Studies suggest a fraction of visitors read a full blog which means few readers will get to the bottom of the article where the ‘related links’ are usually placed. My own post is far less important that the articles in these links so I am putting them first.
As I was ready to post, one more sad aspect emerged; nearly every “related link” recommendation was from a site repeating the same anti-vax bullshit perpetrated by DNM. Anti-vaxxers don’t have to be right, they just have to glut the market so there is nothing else available to read.
Here are some articles approaching the issues from a rational perspective.
- The process development challenge for a new vaccine
- Vaccines: The real issues in vaccine safety
- When a vaccine is safe
- Developing resistance
- SV40 has a high risk of false positive owing to contamination in lab equipment
- Unexpected Age of Virus Families Upends Conventional Wisdom (article and audio)
- Vaccines: past, present and future
- Dr. Delward who discovered PCV1 in Rotarix talks about the findings
- Professor Racaniello and guests talk about Rotarix (TWiV #75)
- TWiV #77
Pox on Dogs Naturally Magazine
I came across some questionable articles while researching the previous post. Most of them seemed to be the product of honest mistakes. One stood out as the worst of the worst, the article from Dogs Naturally Magazine (DNM) was a lie-filled hack job and not only insulting to science but also to the readers of DNM. [Mercola is just as bad]
I examine their hack job.
The title suggests we should take cirvovirus ‘seriously’ but the superficial treatment tells a different story; the section on circovirus is 200 words while they dedicate over 900 words to their counter-factual anti-vaccination tirade.
For DNM, the circovirus was simply a launching pad to excuse a deluge of lies and misinformation – facts be dammed. DNM is rabidly anti-vaccination and not shy about distorting the facts to push their agenda.
Zoonotic diseases are not new and they have always been around; one could even take the philosophical position that all infectious diseases are zoonotic. .
The history of viral infection is literally written into our DNA with approximately 8% of our genome being composed of endogenous retroviral elements. A recent paper (Belyi 2010) reports integration of circoviridae into the common ancestor of cats, panda and dogs – approximately 40 million years ago.
The circovirus story has one more weird twist; it might have started as a plant virus that jumped to vertebrates and recombined with another virus (Gibbs 1999).
While it is true that the rate of virus discovery has increased, the reasons are fairly banal; 1) advances in molecular techniques – increased sensitivity, faster sequencing and cheaper costs 2) ever-expanding genomic databases 3) powerful bioinformatics tools.
The spread of diseases isn’t a one-way street either; we just pay more attention when it happens to us. Humans have spread their diseases to many animals; tuberculosis in elephants, mumps in dogs, hepatitis A in primates, tapeworm in pigs, metapneumovirus in chimpanzees and gorillas, herpes simplex in marmosets and influenza A & B in rabbits. Other animals are guilty of it; tigers in Russia are being threatened by canine distemper, equine influenza jumped from horses to dogs and in China, a recombination of mink enteritis virus and canine parvovirus has been isolated from mink.
This is a complete and total lie.
There is simply no evidence to suggest canine circovirus emerged because of vaccinations. The author also is self-refuting, the previous sentence read that “most” of them are “spread from animals to man.” If “most” are zoonotic then the likely (i.e. most probable) cause is not vaccines. And of course, we now know that canine circovirus wasn’t to blame for the deaths in Ohio.
Dogs Naturally Magazine is lying; canine CV and porcine CV are two distinct viruses.
Distribution of Rotarix, an oral vaccine, was temporarily suspended (March 26 2010) following the discovery of PCV1 DNA fragments by Dr. Eric Delwart’s lab. After consultation with experts the FDA decided (May 14 2010) to resume the use of Rotarix. Despite the clearance by FDA, GlaxoSmithKline (makers of Rotarix) announced a reformulation to make the vaccine free of PCV.
There has never been a case of anyone infected by a porcine circovirus.
To put things in perspective, PCV1 and PCV2 are omnipresent in human stool samples. Why? Because nearly all pigs carry porcine circovirus and when we consume pork, we also consume their viruses. The same is true for the related Torque Teno Sus virus and the avian circovirus, Chicken Anemia Virus. We eat a lot of animal and plant viruses and then poop them out and there has never been a case of anyone infected by a porcine circovirus.
The second sentence is why I consider DNM blatantly dishonest. In the first paragraph they link to this article; I assume having linked to it that they also read it. The paper clearly reads:
The putative Rep proteins of DogCV-UCD1 showed 42%–54% amino acid identity to the Rep proteins of porcine and avian circoviruses, with the closest identity to PCV1. The DogCV-UCD1 capsid showed <30% amino acid identity to known circovirus capsids.
Where I am from “42%–54% amino acid” Rep protein similarity and “<30% amino acid” capsid identity means that it is NOT the same virus. You don’t need any technical expertise to know proteins that are 50% alike are DIFFERENT!
The World Health Organization estimates “453 000 (420 000 – 494 000) child deaths occurred during 2008 due to rotavirus infection.” Rotavirus kills babies and the vaccines are proven life-savers. Dogs Naturally Magazine offers no alternative on how to save these lives, putting their ideological agenda ahead innocent babies.
There isn’t a single case of a vaccine being contaminated with canine circovirus, I haven’t even heard of a cell-line being contaminated by canine circovirus. It’s hysterical conjecturing with no reasonable support.
Barbara Loe Fisher is not a researcher; she got a BA in English in 1969 and has never published peer reviewed work. And even though the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) sounds like a national agency with the mandate of education, it’s actually an anti-vaccination lobby group and routinely churns out scientifically inaccurate propaganda.
There is a hint of truth; in 1959 an NIH researcher found SV40 virus in some batches of the polio vaccine. By 1963 the problem was corrected.
As far as the accusation that the polio vaccine causes cancer? Epidemiological studies have found no correlation between vaccine-SV40 exposure and cancer. So yes, the government denies SV40 from polio vaccine is causing cancer, but only because THE DATA SUPPORTS THAT POSITION (Fraumeni 1970, Shah 1976, Mortimer 1981, Stickler 1998, Olin 1998, Engels 2003, Dang-Tan 2004, Magnani 2005, Poulin 2006).
DNM is mindlessly parroting the narrative popularized by Edward Hooper in the 1999 book, “The River: A Journey to the Source of HIV and AIDS”; this idea was refuted soon after the book came out. There is no link between HIV and polio vaccine and we’ve known this for 13 years ago (Hills 2000). In the same year Korber published work that placed the date of divergence between 1915 and 1941. The current estimate for HIV’s most common recent ancestor is 1884-1924 (Worobey 2008).
I don’t know what powers Dogs Naturally Magazine attributes to the polio vaccine, but when they add TIME TRAVEL? That’s the craziest f#?king thing I’ve ever heard.
It’s not alarming at all when you are familiar with the details, but facts don’t matter to DNM because they are selling propaganda. I would argue that it is comforting knowing it took the most advanced and sensitive new technology to detect the low levels of extraneous DNA.
The facts are that Blood System Research Institute is an organization dedicated to, among other things, virus discovery. Delwart, a researcher at the institute, was testing new technologies, a highly sensitive assay not normally used for adventitious agents. Delwart explains:
“A little historical perspective about why we decided to analyze these vaccines even though there was absolutely no indications whatsoever that they are at all unsafe. Our intent was to use the latest technologies to show that live attenuated vaccine only contained the expected viral genomes and no other.”
The results were unexpected so Delwart contacted GSK to confirm the findings. Because when you get unexpected results using a using a new technique the normal thing for every scientist is to be wary of those results – you want confirmation. On February 9 they informed GSK who began testing and on March 16 GSK informed the World Health Organization of the findings.
It’s not the least bit alarming when the facts are known.
DNM is correct about one thing, “vaccination is fraught with issues.” Real issues, not the crap they fabricate.
Unfortunately websites dedicated to publicize anti-vax rhetoric produce so much noise that it’s all but impossible to get at the real issues. Because producing accusations and innuendo doesn’t require research, they can crank out crap at an alarming rate and by sheer volume make sure people are not exposed to the facts.
Dogs Naturally Magazine is a carcinogen for the mind; knowledge is the vaccine and the cure.
Belyi VA, Levine AJ, & Skalka AM (2010). Sequences from ancestral single-stranded DNA viruses in vertebrate genomes: the parvoviridae and circoviridae are more than 40 to 50 million years old. Journal of virology, 84 (23), 12458-62 PMID: 20861255
Gibbs M.J. & Weiller G. (1999). Evidence that a plant virus switched hosts to infect a vertebrate and then recombined with a vertebrate-infecting virus, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 96 (14) 8022-8027. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.96.14.8022
Fraumeni JF Jr, Stark CR, Gold E, & Lepow ML (1970). Simian virus 40 in polio vaccine: follow-up of newborn recipients. Science (New York, N.Y.), 167 (3914), 59-60 PMID: 4311216
Shah K. & Nathanson N. (1976). Human exposure to SV40: review and comment., American journal of epidemiology, PMID: 174424
Mortimer EA Jr, Lepow ML, Gold E, Robbins FC, Burton GJ, & Fraumeni JF Jr (1981). Long-term follow-up of persons inadvertently inoculated with SV40 as neonates. The New England journal of medicine, 305 (25), 1517-8 PMID: 6272114
Olin P. & Giesecke J. Potential exposure to SV40 in polio vaccines used in Sweden during 1957: no impact on cancer incidence rates 1960 to 1993. (1998) Developments in biological standardization, PMID: 9776244
Engels EA, Katki HA, Nielsen NM, Winther JF, Hjalgrim H, Gjerris F, Rosenberg PS, & Frisch M (2003). Cancer incidence in Denmark following exposure to poliovirus vaccine contaminated with simian virus 40. Journal of the National Cancer Institute, 95 (7), 532-9 PMID: 12671021
Dang-Tan T., M Mahmud S., Puntoni R. & Franco E.L. (2004). Polio vaccines, Simian Virus 40, and human cancer: the epidemiologic evidence for a causal association, Oncogene, 23 (38) 6535-6540. DOI: 10.1038/sj.onc.1207877
Magnani C (2005). SV40, genetic polymorphism and mesothelioma. pathological and epidemiological evidence. La Medicina del lavoro, 96 (4), 347-53 PMID: 16457431
Poulin DL, DeCaprio JA. (2006) Is there a role for SV40 in human cancer? J Clin Oncol. 2006 Sep 10;24(26):4356-65. PMID: 16963733
Worobey, M. (2008) Direct evidence of extensive diversity of HIV-1 in Kinshasa by 1960. Nature 455, 661–664. (doi:10.1038/nature07390)
Korber, B., Muldoon, M., Theiler, J., Gao, F., Gupta, R.,Lapedes, A., Hahn, B. H., Wolinsky, S. & Bhattacharya, T. 2000 Timing the ancestor of the HIV-1 pandemic strains. Science 288, 1789–1796. (doi:10.1126/science.288.5472.1789)