Flu is inflicting lot of damage across the world. In the United States alone, more than forty children died this season. More than a hundred adults per week dying and thousands of people have been hospitalized. A deadly flu is going around.
Hello, welcome to Defender’s Voice. This is Dr.Paul Kattupalli. Today I would like to discuss the dangerous flu season we are going through and interpretations we are being offered. There are countless beautiful animals in this world. Have you see a lemur with his funny face? the grace and agility of a chimpanzee? the dignity of an elephant? the irresistible force of a whale? or the cuteness of a dolphin? the peace of a dove? All these animals and birds fill us with the wonder of God’s creation. There are over a million and a half different species of animals on this planet. There are millions more we have not even discovered. Then there are also invisible viruses and bacteria. That does not sound pleasant but they are real.
From the invisible viruses to mighty whales and elephants, how did life arise on this planet? This question comes to every thinking person. The Bible says that God specially created all life in their original form as described in Genesis chapter 1 and chapter 2. But Darwinian theory of evolution rejects this account of Creation in Genesis. It says life evolved by itself. First the life was in very rudimentary form. After millions of years, this life transformed into unicellular organisms, then multicellular organisms, then more complex invertebrates, later vertebrates like reptiles, mammals and finally human beings.
This flu season, as influenza kills more and more people, evolutionists are going on steroids. They argue, ‘you see, how influenza has been killing so many people so ferociously, the virus is evolving so fast, this is Darwinism in action’. They claim influenza virus proves Darwinian evolution. Today let us see the validity of these claims and arguments. First let me give you some basic facts about influenza virus and flu disease.
The flu is caused by influenza virus. It is a highly contagious disease. Someone with flu coughs or sneezes, then the virus enters the surrounding air in the droplets. Then the virus droplets fall in the mouth or nose of a poor soul in the surrounding area. It enters their body, makes millions of copies and infects that person. Then they will get influenza.
Fever, sore throat, cough, body aches, headaches, fatigue, and dizziness….these are the characteristic symptoms of flu. Every day I see flu patients in my clinic here in Pennsylvania and this season I am seeing a more intense form of influenza. I recently came back from India. More than a thousand people died of swine flu in India in the last few months. So, influenza is claiming many lives not just in the United States but also in India and many other countries around the world.
If flu kills a thousand people today, we feel like the end of the world. But if you look into history, influenza killed hundreds of millions of people around the world over the last few centuries. We had four pandemics in the last hundred years alone. The Spanish Flu in 1918 killed over 50 million people. Think of that, folks. Just hundred years ago, in 1918, flu killed over 50 million people. The first world war was fought between 1914 and 1918. Over 10 million were killed in that great war. But the Spanish flu in 1918 killed more people than the first world war.
During first world war, the soldiers used to dig long trenches. They used to stay in these trenches for weeks and months at a time. There would be mud everywhere. The unbearable stench would attract mosquitoes and flies. The flu virus would breed in these trenches, infect the soldiers and then spread into the surrounding towns.
On August 12, 1918 a large ship called Bergensfjord reached New York harbor. Over 200 people infected with influenza disembarked from this ship. They mingled with the people in New York City and spread their virus in the neighborhoods they settled in. Next the flu invaded city of Philadelphia. Hundreds of thousands of people were infected within the next few weeks. The disease became a public health crisis in Philadelphia. Twelve emergency hospitals were set up. Schools, churches, and movie theatres were closed. People flocked into the hospitals, but there were no enough beds. Stadiums, ice rinks and schools were converted into makeshift hospitals. Many people started to die in their homes. Citizens were supplied with wooden boxes and ordered to leave their dead on the front porch. People had to live with dead bodies in their homes for several days because there was no place to bury them.
Then the trucks would come to each home, picking up the dead bodies and then burying them together in large pits. Philadelphia, the city of love became the city of death within a few days. People were thinking of plague that killed one third of Europe in 14th century. Over all, the Spanish flu killed over 675000 Americans. Around the world it killed over 50 million people, 20 million people in India alone. Just reading and hearing about this pandemic scare us a lot. Think about our grandparents who actually lived and suffered through this pandemic. So, today we don’t care much about flu, but not long ago it killed millions of people. This virus has been going through random mutations. So, we might expect another pandemic in the future. Today’s influenza virus is different from the ones I studied in medical school.
Structure of the Virus: Influenza is an RNA virus. It has 8 RNA strands. We know about DNA and RNA. DNA is a double stranded molecule while RNA is single stranded. Influenza is a RNA virus and single stranded. There are three kinds of influenza virus: Type A, Type B and Type C.
Influenza type A is common among humans and animals. The human RNA and animal RNA can meet in this virus. So, it is highly susceptible to mutations. It can transform into unpredictable structures and attack its victims. That’s why it is most dangerous of all types of influenza. It has potential to cause pandemics. A disease that can go around the world and destroy lives in many different countries is called a pandemic. Influenza A can cause pandemics.
Influenza B infects only human beings. So, the mutation rate in this virus is less than that of Influenza type A. Influenza C is the least potent of all types.
Avian Flu Cycle: This virus can infect shorebirds and water fowls. It can infect the chickens and pigs. This bird flu or swine flu can spread to human beings. Influenza virus is a round shaped virus. It looks like a cannon ball with spikes. The virus is covered with two kinds of antigen spikes: H spikes and N spikes, H for Hemagglutinin and N for neuraminidase. The H spikes are made up of hemagglutinin and cause red blood cells to clump or agglutinate. There are 16 versions of H spikes and 9 versions of N spikes. So, this virus can transform into many different shapes.
We name influenza viruses based on these spikes. H5N2 virus has H5 spike and N2 spike on its surface. We named swine flu as H1N1 because it has H1 spike and N1 spike on its surface. The flu virus uses its H spikes to cling itself to the outside of a cell. The virus enters the cell, and wraps itself in a bubble of cell membrane. Once inside the cell, the virus hijacks the cellular functions. The virus releases its RNA genes and using the host nucleus it multiples millions of times. The viral RNA sits over ribosomes and produces millions of H and N proteins. Influenza virus, like every other virus, cannot replicate by itself. It takes over the protein factory of the living cells and reprogram it to make copies of the virus. The virus can make up to a million new viruses within 10 hours of infection. You can see how systematically it overtakes and overwhelms its host. It comes out of the cell using N proteins and then infects other cells.
Now, let us see the mutations that happen in the flu virus. An RNA virus has hypermutability. That means it has a mutation rate thousands and thousands of times higher than a DNA virus. Influenza virus is an RNA virus. So, it has hypermutability.
Influenza virus produces mutations using two different processes: Antigenic Drift and Antigenic shift. In Antigenic drift, the virus undergoes minor changes. For example, H1N1 changes to H1N2. You see, here H1 remained as H1, only N1 changed to N2. In Antigenic shift, the virus undergoes major changes. For example, H1N1 changes to H5N2. So, there is a complete change: H1 became H5 and N1 became N2. Antigenic shift thus brings major changes to the structure of a virus. That is why it is more dangerous than antigenic drift because it produces more unrecognizable mutations.
Let me explain. For example, this year H1N1 virus entered into my body. My body produced immunity to this virus. Next year, H1N2 virus entered into my body. My body will produce at least partial immunity to H1N2 because it can still recognize H1 in H1N2. But that is not the case with antigenic shift. Let us say, this year H1N1 virus entered into my body and my body produced immunity to H1N1. Next year, H5N2 virus entered into my body. My body cannot protect itself against H5N2 because I only had immunity against H1N1.
So, antigenic shift produces the viruses that cause pandemics, the flu that wreaks havoc around the world. It kills millions of people because it produces all new strains of influenza virus. Our bodies cannot recognize these viruses based on past immunity. In the last hundred years, we had four pandemics that shook the world: 1918 Spanish flu, 1957 Asian flu, 1968 Hong Kong flu, and 2009 Mexican flu. These viruses came through antigenic shift.
Also, sometimes, the virus from the pigs, the virus from the birds and the virus from the human beings meet together and exchange their genetic information. This is called reassortment. This can produce deadly pandemics because a hybrid virus was born out of the viruses from three different, unrelated species. That is what happened in 2009 swine flu. We got a virus produced from three strains of viruses which came from pigs, birds and humans.
Now let us talk a few minutes about flu vaccine. Every winter we have to deal with flu. The mutations of flu virus is costing us billions of years every year. We need new vaccine every year. So, we have to plan ahead what we should put in our vaccines. Because the seasons are reversed in the hemispheres, the Northern Hemisphere can use information from the Southern Hemisphere. So, the health experts in America can use the flu information from Australia. Every year, health experts meet in Geneva, Switzerland at World Health Organization to guess on the best possible virus strains. We are advancing our flu vaccines almost on a yearly basis. When I was in medical school, I remember giving univalent vaccines, vaccine with just one strain. Then, I remember trivalent vaccines with three different strains. Now we have quadrivalent vaccines with two strains of influenza type A and two strains of influenza type B.
You might ask, why so many people are dying this year in spite of advances in our vaccine technology? In America, more than 100 people are dying every week from flu. What went wrong? The H3N2 strain is killing most people. The scientists correctly predicted that H3N2 would attack this year and made the vaccine with H3N2, H1N1 and influenza type B. But still H3N2 seems irresistible, because this strain changed when it was grown on eggs. That’s interesting. Isn’t it? H3N2 strain which is infecting us is similar to the reference H3N2 we put into the vaccine making. But along the vaccine preparation process, this strain changed its form. You can see the hypermutability of this virus. With all its deficiencies, we should still get a flu shot, because it will provide us either partial or full immunity to this virus. Some people say, ‘I don’t want flu shot because I get the flu any way’. Many times what we think as flu is not really flu. Many other viruses like enterovirus can cause flu like illnesses. So you probably thought you got flu after a flu vaccine though some other virus caused your illness. Yes, you can get flu after a flu vaccine. But, remember, even partial immunity is better than no immunity.
Now, Darwinian evolutionists use influenza virus for their own purposes. They argue for two things: Coevolution and divergent evolution. First coevolution, they say, both humans and influenza virus have been evolving as they interact with each other. Then divergent evolution, we have seen there are three types of influenza virus, influenza type A, type B, and type C. Mutations happen faster in influenza type A than in types B and C. So, they say, it is an evidence for molecules- to- man type of evolution. Influenza virus has the capacity to transform into different strains through mutations. But remember, no matter how many strains it transformed into, the influenza virus always remained as influenza virus. The influenza virus did not become another kind of virus. We have seen genetic drift and genetic shift. In genetic drift, for example, H1N1 changed to H1N2. In genetic shift, H1N1 changed to H5N2. In both processes, one strain of influenza virus changed into a different strain. The influenza virus still stayed as influenza virus.
What about co-evolution? Influenza virus has been attacking human beings for many centuries now. From pandemic to pandemic, from one season to another season, the virus has been changing into different strains. Some strains are disappearing while other strains are surviving. Natural selection is happening, but century after century, the influenza virus remained as influenza virus. Christopher Columbus left Spain and went to search for new worlds. As he started the colonization of the New World, he also exported many European diseases to the Hispaniola and the Americas. Diseases like Influenza, smallpox, typhus claimed millions of lives of native Americans. Over the centuries, Europeans developed at least partial immunity to these diseases but the native Americans had no immunity at all to these microorganisms. Our immune system can change based on where we live. Human genes have such potential.
Same goes with influenza. The genetic drift and genetic shift and millions of different strains of influenza, how is this possible? The genetic information in the virus genes. The influenza virus genes have the capacity to transform the virus into different strains. Let me illustrate this. Let us say, you went to New York City. You spent your morning in the Central Park. Then you wanted to spend the afternoon around the Statue of Liberty. You sat in your car and entered Statue of Liberty in the GPS. You decided to go to the Statue via FDR Drive. After a few blocks, the traffic was stopped. You were told FDR drive was closed. Then you searched for alternative routes. The GPS suggested 12th Avenue and West St. You drove to 12th Avenue. Let us say, it was also closed. Then the GPS suggested 11th Avenue and West St route. You were so anxious to reach the Statue of Liberty. At each block, the GPS did not create any new information. The information is new to you, not to the GPS system. It gave out what you need. It provided you information based on your circumstances. GPS machines were created with such flexibility to adapt to our circumstances. Similarly, all living beings were created with such genetic flexibility to adapt to their circumstances. Influenza virus is no different. As it attacks our body, it changes its structure based on the circumstances. It can do such transformations based on the information stored in its genes. However, in all those transformations, it still remained the influenza virus.
Microevolution & Macroevolution: We should understand the difference between microevolution and macroevolution.
Microevolution: Microevolution is when one strain of influenza virus changes into another strain. Genetic shift or genetic drift, both produced only microevolution. That means influenza virus remained as influenza virus.
Macroevolution: Macroevolution is molecules- to- man evolution. If you leave influenza virus by itself after a million years it will evolve into a human being. Just give time, influenza virus becomes an Einstein. That is macroevolution.
Evolutionists show us examples of microevolution and sell us macroevolution.Evolutionists deceive people with their scientific jargon. They show us microevolution and demand us to believe in macroevolution. We do believe in microevolution because we see it in every organism. It is undeniable.
Look at the world population. We see human beings in different physical forms. White people, black people, brown people, yellow people, short people, tall people, large hearts, small hearts, black eyes, blue eyes, short hair, long hair and millions of other differences. Our genes have such flexibility to change us according to our needs and circumstances. That is microevolution. We can’t deny that. But if left alone, will human beings change into a different animals in the future? That is macroevolution. That won’t happen.
Look at the bears. Polar bears, black bears, brown bears and pandas. That is microevolution.
Look at the whales. Sperm whales, baleen whales, belugas, narwhals, beaked whales, pygmy whales. That is microevolution.
Look at the dogs. Eskimo dogs, terriers, cattle dogs, shepherd dogs, beagles, greyhounds, chihuahua etc etc. That is microevolution. Not macroevolution.
In his book Why Evolution is true, Professor Jerry Coyne wrote these words, “There are many more examples, but they all demonstrate the same thing: we can directly witness natural selection leading to better adaptation. We see fruit flies adapting to extreme temperature, honeybees adapting to competitors, and guppies becoming less colorful to escape the notice of predators. How many more examples do we need?”
Jerry is frustrated. How many more examples do we need? The problem is all those examples show only microevolution, not macroevolution.
This deception started with Charles Darwin himself. When Darwin visited Galapagos Islands, he discovered several species of finches that varied from island to island. He noticed the remarkable diversity in their beak form and function. Darwin said, ‘that is evolution in action. The birds changed their beaks with time. If left alone, they evolve into different species’. The first part is true. The beaks of the birds have changed over time based on the circumstances in each island, just like the Hs and Ns on the surface of influenza virus have changed over time based on its circumstances. The genes of the birds have genetic flexibility to change their beaks based on circumstances. That is microevolution.
When Christopher Columbus started to colonize the New World, people in Europe had more immunity to influenza than the people in the New World. Our immunity changes based on our circumstances. That is microevolution.
Darwin filled his famous book On the Origin of Species with many examples of microevolution and demanded us to imagine macroevolution. Microevolution is fact, macroevolution is fiction.
So we should understand the deception Darwinian evolutionists enforce on us from time to time. They show us microevolution and sell us macroevolution.
Now, you might ask: Why are there such deadly bugs such as influenza, HIV, Ebola, and anthrax is a world created by a loving God? We read in Genesis chapter 1, that when God created this world, all of the creation was good. There were no deadly microorganisms like influenza and ebola in God’s original creation. Like the good bacteria in our intestines, these viruses and bacteria were agents of beneficence in God’s original creation. Then sin entered into this world. When Adam and Eve sinned against God, the whole creation plunged into the Great Fall. Sin and curse started to impact the creation. Then death also entered into this world.
From this time, the deadly microorganisms like influenza, HIV and ebola started to wreak havoc on living organisms. Down the centuries, these microorganisms slaughtered millions of human beings.
The world will definitely see more pandemics in the future. We read in the Book of Revelation, during the Great Tribulation, many pandemics will bring our comfortable world to a screeching halt. Deadly plagues will descend on many nations around the world. Hundreds of millions of people will die. Human society will descend into utter chaos and confusion. No nation will be able to confront those pandemics. No vaccine will subdue those viruses. The judgment of God will descend on this world with an irresistible force.
But there is also the good news. God prepared us a way of salvation. Two thousand years ago, God came down to our world in the person of Lord Jesus Christ. He came to us as our Savior. Jesus told us about God’s love, his forgiveness, his righteousness, his hope, his eternal life, and his heaven. Jesus was not just the greatest teacher this world has ever seen, He was also the greatest Savior this world would ever need. He was crucified, died for our sins, buried and resurrected from the grave. He conquered death and defeated the grave. When we confess with our mouth and trust Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we are saved. When we receive Jesus into our life, God offers us his forgiveness, his hope and his eternal life.
Eterna life…no virus, no bacteria, no cancer, no death, nothing can touch this great salvation God offers us in Christ. I hope and pray that you will receive Christ into your life today and get saved. If you receive Jesus into your life today, please let me know: firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you.
Paul Kattupalli MD