Exploring Human Potential

Independent Oversight of America’s Science Establishment Long Overdue.

Posted on | March 10, 2022 | 2 Comments

Mike Magee

Brevig Mission, Akaska, is a small ocean side village that was the home of several hundred Inuit Natives in 1918. It is 586 miles due northeast of Anchorage. According to a 2019 CDC article, in a 5-day period, between November 15 and 20, 1918, 72 of the 80 adult inhabitants perished.

The tragedy was part of a larger disaster, the 1918 Flu Pandemic which claimed 675,000 lives over a two year period in the U.S. and an estimated 50 million nationwide while infecting one third of the world’s population. An H1N1 virus, similar to the 2009 Bird Flu nearly a century later, it was especially lethal in young adults age 15 to 34.

In the absence of a vaccine, and without access to antibiotics to treat opportunistic bacterial infections, with a war raging, large military encampments and crowded troop ships promoting transmission, this singular event overnight dropped lifespan in America by 12 years.

Brevig Mission, its mass gravesite, preserved in permafrost, remained untouched until 1951, when Johan Hultin, a 25-year-old Swedish microbiologist and Ph.D. student at the University of Iowa, was granted permission to excavate the site in order to obtain lung tissue from one of the victims. Hultin was unsuccessful in his attempts to grow the virus once he thawed the frozen tissue, and visions of Brevig Mission receded in his mind.

Forty six years later, in 1997, two other scientists, Jeffrey Taubenberger and Anne Reid, successfully deciphered the genomic structure of the single strand of the 1918 pandemic RNA. Its donor was a 21-year old South Carolina serviceman who died of the disease on September 20, 1918.

On reading a review, Johan Hultin, now 72, contacted Taubenberger, and under the auspices of the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, they returned together to Brevig Mission. With appropriate permissions, they were able to obtain frozen lung specimens, and definitely identified the killer microbe as the 1918 H1N1 bird flu virus.

The next highly controversial step was to attempt to reverse engineer the virus back to life. The microbiologist assigned to complete this task was the Department of Agriculture investigator, Terrence Tumphy. He successfully brought the virus back to life in 2005 working in a CDC BSL3 (the second highest security level) Lab.

A BSL3 laboratory contains primary and secondary barriers. As described by the CDC, “Investigators wear a powered air purifying respirator (PAPR), double gloves, scrubs, shoe covers and a surgical gown, and shower before exiting the laboratory. The work is conducted within a certified Class II biosafety cabinet (BSC), which prevents any airflow escape into the general circulation.”

What they learned was that the virus’s rapid multiplication created a virus load that was 50 times as great as every day respiratory viruses and specifically and almost exclusively targeted lung tissue. These deadly attributes were the result of 8 separate but contributory unique mutations of the genetic structure.

The CDC’s author in December, 2019, made a point to note that, “In 1918, the world population was 1.8 billion people. One hundred years later, the world population has grown to 7.6 billion people in 2018. As human populations have risen, so have swine and poultry populations as a means to feed them. This expanded number of hosts provides increased opportunities for novel influenza viruses from birds and pigs to spread, evolve and infect people. Global movement of people and goods also has increased, allowing the latest disease threat to be an international plane flight away.”

He went on to warn that, “If a severe pandemic, such as occurred in 1918 happened today, it would still likely overwhelm health care infrastructure, both in the United States and across the world. Hospitals and doctors’ offices would struggle to meet demand from the number of patients requiring care. Such an event would require significant increases in the manufacture, distribution and supply of medications, products and life-saving medical equipment, such as mechanical ventilators. Businesses and schools would struggle to function, and even basic services like trash pickup and waste removal could be impacted.”

That same month, Wuhan, China, (after several months delay) informed the WHO that a pandemic causing virus was on the loose. It will likely be impossible to ever prove that U.S. funded (through the Department of Defense, State Department, and NIH) “gain-of-function” research created and inadvertently released Covid-19 which has killed nearly 1 million Americans, and 6 million worldwide. But what can be stated with certainty is that we were warned.

On July 14, 2014, a group of respected working scientists, concerned with biosafety in virology laboratories worldwide, gathered as “The Cambridge Working Group” and released a consensus report. It stated in part: “Accident risks with newly created ‘potential pandemic pathogens’ raise grave new concerns. Laboratory creation of highly transmissible, novel strains of dangerous viruses…pose substantially increased risks. An accidental infection in such a setting could trigger outbreaks that would be difficult or impossible to control.”

In most countries, clear checks and balances, and independent oversight of scientists is a given. In our Medical-Industrial Complex, freed of all restraint during the Reagan years, profiteering and integrated career ladders are well established, and scientists (flowing freely in and out of government, academic medicine, science foundations, and for-profit corporations) police themselves.

An overhaul of this scientific management system is long overdue.



2 Responses to “Independent Oversight of America’s Science Establishment Long Overdue.”

  1. Lawrence Williams
    March 14th, 2022 @ 6:52 pm

    You are absolutely correct Dr. Magee. There is a need for a much stronger system of oversight and checks and balances of our “scientific management system”. However with the current crop of far right voters and politicians I sincerely doubt that there is the political will to make it happen. More’s the pity.

  2. Mike Magee
    March 14th, 2022 @ 7:17 pm

    Thanks, Larry!

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