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Satchu's Rich Wrap-Up
Monday 02nd of November 2020

The Battleship Building this evening. Distinctive building by Paddington Basin, with the A40 Westway flying past it. it became dilapidated and converted into offices. Wonder what it'll become next, now nobody works in an office @london_w4

The Battleship Building this evening. Distinctive building by Paddington Basin, with the A40 Westway flying past it. Built as a maintenance depot for British Rail, it became dilapidated and converted into offices. Wonder what it'll become next, now nobody works in an office

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The number of virus patients in hospital has doubled in two weeks, with 10,918 patients being treated by the NHS. Yesterday nearly 1,000 of them were on ventilators. @thesundaytimes

At the present rate of a doubling every fortnight, there will be more than 20,000 patients in hospital by mid-November. That would be higher than at the peak of the first wave.

Neil Mortensen, president of the Royal College of Surgeons of England, said he feared hospital staff becoming infected. “Once the prevalence goes high, then it’s like a pack of cards, and one by one all the staff go down. And then you don’t have any operating facility,” he said.

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Global cases rising steadily now, at around 2% day.

Belgium¹⁸ overtakes Indonesia¹⁹ and Bangladesh²⁰

>15%: Dominica²⁰⁰

>5%: Poland²⁴ Austria⁴⁹ Hungary⁶⁰ Slovakia⁷¹ Croatia⁷⁸ Greece⁸³ Slovenia⁸⁵ Lithuania¹⁰¹

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US #COVID19 3rd wave average case growth rate (new daily cases / total) increased to 0.88%@jmlukens

Current 78,381 average new cases per day is a 41% increase over past two weeks.  Average US  deaths per day increased 15% over same period to 862/day.

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SARS-CoV-2 pandemic began at the General Hospital of Central Theater Command of People’s Liberation Army (PLA Hospital) in Wuhan, China, located at 627 Wulon Road, Wuchang District, Wuhan.

According to the paper, international biospecimen data repositories indicate as early as December 10, 2019 COVID patient records were being created by PLA personnel, weeks before the Chinese government informed the WHO of the pandemic.

The paper documents four patients from the PLA Hospital that have the earliest genetic signature of direct human-to-human coronavirus transmission. 

It also includes the patient whose coronavirus is genetically closest to a bat virus from the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) that WIV scientists call “the closest relative of 2019-nCoV''

The PLA Hospital is three kilometers from WIV and both are located on Line 2 of the Wuhan Metro System. 

The paper documents an analysis of the hospitals where the earliest COVID patients were seen, between December 1, 2019 to early January, and shows that all these hospitals were also located on the Metro Line 2.

This is the first paper in the world to observe that Line 2 is uniquely positioned to have been the worldwide human-to-human COVID pandemic conduit as it carries five percent of the population of Wuhan every day, allowing rapid spread throughout Wuhan and the entire Hubei Province; it includes the high-speed rail station, allowing rapid spread throughout China; and it terminates at the international airport station, allowing rapid spread throughout the world.

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This cluster contains the “Founder Patients” of both Clade A and Clade B, from which every SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus that has infected every patient with COVID-19 anywhere in the world has arisen

Here I report that the earliest genomic cluster is a group of four  patients associated with the General Hospital of Central Theater Command of People's Liberation Army (PLA) of China in Wuhan. 

This cluster contains the “Founder Patients” of both Clade A and Clade B, from which every SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus that has infected every patient with COVID-19 anywhere in the world has arisen

The observation that the genomic files for these patients were created on December 10, 2019 but the PLA Hospital did not record the collection of the specimens until weeks later is unusual and unexplained

However, it would be consistent with a vaccine challenge clinical trial (in which case files are set up in anticipation of getting samples later) 

or it suggests that the collection dates were actually before December 10, 2019 (in which case the reported dates for specimen collection are not accurate but may have been recorded incorrectly to suggest the infection was spreading later than it really was). 

The PLA Hospital is about one mile from the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) and the closest hospital to WIV. Both the PLA Hospital and WIV are serviced by Line 2 of the Wuhan Metro System.

likelihood that all early patients were seen at hospitals only near Line 2 by chance is about 1 in 68,500 (p-value = 0.0000146). The inference then would be that the early spread of SARS-CoV-2 was through human-to human infection on Line 2

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‘’Zoonotic’’ origin was one that was accelerated in the Laboratory.

There is also a non negligible possibility that #COVID19 was deliberately released

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COVID-19 has exposed key gaps in the global community’s ability to assess infectious disease outbreaks of international concern, in particular the ability to differentiate between natural and laboratory sources of infection

Meanwhile, a deliberate biological attack may resemble an outbreak of natural or accidental origin, and a natural or accidental outbreak may be misattributed as an attack.

The origin of the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19 has yet to be determined. 

On May 19, 2020, the 73rd World Health Assembly adopted a resolution that, among other items, calls on the WHO to “identify the zoonotic source of the virus and the route of introduction into the human population.” 

The United States applauded this “mandate given by the resolution to the WHO to investigate the origins of the virus.”

One origin hypothesis is that SARS-CoV-2 escaped from a biological laboratory in China rather than naturally spreading from animal to human hosts.

In support of this hypothesis are the following facts:

1. Laboratories around the world have accidents, including in China;

2. Prior to COVID-19, one laboratory in close proximity to the initially identified cases, the Wuhan Institute of Virology (Figure 1), had come under scrutiny for reported safety lapses;

3. That same laboratory, as well as another laboratory in Wuhan, was responsible for studying unknown, potentially zoonotic disease agents in animal populations, including bat coronaviruses genetically related to SARS-CoV-2; and

4. If SARS-CoV-2 was being studied there, and an accident happened, it could plausibly have been introduced into the neighboring human population by any number of well- documented routes of laboratory “escape,” including on or in laboratory workers or in infectious waste.

Against the laboratory-origin hypothesis: there is a well-documented mechanism for animal-to-human spillover of biological agents like SARS- CoV-2, including in the area where COVID-19 was initially detected, and the ensuing spread follows expected epidemiological characteristics of a natural event.

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Case Study. Inhalational anthrax in Sverdlovsk, 1979

However, the 81% mortality rate for gastrointestinal anthrax (64 deaths out of 79 cases) exceeded its accepted lethality range of 25-75%, and—unbeknownst to Western analysts at the time—autopsies of the deceased demonstrated significant lung pathology consistent with respiratory infection.

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Case Study. Hantavirus cardiopulmonary syndrome in the United States, 1993–94

A 1993–94 outbreak of hantavirus cardiopulmonary syndrome in the Four Corners region of the United States illustrates how the relationships of the epidemiological triangle drive infectious disease emergence and re-emergence (Figure 4).10 After a multi-year drought diminished the local predator population, the 1991–92 El Niño- southern oscillation caused increased precipitation that resulted in extensive pine nut overgrowth, which in turn fueled an explosion of the local deer mouse population (Peromyscus maniculatus). This deer mouse is the animal reservoir for Sin Nombre virus, a novel hantavirus that is excreted in the rodents’ feces, urine, and saliva. Subsequent inhalation of this excreta by humans leads to the life- threatening disease hantavirus cardiopulmonary syndrome. During the 1993–94 outbreak, the exploding deer mouse population brought the viral reservoir into closer contact with nearby human populations, increasing the probability of zoonotic transmission and ultimately causing 52 cases of human disease.11

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Case Study. Foot-and-mouth disease in the United Kingdom, 2007

On August 2, 2007, a cluster of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) was identified on a farm near Normandy, United Kingdom, a short distance from the Institute for Animal Health in Pirbright

Collected samples were sent to the local Institute for Animal Health for analysis, which identified the infecting agent as FMD virus strain O1BFS 1860. 

The strain was strikingly similar to a 1967 reference strain used at the same Pirbright laboratory for vaccine production.

Because the strain lacked the years of amassed mutations that would be expected in a naturally occurring outbreak, a laboratory origin was all but assured.

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A massive heptapeptide sharing exists between SARS-CoV-2 spike glycoprotein and human proteins. Such a peptide commonality is unexpected and highly improbable from a mathematical point of view

A massive heptapeptide sharing exists between SARS-CoV-2 spike glycoprotein and human proteins. Such a peptide commonality is unexpected and highly improbable from a mathematical point of view, given that, as detailed under the “Methods” section, the probability of the occurrence in two proteins of just one heptapeptide is equal to ~ 20−7 (or 1 out of 1,280,000,000). 

Likewise, the probability of the occurrence in two proteins of just one hexapeptide is close to zero by being equal to ~ 20−6 (or 1 out of 64,000,000).

Only the viral peptide sharing with the murine proteome and, at a lesser extent, with the rat proteome keeps up with that shown by human proteins.

In conclusion, in light of the data exposed in Fig. Fig.11 and given the susceptibility parameters such as aging and health status, only aged mice appear to be a correct animal model for testing an anti-SARS-CoV-2 spike glycoprotein vaccine to be used in humans

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No-one has ever produced a safe and effective vaccine against a coronavirus. Birger Sørensen, Angus Dalgleish & Andres Susrud


What if, as I fear, there will never be a vaccine. I was involved in the early stages of identifying the HIV virus as the cause of Aids. I remember drugs companies back then saying there would be a vaccine within around 18 months. Some 37 years on, we are still waiting. Prof ANGUS DALGLEISH @MailOnline

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Currency Markets at a Glance WSJ
World Currencies


Dollar Index 94.141

Japan Yen 104.7325

Swiss Franc 0.917485

Pound 1.290835

Aussie 0.70060

India Rupee 74.4293

South Korea Won 1134.390

Brazil Real 5.7391

Egypt Pound 15.715600

South Africa Rand 16.225700

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Africa accounts for 17% of the global population but only 3.5% of the reported global COVID-19 deaths.

We argue that Africa’s much younger population explains a very large part of the apparent difference. 

Some of the remaining gap is probably due to under reporting of events but there are a number of other plausible explanations. 

These range from climatic differences, pre-existing immunity, genetic factors and behavioural differences.

Across multiple countries the risk of dying of COVID-19 for those aged 80 years or more is around a hundred times that of people in their twenties.

This can best be appreciated with a specific example. As of September 30th, the UK had reported 41,980 COVID-19 specific deaths while Kenya, by contrast, had reported 691. 

The population of the UK is around 66 million with a median age of 40 compared with Kenya’s population of 51 million with a median age of 20 years.

Genetic factors may also be important. A recently described haplotype (group of genes) associated with increased risk of severity and present in 30% of south Asian genomes and 8% of Europeans is almost absent in Africa.

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Major new lineages of SARS-CoV-2 emerge and spread in South Africa during lockdown.

In March 2020, the first cases of COVID-19 were reported in South Africa. The epidemic spread very fast despite an early and extreme lockdown and infected over 600,000 people, by far the highest number of infections in an African country. To rapidly understand the spread of SARS- CoV-2 in South Africa, we formed the Network for Genomics Surveillance in South Africa (NGS-SA). Here, we analyze 1,365 high quality whole genomes and identify 16 new lineages of SARS-CoV-2. Most of these unique lineages have mutations that are found hardly anywhere else in the world. We also show that three lineages spread widely in South Africa and contributed to ~42% of all of the infections in the country. This included the first identified C lineage of SARS- CoV-2, C.1, which has 16 mutations as compared with the original Wuhan sequence. C.1 was the most geographically widespread lineage in South Africa, causing infections in multiple provinces and in all of the eleven districts in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN), the most sampled province. Interestingly, the first South-African specific lineage, B.1.106, which was identified in April 2020, became extinct after nosocomial outbreaks were controlled. Our findings show that genomic surveillance can be implemented on a large scale in Africa to identify and control the spread of SARS-CoV-2.

This included 16 South Africa specific lineages, defined as being lineages that are presently predominant in South Africa by cov-lineages.org as of 15 September 2020

Major contributor to linage amplifications in South Africa were hospital outbreaks For example, as previously mentioned, lineage C1 was amplified in a nosocomial outbreak in the North West Province in April 202018 before spreading to KZN and other provinces. Another South African lineage, B.1.106, also emerged in a nosocomial outbreak in KZN in April 2020. This was a large outbreak that infected 100 heath care staff and 65 patients, and dominated most of the early infections in Durban, South Africa (Figure 4B).

It is important to note that the four main lineages in South Africa contain the D614G mutation on the spike gene. 

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Tanzania's opposition calls mass protests against contested polls @AFP @franblandy
Law & Politics

Tanzania's opposition on Saturday called on supporters to take to the streets to protest President John Magufuli's landslide election victory, which it says was fraudulent, demanding a fresh vote.

Magufuli was declared the winner Friday with a crushing 84 percent of votes, while his Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) ruling party took 97 percent of the 264 elected parliament seats.

The country's two main opposition groups, Chadema of defeated presidential candidate Tundu Lissu, and ACT-Wazalendo, held a joint press conference in Dar es Salaam in which they denounced the election and called their supporters to action.

"Firstly, we call for fresh elections as soon as possible. Whatever happened is not an election," Chadema chairman Freeman Mbowe said.

"We call for continuous, peaceful, countrywide demonstrations until our demands are met," he said, adding these would begin on Monday.

ACT-Wazalendo leader Zitto Kabwe said the decision was for "the future of our country".

"We cannot accept going back to a one-party system. God willing we will win in this war."

Democracy was introduced in 1994 and Tanzania has been seen as a haven of stability in a volatile neighbourhood but critics have raised alarm over a slide into autocracy under Magufuli.

The 61-year-old, nicknamed "The Bulldozer", was in his first term accused of flouting due process and brooking no criticism.

His main opponent this time around, Lissu, won only 13 percent of the vote, after denouncing widespread fraud and intimidation of the opposition during the election and following years of repression and jailing of government opponents.

Lissu, who returned to Tanzania in July after three years abroad recovering from 16 bullet wounds sustained in an assassination attempt, said his party's agents had been kicked out of polling stations and that there had been ballot box stuffing.

In 2015, Magufuli won with 58 percent of the vote.

The outcome of Wednesday's vote will further cement the power of a party that has been in power since independence in 1961.

The opposition parties again asked the international community not to recognise the result.

The result of presidential elections cannot be contested in Tanzania although the parliamentary outcome can be challenged.

"The door is closed for us to challenge the presidential results in court, and that is why we have decided to take this to the people, who have the power," Lissu said at the press conference.

Magufuli received congratulations from his counterparts in Burundi -- also regularly accused of crushing the opposition -- and Uganda -- where President Yoweri Museveni is seeking a sixth term next year.

The election took place with little monitoring from foreign observers and most international media were unable to gain accreditation to cover voting on the mainland.

"We are concerned by credible reports of election irregularities and the use of force against unarmed civilians, and will hold responsible individuals accountable," US state department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said on Twitter.

"We urge Tanzanian authorities to take immediate steps to restore faith in the democratic process."

In Zanizabar, a semi-autonomous territory that elects its own leader and lawmakers, as well as the Tanzanian president, a call to protest against the results saw key opposition figures arrested and beaten.

Authorities there deployed thousands of soldiers, police and a feared private militia known as "zombies", who were seen beating and rounding up civilians, crushing any potential demonstrations before they started.

Just four of the 50 parliamentary seats up for grabs on Zanzibar went to ACT-Wazalendo. 

The CCM presidential candidate Hussein Ali Mwinyi was declared the victor.

Mbowe said Saturday that 20 people had died across Tanzania in election-related violence. 

The opposition in Zanzibar said Friday that 13 people had been killed on the islands alone.

Police had earlier denied the deaths on Zanzibar, which could not be independently confirmed.

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10 NOV 14 : African youth demographic {many characterise this as a 'demographic dividend"} - which for Beautiful Blaise turned into a demographic terminator

Martin Aglo, a law student from Benin, told Reuters: “After the Arab Spring, this is the Black Spring”.

We need to ask ourselves; how many people can incumbent shoot stone cold dead in such a situation – 100, 1,000, 10,000? 

This is another point: there is a threshold beyond which the incumbent can’t go. Where that threshold lies will be discovered in the throes of the event.

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Ouattara, 78, looks to be a shoo-in for re-election.
Law & Politics

He is running against independent candidate Bertin Konan Kouadio, who received less than 4% of ballots in 2015. 

While Ouattara’s former ruling coalition partner, ex-President Henri Konan Bedie, 86, and Pascal Affi N’Guessan, the leader of a smaller opposition party, appear on the ballot paper, they’ve asked voters to stay away because they consider the third-term bid unconstitutional.

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Kenya joins global trial of @UniofOxford COVID-19 vaccine @Reuters

Kenya has joined the global clinical trial of Oxford University’s vaccine candidate against the new coronavirus, the state medical research institute said on Friday.

The vaccine candidate, known as ChAdOx1 nCoV-19, has been developed jointly with Astrazeneca and is being evaluated in four countries: Britain, South Africa, Brazil and now Kenya.

“To ensure that Kenyans can benefit... if it proves to be successful, it is important to assess its performance among Kenyan volunteers,” the Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) said in a statement.

KEMRI has already vaccinated the first volunteers after receiving the receiving the required regulatory and ethical approvals, it said.

The experiment in Kenya will initially involve 40 frontline workers in the coastal county of Kilifi.

If that phase ascertains the vaccine’s safety, then an additional 360 volunteers will also be recruited into the programme.

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by Aly Khan Satchu (www.rich.co.ke)
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November 2020

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