We’ve known about the Zika virus since at least 1947, when researchers funded by the Rockefeller Foundation, who were studying yellow fever, identified the virus after a fever developed in a rhesus monkey placed on a wooden platform on his recently constructed tower. Blood samples revealed an unknown virus that, as protocol dictated, was named Zika after the forest in which it was first identified.
Indian vaccine researcher Jagannath Chatterjee notes that the first human case being detected in the year 1954 was found to cause a very mild form of disease involving low fever, sore body, headaches, and a mild rash in very few people. The rest did not show any symptoms at all. The symptoms were resolved in a few days. Prior to 2007 only 14 cases were recorded. Even as a bigger spread was recorded in French Polynesia in 2014 (338 cases) nobody took the virus seriously.
He writes: So what changed in 2015? Why did 4,180 babies come down with microcephaly in Brazil? The Zika virus had currently emerged exactly from those areas where GM mosquitoes (800,000) were released in 2015 to contain dengue fever.
An article in Nature noted: “From the epidemiological data available, it is impossible to establish the true size of the surge in microcephaly, and whether there is any link with the Zika virus.”
In February The Daily Telegraph reported: “Brazilian health officials were forced to address claims that the larvicide pyriproxyfen, which is used to control the Aedes aegypti mosquito, could be associated with a surge in babies born with the condition after one state said it was suspending use of the chemical.
A report by Argentinian group Physicians in Crop-Sprayed Towns suggested pyriproxyfen might be causing the deformity, which impairs foetal brain development. The organization said the substance had been introduced into drinking water supplies since 2014 in affected areas of Brazil.
“In the area where most sick persons live, a chemical larvicide producing malformations in mosquitoes has been applied for 18 months, and that this poison (pyroproxifen) is applied by the State on drinking water used by the affected population,” the report said.
In response, the local government in Rio Grande do Sul, a state in the south of Brazil, suspended the use of pyriproxyfen.
The federal government insisted there had been no scientific study that linked pyriproxyfen to microcephaly. In a statement, pyriproxyfen’s manufacturer, Japanese company Sumitomo Chemical, rejected any link between the chemical and microcephaly.
According to a 2007 WHO report, as pyriproxyfen is a relatively new pesticide, few environmental data have been collected to date. However, there is potential for direct exposure through drinking-water when pyriproxyfen is directly applied to drinking-water storage containers.
Later studies suggest that neither brain abnormalities nor effects on neurodevelopment have been seen in animals exposed to pyriproxyfen during foetal development.
Some experts have raised questions over what is behind the Brazilian spike in microcephaly, particularly due to the absence of a similar surge in cases in other areas hit by the virus. Others have also suggested that it has been grossly over-reported in Brazil. The country has registered a total of 3,852 suspected cases, but of the roughly 1,200 investigated so far, just 462 have been confirmed. Evidence of Zika infection was found in just 41 of the affected babies.
Interestingly, in Colombia with 9,000 reported pregnant women with the virus, only one case of Zika-linked microcephaly has been detected.
Somehow, with so much contradictory information, the World Health Organization decided to declare the infection a global public health emergency?
And surprise, surprise, OMG, we need a gravy train vaccine asap! The U.S. Senate just passed a bill encouraging companies to develop a Zika vaccine. Companies that develop a Zika vaccine would get fast-track FDA approval of their next venture in the future.
“As far as I’m concerned, it’s pedal to the metal, do the research, find the cure, find the vaccine, and get it as fast as possible,” said Florida Sen. Bill Nelson.
And, I’m not making this up – Nelson has also been pushing for a Zika czar. In response President Obama reported he has no plans to appoint a Zika czar.
According to Forbes, several candidate vaccines are being developed. The furthest along may be a vaccine developed by a joint venture involving Inovio Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Laval University, Canada’s National Microbiology Laboratory, the University of Pennsylvania and South Korea’s GeneOne Life Science, Inc. Developers of this vaccine candidate have suggested that their vaccine may be available for human testing by the end 2016. Human testing will take some time, meaning that the vaccine (if it proves to be safe and effective) won’t reach the market until at earliest next year.
When asked about the cost of development, one vaccine manufacturer noted: “We can use the dengue vaccine as an example. It cost € 1.5 billion ($1.6 billion) to research, develop, and license, including capital investment.”
I’ll end with a summary by blogger Jon Rappoport. “It’s hysteria time again,” he says, and points out how Brazil is crazy for pesticides. ““The ABRASCO report, titled ‘An Alert of the Impacts of Pesticides on Health, was released in Rio de Janeiro. The report includes scientific studies including data from the National Cancer Institute that shows a direct link between the use of pesticides and health problems.”
“…22 of the fifty main active ingredients used in pesticides in Brazil today have been banned in most other countries.”
He asks: “Is it better, for the chosen few, to use a virus as a false cover story, in order to explain away horrendous damage from what amounts to chemical warfare?”
And he quotes this study, published in Environmental Health Perspectives on July 1, 2011: “Urinary Biomarkers of Prenatal Atrazine Exposure” “The presence versus absence of quantifiable levels of [the pesticide] atrazine or a specific atrazine metabolite was associated with fetal growth restriction… and small head circumference… Head circumference was also inversely associated with the presence of the herbicide metolachlor.”
Update: The WHO says zika virus is now “implicated” in the large numbers of brain-damaged babies in Brazil and the increase in the nerve disorder Guillan-Barré syndrome, according to experts who say urgent action is needed to deal with a growing crisis. But, WHO’s director general, Margaret Chan, said on Tuesday the association was still not officially scientifically proven.