Do you know what’s in your vaccine?

Not content with genetically modifying plants to resist herbicides, scientists are now using plants to produce virus-like-particles (VLPs) to make vaccines. A team in Norwich have produced a Polio virus mimic grown in N. benthamiana, a close relative of tobacco plants. The resulting VLP is described as, “almost indistinguishable from wild type”, as retaining the native antigenic formation, but lacking the ability to become infectious. The project is being supported by the World Health Organization as part of their search for novel polio vaccines as a cheap and viable source of vaccine to replace the current live vaccines. Will people receiving the new vaccine be informed that it is a genetically modified (GM) vaccine? As more and more safety concerns are raised around the HPV vaccine (also a GM vaccine) how can we be sure that appropriate and adequate safety and risk analysis has been conducted for human use of this new class of vaccine technology? If you’re concerned about the safety of vaccines please sign our petition to Stop health authorities claiming that vaccines are ‘safe’.

GSK invests £44M in Scottish facility for making aluminium for vaccines

Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister for Scotland, welcomed GlaxoSmithKline’s (GSK) investment in a new manufacturing facility for one of the most dangerous vaccine adjuvants – aluminium salts. Aluminium is a known neurotoxin that can can play a significant role in neurological diseases like dementia, autism, and Parkinson's disease. It has been hailed as more toxic than mercury, yet it’s an adjuvant still used in vaccines to potentiate the effect. The new facility in Montrose, Scotland was opened by Nicola Sturgeon and is a new addition to GSK’s existing plant, which has been on the site since 1952. It remains to be seen whether or not this investment will have any influence on Scotland’s future vaccination policy.

Effective natural contraception

When it comes to contraception, many women still rely on forms using hormones e.g the Pill, which, whilst convenient and easy to use, has inherent health risks. Natural alternatives are often viewed as unspontaneous, uncomfortable and unreliable. That could all change with a new app. Natural Cycles is a non-hormonal and non-intrusive system that’s been developed by Dr Elina Berglund, a physicist, and was first launched in 2013. It has now been certified by Tuv Sud in Europe as a medical device intended to be used for contraception. The app takes a woman’s daily temperature and feeds it into an algorithm to calculate when that woman is fertile and when protection should be used. For those wishing to stop relying on hormonal contraception and work with their body’s natural rhythms, this may be of interest. However, be warned, it does rely on the user to adhere to the daily routine and following the advice given by the app. Like all methods of contraception nothing is 100% safe!

Food as Medicine

Two separate articles this week have focused on the use of food as medicine. In the US, a research trial has been designed to assess the impact of a gluten and dairy free diet on children suffering from a rare kidney disorder called focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS). The GENIE study is using a Summer camp to implement the changes to ensure compliance. It aims to learn if dietary modification will reduce the amount of protein in the urine and help to re-establish kidney filter structure. It will also look at how the changes affect the cross-talk between the gut microbiome, immune system and kidneys.

Pediatrician Nimali Fernando MD, is so concerned about the increase in childhood obesity she started The Doctor Yum Project to teach families the connection between food and overall health. Starting with a food blog, she has moved on to build a teaching kitchen into her paediatrics practice to teach families how to cook healthy food. In San Antonio, the Culinary Health Education for Families (CHEF) program project teaches practical nutrition and basic cooking skills in the belief that food is medicine. These projects are a rare ray of light in a system driven by Big Pharma, and they give us hope that in future, prescriptions may actually contain recipes rather than drugs! Visit our Food4Health campaign for more information on using food as medicine.