According to a press release lately published by the University of Washington, a new kind of vaccine may soon be designed that will allow for its immediate creation and application. This new vaccine, however, will be made by using nanoparticles designed from genetically engineered proteins.
The scientists, who have already examined the vaccine in rats, are hopeful that the vaccines will soon make “on-demand” vaccines that can be applied within minutes for a low cost a common reality in the medical community.
The vaccine would mostly be aimed at “developing countries” and would cut the costs of vaccination programs “by not having to rely on refrigeration, and vaccines could be produced with rudimentary equipment in more precise, targeted numbers. The vaccines could be manufactured and delivered using a disposable patch, like a bandage, which could one day lessen the use of trained personnel and hypodermic needles.”
Francois Baneyx, the lead author of a recent published paper in Nanomedicine and UW professor of chemical engineering stated, “We’re really excited about this technology because it makes it possible to produce a vaccine on the spot. For instance, a field doctor could see the beginnings of an epidemic, make vaccine doses right away, and blanket vaccinate the entire population in the affected area to prevent the spread of an epidemic.”
In typical vaccines, weakened pathogens or proteins found on the surface of microbes and viruses are injected into the body along with compounds called adjuvants to prepare a person’s immune system to fight a particular disease. But standard formulations don’t always work, and the field is seeking ways to manufacture vaccines quicker, cheaper and tailored to specific infectious agents, Baneyx said.
The UW team injected mice with nanoparticles synthesized using an engineered protein that both mimics the effect of an infection and binds to calcium phosphate, the inorganic compound found in teeth and bones. After eight months, mice that contracted the disease made threefold the number of protective “killer” T-cells – a sign of a long-lasting immune response – compared with mice that had received the protein but no calcium phosphate nanoparticles.
The nanoparticles appear to work by ferrying the protein to the lymph nodes where they have a higher chance of meeting dendritic cells, a type of immune cell that is scarce in the skin and muscles, but plays a key role in activating strong immune responses.
In a real-life scenario, genetically engineered proteins based on those displayed at the surface of pathogens would be freeze-dried or dehydrated and mixed with water, calcium and phosphate to make the nanoparticles. This should work with many different diseases and be especially useful for viral infections that are hard to vaccinate against, Baneyx said.
Baneyx did point out, however, that the ability of this vaccine to achieve its goal of the researchers and those who funded the experiment has only been allegedly established in mice, not in humans.
As one may suspect, the development of these new nano-vaccines are funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation by virtue of the organization’s Grand Challenges Explorations grant as well as money from the National Institutes of Health.
The very fact that this research was funded by Bill Gates is enough to raise the eyebrows of many. After all, it was Bill Gates that once tellingly stated “The world today has 6.8 billion people… that’s headed up to about 9 billion. Now if we do a really great job on new vaccines, health care, reproductive health services, we could lower that by perhaps 10 or 15 percent.”
Adding to Gates’ statement is the fact that, time and again, international vaccination programs have ended disastrously for third-world nations. Case in point: the Meningitis vaccine program that resulted in the paralysis of at least 50 African children and a subsequent cover-up operation by the government of Chad. This large number of adverse events occurred in one small village alone, leaving many to wonder what the rates of side effects might be on an international scale.
Even more concerning is the fact that paralysis rates have flourished in countries where Gates’ polio vaccine, the one he is dedicating his life to, have been administered the most. Indeed, nowhere is this any more apparent than in India. As Aaron Dykes writes,
But the real story is that while polio has statistically disappeared from India, there has been a huge spike in cases of non-polio acute flaccid paralysis (NPAFP)– the very types of crippling problems it was hoped would disappear with polio but which have instead flourished from a new cause.
There were 47,500 cases of non-polio paralysis reported in 2011, the same year India was declared “polio-free,” according to Dr. Vashisht and Dr. Puliyel. Further, the available data shows that the incidents tracked back to areas were doses of the polio vaccine were frequently administered. The national rate of NPAFP in India is 25-35 times the international average.
In addition to this data, it appears that the polio vaccines are themselves the leading cause of polio paralysis in India. In relation to the flawed data reported by the Polio Global Eradication Initiative which attempts to minimize the numbers of both vaccine-induced cases of polio paralysis and polio in general, Sayer Ji remarks,
According to the Polio Global Eradication Initiative’s own statistics there were 42 cases of wild-type polio (WPV) reported in India in 2010, indicating that vaccine-induced cases of polio paralysis (100-180 annually) outnumber wild-type cases by a factor of 3-4. Even if we put aside the important question of whether or not the PGEI is accurately differentiating between wild and vaccine-associated polio cases in their statistics, we still must ask ourselves: should not the real-world effects of immunization, both good and bad, be included in PGEI’s measurement of success? For the dozens of Indian children who develop vaccine-induced paralysis every year, the PGEI’s recent declaration of India as nearing “polio free” status, is not only disingenuous, but could be considered an attempt to minimize their obvious liability in having transformed polio from a natural disease vector into a man-made (iatrogenic) one.
Gates’ polio vaccines have likewise been blamed for deaths and disabilities in neighboring Pakistan, with offices of the government in that country even recommending that the vaccines be suspended.
In India, doctors heavily criticized the program not only for the heavy cost to human health and quality of life but also the massive financial burden hoisted upon the state. This is because the program was only partially funded by the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunizations, which is itself partnered with the World Health Organization, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, World Bank, and United Nations.
The doctors criticized the GAVI-alliance by stating,
The Indian government finally had to fund this hugely expensive programme, which cost the country 100 times more than the value of the initial grant,” their report stated.
From India’s perspective the exercise has been an extremely costly both in terms of human suffering and in monetary terms. It is tempting to speculate what could have been achieved if the $2.5 billion spent on attempting to eradicate polio, were spent on water and sanitation and routine immunization.
. . . . . the polio eradication programme epitomizes nearly everything that is wrong with donor funded ‘disease specific’ vertical projects at the cost of investments in community-oriented primary health care (horizontal programmes) . . . . .
. . . . .This is a startling reminder of how initial funding and grants from abroad distort local priorities.
Indeed, as the doctors assert, one cannot vaccinate away diseases like polio. Apart from the fact that there has never been a study conducted which proves a vaccine either safe or effective that was not connected to a drug company or a vaccine maker, the so-called cure, if it comes under the guise of a vaccine, may well be as bad if not worse than the disease itself.
Again, Sayer Ji writes,
Polio underscores the need for a change in the way we look at so-called “vaccine preventable” diseases as a whole. In most people with a healthy immune system, a poliovirus infection does not even generate symptoms. Only rarely does the infection produce minor symptoms, e.g. sore throat, fever, gastrointestinal disturbances, and influenza-like illness. In only 3% of infections does virus gain entry to the central nervous system, and then, in only 1-5 in 1000 cases does the infection progress to paralytic disease.
Due to the fact that polio spreads through the fecal-oral route (i.e. the virus is transmitted from the stool of an infected person to the mouth of another person through a contaminated object, e.g. utensil) focusing on hygiene, sanitation and proper nutrition (to support innate immunity) is a logical way to prevent transmission in the first place, as well as reducing morbidity associated with an infection when it does occur.
Instead, a large portion of the world’s vaccines are given to the Third World as “charity,” when the underlying conditions of economic impoverishment, poor nutrition, chemical exposures, and socio-political unrest are never addressed.
The fact is that the root cause of diseases like polio are not a lack of vaccination but poor sanitation standards, poverty, lower living standards, chemical pollution, and lack of proper nutrition. If money were spent correcting these ills, as opposed to providing ineffective (in their stated purposes) and dangerous vaccinations, then polio and many other such diseases could indeed be eradicated.
In the end, the answer is about raising living standards, reducing pollution, increasing knowledge and access to proper nutrition and clean drinking water – not chemical and virus-laden needles. Even more so, not vaccines involving nano-particles and even more genetically engineered ingredients.