Monday, September 5, 2011

Experimental Logic

Every day, thousands of people in the United States take part in clinical trials. These studies look at all manner of things, from the effects of subtle variations in how a broken bone is plastered to psychological studies to studies evaluating new drugs or medical devices. Some studies simply look at healthy volunteers, trying to figure out the normal workings of the human body. Others want volunteers with specific conditions, hoping to understand the progression of a disease or working toward better treatments and outcomes for patients. Still others seek some blend of both healthy and patient subjects. They are conducted by curious, compassionate physicians with grants from the National Institutes of Health, by patient advocacy groups funded by donations and by both small and large pharmaceutical and biotech companies. There is a drive to learn more, to improve the health and well-being of people around the world. Sometimes the hoped for outcomes have very significant meaning, such as working toward a cure for a rare or severe disease. Sometimes they merely contribute to our own vanity, as with a new variation on Viagra or some manner of anti-aging drug. Suffice to say, there is a lot of research going on out there. And just one small area, one that I find very interesting, is research into vaccines: expanding our knowledge of how they work, how to make current vaccines even safer or more effective than they already are and developing new vaccines.

It was with great interest that I discovered I had a new follower on Twitter going by the moniker @EVaccines, or ExperimentalVaccines. This person bills their web site and Twitter account as providing "information on Current and Ongoing Clinical Trails (sic) on Vaccine Research and there (sic) side effects."

Cool! I thought. Here is someone who is providing information on current and ongoing trials on vaccines. This could be some very good, very useful, information! Would this be sort of an easier to navigate version of ClinicalTrials.gov tailored to vaccines? Perhaps there would be links to the various labs conducting vaccine research for those who are interested either in the study outcomes or specific projects under way, or for those who may actually be interested in volunteering to advance vaccine knowledge.

So, I clicked on the link for their web site.

Wow. It was like nothing I expected it to be. There wasn't actually any valid information on current or ongoing vaccine research. Instead, I found a fair bit of conspiracy theory. For example, there is a video purporting to show how Bill Gates is trying to reduce populations, suggesting that vaccines cause sterility in men. The video shows numerous clips of Mr. Gates talking about how improved health care and a reduction of disease burden leads to a decrease in the need for having lots of children. The words "Vaccines reduce populations!" appear repeatedly. In the close of the video, the author of the post states:
It appears as though Bill Gates has definitely been exposed as a tool if anything. We're not sure whether or not he's telling us secrets here or revealing insights into how the so-called New World Order works, because this is no longer a covert operation. It's completely overt, in your face, right in front of you. All you gotta do is put on the right colored goggles, and those are your New World Order goggles.
This does not bode well for delving further into the site. Yet delve I did. I found another post, entitled Experimental HIV Study Trials Infect Volunteers. In this video, @EVaccines completely misinterprets a study listed on ClinicalTrials.gov. The study, A Study of Patients Who Develop HIV Infection After Enrolling in HIV Vaccine Trials or HIV Vaccine Preparedness Trials was an observational study of individuals who participated in an HIV vaccine study or an HIV vaccine preparedness study (i.e., a study looking at the feasibility of studying a given population for the HIV vaccine, such as Are US populations appropriate for trials of human immunodeficiency virus vaccine? The HIVNET Vaccine Preparedness Study) and who, subsequent to enrollment, contracted HIV. @EVaccines takes this to mean that participation in an HIV vaccine study causes HIV infection. He apparently did not bother reading the description of the study (emphasis mine):
It is important to study persons vaccinated with candidate HIV-1 vaccines who have become HIV-1 infected for the following reasons. First, if transient HIV-1 infection is detected and then is effectively suppressed or cleared, it will be important to document the antigenic relationship between the breakthrough virus and the vaccine epitopes to attempt to answer questions about the specificity and breadth of the immune response and the determinants of immunity. A second reason is to gain a better understanding of vaccine-induced responses in those participants who are transiently or persistently HIV-1-infected compared to placebo recipients who become HIV-1-infected. If the vaccine does not prevent HIV-1 infection, it will be important to characterize the course of the disease as measured by longitudinal viral load measurements, CD4+ counts, and clinical symptoms. Understanding the breadth, magnitude, and specificity of the immune response in partially or fully immunized vaccinees after infection and the impact on clinical symptoms and disease progression can potentially result in valuable information for the subsequent design of vaccine efficacy trials and, ultimately, in consideration of potential effectiveness of HIV-1 vaccines.
The author compared this to another study titled Candidate HIV Vaccine. This study examined a vaccine candidate that "contains no live HIV virus or CMV and cannot cause either of these illnesses." He suggests that the first study found individuals infected by a vaccine and that the latter study lied about the risk. What he perhaps failed to grasp is that people who participated in a vaccine study and were subsequently infected with HIV were most likely infected because the vaccine simply did not work. Because it was not effective, they were still at risk for contracting the disease. And the latter study did not lie. If a vaccine does not contain "live" virus, but only synthetic virus bits and pieces, there is no physical way that it can actually cause an infection.

@EVaccines closes his HIV video with a patent for a supposed AIDS cure, because patents, as we all know, are wonderfully sound, scientific evidence that something both works and is safe (a search for the patented product on PubMed turned up nothing). He also buys into the "U.S. government engineered HIV" nonsense, concluding by saying that our government is "experimenting on everyone." In fact, he hits this topic in at least three separate posts.

It appears that this guy approaches the topic of vaccines with the preconceived notion that there is, in fact, a great conspiracy going on. He pretty well says as much in his About page (emphasis added):
No logical fallacies only plain text truth with some visuals to shock the mind. We live in the most experimental & controlled society in human history. Bio weapons are being tested on the public! Please if you disagree show me where I’m wrong.
Apparently, if a study is listed on ClinicalTrials.gov, it's because it is a government experiment, rather than because the law requires registration of all studies involving a new drug or device, not to mention that many scientific journals are now requiring studies to be registered there if the researchers want their study to even be considered for publication. It appears that @EVaccines believes that these clinical trials (he seems to love the word "experiment" because it sounds all evil) are being conducted on the unsuspecting public against our will, despite the fact that rather strict laws are in place to ensure the ethical and voluntary participation of individuals. Though he states that there are no logical fallacies, he engages in begging the question, argument from ignorance, the fallacy of the single cause, the fallacy of quoting out of context and the mind projection fallacy, among others.

I have to say, when I first saw the description of @EVaccines' site, I was excited. I really hoped that it would provide useful information about clinical trials. Instead, all I found was conspiracy theory, false assumptions and experiments in distorted logic.

UPDATE: As of the morning of Sept. 6, @EVaccines has changed their Twitter profile to read:

EVACCINES aka EXPERIMENTALVACCINES asks the Question? VACCINES SAFE? Yes or NO VACCINES BIO-WEAPONS? Yes or NO WE PROVIDE VACCINE EXEMPTION FORMS & INFO

4 comments:

  1. I see that @EVaccines is now following the pathogens, too. @Vaccalc is going to have fun with this one.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I looked at the patent description, it's a cracker. It's so full of nonsense I don't know where to start:

    "The diamagnetic semiconducting molecular crystal tetrasilver tetroxide (Ag.sub.4 O.sub.4) is utilized for destroying the AIDS virus, destroying AIDS synergistic pathogens and immunity suppressing moieties (ISM) in humans. A single intravenous injection of the devices is all that is required for efficacy at levels of about 40 PPM of human blood. The device molecular crystal contains two mono and two trivalent silver ions capable of "firing" electrons capable of electrocuting the AIDS virus, pathogens and ISM. When administered into the bloodstream, the device electrons will be triggered by pathogens, a proliferating virus and ISM, and when fired will simultaneously trigger a redox chelation mechanism resulting in divalent silver moieties which chelate and bind active sites of the entities destroying them. The devices are completely non-toxic. However, they put stress on the liver causing hepatomegaly, but there is no loss of liver function. "

    It's about on a par with SF tales of nanobots who magically repair any organism they find. I have visions of microscopic Daleks barrelling through the bloodstream intoning "CHELATE! CHELATE!"

    ReplyDelete
  3. @anarchic-teapot

    Yeah. The patent is certainly a doozy. Nice imagery with the Daleks. Made me chuckle.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Today's twitter stream from EVaccines

    http://twitter.com/#!/EVaccines/status/111919650052390912

    Autism is mercury poisoning -- so 2000.

    ReplyDelete

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