Mother_nature_faceBY ANNE VAN RENSSELAER

Mother Nature cleverly designs any gene pool to include pioneers, renegades, warriors and stay-at-homes, whether she's working on animal forms, germs, or algae. So in any pool of a species, there are certain individuals best suited to meet particular challenges.

When we started immunizing against smallpox, we set loose a grand and persistent fantasy that we could eradicate diseases, but germs and Mother Nature are busy doing push-ups in the parking lot while we're sitting in the doctor's waiting room with our babies, waiting to be Nature-proofed.

Have you noticed how often you've read about a newly-discovered strain of measles or mumps or anything else? How many of these are produced inadvertently by laboratory buccaneers? We can't keep up our defense fast enough, and our efforts only drive the pathogens' adaptive changes on; we're forcing the production of "designer genes" in germs that used to be innocuous, by making designer drugs, designer germicides. Are any of our scientists cynical enough to think that triggering a pathogen mutation is "no biggie,"
since they can come up with a new antibiotic or vaccine in response, so the cash cow never dies?

Ma Nature keeps letting us know she will not be bested in this game, but like the classic sucker, we keep signing on for a new round.

When I had polio during the epidemic of 1952-3, only 1 in 4,000 kids in America got sick with it; a tiny percentage of us were paralyzed (only 1%, according to some), but mass hysteria ruled.  Did humanity jump too hard, too fast, on the vaccine bandwagon? And as we hopped on board that bandwagon to "save" one in 4,000 from one illness, did that commit us to later blindly shove one in 150 of our babies over the side, to fall by the wayside with autism disorders?

So when conservative medical opinion fondles its beard and mumbles about "Herd Immunity," I find myself muttering, "Yeah, right. Big Pharma stands in line at the patent office, while Ma Nature whistles as she tinkers in her Laboratory." At best, we can accomplish an apparent herd immunity, a momentary herd immunity, but there is no such stasis.

So, as you watch the glorious bandwagon of western medical progress come trundling by, step back a few paces and take a longer, larger view, and see if you can't see a trail of little bodies, blighted lives, broken, exhausted families, behind the great vehicle as it rumbles on. If you're quick, you might even be able to catch some as they fall, mid-air, and take them to a safe place.

I wrote some of that a few days ago, and posted it as a comment on a friend's blog.  My son commented in his typically dry way, "My friend Alex just recovered from MRSA which stands for Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus.  I find it difficult to believe that there was MRSA before the advent of Methicillin."

And my daughter sent me an email reporting an article in The Independent (April 14) in the UK: "INCREASE IN SEVERE PNEUMONIA IN CHILDREN MAY BE CAUSED BY VACCINE"  Written by the paper's health editor, it describes how Prevnar, a vaccine against seven of the ninety or so streptococcal germs known to cause pneumonia, is suspected of creating new problems:  "When one (germ) is eliminated, it creates an opportunity for another to take its place.

In the US, where Prevnar was introduced in 2000, researchers have reported an emergence of "sero-replacement" disease—types of pneumonia not covered by the vaccine." Serotype 1 pneumonia, the strain of greatest concern, develops rapidly, ending in surgery to clean out pus and septic fluid gathered in the pleural cavity between the chest wall and lungs.
"Linda Glennie, head of research at the Meningitis Research Foundation, which is funding the surveillance programme with the HPA (Health Protection Agency, UK), said the challenge was to keep one step ahead of Nature." You said a mouthful, Linda Glennie. We can't even keep up with Nature's artful dodging, so how are we going to keep one step ahead, is what I want to know?

P.S. If someone knows how to let Bill and Melinda Gates in on this little insight about who's in charge (them or Nature), the future might be a better place for children everywhere.


Margo O.

I was around in 1952, and I did have a few schoolmates, growing up, who had suffered serious effects from polio (though none from the other common childhood diseases: measles, mumps, chicken pox, etc.). Nonetheless, when a polio vaccine finally came out, my mother didn't have me take it. This proved to be a good decision; the vaccine stock, it turns out, was contaminated with monkey cancer viruses at an early stage, and these may still be present.

The book "Dr. Mary's Monkey" by Edward Haslam covers this subject extensively, while, in an interview available on You Tube, noted vaccine scientist Dr. Maurice Hilleman can be heard sardonically admitting that the vaccines were contaminated by HIV. Meantime, "Polio: an American Story," which won a Pulitzer prize for its author David Oshinsky two years ago, ignores both kinds of contamination, though it does concede that the the media's portrayal of polio as a raging epidemic was vastly overdrawn.

Sandy Gottstein

One of the scariest parts of all this is that the childhood infectious diseases are usually benign in the long run (in developed nations, at least) if experience by children, but can be quite serious for adults. Given that the vaccines are now acknowledged to often NOT be life-long (hence the boosters), what is going to happen to our children when they are adults? In fact, those of us who are naturally immune, because of having had the disease(s), and who thought our immunity might be life-long as well may be in for a surprise. For it turns out it is repeated exposure that boosts natural immunity. Listed are a couple of my columns that address this problem 1) "Measles In The Vaccination Age: Is It Now Deadlier?" at and 2) "Is the recent mumps outbreak really such a mystery?" at .

Sandy Gottstein

Thanks, Anne, for this. In my opinion it is sheer hubris to think we can "conquer" nature. We should be working with Mother Nature instead, using the tools she has given us, like breast-feeding, eating healthy foods, drinking uncontaminated water, resting properly, etc. to increase our chances at having long, healthy lives.

Perhaps the most worrisome part of all this is that we seem to be weakening the strong to allegedly protect the "weak". Given that the "weak" are those who cannot be vaccinated, like the immune-suppressed, we may even have created many of them by our use of the protection! In fact, we seemed to have reached some sort of balance with Nature re: most of these diseases already, which is why the death rates had dropped so dramatically prior to vaccination for many, if not all, of them, at least in developed nations.

I'm not arguing that you shouldn't try and help the weak. But you sure as heck shouldn't be making people weaker in the process. Far better, in my opinion, to try and understand why some do not survive these diseases, or do not manage them well, and to implement strategies based on that knowledge, than to treat everyone with the same broad brush, for it is not easy to fool Mother Nature.

You are to be especially commended, Anne, for having had polio, and reaching the conclusions you did. The fact that almost everyone got polio, but didn't have any symptoms, should have been a significant factor in our approach to the disease. What was it about those who got serious polio that was different from those who did not?

Perhaps shockingly, the "experts" already knew the answer, at least partly: 1) If they got a DPT or some other shot (including a shot of antibiotic), they sometimes got polio in the injected limb. There's even a name for it, "provocation polio" ( ). 2) If they had had a tonsillectomy, that seemed to predispose people to the most serious form of polio, which is bulbar ( ).

And good for your son! No MRSA without methicillin. I sure wish the "experts" were as smart as he is.

For those of you who are interested, I've written a number of Scandals columns relevant to this discussion (use the link on the right to go to Vaccination News, and then "past scandals" to find them), including:

Changing Disease Epidemiology Via Vaccines - Are We "Robbing Peter To Pay Paul"?

Playing With Fire - It's Not EASY To Fool Mother Nature

When is an oops not really an oops? When you get to solve the problems you cause, and make money doing both!

What Do We Really Know About Polio and the Polio Vaccine?

Is the theory of "herd immunity" flawed?

All the best,

Anne Van Rensselaer

"Polio Survivor" should be labeled "Polio, Mumps, Measles, Rubella, Chicken Pox, ETC. Survivor". I should also mention that I've known five generations of human beings, many of whom had these "dangerous" illnesses, and I never knew one person or even a second- or third-hand story about a serious complication. I did read about a movie star whose child was damaged by the mother's rubella infection, but I find it odd that I'm so lacking in horror stories about friends' families, or people they knew, or their aunts or uncles or cousins knew. Must be another of those "hidden hordes" carefully tucked away in an attic or institution and never spoken of again???!! No. When I was a young mother, we helpfully shared stories about hidden dangers of all sorts, and invited each others' kids over to play when rubella or mumps struck, so they could get these infections over with before puberty. I think it worked pretty well. I'm not saying complications didn't exist, just that they were more rare than Pig Pharma would like us to think.

Teresa Conrick

Thank you and totally agree. I just saw this yesterday, so now we can all wait for the MRSA that will kill us all. Will Smith will be good in that movie, too.

New antibiotic class proves effective against MRSA
Phico Therapeutics to take PT1.2 lead candidate into clinic
BARCELONA, Spain--(BUSINESS WIRE)--At ECCMID, the annual European Conference on Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, Cambridge UK-based Phico Therapeutics presented new data on the rapid bactericial activity of its lead compound against MRSA. PT1.2 belongs to a new class of antibacterial proteins called SASPs that act by binding to bacterial DNA and halting replication and gene expression, resulting in rapid cell death. Phico Therapeutics now intends to take PT1.2 into clinical trials using its unique delivery platform technology called SASPject™
According to Phico Therapeutics CEO Dr Heather Fairhead, these results could lead to a major breakthrough in the fight against both hospital- and community-acquired infection. “The study, carried out in conjunction with the UK’s Health Protection Agency, showed that SASP was rapidly bactericidal against all 10 different MRSA isolates gathered from across the US. Indeed in the speed of kill assay, SASP caused a >99.9 % drop in viability within 2 mins against the 10^5 culture and a >99.9 % drop in viability within 10 mins against the 10^7 culture. This data gives us the confidence to take PT1.2 into the clinic. Furthermore, our additional SASPjectTM candidates are showing potential against E. coli, and C. difficile with SASPjectTM targeted to other drug resistant bacteria in development.”
Notes to editors
Phico Therapeutics Ltd was founded by Dr Heather Fairhead in September 2000 with seed funding from Cambridge Research and Innovation Ltd., (CRIL). The Company is developing a novel platform technology which has the potential to produce anti-bacterials active against all species of bacteria. Proof of principle of its platform technology, known as SASPject™ has been established in the Gram positive bacterium, Staphylococcus aureus (including MRSA) and the Gram negative bacterium, Escherichia coli. Initial products are aimed at species of bacteria where antibiotic resistance is a problem. The Company has raised over £5.5 M to date, including £1.4 M in 2008, from CRIL, Emblem Technology Partners, Providence Investment Company, Parallel Ventures and business angel syndicates, including Cambridge Capital Group, OION, Angels for Growth and London Business Angels. The company is based at the Babraham Bioincubator

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