How Did a Disease With no Symptoms Take Over the World?

We’re publishing an original essay today by a senior research scientist at a pharmaceutical company asking how managing an ‘asymptomatic disease’ became the main focus of Government policy in the U.K. and around the world, when the very concept of an ‘asymptomatic disease’ is nonsensical. Here’s an extract in which he tries to flesh out exactly why the concept makes so little sense.

First, let’s see why defining having a disease based purely on the presence of a pathogen is a flawed concept. This is best illustrated by reference to another virus, Epstein-Barr Virus or EBV. You’ll be forgiven if you’ve never heard of this virus, but it could be argued to be one of the most successful human pathogens because almost everyone is infected by it. Most people are infected early in life and if this happens then EBV takes up residence in your B-cells (the cells in your immune system responsible for making antibodies) where it quietly persists throughout your life. Every now and then the virus goes into active replication and makes copies of itself which get shed into your mouth, a process that you are blissfully unaware is happening. The problems with EBV generally occur if you don’t get infected early in life but avoid infection until you’re much older. Now when you get infected with EBV, you can develop a disease called infectious mononucleosis or, more commonly, glandular fever. This often happens in young adults when they become interested in close physical contact with members of the opposite (or same) sex… which is why glandular fever is sometimes referred to as “the kissing disease”.

Now let’s apply the new asymptomatic COVID-19 orthodoxy to EBV where we define having a disease purely through the presence of a viral genome. So, according to this definition, almost everyone in the U.K. (and the world) is suffering from a new disease, asymptomatic glandular fever, and if we were to do a large-scale mass screening campaign we’d discover that there were millions of ‘cases’ of asymptomatic glandular fever in the U.K. alone!

Of course, this is complete nonsense. We aren’t all ‘suffering’ from asymptomatic glandular fever. Glandular fever requires infection by EBV, but EBV infection does not necessarily lead to glandular fever. The same is true of COVID-19 and SARS-CoV-2 and so the concept of asymptomatic COVID-19 as a disease is as ridiculous as that of asymptomatic glandular fever.

Worth reading in full.

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