreting the data.

Well when you objectively look at HIV you see a very odd critter. In the quarter-decade that we have been fighting this virus there is only one impression that any serious researcher can reach:

And that is that HIV is swiftly evolving to avoid the body's immune defenses - in fact it is rapidly changing to compensate for even small human variations.

Take the human leukocyte antigen (HLA) genes. These proteins act as a signaler against intruders. The proteins present little pieces of HIV to the body's T cells, which then seek out the virus and kill it.

However there are variants of HLA genes that are far better at combating HIV than others. And when we see a population where there is a favorable variant of HLA such as HLA-B*51 then we see the virus quickly mutate to a state that can resist the HLA-B*51.

In Japan over 2/3rds of the infected population has the resistant HIV variant because the population pool has a large percentage of HLA-B*51 carriers. But in other parts of the world where the HLA variation is not present or is different – then it is a different virus variation that dominates the infected populace.

In other words this little critter keeps shifting very rapidly to make certain that it continues with it’s grim job of killing humans – of all races, of all regions and of all beliefs.

This is evolution at "warp speed" and it is not pretty.

MA: There is no dispute about this bug. It targets humans with a devastating attack on the immune system, specifically helper T cells.

After it has decimated the helper T cells, the immune system cannot signal B cells to produce antibodies or Cytotoxic T cells to kill infected cells.

Also after depleting the Helper T cell population, the body can no longer launch a specific immune response and becomes susceptible to just about everything.

Our memory T cells are rapidly infected and destroyed in the mucus membranes of our tissues during the first several days after HIV infection. And they are largely never restored.

This sad list just goes on and on...

It is hunting us and it is winning. Twenty five million people are dead, another 33 million are infected. If this were a highly infectious disease then these numbers would be very different.

Knowing that, we can never assume that this fast-mutating bug will not become more virulent. Also we might, as good practitioners, ask if there are any known factors that influence HIV virulence.

Q: I assume that there are.

41 posted on 12/14/2011 6:13:13 AM PST by James Oscar
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To: James Oscar

Page #29

MA: Yes, there are. And the most prominent mitigating factor is the reason that the current novel H1N1 Influenza outbreak worries me so.

We have spent an incredibly long time discussing the enzyme Neuraminidase over the course of this winter and I would like to take that knowledge base of yours and apply it to our current situation.

Q: Good to go.

MA: This discussion is actually less complicated than the original explanation of how Influenza replicates.

Because you already understand how Neuraminidase functions as a cleaving agent in H1N1 you will clearly be able to "see" how Neuraminidase influences sialylation and that alteration, in turn, modulates the process of HIV infection.

Because of the saturation of the species with H1N1 and the mass inoculation with H1N1 vaccine - not to mention the millions of challenges to the virus with Neuraminidase inhibitors, I would like to review with you a few potential problems.

42 posted on 12/14/2011 6:14:39 AM PST by James Oscar
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To: James Oscar

Well presented. I remember the threads.

Looking forward to the remainder of your piece.

43 posted on 12/14/2011 6:14:51 AM PST by reformedliberal
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To: James Oscar

Page #30

MA: In the coming winter some portion of the 33 million souls who carry the HIV pathogen will be challenged with:

1. Influenza vaccine or
2. Neuraminidase Inhibitors after being infected with H1N1 or
3. Neuraminidase Inhibitors prophylactically or
4. H1N1 infection
5. Or any combination thereof

This is what we know as fact:

1. Over 100,000,000,000,000,000 human immunodeficiency virus genomes are produced daily on the entire planet. As a consequence, thousands of viral mutants arise by chance every day.

2. The HIV-1 genome, which is about 10,000 nucleotides long, can exist as 10 to the 6,020th power different sequences. To put this number in perspective, there are 10 to the 11th power stars in the Milky Way galaxy and 10 to the 80th power protons in the universe.

3. The enormous variability of HIV is an effective mechanism for evading neutralizing antibody. The sequence variation in one isolate from a single HIV-infected individual sampled a few years after infection is greater than the global variation of an influenza epidemic strain during a flu season .

Q: Well it certainly is a fast changing agent.

MA: It is much more than that. We have known since 1996 that you can enhance infectivity in HIV by neuraminidase treatment. This effect is due to increased binding capacity of the treated virus to the target cells.

But, more importantly, we have known since 2002 thanks to the work of Jiangfeng Sun et al. that virion-associated flu NA has an enhancing effect on HIV-1-mediated syncytium formation and cell-free virus infection.

In the laboratory they showed that treating cells with flu-derived NAs remarkably augmented the initial cell-cell interaction and promoted HIV-1-mediated cytopathic effect (i.e. syncytium formation). And that the desialylation of target cells increased susceptibility of target cells to infection with cell-free HIV-1 particles

I understand that this is very technical, but the short version is that when you subject HIV to neuraminidase you can enhance its syncytium formation and replication.

This is not something you wish to do with a highly mutagenic agent like HIV.

Q: OK, so if we treat HIV with neuraminidase we increase its infectivity. I have that. But what happens when you treat an HIV + person with neuraminidase inhibitors such as Tamiflu.

MA: Yes that is the question is it not? In fairness you can say that we have not seen any huge changes in the virus by Tamiflu treatment - thus far.

However Dr. Chueh Huang is doing ground-breaking work that shows that NA inhibitors could enhance the frequency with which two viruses infect the same cell. This is called "superinfection". When two viruses infect the same cell the oportunity for viral reassortment increases. Thus the enzymatic activity of NA is essential for superinfection exclusion - and to go messing around with this natural roadblock to superinfection and reassortment is playing with fire.

In my personal opinion, we do not have enough information to treat HIV with any agent that targets neuraminidase.

44 posted on 12/14/2011 6:16:12 AM PST by James Oscar
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To: RandallFlagg

RandallFlagg!!!!! LOL. somehow I knew you had to show up on this thread. Very appropriately so.

45 posted on 12/14/2011 6:17:03 AM PST by Apple Pan Dowdy (... as American as Apple Pie mmm mmm mmm)
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To: Apple Pan Dowdy

Been here since post #2. Couldn’t help myself.

46 posted on 12/14/2011 6:27:38 AM PST by RandallFlagg (Look for the union label, then buy elsewhere.)
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To: blam; Judith Anne


47 posted on 12/14/2011 7:12:50 AM PST by James Oscar
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To: James Oscar

Thanks for the ping. I’ve been reading. If you talk with MA this holiday, please give her my hello and warm regards.

48 posted on 12/14/2011 7:15:47 AM PST by Judith Anne (For rhe sake of His sorrowful passion, have mercy on us, and on the whole world.)
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To: James Oscar


49 posted on 12/14/2011 8:12:16 AM PST by PapaBear3625 (During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.)
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To: James Oscar


My rhythm
Is a river



50 posted on 12/15/2011 4:52:16 AM PST by James Oscar
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