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A Childhood Vaccine for Obesity?

Obesity Vaccine Wins First TVR Golden Fleece Award

by Marco Cáceres and Barbara Loe Fisher The Vaccine Reaction

Last year, an article titled “Stranger and Stranger Vaccines: Are We Being Fleeced?” introduced a new series of articles for The Vaccine Reaction aimed at highlighting the “strangest vaccines in the pipeline.” Vaccines proposed or already under development that may cause you to stop and wonder, “Are they serious?”1

The article pointed out that during the 1970s, U.S. Senator William Proxmire of Wisconsin came up with the brilliant idea of presenting an award to government officials who he believed deserved to be recognized for wasting public funds, a kind of “booby prize for public projects that just seemed to defy common sense” and a “clever way to help uncover wasteful government spending.”1

The award was designated the “Order of the Golden Fleece” by Sen. Proxmire and he gave it a total of 168 times from 1975 to 1988.1

Strange Vaccines Deserve Critical Examination

There are many vaccines in the research and development pipeline that deserve to be critically examined simply because they are so strange. Putting aside one’s views about the general safety and effectiveness of vaccines, some vaccines would seem to be reasonable, while others just seem senseless.

For example, vaccines to prevent infections with a high mortality rate, like Yellow Fever and Ebola, sound reasonable. Theoretically, if you can safely stimulate an effective immune response with a vaccine that can protect people at high risk for getting either of those infectious diseases, that would appear to be a worthwhile vaccine to develop.

Vaccines have traditionally been designed to prevent viral and bacterial infections that are highly contagious and have a high risk of serious complications, including death, and most vaccine research continues to be focused on preventative vaccines to combat infectious diseases.2 3 The key words here are “infectious and “prevent.”

Vaccines or Therapies—What’s in a Name?

Vaccines, which are also described by the FDA as “biological products,” were not originally designed to be used as a therapeutic treatment like antibiotics and other medications, but this is now changing. There is a new trend to develop what vaccine developers and drug companies have labeled “therapeutic vaccines.”3

First approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2010, current therapeutic vaccines are designed primarily to treat people suffering with brain, skin, lung, breast, pancreatic, prostate and cervical cancer, rather than to prevent infections like traditional vaccines.4 A more appropriate name might be “immunotherapies” because this type of pharmaceutical product is individually tailored to stimulate a sick person’s immune system to target a type of diseased cell, such as cancer cells, to assist the body in eliminating the disease process so healing can take place.

Suddenly, the applications for “vaccines” have become unlimited. As the concept of what a vaccine is and how it can be used expands, conveniently it also expands the U.S. and global “vaccine” market. So vaccines (or immunotherapies described as vaccines) are increasingly being developed to treat a wide range of illnesses and health conditions that may or may not involve microbes. They are no longer limited to the relatively small infectious disease market.

What this means is that the pharmaceutical industry is free to create a vaccine for any poor health condition that ails the human race. Or the animal kingdom, for that matter.

The word “vaccines” is now starting to be thought of as interchangeable with the word “medication” or “medicine. ” This is precisely why we are hearing about vaccines to treat things like acne,5 high cholesterol,6 cocaine addiction,7 stress,8 depression,9 high blood pressure,10 and bad breath.11

Expanding Vaccine Markets to Expand Vaccine Profits

The possibilities are endless and, of course, so are the profits for Big Pharma—particularly since the pharmaceutical industry is shielded from any civil liability for vaccine injuries, deaths or failures.12 There is no need for makers of products labeled as vaccines to spend lots of money on expensive legal fees to defend themselves against lawsuits for alleged harmful or ineffective vaccine products because the U.S. Congress and U.S. Supreme Court have banned such lawsuits.

And since the 21st Century Cures Act was passed by Congress last year to lower FDA vaccine licensing standards even further, there will be no need for drug companies to spend lots of money on conducting large clinical trials to prove the safety and effectiveness of experimental vaccines either.13

Almost weekly, we hear of a new vaccine being developed for something so odd that it makes us think: “Huh? A vaccine for what?” A vaccine to quit smoking?14 A vaccine against sea lice?15 A vaccine to modify behavior?16 Really? Slowly but surely, people are being conditioned to accept all proposed applications for a new vaccine, no matter how odd.

The Flab Jab: TVR’s first Golden Fleece Award

There are a lot of weird vaccines being developed and we’ve mentioned a few of them. But the vaccine most deserving of our first TVR Golden Fleece award is the one for obesity—the so-called “Flab Jab.”17 18 19 20 21 22

Another article published in TVR last year was titled “Have Vaccine, Will Travel“:

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than one-third of adults in the United States are obese. More than two-thirds of adults in the U.S. are obese or overweight.23 The obesity epidemic affecting children and adults is a serious health and economic problem in America and it is getting worse every year.24 25 26 Some estimates forecast the cost of obesity in terms of lost economic activity in this country at between $390 billion and $520 billion per year by 2030.24 “It’s politically imperative to reduce the obesity rate. It costs literally trillions of dollars to treat these conditions,” said Jay Cohen, MD of the The Endocrine Clinic in Memphis, TN.24 27

One team of researchers have suggested that obese people are at risk (and therefore, put others at risk) for certain infectious diseases, like hepatitis B and influenza, because obesity interferes with vaccination. In 2015, they said, “The limited data concerning the effect of obesity on vaccine immunogenicity and efficacy suggests that obesity is a factor that increases the likelihood of a poor vaccine-induced immune response.”28

So why not a vaccine for obesity?

Going for a Cure Before the Science is In

Well, first, all of the potential causes for the obesity epidemic have not been fully defined by science and that basic lack of understanding has not been acknowledged. Public health officials and most leading medical authorities often state that people are obese because they deliberately make poor lifestyle choices, that it ultimately comes down “too much food and too little exercise.“29 More specifically, bigger serving portions, confusing diet for nutrition, and inactivity being the new norm.29 They argue that if people will simply change their diets and exercise more, they will no longer be obese.

Aside from the fact that there are economic inequities that limit food choices for financially disadvantaged people, such as being able to buy more nutritious but also more expensive organic and non-GMO food that maximizes weight control, there are outstanding questions about the less obvious causes of a rise in obesity in the U.S. and other developed countries. Some researchers are questioning whether genetics and epigenetics play a role in the development of obesity. 30

There is also emerging evidence that the health of the gut mircobiome influences weight gain31 and that lack of enough sleep, especially among children and adolescents, has also been linked to obesity.32

Obesogens and Chronic Inflammation: Weight Gain in Animals and Humans

At the same time, researchers have discovered that both animals and humans have experienced incremental increases in average body weight over the past 150 years that has accelerated in the past few decades, and that it may be tied to constant, low dose environmental toxin exposures. The role of what some researchers call chemical “obesogens”—dietary, pharmaceutical and industrial compounds that alter metabolic processes and pre-dispose to weight gain—is garnering more attention by scientists.33 Immune disorders, which have increased in prevalence during the past half century, are marked by chronic inflammation in the body and some, such as thyroid disease, are associated with an inability control weight.34 35

One scientist, J. Barthelow Classen, M.D., has offered evidence that increases in diabetes among children is linked to vaccine induced immune overload caused by increases in the number of vaccines infants and children have been given over the past four decades. In 2014, Dr. Classen observed, “The increase in immunization has been followed by a huge increase in inflammation associated disorders. Diseases like autism, type 1 diabetes, asthma, food allergies, many autoimmune diseases, obesity, type 2 diabetes, NASH and metabolic syndrome have increased many fold in children.”36

Simply put, how can a vaccine for obesity be a good idea when science still has not defined all of the environmental causes and biological mechanisms for why and how some children and adults become obese, separate from the obvious: poor diet and lack of exercise? Isn’t that putting the cart before the horse?

And then there is the question of what came first, the chicken or the egg, when considering the role of chronic inflammation in children and adults who are obese. What if a major cause of the obesity epidemic, especially among children, turns out to be chronic inflammation induced by constant atypical manipulation of the developing immune system with too many vaccines given too early in life, setting up genetically or epigenetically predisposed children for a lifetime struggle with weight control because they are unable to resolve inflammation?

Suppressing Growth Hormones With the Flab Jab

So exactly what is the leading experimental obesity vaccine candidate designed to do?

It injects a modified form of the peptide protein molecule somatostatin that “suppresses growth hormones that boost metabolism and cause weight loss.”18

According to a press release issued by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) on July 8, 2012:

Vaccination with modified somatostatin causes the body to generate antibodies to somatostatin, effectively removing this inhibition without directly interfering with the growth hormones and subsequently increasing energy expenditure and weight loss.37 So, does the “flab jab” suppress growth hormones that boost metabolism and cause weight loss or does it not suppress growth hormones? It isn’t clear that researchers agree on what the vaccine to treat obesity does from the preceding two quotes, although according to an article in The Atlantic titled “Study: A Setback for the ‘Obesity Vaccine” published on Sept. 18, 2012, the answer is yes, the vaccine does suppress growth hormones.17

There is an amino acid hormone in the human stomach called ghrelin, which secretes growth hormones (GH).38 The levels of ghrelin “rise and fall with hunger.”17 If the obesity vaccine suppresses growth hormones and, by extension, the ghrelin hormone, then that would explain the reduced appetite a person would experience. The problem is that a lot is not known about ghrelin. There is evidence that ghrelin is involved in several important biological processes besides appetite regulation, such as growth hormone secretion, and gastro-intestinal and neurological function, so complete suppression of ghrelin via vaccination is likely to be risky.39

The ghrelin hormone also plays a role in responding to stress. Ghrelin is believed to reduce anxiety in a stressful situation.17

Thus, if you suppress the ghrelin hormone in an effort to reduce appetite, the unintended side-effect could be to raise levels of anxiety. That’s bad enough. Now, think for a moment. What do many people tend to do when they get anxious? Yes. They eat.

TVR Golden Fleece Award for a Vaccine That Isn’t Really a Vaccine

An obesity vaccine is the perfect example of the absurd direction in which the vaccine industry is going because there is no oversight on or breaks applied to scientists and public health officials driving the runaway vaccine train. With nearly one billion dollars appropriated by Congress to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HSS) in charge of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC),40 just how much of that money is going to fund research and development of ill conceived vaccines that are not really vaccines at all?

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