WATCH: U.S. Army Immunology specialist answers questions about the coronavirus

Today we begin with a key questions about coronavirus and a chief scientist on the frontlines. He’s John Dye, head of viral immunology at the US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, where they usually research biological countermeasures for warfare, but have turned their urgent attention to the civilian mission at hand.

Sharyl: Can you take me back to when you heard there was a coronavirus that was going to be an emergency situation in this country, what you thought and then what happened immediately?

John Dye: Yeah, so I would say the first I heard of it was when the outbreak occurred in Wuhan and there was information that was coming out of Wuhan and China about this coronavirus. So I was familiar with coronaviruses before from SARS-1 and MERS, and there are other four coronaviruses that are actually circulating in the population, the United States population, on a yearly basis, they just aren’t lethal.

Sharyl: What makes this one so different?

Dye: So it has to do with the genetic makeup of this particular virus. So those coronaviruses that are circulating in human population, they actually have been in humans for a long, long time. This particular coronavirus jumped from an animal species out of that species and spilled over into humans. Those are the type of viruses that are possible pandemics or epidemics that can lead to large scale lethality. So when you have something that goes from an organism that it is normally living in and pops into the human population, those are the type of viruses that we have to be worried about.

Sharyl: If there are people who’ve watched the news and tried to get information that they don’t understand, what makes this so different? Because they know a lot of people die of the flu every year. What would you say is the answer to that?

John: I would say that it’s the transmission rate, how much it is transmitting from one person to the next. So the transmission of the flu is normally about on a scale of what they call it, two, which means if I have it, I can spread it to two people. They’re talking about this particular virus as if I have it, I can spread it to four people. So you’re talking about doubling that and when you exponentially create that out, it provides a much larger web of infection.

Sharyl: So is it accurate to say, even if it turned out to be killing people at a rate similar to flu, if it’s reaching more people faster, there could be more deaths with coronavirus?

Dye: That’s exactly right. So you would have more lethality because it’s reaching more people more quickly, and then you also have to take into consideration the load that that then puts on the hospitals and the first care responders to being able to respond to that. You may not have enough equipment to allow you to be able to respond to a widespread infection.

Sharyl: Can it be transmitted through what they say aerosol, like a spray that hangs in the air?

Dye: So it depends on who you ask. We’re still learning about this virus. It takes years to actually figure out questions like you’re asking right now. There are some studies that have shown that it can last in the air up to five to seven hours. There are other studies that show that it’s only in the large droplets, so therefore it’s dropping out of the air very quickly. So is it a true aerosol as opposed to a fomite in those droplets? We don’t really know the answers right now and sometimes it’s more dangerous to put on information that we don’t know that for sure scientifically is backed.

Sharyl: Is it likely that a lot of Americans, perhaps millions have already had coronavirus, this strain, and are immune to it, they just didn’t know they had it?

Dye: It’s possible. Most likely not from something before this particular outbreak. I believe that there are probably a lot of people that are walking around right now that had this particular SARS-2 coronavirus and their immune response responded, they controlled the infection and they were asymptomatic. So I think what is needed is widespread epidemiology, which is the study of your serum to see did you see the virus, are you responding to the virus? So therefore you know that most likely if you got infected again you would not succumb or have any deleterious effects.

Sharyl: If something like this were to happen again with a different virus, would we have to go through this all over again?

Dye: So if it’s a totally different virus, we would. But I would hope that what we would do is we learn from this particular outbreak and this particular pandemic so that we would be better prepared for the next virus that comes along. So there’s a preparedness office in the United States called ASPR that actually is responsible for this. I would hope that we would have that office in place so that we’re able to respond to any pathogen that comes out of the woods.

The Army researchers say they are partnered with more than 100 pharmaceutical companies and academic research institutions on their medical work.

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5 thoughts on “WATCH: U.S. Army Immunology specialist answers questions about the coronavirus”

  1. Dr. John Dye, chief of viral immunology at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute for Infectious Diseases at Fort Detrick begins all of his answers with “So”.

    Which always reminds me of the old 150’s comedy show actors.

    So, sorry, it is just the way my mind works…

  2. Thank you for your excellent reporting. I wonder if you are suspicious about the medical-industrial complex ‘managing’ the viral outbreak?

    What if the explanations for overturning society to fight the Chinese Virus don’t make sense?
    Suppose the Chinese Virus ‘escaped’ from the level 4 biotech lab in Wuhan.
    At the moment, how this happened doesn’t matter; perhaps a malfunction of the lab’s systems or someone took an animal, which had been experimented on, out of the lab and sold it on one of the ‘wet’ markets. What matters is that the Chinese covered up the escape of the virus and then falsified the numbers of both the infected and dead people.
    The rest of the world has used these false figures on which to mistakenly base their statistical information about the growth of the virus in their countries. This has skewed the ‘models’ used to project the danger and allocate preventive measures.
    That’s bad enough. But suppose some people saw this as an opportunity. (Never let a crisis go to waste).
    Suppose some people saw that by manipulating the statistics in various models they could raise an alarm and cause great financial panic. In a falling market shorting stock is a money maker.

    Suppose some people saw that by manipulating the statistics in various models they could raise an alarm and cause great political turmoil and disrupt the Republican election momentum for November 2020.

    Suppose some people realised that such a panic would drive an enormous search for both a vaccine and, in the short run, new therapeutic drugs. Any pharmaceutical solution will mean great riches for the person or company that develops a cure or a treatment.

    The above suppositions raise questions: The very strong market appeared capable of resisting viral concerns just as markets resisted flu or pneumonia related deaths in the past. Why then was the Wuhan virus different? Why was it necessary to overturn a roaring economy and a rocketing stock market by requiring the shut-down of almost all economic and social activity?

    A possible therapy was available in the early days of the Wuhan outbreak: hydroxy-choloroquin. This drug was known to be effective at blunting the effects of the virus. In addition it had been used as an effective anti-malarial drug for decades and was known to have minimal side-effects.
    Why, early on, when President Trump suggested using hydroxy-choloroquin and its allied drugs was it down played and pushed aside by the two doctors who are supposed to be in charge of leading society to safety? Why was evidence of hydroxy-choloroquin both preventing and stopping the virus dismissed as ‘anecdotal’ by Drs. Fauci and Birx when common sense tells us if something works in similar situations it is at least worth trying?

    A possible answer is, money and power.

    In some cases patents on these existing drugs may have expired. And if old drugs work, why look for new ones? More importantly, if old drugs work how will private-public-funding of research for new drugs be justified?
    Being able to curb and manage the Wuhan virus until a vaccine is found means the rush and urgency to find the vaccine would calm down. The loud demand for immediate huge amounts of private-public money would be less credible.

    But any newly invented drugs will be patent-protected for many years and therefore offer potential sources of enormous financial gain. So if a mass panic could be sustained, it might help maintain the focus on finding ‘new cures’ and loosen purse strings at the same time.

    A ‘scientific’ display of charts and graphs, testimony from the doctors, the ‘scientists,’ authoritatively intoning about the findings of the latest ‘model’ and the daily drumbeat of spreading high mortality and infection rates could aid this purpose.

    But has anyone examined the backgrounds of the good doctors? Why are their close ties to the Democrat Party, Bill Gates, Moderno, CEPI and the Clintons not being scrutinized? Why are the previous and recent patent applications of both doctors, as well as the existing financial arrangements between the doctors and these organisations not being investigated? Why is a possible gigantic conflict of interest not being examined by investigators? Why did Bill Gates fund seven factories to pursue seven vaccines? How could he have made this investment decision as early as January 10, 2020?

    What if there are seven variations of the virus? What if the virus can be targeted at specific elements of the population: African Americans, Jews, Hispanics, the elderly? What if strains of the virus can be engineered to attack the body’s locomotor systems disabling soldiers, doctors, first responders?

    What if the keeper of the virus was also the keeper of the vaccine(s)? The keeper of the virus could kill a lot of people, but what is more sinister the keeper of the vaccine( s) could blackmail large groups and by controlling the access to the vaccine(s) control society.

    In the end, if the number of deaths from the Wuhan virus are similar to previous epidemics–Flu, SARS, h1N1 etc. – the doctors will claim that the gigantic societal disruption, ‘mitigation’, was justified as a preventative method. If the deaths from the Wuhan virus are greater, they will claim their predictions were accurate and their responses, again, were justified. Either way they will claim vindication.

    But what is also true about the staggering effect of mitigation is that no one will want to repeat it again; therefore any means to prevent such an additional calamity will also be justified. Ladles of private-public money can be spilled into the coffers of drug research and associated medical equipment enterprises with little resistance and feeble scrutiny.

    Meanwhile President Trump’s skyrocketing economy has been flipped on its back and brought to within inches of collapse. Upwards of 10-million Americans have lost their jobs, had their lives upended, and their families frightened. To rescue these victims and their corporate partners the public debt has been increased to astronomical levels beyond imagination.

    If anything is worthy of close scrutiny, this monumental fiasco is; to say the least. But instead we are patted on our heads and told there will be “time enough for that once we get through all this.”
    As the Romans knew about human endeavours, ‘cui bono,’ is almost always the path to truth.

  3. Considering all we know about the CoVid-19 and these two still want people to believe it is zoonotic. Either Sharyl has lost her edge or switched sides, because this is an example of her worst reporting. Lie to us once, we will never believe you again.

  4. Sharyl seems to ask the right questions to get to the facts. In todays world that type of repoting in no longer popular with the main street media and if you dont folow her work you just have difficulty finding the truth.
    She is a true Journalist and there are very few left to read.

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