Addenbrooke’s hospital, Africa, Bedfordshire, Cambridge, Canada, CEPI, Clinical trial, DIOSynVax, DNA Vaccine, Ebola, Ebola and Marburg viral vaccine, endemic disease, grant money, INO-4500, Inovio, Joe Rogan Show, Jonathan Heeney, Lassa, Lassa Fever, Lassa Vaccine, Lassa virus, Luton and Dunstable University hospital, Marburg, PREEMPT, public funding vaccine research, rat borne virus, rats, Robert Malone, Tri-LEMvac, Trivalent Lassa, UK, University of Cambridge, University of Plymouth, USAID, West Africa
Cases of Lassa acute viral haemorrhagic fever suddenly appeared in the UK at Luton and Dunstable University hospital (Bedfordshire) and Addenbrooke’s hospital in Cambridge around February 9, 2022, allegedly for the first time since 2009. As though by magic, on February 16, 2022, the UK government awarded £498,357 ($676,948) to University of Cambridge spin-off, DIOSynVax, for their three-in-one vaccine “candidate” for Lassa Fever, Ebola and Marburg. Twenty-two (22) research projects were selected by the UK’s “UK Vaccine Network” related to Ebola, Lassa Fever, Zika, and probably other viruses. However, they did not give a complete list of those getting funding, which is needed, to see who else had an interest in funding for Lassa virus research. There are other Lassa vaccine “candidates”, which may or may not have gotten funding. One is Inovio, to which Robert W. Malone claims a connection. “INOVIO Announces First Subject Dosed in Phase 1B Clinical Trial for its DNA Vaccine Against Lassa Fever, INO-4500, in West Africa”, Feb. 23, 2021. (See Malone-Inovio references-links at bottom of our post.)
Coincidence that cases of Lassa fever suddenly appeared one week before the UK announced vaccine funding grant-awards? Shakedown? Was there a risk that the UK didn’t give U. of Cambridge spin-off DIOSynVax, or others, a grant-award? Was this a marketing or funding gimmick? Did the infected individuals enter the UK in the context of Lassa research? Were the Lassa victims researchers? If the timing is a coincidence, then perhaps they have been hiding other cases from the public, and simply chose to announce it this time. The description given by the UK government sounds like a family with roots in west Africa who returned home to visit with their baby, which is probably a frequent occurrence, and brought Lassa back with them. There are, of course, claims that China planned to let some sort of acute viral haemorrhagic illness lose upon the world during the Olympics.
“Lassa fever is an acute viral haemorrhagic illness caused by Lassa virus. People usually become infected with Lassa virus through exposure to food or household items contaminated with urine or faeces of infected rats – present in a number of West African countries where the disease is endemic. The virus can also be spread through infected bodily fluids.” https://web.archive.org/web/20220213072019/https://www.gov.uk/government/news/lassa-fever-cases-identified-in-england-following-travel-to-west-africa-1#full-publication-update-history There is always the risk that the Lassa virus could have been manipulated through “gain of function” research.
Professor Jonathan Heeney is Canadian:
“DIOSynVax is a spin-out company from the University of Cambridge, set up in 2017 with the support of Cambridge Enterprise, the University’s commercialisation arm.
Professor Heeney is a Fellow at Darwin College, Cambridge.” https://web.archive.org/web/20220107093759/https://www.cam.ac.uk/stories/DIOSCoVax_safetytrial
UK Government News:
“Wednesday 9 February 2022: Two people diagnosed with Lassa fever in England
A further probable case of Lassa fever is under investigation. The cases are within the same family in the East of England and are linked to recent travel to West Africa..”https://web.archive.org/web/20220213072019/https://www.gov.uk/government/news/lassa-fever-cases-identified-in-england-following-travel-to-west-africa-1#full-publication-update-history
As of 2019, University of Cambridge was already receiving £695,639 for their Trivalent Lassa, Ebola and Marburg viral vaccine (Tri-LEMvac) https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/827983/projects-currently-being-funded-by-ukvn.pdf
In 2017, “Today, the Department of Health has announced a multimillion pound funding boost for 22 new vaccines – all with the potential to take on diseases with epidemic potential such as Ebola, Zika and MERS.” They included Cambridge “Trivalent Lassa, Ebola and Marburg viral vaccine (Tri-LEMvac)” for £695,639 https://healthmedia.blog.gov.uk/2017/04/12/uk-zika-ebola-and-mers-research-amongst-winners-of-multimillion-vaccine-funding-boost/
There’s also a 2018 story about the Tri-LEMvac research, found further below.
Was this £695,639 spread over several years or per year?
Lassa fever cases identified in England, following travel to West Africa
Latest updates on cases of Lassa fever identified in England.
UK Health Security Agency
9 February 2022
16 February 2022
The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) continues to follow up and closely monitor individuals identified as contacts of 3 recently confirmed cases of Lassa fever. No further cases have been identified to date.
NHS Trusts have performed risk assessments on individuals and patients who have worked or stayed in the same ward areas as the Lassa patients. Individuals have been given advice on monitoring and testing. The majority of individuals will complete monitoring by early March.
The risk to the general public remains very low.
Friday 11 February 2022
The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) can confirm that the probable case of Lassa fever under investigation is now confirmed, bringing the total number of cases to 3. Sadly, this individual has died.
We are contacting the individuals who have had close contact with the cases prior to confirmation of their infection, to provide appropriate assessment, support and advice. The risk to the general public remains very low.
A Bedfordshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust spokesperson said:
We confirm the sad death of a patient at our trust, who had confirmed Lassa fever. We send our deepest condolences to their family at this difficult time.
We will continue to support the patient’s family and our staff and are working closely with colleagues from UKHSA to undertake a robust contact tracing exercise.
Wednesday 9 February 2022
Two people diagnosed with Lassa fever in England
A further probable case of Lassa fever is under investigation. The cases are within the same family in the East of England and are linked to recent travel to West Africa.
Lassa fever is an acute viral haemorrhagic illness caused by Lassa virus. People usually become infected with Lassa virus through exposure to food or household items contaminated with urine or faeces of infected rats – present in a number of West African countries where the disease is endemic. The virus can also be spread through infected bodily fluids.
Most people with Lassa fever will make a full recovery, however severe illness can occur in some individuals. One of the cases has recovered, while the other will receive specialist care at the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust.
The probable case is receiving care at Bedfordshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. The High Consequence Infectious Disease Network is engaged with their ongoing care.
Dr Susan Hopkins, Chief Medical Advisor at UKHSA, said:
We can confirm that 2 cases of Lassa fever have been identified in England, and a further probable case is under investigation. The cases are within the same family and are linked to recent travel to West Africa.
Cases of Lassa fever are rare in the UK and it does not spread easily between people. The overall risk to the public is very low. We are contacting the individuals who have had close contact with the cases prior to confirmation of their infection, to provide appropriate assessment, support and advice.
UKHSA and the NHS have well established and robust infection control procedures for dealing with cases of imported infectious disease and these will be reinforced.
Prior to these cases, there have been 8 cases of Lassa fever imported to the UK since 1980.
The last 2 cases occurred in 2009. There was no evidence of onward transmission from any of these cases.
Dr Sir Michael Jacobs, consultant in infectious diseases at the Royal Free London, said:
The Royal Free Hospital is a specialist centre for treating patients with viral haemorrhagic fevers, including Lassa fever.
Our secure unit is run by a highly-trained and experienced team of doctors, nurses, therapists and laboratory staff and is designed to ensure our staff can safely treat patients with these kind of infections.
People living in endemic areas of West Africa with high populations of rodents are most at risk of Lassa fever. Imported cases rarely occur elsewhere in the world. Such cases are almost exclusively in people who work in endemic areas in high-risk occupations, such as medical or other aid workers.”. https://www.gov.uk/government/news/lassa-fever-cases-identified-in-england-following-travel-to-west-africa-1 https://web.archive.org/web/20220213072019/https://www.gov.uk/government/news/lassa-fever-cases-identified-in-england-following-travel-to-west-africa-1#full-publication-update-history
So, do something about the rats, instead of vaccines! How about birth control for rats, through food, sticky glue on their feed, etc. They’ve researched rats long enough that they should have been able to develop an effective means.
THE BEST HELP FOR PUBLIC HEALTH IS GOOD SANITATION AND CLEAN WATER. FOCUS SHOULD BE ON HOUSING, SECURING FOOD, PLUMBING, GARBAGE DEPOSAL AND CLEAN WATER AND RATHER THAN VACCINES! HOUSING CONSTRUCTION, PLUMBING, SANITATION CREATE MORE JOBS THAN VACCINES, TOO!
The author of the following University of Cambridge news article doesn’t even know the basic definition of a virus! So, it’s not surprising that the article isn’t very clear. Viruses are packets of RNA or DNA, which hijack cells: “A virus is a small collection of genetic code, either DNA or RNA, surrounded by a protein coat. A virus cannot replicate alone. Viruses must infect cells and use components of the host cell to make copies of themselves”. https://www.genome.gov/genetics-glossary/Virus
“Ebola and Lassa fever targeted by new vaccine trial and improved surveillance
Craig Brierley Communications office
Published 25 Sep 2018
Scientists hope that a new approach to vaccine development, combined with improved surveillance of potential future threats of outbreak, could help to massively reduce the impact of deadly diseases such as Ebola, Marburg and Lassa fever.
“This has the potential to have an enormous positive impact on global public health”
Researchers from the University of Cambridge will shortly begin clinical trials of a new vaccine that builds on almost two decades of research to protect against diseases caused by RNA viruses. At the same time, they will begin studying the natural animal reservoirs of the viruses in an attempt to try and predict which strains are likely to cause future outbreaks, information that will be essential for creating effective vaccines.
Ebola, Lassa and Marburg viruses cause haemorrhagic fever, leading to severe disease, often with high mortality rates. Outbreaks can cause devastating local epidemics in the human population and to wildlife, including non-human primates. The recent Ebola epidemic in West Africa (2013–2016) killed over 11,000 people and devastated the infrastructure and economies of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.
A new approach to vaccine development
Professor Jonathan Heeney and colleagues at the Laboratory of Viral Zoonotics, University of Cambridge, have developed and successfully tested a trivalent vaccine in guinea pigs that protects against Ebola, Lassa and Marburg viruses. As a result, Professor Heeney has been awarded a further £2 million by Innovate UK and the Department of Health and Social Care to take the vaccine to clinical trials in humans.
The research takes a new approach pioneered by Professor Heeney and builds on Cambridge’s strengths in genomics, monoclonal antibody research and computational biology. It has led to the formation of DIOSynVax, a spin-out company of Cambridge Enterprise.
A virus’s genetic code is written into its ribonucleic acid (RNA), just as ours is written into our DNA, which leads to the generation of proteins. When we are infected by a virus, our immune system responds to these proteins, known as ‘antigens’, producing antibodies that can identify and try to eliminate the invading pathogen.
The approach developed by Professor Heeney involves understanding how the immune system correctly identifies the virus from its proteins, and using this information to create ‘viruses’ that can generate an immune response. Using monoclonal antibodies – copies of antibodies taken from survivors of the target diseases – they can then test whether the body can effectively eliminate these fake viruses, leading to protection.
“We’ve taken fundamental science that stretches back almost two decades and developed a new approach to vaccine development,” says Professor Heeney. “This has the potential to dramatically reduce the time needed to produce new vaccines and change the way in which the industry makes them.”
With the new funding, the team hopes to scale up production while ensuring that the quality of the vaccine is maintained. They will then carry out toxicity tests in animals and human blood samples to test for potential adverse effects; if successful, they will then trial the vaccine in healthy human volunteers.
The funding is part of a £5m commitment from the Department of Health and Social Care to fund five projects to develop new vaccines with a ‘One Health’ focus, considering how the environment, the health of animals and the health of humans interact. This sits within the government’s £120m UK aid commitment to develop vaccines to help tackle diseases with epidemic potential.
Predicting the next outbreak
In recent Ebola outbreaks, the approach used successfully by the World Health Organization is known as ‘ring vaccination’, focused on vaccinating and monitoring a ring of people around each infected individual. However, this approach can only be used in response to an outbreak.
In order for a vaccine to be used proactively – to prevent an outbreak in the first place – it is necessary to predict which strain or strains of a virus are most likely to cause future epidemics.
“A disproportionally high number of emerging and re-emerging diseases – from Ebola and Lassa through to rabies and influenza – are caused by RNA viruses carried naturally by animals,” says Professor Heeney. “We know very little about the viral diversity within these reservoir species and what enables them to spread to humans – and hence where the likely future threats lie.”
Viral genomes are notoriously variable due to the high mutation rates that occur during replication. These accumulate over time and result in evolution of the viruses as they circulate in their natural animal reservoir populations. If some viral variants arise and are able to adapt to use human cell receptors and are then able to escape immune defences, they may become highly infectious and cause large disease outbreaks.
“Vaccines are only as good as the antigen immune targets of the virus that they are designed for,” adds Professor Heeney. “If the antigen changes, the vaccine will no longer be effective. In most cases, current vaccine candidates against RNA viruses are from past human outbreaks with little or no information of future risks from viral variants carried in animal reservoirs, especially those with the potential for animal-to-human transmission.”
Professor Heeney has also received £1.4 million from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) to lead a project that aims to predict where future outbreaks may arise from and the likely strains, and to then use this knowledge to inform vaccine design. This One Health project enlists veterinarians, clinicians, ecologists and medical and public health workers in West Africa to understand how people catch Lassa fever from rat populations. Their work will include trapping rat species that carry these viruses and placing GPS tags to monitor their movements, as well as obtaining molecular, genomic and antibody data from the animals and viral sequences from infected rats.
Professor Melanie Welham, Executive Chair of BBSRC, says: “This important research from the team at the University of Cambridge is about providing effective treatments for some potentially deadly diseases spread by rats and bats: Lassa and Ebola respectively. Novel strategies to combat dangerous infections like these are essential and often underpin the development of much-needed next generation vaccines.
“Professor Heeney and team have already made a significant difference in this area, researching cross species transmissions of these viruses, with a view to developing vaccines for Ebola and Lassa that would be effective against multiple strains.”
In addition, the team is collaborating with Professor James Wood, Head of the Department of Veterinary Medicine at Cambridge, who is conducting a complementary study funded by the Global Challenges Research Fund to sample bat colonies in Ghana, believed to be a natural reservoir for the Ebola virus.
“Equipped with this information, we should be able to design better vaccine antigens for more effective and broadly-protective vaccines,” says Professor Heeney. “Combined with our accelerated vaccine development platform, this has the potential to have an enormous positive impact on global public health.”
The text in this work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.“ https://web.archive.org/web/20211020193848/https://www.cam.ac.uk/research/news/ebola-and-lassa-fever-targeted-by-new-vaccine-trial-and-improved-surveillance
We don’t know if this is the same “One Health” that included Peter Daszak as a collaborator. It doesn’t appear to be. They seem to be using “One Health” as a concept, rather than a single program.
“The NHS is also performing risk assessments of staff and patients who were in the same areas as the Lassa fever patients in Luton and Dunstable University hospital and Addenbrooke’s hospital in Cambridge. Although most people with the disease will make a full recovery, severe illness can occur in some and one in every 100 infected will die.”. https://www.theguardian.com/science/2022/feb/18/uk-lassa-fever-death-highlight-global-threat-infectious-diseases-expert-outbreak-preparedness
“Lassa fever: NHS services in the East of England hit as staff isolate”, 17 Feb.2022: “NHS services across the east of England continue to be affected after three cases of Lassa fever were discovered in the region. A newborn baby died at the Luton and Dunstable Hospital, an adult was cared for at Addenbrooke’s in Cambridge and another has since recovered. Staff who had been in contact with the patients are having to isolate. Bedfordshire Hospitals Trust medical director Paul Tisi told a meeting the disruption would last “for a few days”. The BBC has also been told cancer operations at Addenbrooke’s have been affected. The three people being treated for the disease were all from within the same family and had recently travelled to west Africa, where the disease is endemic. The patient who was being cared for at Addenbrooke’s has since been transferred to the Royal Free Hospital in London….” https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-beds-bucks-herts-60389888
We can’t find a complete list of all 22 research projects, which received funding.
UK Government awards £10 million for vaccines research to combat potential epidemics in developing countries
22 research projects have been selected by the government’s UK Vaccine Network and will help tackle viruses such as Ebola, Lassa Fever and Zika
Department of Health and Social Care
16 February 2022
Research into vaccines to tackle some of the world’s deadliest diseases in low and middle income countries has been backed by £10 million of UK aid funding, the government has announced today (Wednesday 16 February).
The funding provided by the government’s UK Vaccine Network (UKVN) and to be delivered by Innovate UK has been awarded to 22 research projects, supporting development of vaccines for diseases that have the potential to become epidemics. This includes Ebola, Lassa Fever, Zika, Crimean-Congo Haemorrhagic Fever (CCHF) and Chikungunya virus.
Some of the projects are also looking at ways to tackle ‘Disease X’ – a hypothetical future pathogen – to ensure the world is equipped for future epidemics or pandemics.
The UKVN has already funded 78 projects with over £115 million worth of UK aid funding, as part of the government’s commitment to defeat poverty, tackle instability and create prosperity in developing countries.
For example, earlier work on a Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) vaccine by the University of Oxford, funded in part by the UKVN, allowed them to develop the Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine more quickly, which has since protected tens of millions of people across the world.
Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid said:
COVID-19 has shown us first-hand just how important it is that we work together to keep everyone across the world safe.
I am delighted that these innovative projects – tackling serious and deadly diseases – will receive the funding they need to take their research to the next stage.
Thank you to the expert scientists behind these vital projects for their efforts that will continue to save millions of lives.
Indro Mukerjee, Chief Executive of Innovate UK, said:
Innovate UK is proud to deliver this vital work on behalf of the UK Vaccine Network. This will build on the crucial delivery of vaccines and vaccine platform technologies.
These projects will help to prevent future outbreaks of viral diseases in the developing world and may offer utility against future pandemics, as previously realised with the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine for COVID-19.
Some of projects that have been awarded the funding include:
* £462,462 to the University of Nottingham for a vaccine to prevent infection by viruses such as Dengue or Zika;
* £498,357 to DIOSynVax for their vaccinate candidate able to combat Lassa Fever, Ebola and Marburg viruses;
* £500,000 to the University of Oxford for a vaccine for plague.
The projects will be able to use the new funding from 1 April 2022. Grants took into consideration:
* the ease and speed of manufacturing the vaccine;
* the ease of use in low to middle income countries – for example, ensuring they’re needle-free or looking at other forms of administration;
* temperature stability;
* single dose or a low number of boosters needed;
* length of protection;
* vaccine platforms that can be rapidly adapted for new or re-merging diseases;
* vaccines that protect against several strains of a single pathogen, or against several pathogens.
The UK is committed to supporting the rest of the world in protecting people from COVID-19 and future diseases. It has invested more than £88 million to support the development of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine and, to date, has donated 32.2 million COVID-19 vaccine doses. 26.7 million of these doses have gone to COVAX, a global scheme to get vaccines to developing countries.
This builds on the £1.3 billion in UK aid committed to the international health response early in the pandemic, supporting vaccines, health systems and economic recovery in developing countries.”. https://www.gov.uk/government/news/uk-government-awards-10-million-for-vaccines-research-to-combat-potential-epidemics-in-developing-countries
One developer of a Lassa vaccine is Inovio, to which Robert W. Malone claims a connection in both his CV, as submitted in a US Court case, and in his Rogan interview transcript, as submitted to the US Congress. We don’t know if he holds a patent or other interest in Inovio. Apart from his claims, we find no connection, but there may well be a connection, as he claims. He may have some current financial interest, since he mentioned it on the Rogan show. On Rogan (transcript) he claimed that he “created the technology platform that is now the basis of the company called inovio we actually originally founded inovio in the United States” https://ia601408.us.archive.org/12/items/gov.uscourts.flmd.395057/gov.uscourts.flmd.395057.30.6.pdf https://d12t4t5x3vyizu.cloudfront.net/nehls.house.gov/uploads/2022/01/JRE-Rogan-Malone-Transcript.pdf
“INOVIO Announces First Subject Dosed in Phase 1B Clinical Trial for its DNA Vaccine Against Lassa Fever, INO-4500, in West Africa”, Feb. 23, 2021: https://web.archive.org/web/20210224145329/http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/inovio-announces-first-subject-dosed-in-phase-1b-clinical-trial-for-its-dna-vaccine-against-lassa-fever-ino-4500-in-west-africa-301233010.html