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10 September 2021
1. "Poison gas" in underground tunnels:
Egypt has allegedly pumped a toxic gas into a smuggling tunnel going into the Gaza Strip last week. Two or three (reports differ) Palestinian Arabs were killed. The substance(s) were not identified specifically. Egypt is one of two nations that have intentionally not signed the Chemical Weapons Convention treaty banning use of these weapons. (Trivia question: what's the other nation?) The definitions of "chemical weapons" are rather complex; however, several weapons are specifically identified. Schedule 1 enumerates organophosphate nerve agents such as sarin, tabun, and VX (soman and one other OP agent are not named; what's the second one?) and also sulfur and nitrogen mustards, Lewisites, saxitoxin, ricin plus their precursors. Schedule 2 includes amiton, PFIB (perfluoroisobutene, a highly toxic gas), BZ, and their precursors. Schedule 3 includes phosgene, cyanogen chloride, hydrogen cyanide, chloropicrin and their precursors.
2. North Korea restarting Yongbyon nuclear reactor:
This reactor produces plutonium for nuclear weapons. There had been no operational activity detected since December 2018 till July of this year, when satellites detected the reactor discharging cooling water, implying that it is operational. In addition a radiochemical laboratory at Yongbyon that re-processes spent nuclear fuel has been operating since around February. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has stated that these developments are a clear violation of UN Security Council resolutions.
3. IAEA says surveillance gear in Iran is missing:
Last April a centrifuge workshop at Natanz, Iran suffered damages of "several thousand centrifuges". (There still remain hundreds of centrifuges at the Fordo nuclear facility that could enrich U-235 to 60% purity.) On 4 September Iran allowed IAEA inspectors to view the cameras that had been installed at the Natanz centrifuge workshop. Two surveillance cameras were destroyed or severely damaged, two appeared intact. However, "the data storage medium and the recording unit from the destroyed camera were not present among the remnants." This means that activities recorded by these cameras prior to destruction couldn't be recovered. IAEA complained, but Iranian President Raisi has stated that further confrontations on these activities would be "unconstructive".
For those who like nuclear numbers: the IAEA estimates that Iran has increased 10 kg of U-235 to 60% purity, up from 2.4 kg in May. (The "bare sphere critical mass" for reactor-grade U-235 and Pu-239 are 50 kg and 10 kg respectively; weapons-grade purity amounts would be less.) The stockpile of 20% fissile purity has increased from 62.8 kg to 84.5 kg. The (unclassified) purity for weapons-grade U-235 is 90% or more, as is the purity for weapons-grade Pu-239. The percentage of pure isotope needed is highly dependent upon weapon design; the better the engineering of the shapes of the conventional explosives and fuel, the less purity of the fuel is required.
4. Immunity in recovered COVID-19 cases vs. vaccinated persons:
An Israeli study "demonstrated that natural immunity confers longer lasting and stronger protection against infection, symptomatic disease and hospitalization caused by the Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2, compared to the BNT162b2 [Pfizer/BioNTech] two-dose mRNA vaccine-induced immunity. Individuals who were both previously infected with SARS-CoV-2 and given a single dose of the vaccine gained additional protection against the Delta variant." That makes sense if one considers that in recovered cases the immune system has responded to a challenge from the entire virus rather than from only those segments selected by the vaccine. Apparently, however, subsequent vaccination of recovered cases does increase antibody titers. Evidence of waning natural immunity was noted, though SARS-CoV-2-naive vaccinees (i.e. not previously infected) still had almost a 6-fold increased risk for breakthrough infection and over 7-fold increased risk for symptomatic disease. The CDC still recommends that recovered people get vaccinated; it seems to me that this would help a little but not a lot.
You should be! Dr. Anthony Fauci cited a preprint Israeli study showing that the 1.1 million people receiving a booster the first three weeks of August showed "a 70% to 84% reduction in the risk of infection". He felt that there was a strong possibility of "a three-dose regimen being the routine regimen. But we'll just have to wait to make sure that's the case when the data get presented to the FDA." However, shortly after the administration announced that booster shots might be available by the week of 20 September, two senior FDA leaders abruptly decided to resign. Reports are that they were angry about the FDA review process, which usually takes at least four months, totally being bypassed. However, other senior personnel (Dr. Wolensky of the CDC, Dr. Fauci of NIAID, Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, and others) have reportedly offered that "their clinical judgment [is] that it is time to prepare Americans for a booster shot." The WHO "has urged wealthy nations such as the United States not to offer boosters so that the limited supply of vaccines can be directed to countries with fewer resources." The European Union's counterpart to the CDC has stated that "booster doses for individuals who are fully vaccinated aren't needed for the time being."
6. Medical WMD Trivia:
The discovery by Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen of "invisible rays" that could suppress inflammation was rapidly used to treat everything from acne to keloids to pneumonitis and more besides. Three years later cancer treatment (which is the main therapeutic use of ionizing radiation today) was begun. But with the discovery of ionizing radiation's therapeutic effects came discovery of its harmful effects; within the first year from "X-ray" discovery in 1895, 60 cases of hair loss and dermatitis of the hand had been noted. Initially doctors would stick their hands into the beam to calibrate the radiation output by how long it took the X-rays to produce erythema (redness) of the skin--the "erythema dose"! Unfortunately it was noted a few years later that these radiologists often developed leukemia. However, the doses required to control inflammation were as a rule lower than the doses required to significantly increase the incidence of cancer. Accordingly radiation was used to treat pneumonia-induced lung inflammation, and is now being studied to see if it can be used to treat severe cases of COVID-19 pneumonia.
To end on a humorous note: the U.S. Army has long used dogs for sniffing out bombs and doing search and rescue operations. Now they have trained 8 virus-detecting dogs (7 Labrador retrievers and one Belgian Malinois) to detect volatile compounds found in sweat on the shirts of people with SARS-CoV-2 infection even before they become symptomatic or have RT-PCR testing to confirm infection. They are also capable of screening large areas and large numbers of people in one place in short periods of time. So now you can identify and diagnose COVID-19 by a Lab, not a lab!
To your health,
Rad Doc Consultant, Inc