Thoughts on economics and liberty

Influenza conundrums

I’ve long know about studies which showed that direct attempts to transmit the flu via spreading nose stuff on others, doesn’t work. I assumed that’s due to innate immunity among vast segments of the population.

Then there’s the Ted Steele group which claims viruses spread enormous distances via clouds/wind (or some such thing).

But there’s more. More questions. Here’s material sent by Jason Gavrilis – for me to study further. Happy to receive people’s ideas/ inputs on this specific topic (don’t send me stuff that viruses don’t exist – that’s nonsense)

This basically goes to show that the science is not settled re: many basic things.


Because even after ~100 years of research into influenza, there are still major conundrums that remain largely unexplained.

How can ‘they’ know for sure about a new respiratory illness when the ‘oldest’ respiratory illness still remains elusive?

Influenza conundrums

In his book “The transmission of epidemic influenza”Hope-Simpson addressed seven major conundrums about influenza:

  1. Why is influenza both seasonal and ubiquitous and where is the virus between epidemics?
  1. Why are the epidemics so explosive?
  1. Why do epidemics end so abruptly?
  1. What explains the frequent coincidental timing of epidemics in countries of similar latitudes?
  1. Why is the serial interval obscure?
  1. Why is the secondary attack rate so low?
  1. Why did epidemics in previous ages spread so rapidly, despite the lack of modern transport?

Hope-Simpson attempted to explain these conundrums by introducing ‘latent asymptomatic infectors’ and an unidentified ‘season stimulus’.

Interestingly, Hope-Simpson concluded that the epidemiology of influenza was not consistent with a highly infectious disease sustained by an endless chain of sick-to-well transmissions.

Cannell. et al (2008) added two further influenza conundrums:

  1. Given that influenza vaccinations increase adaptive immunity, why don’t epidemiological studies show increasing vaccination rates are translating into decreasing illness?
    1. Simonsen. (2005) showed that even when aging of the population is accounted for, death rates from influenza of the most immunized age group did not decline in the US since 1980.
    2. Rizzo. et al (2006) found no evidence of reduction in influenza-related mortality over the previous 15 years in the Italian elderly population, despite the concomitant increase of influenza vaccination coverage from ~10% to ~60%.
  2. Why so few seronegative volunteers either escape infection or develop only minor illness after being experimentally inoculated with a novel influenza virus?
    1. For example
      1. Alford, R.H., Kasel, J.A., Gerone, P.J., et al. (1966). Human Influenza Resulting from Aerosol Inhalation. Proceedings of the Society for Experimental Biology and Medicine, 122, 800–804.
      2. Brankston, G., Gitterman, L., Hirji, Z., et al. (2007). Transmission of influenza A in human beings. The Lancet Infectious Diseases, 7, 257–265.
      4. Beare, A. s., Kendal, A. p., Craig, J. w. (1980). Further studies in man of hsw1n1 influenza viruses. Journal of Medical Virology, 5, 33–38.
    2. Not to mention the several failed attempts to demonstrate sick-to-well influenza transmission in the days following the 1918 influenza pandemic.
      1. Rosenau, M. J. (1919). Experiments to determine mode of spread of influenza. Journal of the American Medical Association73(5), 311-313.
      2. Rosenau, M. J. (1919). Experiments to determine mode of spread of influenza. Journal of the American Medical Association73(5), 311-313.
      3. Leake, J. P. (1919). The transmission of influenza. The Boston Medical and Surgical Journal181(24), 675-679.
      4. Rosenau, M. J. (1921). III. Series of experiments at Boston, February and March, 1919. Ann Arbor, Michigan: Michigan Publishing, University Library, University of Michigan.

Interestingly, Cannell. et al (2008) suggest that vitamin D deficiency might be Hope-Simpson’s “seasonal stimulus” and conclude their paper by saying:

“Hence, we propose this modification [Vitamin D] of Hope-Simpson’s theory. We do not expect our revisions to prove invincible, nor do we delude ourselves that influenza is now comprehensible. Rather, we build on Hope-Simpson’s theory so that it “may be corroborated, corrected, or disproved.” (Hope-Simpson, 1992, p. 191)”

Even a brief look at the influenza literature shows how much disagreement there is in the scientific community (e.g. Influenza Vaccination Among the Elderly in the United States—Reply)


Given there are still so many unknowns and conundrums about Influenza with 100+ years of research backing it, how can anyone (i.e. Public Health) be so confident about a new respiratory illness (covid) to the point of locking down society and waiting for a ‘miracle cure’?



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Sanjeev Sabhlok

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