The BIG story this morning, economic in nature, is that “Swine Flu Grips Ukraine“. It’s in the Wall Street Journal, after all, so it must have something to do with economics, right?
And indeed it does: Ukraine is something of a bread basket area to Russia populated by smart, hard-working people. Since independence in late summer 1991, Ukraine has been evolving into the 29th largest economy in the world on a mix of agriculture, aerospace, and manufacturing while being a critical chunk of real estate to the Russians since goods like natural gas from Russia to Europe through its borders.
As of this weekend, 53 people have died of swine flu, some by what’s described as bleeding lungs which hark back to the 1918 Spanish Flu and cytokine storming where the body’s defensive mechanisms got crazy and attack the host body itself.
Responding to the situation, the government is closing down schools, some businesses, banning large gatherings, and is trying to buy another 700,000 doses of Tamiflu from Roche. A stock to watch?
The thing we probably should watch over the next few days is how the neighboring countries fare. Already Hungary’s health minister says the “Ukraine flu epidemic to create emergency in Hungary” as it may also do in Romanian, Moldova, Slovakia, Poland, Belarus, Russia, and anyone pulling into port from he Black Sea or the Sea of Azov.
Now we go into deep background mode on this with an email I received from a particularly well informed reader who expects this will be one for the history books that should be watched closely:
“This story may be the most important of our lifetimes. I’m a retired Ph.D. biochemist FYI. I conjecture that much of the coming troubles the web bot project speaks of may well arise from this new flu variant. I note that the first cases appeared a few days ago, just the length of the incubation period from October 25th.
OK, a Mossad microbiologist warned two months ago that a new deadly flu bug was going to be released into Ukraine in two months. He got the place right, the bug right, and the time right.
The sequence of all 8 pieces of RNA in the virus that caused the “Spanish flu” pandemic of 1918-1919 is public knowledge. A long dead Inuit woman buried in the permafrost was dug up and the virus taken from her body a couple of years ago and the RNA pieces were sequenced. Quite simple to synthesize these 8 pieces with widely available commercial machines and reagents. Then transfect mammalian cells with the RNA genes to obtain the intact, fully functional, virus. Another quite well known technology. Then grow all you want in fertilized chicken eggs or a mammalian immortal cell line. More quite well known technologies.
What scares the sh*t out of me is that the bleeding in the lungs is exactly what killed a lot of folks in the 1918-19 pandemic. See the great book “The Great Influenza: The story of the deadliest pandemic in history .” People would literally fall dead walking across the street. The bleeding out of the lungs was most likely the result of a “cytokine storm” that so increased the vascular permeability in the air sacks that blood filled the lungs. The reason why the mortality in the 1918-1919 pandemic was concentrated in the 18-25 yo cohort was that they had the most active immune systems.
Now I’ve NO conjecture as to who may have let this loose or why. But I do know that the technology is widespread to replicate the 1918-1919 virus that killed 2-4 million Americans and about 50 million world wide. And folks only traveled by ship in 1918. And there is NO vaccine for this flu type.
Hopefully we will know in a couple of weeks the sequences of the 8 RNA pieces in the Ukraine virus. I’ll bet the farm that it is a replicant of the “Spanish Flu.” If so, the odds are totally infinitesimal that this was NOT a deliberate bioweapon release.
I note that long haul truckers will simply go home and park their rigs if this flu reaches the USA. And exactly what reason do we have to suppose that it will be confined to Ukraine? The average city has 3 days of food. Connect the dots… please……………
A credit is due here. the word “replicant” is from the great sci-fi movie “Blade Runner.”
All of this is puts us on the scale of impact somewhere in the middle between inconvenient to bad on one end of the scale to horrific and Biblical at the far end. But the linguistics seem to be pointing to the most terrible of all yet to come with temporal hints around the time of the Whistler Olympics (late February to mid March) for another round of dispersal.
The nonzero probabilities keep adding up and at some point, even the most skeptical human has to reach the point of non-coincidence and conclude what’s for now only a possibility: Namely that the factions of the PowersThatBe are at war with one-another and we – humans down here at the worker bee level – are the unwilling cannon fodder for the coming year or longer.