By J.B. Handley
As the facts surrounding Friday’s decision by the FDA to keep Paul Offit’s Rotateq vaccine on the market despite being contaminated with two pig viruses known to cause fatal wasting disease, the fragility of the current vaccine schedule and the control that profits appear to have on our regulator’s decisions are clearly emerging for the world to see.
A glaring fact never discussed by the FDA advisory panel that met Friday was why so few other first world countries even require a rotavirus vaccine for their children. Of 30 first world countries analyzed by Generation Rescue, only three—USA, Canada, and Austria—recommend some sort of Rotavirus vaccine. If the FDA is so sure the “benefits outweigh the risks” of keeping Offit’s vaccine in circulation, why have 27 first world countries like the UK, France, Germany, Japan, Italy, Denmark, Sweden, and Norway never even bothered to add a rotavirus shot to their immunization schedules in the first place?
Discussing Offit’s vaccine on Friday, Reuters reported that “in 2009, sales of Merck's vaccine [Rotateq] totaled $522 million, including $468 million from the United States.”
Let me help you all do the math here, because it’s so egregious. Of all the sales of Paul Offit’s Rotateq vaccine, 90% come from the United States, because so few other first world countries even buy the shot. 90%!! If the FDA bans Rotateq, Offit’s shot is out of business. Have you ever heard Offit talk about how proud he is of his vaccine? How proud he is to be helping the third world? With 90% of his shot being sold right here in the USA, it’s all a bit of a stretch, no?
Looking at the FDA’s actions more closely, it’s darkly comical to see what a tough spot they’re now in. In March, the FDA advised doctors to stop using Rotarix, a competitor to Rotateq, because it contained a virus known as PCV-1.
Now, the same testing has revealed PCV-1 and, additionally, PCV-2 in Offit’s shot. By all accounts, PCV-2 is a far more dangerous virus with far less known about it. Yet, somehow, the existence of PCV-2 is causing the FDA panel to recommend keeping both of the brands of the shot on the market, including reversing the original Rotarix decision! (Of course, the other shoe to drop, and this one is an enormous shoe, is what happens when all the other vaccines in the schedule are tested?)
Here’s a quick background of PCV-2:
“Postweaning multisystemic wasting syndrome ("PMWS") is a porcine disease. This disease causes illness in piglets, with clinical signs including progressive loss of body condition, visibly enlarged lymph nodes, difficulty in breathing, and sometimes diarrhea, pale skin, and jaundice. PMWS has been reported from most pig-producing countries of the world at huge cost to agriculture. PMWS is caused by porcine circovirus type 2 (PCV2).”
What parent on the planet would want that virus put into their child?
Perhaps a proper analogy would go something like this: Parents, please stop your kids from drinking Coke, we found some lead in it. Oh, never mind, they can drink Coke & Pepsi, we just discovered Pepsi is filled with lead and mercury, too!
When will the destruction wrought by the Rotavirus vaccines end? In the late 1990s, the original Rotavirus vaccine called Rotashield was pulled from the market for injuring kids. Soon after, Paul Offit appeared on the ACIP, the advisory panel of the CDC that has the sole power to add new shots to the CDC’s schedule. Offit’s behavior on the ACIP, which facilitated the addition of his own Rotateq vaccine to the US vaccine schedule, was later memorialized by this critical document from our U.S. Congress, which stated:
“Dr. Offit began his tenure on ACIP in October of 1998. Out of four votes pertaining to the ACIP’s rotavirus statement, he voted yes three times, including voting for the inclusion of the rotavirus vaccine in the VFC program. Dr. Offit abstained from voting on the ACIP’s rescission of the recommendation of the rotavirus vaccine for routine use.”
The Rotateq vaccine is used in only 3 of 30 first world countries. 90% of its revenues come from the United States alone. It contains a virus, PCV-2, known to kill pigs, and a more benign virus that contaminated its competitor’s vaccine was enough for the FDA to recommend not using Rotarix just 2 months ago.
A scientist friend wrote me the following regarding the FDA and the newly-discovered PCV viruses in the Rotateq vaccine:
“Before any of these contaminated vaccines are given to another child the FDA should arrange for urgent, comprehensive analysis of tissues (particularly lymphoid tissues) – not blood alone – from individuals exposed to the vaccines…
PCV 2 in and HRV in particular are lymphotropic viruses and persistent or latent infection of lymphoid tissues must be excluded. This is where HIV hides during latentcy…
Infectivity of contaminating viruses is but one biohazard and they should not be allowed to dismiss the problem on the basis of “a lack of replicating virus” argument. The PCV is a DNA virus, fragments of which can integrate into the human genome with multiple potential problems. This is more likely to happen in rapidly dividing cells e.g. those of the immune system responding to a simultaneously administered (vaccine) virus. Reactivation of intact or relatively intact virus is another possibility. Viral peptides encoded by sub-genomic fragments acting as a trigger for autoimmunity is another.
For the human retrovirus (HRV) contaminants, the prospects are equally bad. Retroviruses have the enzymatic machinery to convert RNA into DNA. Given simultaneously with three RNA viruses (M, M and R) that should have no DNA forms, there is the potential to generate DNA forms of these viruses or recombinants thereof, which could integrate into the human gene or produce highly pathogenic re-assortments. This RNA to DNA transformation has been shown by Klennerman and Zinkernagel for lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV), an RNA virus, that can persist in the infected host in a DNA form due to the action of endogenous retroviral reverse transcriptase, turning it to DNA.”
Do those sound like viruses that should be allowed to remain as contaminants in the Rotateq and other live viral vaccines and placed into American infants? Parents, the FDA is no longer putting the safety of children first--please forward this article to every lawmaker you know.
J.B. Handley is co-founder of Generation Rescue.