PLEASE NOTE : The normal Friday morning newsletter will be delayed. There’s a technical challenge interfering with completing it, I hope it will be resolved on Friday morning so I can get it out to you on Friday afternoon.
Wow. What a week it has been – and it is still Thursday. I started Monday anticipating a quiet week with not much happening; how wrong I was, and, yes – the ancient Chinese curse of “May you live in interesting times” is definitely applicable.
Let’s start, well, where? Maybe with the item that is being forcefully rushed through the media and approval process – the new Merck anti-Covid pill, Molnupiravir. I started off merely objecting to it being massively overpriced and not as good as ivermectin, and noting how incredibly hypocritical it is that a not yet complete single study, by the most biased of all sources (the drug company that is already taking in billion dollar orders for the drug), is deemed to be all that is needed for an experimental new drug of unknown effectiveness and safety, when 120+ independent studies for ivermectin, a 45 year old drug known to be 100% safe and increasingly showing itself to be outstanding effective for Covid treatment, supported by the national adoption of ivermectin as a Covid treatment by a growing number of countries, is deemed insufficient,
But then things started to turn ugly. As in potentially incredibly ugly. Do you know what molnupiravir is and how it works? I’ll wager you don’t. It is a mutagen – a drug that works by encouraging the Covid virus to mutate, in the hope that the new mutations will be less viable and so the virus will die out. The good news is that most mutations are less viable, so there is “method in their madness”.
But, the bad news is that some mutations end up being more deadly. We’ve seen that most notably with the current Delta variant that has taken over the world, and which has been blamed for the latest peaks in new cases that have been experienced in almost every country.
There are also whispers and speculation that maybe the molnupiravir mightn’t stop at Covid. What else might it cause to mutate? Our own DNA?
Here are three articles, and while you’ll get the strong sense of concern from any one of these articles, you might want to read all three to realize just how potentially dire this new drug might end up being.
Is Molnupiravir a Global Catastrophic Threat?
Molnupiravir: coding for catastrophe
The third article in particular is in a prestigious refereed journal – Nature.
It almost seems irrelevant, after the very scary issues raised in those three articles, to also observe how we – the US and our government – are getting raped by Merck when it comes to pricing. The US government contributed to the development costs of the drug, but as thanks, Merck now plans to sell the drug to us at 40 times the cost of making it.
One of the really good things about ivermectin is that because it is both so safe and so inexpensive, it is great as a “just in case” drug – if you think you might be at risk or might have Covid, simply take some. But at a cost of $700 per course of treatment, and with the potential mutagenic risks, no-one will be wanting to – or could afford to – take molnupiravir “just in case” any time they feel they might have been exposed or possibly coming down with Covid.
We need to stop passively saying “Yes, charge us more than any other country in the world, we can afford it”. We can’t afford it. We are no longer a wealthy country. It is time to stop spending profligately like we used to be able to do, everywhere, many decades ago. Now we need to get serious with our priorities and our cost controls. If we fund a large part of a new drug’s development, it is fair and reasonable to expect a price discount, not a price premium, when the drug gets to market.
One thing is abundantly clear though. The initial US government order for $1.2 billion of the drug from Merck represents a $1.17 billion profit to Merck. That helps to explain the hate lavished on ivermectin – is it all about the money?
Australia has also rushed to order 300,000 doses, so that is probably another $200 million profit from that order.
I hesitate to say anything more in the introductory comments, because I don’t want to take your focus away from molnupiravir. As one of the three articles points out, above (sorry, forget which one) this would not be the first time a drug company has released an anti-viral drug that turned out to massively disappoint (for example, Tamiflu, and most recently, Remdesivir), but there’s a whole universe of difference between a drug that simply doesn’t work as well as the drug company claims, and a drug that might cause Covid to mutate into a more dangerous strain or cause other mutation problems, as yet unguessed at.
The minor country list saw Georgia and Bahrain swap places.
The major country list saw the UK move up two places, and is now third, a position that it is likely to keep for the next few weeks, with no obvious challengers on the horizon. On the other hand, it will be quite some time – if ever – before the UK catches the US.
In the death list, the US moved up one place, and now looks to be challenging Belgium within the next week or so.
In terms of last week’s Covid activity, the UK saw a very slight easing in new cases, and dropped on the list. Europe as a whole had a 9% rise in cases, largely because of growth in Poland, Russia, and Ukraine. Poland had the highest growth in cases, week on week, with a 59% rise, barely ahead of the Czech Republic at 58%, then Latvia at 48%. At the happy end of the scale, Norway enjoyed a 23% drop, Spain a 20% drop, and Sweden with a 19% drop. France also fell, by 16% – a popular number, shared with Switzerland, the Channel Islands and Albania. Germany reported a 16% increase, while Austria stayed the same.
Mexico and Canada both fell, with Mexico dropping a convincing 24% and Canada managing a more modest 4%. The US was down 12%, week on week. For the world as a whole, there was a pleasing 7% drop in cases.
Top Case Rates Minor Countries (cases per million)
|Rank||One Week Ago||Today|
|1||Seychelles (215,396)||Seychelles (217,299)|
|2||Montenegro (209,338)||Montenegro (213,655)|
|4||Gibraltar (164,766)||Gibraltar (166,459)|
|5||San Marino||San Marino|
|6||St Barth||St Barth|
|10||Aruba (144,413)||Aruba (145,211)|
Top Case Rates Major Countries (cases per million)
|Rank||One Week Ago||Today|
|1||Czech Republic (157,586)||Czech Republic (158,100)|
|2||USA (132,908)||USA (135,006)|
|4||Argentina (115,000)||Netherlands (117,336)|
|6||Sweden (113,275)||Sweden (113,674)|
|12||Colombia (96,149)||Colombia (96,328)|
Top Death Rate Major Countries (deaths per million)
|Rank||One Week Ago||Today|
|1||Peru (5,944)||Peru (5,948)|
|2||Czech Rep (2,838)||Czech Rep (2,841)|
|3||Brazil (2,783)||Brazil (2,797)|
|7||Italy (2,169)||USA (2,190)|
|8||USA (2,150)||Italy (2,174)|
|9||Mexico (2,125)||Mexico (2,148)|
|10||Tunisia (2,079)||Tunisia (2,087)|
Top Rates in New Cases Reported in the Last Week (new cases per million) for Countries over one million population
|Rank||One Week Ago||Today|
|1||Serbia 5,633||Serbia 5,328|
|2||Mongolia 5,014||Lithuania 5,002|
|12||Malaysia 2,707||Turkey 2,378|
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Items below include an article that hints at a very unexpected possible explanation for the sudden rate of new Covid variants appearing, the continuing mystery of China’s low Covid numbers, New Zealand admits the virus has won, more evidence of the virus-origin coverup, how soon will third jabs become mandatory, even mild Covid cases can have subsequent severe outcomes, I agree with Dr Fauci for once (but….), should we get healthcare based on averages or based on our specific needs, an allegation of a crime against humanity, why are we ignoring the practical successes of frontline doctors and how they treat Covid, fair and unfair Covid studies, Vitamin D3, is immunity from prior infection as good as, or even better than vaccine-based immunity (and Pfizer’s surprising opinion), an application to vaccinate 5 – 11yr olds without any supporting evidence as to if the vaccine keeps children out of hospitals or not, and why that evidence is not practically possible to obtain, a strange inconsistently in vaccination numbers over time, was China gearing up for Covid in summer of 2019, and have we now passed the worst of Covid case numbers?
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Please stay happy and healthy; all going well, I’ll be back again on Sunday.
Please click here for a listing of all our Covid-19 articles.