Big Pharma Jake Johnson Pandemic

Experts Warn Merck’s FDA-Authorized Covid Pill Could ‘Create Breeding Ground for Mutant Viruses’

Image of a magnifying glass magnifying the Merck logo on a website
(Jernej Furman / Flickr) (CC BY 2.0)

By Jake Johnson / Common Dreams

Merck’s anti-viral coronavirus pill has been heralded as a “gamechanger” in the fight against the deadly global pandemic, and the Food and Drug Administration decided last week to authorize the treatment on an emergency-use basis for certain segments of the U.S. population.

But public health experts in recent days have increasingly sounded alarm over the potential drawbacks of molnupiravir, including the frightening possibility that it could—in the words of one researcher—”create a breeding ground for mutant viruses,” thereby prolonging the pandemic and adding to its grisly death toll.

“The problem with molnupiravir lies in its mechanism of action,” Michael Lin, associate professor of neurobiology and bioengineering at Stanford University, wrote in a recent op-ed for the Washington Post. “Unlike any previous antiviral drug, molnupiravir does only one thing: It introduces mutations into the viral genome.”

Lin noted that while “we are already familiar with the fact that viruses naturally mutate to evade immunity… molnupiravir relies on inducing even more mutations so that eventually the virus’ proteins are damaged beyond function. That molnupiravir can mutate SARS-CoV-2 to death has been demonstrated in the controlled conditions of a petri dish and lab animal cages, leading Merck to test it in covid-19 patients in clinical trials.”

“But people are not petri dishes or lab animals, and while molnupiravir works to some extent, it has not worked very well in Covid-19 patients,” Lin observed, pointing to data showing that Merck’s pill has proven far less effective in preventing hospitalization than Pfizer’s, which the FDA authorized for emergency use last Wednesday.

“The worst-case scenario is worrisome,” he continued. “As long as molnupiravir is in use somewhere in the world, it could generate repeated cycles of new variants, with people desperately taking the drug to fight the new variants it spawns, creating a vicious positive feedback loop while causing more suffering and deaths… The FDA and Merck have essentially engaged the public in a gamble without public debate.”

Lin’s concerns about molnupiravir’s capacity to generate new coronavirus variants could hardly be characterized as fringe alarmism, given the chorus of expert voices raising similar objections to the treatment.

Dissenting members of the FDA’s Antimicrobial Drugs Advisory Committee—which narrowly voted last month to declare that molnupiravir’s potential benefits outweigh its risks—argued during a recent meeting that “the overall benefit-risk ratio” of the drug was “unfavorable,” specifically citing the treatment’s “potential to drive viral mutations” and its “mutagenicity risks.”

“Dismayed that the FDA has now made the worst decision in its history.”

European Medicines Agency similarly warned in its detailed assessment of the drug last month that available data “raises the question whether [the] virus that emerges during treatment and/or in subjects who fail treatment with molnupiravir could harbor mutations with significant consequences for the success of other products intended for prevention or treatment of Covid-19.”

William Haseltine, a virologist renowned for his work on HIV and the human genome project, implored the FDA in a November 1 blog post to be circumspect in its handling of molnupiravir due to “the drug’s potential to supercharge SARS-CoV-2 mutations and unleash a more virulent variant upon the world,” along with other potential side effects.

“My biggest concern with this drug is much larger than the health of any one person, it is molnupiravir’s ability to introduce mutations to the virus itself that are significant enough to change how the virus functions, but not so powerful as to stop it from replicating and becoming the next dominant variant,” Haseltine wrote.

“The drug’s manufacturers, Merck and Ridgeback, are entering into licensing deals that would allow the drug to be made and sold widely in more than 105 countries, which means that, if approved by regulators, we will soon have very little control over the drug’s administration and dosages delivered,”  he added. “We are potentially headed towards a world-class disaster.”

Despite such fears from outside experts and members of one of its own advisory panels, the FDA announced on December 23 that molnupiravir can be used “for the treatment of mild-to-moderate coronavirus disease… in adults with positive results of direct SARS-CoV-2 viral testing, and who are at high risk for progression to severe Covid-19, including hospitalization or death, and for whom alternative Covid-19 treatment options authorized by the FDA are not accessible or clinically appropriate.”

The Biden administration has already purchased millions of courses of the five-day treatment at a price point far higher than the cost of production. Merck, a New Jersey-based pharmaceutical company, charged the U.S. over $700 per patient for the pills, which—according to one expert analysis—cost just $17.74 per regimen to manufacture.

Over a month before the FDA issued its emergency-use authorization, the U.K.’s medicines regulator approved molnupiravir, declaring that the drug is “safe and effective at reducing the risk of hospitalization and death in people with mild to moderate Covid-19 who are at increased risk of developing severe disease.”

It was U.K. Health Secretary Sajid Javid who in November described the drug as a potential “gamechanger.”

On Tuesday, India approved Merck’s pill for emergency use, and the nation’s health minister said the treatment will be manufactured by 13 companies.

France, however, publicly canceled its order for Merck’s treatment last week, describing the company’s latest trial data on the drug’s efficacy as disappointing.

“The latest studies weren’t good,” said Olivier Veran, France’s health minister.

The rush by some nations to greenlight coronavirus treatments comes in the context of a global surge in cases believed to be fueled by the heavily mutated Omicron strain, which was first detected last month in southern Africa.

In a series of tweets last week, Lin wrote that while he wants a “way out of this pandemic as much as anybody else,” molnupiravir’s approval and use across the globe risks imperiling rather than aiding that objective.

“Dismayed that the FDA has now made the worst decision in its history,” Lin tweeted. “We cannot give up on raising awareness of the dangers of molnupiravir, and its poor efficacy. We must limit its use while we work on a worldwide campaign to reverse this.”

12 comments

  1. This just becomes more and more clear how limp wristed these stories are. When will left of Biden (maybe) begin to see the agenda, see the fascism, see the “trust that science” hoaxes?

    So, now we have Omega SARS-MERS-CoV2? Endless variants? No cures, but, well, let’s just keep throwing dangerous drugs and poisons at it via forced non-consensual medical experiments.

    These criminals keep on coming with their game changer and shifting the baseline —

    https://www.cnbc.com/amp/2021/12/29/who-warns-vaccine-resistant-covid-variants-could-emerge-amid-pandemic.html

    “WHO warns new Covid variants could emerge that are fully resistant to vaccines as pandemic drags” on

    Or what? Why this virus? How? Where? Who designed it? When? Why? What? How? This isn’t a precedent? No questions about its origins? So Round Up “ready” crops create resistant super weeds. Sanitizing everything, everybody, causes antibiotic resistance in bacteria. Antimicrobial resistance created by all manner of industrial processes. But this omega virus’ infinity variant mutation? No origins inquiries? And then nitric oxide nasal spray? Read all about it. Kills 99 percent of flu and SARS-MERS-CoV2-DARPA too. SaNoTize, out of BC Canada. Right, where are those care packages delivered to our doors? Again, spray the nasal cavity before and after entering a confined space, and, shoot, no respiratory illness? This is more than a quadrupled hoax.

    Now, from Austria-Australia-New Zealand, with Love to NYC:

    Comrades, many American citizens stood jaw agape as they watched Australian metropolitan police departments begin cracking skulls and making arrests for violating COVID rules and restrictions. Yes, it always seemed like Australia, New Zealand and Europe were the beta testing ground to see if police would comply with jackboot arrests of their own community.

    Well, now we can see those same tactics being deployed in the U.S.

    New York City was the first large metropolitan area to require vaccination identification cards to enter restaurants, bars, dining establishments and various public and private venues. Now comes the enforcement part.

    Watch this video below to see the New York Police Department (NYPD) start deploying vaccination police, and making arrests of people who do not present papers to prove their status. WATCH:

    When asked why they would arrest their own community members simply for being unvaccinated and wanting to eat a sandwich, the police turn a deaf ear. This should not be a surprise. When it comes to getting their own paychecks, or putting food on their family’s table, just about every single police officer in the U.S. will load you in the cattle car…. while saying, “It’s just my job.”

    https://youtu.be/yV3YUHGrxJ4

    Oh those liberals, those CNBC liberals. Rachel Maddow. Howard Stern. Chomsky. Oh, yeah, jackboot the people, us, who refuse the jab? Amazing how quickly USA turns NAZI over a cart-full of lies.

    Get with the program! — Get yourself real writers and journalists who actually question all of this, the fall-out, the shifting mandates, the entire show.

    Oh, how stupid media are. Let’s see — we are talking 10,000 IU D3? Maybe 20,000 Vitamin C, throughout the day, broken up. Zinc? Selenium? Regular 325 mg aspirin? Gargling five times a day with hydrogen peroxide from the pharmacy (OTT). Right! So, those of us who have already been exposed and had SARS-MERS-CoV2, we have to do what?

    And, forget about talking about Ivermectin, right? And, African nations? Are they dropping like flies because of SARS-MERS-CoV2-DARPA? Get real. They are not dying from that.

    Even the Intercept has stuff on this — not exactly a radical news site:

    https://theintercept.com/2021/12/28/covid-pandemic-virus-hunters-ecohealth-alliance-peter-daszak-wuhan/

    Oh, trust that (above article referenced) science? The Moderna science? Oh, mRNA science? Pfizer? Merck? Oh, those charlatans are now, well, god bless their billions!

    Quoting Intercept —

    And as happened in the case of EcoHealth Alliance, even the best-laid policies can be evaded by powerful scientists. Daszak and Fauci, two powerful leaders in their field, were able to work together to skirt safeguards the U.S. government imposed on gain-of-function research, which might have otherwise prevented experiments that were conducted at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, as The Intercept has previously reported.

    NIH Officials Worked With EcoHealth Alliance to Evade Restrictions on Coronavirus Experiments
    The U.S. government does have some strict safety protocols in place for working with dangerous pathogens. Virus hunters are required to report any bites or scratches that happen during sampling and train workers in emergency response. But such rules are only as strong as whoever is enforcing them — and they may be increasingly difficult to enforce.

    While countries across the globe are taking part in this research, there are no international standards for bio-risk management. Several of the scientists interviewed for the piece, including Carroll of the Global Virome Project, emphasized the urgent need for such oversight. Without it, the level of attention to the possible dangers of the work varies widely throughout the world. Some partners may not agree with the U.S. government about when such facilities should be used, as was the case with the Wuhan Institute of Virology, which had a biosafety level 4 lab but did much of its work on coronaviruses through the NIAID grant in a much less protective biosafety level 2 lab.

  2. Biden or Trump, it’s now clear it matters not for us 99 Percenters. That’s because, as events are making obvious, our Masters have already ruled: either way, Democrats or ChristoNazis, it’s genocidal reduction for the Working Class, no mater by what tsunami of euphemisms our Masters try to hide their lies.

    1. Well, I am in the 80 Percent. You see, the point zero zero one percent, the One Percent, and then the 5 percenters, all the way up to the 14 percenters, control 92 percent of wealth. So, twenty percent of USA is in cohoots. One percenters, and then the two income doctor families (multimillionaires) and then the professional managerial class, with $400K a year salaries, plus bonuses and stock options. Dream Hoarders. Read the book or tap into his talks on the Internet.

      You see, Eichmann is a New Eichmann, and there are millions of them in this 355 million United Snakes of America. They are the enemy, and to say We Are the 99 is wrong. I was a teacher in Seattle for Occupy Seattle, and we talked about that demographic and who controls power, money, land, stocks, our futures. A judge making $150 K a year, with a spouse in the real estate gig, well, I am not in his or her camp.

      Fine, levy, penalize, ticket, toll, surcharge, violations, taxes, regressive land taxation, triple taxation, that is the power of the Inflammatory Disease, Capitalism.

      For black men, the concept is called weathering. Look that up. But for many of us socialists and communists, who are teachers, writers, journalists, social workers, real environmental warriors, and more, we are not in the fold of the 19 percent. Not in the fold of the One Percent.

      Here is another take —

      by Michael Parenti
      Writer, Dandelion Salad
      Originally published February 18, 2014
      July 30, 2018

      The world’s 85 richest individuals possess as much wealth as the 3.5 billion souls who compose the poorer half of the world’s population, or so it was announced in a report by Oxfam International. The assertion sounds implausible to me. I think the 85 richest individuals, who together are worth many hundreds of billions of dollars, must have far more wealth than the poorest half of our global population.

      How could these two cohorts, the 85 richest and 3.5 billion poorest, have the same amount of wealth? The great majority of the 3.5 billion have no net wealth at all. Hundreds of millions of them have jobs that hardly pay enough to feed their families. Millions of them rely on supplements from private charity and public assistance when they can. Hundreds of millions are undernourished, suffer food insecurity, or go hungry each month, including many among the very poorest in the United States.

      Most of the 3.5 billion earn an average of $2.50 a day. The poorest 40 percent of the world population accounts for just 5 percent of all global income. About 80 percent of all humanity live on less than $10 a day. And the poorest 50 percent maintain only 7.2 percent of the world’s private consumption. How exactly could they have accumulated an amount of surplus wealth comparable to the 85 filthy richest?

      Hundreds of millions live in debt even in “affluent” countries like the United States. They face health care debts, credit card debts, college tuition debts, and so on. Many, probably most who own homes— and don’t live in shacks or under bridges or in old vans— are still straddled with mortgages. This means their net family wealth is negative, minus-zero. They have no propertied wealth; they live in debt.

      Millions among the poorest 50 percent in the world may have cars but most of them also have car payments. They are driving in debt. In countries like Indonesia, for the millions without private vehicles, there are the overloaded, battered buses, poorly maintained vehicles that specialize in breakdowns and ravine plunges. Among the lowest rungs of the 50 percent are the many who pick through garbage dumps and send their kids off to work in grim, soul-destroying sweatshops.

      The 85 richest in the world probably include the four members of the Walton family (owners of Wal-Mart, among the top ten superrich in the USA) who together are worth over $100 billion. Rich families like the DuPonts have controlling interests in giant corporations like General Motors, Coca-Cola, and United Brands. They own about forty manorial estates and private museums in Delaware alone and have set up 31 tax-exempt foundations. The superrich in America and in many other countries find ways, legal and illegal, to shelter much of their wealth in secret accounts. We don’t really know how very rich the very rich really are.

      Regarding the poorest portion of the world population— whom I would call the valiant, struggling “better half”—what mass configuration of wealth could we possibly be talking about? The aggregate wealth possessed by the 85 super-richest individuals, and the aggregate wealth owned by the world’s 3.5 billion poorest, are of different dimensions and different natures. Can we really compare private jets, mansions, landed estates, super luxury vacation retreats, luxury apartments, luxury condos, and luxury cars, not to mention hundreds of billions of dollars in equities, bonds, commercial properties, art works, antiques, etc.— can we really compare all that enormous wealth against some millions of used cars, used furniture, and used television sets, many of which are ready to break down? Of what resale value if any, are such minor durable-use commodities? especially in communities of high unemployment, dismal health and housing conditions, no running water, no decent sanitation facilities, etc. We don’t really know how poor the very poor really are.

      Millions of children who number in the lower 50 percent never see the inside of a school. Instead they labor in mills, mines and on farms, under conditions of peonage. Nearly a billion people are unable to read or write. The number of people living in poverty is growing at a faster rate than the world’s population. So poverty is spreading even as wealth accumulates. It is not enough to bemoan this enormous inequality, we must also explain why it is happening.

      But for now, let me repeat: the world’s richest 85 individuals do not have the same amount of accumulated wealth as the world’s poorest 50 percent. They have vastly more. The multitude on the lower rungs—even taken as a totality—have next to nothing.

      Michael Parenti is an award winning, internationally known author. His most recent books are The Face of Imperialism (a critique of the U.S. global empire; 2011) and Waiting for Yesterday: Pages from a Street Kid’s Life (an ethnic memoir about his early life in Italian Harlem; 2013); Profit Pathology and Other Indecencies, and Against Empire (1995). For further information about his work, visit his website: http://www.michaelparenti.org.

      1. Yeah, I just listend to Amy “Soros” Goodman talk with Naom “Know It All” Chomsky. Anybody — some of us are left of left — who might have looked into SARS-MERS-CoV2-DARPA, decades of bioweapon work and the history of drug companies, including these mRNA vax factories, we are just Trumped Out or Colonized by social media.

        Embarassing. This is where we are, manufacturing consent and no dissent.

        https://www.democracynow.org/2021/12/30/noam_chomsky_corporate_patents_rising_anti

        Check a doctor. I am sure not on Chomsky’s list!

        https://www.globalresearch.ca/video-dr-sucharit-bhakdi-these-vaccines-are-killing-the-young-and-the-old-they-are-killing-our-children/5765866

  3. Michael Yeadon is a powerful voice. His carefully researched analysis provides an understanding of the devastating impacts of the mRNA “vaccine” and the “vaccine passport”. Ex-Pfizer scientist. But, well, he is deplatformed!

    https://www.globalresearch.ca/video-ex-pfizer-chief-scientist-dr-michael-yeadon-mass-murder-vaccine-passports-top-up-vaccines/5765708

    ***

    “This system is being put in place using lies, and it’s being put in place using lies for some purpose, and I believe that purpose is complete totalitarian control.”

  4. This Virus is about Greed, Power, and possibly murder of expendable people. The Elites’ and Powerbrokers are the most sick on this planet. Some have lost sight of humanity and have themselves mutated into horrible creatures. Oh Where Oh Where is Sanity? Is there Hope beyond this Fascist Coup?

  5. The USA wants to be responsible for perpetuating covid-19 for profit. SURELY the last few weeks have shown that omicron is the best thing to happen in two years. It spreads very quickly, mostly causes mild symptoms, does not last long or lead to hospitalizations or deaths at anything like the rate of delta, yet the fearmongering of “authorities” seen in England and the USA, based on false figures is causing panic and now this.
    Merck long ago produced a great antiparasite medication, ivermectin, dismissed by many as “horsepaste” but extremely effective in trials against covid-19 where people did not have access to vaccines (ie the poor!! in India) but it did not make profits. If Merck wants to push this new drug, and the FDA proceeds, we are all losers.

  6. I read the article again. Is this information available? The UK health minister has already made monumental errors in announcing details about omicron. Do they not look at the numbers in hospital and the actual reductions obvious to official data collectors?????? Without following the stats of the last few weeks, how can they pretend omicron is a disaster and that this pill is needed?? omicron has displaced delta in S Africa and is gradually doing so in England. Let it do its job of REDUCING the covid-19 disastrous hospital and death rate and stop going on about “cases” as we are all likely to be infected and that can protect us , along with the vaccination most have. Please publicise this article for all!!!!

  7. there is no pandemic—only hysteria from political reactionaries
    99.7% recover
    restrictions have only created more social/economic/psychological difficulties
    a vaccine prevents infection—only the sputnik has been free of side effects as Argentine, Hungarian studies show
    the most vaccinated nations and those with the most restrictions now have the most cases
    in USA florida has the fewest deaths per capita save 1 state and they have the greater number of vulnerable aged…Nicaragua, Belarus, Uruguay, Sweden etc rejected hysteria and they have fared extremely well

  8. At least commenters here and elsewhere are better informed than ‘experts’ and not falling for the real mis/disinformation of SP and other ‘independent’ echo chambers of the MSM.

    By way of addition, it should be noted that the alleged virus of SARS-CoV-2, alleged cause of COVID-19, has never been validly demonstrated to exist, making covid a chimera capable of being creatively manipulated to serve the panic and propaganda purposes of an equally nonexistent pandemic. Essentially, the pseudoscience behind this global public health hoax, and since the 1950s behind the germ theory exploited by corrupt corporate controlled medicine, consists of magically pulling out mathematical models from digitally rigged genomic sequences so as to circumvent actual empirical method and experimental verification, as summarized in the suppressed standards of Koch’s postulates.

    The so-called variants therefore no more exist than their phantom predecessor of SARS-CoV-2 (while how much what’s at work may be the result of (low-grade) gain-of-function bioweaponry, for instance, remains obscured and forgotten following FOIA release of Fauci’s emails revealing his and others’ collusion in such R&D at Wuhan and other sites (e.g., Fort Detrick, MD) of the medical-military industrial complex). On the one hand, ‘variants’ have been used by the new normal fear porn to replace the old normal mutation of infectious agents into more transmissible and less harmful forms (hence Omicron) indicative of natural immunity, now anathema to the ‘vaccination’ or injection agenda and its inquisitorial authorities. On the other hand, ‘variants’ cover for the leaky non-vaccines or biodigital engineering, and crucial bioweaponry, making for all manner of adverse effects and excess death just getting started, and officially denied, as this Frankenscience rolls out.

    Covid is a false flag cover for an historically unprecedented global coup, the real threat to humanity. As its supporting narrative becomes more absurd and unsustainable for more waking up, rising up, expect other means (e.g., supply chain crises, cyberterrorism, climate change lockdown, monetary collapse, a second and worse ‘pandemic’ from the ‘vaccines’ or other bioweaponry) to enforce the evil now loosed upon the world. Enduring revolutionary resistance to rival the revolutionary remaking of human and all life by the psychopathic powers presently reigning over us is the necessary antidote to the real plague which has besieged us.

    1. Well, a bit more complicated, those bioweapon, bio-fear, militarized outfits are doing globally.

      http://elainedewar.blogspot.com/2021/10/whos-afraid-of-angela-rasmussen.html

      Here we go —

      https://youtu.be/HvxdOvQAfS4

      Gain of Function. Stored blood and human feces. Tinkering (sic).

      I guarantee this is coming: No series of jabs? No medical insurance. No jabs? No driver’s license. No jabs? GIS-mapped on a digital map of all the unv-ed.

      And this is okay? NSA-Total Surveillence? Democrats, Plutocrats, Republicans, Libertarians, too. Love it.

      From gestation to birth to death — they got us.

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