“In times of great confusion and anxiety, when it feels like everything is going down the drain, like everyone is stumbling down a steep road, driven by a supposedly unstoppable disaster, it might be helpful to take a moment and a deep breath, to step aside and turn around. One might ask: What brought us here? What is the origin of this road? From where did we follow it? Who was sending us in this direction? Have we been here before? And, maybe even more important: Where will it lead us?
As the Spanish philosopher George Santayana wrote:
“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
In this sense, the following is meant as a chronology of some selected events of the last twenty years related to our current situation, some more or less known, some more or less forgotten.
CHRONOLOGY (2000 -2020)
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (founded in 1999), UNICEF, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Bank found the “Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization“, GAVI. The main of this PUBLIC-PRIVATE PARTNERSHIP (PPP) is to shape “healthy vaccine markets“. “GAVI brings together the vaccine industry with governments in both developing and industrialized countries, technical agencies, civil society and private PHILANTROPISTS.” In 1999, the Gates Foundation had pledged $ 750 million to set up GAVI and will make additional future donations of more than $ 4 billion until 2020.
March 15, 2003
Gro Harlem Brundtland, WHO Director-General, states in an alert about the ““: “This syndrome, SARS, is now a worldwide health threat. The world needs to work together to find its cause, cure the sick, and stop its spread.”
November 11-12, 2004
An “ on influenza pandemic vaccines” of WHO, influenza vaccine manufacturers, national drug licensing agencies and government representatives takes place in Geneva, Switzerland. The meeting’s goal is to “explore ways to expedite the development of pandemic vaccines“ by establishing PUBLIC-PRIVATE PARTNERSHIPS.
As a result of the meeting in November the WHO publishes a with the title “Avian influenza: assessing the pandemic threat“. The authors claim that “during 2004, the world moved closer to a further pandemic than it has been at any time since 1968.“ About the H5N1 bird flu virus: “NEVER BEFORE had any avian influenza virus caused such extremely high fatality in humans, taking its heaviest toll on children and young adults in the prime of life.”
The report emphasizes the importance of vaccination during a pandemic. Under the heading “Vaccines: the first line of defence” it says: “WHO network laboratories developed a prototype virus, for use as the “seed” for vaccine production, and made it available to manufacturers in April 2004.
During pandemics, more severe disease tends to arrive with the SECOND WAVE. Should this happen, a few more months could be available to augment vaccine supplies. Each day gained means an additional 5 million doses of vaccine. Larger quantities of vaccine, supported by well-planned distribution strategies, will SAVE many LIVES.
Ideally, safety testing should be exceptionally extensive, but the pressure to manufacture RAPIDLYduring a public health emergency is expected to shorten the time available for testing.”
The authors also recommend the use of the antiviral drugs Tamiflu (Roche) and Relenza(GlaxoSmithKline) for treatment and prevention: “… Drugs in the second and newer class, the neuraminidase inhibitors (oseltamivir and zanamivir), have a better safety profile and are less prone to the development of drug resistance. Here, the main constraints are price and supplies. The drugs are much more expensive than the M2 inhibitors and supplies are very limited.”
March 7, 2005
“The pandemics in 1957 and 1968 were relatively mild with between 1 to 4 million dying in each. (…) Taking into account the increase in the world population since then, one would estimate that a mild pandemic would result in between 2 to 7 million deaths and a further 28 million hospitalized. Health care systems will be OVERWHELMED very QUICKLY .”
August 3, 2005
Neil Ferguson, professor of mathematical biology at the Imperial College London, UK, warns THE GUARDIAN about the bird flu virus H5N1:
“What can we do if it hits our shores? We couldn’t stop it. There would be a constant number of NEW cases and we would be OVERWHELMED very RAPIDLY. (…) In just one year, half the world’s population – more than 3 billion people – would be infected.”
According to the , Ferguson, other researchers and British government officials recommend to create a stock of millions doses of antiviral treatment and vaccines as a “first line of defence” against a catastrophic virus outbreak. “Currently the antiviral drug Tamiflu, made by Swiss-based pharmaceutical company Roche, stands the best chance of curbing pandemic bird flu. (…) Prof Ferguson said he understood Roche was prepared to make free donations of Tamiflu to the World Health Organization to help meet the threat.”
September 20, 2005
In an , published under the headline “H5N1 – KILLER Flu“, Antony Fauci, immunologist and director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) suggests that the US should buy at least 100 million vaccine doses.
“Well, that takes many months. It takes several months to do if you’re doing nothing else. And that’s the reason why one of the issues that comes up when you talk about pandemic flu, is that the vaccine development and production enterprise in this country and worldwide is very fragile.
… the vaccine industry is fragile. It is not a big money maker.”
September 29, 2005
“I’m not, at the moment, at liberty to give you a prediction on numbers, but I just want to stress, that, let’s say, the range of deaths could be anything from 5 to 150 million.”
Note: Following WHO’s recommendations and driven by panic about an expectable outbreak of a bird flu pandemic, governments worldwide started stockpiling antiviral drugs and vaccines for large parts of their populations.
September 30, 2005
Neil Ferguson is quoted in an in THE GUARDIAN: “Last month Neil Ferguson, a professor of mathematical biology at Imperial College London, told Guardian Unlimited that up to 200 million people could be KILLED (Note: by the bird flu).”
“Around 40 million people died in 1918 Spanish flu outbreak,” said Prof Ferguson. “There are six times more people on the planet now so you could scale it up to around 200 million people probably.”
November 26, 2006
April 24, 2009
April 27, 2009
April 29, 2009
Note: The UK government spent £ 424 million on flu drug Tamiflu, the US government spent $ 1.3 billion on stockpiling 65 million dosages. Global sales of Tamiflu is at almost $ 3 billion at the height of the swine flu pandemic.
May 4, 2009
On WHO‘s website, the criteria for a pandemic
“An influenza pandemic occurs when a new influenza virus appears against which the human population has no immunity, resulting in several simultaneous epidemics worldwide with enormous numbers of deaths and illness.” are .
The new definition is: “An influenza pandemic may occur when a new influenza virus appears against which the human population has no immunity.” For the declaration of phase 6 (the highest level, the pandemic) the presence of several simultaneous epidemics and high death numbers are no longer necessary.
“Here I have secret contracts that were signed in Germany between GlaxoSmithKline and the German state. As a simple Member of Parliament, officially I am not allowed to view these contracts. They were posted on the Internet by whistleblowers in Germany.
These contracts specify exactly what needs to happen when phase 6 is announced: what amounts of vaccine doses the states have to buy, etc.. Such contracts were concluded by most states before the criteria have been changed.”
June 11, 2009
“This particular H1N1 strain has not circulated previously in humans. The virus is entirely new (…) Further spread is considered inevitable. On the basis of available evidence, and these expert assessments of the evidence, the scientific criteria for an influenza pandemic have been met. I have therefore decided to raise the level of influenza pandemic alert from phase 5 to phase 6. The world is now at the START of the 2009 influenza pandemic.
WHO has been in close dialogue with influenza vaccine manufacturers. I understand that production of vaccines for seasonal influenza will be completed soon, and that full capacity will be available to ensure the largest possible supply of pandemic vaccine in the months to come.”
Note: Under enormous pressure (and because of the existing contracts) governments bought millions of vaccine doses. Germanyfor example, bought 34 million doses for € 280 million. Only 14% were used, the rest had to be disposed as hazardous waste at high costs.
July 16, 2009
December 18, 2009
“In order to promote their patented drugs and vaccines against flu, pharmaceutical companies have influenced scientists and official agencies (…) to alarm governments worldwide. They have made them squander tight health care resources for inefficient vaccine strategies and needlessly exposed millions of healthy people to the risk of unknown side-effects of insufficiently tested vaccines.”
The authors also see “a great deal of damage“ for the “credibility and accountability of important international health agencies”. Meant is the WHO: “The definition of an alarming pandemic must not be under the influence of drug-sellers.”
“First, we‘ve got population. The world today has 6.8 billion people. That’s headed up to about nine billion.
Now, if we do a really great job on new vaccines, health care, reproductive health services, we could lower that by, perhaps, 10 or 15 percent.”
“…the pandemic that the world had been anticipating for years finally hit. Unlike 2009’s H1N1, this NEW influenza strain (…) was extremely virulent and deadly. Even the most pandemic-prepared nations were QUICKLY OVERWHELMED when the virus streaked around the world, infecting nearly 20 percent of the global population and KILLING 8 million in just seven months.
The pandemic also had a deadly effect on economies: international mobility of both people and goods screeched to a halt, debilitating industries like tourism and breaking global supply chains.
The Chinese government’s quick imposition and enforcement of mandatory quarantine for all citizens, as well as its instant and near-hermetic sealing off of all borders, SAVED millions of LIVES, stopping the spread of the virus far earlier than in other countries.
During the pandemic, national leaders around the world flexed their authority and imposed airtight rules and restrictions, from the mandatory wearing of FACE MASKS to body-temperature checks at the entries to communal spaces like train stationsand supermarkets. Even after the pandemic faded, this more authoritarian control and oversight of citizens and their activities stuck and even intensified.
Citizens willingly gave up some of their sovereignty – and their privacy – to more paternalistic states in exchange for greater safety and stability. Citizens were more tolerant, and even eager, for top-down direction and oversight, and national leaders had more latitude to impose order in the ways they saw fit. In developed countries, this heightened oversight took many forms: BIOMETRIC IDs for all citizens, for example…””