Antivaccine nonsense Bad science Biology Medicine Science Skepticism/critical thinking

Marc Girardot: A “COVID myth buster” who doesn’t know chemistry

Marc Girardot is a tech guy turned COVID-19 contrarian. His analogy to falsely “explain” why mRNA vaccines are deadly shows an astounding lack of understanding of basic chemistry.

As the COVID-19 pandemic drags on and enters its third year, every so often I think that I’ve seen all the examples of bad science, silly analogies, and general conspiracy mongering from COVID-19 contrarians, antimaskers, anti-“lockdown” advocates, and antivaxxers that there are. Every so often, I’m wrong, too. Enter Marc Girardot. As strange as it seems, I didn’t recall having heard of Girardot before, but apparently he’s a tech guy with an MBA and a masters in Economics and Business who’s worked for Cisco, Booz Allen and Air Liquide, which makes him exactly the sort of guy whose takes on COVID-19 I want to hear. (Yes, that was sarcasm.) Girard describes himself as a “seasoned strategy consultant trained in the scientific method with experience.” Like far too many tech guys with no discernible serious expertise in public health, virology, infectious disease, molecular biology, or other relevant disciplines to comment on COVID-19, public health, and vaccines, Girard nonetheless does not let a little thing like his lack of relevant expertise stop him, as evidenced by his Substack (where all the quacks now go), Covid Myth Buster Series, which, he brags, debunks “the COVID narrative, with observation, facts, data, and rigorous scientific method.”

Unfortunately, Girardot’s braggadocio notwithstanding, apparently his “facts, data, and rigorous scientific method” don’t include an understanding of basic chemistry, if his post What happens to those billions of NanoParticles you’ve become host to? is any indication. Either that, or he knows basic chemistry but is simply intentionally using the fact that most people don’t understand a lot of basic chemistry and, as a result, will find his analogy frightening because of all the big numbers to fear monger in a manner that, to this old chemistry major, made me laugh out loud with contempt.

Get a load of his analogy:

Some of you might recall one of the most beautiful commercial ever, the colourful Sony advertising in my childhood’s neighbourhood in San Francisco. As you might recall, they let go 170,000 bouncing balls tumbling down the streets in a beautifully chaotic ballet of rubber balls of all colours. 

During that poetic descent, balls bounce off rain gutters, car trunks, wooden-tile roofs, lamp posts… Hitting mailboxes, running down trash cans, shaking newspaper racks… there’s no telling where they’d end up: stuck in a garage, in a garden, on a roof, who knows… The only thing certain is gravity was going to pull them down, a majority will end down at the Marina, and that they will bang on a variety of objects along the way, solo or in pack, in a wonderful haphazard choreography.

Current anti-COVID vaccines can be like bouncing balls in your body. Obviously Nanoparticles1 (LNP/Viral vectors) and spike proteins are far less poetic, but what they lack in poetry, they compensate in potential chaos and surprises. The domino effects they trigger sometimes can be disquieting and dramatic. 

Only someone either ignorant of chemistry or who knows that his audience is ignorant of chemistry could make an analogy like this seriously. Come to think of it, only someone ignorant of basic physiology and biochemistry. I mean, pretty much every large free-floating protein “bounces around” the body in the bloodstream, and the lipid nanoparticles (LNPs) actually resemble lipid bodies that already exist in the body.

Girardot’s analogy only gets worse:

The number of nanoparticles (NP) injected in a dose of these anti-COVID vaccines is utterly flabbergasting: up to 50 billion viral vectors for AstraZeneca, 40 billion LNPs for Moderna, and likely 10 for Pfizer. It’s not very clear how many intact messenger RNA are in each LNP , but even if we agree to only 1, and that each one produces 1000 spike protein, we are talking your body having to deal with a minimum 30 trillion pathogenic spike proteins2 in a few months time…

Those are numbers way beyond very severe SARS-COV-2 infections: typically at infection peak between 1 and 100 billion virions, are present in the body.

I can’t help but note the false comparison as well. His estimate of the total number of virions (virus particles) of SARS-CoV-2 in the human body covers a wide range, from 1-100 billion, and is based on a single study. Even if that estimate is accurate, one can’t help but note that viruses enter cells, replicate, and, if you use the very source cited by Girardot, kill the cells they’ve hijacked, releasing approximately 1,000 new virions, which go on to enter more cells and then produce more virions, and so on, in the meantime causing all sorts of havoc in the body in terms of cell and tissue destruction as well as provoking a large immune response. Girardot, whether he realizes it or not (and I suspect that he does), is comparing apples and oranges in a misleading way.

Let’s give Girardot the benefit of the doubt (although he doesn’t deserve it) and issue for the moment that these numbers are correct. They sound like enormous numbers, don’t they? But they aren’t, not really, as anyone who’s studied biology or chemistry knows. For example, 40 billion = 40 x 109 or, in scientific notation, 4.0 x 1010 particles. What is that in terms of a common unit used to measure the number of molecules in chemistry, the mole? One mole = 6.023 x 1023 particles, which means that 40 billion LNPs = 6.6 x10-14 moles, or 66 femtomoles (17 femtomoles for the Pfizer vaccine, one femtomole being 10-15 mole).

While I’m at it, we know that the Pfizer vaccine contains 30 μg mRNA, while the Moderna vaccine contains 100 μg. How many moles? Let’s just say that the SARS-CoV=2 spike protein consists of 1,273 amino acids, which means three times the number of nucleotides, plus some for regulation and other functions in the mRNA. (Let’s say around 3,900 nucleotides, or 3.9 kb.) The average molecular weight of a single RNA base is 340, which means a 3.9 kb mRNA will have a molecular weight of around 1.326 x 106. Thus, 100 μg of mRNA in the Moderna vaccine is the equivalent of ~7.5 x 10-8 mol; in the Pfizer vaccine it’s around 2.25 x 10-8. Let’s just say that it’s not a lot, although I could make it sound like a crapton by multiplying by Avogadro’s number (again, 6.023 x 1023), which would yield an estimate of ~4.5 x 1015 mRNA molecules. At the risk of scaring Girardot even more, from this number we can even estimate how many mRNA molecules there must be in a single LNP, an exercise I’ll leave to the interested reader.

When described this way, the amounts that Girardot fear mongers about amount don’t sound so large, do they? I could throw in another number just for fun, the total number of cells in the body, 30-40 trillion cells, or 3-4 x 1013 cells.

Oh, wait. Girardot goes on, because of course he does:

While many of these LNPs will transfect the same cell, or will simply get destroyed before ever transfecting, for a reason or another, these numbers remain truly gigantic. And it’s no surprise that some people’s arms are painful – or other die quasi instantly – post-vaccination as T-cells attack these spike-producing cells to start ridding the body of the infection mimicry.

These numbers are only “truly gigantic” if you are ignorant of chemistry and biology., and, of course, as I’ve discussed more times than I can now remember in the context of antivaxxers weaponizing the Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS) database, serious adverse events after the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines are quite rare. Thanks, though, M. Girardot, for the gratuitous antivax claim. I suspect that biochemists, chemists, and biologists also thank him for the chuckle.

Girardot seems to know how the vaccines are designed, namely to stay intramuscular, there to transfect muscle cells to churn out the antigen used in the vaccine, namely the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, which is the protein that binds to the ACE2 receptor and thereby gets the virus into the cell to do its dirty work. He even discusses that:

Of course, these are supposedly intramuscular vaccines which were meant to stay in the muscle. Straight forward, no chaos, no unforeseen consequences: Theoretically, LNP fuses with muscle cell, mRNA is inserted, muscle cell’s intra-cellular machinerystarts producing spike proteins, cells are identified by the immune systems as “compromised”, T-cells attack infected cell and the spike proteins are spilled into tissues and blood stream to trigger antibody selection and production, antibodies neutralise and rid the spike protein. If the bouncing balls stay in the same place, then there’s no domino effect, nothing happens apart from muscle cells being destroyed and ultimately replaced. End of story.

Unfortunately, this seemingly reasonable discussion serves only as a jumping off point for what we in the biz like to call JAQing off, a common crank technique in which wild claims are made to seem plausible by framing them as questions, as in ” Just Asking Questions.” Alternatively, we often call what Girardot does next “handwaving,” in which he goes on and on about a bunch of “what ifs” that sound scary to the average person but, if you know the science, really are not.

Not that that stops Girardot, again:

Well, here’s the catch:
If you inject 10 billion nanoparticles in the muscle, how can you be sure it’s going to remain there? … You can’t!
Even if Sony had dumped 170,000 bouncing balls at a flat intersection in Pacific Heights, there’s a good chance, many would have ended going downhill. Planning is one thing, reality is another. Same with the vaccines.

I love how cranks like Girardot seem to assume that scientists never, ever thought of such a possibility before—or worse, that they never, ever even thought to think of it before. Girardot, apparently, is the only one smart enough to ask this question. It reminds me of creationists who used to like to bring up various issues with the theory of evolution, acting as if they were the first to have discovered them and that literally thousands of scientists over many decades hadn’t considered them and then rejected them based on evidence. Indeed, Girardot reminds me of a famous creationist refrain, “If evolution is true, why are there still monkeys?” His weaponization of seemingly large numbers that betray an ignorance of basic chemistry is very much akin to just that, except that I suspect that he knows exactly what he is doing.

This leads to all sorts of the aforementioned handwaving, even as Girardot expands on his silly analogy:

When the producers of the Sony advertising decided to actually use real bouncing balls down the streets of San Francisco, they designed the experience not only to create a marvellous artistic experience, but also to protect the pedestrians and the environment. The balls were chosen to avoid damaging Victorian houses and protection nets were installed to avoid harming people. They didn’t decide overnight to throw thousands of bouncing balls down a tourist-filled street like Lombard Street.

A reckless production could cause damage and hurt many, either if a mass of balls descended on a few wondering tourists, or just a few of them could cause a car accident to slip or a person to fall. 

In the case of the vaccines, it seems “the balls have found their way down Lombard Street”. We are off-script here. It is clear that in many occasions LNP are escaping the muscle with very serious consequences.

Again, Girardot seems to think that the scientists at Moderna, BioNTech, and Pfizer—not to mention the FDA or regulatory bodies in other countries responsible for drug and vaccine approvals—never even thought of such a possibility as these vaccines were developed, tested, and then approved for use in humans. It’s as though Girardot thinks that not a single scientist involved in any step of the process, from the conception of the mRNA vaccines, to their synthesis, to their testing in cell culture, to their testing in preclinical models, to their initial tests in humans, to the phase 2 and 3 clinical trials, to the application to the FDA and other regulatory bodies for approval, once thought to ask: Gee, what sorts of potentially bad things could happen if these lipid nanoparticles got into the bloodstream? It’s truly ludicrous. Does Girardot even know what goes into the development of a vaccine or biologic like the mRNA vaccines? He says he’s in biotech, but, damn.

The rest of his post just made me alternate between chuckling at Girardot’s obviousness and facepalming at his takes. For instance, he asks, what could happen if these LNPs were to go where they weren’t meant to go or even—gasp!—get into the bloodstream or the lymphatic system. Of course, in the case of the latter, it was always expected that some would get into the lymphatic system given that muscle has a lot of lymphatic vessels in it. One has only to look at early videos of the Moderna vaccines to see that, and getting some of the LNPs to the lymphatics is actually good for ramping up the immune response. Again, it’s not as though scientists didn’t know this; there were actual studies of where LNPs go by injection site dating back to before the vaccines were even in clinical trials:

Here’s a peer-reviewed study that shows where intramuscular vaccines (which all three of the COVID-19 vaccines are) travel in macaques (a type of monkey). Vaccines mostly remain near the site of injection (the arm muscle) and local lymph nodes. 

This makes sense: Lymph nodes produce white blood cells and antibodies to protect us from disease. A key part of the lymphatic system, lymph nodes also clean up fluids and remove waste materials. Finding pieces of spike protein in the lymph nodes is completely normal, because lymph nodes act as the trash removal service for the body. That means the vaccine did its job (made spike proteins, which caused the creation of antibodies) and will be cleared from the body.

Another peer-reviewed study tested exactly where an mRNA vaccine went in mice. Most of the mRNA vaccine stayed in the injection site muscle – where you get the shot. Look at Table 1. A lot of mRNA vaccine was found in local lymph nodes, which peaked about eight hours after the shot was given. A much smaller amount of mRNA vaccine went to farther away lymph nodes.

It’s also not as though there weren’t biodistribution studies of the LNPs. I discussed one of them from Pfizer in detail many moons ago. Tiny amounts of LNPs do go beyond the intramuscular injection site, but only very tiny amounts, with no evidence of significant toxicity. That study even included intravenous injection of the LNPs, in which most of the LNPs ended up in the liver, there to be slowly eliminated. Remember, too, that even to see that required direct intravenous injection of a large amount of LNPs, a situation very much unlike that of vaccination. It’s an intentionally artificial situation, in which investigators are trying to see where the LNPs go by injecting a large amount of them intravenously, again, a situation very unlike the situation after vaccination, in which the vast majority of LNPs stay near the site of vaccination. Moreover, according to the Japanese biodistribution study, “no toxic findings indicating liver toxicity were found in the repeated-dose toxicity test.”

None of this stops Girardot from cranking up the nonsense in his conclusion:

Beyond the fact that the vaccines are utterly ineffective, the mechanisms by which they are harming people is not a complicated as we think. The Danes have apparently reduced the risk 60% by enforcing the aspiration technique. One wonders what the other public health agencies have been doing since! Another CDC alert highlighted leaky blood vessels were a problem. Again admitting the risk caused by these product going intravenous. One wonders how anyone knowing that would continue to vaccinate billions? How can any of the authorities be certain these products won’t leak? They can’t. They never could. It was excusable to not understand the implication of transfection.  It is not excusable to avoid looking at the reality in the face for over a year. And they will soon stand trial for that. I wouldn’t want to be their lawyers…

What is he blathering about? That part about the Danes involves a reference to a recommendation from Danish health authorities that healthcare personnel administering vaccines aspirate first, to make sure the needle is not in a blood vessel, before injecting the vaccine. This is fairly common practice with all intramuscular injections. No doubt Girardot will view CDC recommendations that routine aspiration is not necessary before injecting a vaccine into an infant because there are no large blood vessels in the area injected and aspiration makes vaccination more painful for infants as a conspiracy to “cover up” the truth, but it turns out that it’s not nearly as straightforward a question as Girardot thinks whether routine aspiration before intramuscular injection is necessary. Indeed, the Danish paper even prefaces its recommendation by saying that routine aspiration is not necessary before intramuscular injections of a vaccine but that it is changing its recommendation for the COVID-19 vaccine based on the precautionary principle. Again, it’s not as though this question hasn’t been long debated; for example, here’s a paper from 2014 discussing the issue.

After I finished my deconstruction of Girardot’s risible attempt to frighten with large numbers, I looked into his background a bit more. In his Substack profile, he describes himself thusly:

Panda member / Critical Thinker / Citizen scientist Author of multiple breakthrough articles on Covid Senior advisor in Bio and Auto

I should have known. First, anyone who proclaims himself a “Critical Thinker” in his social media or blog bio is guaranteed to be neither critical nor a thinker, much less a critical thinker. Second, rare is the person proclaiming himself a “citizen scientist” who actually knows how to do halfway decent science. In general, whenever I encounter “citizen scientist,” I tend to find someone who is not using science to look for facts and accurate assessments but rather someone who is cherry picking science to support his preexisting beliefs. Finally, he’s a member of PANDA.

It didn’t take much searching to figure out that PANDA, of course, is a rabidly antivaccine organization dedicated to only the worst takes on the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s headed by an actuary named Nick Hudson, who seems to think that being good at math makes him good at epidemiology, science, virology, and public health. Of course, I had heard of PANDA before and been meaning to write about it in the context of the Great Barrington Declaration (GBD), that libertarian think tank-inspired and supported document from October 2020 that advocated a “let ‘er rip” approach to the pandemic among the “healthy, ” with unspecified and almost certainly ineffective attempts at the “focused protection” of the elderly and those at high risk for serious disease and death. Why? Because PANDA’s initial scientific advisory board announced two days after the GBD was signed, included not only all three of the original authors of the GBD (Martin Kulldorff, Sunetra Gupta, and Jay Bhattacharya), but prominent GBD signatory Michael Levitt. And GBD supporters cry that they are “not antivaccine.”

Now that I’m aware of Marc Girardot, I suspect that I will be looking into more of his awful takes. In the meantime, I strongly encourage him to take a basic chemistry course and a basic biology course. He’s obviously forgotten whatever he might have learned from such courses when he was in college.

By Orac

Orac is the nom de blog of a humble surgeon/scientist who has an ego just big enough to delude himself that someone, somewhere might actually give a rodent's posterior about his copious verbal meanderings, but just barely small enough to admit to himself that few probably will. That surgeon is otherwise known as David Gorski.

That this particular surgeon has chosen his nom de blog based on a rather cranky and arrogant computer shaped like a clear box of blinking lights that he originally encountered when he became a fan of a 35 year old British SF television show whose special effects were renowned for their BBC/Doctor Who-style low budget look, but whose stories nonetheless resulted in some of the best, most innovative science fiction ever televised, should tell you nearly all that you need to know about Orac. (That, and the length of the preceding sentence.)

DISCLAIMER:: The various written meanderings here are the opinions of Orac and Orac alone, written on his own time. They should never be construed as representing the opinions of any other person or entity, especially Orac's cancer center, department of surgery, medical school, or university. Also note that Orac is nonpartisan; he is more than willing to criticize the statements of anyone, regardless of of political leanings, if that anyone advocates pseudoscience or quackery. Finally, medical commentary is not to be construed in any way as medical advice.

To contact Orac: [email protected]

56 replies on “Marc Girardot: A “COVID myth buster” who doesn’t know chemistry”

I have this beautiful image in my mind of countless thousands of multi-colored substacks bouncing down the intertubez under the inexorable influence of entropy while onlookers, protected by nets woven from reality, observe the transitory spectacle. Eventually they reach the bottom and come to rest in the bowels of the wayback machine, probably never to be seen again. It was pretty while it lasted.

He’s not surprised that people’s arms are sore!

If continuously replicating spikes ( scarier than calling them protein) were a thing wouldn’t that soreness extend far beyond the original jab? Wouldn’t easily identified evidence of this damage be apparent to anyone who looked including recipients? Wouldn’t other symptoms of this deadly incursion be recognised during experimental trials and actual USE of the vaccines over the past two years?

As an aside: I got the J&J shot and a Moderna booster. I had virtually no symptoms from the first but a sore spot at the injection site from the second which I took a sign that it was really working. It lasted for at least a week and was limited to a small area ( one inch or so square).
Didn’t Girardot think people might report serious reactions that fit his model’s predictions?

Orac just admitted there are nano-MOLES in the vaccines!! Bouncing bollocks my arse! Just try to deny that these Moles are spying on everyone, and sending back the surveillance data to Bill Gates and/or the NSA!

[But seriously, did the ID crowd really think ‘why are there still monkeys?’ was a killer argumentent? That’s just beyond dumb… Also, check out the cancer treatment thing mentioned near the end of Girardot’s bio on the PANDA page: possible scam or other ‘conflict of interest’ with COVID vaccines???]

Also, check out the cancer treatment thing mentioned near the end of Girardot’s bio on the PANDA page: possible scam or other ‘conflict of interest’ with COVID vaccines???]

Hmmm. I might just have to do that.

Girardot is ignorant* of not just chemistry, but also of pharmaceutical regulatory practices. FDA requires, prior to allowing human trials of a drug to commence, animal safety toxicology and biodistribution studies, which directly address and dispel the concerns M.G. raises. The same issues arise, and are examined, for virtually every drug tested under modern regulatory control. You can read a very high-level summary of FDA’s review of these, for Comirnaty, here, pages 14-15:

or maybe just deliberately ignores, so he can make a big splash

I get the impression of someone who has picked up some words but doesn’t really understand much of anything.
His use of “nanoparticles” in reference to the viral vector vaccines is weird. The vaccine is “live” virus particles, not some manufactured “nanoparticle” – though of course the vector is something of a marvel of genetic engineering.
I’m curious whence his “1000 proteins” figure originated. I wonder if he realizes that the spike is a trimer and needs three copies of the protein to make one spike. I wonder if he understands that intact spike protein made during viral replication will wind up on cell surfaces along with peptides from it put up on MHC.
His grasp of what T-cells do and what happens in lymph nodes seems pretty weak. He seems to have some vague notion that antibodies are produced there but nothing he wrote suggests he understands how that actually happens and that antigen protein or peptides must get to lymph nodes for that to happen.

Muscle soreness, as I understand it, is primarily due to the inflammatory response, not muscles cells being popped off. Most vaccine delivered via the IM route cause muscle soreness for a time.

I like to send him away to ponder something like the MMR vaccine which delivers three infectious, replication-competent viruses.

Good grief that was dumb.
For one thing this guy (Marc) seems to think that the lipid nanoparticles are just like plastic balls in that they don’t break down in the body. Which is just kind of blatantly dumb. Of course they break down. The body is good at that!

And for the “scary sounding big numbers” thing, well, just this week I got in a while blood cell donation of 12 billion white blood cells. (I didn’t count the platelets or red blood cells, but I know there were plenty of those in there too.) 12 BILLION cells! And that person? They’re fine. Might have taken the day off work, but they’ll be back in a month or two to donate again.

When you work with cells you just get used to talking about billions of cells; it’s like astronomers talking about stars or distance. When you work with huge numbers all the time they’re just kind of, yeah? But then I remember that most people don’t work with things by the billions (or don’t realize they do) so then I can see how it might sound scary.

OT ( but it’s late, Friday etc and this is really bad)

Adams ( NN, today) tells the truth about Ukraine, Putin and NATO. ” .. I don’t see Putin demanding Americans and Canadians be injected with
spike protein bioweapons that have already killed over one million Americans..”

It goes on and on- written and audio. I just can’t quote any more.

Because recommending that people get vaccinated is even worse than bombing their cities, endangering their lives and sending them fleeing to safer countries.

Adams is fucking dangerous

NN has been flogging the line that Biden et al drove Putin to invade Ukraine.

NN is pro-Russia but seemingly anti-China.

Could it be that Putin has dirt on Mike Adams???!?!?

The idea that there’s any kind of dirt that could affect Mike Adams is kind of funny.

The whole “Putin isn’t [insert supposed Biden/Dem sin here]” trope is just following Tucker Carlson — flacking fascism for power and profit 101.

Adams probably hates China because he competes with Chinese manufacturers and sellers in the sale of dubious supplements and survival crap — who no doubt undercut his price and sell goods that are “impure”. There could even be inter-scam competition as well, if TCM is pulling paying customers away from Health Ranger products to a different sort of magical thinking.

@ sadmar:

Mike has other reasons to hate China: his wife is from Taiwan ( she practises TCM), he tried to live there ** and currently has business interests there. Plus he was a Trumpian but that may be changing.

On a side note, Mike’s daily broadcasts are.. er… evolving: he now does voices a la South Park and ethnic accents/ slurs that he learned when he studied at an Improv Comedy class. He said he would love to become a voice actor. ‘ Don’t quit your day job, Mikey’ ( although in his case, his day job can conceivably cause harm to listeners’ health, budget, politics and state of mind )
Like Del Bigtree, he dreams of the stage and applause.

I listen to his crap whilst I do other work but sometimes I need to shut it off because it’s so offensive and mindless.

** see NN ” My Brush with Poverty” about his attempt to make money in Taiwan as an English speaker/ computer expert

Because I had spare time, I looked up Ms Adams: she is 53, a licensed acupuncturist/ TCM diplomate ( US) who lives in Bastrop. Texas. The house she lives in ( and works in) is 277 Highway 304 which is variously listed as being quite large ( 4 bedrooms) and tiny ( 720 sq ft) but has 27 acres/ street view ( is it the fabled ranch?). She has court cases, liens etc on MyLIfe and uses slightly different names, Sheh Lio, etc ( which is no big deal with translated Chinese names).

Others have investigated his businesses in great depth including his links to Taiwan: she is listed as co-owner of many of his “projects”, also, in the past as translator/ treasurer of Aerial. Websites show his many websites and news sites which all contribute towards high page views and rankings. All in all, it looks like a typical altie business plan: have many income sources and ways to self-advertise/ aggrandise.

I don’t write this so people will bother her ( it’s all very public) after all, she lives with him and that is probably punishment enough.
Mike routinely uncovers plots and business schemes of big companies but his doesn’t sound exactly squeaky clean.

Pretty sure that the Russian vaccine also contained the spike protein. I also read that there was quite a big push for mandated vaccination.

Sputnik is a viral vector vaccine, so in the end it causes infected cells to make SARS-CoV-2 spike protein just as the mRNA vaccines do.

No Putin is not demanding Americans and Canadians to be vaccinated, but I think he wants his own citizens to be vaccinated.
And of course he puts the people protesting the war in jail and not after 3 weeks blocking the border and a city, but immidiatly, but perhaps mr. Adams thinks those are lies.

Russians don’t trust the Sputnik V, would rather take the mRNA that Americans have the privilege not to…

So like what if there was a choice that was not mRNA or DNA vector wouldn’t that be better for public health?

I suppose that if a different vaccine was ‘seen’ as safer then public health would benefit, since there would be less resistance to it. Assuming that the effectiveness vs take up all balanced out.

Not better, but it looks like there is a vaccin that is more traditional, so what is witholding you to apply for that?

Right. Don’t both AstraZeneca and J&J use a harmless cold virus rather than mRNA?

The AstraZeneca and J&J vaccines both use adenovirus vector. The basic approach is to knock out the E1 gene from the vector to make it replication incompetent and insert cDNA coding for the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein. That DNA is transcribed to mRNA which in turn is translated to the spike protein.
The issue with the ad vector vaccines has been rare but definitely detectable clotting events. As far as I know the exact mechanism has still not been determined, but there is some suspicion that it is the vector virus itself that is primarily responsible.

The Novavax product is an adjuvanted protein vaccine. The protein is produced in moth cells grown in culture and infected with a transgenic baculovirus. The Medicago vaccine is an adjuvanted protein type with the protein produced in transgenic tobacco relative (Nicotiana benthamiana). Both of these vaccines have recently been approved by Health Canada.Medicago has only been approved for use in those 18-64 because the company couldn’t recruit enough volunteers 65 or older for the trials.

Covaxin (inactivated virus) India and there is an Australian protein subunit vaccine they are using in Iran.

Which Australian COVID subunit vaccine is used in Iran? The CSL/University of Queensland subunit vaccine (V451) was abandoned part-way through human trials.

Inactivated virus vaccines aren’t subunit vaccines.

Mike Adams
It is a bit concerning about a Covid-19 vaccine . It’s not because I doubt that a vaccine is possible, but rather because the incredible rush towards a vaccine is naturally concerning. Even the 12-18 month timeline for a coronavirus vaccine to be approved is extremely optimistic. Were a vaccine to be approved within that timeline, it would be a world record interns of speed and pushing it to be even faster could well be an utter disaster
The trial has not yet been published in the peer-reviewed literature; it’s results were, rather, announced by press release. the trial itself was only a very early phase safety trial involving only eight subjects. and funny isn’t it how the original news stories about the trial left out the bit about the significant adverse events. and testing vaccines and medicines without taking the time to fully understand safety risks could bring unwarranted setbacks during 4th current pandemic and into the future. Trump pressuring the FDA to approve a vaccine that has serious side effects. One can’t help but note that an ex-Moderna executive and board member is currently in charge of Operation Warp Speed. Large clinical studies for a new vaccine for a new disease take months or years to carry out, particularly for a vaccine, in which a large population needs to be vaccinated and compared to a population receiving a placebo. One can imagine the disaster that would occur if a vaccine were deployed and then the reports of serious adverse events—or even deaths—started rolling in and reported to VAERS.

“One can imagine the disaster that would occur…” if the moon were to spin like a top, swoosh past Antarctica and then stick its tongue out at us from the vicinity of Ceres. One can indeed imagine. Or one could follow the preponderance of evidence and biological plausibility. We can see which of those you’ve chosen.

@ johnlabarge

You write: “So like what if there was a choice that was not mRNA or DNA vector wouldn’t that be better for public health?”

The vectors of the COVID-19 vaccine are lipid nanoparticles, benign viruses, etc. mRNA and DNA are NOT vectors. Don’t you ever get anything right?

As for public health, the main goal is to reduce hospitalizations and deaths. While many receiving mRNA vaccines have had a day or two of mild adverse events, severe adverse events are extremely rare, same with other COVID vaccines. So far, the mRNA vaccines have been among the best for reducing hospitalizations and deaths. However, the mRNA vaccines can be produced much more rapidly than some traditional vaccines. Bottom line, mRNA not a vector and based on masses of reports from around the world, are as good or better than any of the other vaccines; however, someone may develop a better vaccines, more effective with wide range of COVID variants and fewer mild side-effects and even rarer serious adverse reactions. I would be delighted with such a vaccine; but, as opposed to you, in your IMMENSE IGNORANCE, I live in the real world, so, based on extensive reading and previous education and training, I have already received both shots of Moderna mRNA covid vaccine and the Moderna booster and as soon as approved I intend to get a second booster. Getting a booster six months after the first is NO big deal, better than the risk of actual illness and as I’ve explained and you are TOO STUPID to understand, good chance I have been infected with COVID since vaccination; but my immune system took care of it, so I literally was unaware and a booster will increase odds if infected I will still be unaware.

Orac writes:

“As the COVID-19 pandemic drags on and enters its third year, every so often I think that I’ve seen all the examples of bad science, silly analogies, and general conspiracy mongering from COVID-19 contrarians, antimaskers, anti-“lockdown” advocates, and antivaxxers that there are. Every so often, I’m wrong, too. “

I’d stop on that last sentence…

When liberal main stream media 180’s and starts making fun of covidists… it’s time to take a look at your position.

I never watch SNL (or TV for that matter) but I flipped on the tv and randomly landed on Saturday night live.

Those skits were hilariously accurate, and on point about general population sentiment!

Of course, I understand that MSM doesn’t dictate actual science, but when they go from fear mongering, to making fun. You have to pay attention.

There’s a new (msm) sheriff in town, Putin.

There still is time to abandon ship. Captain, you don’t need to go down with the ship.

“When liberal main stream media …”

What’s a good way to tell that someone isn’t trying to make a reasoned argument? When they begin by asserting we have a liberal media.

When trying to make a reasoned argument, it helps if the poster can string coherent thoughts together.

“Orac is wrong something something SNL something Putin” does not qualify.


It was just a spontaneous observation

You can interchange the adjective before the word “media” depending on what you are watching or reading.

It’s called understanding bias.

All media is biased, because every human being is biased. That is one axiom in life that I thought most of us agree on.

I just chose that adjective because in the US we have a media that is bipartisan. For the most part, there is a liberal slant in media, and/or a conservative or Republican slant in media.

SNL, at least from my understanding, and I may be wrong about this, please correct me… Is more of a liberal slanted media source.

That media source has been fear mongering for almost 3 years, and all of a sudden there was 180° turn and they were straight up making fun of hardcore Covid(ists)

It was actually really funny.
“The next variant” skit was really good.

I hope I was able to explain why using that adjective shouldn’t make you lose your sensibility.


Like I said to the poster above, it was a spontaneous observation.

If I were to turn that into an argument,

It would go something like this:

Media has been fear mongering Covid for several years, there was 180° turn on a very popular media show. There are probably two main reasons for that.

First, is that Most people are sick of over exaggerated Covid bullshit, And the most popular comedy show of the last several decades decided to take advantage of that sentiment.

Second, There’s a new sheriff in town, MSM is more interested in Putin (snd his antics) than Covid.

Giving you the benefit of doubt…I understand that you would have had to (maybe?) read into my initial post to pull that out, but not really… It would just require a general understanding of popular sentiment, And a basic understanding of how main stream media works.

How often do you get out? How often do you talk to people?

Now I’m kind of curious,

in general how do the people that post here view main stream media? How about our government?

“Media has been fear mongering Covid for several years, there was 180° turn on a very popular media show. There are probably two main reasons for that.

First, is that Most people are sick of over exaggerated Covid bullshit, And the most popular comedy show of the last several decades decided to take advantage of that sentiment.

Second, There’s a new sheriff in town, MSM is more interested in Putin (snd his antics) than Covid.”

You’re answering your own question. Media is in a circular relationship with it’s readership. Essentially they inform opinion in their readership but also reflect the opinion of their readership. The more politically biased the source the worse it is.

“Is more of a liberal slanted media source.”

You’re still an idiot: a show aimed at comedy is not a news source, especially when the goal is to mock trends.

As your post shows, you’re just another clueless conspiracy monger.

@Skeptiquette: “There’s a new sheriff in town, MSM is more interested in Putin (snd his antics) than Covid.”

Last I checked a ground war and invasion are what the media is actually pretty good at covering. (How you could possibly describe an invasion by a nuclear power as “antics” I can’t imagine.)

“how do the people that post here view main stream media? How about our government?”

I don’t watch TV news so I can’t comment on that.
As for the US government, well, which part?
The elected part of the federal government? Could be better, has been worse, should be doing a whole lot more actual legislating.

The employees of the various and sundry non-military agencies? I think they’re (generally) doing the best they can in strained circumstances, between COVID and prior cuts. The lights are on, the water’s clean, the food’s inspected, planes are taking off and landing, and Jorts the cat is keeping the Department of Labor busy.

I can’t speak to the military, because I don’t know enough.

State and local government? In general, they’ve done really well the past couple of years. Could they do better? Of course. Do I agree with everything they do? Of course not. That would be just weird.

Why? What do you expect us to say?

Methinks you misinterpreted that SNL dinner sketch. The reviewer at the AV Club is far closer to the way I saw it (emphasis mine):

The laughs in the dinner sketch are meant to come from the escalating absurdity of everyone’s methods of escape from the touchy topic at hand. (Here, the efficacy of COVID-mitigation measures and pro-vaccine and mask orthodoxy.) Everybody (Aidy, Kenan, Bowen, Heidi, Mulaney, Kate) relishes the silliness of the various elongated warning vowel sounds and cringe-faces their diners engage in whenever anyone tries to delve into uncomfortable complexity on the topic. And I admit that I laughed at Gardner’s Thanos-snap exit from the whole, deepening conversational quagmire. (Even if jokes pitched only to the at-home viewership always strike me as cheating.)

As to the topic at hand, while introducing complexity risks giving red meat to the worst and dumbest people in any conversation, the sketch is less about the relative worth of vaccines, masking, and hand-washing in mitigating the spread of a virulent disease than about discomfort. (But, for the love of all that is decent, get vaccinated, wear masks, and wash your fucking hands.) It’s more about how ill-equipped we are to actually discuss complex topics rather than retreating to our separate enclaves (even when we think we’re all from the same enclave), and how prepared we are to just dip whenever anything challenges our pat, self-satisfied interpretation of things. Which is all something this sketch got across just fine the first time. Still, a recurring sketch that even tangentially tickles a touchy topic is better than another Uncle Meme sketch, so have at it.

@ Anthony

I did a search of PubMed, National Library of Medicine’s online database for mRNA, mRNA vaccines, and Spike protein. My search was before 2020 to ensure any possibility of papers on current COVID-19 pandemic:

For mRNA, going back to 1960s when first discovered = 658,015 results
For mRNA vaccines = 83 results
For Spike Protein = 16,359 results

So, prior to Pandemic we knew a hell of a lot about mRNA and Spike Protein and some research on mRNA vaccines. In fact, vaccines had already been developed, but once developed the pandemics of SARS and MERS died out, so impossible to conduct phase 3:

Kirtikumar C. Badgujar et al. (2020 Sep). Vaccine development against coronavirus (2003 to present) – An overview, recent advances, current scenario, opportunities and challenges. Diabetes & Metabolic Syndrome: Clinical Research & Review; ; 14(5): 1361–1376.

Yen‑Der Li et al. (2020 Dec 20). Coronavirus vaccine development: from SARS and MERS to COVID-19. Journal of Biomedical Science; 27(1): 104.

So, warped speed? FDA approval requires four steps: animal studies, phase 1 (testing various doses for adverse events), phase 2 (based on phase 1, smaller range of doses for immune response and adverse events), phase 3 large placebo-controlled randomized trials. Normally each phase is completed, written up, and submitted to FDA. In turn, FDA takes its time, approves, then next phase. Under warped speed, Moderna and Pfizer ran animal studies, phase 1, and phase 2 overlapping, began phase 3 before FDA approved first three. So, the risk was ONLY to those who volunteered for the Phase 3 clinical trial. I was one of them. The FDA gave Emergency Usage Authorization after they had reviewed first three phase and Phase 3 had a minimum of two-months follow-up for each and every volunteer after the 2nd shot. And these studies were published in peer-reviewed journal, New England Journal of Medicine, each with ca.30,000 participants:

L.R. Baden et al. (2020 Dec 30). [Moderna] Efficacy and Safety of the mRNA-1273 SARS-CoV-2 Vaccine. New England Journal of Medicine.

Fernando P. Polack et al. (2020 Dec 31). [Pfizer] Safety and Efficacy of the BNT162b2 mRNA Covid-19 Vaccine. New England Journal of Medicine

Everything we know about immune system, vaccines, etc. clearly finds that if a serious adverse events is going to occur, it will be within a few weeks of vaccination, so two months follow-up quite adequate. However, I won’t completely reject the possibility of some extremely rare serious adverse event; but compared to the literally millions of lives saved, millions of hospitalizations prevented, etc. sad, if happens; but no one in their right mind would sacrifices millions for, perhaps, a dozen or two dozen. And the few serious adverse events so far from COVID vaccines; e.g., myocarditis, have almost all resolved with no long-term problems and keep in mind that the actual virus causes the same in much much large numbers.

Finally, Orac, comments by me and others have clearly explained that VAERS reports are “suspected vaccine-caused adverse events”. Together with Vaccine-Safety Datalink and teams investigating serious adverse events reported to VAERS, in essence, only a minuscule number of serious adverse events were caused by the two mRNA vaccines and a mass of peer-reviewed journal articles, reports from FDA, CDC, WHO, and numerous other nations health authorities have found the two to be highly effective with minuscule risk of serious adverse events, data now having followed the two vaccines for well over a year.

So, you quoting Mike Adams about as valid as a quote from the World Flat Earth Society. Just plain NUTS.

@ Anthony

I should have added to my comment that once clinical trials have been run, a vaccine is NOT experimental. I also should have mentioned that the reason vaccines could be developed so fast is that mRNA is sort of like a typewriter, once you know the wording, in this case the mRNA, one just makes it from nucleotides, that is, short sequences of nucleic acid. Traditional vaccines take six months or longer because they are either grown in eggs or in cells, etc. Think of an analogy. In ancient times one had to write out by hand a letter, manuscript, etc. and it had to be copied by hand, then runners sent to deliver. Then we had moveable type, so could make many copies. Then telegraph, so could be spread much faster. Then typewriters, electric typewriters, finally computer keyboards and the internet; but the actual message doesn’t change. mRNA is the equivalent of a computer keyboard. Plus, instead of using entire virus, just use one part, so, sort of shorthand.

I’m afraid you’ve all missed the point that Girardot is actually making, which is that real bouncing balls are in the vaccine.
Isn’t this so obviously what he’s getting at?

I post a well reasoned quote that only time will tell if the information that it showed is accurate, Then of course you went into your usual ego driven, bragging how you were part of the clinical trial and how much you had read .
Then you ended it in your usual fashion by insulting me and the writer by ” valid as a quote from the World Flat Earth Society. Just plain NUTS.”

Mike Adams knows well reasoned arguments like Ken Ham knows geology. He does, however, know his audience. Which is why he’s rich.

“in general how do the people that post here view main stream media? How about our government?”

Short answer: Most major networks, news services like AP and Reuters and large metropolitan newspapers are more fact-based and reliable by logarithmic factors, compared to the fetid slough of alt-loony “news” sites, social media screamers and Substack heroes that Covidiots and antivaxers glom onto. The “MSM” has its biases, but they are not constantly thrown in our faces (Fox News being an exception).

As for ignoring and castigating our government because elements of it did X and Y in the past, I hope your rejection of Evil Government means that you won’t travel on interstate highways, have vowed to refrain from aaccepting Social Security payments and Medicare coverage, would turn down any emergency federal aid in the event of a natural calamity and similarly reject any and all services that have anything to do with those dastardly people in Washington.

But those who wail loudly about our untrustworthy government don’t usually have any problem with feeding from the federal trough, unless the.y’re living in isolated cabins like the Unabomber.

20 rubles says labarge and skeptequette are the same person. Those CGI mugshots are just too telling.

@ Anthony

You write: “I post a well reasoned quote that only time will tell if the information that it showed is accurate”

Are you totally NUTS? Your “well reasoned quote” claimed “The trial has not yet been published in the peer-reviewed literature”; yet, I gave the detailed reference to peer-reviewed publications for the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines. I won’t bother going thru my point by point refutations of quote; but the fact you ignore even the aforementioned, shows just how either STUPID and/or DISHONEST you are.

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