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UK ‘Variant Fears’ Are Over-Hyped Says Leading US Microbiologist

In his brief but highly informative video presentation, leading American microbiologist Prof. Vincent R. Racaniello talks about why most viral mutations and ‘variants’ are of very little consequence, and why claims that it is more transmissible are not supported by the real scientific data.

This then begs the question: are European countries panicking and closing their borders based on fake news being disseminated by the UK government and mainstream media?

Prof. Racaniello points out that the UK Government’s NERVTAG science advisors are not actually following real science in their biological threat assessment, explaining that, “… in the end, I object to the use of epidemiological data to prove the biological properties of a virus. You need to do experiments with the virus to prove that you have increased transmissibility, or at least properties that are consistent with increased transmissibility, and that simply has not been done.”

“In my opinion, all the hype about this variant is unwarranted,” said Racaniello.

“Many of them (mutations) are neutral – they do nothing, and (only) some of them may have an impact. So far with SARS-COV-2, the impacts have been minimal. I haven’t seen any that really have changed the course of disease. If we had one that changed the property, it would be called a ‘strain,’ but we have no new strains yet, in my opinion – only variants,” said Racaniello.

He added, “The SARS-COV-2 genome is always mutating. Does it matter? The real question is whether the mutations are causing amino acid changes in proteins that make a difference.”

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In his presentation (see video below), Racaniello also comments on the unlikelihood of the NERVTAG committee and its “moderate confidence” claims that the new variant is more transmissibility. Quoting a GISAID comment saying:

As seen on many occasions before, mutations are naturally expected for viruses and are most often simply neutral regional markers useful for contact tracing. The mutations seen have rarely been affecting viral fitness and almost never affect clinical outcome but the detailed effects of these mutations remain to be determined fully.”

In other words: such viral mutations are common and expected. According to Racaniello, “they may actually have a role to play in attenuation they may make the virus less virulent – which is not something you’re hearing at all. All you’re hearing is ‘increased transmission.'”

More importantly, Dr. Racaniello added that no one can pretend to made such a dramatic determination based on a PCR Test. “PCR sequencing cannot answer this question. Nucleic acid is not infectious virus,” said Racaniello.

Indeed, that is all we are hearing from the UK government and its media partners – whose reporting and rhetoric have triggered international border closures, and more lockdowns for Britain being decreed by Health Secretary Matt Hancock.

Members of Parliament are now calling for Hancock to resign because of his many evidence-free statements and non-scientific claims regarding the spread of COVID-19, and also because of his disturbing over-eagerness to shutdown UK cities and the economy.

Media reports have suggested there’s evidence that the current hysteria over the “new variant” may have been influenced by disgraced British epidemiologist Neil Ferguson from Imperial College, whom the government recently allowed back into its NERVTAG science committees – raising real concerns over the use of dubious computer modeling by Ferguson, and danger of compounding his past failures which were used to make the case for the original lockdown back in March 2020.

Vincent R. Racaniello is a Higgins Professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons. He is also co-author of a textbook on virology, Principles of Virology.

Watch his presentation here:

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