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11 June 2021
1. CBRN threats and effects of the COVID-19 pandemic:
The Swedish Defence Research Agency (FOI) prepares an annual report entitled "CBRN Threats and Incidents Involving Non-state Actors" assessing the threat from groups using CBRN materials to cause adverse effects upon society. This assessment is based solely on open-source information and includes a selection of incidents that occurred in 2020. The good news is that no known CBRN-related terrorist attack occurred last year despite multiple threats from terrorist and extremist groups such as ISIS, Daesh, al-Qaeda, QAnon, Boogaloo, and white supremacist groups. Travel restrictions and quarantine regulations may have inhibited implementation of these threats. During 2020 there were several incidents with individuals claiming to be infected with the coronavirus spitting or coughing at officials and police officers in Tunisia, the UK, Norway, Sweden, and the USA (Florida). In none of these cases were the perpetrators actually infected. Thanks to Bjorn Sandstrom for sending me this report!
2. US Army developing laser weapon that can cause blindness and skin irritation:
The Tactical Ultrashort Pulsed Laser (USPL) for Army platforms emits short pulses that rely on low energy, unlike current lasers which typically produce continuous waves. It can reach one terawatt (1 trillion, or 10E12, watts; a watt is a unit of power measured in Joules per second) in 200 femtoseconds (one quadrillionth, or 10E-15). This would be capable of incinerating a drone (but see last week's Trivia question below) and can interrupt electronic signals by emitting an electromagnetic pulse (EMP). Range is up to 5 miles or so. Basically the USPL engages targets via absorption of light, either causing them to burn and melt or overwhelming optical sensors with high intensities. Human reactions range from skin irritation to blindness. Goal is to have a prototype in trials by 2022.
3. Myocarditis from COVID-19 vaccinations:
The CDC has reported that myocarditis, or inflammation of the heart muscle, has occurred in at least 226 cases in people younger than 30 receiving the second dose of an mRNA vaccine. (Over 800 reports have been submitted to VAERS; these 226 meet the CDC's working case definition.) Normally, fewer than 100 cases would be expected. Dr. Cody Meissner, chief of pediatric infectious diseases at the Tufts Children's Hospital in Boston, said that "it is hard to deny that there's some event that seems to be occurring in terms of myocarditis." Fortunately most of the cases have recovered, and so far there have been no deaths. A selection of seven of these cases of acute myocarditis or myopericarditis presented within 4 days after the second dose. All 7 have recovered. Three received NSAIDs and 4 received immune globulin and corticosteroids. The CDC is holding an emergency meeting next Friday, 18 June, to discuss these reports.
4. Strokes from COVID-19 and from vaccination:
A research project by doctors from Israel and 31 other countries studies 432 patients who had had both a stroke and COVID-19. Disturbingly, one out of four patients was under 55 and lacked vascular risk facters such as hypertension, diabetes, or history of smoking. Normally, only 10-15% of stroke patients are aged 18-50. Also surprising was that 38% of the patients who had a stroke were unaware that they were COVID-positive (the hospitals surveyed conducted routine coronavirus tests). Ischemic strokes occur in about 1.4% of SARS-CoV-2 infections, according to Dr. Hugh Markus of the University of Cambridge in England. In an ischemic stroke the cerebral artery or arteries are blocked by blood clots. About 87% or all strokes are ischemic. A hemorrhagic stroke occurs when the cerebral blood vessel bursts and starts bleeding inside the brain.
But vaccine-induced thrombosis (clotting) and thrombocytopenia (low platelets), or VITT, has also occurred after vaccinations with the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, which uses a human adenovirus-based vector. (A viral vector is a virus that has been engineered to be harmless and also to produce the spike protein; mRNA vaccines do not contain any live virus.) Besides this vaccine, several European countries temporarily suspended the AstraZeneca vaccine as well. VITT is rare (about one in 100,000) but quite serious, requiring prompt diagnosis and treatment.
5. Ivermectin treatment of COVID-19:
Ivermectin is an effective anti-parasite medication that has shown both anti-viral and anti-inflammatory properties in SARS-CoV-2 infections, and has also inhibited viral replication in vitro. Several randomized trials with placebo controls as well as observational studies have shown significant reductions in time to recovery, hospitalizations, and death. Its safety in pregnancy has not yet been established. At proper doses side effects such as itching, rash, fever, headache, and muscle pains are common, but usually respond to antihistamines. The Front Line Covid-19 Critical Care Alliance recommends its usage in prevention and early at-home treatment protocols. The WHO regards evidence to date as inconclusive and that it should be used only within clinical trials. This applies to patients with COVID-19 disease of any severity.
6. Medical WMD Trivia:
Dr. Bruce Cohen mentioned that drones are considered aircraft by the National Transportation Safety Board and are therefore protected, so you can't shoot them out of the sky. There are some legal maneuverings that can be done (e.g. prove the drone was trespassing, that shooting it was "use of reasonable force" to eject it from your property, that the drone operator didn't have an FAA permit, etc.) But the best option, as one attorney said, is to, "Hold your fire. There's better ways [sic] to deal with a pesky intruder."
For this week's trivia question: Dr. Alla Shapiro, in her excellent book "Doctor on Call: Chernobyl Responder, Jewish Refugee, Radiation Expert", gives the account of one patient who showed her his workplace manual for persons working at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. One of his favorite protocols stated that in case of radiation emergency the workers should drink red wine. Dr. Shapiro thought he was joking, so asked to see the manual. He informed her, with a look of disappointment, that the authorities had immediately taken those pages out of the manual! When she went to the grocery store after work, she found that the wine shelves were empty! Although the main salubrious effect of the wine is most likely making accident victims and those exposed to the fallout feel more mellow, there is one chemical produced by wine-producing plants in response to their injury that helps modify the behavior of the imbiber's cells in response to radiation exposure. Trivia question: what is the name of this substance.
To your health,
Rad Doc Consultant, Inc