“There is no need for the pharmaceutical companies to covertly engage in genocide in Africa. The Africans are doing an excellent job of genocide on themselves.”
Barbados Free Press
Grape Hall, Barbados
There was a letter in the Daily Nation of September 30, 2014, entitled: “Ebola a weapon of mass destruction?” written by Mr. Leonard St.Hill. The gist of what he had to say is as follows: he advises that the absence of speculation (presumably its origins) over Ebola virus raises some suspicion.
He goes on to state “that too many epidemics in Africa seem to have the effect of weapons of mass destruction which can result in genocide.” He concludes that Africa is serving as a laboratory where the pharmaceutical (western) industry, use native Africans as test subjects to ascertain the efficacy of the pathogen and antidote, whilst making a financial killing.
In the past in your newspapers, I have stated that persons should always stick to their areas of technical expertise and that the majority of Barbadians are scientific illiterates. Mr. St. Hill falls under both headings. He displays gross ignorance of microbiology and biotechnology and is guilty of disseminating false innuendos to an uninitiated public.
The major pharmaceutical companies have little interest in doing research into little known tropical diseases. The returns on their investment are not worth it. The people of Africa are too poor and cannot afford the cost of a complete regimen of treatment.
Fallacy of Profit in Africa
The return on investment is also one of the reasons that there have been few new antibiotics on the market. You are infected, you pop a few pills and the infection goes away. Then there is the regimen of vaccinations, which means that most life-threatening diseases are held at bay. The companies make their money from chronic diseases such as certain forms of cancer, heart disease, hypertension and diabetes. They want repeat clients – this where they make their money.
Africa has the greatest diversity of fauna in the world. One would also expect that the microbial world in Africa would also be diverse. When the Spanish first came to the Caribbean, they found flora which they had never seen before (cocoa, pineapple, avocado etc.). Similarly in Africa, increases in population density have meant the encroachment by man of pristine jungle areas, resulting in exposure to new pathogens. Some of these pathogens over the years acquire the ability to cross the species barrier.
In nature, micro-organisms are constantly exchanging DNA fragments between themselves. The exchange of DNA can be intra-species or inter-species. This process is called either transformation or transduction depending on whether bacteria or viruses are involved. This constant exchange of DNA can give rise to new strains which are either more pathogenic and virulent or less so than their progenitors.
What about Asian Flu strains?
It is a documented fact that most new strains of the influenza virus originate in Asia, especially in China – a country with the larges porcine population in the world. When animals and humans live cheek by jowl, human-animal interactions must occur. In other words, interaction at the microbial level can and does occur. When this happens there is a new strain of the influenza virus. Are the pharmaceutical firms also causing genocide in Asia?
In Africa, there are myriads of known and unknown microbes. For example: Lassa fever, Marburg virus and Ebola, all of which are hemorrhagic viruses whose vector is the fruit bat. Then there are River blindness, Sleeping sickness and Nodding disease of the Sudan where children constantly nod their heads and waste away.
There is no need for the pharmaceutical companies to covertly engage in genocide in Africa. The Africans are doing an excellent job of genocide on themselves. The question St. Hill should be addressing, is why are not the African countries doing their own research and solving their own problems instead of depending on western countries? He should also be addressing the high illiteracy rate, which is resulting in Ebola running amok among the West African countries.
Finally, yesterday the Journal Science published an article by Professor Pybus of Oxford University and Dr. Faria who used computational analysis and phylogenetic reconstruction (roughly means tracing family history) to traced back the origins of HIV-1 to the 1920’s in the Congo. One can do so by looking at the rates of mutation of some genetic markers. Whenever one mutates a micro-organism, one must check for the revertant rates (i.e. the number of mutants which change back to the original state), to ascertain the stability of the new construct.
Robert D. Lucas, PH.D and CFS.
Food biotechnologist & Certified Food Scientist
PS: I have included a copy of my CFS diploma (PDF download). There are many persons in this country who claimed to be qualified in areas that they are not.