Ebola Update: faux pas or eugenics, and reliability of testing

By Cyrellys Geibhendach.  Today the question of whether eugenics orientation on the subject of population or over-population is a couth mindset, to be accepted among the efforts to seek cures or treatments for disease.  In this sense, we have to ask ourselves if a murderer or a potential genocidal individual should also be expected to be capable of preserving or saving lives.  Can the two modalities of thinking co-exist?   I posit this is a legitimate question health authorities, academia, and government representatives are FAILING to address.

Is medical science ‘hide-bound’?
Anne McCaffery of Dragonhold Ireland, in her popular science fiction book series Dragon Riders of Pern, makes mention of a peculiar condition that can be found afflicting the thinking of scholars.  She terms it ‘hide-bound’ in which the individual (s) in question are so wrapped up in the texts of the past that they seem incapable of entertaining new ideas or even examining new ideas.  This concept can be stretched to include methodological versions where thinking does not deviate from established methodologies for given problems thus failing to utilize all available methods or tools.
Jon Rappoport raises some excellent questions in his recent observations, and mentioning his prior experience, indicating the possible presence of ‘hide-bound’ type thinking involved in the handling of ebola patients and the testing for the presence of the disease.
In particular he speaks about his concerns involving the non-use of the direct agglutination test  involving the measure of titer.  Most readers are unlikely to be familiar with these terms which can be found in text book Microbiology: An Introduction, by Tortora, Funke, and Case.  Copyright 2002.  The age of the textbook means that most of the researchers involved in microbiology today should be well aware of the measure of titer.  
For the edification of the readership, I will provide reference to the section from the book, titled:  Diagnostic Immunology (pgs 506-516), which section’s objective is to enable the student to “explain how antibodies are used to diagnose diseases”.   There are six subsections involved in methods for testing:  Precipitation Reactions, Agglutination Reactions, Neutralization Reactions, Complement-Fixation Reactions, Fluorescent-Antibody Techniques, Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA), and then a final brief discussion in the Future of Diagnostic Immunology on certain nonimmunological tests of which PCR and DNA probes are mentioned.  At the time of the writing of this particular book PCR was considered the future of diagnostic immunology and is classed a non-immunological test.
The book says on PCR and DNA probes (page 516):
The use of certain nonimmunological tests such as te PCR and DNA probes that were discussed in Chapter 10, is increasing.  Some of these tests will become automated to a significant degree.  Fore example, a DNA chip containing over 50,000 DNA probes for genetic information expected is possible pathogens can be exposed to a test sample.  This chip is scanned and its data automatically analyzed.  PCR tests are also becoming highly automated….(snip)….At present, detecting and identifying such pathogens usually require that the microorganism be selectively isolated and cultivated before diagnostic tests can be applied.  This time-consuming process poses significant problems when the source of the infection is a perishable consumer product (or consumer?  added by Cy).  Much current research in diagnostic methods is now aimed at enabling health workers to detect and identify pathogenic organisms directly, and quickly in a food sample without the need for isolation and cultivation.
So has accuracy been sacrificed for speed and convenience?
The measure of titer belongs to the Direct Agglutination Tests family.   These tests “detect antibodies against relatively large cellular antigens, such as those on red blood cells, bacteria, and fungi. ”  This type of test is one involving the time consuming process mentioned above of isolation and cultivation.  “…now they (this type of test) are usually done in plastic microtiter plates, which have many shallow wells that take the place of the individual test tubes.  The amount of particulate antigen in each well is the same, but the amount of serum containing antibodies is diluted so that each successive well has half the antibodies of the previous well.  These tests are used for example, to test for brucellosis and to separate Salmonella isolates into serovars, types defined by serological means.
     Clearly the more antibody we start with, the more dilutions it will take to lower the amount to the point where there is not enough antibody for the antigen to react with.  This is the measure of titer, or concentration of serum antibody (Figure 18.5).  For infectious diseases in general, the higher the serum antibody titer, the greater the immunity to the disease.  However, the titer alone is of limited use in diagnosing an existing illness.  There is no way to know whether the measured antibodies were generated in response to the immediate infection or to an earlier illness.  For diagnostic purposes, a rise in titer is significant; that is, the titer is higher later in the course of the disease than at the outset.  Also if it can be demonstrated that the person’s blood had no antibody titer before the illness but has a significant titer while the disease is progressing, this change, called seroconversion, is also diagnostic.  This situation is frequently encountered with HIV infections.
     Some diagnostic tests specifically identify IgM antibodies.  As discussed in Chapter 17, short-lived IgM is more likely to reflect a response to a current disease condition.”  End quote.
So are the methods being used an example of hide-bound thinking or a limitation in time (i.e. a fast killing virus) or some other reason, like a microorganism that cannot be cultured by conventional methods?  This later possibility is given by the book as the purpose for using the techniques called “the polymerase chain reaction (PCR)“.
Quote page 295, Chapter 10 titled A Survey of the Microbial World; section The Polymerase Chain Reaction:
“the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) can be used to increase the amount of microbial DNA to levels that can be tested by gel electrophoresis (see Chapter 9 page 254).
     …(snip) In recent years, PCR has been used successfully in several discoveries that were not otherwise possible…”  and the section goes on to cite historical examples involving the amplification of DNA coding for sequences in historical examples of organisms.
in the prior section it mentions, “DNA in soil or water sample can be amplified by the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) using an rRNA primer (see below).  The rRNA gene can be sequenced to determine evolutionary relationships between organisms, especially microorganisms.”
This is essentially putting a fingerprinting method to comparative use.  The benefit is speed.  It may well be debatable as to which method measuring titor or PCR is better or if both should be employed.  I would like to know more before assuming a stance in the debate.  For example what is the rate of culture period for the measure of titor with regards to ebola, vs the use of PCR.  Does the time it takes to process titor exceed or allow the survivability of an infected patient?  Forgive me if I missed it, but I didn’t see that information given in the argument anywhere.  Are there other benefits or advantages involved here that explain why they are favoring PCR and other methods do not seem involved?
And what about the academic enculturation of over-population theory and its associative politics?  The suspicion involving neglect on the part of the microbiology medical personnel is very much based on a well known presence of of this sub-culture in academia and the students it produces.
I my personal perusal of this argument it is not that the issue presented is at this point correct or incorrect, but that as far as I am concerned, I think the argument presented is incomplete.  I’d like to see it fleshed out more to determine if it is conclusive or not.  And I’d like to see a rebuttal from the currently practicing microbiology community regarding the concern.  It is in my view interesting, but not quite enough to take either side in the debate.
more on ebola outbreak 2014 at Manticore Group

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s