The Vilification of Healthy People; Especially Children
Throughout the past several years apparently healthy people have been re-defined as being potential asymptomatic spreaders of a disease that can be lethal in high-risk individuals. The disease is known as the novel coronavirus disease that was first identified in 2019 (COVID-19). People around the world have been instilled with near-paralyzing fear that their family member, friend, neighbour and/or colleague who has no signs or symptoms can kill them by spreading severe acute respiratory syndrome-coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2), which is the causative agent of COVID-19.
This paradigm that a person has no way of knowing who is safe to be around has formed the rationale for mass lockdowns, masking, and mandating ‘vaccines’ for which the initial clinical experiments are still ongoing. This has caused massive fracturing of relationships around the globe. Nobody has been spared. Families have split, best friendships that lasted decades ended abruptly, and colleagues lashed out.
We were told that everyone had to do their part to prevent hospitals from being overwhelmed. Those who felt healthy could not be trusted. Unbeknown to them they might have a wicked pathogen oozing out of their body. Healthy children who were at a statistical risk equivalent to zero of dying from COVID-19 would almost certainly kill their grandparents if they were not locked down, masked and ‘vaccinated’. Those who resisted lockdowns, masking, and mandating of so-called vaccines that could neither prevent the disease nor transmission of its causative agent have been treated like uncaring villains that are deserving of segregation. Remember this front page of one of Canada’s best-known newspapers that was published on August 26, 2021?…
The Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, has been a classic example of a leader who has vigorously promoted this kind of hatred and division within his own country.
So, how did we get so far off-track with our response to COVID-19?
Why will future history books, if accurate, document this as the most mismanaged crisis of our time?
Most of the blame rests on the scientific and medical community allowing a very elegant scientific test to be chronically misused. This test is known as the ‘reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction’ (RT-PCR).
Did we follow the science?
In court, I have often seen judges puzzled by the apparent contradictions in the scientific evidence being put forward by various experts. These judges often question how scientists can interpret the same data so differently. When it comes to the science underpinning COVID-19, published papers can be placed into two bins:
Those that are trustworthy because they are based on sound scientific methods.
Those that are untrustworthy because they are based on flawed scientific methods.
In the past several years science in bin 2 has become voluminous and has contributed excessively to the rationale for the so-called prevailing ‘COVID-19 narrative’. The problem is that the science in bin 2 cannot be properly interpreted because it is built on a fundamentally flawed foundation. Too many scientists failed to critically assess the methods used to generate the early COVID-19 data. This has resulted in this junk science to snowball out of control. The RT-PCR test is at the heart of this problem.
The House Built on Sand Must be Dismantled
If one goes back to the birth of COVID-19 science and critically assesses it, misusing the RT-PCR test jumps out as a key fundamental flaw that caused substantial overestimation of the number of cases of COVID-19 and erroneous labeling of healthy people as asymptomatic spreaders of a deadly disease. The only way to correct course and stop the avalanche of faulty COVID-19 science is to establish which papers can and cannot be trusted. Importantly, editors of scientific journals cannot allow any more COVID-19 ‘facts’ to be published unless the authors unequivocally demonstrate that their data are based on methods that have been implemented properly. Most notably, authors must demonstrate that their research methodologies have been appropriately calibrated such that their conclusions are justified.
Misuse of An Elegant Scientific Technique Has Plagued COVID-19 Science From the Very Beginning
To properly gauge the scope of an outbreak of an infectious disease, one first needs to accurately diagnose it. Diseases are diagnosed primarily based on two things:
Accurately detecting the presence of a pathogen using a laboratory-based test.
Detection of signs and/or symptoms consistent with the disease, which is usually done by a physician.
Symptoms are aspects of a disease that a person experiences but cannot be assessed easily by an observer. Examples include general malaise, pain, and a loss of appetite. In contrast, signs of illness can be objectively observed and documented by others, and include coughing, sneezing, or a fever that can measured with a thermometer. Often, symptoms precede the onset of signs of illness.
When it comes to defining what it means to be ‘asymptomatic’, there are three relevant scenarios:
A person who is not infected with a pathogen will never be at risk of developing the disease associated with that pathogen. These are healthy individuals who are asymptomatic by virtue of not having been infected. They cannot infect others.
A person can be infected with a potential pathogen but never develop symptoms of a disease because the causative agent fails to cause substantial harm in the body. In many cases, this might be because the immune system can respond rapidly and effectively. There have also been examples of people getting infected with SARS-CoV-2 but never apparently experiencing symptoms nor developing signs of COVID-19. Infection does not always result in disease. For example, billions of microbes, including many bacteria and viruses, live on and in our bodies without causing us harm. They have invaded our bodies but do not cause disease, even though some of them can cause serious disease in other people or even ourselves should they get into an inappropriate physiological location (e.g., some fecal bacteria entering a body via the oral route). Infected but asymptomatic (disease-free) people are also healthy (i.e., there is no impairment to their ability to function in their daily activities).
People who get infected and then progress to a diseased state always have a period in between when they are ‘asymptomatic’. Technically, these individuals that do eventually get sick are referred to as being ‘pre-symptomatic’. One does not know if a person is truly asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic until the typical incubation period for a pathogen has passed; this is the expected time from infection to the onset of symptoms in a susceptible person. A person who is infected and symptomatic can spread the causative agent of the disease to others.
When people have COVID-19, they experience obvious symptoms and signs also usually become apparent. This is the scenario that has been easy to manage throughout the declared COVID-19 pandemic. People who are sick have been asked to stay home. From a social hygiene perspective, it is my expert opinion that this should be encouraged for all the infectious diseases we live with. This would reduce infectious disease-related morbidities and mortalities.
In the context of COVID-19, most masking, isolation and vaccination policies around the world are predicated on the assumption that transmission of SARS-CoV-2 can be efficiently mediated by asymptomatic people who are transiently infected but never get COVID-19 and/or pre-symptomatic individuals. This is based on the assumption that SARS-CoV-2 can replicate to the point where a person who is not coughing or sneezing can expel a threshold dose required to potentially infect another person. Although this is theoretically possible and likely occurs rarely, it is incorrect to conclude that this is commonplace and a significant driver of the spread of COVID-19. This incorrect concept is based on an array of scientific studies that relied on RT-PCR testing that was inappropriately calibrated.
How to Define a Case of COVID-19
Cases of COVID-19 should only be determined as follows:
It should be a physician making the diagnosis.
It should be based on the presence of signs and symptoms that are consistent with the clinical definition of COVID-19.
The presence of symptoms and/or signs should be supported by laboratory results derived from properly calibrated tests that demonstrate the presence of SARS-CoV-2 virions. A virion is a single virus particle. Virions can be replication-competent; these are the only ones that can potentially infect another person and cause disease. Or they can be replication-incompetent; these ones can never spread to others and cause COVID-19.
Throughout the declared pandemic many so-called ‘cases’ of COVID-19 were incorrectly ‘diagnosed’. Cases, especially early in the declared pandemic, have been defined by individuals other than physicians, assumed based on signs and symptoms only, or exclusively based on a positive laboratory test result. The latter has been extremely common. This contradicts the World Health Organization, which noted that “Most PCR assays are indicated as an aid for diagnosis, therefore, health care providers must consider any result in combination with timing of sampling, specimen type, assay specifics, clinical observations, patient history, confirmed status of any contacts, and epidemiological information”.
The core definition, and all-too-often the sole definition of ‘cases’ of COVID-19 has been based on the use of a laboratory testing method referred to as ‘RT-PCR’. To understand how asymptomatic people were mislabeled as significant sources of transmission of SARS-CoV-2, one must first understand how RT-PCR testing should have been properly calibrated around the world.
A polymerase is a protein that can copy DNA, which is a genetic blueprint. So, the PCR method requires this genetic blueprint known as DNA to be present in order to work. If DNA is in a sample, when a scientist adds a polymerase, a few other ingredients, and then varies the temperature, new copies of tiny portions of the DNA will be made. With each ‘cycle’ that the PCR test is run, more copies of these fragments of the genetic blueprint will be made. Once a threshold number of copies appear in the sample, they can be detected. Think of it like a photocopier. From a great distance, you might not be able to tell if a single copy of a page has been made. However, once you have a stack of five hundred pages sitting on the output tray, you know for sure that the photocopier is churning out copies. In short, PCR is a method that scientists can use to determine whether a particular genetic blueprint is present in a sample.
The genetic blueprint for SARS-CoV-2 is not made of DNA. Instead, it is made of a related structure called ‘RNA’. Therefore, to use the PCR test to determine whether an RNA-based virus is present in a sample requires one additional step at the beginning. Specifically, a ‘reverse transcriptase’ is used to convert the RNA from SARS-CoV-2 into DNA, portions of which can then be detected with the PCR test. This is how the RT-PCR test is used to detect the presence of small pieces of the genetic material from SARS-CoV-2.
The Inappropriate Use of RT-PCR Testing Caused a Disconnect Between Laboratory Studies and ‘Real World’ Data
Laboratory studies suggested that asymptomatic individuals could potentially shed infectious SARS-CoV-2 one to two days before the onset of symptoms of COVID-19. However, the largest ‘real world’ study done to date looked at the prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 in ~10 million people in Wuhan, China and found no evidence of asymptomatic transmission. This typical disconnect in the results of laboratory-based studies and ‘real world’ data is due to the former types of experiments having relied on the use of uncalibrated or incorrectly calibrated RT-PCR tests. An RT-PCR test can only determine if tiny fragments of the genetic material from a virus is present in a sample. It can never indicate, on its own, whether that material is from virus particles that have the potential to infect and cause disease, or from replication-incompetent virions or even portions thereof that cannot cause disease.
Flawed RT-PCR Testing Caused Over-Diagnosis of COVID-19
On its own, a positive result on a RT-PCR test to detect SARS-CoV-2 is insufficient to diagnose COVID-19, yet this became routine in most parts of the world. In addition to the potential for false positive tests, true positive results can also be obtained from genomes of SARS-CoV-2 particles that are no longer infectious. An example of the latter would be an individual who has mounted an effective immune response and may have remnant replication-incompetent viral particles or partially degraded viral genetic material inside relatively long-lived white blood cells that have killed the virus. These cells are known as ‘phagocytes’ and are part of our immune system. Indeed, following clearance of SARS-CoV-2 from the body, full and/or partial genomes of SARS-CoV-2 can remain for up to several weeks. Phagocytosis (or ‘eating’) of SARS-CoV-2 is a mechanism to kill and remove the virus from the body. These phagocytic cells tend to hang on to these ‘killed’ virions so that they can activate other immunological effector cells, including B cells that produce the antibodies we have heard so much about. As such, these phagocytes can be a source of SARS-CoV-2 genomes that could be amplified by a PCR test. However, these genomes would not have the potential to cause COVID-19. Instead it would evidence that the infection has resolved or is resolving. Persistence of whole or partial genomes that are not associated with infectious particles is well-documented for a variety of other viruses, including measles, Middle East respiratory syndrome-coronavirus, and other coronaviruses. A positive RT-PCR test for the presence of SARS-CoV-2 should never be used, on its own, to define cases of COVID-19; and definitely should not be used to claim that someone has the potential to infect another person.
Building a Rock-Solid Foundation for COVID-19 Science:
The Gold Standard Functional Virology Assay that Should Always be Used to Calibrate RT-PCR Tests
A gold standard test for infectivity of a virus is a cell-based functional assay that determines the potential to replicate and cause cell death. The assay works like this: Cells that are stripped of their anti-viral properties are put into a dish and allowed to adhere to the bottom. The cells would typically cover the entire bottom of the dish. A scientist can look under a microscope to confirm the cells are healthy. A sample then gets added to the cells. If the sample contains replication-competent (i.e., potentially disease-causing) virions, these will infect and kill the cells. A day or two later, the scientist can check the cells under a microscope again. If they see what is called a ‘cytopathic effect’, which means the cells have died, this indicates that replication-competent virions were present. If there was no cytopathic effect, there were no replication-competent virions. Here are pictures from my research team that show how this virology test works…
…the cells on the left were not exposed to a replication-competent (infectious) virus. They remain happily adhered to the bottom of the dish. There was no cytopathic effect. The cells on the right were exposed to a replication-competent virus that infected and killed them. As the cells died, they rounded up and lost their ability to remain stuck to the bottom of the plate. This is a classic example of cytopathic effect. You can see how easy it is to use this test to determine whether a sample contains any infectious virions.
To calibrate a RT-PCR test for SARS-Cov-2, samples from nasopharyngeal swabs of a large array of people would be split into two; one for RT-PCR testing and the other for testing in the gold standard virology assay. Scientists would note the cycle threshold values from the RT-PCR test that are associated with evidence of replication-competent virions from the cellular virology assay versus those that did not cause a cytopathic effect. This allows a cycle threshold cut-off to be determined. Above this threshold, there is no evidence of replication-competent virions in samples from the nasopharyngeal swabs. This is the objective and proper way to calibrate a RT-PCR test when studying transmission of a virus. Without doing this, RT-PCR test results cannot be interpreted in a meaningful way, and they would lead to inappropriate conclusions, like asymptomatic people being spreaders of COVID-19.
Early in the declared COVID-19 pandemic the Public Health Agency of Canada appropriately performed this calibration of their RT-PCR test. For the test they were using, they identified a cycle threshold cut-off of 24 for declaring people to have the potential to infect others. If they had subsequently offered this service to support studies of the spread of COVID-19, only samples yielding a signal at 24 or fewer cycles would be declared to have evidence of potentially infectious SARS-CoV-2. However, with no explanation provided, this initial and appropriate way of calibrating the RT-PCR assay was not required for labs around the world that were studying transmission of SARS-CoV-2. In fact, cycle threshold cut-offs were arbitrarily assigned. As such, RT-PCR data used to determine global cases of COVID-19 have been highly unreliable.
Even so-called ‘fact-checkers’ of people who criticized the inappropriate designation of the RT-PCR as a stand-alone gold standard diagnostic test have had to admit that it cannot possibly distinguish between infectious and non-infectious virions or parts thereof. For example, a ‘fact check’ from Reuters concluded “PCR tests are being used widely in England to show that SARS-CoV-2 viral genetic material is present in the patient”. I bolded the relevant text. Indeed, RT-PCR tests are a valuable tool for determining whether portions of a virus’s genetic material are present in a sample. They cannot determine whether that genetic material is from a replication-competent virion that would have the potential to infect someone.
Positive RT-PCR tests for SARS-CoV-2 in asymptomatic people are almost universally based on high cycle threshold values, which raises the question of whether these individuals harbor infectious viral particles. The absence of a functional cell-based assay to prove infectivity renders results of asymptomatic testing impossible to interpret accurately. Indeed, the World Health Organization, agreeing with many health professionals around the world, has emphasized that spreading of SARS-CoV-2 by asymptomatic individuals is rare and an emphasis should be placed, therefore, on testing people with signs or symptoms of illness, not those who are apparently healthy.
In addition to the Canadian study that identified a cycle threshold of 24 as an appropriate cut-off for declaring samples positive for infectious SARS-CoV-2, other studies reported results of similar calibrations of other RT-PCR assays for SARS-CoV-2. They identified cycle threshold cut-offs of 22-27 and 30. Altogether, this suggests that tests with cycle threshold values above 22-30 are likely not indicative of the presence of replication-competent SARS-CoV-2.
The logical conclusion is that it is erroneous to declare samples with high cycle threshold values, especially those above 30, as being positive for infectious SARS-CoV-2. However, in many countries people were assumed to be infectious when their samples were declared positive using RT-PCR assays with cycle threshold cut-offs as high as 45 cycles. Such an unjustifiably high cut-off would have resulted in a substantial overestimation of cases of COVID-19 and would have led to erroneous labeling of asymptomatic people as potential spreaders of COVID-19.
Failure to Calibrate the RT-PCR Test Shows How a Representative Influential Scientific Study Incorrectly Concluded that Asymptomatic People Might be a Risk for Spreading COVID-19
The figure below shows results of a published study that claimed to depict the frequency at which asymptomatic people tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 relative to that observed for people with symptomatic infections. Specifically, graphs are shown from figure 2 of a paper published in the influential Journal of the American Medical Association - Internal Medicine. The argument being made was that the frequency at which asymptomatic people tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 was like that observed for people with symptomatic infections. However, the authors failed to calibrate their RT-PCR assay.
Following is the description the authors of the study provided in the methods section of their paper. The most important portion of this text is the last sentence, which is bolded.
“Specimen Collection and RT-PCR for SARS-CoV-2
The URT specimens were collected from both nasopharyngeal and oropharyngeal swabs obtained by trained medical staffs (physicians and nurses). For LRT specimens, participants were given instructions the night before to collect a first morning sputum (after gargling) in a specimen cup; RT-PCR assays for SARS-CoV-2 were performed using Allplex 2020-nCoV assay (Seegene, Seoul, ROK) to determine the presence of virus through the identification of 3 genetic markers: envelope (env) gene, RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp) gene, and nucleocapsid protein (N) gene. The cycle threshold (Ct) during RT-PCR testing refers to when the detection of viral amplicons occurs, it is inversely correlated with the amount of RNA present. A lower Ct value indicates large quantities of viral RNA. It was considered positive when the Ct values of all genes were less than 40 cycles.”
Remarkably, the authors applied an arbitrary cycle threshold of 40 to define a positive test result. Proper calibration of the test was not performed. I applied a new cycle threshold cut-off of 24, based on the published results of the Canadian study for calibrating a RT-PCR test for SARS-CoV-2. This is shown as a red dotted line on the graphs in the figure above. Symbols appearing in the light red rectangle above this line would be considered negative, in contrast to the positive designation that the authors had assigned. Remarkably, 99.7% of the people the authors declared to be harbouring infectious SARS-CoV-2 likely had no evidence of potentially infectious SARS-CoV-2 virions, had the test been properly calibrated. This represents a fatal flaw in this paper; one that negates its conclusion that “Isolation of asymptomatic patients may be necessary to control the spread of SARS-CoV-2”. It should also precipitate its retraction. Such a paper should never have been allowed to be published in the first place.
This highlights a fatal flaw that has been extremely common in publications throughout the declared pandemic that claimed asymptomatic people could be a significant source of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 that could cause COVID-19 in other people. Every paper making this claim should have the materials and methods section carefully evaluated to determine whether the cycle threshold cut-off for the RT-PCR assay was based on the appropriate calibration method or was selected arbitrarily.
Here is a list of other influential publications of original research studies that erroneously concluded that asymptomatic people might be significant sources of replication-competent SARS-CoV-2 virions. Most are based on fatally flawed RT-PCR testing and the remaining papers fail to disclose how they defined an ‘infection’. All of them should be retracted. None of their conclusions can be trusted…
Bai, Y. et al. Presumed Asymptomatic Carrier Transmission of COVID-19. Jama 323, 1406-1407 (2020).
Arons, M.M. et al. Presymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 Infections and Transmission in a Skilled Nursing Facility. The New England journal of medicine 382, 2081-2090 (2020).
Stock, A.D. et al. COVID-19 Infection Among Healthcare Workers: Serological Findings Supporting Routine Testing. Front Med (Lausanne) 7, 471 (2020).
Bi, Q. et al. Epidemiology and transmission of COVID-19 in 391 cases and 1286 of their close contacts in Shenzhen, China: a retrospective cohort study. The Lancet. Infectious diseases 20, 911-919 (2020).
Böhmer, M.M. et al. Investigation of a COVID-19 outbreak in Germany resulting from a single travel-associated primary case: a case series. The Lancet. Infectious diseases 20, 920-928 (2020).
Chan, J.F. et al. A familial cluster of pneumonia associated with the 2019 novel coronavirus indicating person-to-person transmission: a study of a family cluster. Lancet (London, England) 395, 514-523 (2020).
Van Vinh Chau, N. et al. The Natural History and Transmission Potential of Asymptomatic Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 Infection. Clinical infectious diseases : an official publication of the Infectious Diseases Society of America 71, 2679-2687 (2020).
Chaw, L. et al. Analysis of SARS-CoV-2 Transmission in Different Settings, Brunei. Emerging infectious diseases 26, 2598-2606 (2020).
Cheng, H.Y. et al. Contact Tracing Assessment of COVID-19 Transmission Dynamics in Taiwan and Risk at Different Exposure Periods Before and After Symptom Onset. JAMA internal medicine 180, 1156-1163 (2020).
Gao, M. et al. A study on infectivity of asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 carriers. Respiratory medicine 169, 106026 (2020).
Gao, Y. et al. A cluster of the Corona Virus Disease 2019 caused by incubation period transmission in Wuxi, China. The Journal of infection 80, 666-670 (2020).
Guan, W.J. et al. Clinical Characteristics of Coronavirus Disease 2019 in China. The New England journal of medicine 382, 1708-1720 (2020).
He, X. et al. Temporal dynamics in viral shedding and transmissibility of COVID-19. Nat Med 26, 672-675 (2020).
Hodcroft, E.B. Preliminary case report on the SARS-CoV-2 cluster in the UK, France, and Spain. Swiss medical weekly 150 (2020).
Hoehl, S. et al. Evidence of SARS-CoV-2 Infection in Returning Travelers from Wuhan, China. The New England journal of medicine 382, 1278-1280 (2020).
Lauer, S.A. et al. The Incubation Period of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) From Publicly Reported Confirmed Cases: Estimation and Application. Annals of internal medicine 172, 577-582 (2020).
Li, R. et al. Substantial undocumented infection facilitates the rapid dissemination of novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2). Science (New York, N.Y.) 368, 489-493 (2020).
Li, C. et al. Asymptomatic and Human-to-Human Transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in a 2-Family Cluster, Xuzhou, China. Emerging infectious diseases 26, 1626-1628 (2020).
Liu, Y., Funk, S. & Flasche, S. The contribution of pre-symptomatic infection to the transmission dynamics of COVID-2019. Wellcome open research 5, 58 (2020).
Lu, X. et al. SARS-CoV-2 Infection in Children. The New England journal of medicine 382, 1663-1665 (2020).
Lu, S. et al. Alert for non-respiratory symptoms of coronavirus disease 2019 patients in epidemic period: A case report of familial cluster with three asymptomatic COVID-19 patients. Journal of medical virology 93, 518-521 (2021).
Luo, S.H. et al. A confirmed asymptomatic carrier of 2019 novel coronavirus. Chinese medical journal 133, 1123-1125 (2020).
Mizumoto, K., Kagaya, K., Zarebski, A. & Chowell, G. Estimating the asymptomatic proportion of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases on board the Diamond Princess cruise ship, Yokohama, Japan, 2020. Euro surveillance : bulletin Europeen sur les maladies transmissibles = European communicable disease bulletin 25 (2020).
Sun, K. et al. Transmission heterogeneities, kinetics, and controllability of SARS-CoV-2. Science (New York, N.Y.) 371 (2021).
Nishiura, H. et al. Estimation of the asymptomatic ratio of novel coronavirus infections (COVID-19). Int J Infect Dis 94, 154-155 (2020).
Nishiura, H., Linton, N.M. & Akhmetzhanov, A.R. Serial interval of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) infections. Int J Infect Dis 93, 284-286 (2020).
Pan, Y., Zhang, D., Yang, P., Poon, L.L.M. & Wang, Q. Viral load of SARS-CoV-2 in clinical samples. The Lancet. Infectious diseases 20, 411-412 (2020).
Pan, X. et al. Asymptomatic cases in a family cluster with SARS-CoV-2 infection. The Lancet. Infectious diseases 20, 410-411 (2020).
Park, S.Y. et al. Coronavirus Disease Outbreak in Call Center, South Korea. Emerging infectious diseases 26, 1666-1670 (2020).
Payne, D.C. et al. SARS-CoV-2 Infections and Serologic Responses from a Sample of U.S. Navy Service Members - USS Theodore Roosevelt, April 2020. MMWR. Morbidity and mortality weekly report 69, 714-721 (2020).
Kimball, A. et al. Asymptomatic and Presymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 Infections in Residents of a Long-Term Care Skilled Nursing Facility - King County, Washington, March 2020. MMWR. Morbidity and mortality weekly report 69, 377-381 (2020).
Qian, G. et al. COVID-19 Transmission Within a Family Cluster by Presymptomatic Carriers in China. Clinical infectious diseases : an official publication of the Infectious Diseases Society of America 71, 861-862 (2020).
Ran, L. et al. Risk Factors of Healthcare Workers With Coronavirus Disease 2019: A Retrospective Cohort Study in a Designated Hospital of Wuhan in China. Clinical infectious diseases : an official publication of the Infectious Diseases Society of America 71, 2218-2221 (2020).
Rosenberg, E.S. et al. COVID-19 Testing, Epidemic Features, Hospital Outcomes, and Household Prevalence, New York State-March 2020. Clinical infectious diseases : an official publication of the Infectious Diseases Society of America 71, 1953-1959 (2020).
Sakurai, A. et al. Natural History of Asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 Infection. The New England journal of medicine 383, 885-886 (2020).
Samsami, M., Zebarjadi Bagherpour, J., Nematihonar, B. & Tahmasbi, H. COVID-19 Pneumonia in Asymptomatic Trauma Patients; Report of 8 Cases. Archives of academic emergency medicine 8, e46 (2020).
Tabata, S. et al. Clinical characteristics of COVID-19 in 104 people with SARS-CoV-2 infection on the Diamond Princess cruise ship: a retrospective analysis. The Lancet. Infectious diseases 20, 1043-1050 (2020).
Tong, Z.D. et al. Potential Presymptomatic Transmission of SARS-CoV-2, Zhejiang Province, China, 2020. Emerging infectious diseases 26, 1052-1054 (2020).
Treibel, T.A. et al. COVID-19: PCR screening of asymptomatic health-care workers at London hospital. Lancet (London, England) 395, 1608-1610 (2020).
Wei, W.E. et al. Presymptomatic Transmission of SARS-CoV-2 - Singapore, January 23-March 16, 2020. MMWR. Morbidity and mortality weekly report 69, 411-415 (2020).
Xu, J., Li, Y., Gan, F., Du, Y. & Yao, Y. Salivary Glands: Potential Reservoirs for COVID-19 Asymptomatic Infection. Journal of dental research 99, 989 (2020).
Yang, R., Gui, X. & Xiong, Y. Comparison of Clinical Characteristics of Patients with Asymptomatic vs Symptomatic Coronavirus Disease 2019 in Wuhan, China. JAMA network open 3, e2010182 (2020).
Yang, N. et al. In-flight transmission cluster of COVID-19: a retrospective case series. Infectious diseases (London, England) 52, 891-901 (2020).
Ye, F. et al. Delivery of infection from asymptomatic carriers of COVID-19 in a familial cluster. International journal of infectious diseases : IJID : official publication of the International Society for Infectious Diseases 94, 133-138 (2020).
Yu, P., Zhu, J., Zhang, Z. & Han, Y. A Familial Cluster of Infection Associated With the 2019 Novel Coronavirus Indicating Possible Person-to-Person Transmission During the Incubation Period. The Journal of infectious diseases 221, 1757-1761 (2020).
Zhang, J., Tian, S., Lou, J. & Chen, Y. Familial cluster of COVID-19 infection from an asymptomatic. Critical care (London, England) 24, 119 (2020).
Almadhi, M.A. et al. The high prevalence of asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infection reveals the silent spread of COVID-19. International journal of infectious diseases : IJID : official publication of the International Society for Infectious Diseases 105, 656-661 (2021).
Choi, A. et al. Symptomatic and Asymptomatic Transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in K-12 Schools, British Columbia, Canada April to June 2021. Microbiology spectrum, e0062222 (2022).
…these 48 papers represent most, if not all, of the peer-reviewed scientific evidence that has been used by most public health officials to mislabel asymptomatic people as sources of COVID-19-causing SARS-CoV-2. All of it is fatally flawed.
It was even concluded in a study that patients testing ‘positive’ with cycle threshold values above 33 could likely be discharged from hospitals. Such a recommendation would never be made if there was any evidence that these people harboured SARS-CoV-2 virions with the potential to infect others. So one must wonder why testing labs were allowed to arbitrarily pick cycle thresholds ranging from 38 to 45 as upper limits for defining the presence of infectious SARS-CoV-2.
Exclusive reliance on improperly calibrated RT-PCR testing as an indication of ‘infection’ has also led to the erroneous conclusion that post-symptomatic people may also need to be masked and/or isolated.
I have yet to see appropriate scientific evidence to justify the unusually high cycle threshold values being used in studies that label people as asymptomatic sources of COVID-19. In the absence of such data, there is no justification for masking, isolating or mandating experimental vaccine technologies for asymptomatic people.
Others have also criticized the exclusive use of RT-PCR tests in diagnosing COVID-19 and drawing conclusions about transmission in the absence of infectivity testing.
How RT-PCR Testing Should Have Been Used to Support Diagnoses of COVID-19
All labs should have been required to calibrate their RT-PCR test prior to providing any ‘real world’ data to public health officials that would be used to study the transmission of SARS-CoV-2. Use of the gold standard functional virology assay to do this calibration would have provided each lab with a strong objective rationale for their specific cycle threshold cut-off value when determining whether a person could have the potential to infect others. And this should have always been married to a clinical diagnosis rendered by a physician. As mentioned earlier, if this standard is applied retroactively to the COVID-19 scientific literature, it becomes obvious that much of it is untrustworthy.
Much of the Foundational COVID-19 Science is Fundamentally Flawed
RT-PCR testing has generally been misused during the declared COVID-19 pandemic due to failures to calibrate it properly. The result has been mislabeling asymptomatic people as significant potential sources for transmission of COVID-19. This, in turn, has resulted in inappropriate mandating of masking, isolation, and ‘vaccines’ for people who do not represent a genuine health risk to others. It has also taken the diagnostic expertise away from physicians and placed it in the hands of anonymous laboratory technicians.
Now, we are left with a mountain of COVID-19 science that cannot be interpreted properly. Scientists with integrity and the relevant expertise know that a substantial but undefined number of people that tested ‘positive for COVID-19’ never had the potential to spread SARS-CoV-2 to others and many of these also did not actually have the disease known as COVID-19.
Resolving the Apparent Conflicts in Evidence Presented by ‘Experts’
To judges who are puzzled by the differing interpretations of experts in their courts, the explanation is fairly simple. If you remove the fundamentally flawed science from expert reports, you will be left with trustworthy data that generally do not support what has been the prevailing narrative over the past several years. When scientists talk about following the overall weight of the scientific evidence, what we really mean is to follow the weight of the trustworthy scientific evidence. Do not get bedazzled by the numerous reports that have accumulated, often in ‘prestigious’ journals, that were based on flawed scientific methods. Don’t get distracted by the number of health ‘authorities’ that have blindly propagated this flawed science. Truth is not a democracy. It is not defined by a majority vote.
Harm to Public Trust in Science
The global propagation of poorly conducted science over the past several years has caused massive and irreparable harm. Children and teenagers took the brunt of this damage. They were given no choice. They had no voice. They became shields used in a conflict waged by adults who wielded faulty science like it was the gospel truth.
As a scientist with deep expertise in viral immunology, I am incredibly disheartened by the state of my scientific disciplines. My colleagues that sat in their ivory towers allowing junk science to justify crushing constitutional freedoms should be ashamed of themselves. I am proud of the relatively few who stood tall on a foundation of integrity and endured brutal treatment for the past couple of years. I can only hope that the harm done to public trust in the health sciences can be remedied.
Friday September 17, 2021
University of Guelph
50 Stone Rd. E.
Guelph, ON, N1E 2G1
Dear Dr. Charlotte A.B. Yates, President and Vice-Chancellor,
I will forewarn you that this is a lengthy letter. However, it only represents a fraction of the information that I would like to be able to share with you. I have found it necessary to write this so you can fully understand my perspective. With my life and that of my family, many friends and treasured colleagues being destroyed under your watch, I figure the least you can do is read and consider this very carefully. It is incredible to note that many, if not most, of my on-campus detractors have judged me without reading any of my scientific arguments or talking to me about them.
The COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate at the University of Guelph
You issued a mandate that everyone within the University of Guelph community must receive a COVID-19 vaccine. I have spent most of my lifetime learning to be a very deep and critical thinker and to follow the weight of scientific evidence. I am a well-recognized expert in vaccinology. As per my extensive funding, research, publication, and teaching records, I am a vaccine lover and an innovator in this field. I promote highly effective vaccines that have undergone extensive, rigorous, and proper safety testing as the most efficient type of medicines that exist. Vaccines that meet these criteria have prevented a vast amount of mortality and morbidities around the world. However, I could not be in stronger disagreement with you forcing the current COVID-19 vaccines upon everyone who is part of our campus community. I respect the challenges that a university president faces when trying to manage a large and dynamic academic institution. However, your roots are as a scholar. As a publicly funded institution of advanced learning, it is incumbent on us to demonstrate an ability to view the world around us in a constructively critical fashion such that we can improve the lives of others. We should be able to do this free of political or financial pressures and without bias or prejudice or fear of censorship and harassment. As a viral immunologist that has been working on the front lines of the scientific and medical community throughout the duration of the declared COVID-19 pandemic, I feel compel ed to speak on behalf of the many who will not, due to extreme fear of retribution. We now live in a time when it is common practice for people to demand and expect to receive confidential medical information from others. I will not be coerced into disclosing my private medical information. However, for the sake of highlighting some of the absurdities of COVID-19 vaccine mandates I choose, of my own free will, to freely disclose some of my medical information here…
Those with Naturally Acquired Immunity Don’t Need to be Vaccinated and are at Greater Risk of Harm if Vaccinated
I participated in a clinical trial that has been running for approximately 1.5 years. The purpose is to develop a very sensitive and comprehensive test of immunity against SARS-CoV-2; in large part to inform the development of better COVID-19 vaccines (https://insight.jci.org/articles/view/146316 ). My personal results prove that I have naturally acquired immunity against SARS-CoV-2. With this test, spots indicate a positive result for antibodies against a particular part of the virus. Darker spots correlate with more antibodies. Antibody responses correlate with the induction of memory B cells. Antibodies will wane over time, but B cells can survive for many years and rapidly produce massive quantities of antibodies upon re-exposure to a pathogen. On the following page are my results, along with a map of which part of the virus each spot represents…
The dark spot at position D26 is the positive control and indicates that the assay worked. My results demonstrate that I have broad immunity against multiple components of SARS-CoV-2, including the spike protein. Importantly, spot B26 shows that I have antibodies against the membrane protein. This protein is not highly conserved across coronaviruses. As such, it provides evidence that I was infected with SARS-CoV-2. Note that I was sick only once since the pandemic was declared. It was a moderately severe respiratory infection that took four weeks to recover from. The SARS-CoV-2 PCR test was negative, despite being run at an unreasonably high number of cycles. This suggests that I was one of the many for whom SARS-CoV-2 has proven to be of low pathogenicity or not even a pathogen (i.e. no associated disease).
There is a plethora of scientific literature demonstrating that naturally acquired immunity against SARS-CoV-2 is likely superior to that conferred by vaccination only. Indeed, it is much broader, which means that emerging variants of SARS-CoV-2 will have more difficulty evading it as compared to the very narrow immunity conferred by the vaccines. Importantly, the duration of immunity (i.e. how long a person is protected) has proven to be far longer than that generated by the current vaccines. The duration of immunity for the mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccines appears to be a horrifically short 4.5 months. I actually wrote a lay article back in February 2021 to explain why a vaccine of this nature would fail to be able to achieve global herd immunity on its own (https://theconversation.com/5-factors-that-could-dictate-the-success-or-failure-of-the-covid-19-vaccine-rollout- 152856). This is why places like Canada, the USA, and Israel have found it necessary to roll out third doses. And now there is talk (and a commitment in Israel) to roll out fourth doses (yes, that’s four doses within one year). The World Health Organization recognized the value of natural immunity quite some time ago. Unfortunately, in Canada and at the University of Guelph, we have failed to recognize that the immune system works as it was designed to. Its ability to respond is not limited solely to vaccines.
Here are some references to support this: https://www.who.int/publications/i/item/WHO-2019-nCoV-Sci_Brief-Natural_immunity-2021.1; https://academic.oup.com/jid/advance-article/doi/10.1093/infdis/jiab295/6293992; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7803150/.
As someone who develops vaccines, I can tell you that it is difficult to make a vaccine that will perform as poorly as the current COVID-19 vaccines. Indeed, most vaccines given in childhood never require a booster shot later in life. The take-home message here is that people like me, who have naturally acquired immunity, do not need to be vaccinated. Nor is it needed to protect those around the person who already has immunity. Worse, research from three independent groups has now demonstrated that those with naturally acquired immunity experience more severe side-effects from COVID-19 vaccines than those who were immunologically naïve prior to vaccination (https://www.thelancet.com/journals/eclinm/article/PI S2589- 5370(21)00194-2/fulltext; https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2021.04.15.21252192v1; https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2021.02.26.21252096v1). In other words, for those with natural immunity, vaccination is not only unnecessary, but it would put them at enhanced risk of harm. Knowing this, nobody should ever mandate COVID-19 vaccination. Instead, it would be in the best interest of helping everyone make the most informed health decisions for themselves to make voluntary testing for immunity available.
Testing for Natural y Acquired Immunity was a Viable Option but was Ignored
You and the provost met with me and two other colleagues back in March 2021 and we presented the opportunity for the University of Guelph to show leadership and offer testing for immunity to our campus community in support of a safe return to in-person teaching and learning. You embraced this idea with enthusiasm and promised to move forward with it. This did not materialize so one of my colleagues contacted you. Once again, you agreed it was an excellent idea and that you would move forward with it. Nothing happened. So, my two colleagues and I met with one of our vice-presidents in May 2021. They also thought that making an antibody test available was an excellent idea and promised to work on getting it implemented on campus. Nothing materialized. They were contacted again by one of my colleagues. There was no response. There is no excuse for forcing vaccines on people, especially after having been given the opportunity to implement testing for immunity and refusing to do so.
The University of Guelph won’t pay for me to receive a booster vaccine against rabies unless I can demonstrate that my antibodies are below what has been deemed to be a protective titer. This is because it would not be appropriate to give me a vaccine that is not without risk if I don’t need it. Also, the university does not want to pay the $850 cost of the vaccination regimen unless I absolutely need it. In short, you will not allow me to receive that booster vaccine without first evaluating me on an annual basis for evidence of immunity (or lack thereof). So why was this principle rejected for the SARS-CoV-2 vaccines, for which there is vastly less reliable safety data available, and none for the long-term? Canada should have been acquiring data about immunity starting a long time ago. It is a particularly poor precedent for a university to reject the concept of acquiring data that could inform safer and more effective COVID-19 policies. Immunity testing would even benefit vaccinated individuals. It is well known that responses to vaccines in outbred populations follows a normal curve and includes individuals that are non-responders (i.e. they are left without immunity and are, therefore, unprotected following vaccination) and low-responders (insufficient protection). In fact, this concept has been the focus of an internationally recognized research program on our campus that has brought many accolades and awards to our institution.
You have banned me from campus for at least the next year. I can show proof of immunity against SARS-CoV-2 but you will not allow me to enter buildings. But someone else can show a receipt saying that someone saw two needles go into their arm and you will allow them to enter. You actually have no idea if that person has immunity. There have even been reported cases of people accidental y or even intentionally (e.g. a case in Germany) being administered saline instead of the vaccine. Does it make sense to ban someone who is immune from campus but al ow people who are presumed, but not confirmed, to be immune? This is a scenario that you have created. As a fellow academic, I am requesting that you provide me with a strong scientific rationale why you are al owing thousands with an unconfirmed immunity status onto our campus, but you are banning people like me who are known to have immunity. Further, please explain how you feel it is ethical to force COVID-19 vaccines on people who are uncomfortable with being coerced when you do not know their immunity status. Despite attempts to halt the spread of SARS-CoV-2 via masking and physical distancing, the reality is that the virus has not complied with these attempts to barricade it. Indeed, it has infected many people across Canada, many of whom may not have even realized it because it is not a dangerous pathogen for them. From the perspective of a medical risk-benefit analysis, this is a no-brainer. A medical procedure that adds no value but carries known and still-to-be-defined risks should never be mandated!
The University Back-Tracked on Advice from its Own Legal Counsel
I, along with two colleagues, attended a meeting with one of our vice-presidents in May 2021. In that meeting the legal advice that was provided to the University of Guelph was disclosed. We were told this included making COVID-19 vaccines voluntary, that nobody on campus should be made to feel coerced into being vaccinated, and that nobody should feel pressured to disclose their vaccination status. On this basis, I was to serve as one of the on- campus faculty contacts for anyone who experienced any of these issues. Did Canada’s laws change during the summer in a way that rendered this legal advice no longer valid? Now I am having to spend an inordinate amount of time trying to help the many people whose lives have imploded due to the university’s vaccine mandate.
I am a Scientist Who is Knowledgeable and Values Integrity Despite What So-Cal ed ‘Fact Checkers’ Have Claimed
There are many on our campus who repeatedly put my name out to the public with claims that I disseminate misinformation. Not one of these individuals has ever given me the courtesy of a conversation prior to publicly attacking me. None of them will engage me in public discussions of the science to allow people to judge the legitimacy, or lack thereof, of what I am saying. Censorship on our campus has become as prevalent as it is off- campus. My detractors, rather than showing a deep understanding of the science underlying COVID-19 vaccines, continually refer to the so-cal ed ‘fact checks’ that have been posted about me. Let me tell you some things about the so-called ‘fact checkers’. Firstly, they give scientists and physicians of integrity unreasonably short periods of time to respond to their requests for answers. For example, as I write this letter, I have 13,902 unread messages in my inbox and my voice mail is at maximum capacity. I have yet to see a ‘fact check’ request prior to its expiry, which remarkably, is often within mere hours of an e-mail being sent. This is an unreasonable expectation from a busy professional. Also, many ‘fact checkers’ lack sufficient expertise. In some cases, ‘fact checker’ sites have had to rely on postdoctoral trainees in other countries to write responses.
Most of the harassment against me began after ‘fact checkers’ cherry-picked one short radio interview that I gave to a lay audience. Some have accused me of only giving half the story in that interview. They were most kind; I was only able to reveal 0.5% of the story. It is unfair to critique a tiny portion of one’s arguments that were presented off-the-cuff to a lay audience with no opportunity for me to respond in real-time. For your information, I have rebutted every single one of the ‘fact checks’ that I am aware of in various public interviews. Let me give you one example that some of our colleagues on our campus have repeatedly misused while harassing me in social media…
One of the many issues that I have raised with the vaccines is that should a reasonable concentration of the free spike protein get into systemic circulation, it could potentially harm the endothelial cells lining our blood vessels. I cited this study: https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/10.1161/CIRCRESAHA.121.318902. The authors were contacted, and they claimed I had misinterpreted the study. They said that spike-specific antibodies would mop up any spike proteins in the blood, thereby protecting the blood vessels. They argued that this demonstrated that vaccinating people against the spike protein is a good thing.
However, the authors are not immunologists and they failed to recognize the limitations of their own study in drawing these kinds of conclusions. Specifically, they did not recognize that in a naïve individual receiving a mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccine, there are no antibodies; either pre-existing in the host, or in the vaccine formulation. In fact, it will take many days for the antibody response to be induced and for titers to begin reaching substantial concentrations. This leaves a large window of time in which any free spike proteins could exert their biological functions/harm in the body before there are any antibodies to neutralize them. Worse, most of the spike proteins should be expressed by our own cells. In that case, the antibodies will target and kill them in a form of autoimmunity. The authors of the paper forgot that their model was in the context of natural infection, where vaccination would precede exposure to SARS-CoV-2. In that case, I agree that there would be pre-existing antibodies that could neutralize spike proteins of viral origin entering the circulation. This was perceived to be one of the ‘strongest’ arguments used by others to try to discredit me. The reality is that it is completely incorrect and represents an embarrassing misinterpretation by the authors of the original paper and the many ‘fact-checkers’ that believed them without question.
You have allowed colleagues to harass me endlessly for many consecutive months. They have lied about me, cal ed me many names, and have even accused me of being responsible for deaths. I submitted a harassment claim and your administrators ruled that it did not meet the bar of civil harassment. In stark contrast, I have been contacted by members of off-campus policing agencies who have told me that it exceeds the minimum bar of criminal harassment. I am sorry, but a faculty member can only take so much bullying and see such a lack of adherence to scientific and bioethical principles before it becomes necessary to speak up. Under your watch, you have allowed my life to be ruined by turning a blind eye to on-campus bullying, ignoring our campus principles of promoting mental well-being and a workplace in which I can feel safe. In addition to this you have banned me from the campus because I have robust, broadly protective, and long-lasting immunity against SARS-CoV-2 but lack a piece of paper suggesting that it was obtained via two injections.
Did you see this front page of one of Canada’s major newspapers?
…remarkably, the on-campus COVID-19 policies you are promoting fuel this kind of pure hatred from people, most of whom have not confirmed their own immunity status, against someone like me who is immune to SARS-CoV-2!!! Does that make any sense? My workplace has become a poisoned environment where the bullying, harassment, and hatred against me have been incessant. Are you ever going to put an end to the childish and irrational behaviours being demonstrated by our colleagues? I have received thousands of emails from around the world that indicate the university should be embarrassed and ashamed to allow such childish behaviour from faculty members to go unchecked in front of the public.
I have invested a decade of my life into the University of Guelph. I have conducted myself professionally and worked to an exceptional y high standard. I have consistently received excellent ratings for my research, teaching, and service. I have received rave reviews from students for my teaching. I have received prestigious research and teaching awards. I have brought funding to our campus from agencies that had never partnered with the University of Guelph in our institution’s history. I have brought in
$1 million-worth of equipment to improve our infrastructure, etc., etc. I am a man of integrity and a devoted public servant. I want to make Canada a better place for my family and for my fellow Canadians. We are a public institution. My salary is covered by taxpayers. This declared pandemic involves science that is in my ‘wheelhouse’. Since the beginning, I have made myself available to answer questions coming from the public in a fashion that is unbiased and based solidly on the ever-exploding scientific literature. My approach has not changed. Has some of it contradicted the very narrow public health narrative carried by mainstream media? Yes. Does that make it wrong? No. I will stand by my track record. When Health Canada authorized the use of AstraZeneca’s vaccine I, along with two colleagues, wrote an open letter requesting that this vaccine not be used, in part on the grounds that it was being investigated for a link to potentially fatal blood clots in many European countries. I was accused at that time by so-called ‘fact checkers’ of providing misinformation. Less than two months later, Canada suspended the AstraZeneca vaccination program because it was deemed to be too unsafe as a result of causing blood clots that cost the unnecessary loss of lives of Canadians. More recently, I was heavily criticized for raising concerns in a short radio interview about a potential link between the Pfizer BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine and heart inflammation in young people, especially males. This is now a well recognized problem that has been officially listed as a potential side-effect of the mRNA COVID-19 vaccines. It was also the subject of a recent Public Health Ontario Enhanced Epidemiological Summary Report highlighting the increased risk of myocarditis and pericarditis to young males following COVID-19 mRNA vaccination. As such, I have a proven track record of accurately identifying concerns about the COVID-19 vaccines.
A Lack of Safety Data in Pregnant Females as Another Example of Why Vaccines Should Not be Mandated
I would like to give another disconcerting safety-related example of why a COVID-19 vaccine mandate could be dangerous. We have pregnant individuals or those who would like to become pregnant on campus. There was a highly publicized study in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine that formed the foundation of declaring COVID-19 vaccines safe in pregnant females (https://www.nejm.org/doi/ful /10.1056/nejmoa2104983). The authors of this study declared that there was no risk of increased miscarriage to vaccinated females. This study resulted in many policies being instituted to promote vaccination of this demographic, for which the bar for safety should be set extremely high.
Did you know that this apparent confirmation of safety had to be rescinded recently because the authors performed an obvious mathematical error? I witnessed several of my colleagues from Canada and other countries bravely push for a review of this paper under withering negative pressures. Once the editor finally agreed to do so, the authors had no choice but to admit that made a mathematical error. Most of the world does not realize this. This admission of using an inappropriate mathematical formula can be found here: https://www.nejm.org/doi/ful /10.1056/NEJMx210016. This means that the major rationale for declaring COVID-19 vaccines safe in pregnant females is gone! How can someone force a COVID-19 vaccine on a pregnant female when there are insufficient safety data available to justify it?
Advocating for the Vulnerable and Those Fearful of Retribution
My concern is not primarily for myself. I am using my case to highlight how wrong your vaccine mandate is. I am more concerned for the more vulnerable on our campus. I hold tenure, and if ever there was a time when this was important, it is now. However, I have had to bear witness to numerous horrible situations for students and staff members. Students have been physically escorted off our campus, sometimes being removed from their residence, sometimes with their parents also being escorted off. Staff members have been escorted off campus and immediately sent home on indefinite leaves without pay, leaving them unable to adequately care for their families.
In many of these situations it seemed like the interactions intentionally occurred in very public settings with it being made clear to all onlookers that the person or people were not vaccinated. Parents have been denied attending meetings with their children who are entering the first year of a program. They recognize that adult learners would normally not have their parents accompany them, but we are living in unusual times with excessive and unfair (arguably illegal?) pressures being applied and these parents are entitled to advocate and defend the best interests of their sons and daughters.
Many students have deferred a year in the desperate hope that our campus community will not be so draconian next year. Others fought hard to earn their way into very competitive programs and are not being guaranteed re-entry next year. Many faculty members refused to offer on-line learning options for those who did not wish to be vaccinated.
On the flip-side, there are also faculty members, like many students and staff, who are completely demoralized. This includes some who were happily vaccinated but are upset by the draconian measures of your COVID-19 policies and/or will be unwilling to receive future booster shots. I can tell you many stories of students and staff members who couldn’t resist the pressure to get vaccinated because they were losing vast amounts of sleep and experiencing incredible anxiety and were on the verge of mental and/or physical breakdowns. In some of these cases, they were crying uncontrollably before, during, and after their vaccination, which they only agreed to under great duress. This does not represent informed consent!
I have had several members of our campus community contact me with concerns that they may have suffered vaccine-induced injuries ranging from blood clots to chest pain to vision problems to unexpected and unusual vaginal bleeding. Can I prove these were due to the vaccine? No. But can anyone prove they were not? No. And it is notable that these are common events reported in adverse event reporting systems around the world. In all cases, the attending physicians refused to report these events, even though it is supposed to be a current legal requirement to do so. These people obediently got vaccinated and were then abandoned when they became cases that did not help sell the current public health messaging.
A World Where Everyone is Vaccinated Looks Nothing Like Normal
The two-week lockdown that was supposed to lead into learning to live with SARS-CoV-2 has turned into the most mismanaged crisis in the history of our current generations. I ask you to look around with a very critical eye. You just reported that 99% of the campus community is vaccinated. Congratulations, you have far exceeded the stated standard for what is apparently the new goal of ‘herd vaccination’. I cannot use the typical term ‘herd immunity’ here because immunity is not being recognized as legitimate; only inferred immunity based on receiving two needles counts. We were told that achieving herd immunity by vaccination alone was the solution to this declared pandemic. This has been achieved on our campus in spades. I sat in on our town hall meetings with our local medical officer of health who confidently told us that the risk of breakthrough infections in the vaccinated was almost zero. Why, then are people so petrified of the unvaccinated. Look at vaccines for travellers going to exotic locations.
These are vaccines of some quality. Travellers take these vaccines, and not only do they not avoid the prospective pathogen, but they happily travel to the location where it is endemic (i.e. they enthusiastically enter the danger zone because they are protected). So, what does our campus look like with almost every person vaccinated? Everyone must remain masked and physically distanced. There is no gathering or loitering allowed in stairwells or any open spaces in buildings or outside. People are still being told which doors to enter and exit, when they can do so, where to stand in line, when to move. Incredibly, time restrictions are even being implemented in some eating areas because some students were deemed to be “snacking too long” with their masks off and, therefore, putting others at risk of death. In short, the on-campus COVID-19 policies are even more draconian than they were last year, but everyone is vaccinated. It doesn’t seem like the vaccines are working very well when a fully vaccinated campus cannot ease up on restrictions.
But, of course, we already know how poorly these vaccines are performing. Based on fundamental immunological principles, parenteral administration of these vaccines provides robust enough systemic antibody responses to allow these antibodies to spill over into the lower respiratory tract, which is a common point at which pathogens can enter systemic circulation due to the proximity of blood vessels to facilitate gas exchange. However, they do not provide adequate protection to the upper respiratory tract, like natural infection does, or like an intranasal or aerosolized vaccine likely would. As such, people whose immunity has been conferred by a vaccine only are often protected from the most severe forms of COVID-19 due to protection in the lower lungs, but they are also susceptible to proliferation of the virus in the upper airways, which causes them to shed equivalent quantities of SARS-CoV-2 as those who completely lack immunity. Dampened disease with equal shedding equals a phenotype that approaches that of a classic super-spreader; something that we erroneously labelled healthy children as until the overwhelming scientific evidence, which matches our historical understanding, clarified that this was not the case.
I have been in meetings where faculty have demanded to know who the unvaccinated students will be in their classes so they can make them sit at the back of the classroom! I can’t believe that some of my colleagues are thinking of resorting to the type of segregation policies that heroes like Viola Desmond, Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King Jr., Carrie M. Best, and Lulu Anderson fought so hard against so many years ago.
The Exemption Fiasco
With respect to exemptions for COVID-19 vaccines, the University of Guelph provided a number based on creed or religion but then, remarkably, rescinded these. These previously exempt individuals were required to resubmit applications using a more onerous form; many that had been honoured previously were rejected upon re- submission. Many have been rejected since. Based on the reports I have received from many people these rejections of exemption requests were typically not accompanied by explanations. Nor have many been told, despite asking, who it is that sits on the committee making decisions about these exemptions.
I would never be allowed to assign marks to students anonymously, nor without being able to justify them. Yet there seems to be a lack of transparency with exemptions and many of these decisions are destroying people’s lives; the outcomes are not trivial. Could you please disclose the names of the people serving on the University of Guelph’s committee that reviews exemptions? Also, could this committee please provide to applicants, retroactively, comments to justify their decisions? I have even heard it said in recent meetings that a lot of people are happy to hear that exemptions, including some medical exemptions are being denied. Why are our faculty celebrating refusals of medical exemptions for students?
A Lack of Consultation with the Experts on Vaccines
You have stated on numerous occasions that your COVID-19 policies have only been implemented after extensive consultation with local and regional experts. Interestingly, however, you have refused, for some unknown reason, to consult with any of the senior non-administrative immunologists on your campus. I would like to remind you that vaccinology is a sub-discipline of immunology. Notably, all three of us have offered repeatedly to serve on COVID-19 advisory committees, both on-campus and for our local public health unit, which also lacks advanced training in immunology and virology. The three of us have stayed on top of the cutting-edge scientific findings relevant to COVID-19 and meeting regularly with many national and international collaborative groups of scientists and physicians to debate and discuss what we are learning. I think it is notable that the senior non-administrative immunologists unanimously agree that COVID-19 vaccines should not be mandated for our campus based on extensive, legitimate scientific and safety reasons.
Mandating COVID-19 Vaccines is Criminal
I am no legal expert but have consulted with many lawyers who have told me that these vaccine mandates break many existing laws. Here is one example copied from the Criminal Code of Canada: Extortion • 346 (1) Every one commits extortion who, without reasonable justification or excuse and with intent to obtain anything, by threats, accusations, menaces or violence induces or attempts to induce any person, whether or not he is the person threatened, accused or menaced or to whom violence is shown, to do anything or cause anything to be done. In your case, you are demanding that members of our academic community submit to receiving a COVID-19 vaccine against their will (a medical procedure that may very well be unnecessary and carry enhanced risk of harm) or face banishment from the campus. Again, I am not an expert in this area, but I am confident there will be lawyers willing to test this in court. Those responsible for issuing vaccine mandates will need to decide how confident they are that they will not lose these legal battles.
Integrity of Teaching
In this new world where followers of scientific data are vilified, I also worry about my ability to teach with integrity. Unbelievably, the Minister of Health of Canada, Patty Hajdu, told Canadians that vitamin D being a critical and necessary component of the immune system in its ability to clear intracellular pathogens like SARS-CoV-2 is fake news! Do you now that I have taught all my students about the importance of vitamin D (often in the historical context of how it was discovered as being critical for positive outcomes in patients with tuberculosis that were quarantined in sanatoriums).
I also teach the concept of herd immunity, with vaccination being a valuable tool to achieve this. I do not teach the concept of ‘herd vaccination’ while promoting ignorance of natural immunity. There are other basic immunological principles that I teach that have either not been recognized during the pandemic as legitimate scientific principles or they have been altogether contradicted by public health and/or government officials. Will I still be allowed to teach immunology according to the decades of scientific information that I have built my course upon? Or will I be disciplined for teaching immunological facts? There are many attempts to regulate what I can and cannot say these days, so these are serious questions.
Instilling Fear of a Minority Group Breeds Hatred
We live in an era where issues of equity, diversity, and inclusion are supposed to be at the forefront of all discussions at academic institutions. However, you are openly discriminating against and excluding a subset of our community that happens to be highly enriched with people engendered with critical thinking; a quality that we are supposed to be nurturing and promoting. With COVID-19 mandates, an environment has been created on our university campus that promotes hatred, bullying, segregation, and fear of a minority group whose only wrongdoing has been to maintain critical thinking and decision-making that is based on facts and common sense. I have yet to meet an anti-vaxxer on our campus. Everyone I know of is simply against the mismanagement of exceptionally poor- quality COVID-19 vaccines. History tells us that instilling fear of a minority group never ends well. This scenario must be rectified immediately if our campus is ever to return to a safe and secure working and learning environment for all.
Committing to Abolishing the COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate
President Yates, the favour of a reply is requested. Not the kind that defers to public health officials, or a committee, or anyone else. Instead, a reply with the scientific rigour expected from a scholarly colleague rebutting each of my comments and addressing each question. Surely, you know the science underpinning COVID-19 vaccines inside and out by now. I strongly suspect that nobody would made a decision that disrupts an entire community and destroys the lives of some of its members without a fully developed rationale that can point to the weight of the peer-reviewed scientific literature to back it up. If it would be easier, I would be happy to have an open and respectful, but public and blunt moderated conversation about your vaccine mandate in front of our campus community; much like in the spirit of old-fashioned, healthy scientific debates. You can have your scientific and medical advisors attend and I will invite an equal number.
I am not saying this to be challenging. I honestly think it would be a great way to educate our campus community and expose them to the full spectrum of the science. And, if I am as wrong as my ‘fact checkers’ say, I would love for them to demonstrate this for my own sake as much as anyone else’s. So far, despite hundreds of invitations, not one person has done this in a scenario where I can respond in real-time. You need to understand; all I want is my life back and to be able to recognize my country again. I want to see the lives of the students, staff, and other faculty members that I have seen destroyed be restored again. I want to be able to return to my workplace and not be fearful of being hated or exposed to social, mental, and physical bullying. Instead, I want to be able to turn my talents and full attention back to being an academic public servant who can design better ways to treat diseases and help train Canada’s next generation of scientific and medical leaders. I simply cannot know all that I have shared in this letter and have suffered as much as I have and be silent about it.
My great uncles and family members before them served heroically in the World Wars to ensure Canada would remain a great and free democracy. I think they would be horrified by what they see in Canada today. Indeed, many of my friends who immigrated from Communist countries or countries run by dictatorships are sharing fears about the direction our country is heading; it is reminding them of what they fled from. Further, mandating COVID-19 sets a scary precedent.
Did you know that multiplex tests for both SARS-CoV-2 and influenza viruses are on the horizon, along with dual- purpose vaccines that will use the same mRNA-based technology to simultaneously target SARS-CoV-2 and influenza viruses (https://www.ctvnews.ca/health/coronavirus/moderna-developing-single-dose-covid-19-flu-combo- vaccine-1.5578445). Rhetorically, will the University of Guelph consider masking, distancing, and/or mandating vaccines for influenza in the future? Please rescind your COVID-19 vaccine mandate immediately. It is doing more harm than good. Unbelievably, among many other problems, it is even discriminating against those who can prove they are immune to SARS-CoV-2!
Mandating COVID-19 Vaccines Creates Absurd Situations
In closing, and to highlight the absurdity of mandating COVID-19 vaccines… President Yates, I have proven to you that I am immune to SARS-CoV-2, but you have banned me from the campus and ruined my life because I don’t have a piece of paper saying that someone saw two needles go into my shoulder. You have a piece of paper that says that someone saw two needles go into your shoulder, but you have not proven that you are immune to SARS-CoV-2. However, you are allowed on campus and your life can proceed uninterrupted. How is that fair?
Respectfully and in the mutual interest of the health and well-being of all members of our community,
Dr. Byram W. Bridle, PhD
Associate Professor of Viral Immunology
Department of Pathobiology
University of Guelph