A recent study which linked aluminum found in vaccines to autism development in mice has caused a frenzy of outrage amongst those who say the study is “scientific fraud.” The author of the study, Christopher Shaw, claims that he’s been inaccurately labeled as an “anti-vaccine follower” when in fact he and his partner on the study, do in fact, support the use of vaccines in our society. Both Christopher Shaw and Lucija Tomljenovic University of British Columbia have suggested that it is possible that aluminum found in vaccines can infiltrate the way the immune system responds and stimulate autism.
Supporters of aluminum in vaccines have maintained a long-standing position that the aluminum in vaccines boosts the immune system, which would serve as contrary to the study’s findings).
Here are some notes regarding criticism of the study:
The aluminum was injected via the skin layer, not into the muscle, which is how a vaccine would be injected.
Dosing in mice when compared to children was off.
Attached gene studies were outdated.
They removed data from the control aspect of the experiment.
Lastly, critics argue that Shaw and Tomljenovic are “anti-vaxxers,” like many other scientists who find fault with vaccines (more on this below).
Via ARSTechnica: An online journal club, PubPeer, hosted a discussion where scientists quickly spotted that data on gene activity (semi-quantitative RT-PCR results) and protein amounts (Western blots) had been manipulated, duplicated, and re-labeled.
As quoted by Science blogger The Mad Virologist
There are irregularities in both the semi-quantitative RT-PCR and Western blot data that strongly suggest that these images were fabricated. This is probably the most damning thing about the paper. If the data were manipulated and images fabricated, then the paper needs to be retracted and UBC needs to do an investigation into research misconduct by the Shaw lab.
Shaw admitted to some issues with the research in an email exchange with ARS but flatly denied being an anti-vaxxer.
We don’t know how some images in the manuscript came to be altered. We investigated when the first suggestions came out in Pubpeer and confirmed that some of the images had indeed been manipulated. We don’t know by whom or why. The first author, Dr. Dan Li, denies doing anything wrong, but has not provided any information about this in spite of repeated questions from us. We are continuing to pursue these questions, but as she is now at another institution, we can’t force her to comply.
“Anti-vaccine” researcher is an ad hominem term tossed around rather loosely at anyone who questions any aspect of vaccine safety. It comes often from blogs and trolls, some of which/whom are thinly disguised platforms for the pharmaceutical industry… Anyone who questions vaccine safety to whatever degree gets this epithet.
My view: I see vaccines as one of many useful medical interventions. Prophylactic medicine in all of its forms is great, and vaccination is a way to address infectious diseases with the goal of preventing them. But, much like other medical interventions, vaccines are not completely safe for all people, nor under all circumstances.
Shaw has battled the WHO in the past. He says that if he can disprove his research, he will make that available to the public.