Vaccine A by Gary Matsumoto

Vaccine A by Gary Matsumoto

Author:Gary Matsumoto
Language: eng
Format: epub
Publisher: Basic Books
Published: 2010-07-07T16:00:00+00:00

Again, what is said is often less important than what is left unsaid, and the GAO left a lot unsaid. By the time the GAO published its report, the NIH Working Group to fast-track the new vaccine was already busy.36 The Army had scaled back its research on an HIV vaccine; the second-generation anthrax vaccine was its top priority. In 1998, Fort Detrick’s scientists had three versions of the new vaccine that protected monkeys from the deadly Ames strain with only one shot. A decade had passed since Bruce Ivins first reported that he had made a single-shot vaccine that worked in guinea pigs; now Ivins had monkey data showing the same result.37 The new vaccine was ready for clinical trials. At least two versions of it contained squalene. The Department of Defense now had a willing partner in the Department of Health and Human Services to carry out those trials. (This was particularly problematic since HHS was supposed to ensure that such clinical trials were done safely, not grease the wheels for them; HHS was also the sole government agency that could approve waivers of informed consent for clinical trials.) Britain had also commenced its own research with a recombinant anthrax vaccine combined with squalene. The United States had made plans with Britain and Canada to formally adopt the new vaccine. The GAO mentions none of this in its report.

There are other puzzling omissions. While the GAO discussed Project Badger’s failed attempt to organize production of the old anthrax vaccine at the National Cancer Institute in time for the Persian Gulf War, the report failed to mention that NCI had, in fact, produced material for the new vaccine after the war. The GAO report also ignored plans by Project Badger scientists to run clinical trials for experimental vaccines during Desert Shield, and did not mention the Defense Department’s long track record of testing experimental drugs and vaccines on military personnel. Perhaps the most glaring GAO omission of all concerned the growing body of peer-reviewed scientific literature showing how squalene induced autoimmunity. This data was relevant to the discussion. Not only was it available in many university and public libraries, Pam Asa had personally photocopied copies of some of the papers and sent them to GAO investigators.

None of these complexities were hinted at in General Roadman’s talk at Dover, delivered two months after the GAO report came out. If these gaps in his narrative were, indeed, sins of commission, as opposed to sins of omission by a gynecologist out of his depth in immunology, then he was only doing what everyone else seemed to be doing, including the GAO. Roadman’s lawyerly equivocation reached its zenith in his repeated insistence that there has never been squalene in the anthrax immunization, “period.” Strictly speaking, this was true . . . if you were speaking strictly about the licensed vaccine. It was the new anthrax vaccine, the so-called second-generation vaccine, that contained squalene, and service members weren’t told about it. Without that information, no one could put two and two together.


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