Our planet Earth, Gaia in Greek, considered as a living being, regularly corresponds with another planet in the universe, Aurora Kepler 452 B in the constellation of the Swan. Gilles Voydeville makes us discover this magnificent interstellar correspondence.
Gaia, month of November 2021
Kepler, month of milky mists
My dear Aurora
I will not be able to warm you up as I did in my last letter by evoking sunny days and late heat. Here, it is the month of November which often prepares me for winter by the rigor of its climate and the weak ardor of its light. My clouds wrap me up in their fluffy fluff that keeps me warm but isolates me from my star. And when they scratch like a tramp’s coat, they let some rays filter through which pamper me but let the last sweetness escape towards the infinity of our father Ether…
I come back to your letter.
I still loved the story of your Big Five which was an anthology episode of the life of your planet. I remember at the time the evocation of your pleasure at the hearing of the first crash of these avian fortresses and I find your comparison between their remains and the transi of the knight Rene de Chalon very judicious. My marble is smoother than your frosts, so I imagine a sculpture made of crystalline rock glistening in the morning rays, to see what you see and rejoice in such a distant exposure.
You rarely speak to me by name of your inhabitants and I am delighted to discover the existence of Utula.
A powerful Ovoid and obviously eager to keep the power, or at least I imagine so in view of the love – here it’s called love – that she bears to citizen Xi. The charm of the latter escapes somewhat the West, which sees in him only another tyrant. Among the Romans, the tyrant was elected for a short time. When Caesar obtained the command for ten years, it was to die some time later under the daggers of the senators. The Romans were more fussy than the Hans about the exercise of power. It is true that Caesar prepared the advent of the Augustan emperor, but I do not see China returning to the imperial era from which communism has liberated it.
Unless all this masquerade of Central Committee is only there to prepare the advent of Xi1 Emperor of the Very Great Empire of the Communist Party.
Does Utula want the salvation of her people, as all these rulers would have us believe? Or does she desire her own, in the temporal enjoyment of power or the trace she will leave? A certain Shakespeare thought, a few centuries ago, that salvation does not exist. Neither for some nor for others. To govern, one needs pure and detached reason, combined with passion, which is quite difficult to reconcile. What’s more, for the sake of the other. To govern is an oblique art that must be animated by a reason that itself must be supported by the passion that it also has the mission to supervise. And as Chateaubriand wrote, it takes different qualities to seize power and then exercise it, which does not augur well for frequent good governances.
But since Utula wants a quantum photo of her hero, I will urge our physicists to do the impossible.
Here, on my land, my little Sars-Cov-2 virus is still doing well despite the mass vaccinations. It is already taking advantage of the bad quality of some vaccines added to the distrust of the charming people towards the power. As in Russia for example where the accumulation of the two handicaps generates a fifth wave of quality. It is a country where the people let the elites get rich but ask them to let them live quietly.
These people have been lied to so much that they no longer believe in anything that comes from power.
They are even surprised that Russian medicine, which has not invented anything in the last thirty years, nor produced any medicines, is able to lead in the high-level technological race that is the rapid production of vaccines. The little people, the muzhiks, do not wonder why the authorities are concerned about them: they know that their welfare is the least of the regime’s concerns. They know that their welfare is the least of the regime’s concerns, but that the oligarchy wants to restore its image of altruism, that Russia should be considered as a land of invention, while some countries like France are no longer so. It is also a message of power that could be expressed in many other fields… Moreover, Ukraine is trembling, because the vaccine bear is lurking at the borders of its land.
Central and Eastern Europe is less well vaccinated than the South or the North. History can explain this difference: in Austria, for example, vaccination was only made compulsory by the Nazis and then continued by the Allied occupiers. In Germany it is the same and the measles vaccine has only been compulsory since 2020, whereas it has been compulsory since 1963 in the United States.
A great Swiss paradox is emerging.
It is the virtuous German-speaking cantons that are the most contaminated by non-vaccination or non-compliance with barrier measures. Whereas the Italian and French cantons, known for their so-called Latin laxity, are avenging themselves of so many years of bashing by having much lower rates of contamination. We can see that the model of Angela the rigorist is close to retirement.
Many of the rulers of my beloved countries have a hard time with the “anti-vax”. Yet Katarina KariKo, who developed the vaccine with Drew Weissman, explains well that Covid came at the right time, after years of research. The puzzle of how to avoid the inflammatory phenomena that accompanied the injection of messenger RNA in humans had just been solved. She had done a lot of trial and error. She had done a lot of trial and error and finally found that in laboratory animals, transfer RNA – which is necessary to transform the message of messenger RNA into protein production – did not provoke an immune response. This was despite the fact that only a quarter of the nucleosides in the transfer RNA were altered compared to the messenger RNA. Thus, she discovered that after only three modifications of the uridine of the messenger RNA, the immunogenicity of the messenger RNA was transformed and did not trigger an inflammatory reaction.
It was a small modification for a protein but a big step in saving the charming breed.
This researcher, who strangely enough has not yet been awarded the Nobel Prize, explains that in Germany the mRNA research community met regularly before Covid came along. There were nearly six hundred researchers at the last conference before the pandemic. In 2018, three scientists had even presented an mRNA vaccine candidate against malaria. It has just been approved by the U.S. health authorities.
What worries me the most is that my Charmings will use messenger RNA to fight my cancers. As you know, it is thanks to cancer that I maintain a fragile balance on my bark. But I think the game of liar’s poker is going to be more complicated with the cancers, because the mutations generated by the cancers go all over the place. Whereas in Covid, the game was fairly simple: it was the spike protein that was at stake. And this one is small and well documented in its structure and variations. So nothing lost, my cancers are going to stay valiant and I’m going to support them.
There is a bit of news in the search for the origin of this little gem of a virus.
Until now, there has been strong doubt about whether it leaked accidentally or intentionally from a laboratory in Wuhan. Researchers from the Pasteur Institute of Laos (an institute created at the end of the nineteenth century when the charming French were at the top of the infectiology field) have just shown that Sars-Cov2 has a close relationship with a coronavirus hosted in insectivorous bats, the rhinolophus. They found them at the bottom of beautiful caves in this country. This virus, named BANAL-52, was found in these bats which were collected in Feuang in the province of Vientiane, between July 2020 and January 2021. Well, this banal BANAL-52 has just beaten RaTG 13 in genomic proximity to Sars-Cov-2. The one from the famous Mojiang cave: 96.85% against 96.20%.
The researchers observed that the spike protein of the beautiful Laotian bound as well as that of Covid on a pulmonary target cell.
And that it had only three amino acids different from the Covid one, against 6 for the Mojiang one. But the Laotian lacks the famous furin cleavage site which in my Sars-Cov2 allows it to cleave the spike protein and fuse its membrane with that of the cell to be infected. This is why some Charmant researchers think that my Sars-Cov2 is a genetically modified virus in the laboratory. The second hypothesis, and only the second hypothesis, is that this furin cleavage site was acquired through transmission to an intermediate host, or even through low-level circulation in the Charming species. This BANAL-52 is a patchwork and appears to be the result of recombination of several viruses from these rhinolophids. So the mystery of the origin of my darling little tiara-crowned virus is not yet solved and that’s good.
Especially since these bats live in many countries of South East Asia… including China.
Many nations had adopted the zero Covid strategy, especially in Asia and Oceania, and some are abandoning it. You remember, almost two years ago, different governments had different strategies. First the negligent ones, the UK and Sweden, who were counting on a collective immunity to defeat the beast. Then there were the indecisive ones, who adapted their discourse to their means, and finally the rigorous ones, confining, isolating, tracing, who closed the borders: Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea, Viet Nam… In the latter, the mortality rate was from 8 to 243 per million inhabitants. In Sweden, France, England, Italy and the United States, the rate ranged from 1882 to 2382 deaths per million inhabitants. Thus, a clear advantage to the zero Covid strategy.
But the contagiousness of the latest variants, delta and omicron, whose R is between 6 and 8, no longer makes it possible to consider keeping my darling out of their microscopic sight.
However, the corollary of the zero Covid attitude was a lesser aptitude of the populations to vaccination. And to reopen a country, one must be able to sustain the pandemic with a large vaccination. Because the higher the R, the higher the percentage of the population vaccinated must be. Immunity I = 1 – 1/R. Singapore, a somewhat authoritarian model state that would surely please Utula, has just reopened with 85% of its population vaccinated. Viet Nam did the same with only 41%, only to suffer a bout of excess mortality and decide to reconfine the capital under military control. Australia had the same problem with 10% vaccinated and an outbreak of death with the arrival of my little delta. They managed to vaccinate 84% of the Charmings over twelve in record time.
It is the “over twelve years old” that is problematic.
In France, which has the same vaccination rates, we are reassured. But if we include children in the calculation, the overall rate falls to 72, even 70%. And as the formula dictates, with an R of 6, 84% of the entire population must be vaccinated to be effective. And with an R of 8, you need 87.5% of the population vaccinated. Governments will therefore have to impose either confinement or vaccination of children. And there, the stick is going to hurt, because to vaccinate adults exposed to death is already not easy. Then to make vaccinate their children who have only minor forms and fear very few complications, for the good of the others, especially the old ones !!!
This is really going to cause more than problems.
Asian states struggled better with barrier measures because they had bad memories. In Hong Kong with SARS in 2003, in Korea with MERS in 2015, people put on masks more easily because they had already seen death up close. These masks made Europeans smile when they saw cohorts of Asian tourists disguised as surgeons. Westerners hesitated between believing these Orientals had a serious pathology and having the decency not to want to transmit it, or perhaps the desire to protect themselves from an impure native population. These masks, which have caused a lot of ink to flow, shortened a few political careers and precipitated a few deaths, are transformed into subtle disguises that are more or less transparent, allowing lips and teeth to be seen but preventing kissing or biting…
China remains the besieged citadel that does not surrender.
The authorities confine heavily, test tens of thousands of people around a detected case, block trains and cities and arrest a suspected contact case to isolate it manu militari. Yet it has used 2.4 billion vaccines and 1.07 billion would be vaccinated. China can do it. Its population is terrorized and Utula’s hero fears neither the anti-vaxers nor the yellow vests at the traffic circles of the silk roads. So the hero mocks democracies that “use short-term policies”. He castigates the constraints of these democracies and revels in formulas where the Communist Party has defeated the virus.
After having defeated capitalism, another planetary disease that only a great general could achieve. Utula will love it.
Well, there’s something new. My little viruses in South Africa circulate readily in a population that suffers from poverty and promiscuity. As a result, my viruses have been replicated by the millions of production plants. When replication is perfect, there are no mutations. But if the circulation of the virus is high, there is a much greater chance that a certain number of Charming will generate replication imperfections and produce variants. When these variants are not effective, they disappear. But when they have great qualities, they swarm. In the province of Gauteng, which is the province of Johannesburg, the B.1.1.529 virus originating from Bostwana has been found in school children and young adults. It has the particularity to present 30 variations on the spike protein.
And there, my viruses really swarm with an R of the order of 8, even more.
This discovery was named omicron. After the naked variant, we should have taken the next letter of the Greek alphabet. But this one is called xi !!! So in order not to offend Utula’s icon, we chose the next letter, the little o, the omicron.
Charming doubt of the effectiveness of its vaccines on this child of the ghettos. For many of the people affected were well vaccinated with one of the three types available. The export of this marvel has difficulties to cross the borders because their closures multiply. But the charming egoism that privileges individual desire at the expense of collective security is the best asset for a diffusion that will be late but will triumph every time. So Uncle Xi will persevere in his zero Covid goal. He is one of the few who can compel such a large population to abide by his decisions.
He doesn’t like the smell of joss paper or the music of marching bands that scare away evil spirits and ghosts.
Here is my dear Aurora my freshest news. December will soon cover my northern hemisphere with its frost. I already imagine my landscapes at the edge of frozen lakes, made of black antlers and white meadows, sparkling under the rays of my star. I wait for the coldness so that it gives me the grace of a rigid posture. I desire the blizzard and the snow to freeze me and mask my felures.
I want the candor of the ices to raise my nature to the rank of a work pleated of a dress of alabaster.
I dream myself in a Winged Victory on the square of a temple. I claim to the winter the clothing of a goddess and its absent glance. I need to see myself beautiful and majestic to love me. This aesthetic is worth by what it gives me of emotions which make me forget my destiny which will be inevitably tragic. This beauty raises me for a moment above my condition of planet. I will be nothing, I will disappear at the bottom of a black abyss, but I will have been beautiful, for a moment, and this thought will console me when I leave, alone for the great journey…
Believe my beautiful twin in my eternal love that will last as long as our universe will let me make rounds to write you.