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Feature Influenza

Influenza: marketing vaccine by marketing disease

BMJ 2013; 346 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.f3037 (Published 16 May 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;346:f3037

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Re: Influenza: marketing vaccine by marketing disease

On the topic of disease mongering, what about the questionable ethics of the US National Institutes of Health funding research into making bird flu (H5N1) more transmissible, ostensibly to pre-empt Nature and to facilitate production of vaccines…?

You couldn't make it up…

For the perspective of an 'Independent Vaccine Investigator', refer to my submissions regarding the ethical implications of 'lethal virus' development, also questioning fear-mongering in the influenza industry:

- A submission to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) re Opposition to Lab-engineering of Potentially Lethal Pathogens (17 December 2012): http://users.on.net/~peter.hart/Submission_to_CDC_HHS.pdf

- An open letter to the National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity re the political and ethical implications of lethal virus development (31 January 2012): http://bit.ly/AfyAtQ

And here's another example of questionable influenza research: 'Appalling irresponsibility': Senior scientists attack Chinese researchers for creating new strains of influenza virus in veterinary laboratory: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/appalling-irresponsibility-sen...

Research into potentially lethal pathogens appears to have blossomed in an over-the-top response to bioterrorism attacks in the US in 2001.(1,2)

Perhaps this research has the potential to do more harm than good?

I suggest we need critical analysis of what is going on, and who is really benefiting from the empire-building and enormous sums being spent in this area.

References:
1. Erika Check Hayden. The price of protection. Nature. Vol. 477, 9 September 2011, pp 150-152.
2. Erika Check Hayden. Pentagon rethinks bioterror effort. Nature. Vol. 477, 22 September 2011, pp 380-381.

Competing interests: No competing interests

28 May 2013
Elizabeth Hart
Vaccine Investigator
Independent
Adelaide, Australia