Bill Gates Does Not Even Have a Degree in Biology
Peter Hotez Is a Scientist, Pediatrician, and Advocate in the Fields of Global Health, Vaccinology, and Neglected Tropical Disease Control
What's Going On?
Since when does being the richest person in the world, with an estimated net worth of US$84.2 billion as of January 2017 make you the go-to person about epidemics?
I perused the biography of Bill Gates and have found zero evidence that he even studied biology.
So why are the media asking him about the next pandemic?
Yesterday, I listened to Dr. Peter Hotez, the founding dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine and a professor of Pediatrics and Molecular Virology & Microbiology at Baylor College of Medicine, where he is also the Texas Children’s Hospital Endowed Chair of Tropical Pediatrics. (The video is shown next).
Clearly, Dr. Hotez is keenly aware that "something very odd is going on". And he expanded on what he called the new epoch of the Anthropocene [the period during which human activity has been the dominant influence on climate and the environment].
"Poverty is still the mother of all drivers of global infectious diseases." ~ Dr. Peter Hotez
Neglected Infections Emerging
In the Epoch of the Anthropocene: Panel Discussion
Another Factor: Wolbachia
Wolbachia is responsible for the most widespread pandemics in the animal kingdom (LePage and Bordenstein, 2013).
According to a 2008 study by Teixeira, Ferreira, and Ashburner:
"A clear strong beneficial effect of Wolbachia infection in Drosophila melanogaster has still not been shown, and it remains a puzzle why these bacteria are so prevalent in natural populations."
A few years earlier, in 2005, there was a report "to alert researchers to the frequency of Wolbachia infection in Drosophila stocks".
The report titled Widespread Prevalence of Wolbachia in Laboratory Stocks and the Implications for Drosophila Research by Michael E. Clark, Cort L. Anderson, Jessica Cande, and Timothy L. Karr stated:
- Employing several different strategies including male killing, induced parthenogenesis, cytoplasmic incompatibility, and feminization, and acting by as-yet-unknown mechanisms, Wolbachia alters host reproduction to increase its representation within a population.
- Wolbachia is closely associated with gametic incompatibility but also interacts with Drosophila in other, little understood ways. We report here significant and widespread infection of Wolbachia within laboratory stocks ..."
How Wolbachia in Aedes Gets Into Culex
15 Percent of Birds (Uganda) Had Zika in the '70s
In 2009, University of Queensland Scientists
Cultured wMelPop in Mosquito Cells For Three Years
In a 2009 National Geographic post by Ed Yong, I learned:
- A study four years ago [in 2005] proved that Wolbachia can infect Aedes aegypti and can spread to an entire laboratory population within a few generations.
- Wolbachia lowers a female’s lifespan, they don’t hurt her egg-laying ability, or kill her off before she gets a chance to breed. So a Wolbachia-based approach would never drive a mosquito to extinction – it would just kill older individuals before they become capable of spreading dengue fever.
Notably, Ed Yong surmised:
"You could, however, imagine that the loss of older mosquitoes would simply trigger the evolution of dengue viruses that develop more rapidly."
I would add that the loss of older mosquitoes could have also jump-started the Zika virus.
Zika Vectors: Both Aedes and Culex Mosquitoes
As Dr. Walter S. Leal noted in his report:
Fernandes et al. achieved a remarkable feat. In a short period of time, they were able to capture Culex quinquefasciatus from various suburbs in Rio de Janeiro and conduct vector competence studies.
Oddly, survival rate, yield of blood meals, and other parameters were not reported. And their data showed zero transmission rates for Culex quinquefasciatus at 7, 14, and 21 dpi.
Their publication was widely highlighted in the press and social media, but a report from Guo et al. that appeared the next day got absolutely no coverage.
And I also pointed this out to Dr. Aileen Marty, a member of WHO's Advisory Group on Mass Gatherings, Risk Assessments, Command & Control, EID (Emerging Infectious Diseases) that I was perhaps the only media person to notice their study.
Yet, WHO's Director-General, Dr. Margaret Chan chose to blame southeast Asia for their outbreak (rather than inform them that Culex are also Zika vectors, requiring radically different eradication strategies).
Guo et al. stated:
"These laboratory results clearly demonstrate the potential role of Culex p. quinquefasciatus as a vector of ZIKV in China.
Because there are quite different vector management strategies required to control Aedes species and Culex p. quinquefasciatus, an integrated approach may be required should a Zika epidemic occur."
Wolbachia-Infected Mosquito Releases
And Where Culex Mosquitoes are Zika Vectors
The World Needs More Canada?
By Jeremy Farrar, Director of the Wellcome Trust
This morning, I read a Globe and Mail post by Jeremy Farrar, director of the Wellcome Trust called The World Needs More Canada in the War on Epidemics and I left a comment similar to this one:
"I am leery of Wellcome Trust and Bill Gates (he is not a public health expert).When 240 researchers and public health experts called for the Olympics to be moved or postponed "in the name of public health", Wellcome Trust and SEEG (U of Oxford) people came up with a study based on the weather that claimed less than 1 percent of people could become infected with Zika.
Later, I found out SEEG (Spatial Epidemiology and Ecology Group, Department of Zoology, University of Oxford) had a conflict of interest as the "World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating Centre in Geospatial Disease Modelling". And the WHO also formed an unethical relationship with the IOC in 2010.Clearly, there are conflicts of interest.
Wolbachia can live in a dead host for (at least) a week - ample time for Culex to acquire it. West Nile virus (very similar to Zika) and malaria are enhanced in Culex by Wolbachia - Zika probably is too."
Ways to Help Stop the Zika Virus
I created a collection on Zazzle with 98 products (so far) that educate and promote the prevention of the spread of Zika. Every item purchased will help fund Zika research. You can even customize most of the products.
I also have a devoted Facebook page called Zika: Let's Stop a Global Pandemic where you can keep up-to-date on the latest findings from the scientific community (not mainstream media).
Author's note: All of my citations have a clickable link to their source. The list is found in the bibliography at the end of this page.