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H7N9 - New Super Bugs

Introduction

Everybody remembers the scare we had a few years back, in 2009, regarding an airborne avian flu virus en route from China by the name of H1N1. It was a real scare which resulted in quite some deaths globally and some here at home, in the US, with many people getting vaccinated for a virus which ended up being, at least here in the US, more bark than bite. Well, I've been doing some reading on this lately to see what the latest news is and I was shocked to find out that there are now 2 new viruses, both originating in China and both considered, like the H1N1 virus, a flu virus which somehow crossed over from animals to people and are amongst the deadliest of all time with a greater than 50% kill ratio (CFR).1)

These two new viruses are the H5N1, a slower to progress sub-type virus and an even newer H7N9 sub-type which has been much faster than the H5N1 in its ability to adapt and mutate to be able to infect humans. These are the 2 new viruses which I have found during my research and the one I will focus on the most will be the faster acting one, the H7N9, which has just began, in 2013, to infect and kill quite a few people at an alarming CFR, in China - where it originated.

H7N9

Influenza (flu) A viruses come from numerous avian species, and for some unknown reason come almost exclusively from China. Influenza type A viruses have always attacked many different species of birds, hence the term, bird-flu. They are usually only seen in one species, but they frequently cross over and affect another species, making them very ill, which is where the term mixing comes from, or scientifically known as mutation or antigenic drift. This is how new types of viruses or sub-types of viruses are created. Eventually these viruses mutate until they become effective or infective rather, to mammalians which include the human species. These viruses can be highly infective, easily transferred and worst of all, they can kill like the Black Plague or the Bubonic Plague which had a death rate of 50%-60%, meaning over half of those infected will eventually die.2) The kill or death rate is scientifically known as CFR or Case-Fatality Rate.

As I mentioned earlier, most of us have probably heard of the H1N1 virus that took quite some lives outside the US and to a certain degree was also deadly here in the US. This was back in 2009 and most people don’t know that this H1N1 virus is still out there and still impacts the world’s population, and continues to be a constant threat during flu season.

A quick mention – another very deadly and newer virus which I believe has played a key role in giving birth to the faster H7N9 and some may be familiar with is the H5N1. This subtype appeared around 1997 in China, and although it appeared before the widespread H1N1, H5N1 has not had the same global effect because it has been a very slow acting virus, slow at adapting for Human to Human (H2H) infections. Just this year alone, China has announced new infections almost daily, which now total over 132 cases of this new deadly influenza that has been subtyped as H7N9 with 38 deaths thus far and a total cost to China of nearly $7 Billion.3) Like all similar subtypes, this strain has been known to infect birds, but it hasn’t been up until very recently, 2013, that this strain has mutated and now effectively and fatally attacks humans. The sheer number of new cases daily, and including deaths has been staggering and yet we don’t hear about it in the news. I want to be clear about this - this is amongst the deadliest and highest CFR super-bugs that have come around since the Black Plague, with the latter having a CFR of 50%-60%.

Electron microscope image of Influenza A (H7N9).

Above picture originated on government website, www.nih.gov.4)

Although we have not heard about it on the news, since all (except 1 death in Taiwan) deaths have occurred in China, The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have treated this new deadly virus with much attention and caution. One thing these two subtypes of the flu virus have in common is that they are new to humans and this is a big reason why they are so deadly. Our bodies have no way of knowing how to fight a totally new virus so when one gets infected – only those whom are either lucky or have very strong immune systems survive which is why the death rate or CFR on the H7N9 is extremely high, at over 50%. Not only is this new super-bug new and deadly but recent studies have found that it is also resistant to drugs. This then, is the perfect killer bug – a virus so new that our bodies don’t know or lack the ability to fight it off and also a virus which has found a way to mutate in such a fashion that it is resistant to drugs used to kill similar viruses.5)

History can teach us a lot so I did a quick search of all the deadly flu strains over the last hundred years which negatively affected the United States and this is what I found:

Effects of Past Pandemics on the United States


Pandemic——–Estimated U.S. Deaths——-Influenza A Strain——–Populations at Greatest Risk

1918-1919 —————500,000————————-H1N1————————–Young, healthy adults

1957-1958 —————-70,000————————–H2N2————————–Infants, elderly

1968-1969 —————-34,000————————–H3N2————————–Infants, elderly

2009-2010 —————-18,300————————–H1N1 (swine)—————Young, healthy adults

Here’s a scary historical fact: all of the above pandemics had a CFR of merely two percent (2%) or less. Worldwide, the current CFR for the slow adapting H5N1 virus is greater than sixty-percent (60%), which means that every 60 out of 100 people who have caught the H5N1 virus have or will die. Given the newer and much faster spreading H2H - H7N9 virus, it is adapting to humans at a much faster pace and this pace can hit an inflection point literally overnight potentially causing a massive pandemic nobody is ready for. As I mentioned earlier, the Black Plague had a CFR of 50% - 60%, a shocking statistic to consider. To further put this death potential into perspective – a CFR of .1% which is one-tenth of 1%, in a country the size of the United States would result in tens of thousands of deaths per year.6) A death rate of 50% or quite possibly higher (given the slower adapting H5N1 is already at over 60%) would potentially devastate entire civilizations and if one takes into account that unlike past plagues or viruses which were promptly exterminated once a vaccine was found – this new H7N9 will be more challenging due to the fact it may be a long lasting virus since it has thus far proven resistant to our very modern and powerful drugs and vaccines. Such a virus, if it were to go global, could literally change the entire socio-political and demographic landscape of the world. The possibility and potential for such a virus is real and can set-back entire civilizations, decades - if not longer, due to the difficulty any society would face in replacing their educated, talented and skilled citizens. Add to this the fact that women and children tend to display what’s called supermortality rates to these plagues and a modern society could potentially be set back half a century or more.7)

Be Prepared

Since a H2H virus attacks all humans nobody is safe. One has to expect that they will be infected by the virus. To better prepare it helps to understand a bit about how a virus functions. First of all, unlike a bacteria, a virus is said to not be a living organism. The reason is that it cannot reproduce. Therefore, a virus needs a host to be able to duplicate itself and take over your entire body.

All viruses, once entering your body, look for their particular host cell and once the virus finds that cell it latches onto it and injects its own virus DNA inside your cell which is programmed to produce whatever your body needs from that particular cell. The virus DNA then reprograms your cell, literally hijacking it, and turning it into a manufacturing plant for itself, instructing your cell to produce many more viruses, which are temporarily hidden inside your cell and therefore cannot be spotted and attacked by your guardian cells, the T-4 cells. Therefore, by the time you are feeling sick it is too late to take things like Vitamin C, when you feel sick all of a sudden it is due to these hijacked cells bursting open and littering your bloodstream with viruses, just like the one which infected you, without your knowledge, just days later. Now you are fighting against time, and hope that your body's immune system is strong enough to fight this virus off. You can take things to control your fever and you can even take medication, such as anti-virals, which may aid you body but in the end, if your body cannot fight the virus off, there is not much you can do for it.

Therefore, it is key to be prepared before you are infected. Like one would expect, good diet and exercise go a long way for building a strong immune system. Just 15 minutes of exercise per day can do wonders for you immune system and adding a diet rich in fruits and vegetables complements the exercise that much more.

Unfortunately we live in a world where we don't always have time to eat all four food groups every single day. I recommend having at least 2 crucial vitamins on hand and taking them regularly or as you need them for low levels. I'm referring to iron and Vitamin C. Women tend to be low on iron compared to men and therefore have weaker immune systems due to the fact that your white blood cells (which are your immune system cells) function as a ratio to your red blood cells so if your red blood cells are low then your white blood count will most likely be low. Perhaps this is a reason women tend to have a considerable higher death rate during pandemics compared to men. I would make sure my iron levels were normal and if not then I would take an iron supplement until I get the desired levels. A good organic, plant based liquid iron can be found at your New Seasons or Wild Oats store - this formula tends to work the best with the least undesired effects of taking iron supplements, such as constipation and nausea.

With the second vitamin, Vitamin C, it is much easier. You don't need to get a blood test as this vitamin is water soluble and is easily destroyed in your body by everything from water and sweat to stress and oxygen so most people are regularly low on vitamin C. And because Vitamin C gets destroyed so easily and because your body can easily eliminate any excess it is safe to take in significantly large quantities. In order to avoid side effects such as diarrhea, I would start with 500mg or 1000mg per day and every week or so raise it another 1000mg until you get to your desired dose. 5,000mg per day is considered a good dose with no side effects and some go as high as 10 times that although it's not necessary. Simply raise your level slowly until you get to your desired target and then take it preferably a couple times per day to ensure a steady level of Vitamin C throughout your body 24 hours per day.

One more important thing about Vitamin C. I have seen many people come down with the flu and then they hit the Vitamin bottle. That's not going to help. The reason is because of how Vitamin C helps your body fight against viruses. Because the virus needs a host cell in which to inject its DNA, Vitamin C works to harden and strengthen the outer walls of your cell membranes. As a result, when a virus latches on to your cell and tries to inject its DNA in your cell, if the outer membrane wall is strong and hard, the virus will simply not be able to get inside and use your cell to reproduce. Therefore, if you're already sick, then your blood is filled with viruses and making your cell walls stronger at this point is hopeless. One has to take vitamin C regularly ahead of time to ensure optimal benefits.

A quick note on sugar and Vitamin C. Most people don't know that sugar is a direct competitor to Vitamin C, because glucose has a very similar chemical structure to Vitamin C.8) You could be taking lots of Vitamin C and still catch the flu virus and wonder why the Vitamin C didn't help you. The reason is that sugar displaces Vitamin C as it competes with it in your body so for every 1mg of sugar you consume there will be 1 less mg of Vitamin C available for your body to use in strengthening your immune system - so if you have a sweet tooth, you may want to cut back if you see a massive pandemic coming this way. Just a word of caution because we do live in a world where sugar is in everything we eat and then we add more on top of it thinking it's ok.

Anybody who has been sick with the flu knows that the time between human exposure and the first signs of illness (incubation period) is usually 2 – 4 days, but sometimes, on rare occasion, can last up to 7 days. Therefore, if your house is on lockdown, in the event of a real and deadly pandemic, any new guests coming over should be placed in a 14 day incubation period to ensure there are no trails of live viruses anywhere on or inside their bodies. Viruses are known to live on inanimate objects and clothes for up to 2 full days. You can pick up a virus at the mall or anywhere where you're in contact with anyone or anything and you can be infected a few days and not even know it, all along coming home and infecting your wife and kids.9) For this reason, if one were to prepare for a real global pandemic, you would need provisions for 3 to 4 weeks, and not the normally recommended 3-4 days. Hospitals would fill up in the first 24 hours and it would take a few weeks for the government to send sufficient supplies and human resources to help everyone in need.

Having some medications (antivirals) which have been proven to work on similar sub-types would be a good idea. Neuraminidase Inhibitors are the type of medication which have proven to be effective for some people during your regular flu seasons and also with the infamous 2009 H1N1 pandemic, and also, amazingly, for the much more deadly H5N1, which unfortunately infected quite a few people. These antivirals may not prevent the flu, but they can lessen the severity and duration of the flu. Some of the antivirals you need to be familiar with are Relenza, Amantadine, Rimantadine, and Tamiflu.10) In some countries these are available over the counter while in others you may need a prescription or you may be able to legally purchase them on the internet from a reliable pharmacy. Also, make sure you have plenty of fever reducing medication at home such as Tylenol and Advil and it would also be a good idea to keep a thermometer handy and perhaps even a blood pressure machine which can be bought for less than $50. An abnormally low Blood Pressure can be an early sign you have been infected. Don't forget that a low fever is ok to have, it's your body trying to kill the virus while it prepares an antibody so I personally let my fever run to about 102 before I take Tylenol to reduce it. For babies, infants and toddlers 102 is the higher limit and I don't know if I would risk letting it run that high. This would be something good to talk to your doctor about well ahead of time - it's a good thing to know just for your common cold when it comes to small children.

There are many other precautions and preparations one could make, such as: having a supply of gowns, masks, lots of fresh water on hand as hydration is crucial, etc., but for the purpose of this article, this is a good list to try and remember. One should also try and remember that a weak immune system has almost no chance of surviving a new virus like the H7N9 or the H5N1 so the best way to prepare is via good habits which are diet, exercise and vitamin supplements.

Conclusion

It's obvious to me that even with all of our knowledge and modern technology it wouldn't take much to decimate many civilizations of this world. Where in the past we were devided by large barriers or desert, water, mountains, etc., today we are a global economy, a global entity where if one country suffers a setback, be it economic or something like a devastating plague, the entire world would feel its wrath and unfortunately its bite of death. In the past extremely high CFR plagues such as the bubonic plague wreaked havoc on the hosts in its home country but today - today, such a plague or virus would be just as bad only on a global scale. It is not unfeasible, for the world to suffer a 1 or even 2 billion death toll in the span of only 1 year. One just has to imagine the Black Death, for example, from centuries past - when civilizations, for better or worse, were isolated from each other, in today's time - and it's clear that such a plague would wipe out humans en masse - on a global scale like never seen before in all of human history.

Therefore, I think that we should expand our efforts to include research in why so many, if not all, such influenza viruses originate in China. There must be an explanation and if we can find out the cause we may be able to find a solution before we are wiped off the face of the earth because, because in today's global economy, we cannot isolate ourselves from the rest of the world, our largest trading partners - on whom our Exports, GDP and standard of living depend on. A solution may be there but from my research nobody is looking at what is different in China, compared to the rest of the world, which may cause these evil and deadly viruses to be born with such regularity.

I have given this some thought and based on my research I have come up with a conclusion which will not be popular. But I did find one big difference between all the civilizations of the world and China. One major difference which may be causing these alarming virus strains to be born with such frequency and which appear to be getting worse and worse with each progressing strain. I have read that some people think it is because the Chinese eat everything that crawls on the earth or in the sea below, things like bugs, snakes and rats. Although one can get sick from eating diseased animals, there are numerous countries, like Africa, India, etc., where people eat all sorts of animals and insects out of need more than anything else, and those other countries seem to be ok, they don't develop any killer, super-bugs like the H7N9.

However, I did find one major difference in China. In China, unlike any other country on earth, the citizens of China eat their own infant babies.11)This is an absolute fact and something I had to read, not twice but thrice, before I could actually believe it. If you don't believe this writing then believe the footnote at the end of this sentence because infant cannibalism is such an accepted and open practice in China that one can easily find YouTube vidoes showing all the gore in a nice restaurant atmosphere - it's almost like we've gone back in time, instead of becoming more civilized we have lost our minds and senses.12) And unlike other countries where people may be forced to eat what we'd consider disgusting bugs and rats, the Chinese people don't eat babies because they're poor. No, baby flesh is for the well-to-do, it is not cheap - it is a delicacy.

Kind of like going to a French restaurant just to be served snail (escargot) only in China they serve up a dish of a fetus, an infant - most likely a dead baby girl. I'm talking about morally accepted, out in the open cannibalism in the year 2013 amongst the fastest growing middle class in the world, China! This is most likely due to the government imposing hefty fines on families with more than one child, in an effort to curb run-away population growth so I'm guessing at some point somebody thought - “hey, why should I throw this perfectly good dead baby in the trash (American Style) when I can sell it.” That's not the shocking part to me, given the Chinese are a poor nation, what's unbelievable to me is that there are people in their country, lots of people, the ones who have the money to afford to eat anything they want, but instead choose to create a market by creating the demand for cannibalism of their own dead babies.

This act is foul and beyond words to describe and it is my incredibly strong feeling and instinct that the deadly viruses we're seeing today, arise from non-other than the disgusting and immoral eating habits of the affluent Chinese individuals who choose to consume the flesh of the aborted and dead infants of their very neighbors. And if this ever proves to be correct, we will most definitely feel the wrath of those dead babies, a global wrath, but since they are the ones eating this flesh, I think they will be the ones to feel the optimal pain when these viruses go airborne H2H - I believe we will see Chinese people dying by the millions per day. Karma to the nth power, their bones will rot with no hope just as the flesh of the infants they devoured rotted between their teeth without giving it as much as a single thought or feeling of remorse. I'm honestly left without words having just found this out in my research, that the Chinese government is standing idle, doing nothing about this incredulous behavior. Perhaps they too like the sweet taste of human flesh, a sweetness which will turn bitter with a vengeance.

I'm going to make one more bold and unpopular prediction. I believe this H7N9 virus will be the One, the next big pandemic, the plague which the H1N1 was thought to be but was not, only this new one, I believe, will be even worse than the most devastating predictions made regarding H1N1. There is something unique about H7N9, looking back 100 years there has been nothing like it. And although I'm not a qualified biologist or scientist, I also feel the slower moving H1N5 will play or has already played a key role, a sort of stepping stone, which allowed or rather, created the more powerful and much faster strain, the H7N9.

All of this is speculation and opinion on my part, but in my life experience, I have often been correct when I have done my research and have felt so strongly about something. For instance, two more recent examples - I predicted, before President Obama burst on the national stage, back when he was just starting his campaign and had few supporters and hardly anybody knew his name, that he would be elected president, not once, but for two terms. And I posted on finance boards, roughly 2 to 3 years ago, while Apple's stock was around $200 per share, long before any professional analyst uttered the word: Trillion, that Apple would reach $1,000 per share (by 2015) and be the world's first Trillion dollar company, an incredibly bold and unheard of prediction at that time. I have many more such examples but these two serve the purpose to help support my unorthodox, uncommon and sometimes unpopular predictions.

I truly hope I'm wrong or if I am right I hope the international community puts in the effort to find out what is causing all of these deadly strains to rise up out of China in order to find a solution. And if it turns out that these viruses are not coming from birds after-all, but from cannibalism, then I would suggest we all take some action before it is too late. For in a global market, like we have today, it would only take one flight, one single passenger from China, to start the domino effect on our soil which would be a fatal event we could never reverse. Let's be pro-active, let's choose to do something about this now, before it's too late and there's no better way than to raise awareness of this H7N9 virus which is already alive and well, and waiting for an opportune time to go airborne, Human to Human - but not if we stop it dead in its tracks. A global effort can accomplish anything, especially if we all work together, so I try to put my faith in humanity, and hope that it does what is right and pray that it is done just in time.

- Maximilian Wilhelm

Citations


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