FDA to Investigate Vaccines for XMRV Retrovirus

Age of Autism

By Kent Heckenlively, Esq.
August 4, 2011

As part of my continuing series of articles which I think should be subtitled, Official Documents which Scare the Living Daylights Out of Me! I offer this July 24, 2011 publication from the Food and Drug Adminstration.

The release is entitled Investigating Viruses in Cells Used to make Vaccines; and Evaluating the Potential Threat Posed by Transmission of Viruses to Humans.  XMRV is prominently featured as a virus about which they are concerned.  Please feel free to read the entire document at FDA.gov.

For those of you who may be unfamiliar with the question of XMRV and autism, please allow me to give a brief recap.  The xenotropic murine leukemia virus related virus (XMRV) was discovered in 2006 by scientists working for the University of California at San Francisco and the Cleveland Clinic.  It is a human gamma retrovirus and there are many who say we should be referring to this family as XMRVs or HGRVs.

The retrovirus was originally found in the tumors of men with an aggressive form of prostate cancer, in 2009 the virus was found in high numbers in people with chronic fatigue syndrome/ME, and there has been some very preliminary findings of its presence in children with autism.  In the interest of full disclosure I must note that my daughter with autism/seizures, my wife who has had a number of mysterious health ailments, and my mother-in-law have all tested positive for the XMRV retrovirus.  I’ve tested negative, as has my father, who is my only surviving parent.

Chronic fatigue syndrome/ME and autism  share many common clinical features including immune dysregulation, increased expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines and chemokines, mitochondrial abnormalities, and chronic active microbial infections.   In my own investigations I’ve been surprised how many of the mothers of children with autism say they have either been formally diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome/ME, or believe they have subclinical indications of the disorder.

Onto the FDA release of July 24, 2011.  After first describing the need for new vaccines and that the virus-based vaccines require the use of living cells for a substrate, there’s this paragraph.

In some cases the cell lines that are used might be tumorigenic, that it, they form tumors when injected into rodents.  Some of these tumor-forming cell lines may contain cancer-causing (author’s note – autism causing?) viruses that are not actively reproducing.  Such viruses are hard to detect using standard methods.  These latent or “quiet” viruses pose a potential threat, since they might become active under vaccine manufacturing conditions.  Therefore, to ensure the safety of vaccines, our laboratory is investigating ways to activate latent viruses in cell lines and to detect the activated viruses, as well as other unknown viruses, using new technologies.  We are also trying to identify specific biological processes that reflect virus activity.

Translation for the average reader – Hey, the cell lines in which we grow the viruses we want in vaccines, may contain some viruses we don’t want!  Including those which may cause cancer!

I don’t think most readers appreciate the advances which have been made in pathogen detection by the use of advanced micro-arrays.  As an example I point out the finding made about a year ago of an unexpected pig circovirus found in the rotarix vaccine.  The levels of this unexpected virus were more than ten times the level of the target virus for which the vaccine had been developed.  While the decision to certify that virus as “safe” was in my opinion unconscionable, the fact remains that detection of the unexpected virus was made and its amount quantified with amazing accuracy.

I believe that scientific advances are proceeding at a rate which will allow us to ask and answer some very disturbing questions about vaccine safety.  In my science classes I always try to instill in my students the idea that there’s “data” about which we should all agree, but that some of the biggest fights are over “interpretation” and the meaning of that data.  For example, the finding of an unexpected pig virus in a vaccine at a rate ten times higher than that of the target virus is something which all parties seem to agree upon.

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  1. There will never be a complete list of known ingredients in vaccines. As more accurate and elaborate analysis methods are developed unexpected elements are discovered long after vaccines have been on the market. There is no incentive for vaccine promoters to find substances which are detrimental to health.
    When such elements are not found to be present it is often assumed that they are absent. Package insert information frequently includes the statement that vaccines are not tested for carcingenicity, mutagenicity, etc. Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

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