Virus Mania: How the Medical Industry Continually Invents Epidemics, Making Billion-Dollar Profits at Our Expense
By Torsten Engelbrecht and Claus Köhnlein
It may seem that the world has gone mad. Fear of a seemingly uncontrollable virus has led the general public to wear masks, wash hands assiduously, avoid social interactions and disinfect homes and workplaces. Businesses closed their doors or limited their hours. Schools adopted distance learning. And we’ve been told that the only solution is a vaccine.
Though this may seem a time unlike any other in history, it is not. History is repeating itself. This book offers valuable insights that help make sense of the madness.
Originally published in German, Virus Mania first appeared in English in 2007. The authors, journalist Torsten Engelbrecht and doctor Claus Köhnlein, review the circumstances under which a number of “viruses”—the avian flu, cervical cancer (HPV), SARS, “mad cow” disease (BSE), hepatitis C, AIDS and polio—groundlessly instilled panic in the public. (You might think that the latest “coronavirus” should make the list. If so, you are right. A new edition of the book, just released, includes the coronavirus among the baseless crises used to manipulate the public and make money in the process.)
Virus Mania outlines the steps generally taken to mislead the public: invent the risk of a disastrous epidemic; incriminate an elusive pathogen; ignore alternative toxic causes; manipulate epidemiology to maximize the false perception of imminent catastrophe; and promise salvation with vaccines or pharmaceutical drugs. The authors, like lawyers in a courtroom, make a strong case for this recurring pattern. They also find the leadership of pharmaceutical companies, the World Health Organization, the Food and Drug Administration, the Centers for Disease Control and the media guilty of inducing pandemic panic for motives other than the public welfare and health.
Take the AIDS scare as an example. The authors point to its beginnings, describing how in the early 1980s, a scientist from the University of California named Michael Gottlieb identified five severely ill young homosexual men who had a pulmonary condition rarely seen in their age bracket. There were a number of factors that in all likelihood compromised the men’s immune system and made them vulnerable to pneumonia, including the nitrite inhalants (known as “poppers”) and other recreational drugs that were extremely popular in the early 1980s gay scene. But Gottlieb and other researchers overlooked these other factors, instead hurrying to search for a “virus” that could be causing the men’s condition. Apparently, many in the medical community were thrilled about the possibility of a new disease on the horizon. The eventual head of the CDC’s HIV/AIDS division, James Curran, reportedly exclaimed “Hot stuff, hot stuff!” at the time.
Then the conjectures and fear-mongering began in earnest. Scientists were on the lookout for clusters of people exhibiting the same symptoms, eager to pin the blame on a new contagious disease. Discussion of nutrition patterns or other lifestyle choices was off the table (then as now). Instead, pinning the health crisis on a culprit that appeared to be out of our control was helpful in achieving the desired result: public fear and compliance, and profits through a medical protocol backed by experts. Sound familiar?
To make sure the public at large would become concerned about AIDS and HIV—the supposedly “infectious” retrovirus they claimed was responsible for AIDS—scientists claimed that the disease was communicable not solely among homosexuals but among the heterosexual population as well. The scientific community began hypothesizing (though there was a lack of evidence) that HIV could be spread through sexual contact. Scandalous images on magazine covers helped fan the flames of public concern.
Next, AIDS fears started extending beyond U.S. borders. The world became alarmed as the media sensationalized a full-fledged AIDS crisis in Africa. A close examination of the “crisis” reveals how quickly Africans were labeled with an AIDS diagnosis. If they were undernourished or had diarrhea, those symptoms were enough to categorize them as having AIDS. Patients with tuberculosis, malaria, leprosy—all got relabeled as AIDS patients, and later as AIDS deaths. As the two authors say, “The HIV/AIDS epidemic is actually a smorgasbord of well-known diseases, many of which correlate with poverty.”
By this time, there were AIDS benefit concerts, AIDS ribbons and worldwide concern for the so-called epidemic. Virus Mania explains how the crisis was framed and how the drug AZT (presumably marketed as a cure) made its creators plenty of money while offering little hope to the supposed AIDS patients. Frankly, most of the already immunocompromised people who took the toxic cocktail died in short order, the pharmaceuticals pushing them over the edge.
Although the cast of characters may vary from virus scare to virus scare, the unfortunate pattern remains: people in power, greedy for money or notoriety, reach erroneous conclusions in the name of science and public health that lead to the exact opposite of their proclaimed goal. To wit, they jeopardize and compromise the health of thousands, even millions, of people.
Engelbrecht and Köhnlein conclude with an epilogue that points to the wisdom of our ancestors. To live a healthy life depends on a premise “too simple” for most to imagine. “Intelligent researchers have chosen to overlook it for decades. In our overmedicated, high-tech and overworked society,” they write, people have difficulty accepting “the idea that health can be easily had without the medical and food industries with their medicines, vitamin pills and dietary supplements.”
This book merits two thumbs up. It is a well-annotated, relevant read recommended for those willing to question conventional thinking and take their health into their own hands. Virus Mania upends decades of medical dogma and the health orthodoxy’s false belief that viruses attack us and that modern medicine can save us all.
This article appeared in Wise Traditions in Food, Farming and the Healing Arts, the quarterly journal of the Weston A. Price Foundation, Fall 2020