Nafeez Ahmed asks why the worldwide well being physique is in search of enter from scientists linked to the discredited principle of herd immunity by pure an infection
A prime World Health Organization (WHO) advisor and grant recipient researching COVID-19 transmission and respiratory viruses is on the payroll of a successor organisation to the Great Barrington Declaration (GBD) with ties to a number of the most vociferous pandemic disinformation networks. The GBD is a discredited pseudoscientific document sponsored by a Koch-backed local weather science denial community that advocates ‘herd immunity’ by pure an infection, rejected by over 7,000 public well being consultants.
The advisor, who performs a key position in serving to set the agenda for the WHO’s funding of exterior scientific analysis on COVID-19 whereas additionally being a beneficiary of WHO funding is Dr Tom Jefferson, a British epidemiologist who works with the Cochrane Collaboration. He is at present receiving WHO funding to offer an up to date Cochrane overview of bodily interventions to interrupt the unfold of respiratory viruses, in addition to to take part in a scientific overview of COVID-19 transmission by the Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine at Oxford University run by Professor Carl Heneghan.
He can be a member of the WHO Infection Prevention and Control Research and Development Expert Group for COVID-19 (IPCRDEG-C19), which advises the WHO on the way it ought to fee exterior analysis.
The New GBD
Byline Times beforehand revealed that whereas in receipt of WHO funding, lead investigator Heneghan concurrently sits on the scientific advisory board of Collateral Global Ltd., a successor organisation to the GBD based and directed by its chief authors, Professor Sunetra Gupta and her associate Alexander Caccia.
Collateral Global’s scientific advisors embrace Gupta’s fellow GBD co-founders, Harvard University’s Professor Martin Kulldorf, and Stanford University’s Professor Jay Bhattacharya.
In a brand new assertion of competing pursuits printed on 24 April, Heneghan’s co-author Tom Jefferson confirmed that he’s being instantly paid by Collateral Global Ltd to conduct ‘lockdown sceptic’ COVID-19 analysis. The assertion published on the RIAT Support Center notes that Jefferson is “funded to co-author rapid reviews on the impact of Covid restrictions by Collateral Global Organisation.”
This signifies that whereas being on the payroll of a successor organisation to the GBD, Jefferson concurrently performs a key position advising the WHO on the way it ought to fee analysis on COVID-19.
The Misinformation Network
Since Byline Times’ earlier story on Collateral Global’s connection to the WHO funding of systematic evaluations on COVID-19 transmission, Collateral Global’s web site was revamped with new scientific advisory board members and a brand new organisational construction, revealing the organisation’s connections to a community of pandemic misinformation platforms.
GBD co-founder Jay Bhattacharya is now ‘Editor in Chief’ at Collateral Global, with Alex Caccia now formally anointed because the organisation’s CEO.
While the GBD has been sponsored by a right-wing libertarian organisation, the American Institute for Economic Research (AIER), with an extended monitor document of defending the pursuits of fossil gasoline and tobacco lobbies, it’s not clear the place Collateral Global’s funding comes from.
Collateral Global’s new advisors embrace Professor David Livermore, Professor Ellen Townsend, and Professor Jennie Bristow all three of whom have been members of the ‘Health Recovery & Advisory Team’ (HART). GBD signatory Karol Sikora has additionally now joined HART in May.
HART’s quantitative information analyst Joel Smalley – who can be a workforce member at South Africa-based COVID-19 disinformation platform PANDA – has made anti-vaxxer claims in a HART report printed in March. The report claims that the height of deaths between December 2020 and February 2021 “coincided with the mass roll-out of novel mRNA/DNA vaccines, on an extremely vulnerable population… Broken down by the separate vaccination cohort… the correlation between vaccination and COVID-19 deaths is even more apparent.” Smalley goes on to say that the correlation is obvious “in many countries around the world”, and provides:
“It would be extremely unscientific and even negligent not to investigate whether the rise in deaths during this period is linked in some way to the vaccine roll-out… We have entered a dangerous time where science is being censored using harmful labels like ‘anti-vaxxer’. This is incredibly worrying.”
While Livermore stays a HART member, since Byline Times’ reporting on HART’s involvement in COVID-19 misinformation, Bristow and Townsend are now not listed on its web site. Both Livermore and Townsend are additionally GBD signatories.
Townsend was additionally beforehand recognized as a ‘public health spokesperson’ for the disinformation web site PCRclaims.co.uk which falsely claimed that the pandemic is an artefact of PCR assessments producing false positives.
Another HART member, retired paediatrician Dr Ros Jones, is a member of the management workforce on the dad and mom’ foyer group UsforThem. Several of her fellow coordinators at UsforThem have appeared on platforms selling COVID-19 misinformation such as the Alliance for Natural Health (ANH) which is a vigorous promoter of anti-vaccine misinformation.
The revamped Collateral Global web site has printed an interview with its CEO, Alex Caccia, by its chief copy editor and content material author AJ Kay, together with his declaration of affection for GBD co-founder Gupta: “Chance played a significant part nearly two years ago when I met Sunetra Gupta… Ever since the pandemic lumbered onto the world stage in 2020, I have tried in whatever way I can to support Sunetra and act as a foil – and learn.” His interviewer, AJ Kay, has lately overtly expressed anti-vaccine sentiments on Twitter.
The interview corroborates Byline Times’ previous reporting revealing that Caccia, a UK Ministry of Defence contractor, had performed a key position in drafting the GBD doc, conceptualising its launch technique and helping Gupta by securing PR help for her claims about herd immunity.
The position of Collateral Global contractor Tom Jefferson in each advising the WHO on its COVID-19 analysis and benefiting from WHO funding to conduct a few of that analysis, raises pressing questions on why the worldwide well being physique is in search of scientific enter from scientists linked to the Great Barrington Declaration. John Conly, chair of the WHO’s IPCRDEG-C19 group, can be a co-author with Jefferson and Heneghan for his or her WHO-funded evaluations.
The WHO was contacted for remark. Although the WHO assured Byline Times that it could reply “in due course” to earlier reporting on its advisors’ hyperlinks to the GBD, it has failed to take action. Collateral Global and Tom Jefferson didn’t reply to requests for remark.
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