First published by GroundUp.
One of the most outspoken local Covid-19 vaccine sceptics has a direct business interest in a locally produced alternative medicine.
Nick Hudson is the chairperson of Pandemics Data & Analytics, better known as Panda. Although Hudson denies that Panda is anti-vaccination, many articles the group has published make incorrect claims about Covid vaccines and dissuade people from getting vaccinated, contradicting public health advice.
Instead, the group advocates for unproven treatments for Covid, like ivermectin, and disproven treatments, like hydroxychloroquine. Recently Panda has begun calling for research into “nutraceuticals” — a popular type of medicine in the alternative health industry — for treating Covid.
Hudson is a director of a nutraceutical manufacturing company called Brenn-O-Kem.
Ironically, Hudson and Panda frequently claim that scientists and science reporters who receive funding from the Gates Foundation or Open Society Foundation (OSF) have conflicts of interest. Panda and Hudson have been feeding conspiracy theories that Bill Gates and George Soros (the billionaire funder of OSF) have nefarious interests in Covid. (GroundUp receives funding from OSF.)
Panda promotes the use of alternative treatments, rather than population-wide vaccine adoption, to combat Covid. In an article published on the Panda website on 20 September the authors write:
“It has been publicly stated that the response, ‘poured billions of dollars into ventilator production and new drug and vaccine development, but spent virtually nothing on research and trials using existing drugs and nutraceuticals.’” (Here Panda favourably quotes Ron Johnson, a US Republican Senator who has adopted an anti-vaccine stance.)
Then: “… there exist a variety of nutraceuticals, such as Vitamin D, that enhance immune response without generating any side effects.”
Later in the article nutraceuticals are given a fuller promotion as a treatment for Covid, though the article does also advocate for medicines that have been proven effective, such as dexamethasone.
Panda Knowledge Factory has three directors: Hudson, Peter Castleden (former head of Sanlam Indie), and Shayne Krige (co-head of Investment Funds & Private Equity at law firm Werksmans).
Besides being the chairperson of Panda, Hudson is the …….