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Event 202: What are Smallpox Pandemic Simulations Foreshadowing?

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by blueapples
Thursday, May 19, 2022 - 19:54

From Event 201 to the controversial decisions of the Obama and Trump Administrations to remove a moratorium placed on funding gain of function research, to the seemingly preemptive declaration of Anthony Fauci in 2017 that the US would soon face a pandemic, it seems like the writing was on the wall all along for the outbreak of COVID-19. Although hindsight is 20/20, it also imbues us with foresight in the atypical event that we actually learn from our mistakes. As the United States announces its first confirmed domestic cases of monkeypox in 2022, parallels between what led up to the COVID-19 pandemic appear to be eerily similar. That similarity is echoed in Europe, where the actions of public health bureaucracies appear every bit as analogous. To tie a bow around those developments, the emergence of an NGO-backed global narrative has been authored by a panel entrusted by the World Health Organization that may serve as the script for whatever stage has been set. 

Just as Event 201 simulated the global response to a coronavirus pandemic just months before its actual onset, Germany has chosen to enact a similar exercise concerning an outbreak of smallpox, hosting health ministers from other G7 nations. This decision follows the release of a report from the Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response (“IPPPR”). Despite issuing a report to the WHO last year titled “Making COVID-19 the Last Pandemic, the IPPPR report on the threat of a global monkeypox outbreak projects that the virus could kill as many as 250 million of the 3 billion infections it forecast over an 18 month period.

These smallpox pandemic simulations are far from the first of their kind. In fact, the Center for Health and Security (“CHS”) already held several of these exercises years even before Event 201. Like the forthcoming pandemic simulation in Germany, CHS’ Operation Dark Winter simulated the ramifications of a smallpox vaccine all the way back in 2001. The case study conducted by Dark Winter coupled with the threat of terrorism manufactured by the US under the Bush Administration to pass the National Security and Homeland Security Presidential Directive more commonly known as Directive 51. This directive outlined the continuity of government that would be enacted in the event of a catastrophe, an action which has been made possible due to an on-going state of emergency reauthorized every 90 days since September 14, 2001 in response to 9/11.

Though overshadowed by the bellicose tone targeting terrorism as the country's greatest existential threat since nuclear war, Dark Winter highlighted the potential that epidemic disease outbreaks could have in providing an emergency situation that could drastically extend the powers of the federal government. The dynamic forged by the passage of Directive 51 was evident in the US pandemic response to COVID-19 which facilitated the unprecedented expansion of government power over even the most minute aspects of the everyday lives of citizens.

Germany’s smallpox pandemic simulation rides that momentum by apparently setting the stage for a successive public health emergency in response to the cases of monkeypox to emerge in Europe. Notably, the exercise presupposes a zoonotic the origin of a smallpox outbreak through a narrative that echoes Event 201, which designated pigs used as livestock as the origin of a new coronavirus. These presuppositions were essential to policy makers as they provided the undertones needed to promote the theory that COVID-19 emerged zoonotically from horseshoe bats who naturally developed the disease. The value of simulating a public health response that emphasized that zoonotic origin was essential to obfuscated COVID-19’s apparent origins as the result of gain of function research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology. With this is in mind, the premise that forthcoming cases of smallpox could be the result of similar experiments is startling, particularly as it conveys the complete absence of accountability politicians were held to following the coronavirus pandemic and the possibility that gain of function research has been deployed on a more widespread basis than previously thought. 

Unlike SARS-COV-2, which disproportionately affected people who were older, German Health Minister Karl Lauterbach’s remarks at the first day of the smallpox pandemic simulation paint a different picture of what could come, stating "We will do a very realistic exercise in which a smallpox pandemic results from a leopard bite..The scenario will have the particularity that especially younger people will be hit very hard," Lauterbach, who was lauded in his capacity for German’s handling of COVID-19 serves as a pivotal figure given the change in the countries leadership following the exit of Angela Merkel from the chancellery. Like Anthony Fauci, Lauterbach conveys the transcendent power of a bureaucracy of medical technocrats who operated outside of the parameters that election officials are subject to. As such, the actions of their ilk are much more indicative of what lies ahead than any vapid political posturing.



Meanwhile in the United States, on the very day that the CDC confirmed a case of monkeypox in Massachusetts, the US Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (“BARDA”) announced it would purchase approximately 13 million doses of the freeze-dried version of the JYNNEOS smallpox vaccine from Bavarian Nordic, a vaccine manufacturer based out of Denmark. The purchase order comes just one month after the company’s RSV vaccine entered a phase 3 clinical trial.

Given the genetic similarities of smallpox and monkeypox, approval of JYNNEOS in the US already extends to the administration of the vaccine to as a prophylaxis against the latter virus. BARDA exercised an option in an existing contract with Bavarian Nordic purchase those doses that was in place before the emergence of monkeypox this year. With more than 20 cases of the disease confirmed in the EU nations of England, Portugal, and Spain, Bavarian Nordic was also able to finalize a contract with an undisclosed European nation to supply the same smallpox vaccine purchased by BARDA, albeit under the trademark Imvanex. While the scope of the contract and purchase are not yet known, its announcement sent Bavarian Nordic’s stock surging by over 62% the day following the disclosure.

In 2017, officials from BARDA participated in a conference alongside Anthony Fauci to discuss the future of flu vaccinations. Each asserted the need for a universally administered flu shot to improve the relative ineffectiveness of existing inoculations. Since the 2004/2005 flu season, those vaccinations have proven to be effective just 38.5% of the time on average, with a low of 10% in 2004/2005 and a high of 60% in 2010/2011.

The volatility in the effectiveness of the flu shots was cause for the medical intelligentsia to promote innovative new vaccine technologies that would be more adept at treating the virus; namely through the use of mRNA technology. Despite over a decade of development, mRNA vaccines failed to receive FDA approval until the August of 2021 when Pfizer’s Comirnaty mRNA vaccine against COVID-19 was approved in provision included in an extension by the FDA’s emergency use authorization for its widespread application.

Even then, the approval hinged upon an unprecedented relaxation of regulatory oversight. The clear oversight of such expedited approval has become apparent as the efficacy of Comirnaty and other mRNA vaccines against COVID-19 that was lauded as being as much as 100% effective has come crashing down to Earth in a trajectory that mirrors the credibility of the scientists and politicians who promoted them.

The great irony of the looming threat of another pandemic crisis is that vaccinations were heralded for their elimination of smallpox. Edward Jenner, who discovered modern vaccinations, was able to demonstrate how inoculations could be used to prevent smallpox by infecting patients with the much less serious cowpox virus. That happened over 2 centuries ago. Since then, the strides made by modern medicine make Jenner’s era seem like the dark ages. Yet, despite all of that supposed progress, the fragility of society in the face of a disease outbreak appears more delicate than ever. The panic that threat creates shows how quickly people will be willing “trust the experts” once again, even if that means making the same mistakes all over.

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