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Research Exposes New Health Risks of Genetically Modified Mosquitoes & Salmon

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This article was written By Sayer Ji, Founder of Greenmedinfo.com. For more news from them, you can sign up for their newsletter here

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Just when genetically modified (GM) mosquitoes got their approval by the Cayman Islands and the government of Canada’s Prince Edward Island is trying to approve GM salmon, new research reveals unexpected and potentially dangerous effects of genetic engineering.

Unfortunately, neither the makers of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) nor their regulators conduct the studies that are necessary to protect the public. Being bitten by GM mosquitoes and eating GM salmon remains a serious gamble.

The new discomfiting research published in Nature Methods examined the unintended impacts of gene editing on the DNA of mice. Gene editing is touted by its promoters as the safer, more precise version of genetic engineering. The earlier version that was used to create the GM crops we all know about (soy, corn, etc.) forced genetic material from bacteria or viruses into plant DNA. Gene editing, on the other hand, does not necessarily introduce genes from foreign species. Rather, it cuts the DNA in a predetermined location. The cell’s DNA repair mechanisms are then activated to repair the cut.

Of all the gene editing techniques, the one that is easiest, least expensive, and most popular is called CRISPR-Cas9. Proponents claim it is so safe and predictable, it should not be regulated. They want to put their gene-edited products on the market without informing governments or consumers. And they don’t even want it to be called genetic engineering, since consumers have largely weighed in against GMOs. That is why the recent research is so damning.

Gene Editing Creates Predictable Mutations

The tools used for gene editing are designed to recognize and make changes only on specific DNA sequences.  In the Nature Methods research, for example, the engineers designed their tools to fix a defective DNA sequence that could restore sight to blind mice. But the defective DNA sequence that governs sight is also repeated in other places throughout the mouse genome—unrelated to vision. Therefore, the gene editing tools can also make unintended changes in these “off-target” locations.

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The unwanted mutations do not come from cutting the DNA. Rather, they occur when the cut ends are rejoined by the cells’ repair mechanisms. It results in either the loss of some DNA base units or the insertion of a few base units at the cut site.

If the mutation occurs in the middle of a known gene (or in a portion of the DNA that controls a gene) it can severely disrupt its function. Gene editors, therefore, rely on computer models of the genome to identify where the similar sequences are that are likely to become mutated and to predict what level of collateral damage that could create. If the risk is considered low enough, they proceed with editing.

Widespread Unpredicted Mutations Discovered

There is a joke that says molecular biologists don’t understand just two things: molecules and biology. Too often, the complex 3-D world doesn’t cooperate with their computer model predictions. This was again confirmed by the work of Stamford’s Dr. Kellie Schaefer, along with her colleagues from Stamford, Columbia, and the University of Iowa.

Instead of letting the computer guess which off-target changes would take place, Schaefer’s team actually sequenced the genome of the two gene-edited mice after they had undergone CRISPR-Cas9. They did find insertions and deletions (indels), which is the type of mutation that the computer predicts. One mouse had 164 indels; the other 128. But of the top 50 sequences that a computer would identify as most likely to be mutated, none were changed at all. Far more importantly, however, the computer model would totally miss their other finding: point mutations throughout the genome. One mouse had 1,736; the other 1,696.

A point mutation is the replacement of a single nucleotide along the DNA. But don’t let its smallness fool you. These so-called single-nucleotide variants (SNV) can have huge consequences. They can lead to many types of changes, including disease.

According to Dr. Michael Antoniou, a London-based molecular geneticist who routinely uses genetic engineering in his research, “Many of the genome editing-induced off-target mutations [both the point mutations and the indels] . . . will no doubt be benign in terms of effects on gene function. However, many will not be benign and their effects can carry through to the final marketed product, whether it be plant or animal.”  This could translate into possible toxins, allergens, carcinogens, or other changes that could affect those eating a GMO.

Dr. Michael Hansen, a Senior Scientist at Consumers Union, the policy arm of Consumer Reports, wrote, “While genome editing has been portrayed in the media as an incredibly precise process, where one can go in and literally only intentionally change one or a small number of nucleotide bases, the reality is that there can be large numbers of off-target effects.” He says, “This study raises troubling concerns.”

Another recently published study in Nature Communications used CRISPR/Cas9 to make 17 edits in the mouse genome. They too sequenced the genome and found unexpected insertions and deletions in all 17 places. Whereas deletions of approximately 9 base pairs are predicted, the actual size of the deletions was as high as 600 base pairs. No computer model predicts DNA damage this extensive.

third study published this year also found deletions of more than 500 base units. The researchers also confirmed that proteins produced by these mutated sections were altered. Such changes could theoretically transform a beneficial protein to a harmful one.

Hansen says the long deletions of DNA material “may not be routinely identified without whole genome sequencing.” But whole genome sequencing is rarely done by gene editors. Instead, they rely on their computers.

Even if they did sequence the genome, science doesn’t yet have the capacity to predict what the real-life consequences of all the mutations would be. Therefore, according to Antoniou, “it is also essential to ascertain the effects of these unintended changes on global patterns of gene function.” For this, both Antoniou and Hansen (as well as the National Academy of Sciences and the international standard setting body Codex Alimentarius) agree that the scientists must also analyze the changes in RNA, proteins, and metabolites.

Armed with this data, certain problems would be obvious—an increase of a known allergen or toxin, for example. But even if no red flags are raised at this point, according to Antoniou, “it is still necessary to conduct long-term toxicity studies” using animals. That’s because, once again, science is still not competent to figure out the complex interactions and side effects that can occur.

Antoniou concludes, “In the absence of these analyses, to claim that genome editing is precise and predictable is based on faith rather than science.”

And it is mere faith that supports the claims that GM mosquitoes and salmon are safe. Although they were not produced by the CRISP-Cas9 technique, they are the product of earlier gene-insertion techniques, which are also fraught with unpredictable mutations and altered gene expressions.

Earlier Research Warnings Ignored by GMO Makers

Just because this year’s research on gene editing shows unintended and potentially dangerous side effects does not mean that companies using the technology will change the way they operate. Indeed, back in 1999, a study showed widespread changes in the DNA due to gene insertion; but many GMO companies conveniently ignored the findings and continue to do so.

In that study, scientists studying cystic fibrosis inserted a gene into human cells. Using a microarray, they discovered that the insertion “significantly affect[ed] up to 5% of the total genes in the array.” This means that the presence of a single foreign gene might change the expression of hundreds, possibly thousands of genes. In the case of the human cell being studied, the scientists were at a loss to determine the impact. “In the absence of more biological information,” they wrote, “we cannot discern which directions are better or worse, since any of these may have positive or negative effects.”

Just like the recent gene editing studies, this 1999 discovery contradicted the assumptions of an entire industry, which marched forward on the false assumption that their GMOs were predictable and safe.

The Untested Danger of a GM Mosquito Bite

In January 2014, I testified at the Florida Keys Mosquito Control District, opposing their planned release of GM mosquitoes. Also testifying was Derric Nimmo, a principal scientist at Oxitec, the UK company that produces the mosquitoes.

Oxitec had already conducted limited releases with millions of Aedis Aegypti mosquitoes in the Cayman Islands, Brazil, Panama, and Malaysia. The male insects were engineered to mate with natural females and produce offspring that die before reaching adulthood. Their plan was to reduce the population and thereby reduce the incidence of dengue and other diseases that this type of mosquito carries.

The company had widely publicized that they were only releasing males, which don’t bite. But it turns out that their method of sorting males from females is flawed, and thousands of biting female mosquitoes are released. In addition, their method to create non-viable offspring is also flawed. Between 3%-15% of the offspring survive and prosper. This can easily translate into millions of biting females, born from a genetically engineered family tree.

After the Florida hearing was over, I asked Derric if they ever analyzed the saliva from their GM mosquitoes, since the saliva enters the bloodstream of the people who are bitten. He said that they were just now doing research to see if the protein produced by the inserted gene was found in the saliva.

Realizing that they had already exposed the population of four countries to their mosquito saliva before doing this research, I was unimpressed. Then…

I explained to Derric the findings of the cystic fibrosis study, showing that a single inserted gene can create widespread changes, including new toxins, allergens, or carcinogens. Shouldn’t his company analyze everything in the saliva, I asked? Derric responded, “Good idea.”

ln Derric’s defense, Oxitec is not the only company that is tampering with nature’s gene pool in spite of the fact that it is wholly unprepared and unqualified to do so. Other GMO makers also fail to use the modern molecular profiling techniques that reveal unintended side effects. However, when independent scientists conduct that type of research on GMOs, the results are sobering.

For example, long after Monsanto’s Roundup Ready corn had been consumed by hundreds of millions of people, a team led by Dr. Antoniou found more than 200 significant changes in its proteins and metabolites, compared to non-GMO corn of the same variety. Two of the compounds that increased are aptly named putrescine and cadaverine, because they produce the horrific smell of rotting dead bodies. More worrisome; they are also linked to higher risks of allergies and cancer. Another Monsanto GM corn has a new allergen and their cooked soy has up to seven times the level of a known soy allergen, compared to cooked non-GMO soy.

The Typical Biotech Response: Ignore or Attack

If regulators and medical authorities knew in advance that a proposed GMO contained new or higher levels of dangerous allergens, it is unlikely that the GMO would have been introduced. (I’m being optimistic.) But once a GMO variety is released, grown on millions of acres and eaten by millions of people, somehow the crop enjoys a bizarre immunity. Confronted with hard evidence of allergens, GMO makers and government regulators typically ignore the problem. The offending GMOs are still on the market, and they don’t carry any warnings on the package to protect those who might react.

If independent scientists discover an adverse finding that might threaten their bottom line, companies like Monsanto enlist a veritable army of supporters to drum up opposition—often using unscientific excuses that are repeated so often that they appear to be facts.

Two gene-editing companies whose stocks plummeted after the Nature Methods article came out quickly mounted their attack. But according to GMWatch.org, “the findings reported in the article, along with other recent research papers that also report unintended effects of CRISPR gene editing, show that the companies are arguing on the wrong side of the science.”

The main argument used by the company Intellia was that the mutations were not from the gene editing at all. They claim that “the more plausible conclusion is that the genetic differences reflect a normal level of variation between individuals in a colony.” But the scientific literature does not support this conclusion, given that:

  1. Most of the mutations (117 indels and 1397 SNVS) were exactly the same in the two mice. According to GMWatch.org, “This indicates a targeted and non-random process.” If it were “a normal level of variation,” as Intellia insists, there would be much greater difference between the mice.
  2. Another study looked at the genomes of 36 different strains of mice. None of the point mutations that were found in the gene-edited mice were in any of these strains. Thus, they don’t appear to be naturally occurring at all.
  3. In fact, the sheer number of mutations in the edited mice was higher than scientists find among natural strains.

Perhaps the most strained logic used by Intellia to attack the research was that “there is no known mechanistic basis for Cas9 to induce SNVs.” In other words, the journal should not have published research showing unpredicted changes in the DNA simply because no one yet has figured out why those changes take place.

But if these widespread mutations exist in Crispr-Cas9 edited organisms, according to Antoniou they are likely happening with all the new gene editing techniques, which haven’t yet been studied in such detail.

Real Dangers and Perceived Dangers are Both Dangerous

If we apply these lessons to GM mosquitoes, there are serious consequences. If the saliva contains a new toxin or allergen, it might elicit mild or even deadly reactions. Since there are no human clinical trials and no public health surveillance related to the mosquito, the cause of any associated health problems could go unnoticed. It would require a large-scale outbreak of a serious reaction for health authorities to even mount an investigation, let alone consider the mosquito as a potential source.

Whether or not the GM mosquito causes harm, there is another problem that the Cayman authorities have surely overlooked. Suppose a girl who is vacationing on the island has a sudden onset of a serious health issue without an apparent cause. And suppose that her parents notice that she has also been bitten by mosquitoes. Now suppose that they draw the conclusion, correctly or incorrectly, that her condition is caused by the bite of a GM mosquito and that story is picked up by the media.

It doesn’t have to be a prominent media source for it to inspire some supermarket tabloid to dream up alarming headlines about the serious threat to American tourists by deadly engineered mosquitoes. The results could be disastrous for Cayman tourism.

The Cayman government is not only gambling that GM mosquitoes are safe (which cannot be guaranteed at this point), but also that no one draws the conclusion that they got harmed from being bitten by one. Who would want to vacation on an island where a mosquito bite could lead to who knows what?

It’s the who-knows-what that is the main point here. No one knows. But now that we understand that the generic genetic engineering process that created the mosquito also creates unpredictable and potentially dangerous changes, who in their right mind would release them? Oxitec would, obviously. And they still haven’t published any research on the composition of their GM mosquito saliva.

Oxitec is also planning to release genetically engineered moths in upstate New York. The male moths, like the mosquitoes, mate with natural females and produce larvae that don’t make it to maturity. But that larvae will inevitably be deposited into cabbage, cauliflower, and broccoli. What if the genetic engineering process alters the larvae and creates a toxin or allergen? Eating that vegetable might trigger a reaction. And just like the mosquito bite, it would be hard to trace, and the perception of harm (real or unreal) could damage produce sales from regions near the moths’ release.

Oxitec is owned by Intrexon, which also owns AquaBounty—the maker of GM salmon. The research on the salmon did show indications of off-target effects, with higher amounts of a cancer promoting hormone (IGF-1) and larger allergenic potential. But the number of fish used in the study was so small that the changes were not statistically significant. On behalf of Consumers Union, Hansen wrote to the FDA, “Because FDA’s assessment is inadequate, we are particularly concerned that this salmon may pose an increased risk of severe, even life-threatening allergic reactions to sensitive individuals. Instead of approving this product, FDA should be requiring studies with data from many more engineered fish, not the tiny sample of six fish on which it currently bases its conclusions. Unfortunately, even the data from those six fish raises concerns.” The FDA did not heed Hansen’s warning and instead approved the salmon for consumption.

At this point, there are no comprehensive analyses or feeding studies on any of these Intrexon GMOs. Their release might not only affect human health, they can permanently alter the gene pool. If the salmon escape confinement into the ocean, if the surviving GM mosquitoes or moths persist, there is no technology on earth to recall them. Any side effect can be with us for generations.

Although GMO companies like to argue that GMOs with built-in sterility will not persist in the environment. Given the fact that a percentage can survive, however, their argument is deceptive. In addition, studies confirm that after several generations, genetically engineered traits in insects can fail. A recent study, for example, showed that newly introduced traits in engineered mosquitoes failed in just 25 generations.

Intrexon can’t pretend it doesn’t know about the dangers and problems with genetic engineering technology, both real and perceived. Robert Shapiro has been on their board since 2011. He was the CEO of Monsanto who arranged to fast track the release of GMOs into the food supply. Monsanto inserted the company’s attorney into the FDA, where he pioneered the policy that allows GMOs onto the market without a single adequate safety study. Since then, numerous studies have pointed to serious health impacts, all of which are ignored or attacked.

Many of us who study the research on GMOs are convinced that they contribute to rising disease rates in the US. But even if we’re wrong, no one can pretend that the GMOs have been safe for the economy. All over the world and especially in the US, consumer rejection of GMOs has exacted a heavy economic toll on food companies and agribusiness.

But even if the regulators in the Cayman Islands and Prince Edward Island are ignoring the trends, others are wising up. According to Friends of the Earth, “more than 79 grocery retailers with more than 11,000 stores have now made commitments to not sell the GMO salmon,” if it gets introduced into the market. Major brands are already racing to eliminate derivatives of GM crops, even advertising on TV that their products are non-GMO. And many countries and regions that had considered Oxitec’s GM mosquitoes have said no and are opting for safer alternatives. And as long new studies continue to demonstrate serious unpredicted side-effects from genetic engineering, more consumers will take the necessary precautions.

The leading consumer advocate promoting healthier non-GMO choices, Jeffrey Smith’s meticulous research documents how biotech companies continue to mislead legislators and safety officials to put the health of society at risk and the environment in peril. His work expertly summarizes why the safety assessments conducted by the FDA and regulators worldwide teeter on a foundation of outdated science and false assumptions, and why genetically engineered foods must urgently become our nation’s top food safety priority. Mr. Smith’s feature-length documentary Genetic Roulette — The Gamble of Our Lives was awarded the 2012 Movie of the Year (Solari Report) and the Transformational Film of the Year (AwareGuide).

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Long-Term Consequences of Mumps Vaccination: Many Unanswered Questions

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This is Part II of a two-part series on mumps. Part I discussed how mumps vaccination and the flawed mumps component of Merck’s MMR vaccine are fostering dangerous mumps outbreaks in adolescents and young adults.

It has been about five decades since the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Merck’s first mumps vaccine. The company began launching combination MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccines in the 1970s. Coincidentally—or not—an infertility crisis has been brewing over roughly the same time period, with dramatic declines in sperm counts and record-lowfertility levels. However, few investigators seem interested in assessing whether mumps outbreaks in highly vaccinated populations of teens and young adults could be having long-termeffects on fertility or other health indicators.

As described in Part I, childhood MMR vaccination has been an unmitigated disaster where mumps is concerned, deferring mumps infection to older ages and leaving adolescents and young adults vulnerable to serious reproductive complications. Public health reports show that the vast majority of mumps cases and outbreaks occur in youth who have been fully vaccinatedwith the prescribed two-dose MMR series, supporting a hypothesis of “waning immunity after the second dose.” FDA and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) officials even admitthat mumps outbreaks in the post-vaccination era “typically involve young adults,” and that vaccination is failing to protect those who are college-age and above.

Myopically, many vaccine experts have called for a third MMR dose—or even “booster dosing throughout adulthood”—even though the FDA’s and CDC’s own research shows that MMR boosters in college-age youth barely last one year. As alleged in whistleblower lawsuits wending their way through the courts over the past eight years, Merck presented the FDA with a “falsely inflated efficacy rate” for the MMR’s mumps component, using animal antibodies and other fraudulent tactics to fool FDA—and the public—into believing that the vaccine was effective.

When infection arises after puberty, however, mumps is no laughing matter, presenting an increased risk of complications such as hearing loss, encephalitis and inflammation of the reproductive organs.

Mumps after puberty is no laughing matter

Around the time that the first mumps vaccine came on the market, the 1967 children’s classic The Great Brain humorously depicted mumps infection in childhood as a mere nuisance. The book’s young protagonist goes out of his way to intentionally infect himself with mumps so that he can beat his two brothers to the recovery finish line—and he experiences no adverse consequences other than his siblings’ annoyance.

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When infection arises after puberty, however, mumps is no laughing matter, presenting an increased risk of complications such as hearing loss, encephalitis and inflammation of the reproductive organs. About one in three postpubertal men with mumps develops orchitis(inflammation of the testes), which can damage sperm, affect testosterone production and contribute to subfertility and infertility. During a mumps outbreak in England in the mid-2000s, mumps orchitis accounted for 42% of all hospitalized mumps cases; the researchers attributed this outcome—which was the most common reason for hospitalization—to “the high attack rates in adolescents and young adults” that occurred “despite high coverage with two-dose MMR.” An analysis of a 2006 mumps outbreak in the U.S. reported that male patients were over three times more likely than female patients to experience complications, “due primarily to orchitis.”

An estimated 5% to 10% of postpubertal women will develop oophoritis (swelling of the ovaries) following mumps infection. Oophoritis is associated with premature menopause and infertility, but mumps-related oophoritis has garnered little notice.

Mumps infections are often asymptomatic or produce nonspecific symptoms such as fever, while cases of orchitis may present with no other mumps symptoms. Nonetheless, public health officials advise clinicians that orchitis is an instant cue to test for mumps virus, and testing often reveals elevated mumps antibodies. In a case report of MMR failure, British clinicians isolated a novel genetic strain of mumps virus from the patient’s semen two weeks after the onset of orchitis and found mumps RNA in the semen 40 days later; they also noted “the appearance of anti-sperm antibodies,” with “potential long-term adverse effects on the patient’s fertility.”

In 2017, researchers who reviewed 185 studies conducted in Western nations found that sperm counts had plummeted by 50% to 60% between 1973 and 2011—an average decrease of 1.4% annually. Commenting on this work, one analyst estimated that 20% to 30% of young men in Europe and North America have sperm concentrations associated with a reduced ability to father a child. Given estimates that as much as 40% of reproductive problems have to do with the male partner, there is agreement on the importance of “finding and eliminating [the] hidden culprits in the environment” that most researchers believe are to blame.

An estimated 5% to 10% of postpubertal women will develop oophoritis (swelling of the ovaries) following mumps infection. Oophoritis is associated with premature menopause and infertility, but mumps-related oophoritis has garnered little notice.

MMR’s and MMRV’s potential to impair fertility never studied

Merck has not evaluated either of its two MMR vaccines—the MMR-II and the MMR-plus-varicella (MMRV) vaccine—for their potential to impair fertility. Whether such testing would unearth direct effects on fertility (as appears to be possible with HPV vaccination in women) is thus unknown. However, mumps vaccination undeniably increases reproductive-age individuals’ risk of mumps infection and, in the process, increases the risk of fertility-altering complications. These facts alone should be attracting far more attention.

Unfortunately, because clinicians already tend to underdiagnose mumps infection and underestimate mumps complications, it is likely that they are failing to recognize possible vaccine-induced reproductive health consequences of mumps infection in their adolescent and young adult patients. In one university outbreak, “most physicians…did not suspect mumps,” and even when they became aware of the outbreak, “diagnosing mumps was not always straightforward.” Moreover, although differentiating between vaccine strains of mumps virus and wild types could provide valuable information, few clinicians have the capacity or inclination to perform testing of this type. A Japanese study of cerebrospinal fluid and saliva from patients with mumps complications found vaccine strain in nearly all of the samples and noted the information’s importance in helping determine whether the complications were vaccine-related.

Those who have sought to understand mumps vaccines’ poor performance point to a mixture of explanatory factors. These include waning immunity, the high population density and close quarters encountered in settings such as college campuses, incomplete vaccine-induced immunity to wild virus as well as viral evolution such that “the vaccine triggers a less potent reaction against today’s mumps viruses than those of 50 years ago.” However, some also quietly admit that individuals with “mild vaccine-modified disease” could be perpetuating the chain of transmission. This latter point ought to be raising questions about the logic and wisdom of administering further rounds of MMR boosters during outbreaks while ignoring the problems created by the doses already given.

… some individuals respond poorly to mumps vaccination and vaccine-induced antibody levels correlate poorly with protection from mumps infection, irrespective of the number of additional doses of mumps-containing vaccine they receive.

Most scientists appear to be either resigned to ongoing mumps outbreaks in vaccinated populations or actually accept periodic outbreaks as the cost of doing business. Publications by FDA and CDC researchers reveal these agencies’ awareness that some individuals respond poorly to mumps vaccination and that vaccine-induced antibody levels correlate poorly with protection from mumps infection, “irrespective of the number of additional doses of mumps-containing vaccine they receive.” Considering the effects on fertility, the generally abysmal track record of mumps vaccination and Merck’s fraudulent claims about efficacy, it is hard to fathom medical and public health experts’ complacency about current mumps vaccines and vaccine policies.


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Investigation Shows The MMR Vaccine Was Approved Based On Small Studies Showing Disturbing Results

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    A FOIA request by Del Bigtree reveals that the 8 studies supporting the release of the MMR vaccine were only 6 weeks long, used only 800 children, and led to damaging respiratory and gastrointestinal illnesses to many of the children.

  • Reflect On:

    Are we ready to collectively deal with the implications of ongoing revelations of industry malfeasance with regards to vaccines that for some may require a shift in long-held beliefs?

Amidst a rash of efforts to bring forward mandatory vaccination in pockets of the United States is the recent move in New York City to declare a public health emergency Tuesday over a measles outbreak and order mandatory vaccinations in one neighborhood for people who may have been exposed to the virus.

Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the unusual order to address what he said was a measles “crisis” in Brooklyn’s Williamsburg section, where more than 250 people have gotten measles since September. The order applies to anyone living, working or going to school in four zip codes in the neighborhood. The declaration requires all unvaccinated people who may have been exposed to the virus to get the vaccine, including children over 6 months old. People who ignore the order could be fined $1,000.

Challenging Assumptions

This kind of invasive move gives rise to several serious questions, including challenging many of the assumptions that are necessarily made to justify such a move.

Assumption #1: People who may have been infected with the measles should get vaccinated immediately. De Blasio wants people who may have been infected with the measles to get vaccinated. The assumption here is that the vaccine would actually help someone who has the virus by preventing them from getting the measles or preventing them from spreading it to others. But this just doesn’t stand to reason. If someone is already infected, getting a measles vaccine will not prevent the outbreak. That’s not what a vaccine is designed for. And while the person is going through the 2-week period it takes for the vaccine to take hold, it’s quite possible that this will weaken the immune response to the actual measles infection the person has. Quarantining people suspected of being infected would be the sensible response, not vaccinating. If they happen to have the measles, no problem. Once they recover they will then be immune for life.

Assumption #2: The MMR Vaccine Can Create Herd Immunity. There is an article in the Huffington post entitled ‘I’m No Anti-Vaxxer, But the Measles Vaccine Can’t Prevent Outbreaks,’ in which Dr. Gregory Poland, who strongly advocates for vaccines, notes that outbreaks are often initiated and spread by people who have been fully vaccinated against the measles–over 50% in the case of a 2011 outbreak in Quebec. How is this possible? While this Quebec outbreak happened within a community that supposedly had achieved herd-immunity status of over 95% vaccinated, the facts are, as the article notes, that “9 per cent of children having two doses of the vaccine, as public health authorities now recommend, will have lost their immunity after just seven and a half years. As more time passes, more lose their immunity.” Therefore, herd immunity for measles is simply impossible to achieve with this vaccine.

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Assumption #3: The MMR Vaccine, in de Blasio’s words, is ‘safe, effective, and life-saving.’ The claim that the MMR vaccine is ‘life-saving’ does not stand up to simple statistics, as we detail in our article ‘Statistics Show The MMR Vaccine Kills More People Than The Measles Does.’ Whether it is effective, we have already seen that it is incapable of creating herd immunity, wanes over time, does not work at all for some people, and in some of the latest outbreaks the majority of people infected were fully vaccinated. Is it safe? This is the important question we cover in the next section.

The Studies That Stand Behind The Approval Of the MMR Vaccine

The pharmaceutical industry, as well as governmental regulatory bodies like the CDC and the FDA, assure the public that they take the safety of vaccines seriously, and that there is irrefutable science behind the notion that vaccines are safe in terms of the studies that their approval is based on.

However, a Freedom of Information Act request by Del Bigtree has revealed absolutely startling information about the studies that supported the approval of the MMR vaccines that have been injected into our children. To begin with, only 8 studies were conducted and the total combined number of children participating in the studies was only a little over 800! Furthermore, the studies only recorded symptoms for the first 6 weeks after the vaccines were given, unlike many other drug studies that follow symptoms for 5 years or more. And finally, the study revealed serious side-effects in those receiving the vaccine, including a highly significant number of participants who suffered upper respiratory illness and gastrointestinal illness, which has been linked to autism.

In our latest episode of The Collective Evolution Show on CETV, Joe, Arjun and I discussed New York’s mandatory vaccination order as well as Del Bigtree’s analysis of the MMR studies he received and the reason that Big Pharma not only does not want to do proper, large-scale studies on the safety of vaccines, but they also want to try to prevent other researchers like Dr. Christopher Exley from doing so as well.

You can watch the full episode of The Collective Evolution Show where we talk about this subject in more detail here.

You can go here to see the full episode of ‘The Highwire’ where Del Bigtree breaks down the MMR studies in question.

The Takeaway

The veils of illusion that have been masking the truth are lifting as our consciousness awakens. Transparency is coming, though how long it takes will depend on our continued efforts to dig for and spread the truth far and wide.

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Merck’s Julie Gerberding Wins Industry ‘Woman Of The Year’ Award For Putting Profits Ahead Of Human Health

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Julie Gerberding, the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association 'Woman of the Year,' is a prime example of someone who has gone through the revolving door between government regulatory agencies and the corporations they are supposed to be regulating.

  • Reflect On:

    It is becoming clear that our authorities in government and business alike are making decisions purely for their own interests, in utter disregard for human safety and well-being. How does this realization play a role in our awakening?

If you are not already clear about how the Corporatocracy that we live in is able to consistently serve their own power and wealth interests at the expense of our heath, well-being and prosperity, then the case of Julie Gerberding should provide some excellent insight. Her career path makes her the poster child for people who want to succeed in the world by embracing the corrupt, deceitful system that is currently in place.

Here is the blueprint: first, become an expert in a very specific area through a good old fashioned Western education. Use the talent and intelligence you have been blessed with to move up the ranks in your chosen industry to gain a position of power within the highest government agency in your field. Work in close collaboration with the corporations you are supposed to be the watchdogs for, and display a particular talent to get away with murder, not only deflecting obvious conflicts of interest and preventing them from materializing into lawsuits, but also demonstrating a highly developed ability–and willingness–to garner public trust around the safety and effectiveness of the products being pushed by the corporations you are colluding with.

Julie Gerberding

Julie Gerberding completed her internship and residency in internal medicine at UCSF, where she also served as Chief Medical Resident before completing her fellowship in Clinical Pharmacology and Infectious Diseases. She earned an M.P.H. degree at the University of California, Berkeley in 1990.

Before becoming CDC Director and ATSDR Administrator, Gerberding was Acting Deputy Director of the National Center for Infectious Diseases (NCID). She joined CDC in 1998 as Director of the Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion, NCID, where she developed CDC’s patient safety initiatives and other programs to prevent infections, antimicrobial resistance, and medical errors in healthcare settings.

But it is perhaps her talent in knowing how to speak with quiet authority, and a persona that people felt they could trust, that not only helped her rise up in the ranks of the government’s regulatory bodies, but also made giants of the corporatocracy take notice and treat her as one of their own. Knowing how to appeal to people emotionally, with eloquence and persuasion, is something you cannot force, nor can you teach it. Some people just have that power. What they decide to do with it is another matter.

Less than a year after she resigned from her CDC post in in January 2009, she was hired as president of Merck’s vaccine division. Now we can look at the low-hanging fruit and remark that during her tenure at the CDC, Merck became the manufacturer of 14 of the 17 vaccines ‘recommended’ for children by the CDC, and 9 of the 10 vaccines ‘recommended’ for adults by the CDC. The conflict of interest here is beyond obvious, and one would be reasonable to assume that this appointment, which garnered over $5 million in stock options alone, amounted to payback for favors done to Merck while head of the CDC.

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But I believe Merck saw genuine value in the type of leadership Gerberding brought to the table: a cold and calculating devotion to the bottom line, covered over by a veneer of compassion-like-symptoms and a trustworthy tone of authority. In the pharmaceutical industry, these qualities are gold.

CNN Interview

During our bi-weekly broadcast on CETV, Joe Martino and I had a discussion about the ‘revolving door’ between government regulatory agencies and the corporations they serve. We look at statistics that would literally make your head spin about the hordes of people who have enjoyed the freedom to move from working on one side of the aisle to the other. Typically this pattern serves those willing to ‘play ball’ with corporate powers in their capacity as government regulators, to then be rewarded by the wealthy corporations with cushy jobs and board appointments.

In the case of Julie Gerberding, we dove deep into a CNN interview Gerberding did with Sanjay Gupta while she was at the CDC around the time that the Hannah Poling case was making headlines and getting widespread public attention. (Hannah Poling was the first child to receive money from the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program for her vaccine injury; in essence, the government conceded that vaccines caused Hannah Poling’s autism). Big Pharma seemed to be in need of a reassuring voice directed at the public to prevent a massive exodus of parents from the growing vaccine schedules being lined up for their children.

Joe and I talked about the various techniques Gerberding uses to deftly move the conversation from a very vague ‘admission’ of what the government had conceded to assurances that all caring parents should continue to have their children vaccinated.

By some accounts, Julie Gerberding had a significant impact at this time in preventing a complete loss in confidence in vaccine safety, which would have been a major disaster for the pharmaceutical industry. Makes you wonder why she didn’t win the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association ‘Woman of the Year’ award sooner.

The Takeaway

As difficult as it is for some of us to accept, the belief that those in authority have humanity’s best interests at heart has long run its course. It is an important part of our collective evolution that we realize we cannot count on our elected officials, corporate leaders, bureaucrats or other authority figures to make decisions that are in our best interests, because by and large we are seeing that they are only making decisions in their own interests, for the expansion and consolidation of their power. As individuals we must seek to become sovereigns, and as sovereigns to link together and awaken to our collective power to consciously create the type of world we really want to live in.

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