10 things a conspiracy theorist taught me about the novel coronavirus

  • A need to feel special and endowed with privileged knowledge.
  • An intolerance of and disdain for the ‘unbelievers’ who question their narratives.
  • An identification with meta-narratives of mythic proportions.
  • Theories indistinguishable from dogma.
  • A rigidly binary (good vs. evil/black vs. white/this vs. that) view of the world.
  1. The assertion of some version of a dark state — a group of powerful and wealthy individuals who control politicians — -with nefarious plans that threaten individual freedom, and access to practically unlimited resources and influence to enact them.
  2. A distrust of most traditional institutions, particularly those with international credentials.
  3. A distrust of widely accepted narratives.
  4. A distrust of experts.
  5. A preference for data that fits pre-assumed narratives and the dismissal of facts that don’t support these narratives.
  6. A discomfort with doubt, mystery and the unknown.
  7. Difficulty with understanding events as having multiple causes.
  8. The labeling of those who disagree with them as brainwashed, deluded or close-minded.
  9. A distrust of the “mainstream media”.
  10. A loosely defined core value of heroically asserted individual freedom that serves as a kind of divine salvation.
  11. Alienation from family, friends and co-workers and a sense of belonging within an online sub-group of like-minded believers.
  12. A heavy reliance on social media.
  1. I learned that when it comes to viruses, expect the unexpected
  1. A new genetic disease
  2. A new virus
  3. An auto-immune disease
  4. Bad seafood (poisoned from contaminated meats)
  1. I learned about the courage of the Wuhan doctors
  1. I learned that there are different bodily fluids used to test for Covid-19 (and none of them are pleasant).
  1. I learned about the RT-PCR test, CT scans, and immunoassays
  1. The virus RNA is extracted from the swab sample.
  2. It is then purified and isolated from the human cells and from enzymes which may otherwise interfere with the test.
  3. The purified RNA is then mixed with an enzyme called reverse transcriptase which converts the RNA to DNA. This allows the polymerase chain reaction to expand the genetic material.
  4. The virus DNA is then added to a test-tube along with short strands of DNA (called ‘primes’) designed to bind to characteristic parts of the virus DNA. Nucleotides — the building blocks of DNA — are also added as is a DNA-building enzyme that makes copies of the DNA.
  5. The PCR machine heats up this mixture so that the DNA unravels and the ‘primes’ bond to it as it cools. This provides a starting point for the DNA-building enzyme to help copy it. This process continues through repeated heating and cooling until millions of copies of the DNA have been created, amplifying the virus’ genetic code.
  6. Fluorescent dyes are added while the genetic code is being copied. These dyes bind to the copied DNA and as more of the copied DNA is made, the fluorescence increases. This extra light is what confirms the presence of the virus.
  1. They don’t want independent scientists discovering that the virus doesn’t exist
  2. Viral cultures have a tendency to produce giant mutant reptiles
  3. Testing using viral cultures has been linked to prostate cancer
  4. Viral cultures require very expensive and elaborate equipment, labs with extra safety and security features and highly skilled technicians. They also require weeks for the results to be determined.
  5. 7. I learned about very cool tiny things called exosomes.
  1. The diameter of MVEs (which he calls ‘exosomes inside the cell’) and the virus are the same — 500 nanometers (nm).
  2. Outside the cell, both exosomes and the virus measure a diameter of 100 nm.
  3. Both the Covid-19 virus and exosomes use ACE2 [an enzyme attached to the outer surface of cells] as their receptor.
  4. Both contain only RNA
  5. Both exosomes and Covid-19 virus are found in bronchial fluid.
  1. The diameter of MVEs and the virus are the same — 500 nanometers (nm). Reading the papers that describe the utterly evil genius way that viruses enter the human cell by encasing themselves in cell membrane and passing themselves off as MVE’s has been a real eye-opener. Dr. Kaufman’s argument about exosome/viral equivalence is actually far more interesting than he himself realizes, and way more exciting than the idea that some nefarious band of Lex Luthers are trying to pass exosomes off as viruses. We’ll get back to this in a bit.
  2. Outside the cell, both exosomes and the virus measure a diameter of 100 nm. No, they don’t. Exosomes range in diameter from 30 to 150 nm. And, depending where you get your numbers from, the coronavirus has a diameter of 60 to 140 nm; 60 to 220; 80 to 120 or 50 to 200 with an average diameter of 125 nm. Remember, this is a new virus and data is still being collected, but as much as I tried, nowhere in the literature could I find a measurement of 100 nm.
  3. Both SARS-CoV-2 and exosomes use ACE2 [an enzyme attached to the outer cell surface] as their receptor to enter target cells. This is true. In fact, so does the virus that causes SARS — SARS-CoV. There is a whole basket of literature on the fact that some coronaviruses use the ACE2 receptor for cell entry. But to use shared cell membrane receptors as an argument for exosome and Covid-19 virus equivalence is like saying that Mary and John are the same person because they put their keys in the same lock to enter the house. The Covid-19 virus actually has a number of keys on its keyring and this diversity of receptor usage is a distinct feature of the coronaviruses. So far, four distinct pathways have been discovered for how the virus enters the cell: ACE-2 receptors, furin targets, GRP78 receptors, and CD147 receptors. The CD147 receptor pathway has only recently been discovered. It is also known as Basigin or EMMPRIN and is a type of protein that, apart from viral infections such as measles, is involved in tumour development and parasitic invasion such as that which occurs through mosquitos.
  4. Both exosomes and the Covid-19 virus contain only RNA. As Dr. Kaufman himself points out, RNA is freely available in the human body. RNA is present in cerebrospinal fluid, blood urine. Even in tears. It’s also everywhere in the cell including the nucleus. Many viruses contain only RNA, including the Ebola virus, SARS, rabies, common cold, influenza, hepatitis C & E, West Nile fever, polio, measles and, yes, you got it, SARS-CoV-2.
  5. Both exosomes and the virus are found in bronchial fluid. In fact, exosomes are found in all body fluids so why is this anything to write home about? That’s like saying that John and Mary were both found in the cellar so they must be the same person. (I’m starting to develop a tangential romance between these two for a bit of light relief — hang in there intrepid reader. Things are about to get a lot more interesting!)8. I learned that the Covid-19 virus could kick 007’s ass

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Health and travel writer, yoga instructor and eternal optimist with a love for Polyvagal Theory

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Rebecca Novick

Rebecca Novick

Health and travel writer, yoga instructor and eternal optimist with a love for Polyvagal Theory