This virus is mutating rapidly, which means that its lethality will also decline rapidly. I can forsee that the lethality in Africa will be down to something like 25% within six months, that vaccines will obliterate further death from ebola within one year, and that this bug will be effectively obliterated from the planet within three years, i.e. the entire planetary human population will have been immunized. This time line is intuitive, but declining lethality in a previously sequestered micro-organism, in an expanding infected population, is a very well-established fact.
The above is my conclusion. Here’s my rationale:
…Another important study of the genetics of the virus appeared in late August, in Science Express (a streamlined publication of the journal Science), under the authorship of Stephen K. Gire, of Harvard, and a long list of coauthors. Five of those coauthors, having worked amid the outbreak, had died of Ebola virus disease by the time this study was published, giving it a certain extra gravitas. Based on their sequencing of the genomes of virus samples from 78 patients in Sierra Leone, Gire and his colleagues reported three notable results. First, the virus was mutating prolifically and accumulating a fair degree of genetic variation as it replicated within each human case and passed from one human to another. (So it was changing, evolving, as time progressed; whether it was adapting to humans is a separate but related question.) Second, the 78 samples were sufficiently similar to suggest that they had all descended from a single recent ancestor, implying just one spillover from the reservoir host. Third, comparative analysis of the samples showed this West African variant of Ebola virus to be distinct from Ebola virus as lately seen in the Democratic Republic of the Congo by about ten years worth of mutational differences. It had evidently evolved independently in its reservoir host for about a decade since becoming isolated from the Central African lineage….
The author of this didn’t draw the conclusion that by mutating this virus will decline in lethality. I’ve drawn that conclusion from the general principle that mutations produce adaptation by natural selection, and that high lethality for its host has no survival value for a parasite. Successful parasites do not kill their hosts. The high lethality is the result of the parasite being introduced to a new host that it does not yet know how to thrive on effectively. The parasite will then try to survive better in its own case by becoming less lethal to its new host, and the faster it mutates, the faster that adaptation can occur.
I personally saw this kind of decline in lethality, specifically through mutation across different hosts, in the case of the 2005 outbreak of H5N1 avian flu. I was ahead of the medical community in my consciousness about this because I was reading the original reports about it on the Chinese web. It immediately became clear that it was being vectored by wild birds, which carried it to Qinghai Lake in Chinese central Asia. Qinghai Lake is the main watering hole for long-range migratory birds whose flight-paths reach throughout China, Mongolia, Russian Central Asia, Muslim central Asia, southern Siberia, and the Himalayas. Some of those birds even fly over the Himalayas to India. I do not know whether they chant Tibetan Buddhist mantras to help them do that. But what I do know is that private individuals who get that kind of broad view about what is happening in China, whether themselves Chinese or not, are simply not supposed to happen, according to the Chinese government.
I knew that H5N1 had reached Qinghai Lake, because Tibetan nomads had taken photographs of a massive bird die-off at Qinghai, and posted them to Boxun. The Chinese government killed the story by downloading those photos, doctoring them in ways that proved nothing but that the photos were doctored, and then posting their creative work back to Boxun. Boxun couldn’t prove the source of any of the photos. I knew damned well what had happened because of my background in military intelligence, and because I had actually seen every step of the process, including statements by the nomads in question, but I couldn’t prove anything either. End of story.
My projection of what would happen from H5N1 reaching Qinghai lake was that this virus was no longer a Chinese problem. It was a planetary problem. It had already gone throughout Asia, and there are even migratory birds who commute from Qinghai to America over the Bering Straits. It was clear to me that some of the sick birds that took off from Qinghai would not complete their journeys, but would fall to the ground throughout Mongolia, south China and Chinese central Asia, and be devoured by scavengers, who would become prey to raptor birds in their weakened state, and on and on and on. Forget the phantasies of the western research communities about containment in China. And in fact, within weeks there was a die-off of marmots in southwestern China. The only reason that got reported on the web is that there was a quarrel going on in south and southwest China, and southeast Asia, about marmot pelts being sold as otter pelts by those damned Chinese. They were not marmots, don’t you know? They were “land otters” or “dry otters,” please. Give us some face, OK? We’re only trying to make a living. Within two months of the bird die-off at Qinghai, isolated cases of H5N1 of untraceable origin had started to appear in Europe, first being reported in eastern Europe, and guess what? The lethality was down.
The Chinese government was not the only entity that quarrelled with me about what had actually happened and its implications. I was posting to several H5N1 discussion forums, and when I stated my conclusion from all of that above that, “Forget containment. H5N1 has already gone everywhere. It will become part of the planetary wild viral gene-pool, and we’ll all have to adapt to it,” that got me thrown off all H5N1 discussion forums. The people running the forums were not into truth, they were into fear. The reason why they were into fear is that fear brought them funding for research. They were literally predicting that H5N1 would be the bubonic plague of this time, if they did not get big bucks now.
One of the things that proved them wrong is that H5N1 proved to be a first-class slut; it conjugated with every other virus it could find in its ever-broadening environment, starting with swine flu. Everything it conjugated with was a more experienced parasite of humans, and was less lethal than it for humans. So the more social activity H5N1 had, the more lethality it lost. In the present, a typical flu virus contains some H5N1 genome, and as a whole planet, we’ve adapted to it.
I’ve now won that old argument with big medical research bucks.
With ebola, no one has time for such institutionalized and highly-funded blindness. This bug is far more dangerous than any form of flu. It must not become part of the planetary wild viral gene pool, and our human genome cannot be realistically expected to adapt to something this dangerous in the general case. In my opinion, it simply must be eliminated. Nevertheless, fear does not prevent or treat any disease. To the contrary fear, particularly when used to suppress the truth, is itself a disease. I’m glad that in the current crisis there is at least one other person besides myself who understands that: President Barak Obama. I’m also glad that I can now state the truth that I know damned well from the sanctuary of my own web-site.
Avatar Meher Baba ki Jai!