Source – rense.com
(Ebola ‘Secret Serum’ Emerged from a Soviet BioWar lab – By Yoichi Shiatsu)
Tracing the connections between ebola and biowarfare for this investigative series proved to be more complex than a riddle inside a mystery within an enigma. Added to this Churchillian trio of nesting eggs are the elements of paradox and intrigue, because this is already the fifth essay examining the main suspects in the West African ebola outbreak.
The earlier articles examined the ebola connection to the biowarfare programs of the US, Britain, France and Germany, exposing a military obsession with the rare tropical virus. Now it’s the turn of Russia’s virus-weapons lab known as VECTOR, which provided two-thirds of the antibodies in the “secret serum” that was shipped to missionary doctor Kent Brantly and aid worker Nancy Writebol.
The North American researchers who claimed to produce the anti-ebola cocktail from gene-modified tobacco did nothing of the sort, at least not yet.. The ebola serum is from goats locked inside a five-story animal-testing building on the outskirts of Novosibirsk, Siberia. That’s the secret to the serum. There is nothing innovative or miraculous about goat or horse serum, which is an old-fashioned standard for vaccines against diptheria, invented in 1890 by physicians Emil von Behring and Emile Roux. Biotech, ha!
There is now an obstacle to obtaining further dosages from the Siberian goat farm, and that’s the American and British trade sanctions against Russia. Without an end in sight to the Ukraine crisis, the only hope for West Africa is if BRICS group members Russia and South Africa cooperate to set up a billy goat farm in the Kalihari Desert or an uninhabited island off the Cape of Good Hope for a crash program of antibody production. An animal-based anti-viral serum can be made at a faction of the cost of transgenic clones from the biotech spinoffs of the US Army biowarfare lab and Monsanto.
Dr. Brantly’s Snake Oil
The World Health Organization (WHO), Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH), all the smarmy experts, have been sold a “bill of goods” by an unethical biotech industry backed by pharmaceutical sponsors and venture capital. The media-driven misrepresentation of goat serum as futuristic “monoclonal antibody therapy” is hucksterism on par with the snake oil hyped at carnivals.
ZMapp, the San Diego-based biotech that made astounding claims about antibody therapy, is headed by Dr. Larry Zeitlin, a researcher with a well-hidden background in lab work for Monsanto. His antibody research associates include the US Army’s biowar expert Gene Olinger; “unstoppable flu” inventor Yoshihito Kawaoka at University of Wisconsin Madison; and Arizona University’s Charles Arntzen, who inserts human genes into tobacco plants to produce costly antibodies.
It was Arntzen who made the public endorsement of biowarfare with the jest : “Has anyone seen ‘Contagion’? That’s the answer! Go out and use genetic engineering to create a better virus.” (Contagion is a Hollywood sci-fi thriller about an ebola pandemic killing 25 percent of the world population.)
Compared with these mad scientists of the US pharmaco-military complex, the Russian biowarfare apparatchiks seem like your average pest exterminators. Insanity has become synonymous with ebola, or is it actually the other way around?
The fifth installment of this series examines Russia’s role in developing ebola for biowarfare; Monsanto’s ongoing program to produce drugs inside transgenic tobacco implanted with human genes; and the unreported dangers of RNA intervention as an anti-viral therapy. So let’s push open the Gates of Hell.
The Devil’s Workshop
Drug testing by injection on captive primates was banned under the 2000 Chimapanzee Health and Protection Act. In defiance of Congressional legislation, the US Army’s top biowarfare specialist Gene Olinger used the inhumane animal-testing method in a Biosafety Level 4 lab at Fort Detrick, Maryland, in 2013.
Without informing Congress and in disregard of the possibility of lethal viral escape into the populations of Baltimore and Washington DC, the joint ZMapp-Army research team used active ebola to to test the MB-003 antibody cocktail. The experiment was declared a “success”, even though 57 percent of the monkeys and guinea pigs in the trials died of ebola infection. That failure rate is same as the odds against patient survival in the present outbreak in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, meaning the MB-003 component of ZMapp& nbsp;has no curative properties. One might as well inject tap water.
MB-003 was developed through a decade-long collaborative effort between private industry and the US Army Research Institute for Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) with funding from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA).
The ZMapp formulation is a mixture of the US Army’s MB-003 and Zmab, comprised of two other monoclonal antibodies (Mab) from Russia tested at Canada’s National Public Health Laboratory in Winnipeg, Manitoba. The Canadian trials in macaque monkeys showed that antibody efficacy is drastically reduced within 48 hours of infection . The three types of antibodies are targeted at different nodes in the protein coat of the ebola virus.
The physical source of the Mabs used in the Canadian experiments was not the “antibody portfolio” from the British Defence Ministry under Royal patent as claimed. The antibodies were shipped from a Soviet-era biowarfare center called The State Research Center of Virology and Biotechnology (VECTOR).
VECTOR cannot be comprehended without knowing the background of the Soviet biowarfare program. The League of Nations enacted the Convention on Chemical and Biological Weapons in 1925. Nonetheless, Joseph Broz Stalin ordered the start of a Soviet biowarfaree program in the 1920s at the Leningrad Military Academy under the authority of the GPU or State Political Directorate.
The Revolutionary Military Council issued a 1928 decree to produce typhus and glanders, an infectious disease in horses, at the Solovki prison camp in the White Sea. Prisoners were subjected to experimental injections with biotoxins. Novelist Aleksandr Solzhenityn, author of Cancer War and The Gulag Archipelago, described Solovki as “the mother of the Gulag”. Laboratory facilities to test results from experiments were set up in Moscow at the military-run Scientific Research Institute of Microbiology.
Following Nazi Germany’s invasion of the Soviet Union, tulameria or rabbit fever bacteria was reportedly used by the Soviet military medical corps to infect tens of thousands of German troops in a decisive blow aimed at breaking the Siege of Leningrad. Tulameria was weaponized at the Kirov military laboratory.
The Soviet biowarfare program got a major boost during the closing months in the European theater of World War II. As the Red Army pushed relentlessly toward Berlin, Soviet intelligence chief Laurentiy Beria ordered the formation of special teams to capture German nuclear physicists and biologists. The Soviet spy services were by then well aware of German-Japanese cooperation in human experiments and viral attacks against entire Chinese cities by the Imperial Army’s Unit 731 in occupied China.
In April 1945, the Soviet counterintelligence agency SMERSH sent Soviet scientists in armored cars to Berlin’s top science research centers. Nuclear physicist Manfred von Ardenne and Peter Adolph Thiessen, a professor at Friedrich Wilhelms University (since renamed Humboldt University), surrendered on condition that their lab equipment be spared destruction. Along with Ardenne, biologist Wilhelme Menke was flown to Moscow, marking the start of biowarfare tech transfer from Germany to the Soviet Union.
(Under Project Alsos and Operation Overcast, the US Army also captured German scientists, who were then sent by the OSS-CIA/MI-6 to American and Canadian laboratories under Operation Paperclip.)
During the Soviet occupation of East Germany, the military intelligence branch NKVD forced thousands of German scientists and technicians, including microbiologists, to relocate to new military-run research centers in Russian territory under Operation Osoaviakhim (Volunteer). In 1946, the most advanced biowarfare lab Sverdlovsk-19, lab was created in the Urals city since renamed Yekaterinburg.
Grounds for Paranoia
During the Cold War, the Soviet drive to develop bioweapons as a retaliatory measure was not based entirely on paranoia. During the Korean War, Japanese veterans of Unit 731 were sent by the CIA on nighttime aerial drops over the Yalu River valley. In addition to brucella, a lesser-known toxin in the Unit 731 bio-arsenal called hantavirus was released in rat manure mixed with rice straw and horse hair over North Korea and the Manchurian border region to wipe out Chinese troops and Russian military advisers.
The clandestine biowar project, still denied by the CIA, delivered an unexpected blowback against American soldiers along the namesake Han River, which runs through Seoul. Some 3,000 US military personnel were killed as collateral damage from hantavirus infection released by the Unit 731-CIA covert operation. Adding to those self-inflicted casualties, the US Army’s biowarfare lab at the Dugway Proving Ground in Utah was the only possible source of escape of hantavirus-infected rodents into Indian reservations in the Four Corners region and at&nb sp;Yosemite National Park in spring 2012.
At the time of the Cuban missile crisis in the 1960s, Marburg virus, which belongs to the same filovirus family as ebola, was transferred from Belgrade to the Soviet Union. Fresh from launching the pioneer Sputnik satellites, Soviet rocket scientists designed missile warheads to deliver the lethal virus. (The still-classified delivery system is what prompted the CDC to falsely claim that ebola cannot be transmitted through the air, which points to America’s covert possession of the same type of long-distance biowarfare system.)
In the 1979s, the US-backed Rhodesian settler military waged biowarfare against Soviet-backed Zimbabwe liberation guerrillas by releasing cholera and anthrax along the border with Mozambique. Rhodesia was a testing ground for the South African-Israeli biowar labs. Biological warfare was also suspected in the Angolan War, but evidence could not be obtained due to the destruction of entire districts by apartheid South African forces fighting pro-Soviet rebels trained by Cuban volunteers.
Accidents by Design
An accidental 1971 release of airborne smallpox from the Aralsk-7 lab at Ostrov Vozrozhdeniya (Rebirth Island) killed a female marine researcher on a boat in the Aral Sea and spread to children at a local housing project. The incident, which should have prompted the Soviet government to reduce its sprawling biowar establishment, instead reinforced a mindset of cover-up. A year after UN passage of the Biological Weapons Treaty of 1973, the network of military biowar labs was disguised as the Biopreparat agency, supposedly under civil ian administration.
In 1976, an anthrax outbreak from Sverdlovsk-19 killed 64 people with frightening speed, threatening the very existence of that densely populated urban center for heavy industry and weapons production. In a retarded response, Biopreparat came to the decision to move its animal-testing facilities into the isolation in Siberia. Relocated to Russia’s coldest city, Novosibirsk, the Institute of Molecular Biology and the Research and Design Institute of Biologically Active Substances (IBAS) formed the core of VECTOR, which was officially inaugurated in 1985.
Under the civilian cover of the ministries of public health and science-technology, chief scientist Lev Sandakhchiev expanded VECTOR research into viruses including equine encephilitis, influenza and Machupo. Production chief Dr. Sergei Netyosov organized an assembly line for industrial output of smallpox. The handling of viruses like rinderpest and African swine fever were adapted for aerial spraying like farm chemicals under Project Ecology.
Soon after Belgian microbiologist Peter Piot, a personal friend of dictator Joseph Mobutu, first identified the ebola virus, Russia obtained samples. President Mobutu was a fierce conservative who came to power in a Belgium-US sponsored coup following the assassination of nationalist hero Patrice Lumumba, and had no affection for Moscow.
The two possible channels for ebola to reach Moscow involved Israel. In that decade, Tel Aviv sought Moscow’s cooperation in allowing Russian Jewry to emigrate to Israel, so ebola samples may well have been a bargaining chip in the bilateral negotiations. The Israeli Defense Force had trained Mobutu’s paratroopers who staged his coup, and thereby Tel Aviv gained insider access to the Belgian Congo-Zaire regime. As for the other potential route, Piot was based at a university in Antwerp, which has a large wealthy population of Jewish diamond brokers who imported the gemstones from the Congo and had the cash to bribe lab technicians. Ebola, most likely smuggled into Russia by the Zionist netw0rk, became the ultimate weapon in VECTOR’s cabinet of horrors.
Shinzo Abe’s Biowarfare Connection
In the late 1980s, Mikhail Gorbachev pulled the plug on the Soviet military-industrial complex during the collapse of the Soviet Union. Post-perestroika budget cutbacks by the Gorbachev and Yeltsin governments resulted in the flight of many top Russian microbiologists to the US and Israel.
To generate income for jobless weapons designers, Boris Yeltsin’s national security advisor Oleg Lobov established covert cooperation with the intelligence arm of Japan’s Liberal Democratic Party. At the new Russo-Japan University in Moscow, instructors from the Japanese state-sponsored Aum Shinrikyo sect used meditation techniques to recruit more than 2,00 Soviet weapons scientists. The founders of the false-front college included Lobov, rightwing politician and later Tokyo governor Shintaro Ishihara and former foreign minister Shintaro Abe, the father of Japane se prime minister Shinzo Abe.
Soviet scientists, including biologists, were transferred as “practitioners of meditation” to work at secret labs built by shell companies fronting for Japan’s military-industrial corporations. According to leaks from the National Police Agency, Aum guru Shoko Asahara ordered his followers to obtain ebola virus samples from Zaire, apparently to provide his Russian recruits with raw material for Japan’s revived biowarfare program. The sect’s chief scientist Hideo Murai, who pledged to “disclose all” to the reporting team at The Japan Times Week ly, was murdered in downtown Tokyo in a televised knife attack on April 23, 1995, by an ethnic North Korean gangster. Disclosure of the full extent of Russo-Japanese biowarfare cooperation was silenced with him.
Aum Shinrikyo’s main weapons smuggler Kiyohide Hayakawa, now facing a death penalty for the Tokyo subway gassing, is a former Unification Church member based in Kobe, as was Shinzo Abe who served as a research manager at Kobe Steel during Murai’s employment there. (That port city was also the hub for Unit 731 vets, which accounts for flu expert Kawaoka’s graduation from Kobe University.)
Hayakawa transported sarin precursors from Volvograd into Pyongyang on more than 20 visits, according to Japanese intelligence agents. There is a strong likelihood that batches of Soviet-weaponized ebola are now in the North Korean arsenal. That probability, rather than any concerns about an ebola outbreak in tropical Africa, is the motivation behind the massive Pentagon program to develop an antidote.
Doctors Who Stare at Goats
Other than the primate center in Sochi on the Black Sea, Russia’s only lab animal-raising facility is based at VECTOR and was named the Animal Farm. Like George Orwell’s cozier version, a menagerie of pigs, horses, sheep, goats, rabbits and mice live under one roof. Raising lab animals is different from agrarian husbandry because in many cases specimens have to be stripped from birth of antibodies and pathogens, plus are often fed special milk formula and medicinal feed.
Grazing animals like horses, sheep and goats, and also surprisingly omnivorous pigs, have stronger immunity to ebola than do humans. When exposed, these creatures produce large amounts of antibodies against the virus. VECTOR researchers inoculated horses with active ebola to stimulate production of equine immunoglobulin (IG), a lipid or fat-based agent that binds to the virus’s protein coat, disabling its ability to attack host cells.
Moving beyond horses and guinea pigs, researchers Natalya Kudoyarova-Zubavichene, Nikolai Sergeyev, Alexander Chepurnov, and Sergey Netesov used goat IG on ebola-infected baboons in 1999. From the goat serum, the VECTOR microbiologist extracted several types of antibodies. Goats are a better for making antibodies than horses, being easier to breed, cheaper to feed, quicker to raise and expendable without tears.
The VECTOR serum, which has been repeatedly tested, is the source of the antibodies and interferon in the Manitoba monkey trials and used to treat Dr. Brantly, Writebol and up to a dozen unidentified ebola victims among medical personnel in Africa.
From Farm to Pharm
For biotech companies like ZMapp or Tekmira, along with major players Monsanto and Altria, antibodies from goats do not enable the foisting of an expensive drug prices on to patients and their families. The key to corporate profitability is to mystify the public with an exotic and futuristic technology. Most of that transgenic research for medicinal products is done in the shade, away from media headlines about Monsanto’s GMO crops. The secrecy of experiments and lab locations is abetted with lab attacks by militant animal-rights& nbsp;activists, who function as agents provocateur for the drug industry.
Sheltered from public scrutiny is the past work of Mapp BioPharm’s Dr. Larry Zietlin on Monsanto-funded research. Back in 1998, Zeitlin was a Baltimore-based researcher with ReProtect, a business spin-off from the John Hopkins medical school. His work on a monoclonal antibody (Mab) against vaginal herpes was sponsored by Agricetus.
Located in Middletown, Wisconsin, and wholly owned by Monsanto, the Agricetus Campus is where Roundup Ready soybeans were genetically modified to survive toxic organophosphates. Zeitlin and Vikram Paradkar of Agricetus were involved in genetic modification of corn to produce anti-herpes Mabs. The history of anti-ebola ZMapp can be traced back to Monsanto’s Franken-corn.
That same Wisconsin “pharm farm” is where predecessor company Cetus, a biotech start-up funded by the CIA-linked WR Grace Corporation, innovated the method to grow human genetic material inside corn and tobacco plants. Its “gene gun” was invented to fire tiny gold beads at high velocity to insert foreign genes into plant DNA.
Transgenic tobacco survived in better shape than WR Grace, which was forced to declare bankruptcy under asbestos lawsuits by lung cancer victims. Medicines from tobacco, however, failed to live up to their early promise. Meanwhile the smoking industry was hammered by federal health warnings and lawsuits by state attorneys. Faced with prospects for a decline in revenues, Big Tobacco executives, including Susan Ivey Cameron at Reynolds American (RAI), used corporate acquisitions to stave off a plunge in investor dividends. An underlying rural t rend, however, threatened Reynold’s core strength in contract farming: Tobacco growers started to switch to other crops.
Capital-intensive biotechnology is a survival strategy for dying sectors of the economy to maintain the book value of their assets, which is all-important for investor confidence and bank lending rates. Therefore, in a sleight of hand, the empty chewing-tobacco sheds in Owensboro were converted into biotech pharms by Kentucky BioProcessing, a subdivision of Reynolds American.
The key player in tobacco’s makeover is leading biotech advocate Charles Arntzen, former director of the Infectious Diseases Center at the BioDesign Institute, who has done research for Dupont and Monsanto, and received funding from them for his former institute at Cornell and many other research projects in the US and India. Arntzen is the link man between Monsanto’s transgenic tobacco and Reynolds’ Kentucky BioProcessing that is now pharming the Army-ZMapp MB-003.
After Arntzen was hit with harsh criticism from a congressional science committee in 2001 for EU trade restrictions of US-grown GMO foods and feed, his efforts focused on the alternative strategy of producing medicines inside transgenic plants. GMO use for drug production is not banned by the EU, since growing antibodies in tobacco, corn and cotton is perceived to be more humane than animal-sourced vaccines. Funding was channeled by the Agriculture Department and corporate giant Monsanto away from GMO seed into transgenic pharming.
One nagging question screams out from the transgenic tobacco scam: Was the serum actually produced at the US Army Veterinary Corps’ animal pens in Guam, Turkey, Korea or the Sinai? When it comes to tobacco, it’s all smoke and mirrors.
A Cure Worse than the Disease
Among its many biotech plays, open and covert, Monsanto is the major corporate investor in Tekmira, a Vancouver market-listed developer of an RNA interference (RNAi) strategy to disable the ebola virus. Monsanto’s $1.5 million investment was a mere pittance, considering the fact that Tekmira had been awarded a $140 million ebola antidote contract from the Pentagon’s Medical Countermeasure Systems BioDefense Therapeutics office.
Monsanto’s cash infusion was part of a complex deal involving tech transfer of Tekmira’s RNAi-based weed-control biotech, worth up to $86 million, to the jolly GMO giant. The other attraction for Tekmira management is Monsanto’s worldwide network of transgenic laboratories and farms along with its marketing muscle in the US and the developing world.
The partnership is just one step in Monsanto’s strategy to replace its discredited GMO method with the new RNA interference technolog. RNAi propels the agriculture-based company into the battle for dominance over the emerging field of transgenic pharmaceuticals. A dozen other major players are also making cross-alliances between gene-altered agriculture and transgenic drugs. Sygenta, the Swiss-based producer of seeds, recently acquired Belgium-based DevGen to access its RNAi techniques. Bayer launched a takeover of AgraQuest, a UC Davis spinoff that infec ted its lab workers on secret tests of tropical fungi.
A corporate race is on to overtake GE Health’s Dharmacon, which leads a consortium of laboratories called RNAi Global Initiative that includes microbiology powerhouses Cambridge Institute for Medical Research, University of Manitoba, Harvard and the Weizman Institute of Science in Israel.
Money, and not medical care, is the driving force behind transgenic production of monoclonal antibodies. This was certainly true for ZMapp, which had to pull its stock listing in 2012, due to delays in promised drug approval. The West African ebola crisis was therefore exploited in the publicity gimmick of sending the “secret serum” to Dr. Brantly. The real story of the goat serum, which is closer to a James Bond spy thriller, is that the envelope should have borne the return address of: “From Russia with Gloves .”
Through the Keyhole
Why RNAi? Old-school genetic engineering is based on inserting genes into the DNA of a plant or animal that needs to be protected from an invasive bacteria, virus, fungus, chemical or an environmental factor like drought. GMO technology aims at strengthening biological defenses with a specific gene from another organism.
RNAi, in contrast, is an offensive bio-weapon for preemptive strikes against a invasive pathogen by disabling one or more of its gene sequences. RNAi uses a short segment of genes that fit like a key into the RNA or DNA of the attacker. The “teeth” of the key must exactly match the “shape” of the gene-sequence of the invader, like the right key fitting inside the lock of a door. There is only one key for every “keyhole” in the attacker’s genome. The goal of an exact match is a lock-down,&n bsp;with the assailant’s attack mechanism completely blocked by a segment of matching RNA.
Another type of RNAi counterattack is to deploy what’s called a “dicer”, a short piece of RNA that can chop the attacker’s messenger molecules (sent and received by viruses to communicate the location of a host cell and latch onto its docking point) into pieces. One dicer can slice apart unlimited numbers of alien messengers, like a chainsaw ripping through a pile of logs. If released into the wild, could there be the microbiological equivalent of a Texas chainsaw massacre? In the contagious world according to Prof essor Arntzen, RNAi could turn out to be better than ebola.
From Evolution to Engineering
The cut-to-the-quick method of RNAi therapy is seriously flawed. Its proponents claim that the attacking segments are precisely matched to a specific pathogen’s DNA or RNA, for instance only against the genes of a corn root worm and nothing else. That is a simpleton’s assessment based on limited knowledge of nematodes and insects.
A group of entomologists has organized an Internet-based network to post the genome of 5,000 insects, a challenge that could take up to a decade. Biologists estimate the total number of insect species as between 2 million and 30 million. As for nematodes or small voracious worms, there are between 500,000 and 1 million species, of which only 25,000 have been classified. It will thus be impossible at least for decades before anyone can determine whether a RNAi sequence is safe for “friendly” species. Nematodes, nasty as they appear through a microscope, are one of the main defenders of higher life-forms because they eat vast numbers of bacteria.
In the realm of medical therapy, putting an RNA block on a virus’s attack mechanism does not permanently eliminate the threat. It only encourages the virus to mutate. Viruses are amazingly responsive and can evolve around obstacles with strategies that often defy scientific comprehension. Influenza viruses, for example, are constantly evolving to meet new challenges in their environment. The recurrent breakouts in the West African pandemic have expanded in waves, indicating that the ebola virus is repeatedly mutating to evade clinical treatment.
Some of the knocks against RNAi include:
– Its use against viruses, like antibiotics against bacteria, can provide resistance and drive mutations, resulting in the creation of super viruses like the Spanish flu that killed 20 million people in 1919.
– RNAi can pass from the targeted organism into an unintended subject, for example, from corn to humans, as shown in a recent research study.
– While the potential exists to lock down human genes so as to block autoimmune disorders and allergic reactions, the RNAi tools can also be used to suppress hormones in sex offenders and attack organic psychological disorders deemed antisocial or otherwise undesirable, provoking unpredictable side effects; and
– Extrapolated into social policy, RNAi can be a means to prevent reproductive rights in entire populations through gene-blocking to impose birth control. Endless Rebirth
Oblivious to the risks of RNAi therapy, Monsanto is preparing to launch a transgenic pharmaceutical push into the African market. Their presence in the continent’s agriculture is already well established through projects like the Water Efficient Maize for Africa (WEMA) project funded by the Gates and Buffett foundations. The last continent of wild biological diversity is being engineered into controllable bio-robots.
RNAi is being used in isolation from the wider biological community, as if humans and plants are self-enclosed machines, and therein lies danger. Molecular biologists are of a mindset and outlook closer to mathematicians than to biologists, reducing the biosphere to codes and computer modeling. The DNA of higher animals, including humans, are not of their sole design but comprise a compendium of species, a track record of evolution through a process of endless rebirth. Retrofitting something as changeable as DNA is like installing p lumbing in the ocean, technological hubris doomed to fail.
Redemption Demands Action
Faced with raging ebola, West African nations should seek out a technology transfer of ebola antibody production methods from Russia and establish goat serum facilities in a bio-secured location isolated from population centers. Meanwhile, antidotes should be procured directly from VECTOR, which now has the redemptive opportunity to leave behind its dreadful past.
The ebola crisis is increasing the dependency of West African nations on Euro-American controlled institutions like the World Health Organization and the World Bank, while opening new avenues of exploitation for Western pharmaceuticals and biotechs.
African societies need to instead build up their own medical capabilities and produce a mix of therapies, ranging from limited use of vaccines while developing a broader variety of herbal therapies, such as Artemisia annua, which was the first effective treatment against malaria. A systematic search for herbal therapies against hemorrhagic fevers has yet to begin. The foundations of wholistic medicine, associated with witchcraft in the African tradition, are better diet, pure water, habits of clean living and cutting exposure to decay, especially in food and dead animals. These steps are basic to health and prevention of epidemics.
The corporate predators are exploiting Africa in its hour of need, and the lesson to be drawn is that self-help and not hand-outs could be the only way out of persistent crisis.
Yoichi Shimatsu, a Thailand-based science writer and environmental consultant, organized an expert biomedical team for public health education during the SARS coronavirus outbreak in Hong Kong and the Asian avian influenza pandemic. As general editor of The Japan Times Weekly, he led the investigative journalism probe into the 1995 Tokyo subway gassing and the Japanese state-sponsored smuggling of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons technology by the Aum Shinrikyo sect.