SARS: scam or screw-up?

SARS: scam or screw-up?

By Joe Baker, Senior Editor

Recently there has been a great deal of attention centered on a flu-like virus that has taken the lives of more than 100 people around the globe. It is called Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome or SARS.

For a time, doctors and researchers were puzzled. Now Russian experts say the virus actually may be a man-made biological weapon.

Nikolai Filatov, who heads Moscow’s epidemiological services, told a South African newspaper that he believes the virus is man-made because “there is no vaccine for this virus, its makeup is unclear, it has not been very widespread, and the population is not immune to it.”

The virus, according to Sergei Kolesnikov, a member of the Russian academy of medicine, is a mixture of mumps and measles organisms, which never occurs in nature. “We can only get that in a laboratory,” Kolesnikov said. He added it may have spread through an “accidental leak” from a laboratory.

Dr. Patricia Doyle, a microbiologist, went further. She says it is entirely possible someone was experimenting with chimeraviruses, learning how to make them in a lab.

Doyle said the agent that causes SARS may have been a test, and it was likely not intended for it to escape into the environment. She went on to say that coronaviruses, of which SARS is one, have a very large genome: there are at least 11 strains of the virus involved in SARS.

Doyle noted a bioweapon does not have to be completely lethal. There are many, she said, that have been developed as incapacitating agents, such as Tularemia or Rabbit Fever.

She said further that, because SARS is a coronavirus like the common cold virus, it is unlikely that people will form an immunity to it and could contract it a second or third time. If it spreads in a closed community such as a military base, it could result in an extended quarantine and would make the base inactive for some time.

The virus first appeared in China’s Guangdong province. Dr. Doyle said we need to find out why China kept news of the outbreak quiet and tried to hide information about the severity of it and the numbers of dead and infected.

SARS is not the first killer germ to come out of China. Like SARS, this one appeared in early spring and was highly contagious. Eight million people in one country were infected in a single month. Then it abruptly vanished.

It came back in the fall of 1918 as World War I was raging and claimed more lives than any epidemic in history. By the time it was over, 25 percent of all Americans had gotten it and 650,000 died. Worldwide, an estimated 70 million died, mostly in the 15-34 age group. In Rockford, bodies of city residents and military personnel from Camp Grant were stacked like wood in a makeshift morgue in the old F.W. Woolworth store on North Church Street.

Although the mortality rate from this new virus is only around 4 percent it has the potential to claim a huge toll; the 1918 flu epidemic had a mortality rate of only 2.5 percent.

Now, however, there is hope; coming from—of all places—East Africa. There, top biologists have used a blood purification system that bombards blood cells with ultra violet rays to create variants of reactive oxygen molecules. This procedure destroyed the SARS virus in about 14 seconds without harming the remaining blood components.

There is another view of this pandemic, however. Dr. Leonard Horowitz, D.M.D., M.A., M.P.H., who has written a number of books on emerging viruses and the relationship of political factors to public health, believes SARS is a giant scam.

Dr. Horowitz acknowledges that people are dying from SARS, yet he notes the disease’s dependence on propaganda to announce its presence, create hysteria and engage social and economic resources. In military intelligence circles, he says, this is standard “psychological operations” or PSYOPs.

He further suggests the purpose of all this fright is to aid evolving political and economic agendas that involve targeting about half the world’s current population for elimination.

Henry Kissinger, who was National Security Advisor for Richard Nixon, while handling U.S. foreign policy, considered what he called Third World population “necessities.” Kissinger had the option to have the CIA develop biological weapons.

Some of these weapons contained germs far deadlier than SARS. Under Kissinger’s watch, Horowitz said, influenza and para-influenza viruses were combined with fast-acting leukemia virus to create a weapon that could spread both diseases. He said development of such weapons by this country continues to this day.

Dr. Horowitz said in recent decades military think tanks have proposed ways to use this fear to create new profit centers. A great many of these are evolving in the numerous programs within the Department of Homeland Security.

Dr. Doyle believes the Homeland Security operation is a terrific farce, from a medical and sociological point of view. She argues that the money is not going for the real needs of domestic security, such as equipment for first responders and better hospital and medical infrastructure.

She points out that no funds have been allocated for New York City for security purposes. First responders there have only a terrorist kit that furnishes a hood—enough for the responder to get out of danger. She adds that Chicago has more than 8,000 first responders, but only enough equipment for 2,000 of them.

The huge numbers of federal tax dollars, Doyle said, are going to companies such as Biotech, Battelle Medical, the Carlyle Group, Alibek and Hadron.

A number of universities are actively seeking pieces of this big federal pie. Some have no background or qualifications for research in the area of security. There are few isolation centers in the country. SARS victims, she said, are being told to go home and stay there, a course that could mean death in some cases.

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