Discover more from Covid Myth Buster Series
Five Covid hacks inspired by Evolution
Covid Myths - Evolution is the largest most successful Randomised Controlled Trial ever, why have biologists and public health experts ignored that compass completely?
For the past 20 years, I have been a student of innovation. At Cisco, John Chambers had tasked our consulting team to help the world’s largest companies innovate and thrive. As the head of the automotive practice, I can’t say our team had the easiest task…but it was one of the most inspirational period of my life. Not to mention I enjoyed a stable job!
The car industry - despite what many might think - is probably one of the most innovative industries on the planet. We were challenged to say the least … we ended delivering amazing innovation, notably the concept of the virtual dashboard, now widely adopted in cars.
As a student of innovation, one needs to bridge worlds as Thomas Edison did in his days, seek inspiration in alternative universes that - at one point - had to solve similar issues to yours, but in a radically different context.
During my years at Cisco, I was very fortunate to collaborate regularly with Silicon Valley innovation firm IDEO. One way IDEO approaches innovation consists in studying extreme implementations in a different field. Say you want to reinvent a cooking tool, you might want to study the design of surgical tools, or fighter jet controls.
Seeking inspiration in nature - aka biomimicry - is the most extreme you can get:
How far is a desert snail from building architecture? or shark skin from bacteria-free hospitals? … Over a decade ago, I remember vividly watching Janine Benyus’s TED Talk presentation in absolute awe. Wonderfully insightful.
Evolution, through trillions of trial and errors - over billions of years - has selected the best solutions to our world.
Whether it’s DNA, the immune system, neuronal networks, vision … all of these life wonders are the output of a formidable optimisation process we have benefitted from called Evolution. Understandably, some of you might believe it was sparked by God. Others will believe it’s a random process that emerged from chaos. Nonetheless, our world and humanity have emerged - and we have managed to free ourselves - from our mineral origins through this amazing process.
And it is only natural that Evolution has been my compass and guided me through this Covid storm. Below I want to share with you a few hacks, inspired by Evolution, that could/should have guided our public health experts in some of the most contested assertions made and decisions taken.
Ironically, those who have taunted us most with Randomised Controlled Trials have ignored the world’s largest and most successful RCT ever : Evolution
Evolution is effectively a continuous trial and error process that selected the best possible outcomes time after time. Those who survive, survive because of the added feature they have gained. For example, acquiring voice helped animals communicate, warn of danger, share knowledge on food location, etc … Other animals like bees had to acquire different communication features to survive. Many simply disappeared.
Evolution is a treasure chest filled with jewels of knowledge and gems of information. The problem is this knowledge often went against the Covid narrative: the virus novelty, the safety and efficacy of masks, the inevitability of lockdowns, the supposed failure of herd immunity, the blanket for all protection strategy…
Either by ignorance, hubris, collective dystopia or occasionally by corruption, scientists, epidemiologists, biologists, public health experts and medical doctors have all ignored the lessons of the most powerful RCT of all - Evolution - in regards to how it could help us understand and better respond to the crisis.
Here I present 5 hacks that bring to light a very different perspective. In fact, Evolution would have done the exact opposite to what has been done. Reminds me of a chap at a military service test who wanted to be exempted. He cheated on me for 45 minutes, and wrote the exact contrary to my answers…statistically impossible.
True Novelty Is Impossible with Existing Viral SDKs
Evolution’s most powerful life tools are often modular platforms, Lego bricks of life on this planet.
For those who haven’t understood, viruses are literally software platforms with distinct functional modules. They are made out of different genetic bricks, some apparently useless, but many with specific functions such as replication, interfacing, hosting, protection, etc… For a mad scientist to make an entirely novel virus, and thus truly surprise our immune system, would require reinventing existing viral SDKs (software development kit) … Good luck with that!
Whether we agree on the strong probability that the SARS-COV-2 virus was man-made or not. The SARS-COV-2 has all the genetic attributes of Coronaviruses. Just like H1N1 had all the attributes of influenza. SARS-COV-2 tapped into the Corona SDK, and H1N1 tapped into the influenza SDK. Conceptually not very different to software developers using the Android SDK or the IOS SDK.
In our intensely interconnected world, one has to recognise it is highly unlikely that a new viral SDK emerges. Some scaremongers suggest it can still emerge from the permafrost, or the Amazonian. But the animal realm is very interconnected…
…as you can see from the travel map of this eagle who crossed three continents in just a few weeks. So both scenarios are very unlikely.
As such Covid could never be novel, nor very dangerous for the entire population as many were already immunised against a great part of proteome of this virus. That is also true for any Influenza-based virus. And I have already written extensively on this concept of cross-immunity.
One could argue that the possibility of a very lethal pandemic with fatalities above 1% is very unlikely on those grounds, except if it’s man-designed …
Sterilising Immunity Avoids Epidemic Death Spirals
Wickedly, we have been told by media and public health experts for months on that herd immunity doesn’t exist, and that there can be no such thing as sterilising immunity.
From an evolutionary point of view, those that make that statement contradict billions of years of Evolution and life on this planet. They are simply asserting you can never get out of an epidemic loop. If your immune system cannot protect you once you are cured, in the midst of a pandemic, you would necessarily fall sick again and again and again, as you pass on the viral baton to your wife who passes it on to the kids who pass it on back to you….A never-ending epidemic death spiral akin to these ants trapped into an infinite loop.
Evolution brought sterilising immunity specifically to break such a destructive loop, and to avoid the destruction caused by a battle within the circulatory system, close to vital organs. Much more effective and safe to take the battle outside, in the mucus!
If vaccine manufacturers understood biomimicry, their vaccines would have replicated the power and the safety of mucosal immunity. Unfortunately they didn’t, letting down not only society altogether, but in particular our elders when they needed us most…
Evolution Already Granted Us a Superior Filtering Technology
Having worked in the high purity gas business in the first part of my career, I have a few pointers as to filtering technologies.
Reverse-osmosis technology - a radically enhanced version of our paper masks - enables us to separate oxygen molecules from nitrogen molecules for example. This brut-force filtering technology is a huge “power hog”. Even though, it is a highly sophisticated technology, it is not obviously the most elegant way to filter. These filters are relatively slow and consume enormous amount of energy. Both constraints counter to proper respiration and to preservation, specially when you need to sprint to avoid a lion or another threat…
Naturally, this technology needs to be reversed to be cleaned quite often. Indeed, these upgraded sieves end up clogged with the material they managed capturing. In other words, it is not at all a continuous process, not really a process nature or evolution would evolve into !
Paper masks are like traditional vacuum-cleaners. This type of filters concentrates what you are trying to avoid getting in. Anyone who owns a traditional vacuum-cleaner - and has changed its filter - will realise that when you change it, you get you hands dirty and occasionally breath a puff of dust. But when you filter viruses, you don’t want to concentrate them into poisonous doses, high inoculum is the enemy, and when you change them, you don’t want a puff either…
Obviously, Nature could not evolve into such an ineffective and unsafe discrete technology…
Evolution found a much more effective and safe filtering technology, the same one that inspired Sir James Dyson, the vortex technology. As we breath in, the air flows and twirls in our airways, particles are pressed on the side of the passages by the centrifugal forces, capturing and isolating - either in the nasal cavities or the tonsils - the majority of the viral load inhaled, all while minimising energy loss and maximising airflow.
Contrary to Sir Dyson’s masterful products, our filter, the mucus, continuously evacuates the unwanted material coughing it, leaking in out, or swallowing it for destruction in the stomach.
In other words, we already have a filter which is proven to be more effective, more energy efficient and much safer than masks: it doesn’t stop airflow, is not disruptive, and doesn’t concentrate virions.
If masks had been the safest and most effective option, Evolution would have granted us face masks. It chose a much safer strategy. The RCT is unanimous.
In India, and in the Muslim world, the hygiene tradition of rinsing one’s nose and mouth stood the test of time. During Covid, regular rinsing with saline water has again proven to be a much more effective protection than breathing through these paper masks filled with plastic nanoparticles...
Mucosal Vaccines Would Have Mimicked Better the Safety of Natural Immunity
Vaccines were likely amongst the first technologies based on the concept of bio-mimicry. It is therefore very unfortunate that vaccine scientists didn’t consider that Evolution had taken a different route: stimulate first and foremost a line of defence outside the body, and not inside the body !
Anybody with an ounce of common sense understands that if there’s to be a fight, it’s best if it’s taken outside the house. It’s easier to stop and to control, and you don’t destroy the furniture, or even the whole house à la “Mr and Mrs Smith”.
The idea that vaccine nanoparticles end up in the blood stream and stimulate T-cell attacks against endothelial walls, possibly with lifelong consequences, is obviously unacceptable. The circulatory system is a critical system to live a long and healthy life., damaging it should be absolutely off-limits.
Obviously, in the brain, the brain-blood-barrier is right behind the endothelial wall. This is particularly disquieting to me. We have no idea as to the long term consequences these T-cells attacks can have on the porosity of the BBB, potentially leading to Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson and other long term neurological pathologies.
Focused Protection of “At Risk” Elderly Would Have Been the Strategy Taken by Evolution
Our circulatory system has evolved into a marvellous optimised distribution network. The blood flows evenly throughout our bodies to bring oxygen and nutriments in a manner that is optimum for all parts. In a normal context, the blood flows the same to the brain and to muscles, for example.
However, in rare circumstances, such as oxygen deprivation, the body has also evolved in order to prioritise areas that are more critical and more sensitive to a lack of O2. Muscle cells can regenerate, heart and brain cells can’t, that’s embedded into our bio-software. Hence, when deprived of oxygen, the blood flow will prioritise brain and heart cells over expendable muscle cells as a survival mechanism.
Collectively, it is very clear to me that public health authorities should have undertaken a similar “focused protection” approach, as suggested in the Great Barrington Declaration. Protect the people most at risk, focus the resources there, and let the rest of the world live and build a natural immunity.
During this pandemic, students of Evolution - such as Dr. Mark Changizi or my good colleague at Panda, Bruce Page - have often had an orthogonal perspective to the official narrative. I have too. Evolution is probably a school of Reality.
Personally, I have used Evolution as my Compass. It has helped me, along with the strict compliance to the scientific method, to stay the course, and make sense of this chaos, time and time again.
Should we suggest public health experts, epidemiologists, biologists, vaccine manufacturers and medical doctors all train deeper on Evolution and on bio-mimicry? …
Given how far off they’ve all been these past two years, I must say that’s an urgent matter. :-)