Recently, the world was holding its breath. Will the Serbian tennis star Novak Djokovic be allowed to enter Australia to play in Australian Open? At the end, he was not, because Djokovic is a) unvaccinated antivaxxer, and b) knowingly exposes others while being COVID-19 positive. The Serbian government was almost literally up in arms, probably one phone call away from asking Putin to send Russian warships towards Australia. But maybe the Russian warships were busy threatening Europe, so the Djokovic affair ended with a small diplomatic tussle.
Now, the world owes Mr Djokovic an apology because he brought us a cure for COVID-19!
The Guardian reported some days ago:
“Novak Djokovic is the controlling shareholder in a Danish biotech firm aiming to develop a treatment for Covid-19 that does not involve vaccination, it has emerged.
The world No 1, who was deported from Australia this week after the government cancelled his visa in a dispute over a medical exemption relating to his unvaccinated status, bought an 80% stake in QuantBioRes in 2020. […]
QuantBioRes has about 11 researchers working in Denmark, Australia and Slovenia, according to Loncarevic, who stressed the company was working on a treatment, not a vaccine. The company’s website says it started developing a “deactivation mechanism” for Covid-19 in July 2020.”
Djoovic is known to be quite esoterics-minded, but now the antivaxxer is investing in biomedical science, isn’t it great news? It’s worth visiting QuantBioRes’ website.
“At QuantBioRes, we work in utilizing unique and novel Resonant Recognition Model (RRM).
The RRM is a biophysical model based on findings that certain periodicities/frequencies within the distribution of energies of free electrons along the protein are critical for protein biological function and interaction with protein receptors and other targets.
The RRM technology enables these characteristic frequencies, which are electromagnetic in nature, to be identified for each biological function/interaction. Once the characteristic frequency for biological function is identified, it is possible to analyze protein biological function/interaction, predict bioactive mutations and design de novo bioactive peptides with desired biological function, as well as to predict the electromagnetic frequency which can interfere with certain protein activity.
These predictions can be used for design of treatments for viral diseases and resistant bacteria.”
Mme Cosic and RRM
The founding scientist behind the company is a Serbian-born Irena Cosic, listed as emeritus professor at the RMIT University in Australia. It seems Mme Cosic and her husband Drasko control QuantBioRes through a retired British lawyer who functions as its official minority co-owner: Anthony Slingsby (his name popped up in Paradise Papers investigation). The other two owners are Novak Djokovic and his wife Jelena, and they own their QuantBioRes shares since the very first day when the company was founded on 3 June 2020. Djokovic is not an investor, he is a co-founder, or rather, with his 80% stake, the founder.
“AMALNA consulting is based on Resonant Recognition Model developed by Irena Cosic. It offers analysis of protein function, predict functional mutations, rational peptide design, workshops about the model as well as RRM software.”
The Australian scholar Cosic announced her RRM theory to the world already in 1989, when she was still in Belgrade:
I. Cosic, V. Vojisavljevic & M. Pavlovic The Relationship of the Resonant Recognition Model to Effects of Low-intensity Light on Cell Growth International Journal of Radiation Biology (1989) doi: 10.1080/09553008914551331
“The resonant recognition model (RRM) is a model of protein—protein and protein—DNA interaction based on a significant correlation between spectra of numerical presentation of the amino acid or nucleotide sequences and their biological activity.”
Cosic elaborated on her RRM idea in 1994, by that time she was senior lecturer at the Monash University (she left the fancy Monash in 2002 for a much less prestigious RMIT University, the Monash employment is never mentioned on Cosic’ public CVs, for reasons we can only fathom). Her one-author paper has been struggling through peer review process for a whole year:
Irena Cosic, Macromolecular Bioactivity: Is It Resonant Interaction Between Macromolecules? – Theory and Applications IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON BIOMEDICAL ENGINEERING, (1994) doi: DOI: 10.1109/10.335859
It became the foundation for Cosic’ Amalna Consulting and more recently, for her company with Djokovic, QuantBioRes.
Further fuzzy explanations about Cosic’ “RRM” technology for COVID-19 are here, it’s claims to be something about siRNA and the argonaute proteins, but sounds rather like water vibration quackery à la Jacques Benveniste and Luc Montagnier, updated with some magic nanotechnology:
“Our method will also open up for possibilities to treat already infected COR19 patients with:
a) electromagnetic frequencies, b) design bioactive peptides based on RRM characteristic frequency, c) optical nanoparticles that oscillate with this characteristic frequency.”
Fudged data and a predatory publisher
Now, let me take you on a brief tour where Dr Cosic’s COVID-crushing technology was published. Here is this ground-breaking paper from June 2021, with Mr & Mrs Cosic and the company’s director Loncarevic as its authors (“Authors declare they have no competing interests“.
Irena Cosic, Drasko Cosic, Ivan Loncarevic Possibility to Interfere with Coronavirus RNA Replication Analyzed by Resonant Recognition Model International Journal of Sciences (2021) doi: 10.18483/ijsci.2482
“To be able to design vaccine or even a cure for COVID-19, it is particularly important to understand how SARS-CoV-2, as a single stranded RNA virus, is multiplied within host cells and which factors are controlling this multiplication. Here, we have analyzed the process of coronavirus RNA replication within host cell with the aim to find out the characteristics of this process. For that purpose, we have utilized the Resonant Recognition Model (RRM), which is biophysical model capable of identifying parameters (frequencies) related to specific macromolecular (protein, DNA, RNA) functions and/or interactions. The RRM model is unique with its capability to directly analyze interactions between amino acid macromolecules (proteins) and nucleotide macromolecules (DNA, RNA). Using the RRM model, we have identified parameters that characterize two steps in coronavirus RNA replication i.e., initiation of replication and replication by itself. These parameters can be used in our future research to design peptides, that will be able to interfere with either or both of those processes.”
Unsurprisingly, the study contains manipulated data, as my colleagues Aneurus Inconstans and Orchestes quercus have found out.
No, this is not expected. Figure 1 is even more problematic.
There is a distinct possibility that the data in that paper is scientifically invalid and unreliable, to put it all mildly. But there is no need to blame the peer review process because there most obviously was none.
What is this International Journal of Sciences, you wonder? Well, the predatory publisher buster Jeffrey Beall had already in 2013 no doubts what kind of business that is. As a proper textbook predatory publisher Alkhaer Publications and its only outlet International Journal of Sciences provide a rapid service from submission to publication in just 24 hours for merely $150, to be paid in advance.
As Editor-in-Chief, this pseudo-journal used to list a non-existent “Dr.
Abraham (Cheif [sic] Editor) The University of Manchester, UK“. That fictional figure was retired to be replaced with an existing University of Manchester professor, Elizabeth Cartwright. I am not sure she is aware of that honour though, so I am awaiting hers and her university’s reply.
The scholarly trio of Dr Cosic, her husband and Mr Loncarevic published more RRM breakthroughs in that same journal. Might I interest you in the study “New Concept of Small Molecules Interaction with Proteins – An Application to Potential COVID-19 Drugs“, published in September 2020? From the abstract:
“This extended RRM model is firstly tested here with couple of natural examples to explain and support the model, following with application to already approved drugs, which are also potential COVID-19 drugs including remdesivir, chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine.”
You can probably guess what the Cosic et al trio discovered next? January 2021: “Analysis of Ivermectin as Potential Inhibitor of SARS-CoV-2 Using Resonant Recognition Model” declared:
“We have previously used our recently developed extended Resonant Recognition Model (RRM) for small molecules and we have proposed hat drugs like hydroxychloroquine, chloroquine and remdesivir can interfere with SARS-CoV-2 viral infection. Here, we have used an extended RRM model for small molecules to analyze the possibility for ivermectin, an already FDA-approved drug, to interfere with SARS-CoV-2 viral activity, which could lead to an effective cure.”
Ivermectin, of course.
But you cannot patent ivermectin or hydroxychloroquine, so when, thanks to Djokovic, the company was set up in June 2020, Cosic invented something incoherent with the RNA interference pathways because SARS-CoV2 is an RNA virus.
All this is somehow pathetic. Djokovic sure has enough money to pay for fancier Open Access publishers, which at least officially are not deemed to be predatory scams, like Frontiers, or MDPI.
MDPI and stem cells
In fact, Dr Cosic used to publish in MDPI, but apparently only because in 2020 she acted as a special issue editor, recruiting others to buy MDPI publications spots (CHF 2300 or around $ 2500 a piece), and was thus able to publish something with a discount or even for free herself. The special issue was called: “Electromagnetic Radiation in Biology and Health“, Cosic’ paper with her husband and a certain Vasilis Paspaliaris of Tithon Biotech announced “new treatments for obesity” and contained same kind of, ahem, suspicious data.
Irena Cosic , Vasilis Paspaliaris , Drasko Cosic Analysis of Protein–Receptor Interactions on an Example of Leptin–Leptin Receptor Interaction Using the Resonant Recognition Model Applied Sciences (2019) doi: 10.3390/app9235169
Naturally, “The authors declare no conflicts of interest“.
That makes sense actually, because not just Cosic’ business is science-free quackery, but so is also Paspaliaris’ Tithon Biotech, which claims to have “identified never before naturally available pluripotent stem cells recoverable from peripheral blood with universal applications in human and animal therapeutics and tissue engineering and ideal for human and animal cell banking“.
These miraculous pluripotent cells in bone marrow and/or adipose tissue were actually identified by quacks and fraudsters many times in the last two decades, even published in Nature, but their main drawback, preventing successful global commercialisation, proved to be that these cells actually do not exist.
Worth mentioning is also that Dr Paspaliaris previously dealt in facial creams made from placenta extracts and libido-enhancing supplements. I hope Dr Cosic kept her friend away from the Djokovics at all times.
Irena Cosic1, Vasilis Paspaliaris and Drasko Cosic Decoding Protein/DNA Functions Through Frequencies and Resonances (2018)
“By applying the RRM approach for cell membrane bound receptors and their biological functions with the scientists at Tithon Biotech Inc, a number of potential peptide drugs have been designed and are about to be tested to combat glaucoma, fibrosis, osteoporosis, autoimmune disease and cancer, as well as nanophotonic particles that resonate with RRM characteristic frequency, that are being tested to demonstrate the ability to stimulate both plant and fish growth. Some preliminary experiments on plant growth, based on nanophotonic particles designed via the RRM approach, have yielded fascinating results, as can be observed with the photograph of tomatoes, presented in Figure 2.”
Almost all references in that comedy project are for Cosic’ own “research” works, in a long list. But some citations go to none other but the guru of pseudoscience, the late Michael Persinger!
How RRM works
As it happens, Orchestes quercus is a physicist and helped me understand what RRM actually is and how it works. Hold on to your hair for some genius science!
My colleague is referring to Cosic’ above mentioned 1989 paper here:
“RRM is this: assign a single real-valued number to a ‘letter’ (nucleiotide, amino acids), presumed to be related to an electron-ion interaction strength. Perform a Fourier transform to get a spectrum (1/m). Voila, no protein folding needed, all your interactions captured in a single spectrum. And what is more, the peaks even represent biological functions! Need to know what binds to COVID spike protein? Fourier transform its letters and look at a matching peak in the spectrum of another series of letters. There are tables for amino acids and your four DNA [nucleotides]. Guess that you can also match books by fourier transforming their letters. […]
The ‘why’ behind this all is just fantasy. She has an electrical engineering background, so here we go: “The whole process can be can be observed as the interaction between transmitting and receiving antennae of a radio system. The characteristic frequencies are responsible for resonant recognition between macromolecules at a distance. The frequencies have to represent oscillations of some physical field which can propagate through water dipoles. One possibility is that this field is electromagnetic in nature”. Thank god these water dipoles don’t have memory!
I don’t think the ‘interaction process’ has ever been elucidated. In her papers she proposes that electrons are flying from one end of the protein to the other, ‘bumping’ over these nicely encoded letters and by that emitting radiation with the ‘characteristic RRM frequencies’. And apparently they only fly left to right through the letter chain as the phase of the RRM spectrum is also very important: opposite phases attract. And because of that AGAG is attracted to GAGA. But not to AGAG. Ah, and in 1989 HIV was the big thing:
“If we consider that peptide A has the same frequency components as peptide D but opposite phases at those frequencies, and that anti-A antisera does not react with any of the HIV proteins, it can be concluded that phases at characteristic frequencies are also important parameters in biomolecular recognition. Furthermore, peptide E has only one frequency component, fl, and the phase at fl is the same as that for peptide D.””
Basically, Dr Cosic may be Serbian as Nikola Tesla whom her company proudly quotes, but this is where her scientific qualifications end.
Oh look, even Guardian eventually woke up:
“The chief executive of QuantBioRes, Ivan Loncarevic, denied that the methods developed by his company had anything to do with homeopathy, and defended the lack of data on the company’s website.
“What we do has absolutely nothing to do with homeopathy,” he said in an interview. “The theory behind homeopathy is that you can transfer information from a chemical to another substance, such as water. What we do is to develop peptides with specific functionality. This is pure, classical science.
“Of course we are not putting our data on our website for every idiot to look at. We will soon publish an article in a scientific journal that will collect all our clinical testing.”
When asked when the article would be published, Loncarevic said: “With a little luck, in two to three months, after peer review.”
What? Can’t afford $150 for the 24 hour rapid turnaround at International Journal of Sciences? And which clinical testing? Was Djokovic himself taking RRM optical nanoparticles when he had COVID-19?
In brief, it’s all utter raving looney pseudoscience bollocks which indeed strongly smells if not of homeopathy, but certainly of scientific illiteracy combined with a tad of data manipulation. No wonder only MDPI and a small predatory publisher take Cosic’ papers.
But never mind! Is this “pure, classical science” soon to be approved as COVID-19 therapy in Serbia?
I thank all my donors for supporting my journalism. You can be one of them!
Make a one-time donation:
I thank all my donors for supporting my journalism. You can be one of them!
Make a monthly donation:
Choose an amount
Or enter a custom amount
Your contribution is appreciated.
Your contribution is appreciated.DonateDonate monthly