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MMR vaccine is not linked with autism, says Danish study

BMJ 2002; 325 doi: (Published 16 November 2002) Cite this as: BMJ 2002;325:1134

Rapid Response:

Which MMR?


The debate about MMR-autism rages on and the Danish study is but
another weak link in the chain promoted by those who, it appears, would
vaccinate and be damned. Neville Goodman quotes a site that I suspect he
opines will bring disrepute on anti-vaccine authors – perhaps he and Tony
Floyd could look at the “critical analysis “ of the Danish Study by Ulf
Branell (1) and comment. They might throw light on the validity of
Branell’s statistical appraisal of the Danish study.

The Danish study does nothing to alter my view that MMR is probably a
cause of autism, but the authors have perhaps unwittingly identified an
important avenue of investigation (assuming their values are sound) that
may lead us to the proof that MMR causes autism. If Denmark has largely
avoided MMR-induced autism, then maybe the measles vaccine (MV) strain
used was responsible; MMR vaccines in general cannot be exonerated but the
Moraten vaccine strain used by Denmark may be safer than others in that
regard. Studies have shown that various types and titres of attenuated
vaccine strains produce varying levels of efficacy, long and short-term
side effects, and even death; these vaccines are used commonly in the West
where a strong public lobby believes that MMR vaccines cause autism (2)-

The UK’s MMR vaccines used throughout the late 80s and early 90s
contained Urabe Am9 mumps strain proven to cause meningitis. They were
withdrawn from use around 1993 but not before being injected into millions
of children, and this probably muddied waters later used to evaluate MMR
generally. The two vaccines withdrawn were Immravax and Pluserix used in
85% of UK vaccinations, this left MMR2. All three are cited by JABS (12),
after statistical analysis of anecdotal data, as being linked to
convulsions, loss of speech, losing ability to walk, behaviour change, in
addition to autism and numerous other serious adverse reactions including
non-autism communication, speech and language disorders. Ironically,
although Immravax and Pluserix were withdrawn for their increased
probability of causing meningitis, JABS statistics show the vaccine now in
use and a major source for UK children, MMR2, may provide even greater
risks of ‘losing ability to walk’, convulsions, ‘stopping
babbling/talking’, than either Immravax or Pluserix. Parent reports to
JABS of lasting problems suggest that all three vaccines may cause
developmental delays, regression, speech/language/ communications
problems, epilepsy and autism. JABS figures also highlight the
significance of batches; some vaccine batches appear to be responsible for
a higher prevalence of certain post-vaccine disorders – a fact that
appears to have been overlooked by ‘MMR research’ teams.

In June 1989 Yamada et al reported a virological method using
polymerase chain reactions (PCR) technique to differentiate between
vaccine strain mumps virus related aseptic meningitis and meningitis
caused by wild mumps virus; a number of cases following MMR vaccination
were reported and in October 1989 the Japanese Ministry of Health and
Welfare conducted nationwide monitoring for aseptic meningitis after MMR
vaccination. In October 1991 Japanese researchers tested a number of MMR
vaccines looking especially at the mumps components for cause of
meningitis in children within 35 days after vaccination (13). Ironically
it was the Biken (producers of Urabe Am9 strain) MMR vaccine that showed
the lowest incidence of aseptic meningitis (0/10,000 doses), yet the
Standard MMR vaccine (also containing Biken Urabe Am9 strain) showed the
highest incidence (16.6/10,000 doses). It turned out that Biken had
changed the manufacturing process both for MMR vaccine and monovalent
mumps vaccine when they started to make Biken MMR vaccine, coincident with
the onset of the large nationwide surveillance. Their Urabe Am9 in the
Biken vaccine M-3 A turned out to be different from that in the Standard
MMR; the latter had been made by combining two different bulks, M-3 A and
M-3 B, of mumps vaccine at ratio 2:1. It was still not clear how the
nucleotide sequence changes were connected to the incidence rates of
aseptic meningitis following the two MMR vaccines, but clear that the
original Biken Urabe Am9 was much safer, in terms of meningitis, than the
other Biken Urabe Am9.

The tests further showed that other MMR vaccines, Takeda MMR
containing Torii mumps strain and Kitasato MMR containing Hoshino mumps
strain caused aseptic meningitis at rates above Biken Urabe Am9 M-3 A,
11.6 / 10,000 doses and 3.2 / 10,000 doses respectively. In March 1993 a
case of transfer of mumps vaccine virus (Standard MMR vaccine) was found
to have occurred between siblings (14). In April 1993 the Japanese
Ministry of Health and Welfare recommended the suspension of all MMR
vaccines, for both routine and optimal immunisation.

This illustrates how MMR vaccines can vary from different suppliers
and that a difference in two strains can result in one vaccine that is
responsible for a large number of serious outcomes in children whilst the
other is relatively safe. Is this the case with MMR strains, batches and
suppliers in the West and, if so, why is this ignored by researchers?

I think the pro-vaccine lobby has become so deluded by pro-vaccine
propaganda generated by those who gain from the commercialisation of
vaccines that children suffer unnecessarily. We need to damn self-serving
rhetoric and praise scientific integrity, not easy (witness recent
revelations about the institutionalisation of corruption in medical
science) but essential to our health and welfare.

The authors of the Danish Study admit they cannot quantify the
probability of cases of ‘regressive autism’ in their study, and do not
know if parents who had experienced vaccine damage, eg autism, later
refused vaccines for others siblings, yet Dr. Edward Campion, senior
deputy editor of The New England Journal of Medicine, writes “This careful
and convincing study shows that there is no association between autism and
MMR vaccination”. I find the almost blind acceptance of research findings
puzzlingly common and as eccentric as the concept that one’s credentials
qualify one’s opinions.

Clearly the ‘anti-vaccine lobby’ has genuine concerns about vaccines
in general and MMR in particular. Any reasonable person with an interest
in the inordinate amount of disease affecting our children, from recurrent
‘unidentified’ infections, cancers and diabetes to disorders inducing
severe learning difficulties, ought to be seeking explanations for this
explosion of illness and should be very concerned when told by a medical
advisor ‘we don’t know why’ when that same advisor is so sure that
‘vaccines are safe’. New virus strains are regularly identified around the
world, one wonders how many of these are a result of the attenuation of
strains for vaccines therefore yet another potential source of ‘recurrent
unidentified illnesses’ for everyone to develop. (15)-(18)

The final irony would be if so many ‘unquantifiable psychiatric
problems’ ravaging modern youth is a genetic throwback to the source
through which many vaccine virus strains have evolved; these are the
attenuated strains used so liberally in the West that were created by
repeated passage through cell lines derived from the aborted babies of two
psychiatric patients. Two cell lines commonly used are MRC-5 (Medical
Research Council 5) and WI-38 (Wistar Institute 38). MRC-5 originates from
the lung tissue taken from a 14 week male foetus aborted ‘for psychiatric
reasons’ from a 27 years old woman in the 1970s. WI-38 originates from a
female foetus aborted for ‘psychiatric reasons’ in the 1960s. Vaccines
using these ‘human diploid’ strains, which are licensed and commonly used
in the West, include MMRII of Pasteur Merieux MSD, Priorix MMR of
SmithKline Beecham (SKB), Polio (Wellcome, Medeva), Rubella (Erevax) of
SKB, Hepatitis A (Havarix) of SKB, Hepatitis A of Pasteur Merieux (19).

Traditional Chinese Medicine implies that one’s etheric self/selves
(soul, spirit, animal spirit etc.) are present throughout the body, for
example the ‘animal spirit’, our base nature of survival, is said to be
housed in the Lung System, our ‘soul’ or human aspect of consciousness is
said to be housed in the Liver system. Part of these aspects of
consciousness is passed on through successive generations so one might
expect foetal cell lines to have passed on aspects of consciousness of
their donors. Homeopaths may appreciate this as an increasingly powerful
quantum memory derived from ever increasing dilutions for attenuation.
Autism was originally referred to as juvenile schizophrenia.



2. Parks CL et al “Analysis of the Noncoding Regions of Measles Virus
Strains in the Edmonston Vaccine Lineage”, J Virol 2001 Jan; 75(2): 921-33

3. Atabani S et al “Sex-associated differences in the antibody-dependent
cellular cytotoxicity antibody response to measles vaccines”, Clinical and
Diagnostic Lab. Immunology, Jan. 2000; 7(1): 111-113

4. Vesikari T et al “Comparison of the Urabe Am9-Schwarz and Jeryl Lynn-
Moraten combinations of mumps-measles vaccines in young children”, Acta
Paediatr Scand 1983 Jan; 72(1): 41-6

5. Bitnun A et al “Measles inclusion-body encephalitis caused by the
vaccine strain of measles”, Clin Infect Dis 1999 Oct; 29(4): 855-61

6. Wyde PR et al “Infection of leucocytes by measles vaccine viruses
Edmonston-Zagreb and Enders-Moraten has different consequences: potential
mechanism for increased vaccine efficacy or aberrant activity in field
trials”, Vaccine 1994 Jun; 12(8): 715-22

7. Valsamakis A et al “Strains of measles vaccine differ in their ability
to replicate in and damage human thymus”, Journal of Infect Dis 2001;

8. Dos Santos BA et al “An evaluation of the adverse reaction potential of
three measles-mumps-rubella combination vaccines”, Rev Panam Salud Publica
2002 Oct; 12(4): 240-46

9. Calain P, Roux L, “Generation of measles virus defective interfering
particles and their presence in a preparation of attenuated live virus
vaccine”, J Virol 1988 Aug; 62(8): 2859-66

10. Bellocq C et al “Wide occurrence of measles virus subgenomic RNAs in
attenuated live virus vaccines”, Biologicals 1990 Oct; 18(4): 337-43

11. Morfin F et al “Detection of measles vaccine in the throat of a
vaccinated child”, Vaccine 2002 Feb 22; 20(11-12): 1541-3

12. “A report on MMR and DTP questionnaires and personal communications”
JABS 1995

13. Kimura et al “Adverse events associated with MMR vaccines in Japan”,
Acta Paediatrica Japonica 1996; 38:205-11

14. Sawada et al, “Transmission of Urabe mumps vaccine between Siblings”,
Lancet 1993; 342:371)

15. Christensen LS et al “Sequence analysis of measles virus strains
collected during the pre- and early-vaccination era in Denmark reveals a
considerable diversity of ancient strains”, APMIS 2002 Feb; 110(2): 113-22

16. Jin L et al “Characterisation of a new genotype of measles virus
detected in China and England”, Epidemiol Infect 1998 Dec; 121(3): 691-7

17. Xu W et al “New genetic group of measles virus isolated in the
People’s Republic of China” Apr; 54(2): 147-56

18. Outlaw MC, Pringle CR “Sequence variation within an outbreak of
measles virus in the Coventry are during spring/summer 1993”, Virus Res
1995 Nov; 39(1): 3-11


Competing interests:  
None declared

Competing interests: No competing interests

10 December 2002
John P Heptonstall
Director of The Morley Acupuncture Clinic and Complementary Therapy Centre
LS27 8EG