We often hear that correlation is not causation, so why are world renowned scientists treating the Zika virus as the sole cause of microcephaly in Brazil when there are so many other factors?
Since the virus Zika was blamed for a cluster of cases in northeastern Brazil of the devastating birth defect microcephaly, the mainstream media have been dominated by fear of a Zika pandemic. Meanwhile, the real culprit(s) behind the surge in microcephaly in that corner of Brazil have been ignored, with the exception of a few scientists, and even fewer journalists.
This story started on Feb. 1, 2016, when the World Health Organization (WHO) announced a pandemic emergency with the Zika virus, a much milder cousin of Dengue fever. The WHO blamed Zika alone for the sharp uptick inmicrocephaly (shrunken heads, resulting in shrunken and undeveloped brains, with a wide range of symptoms and disabilities possible, depending on the severity of the case) in babies born in impoverished areas of northeast Brazil.
Politics and an unscientific approach ensued, with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and National Institutes of Health (NIH) joining forces with the WHO. The twin U.S. health care agencies launched a propaganda campaign of fear to justify a money grab from U.S. taxpayers. But for a change, Congress developed a backbone and denied the pleas of President Obama, CDC Director Tom Frieden, and NIH Director Anthony Fauci, who were seeking $1.9 billion for Zika vaccine R&D.
On June 28, the “Zika Bill” was blocked by Senate Democrats, due to issues over the “provisions of the bill,” but apparently not the lower price tag of $1.1 billion.
Missing CSI Investigation
Whether it’s a failed structure or a broken marriage, it often isn’t one item alone that causes the collapse, but a series of them in a cascade of negative events that does the final damage.
Instead of announcing the Zika pandemic, the three international health agencies should have launched a CSI-type investigation in that quarter of Brazil examining all of the environmental triggers and toxins that might be contributing to the surge in microcephaly. But that didn’t happen.
“The increase in microcephaly in that part of the world is unique to Brazil. You don’t see rate increases anywhere else,” Dr. James Lyons-Weiler said in a telephone interview on the likely suspects causing the rise in deformed fetuses and babies.
He explained that the “interactions between two or more of the potential causal factors are rarely ever studied by CDC’s scientists. They are not very good with studying interactions,” which might be the underlying cause of an infectious disease or spread of a virus.
Author and research scientist Lyons-Weiler’s early problem solving skills in recognizing the utility in information in DNA-hybridization led him into deeper research on the evolution of diseases, cancer, and mammals.
In 2015, Dr. Lyons-Weiler launched the Institute for Pure and Applied Knowledge (IPAK), a non-profit organization that since its inception has been challenging half-baked science taken as gospel.
In a co-authored paper that Lyons-Weiler led, his scientific team identified nine likely suspects for the rise in microcephaly. The unpublished paper to date, “Areas of Research and Preliminary Evidence on Microcephaly,Guillain-Barré Syndrome and Zika Virus Infection in the Western Hemisphere,” outlined the suspects.
They range from “Direct Zika-related microcephaly through unspecified mechanisms” and “molecular mimicry” in two types of vaccines given to pregnant women, to “Glyphosate toxicity in bovine products” leaching into those vaccines, and the unintended outcome of genetically modified (GM) mosquitoes, whose world pilot program was launched in 2012 in that same northeast corner of Brazil by the British concern Oxitec.
“The Zika virus has a protein that matches a human protein within 96 percent. Zika also has an element in its genomic sequence similar to one in other flaviviruses, too, like West Nile to Dengue fever. That means Zikacould enter the placenta and blood brain barrier of infants. Yet since there is no increase in acute microcephaly outside of Brazil, if it’s Zika, there may be a missing molecular or chemical co-factor,” Lyons-Weiler explained.
The ability of viruses to produce specific disease symptoms is often known to be modified by co-factors. “Something is different in Brazil,” said Lyons-Weiler.
On June 1, 2015, Denmark, a farming country, banned the sale and use of Monsanto’s ubiquitous weed killer Roundup, as a result of the Danish Environment Authority declaring glyphosate as a carcinogen. Earlier that year, the WHO classified glyphosate as “probably carcinogenic to humans.”
The ban and the statement had little effect on removing the sale ofglyphosate-containing products in the United States and South America. And that has bugged MIT Senior Research Scientist Stephanie Seneff, Ph.D., who conducts research at the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory.
At this year’s Autism One Conference in Chicago, Dr. Seneff presented a 66-slide deck, “Glyphosate, Folic Acid, Neural Tube Defects and Autism,” highlighting potential associations between chemicals, biology, and children susceptible to autism. In mid-June, Seneff presented at a U.S. Congressional hearing on glyphosate, in Washington, D.C.
In an email, Stephanie Seneff wrote: “It is ridiculous that the only thing the research community seems to be focused on with respect to themicrocephaly epidemic in NE Brazil is the Zika virus. While the virus may be a factor in the epidemic, there are many other potential factors that deserve at least equal attention. These include:
(1) “Simultaneous exposure to two herbicides—glufosinate and glyphosate—due to the recent introduction of GMO glufosinate-resistant soybeans on top of the glyphosate-resistant soybeans (glufosinate substitution for glutamine during protein synthesis is a direct path to microcephaly via disruption of asparagine synthase);
(2) “The addition of larvicides directly to the drinking water;
(3) “The introduction of the GM mosquitoes from larvae that were likely fedglyphosate-contaminated sugar and glyphosate-contaminated blood following maturation;
(4) “The heavy use of ethanol as a fuel in the trucks driving through the region (derived from GM Roundup-ready sugar beets or sugar cane sprayed with Roundup just before harvest), and;
(5) “The recent implementation of policies that encourage vaccination of pregnant women with Tdap, flu vaccine, and possibly MMR vaccine. All of these potential contributors should be thoroughly investigated before concluding that Zika is the entire story with the epidemic.”
What do all of these potential triggers mean? Even if they are not the direct cause of microcephaly, they are contributing to both polluting the land and thus plant, animal, and human life. That should give governments around the world pause.
To date, it has not worked out that way yet.
Where there is big opportunity for billions of dollars in profits, there is Big Industry—Big Pharma, Big Agriculture, Big you name it—led by multinational corporations that seek home run-like profits. There are also big governments that either look the other way or are fine with raking in some of those profits, too.
“The timing is wrong for Zika” said Lyons-Weiler, who pointed to a study showing an increase in microcephaly in Brazil two years before Zika made it to Brazil.
“What is clear is the experimentation with whole-cell pertussis vaccination in the slums is ongoing, because the population cannot afford the fee for the clinic, where the safer acellular vaccine is available. The increase inmicrocephaly began one year after Brazil adopted a mandatory prenatal care program, which includes vaccinations during pregnancy,” he concluded.
Zika is not about science. It’s about money and profit at the expense of the people, domestic and foreign.