BREAKING COVID-19 News! Data From GISAID Could Be Unreliable And Manipulated! Platform Constantly Restricting Or Limiting Access To Researchers!
: Once again the GISAID platform is in spotlight after a few leading researchers involved in COVID-19 variant and sub-lineage monitoring had their access restricted or limited for no apparent reasons at all.
Some of GISAID practices is beginning to create speculations that data on the platform might not be reliable at all as data on the platform could be filtered or manipulated to mislead and conceal what is actually going in with regards to actual virus evolution and debuts of new virus strains. There are also a lot of speculations as to which parties are actually controlling the GISAID platform, whether it is the Chinese, the Americans, the WEF or a group of pharma giants.
Already during the COVID-19 pandemic, on numerous occasions, the GISAID platform had restricted access to various leading researchers only to restore their access after online criticisms and queries but in some cases limited their access to only certain utilities on the platform.
There were also reports of possible data manipulation of the GISAID platform.
In April 2023, the Chinese claimed in a COVID-19 News
report that they would not be uploading their SARS-CoV-2 sequences anymore on the GISAID platform but rather will maintain their own database, a practice that many countries are doing these days.
GISAID, originally known as the Global Initiative on Sharing Avian Influenza Data and later renamed the Global Initiative on Sharing All Influenza Data, is a worldwide scientific endeavor that was founded in 2008 with the primary aim of granting access to genetic data related to influenza viruses. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, GISAID extended its database to encompass the coronavirus responsible for this global health crisis, and it has also accommodated data concerning various other pathogens. GISAID is widely recognized as the most extensive repository of COVID-19 sequences globally.
Since 1952, National Influenza Centers (NICs) have been collecting influenza strains, which were distributed worldwide through the World Health Organization's Global Influenza Surveillance and Response System (GISRS). Various countries provided samples to the WHO, but the data was subsequently shared freely with pharmaceutical companies, enabling them to patent vaccines developed from these samples.
In January 2006, an Italian researcher named Ilaria Capua took a significant step by refusing to submit her data to a restricted database. Instead, she advocated for the public release of genomic data pertaining to H5N1 avian influenza. At a conference organized by the OIE/FAO Network of Expertise on Animal Influenza, Capua successfully convinced fellow participants to make a commitment: they would sequence and openly share data on 20 strains of influenza. While some scientists harbored concerns about sharing their data due to fears of others publishing scientific papers before them, Capua dismissed these reservations, emphasizing that the greater priority was addressing a major health threat.
Peter Bogner, a German individual residing in the United States in his 40s with no prior experience in public health, encountered an article about Capua's efforts and played a pivotal role in the establishment and financial backing of GISAID. During a conference, Bogner crossed paths with Nancy Cox, who was then leading the Influenza Division at the US Centers for Disease Control. Subsequently, Cox assumed the role of chairing GISAID's Scientific Advisory Council.
In February 2007, GISAID entered into a collaboration with the Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics (SIB), marked by an official agreement. As part of this partnership, SIB took on the responsibility of constructing and overseeing the EpiFlu database on behalf of GISAID. The official launch of GISAID took place in May 2008 in Geneva during the 61st World Health Assembly. It was introduced as a registration-based database rather than a consortium, signifying a significant step in its evolution.
In 2009, a contractual dispute led to the Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics (SIB) disconnecting the database from the GISAID portal, resulting in a legal battle.
In April 2010, during the 7th International Ministerial Conference on Avian and Pandemic Influenza in Hanoi, Vietnam, the Federal Republic of Germany announced that GISAID had established a cooperation agreement with the German government. This agreement designated Germany as the long-term host of the GISAID platform. Under this arrangement, Germany's Federal Ministry of Food, Agriculture, and Consumer Protection was tasked with ensuring the sustainability of the initiative by providing technical hosting facilities. Additionally, the Federal Institute for Animal Health, known as the Friedrich Loeffler Institute, was responsible for maintaining the accuracy and curation of scientific data within GISAID. However, by 2021, the ministry was no longer involved in the hosting or curation of either database.
In 2013, GISAID dissolved a non-profit organization based in Washington, DC, and the operation of the organization was taken over by a German association known as "Freunde von GISAID" (Friends of GISAID).
In mid-January 2020, some of the earliest genetic sequences of SARS-CoV-2 were made available by the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention and shared via GISAID. Since 2020, millions of SARS-CoV-2 genome sequences have been uploaded to the GISAID database.
In 2022, GISAID expanded its database to include the Mpox virus and the Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) among the supported pathogens.
The executive board of Friends of GISAID is composed of Peter Bogner and two German attorneys who are not actively engaged in the day-to-day activities of the organization. The organization receives scientific counsel from its Scientific Advisory Council, which comprises directors from prominent public health laboratories, including those affiliated with WHO Collaborating Centres for Influenza.
In 2023, GISAID faced criticism for its lack of transparency from some of its funders, including the European Commission and the Rockefeller Foundation. As a result, long-term funding from the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations (IFPMA) was denied.
GISAID's limitations on data access have generated conflicts with "research laboratories and institutions primarily focused on academic research rather than immediate public health concerns".
In January 2021, GISAID's restricted access prompted a group of scientists to pen an open letter advocating for the deposition of SARS-CoV-2 sequences in open-access databases.
This call for open access was echoed in articles published in prestigious journals like Nature and Science.
Moreover, the Science article highlights that the lack of transparency in GISAID's access procedures hampers many scientists from even offering criticisms of the platform.
A 2017 paper detailing GISAID's achievements mentioned that revoking researchers' access was infrequent but not unheard of. The same publication also noted a perceived balance in GISAID's approach, which attempts to reconcile the need for control and openness.
As of April 2023, Science and The Economist reported that these issues persist, along with concerns regarding the transparency of GISAID's governance.
An investigation by The Telegraph delved into claims made by Science and highlighted the interests of potential competitors in the field. For these competitors, GISAID represents an obstacle to consolidating control in the field.
The investigation also pointed out that GISAID's position naturally positions it at the center of disputes among groups of scientists, often resulting in the losing side attributing their outcome to GISAID.
Do not be surprised that to date, all the information that we have been fed about emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants and sub-lineages and about the immune evasiveness of these new variants and even about their transmissibility, pathogenesis etc might either be fake or inaccurate as a lot of critical data is actually being held up by those controlling the COVID-19 narratives. Already the data we see on various platforms including the CoV Spectrum platform etc might not be accurate due to very low levels of genomic sequencing and such data of these sites do not paint an accurate picture of what is really happening on the actual ground level. With revelations emerging that even the data on the GISAID platform could be manipulated and that critical data is actually being withheld, it seems more apparent day by day that those controlling the COVID-19 narratives do not only want us to know how useless the vaccines are but also do not want us to know how serious the SARS-CoV-2 crisis actually is!
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