Author`s name Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey

New killer syndrome: Emergency committee convened

The new killer virus in the Middle East, novel coronavirus, aka Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) is deadly, there is no cure, its transmission mechanisms are hazy, though there have been cases of human to human transmission, yet the WHO imposes no travel restrictions in the run-up to the Hajj. Some questions to be answered...

How interesting. Is the World Health Organization once again going to sit back and limit itself to informing us of the various phases the disease is going to run through until the final declaration that it has become a pandemic without imposing quarantine, without imposing travel restrictions? This was the case with Influenza H1N1, when the pharmaceutical lobbies rubbed their hands in glee as the illness spread around the world creating millions of new cases.

H1N1 did not have an unusual death rate. MERS-CoV has. In fact, it has a fatality rate of 56%, over half of the patients - a total of 45 of the 80 laboratory-confirmed cases since April 2012 (what about the others?) have died. The virus attacks men and women alike (65% to 45%) and all age groups (from 14 months to 94 years, with prevalence for adults in their fifties). The median incubation period is just under a week (5.2 days).

The infections come from Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Qatar and United Arab Emirates in the Middle East, France, Germany and the UK in Europe and Tunisia in Africa, according to the latest World Health Organization update. So what happened to the previously reported cases in Scandinavia?

The report states that all European and Tunisian cases had direct contact with the Middle East and while the WHO postulates about the transmission mechanisms being unclear, the fact is that human to human transmissions have taken place among travelers to the Middle East and close contacts who had never been there. In which case we may conclude that there exists human to human transmission of an unknown virus with a 56% fatality rate without any known cure and therefore, are we not facing a PHEIC (Public Health Emergency of International Concern)?

After doing nothing except postulate, observe and carry out tests, and after months of constant criticism in this column, the WHO has finally convened Emergency Committee meetings, today being the second (the first was July 5). How many meetings do they need to recognize the fact that nature is trying to create a pandemic based on foci of infection in the lower respiratory tract, as has been obvious over the last decade, which has again proved to be the case with MERS-Co, in which tests reveal the viral load is far higher in this area than in the upper respiratory samples?

The conclusions are easy to reach. One is a suspicion that the pharmaceutical lobbies walk hand-in-hand with those in charge of public health, in which information is manipulated in a sinister fashion until a mass market is produced for the distribution of drugs, called "products" by the said industry. The other conclusion is that if the suspicion is unfounded, then the WHO is manned by scientists and laboratory technicians far more fascinated by whether or not a case is a false positive than they case if one is a false negative, or indeed if a host of cases and new infections are going unreported.

A 56% fatality rate is not a matter to be played around with. Let's be honest, it provides a wonderful sample for the Pharma lobby to make tens of billions of dollars.


Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey