Case Update, October 19th, 2021; Project Veritas video on HEK293 cell lines.

This is a case update.  I’ll also talk about yet another Project Veritas video that may have you concerned. This discussion will deal candidly with the very controversial issue of abortion.

Cases continue to come down in the US, California, and San Diego County.  So far, we aren’t seeing any uptick from a possible Fall/Winter wave, except perhaps in Minnesota and Michigan. The rate of fall of cases is slowing down, however, suggesting that we may see a new persistent number of cases that is higher than we had before, as has been seen in other countries.

Graph is by me, from data collected from Johns Hopkins University COVID site. Graph is presented in a linear format.
Graph is by me, from data collected from Johns Hopkins University COVID site. Graph is presented in a linear format.
Graph is by me, from data collected from Johns Hopkins University COVID site. Graph is presented in a linear format.
Graph is by me, from data collected from Johns Hopkins University COVID site. Graph is presented in a linear format.
Graph is by me, from data collected from San Diego County Public Health. See also regularly updated slides from SD County. Graph is presented in a linear format.
Graph is by me, from data collected from San Diego County Public Health. See also regularly updated slides from SD County. Graph is presented in a linear format.
Graph is by me, from data collected from Johns Hopkins University COVID site. Graph is presented in a linear format.
Cases for India. Note the larger number of persistent cases after the Delta wave in May.
Cases for the Netherlands. Note the larger number of persistent cases after the Delta wave in July.

Yet another Project Veritas video was released last week, this time about the allegation that Pfizer used aborted fetal tissue to develop and/or produce the COVID v@¢¢!nes. Pro-life Americans are concerned about this development.  As a pro-life person myself, I wanted to provide some context to this issue.  I’m not going to tell you want to think about the issue, since it is largely a matter of conscience, but I do think when making moral decisions, it’s good to make them for the right reasons.

Scientists often use human cell lines to perform certain studies that require human cells that can be grown in a petri dish outside the body (doing biological things outside an organism is called in vitro, Latin for “in glass”).  Generally, human cells do not grow when removed from the body.  Human cells signal to each other and cells that are separated from others will undergo programmed cell death.  For human cells to grow in a lab, they need to be “immortalized” in some way.  This can be done in several ways.  You may have heard of HeLa cells, human cancerous fibroblasts taken from a patient, Henrietta Lacks, in 1951. These cells grow well in vitro and have been used by countless scientists in countless labs since then, including by me.  Another way is to use embryonic stem cells. 

Many in the US, including me, think it is unethical to collect fresh embryonic stem cells, because this usually requires an abortion. It can also be done after a miscarriage.  The HEK293 cell line was created using embryonic stem cells collected in the Netherlands in 1973.  The specific origin of the stem cells is unclear. Like HeLa cells, HEK293 cells have been very useful to scientists because they grow well in the lab and have other useful properties.

It does appear that Pfizer used these cells in the development of the current COVID v@¢¢!nes, and perhaps even in the manufacturing process.  I need to point out that no new cells were collected for this purpose.  The creation of the COVID v@¢¢!ne does not create a new market for embryonic stem cells.

As I’ve stated before, I am generally pro-v@¢¢!ne, but I am not getting the COVID v@¢¢!ne, mostly because of the ADE issue and because of the potential toxicity of the Spike protein.  However, when deciding how to think about an issue, it’s very helpful to develop your position based on facts and evidence rather than on assumptions.

As a matter of conscience, many pro-life people will take the position that taking a v@¢¢!ne which used HEK293 cells in any part of the process is unethical. I’m not going to ask you to violate your conscience.  I will say again, however, that the cells used to create HEK293 cell line were collected long ago, and no new tissue has been collected for this process.  For me, this means that getting the v@¢¢!ne would not be ethically illegitimate, at least not for this reason. I think people of good will can land on both sides of this issue.

Please let me know in the comments if you have questions.  You can help me be more clear.

Don’t fear, but be smart,
Erik

3 thoughts on “Case Update, October 19th, 2021; Project Veritas video on HEK293 cell lines.

  1. I thought I read in a previous email post from you that ADE did NOT seem to be a issue. I believe you said “does not seem to be the case” with this virus.

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    1. Like a lot of things with COVID, it’s been complicated. There was a time last summer when we had had a few reinfection events, and some people had more severe symptoms, and some less severe. It was ambiguous whether ADE was playing a role. I think it’s still ambiguous, since some reinfected people or breakthrough cases have minor symptoms and some more severe. Whether ADE will be an issue still remains to be seen. As variants continue to drift, we may see more reinfections that have more severe symptoms. At this point, we’ll know that ADE is happening.

      ADE requires that a new strain is similar enough that the new strain can bind to an antibody on an immune cells, but not so similar that it is neutralized by the immune system. I think that the Delta Variant may have been such a strain, since some had severe symptoms with reinfection, but most did not.

      If you read my ADE post, I’ve left several updates on the post, some saying it’s not a problem yet, more recent ones warning that it may still be coming. I’ve left them all there so you can see how my own thinking has evolved.

      The situation is certainly more complicated than we would like. I hope that helps!

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