Swine Flu and its intriguing links
By Dr Ghayur Ayub
Swine flu is a contagious viral respiratory disease linked with pigs. Symptoms include fever, runny nose, sore throat, nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea. According to statistics, common seasonal flu kills 250,000 to 500,000 people every year worldwide, far more than the current outbreak of swine flu. So why has there been so much fuss about this flu in recent months? To understand this we have to go into the background of this disease; its links with the pharmaceutical industry, the fallout in terms of public health, its academic and other associations with WHO, and political echoes in the corridors of power.
It all started in 1976, when Private David Lewis at Fort Dix became ill with symptoms suggestive of flu. Instead of taking complete rest, which is essential in flu otherwise there is a very small risk of sudden heart failure; he left his sick bed to go on a forced march. During the exercise, he collapsed and died later despite his sergeant giving him mouth to mouth resuscitation. Four of his colleagues also developed the symptoms but they recovered completely and the sergeant who gave him mouth to mouth did not contract the disease. The samples taken from the throats of the soldiers came back from the Centre for the Disease Control (CDC) confirming swine flu. The director of the centre was Dr David Sencer. He was a tuberculosis epidemiologist and had held the post since 1966. Unconfirmed reports suggest that he had close relationship with a known pharmaceutical company involved in making virus vaccines. According to reports, after contacting a few specialist doctors (most probably with the help of the company) and without going through the set procedures of analysis, he compared the swine flu with the notorious flu of 1918, that resulted in over half a million deaths in the United States, as well as 20 million deaths around the world. Was he under the influence of powerful but friendly company or was he naive about the consequences will never be known. All we know is, he created tremendous panic among the public and hastily devised a swine flu program at a cost of $ 137 million which led to the vaccination of 40 million people.
To give it a political touch, he personally talked to the president Gerald Ford and soon after the vaccine was prepared without going through normal procedures. The president was shown having flu injection on the television. In other words, he made the president of the United Sates a human guinea pig. If such a hasty decision was taken by someone in the health ministry of Pakistan, many eyebrows would have been raised, but the Americans are either too naive or too innocent. The results which followed were mind boggling as the vaccination caused more deaths than the disease itself. About 32 people died and over 500 suffered from Guillain-Barre syndrome, which damages nerves and can lead to paralysis. Overall, 4000 people were victims that resulted in $3.5 billion in damages being claimed against the US government. The program was suspended and Dr. David Sencer was fired in 1977.
Interestingly, he was immediately employed by the same company as Senior Vice President for Medical and Scientific Affairs. Recently, he was asked about his role in mass vaccination to which he replied, ‘If we were faced with what we had in 1976 today, where it was limited only to Fort Dix, we probably would not have recommended a universal vaccination.’ The question is, are we following the footsteps of the good doctor in today’s frightening revelations about this disease? In a recent development, drug-industry investigators have uncovered documents exposing an international drug ring, operating from New York City, is behind the H1N1 swine flu fright and vaccination preparations. Dr. Leonard G. Horowitz and Sherri Kane, an investigative journalist, have released evidence in legal affidavits to FBI, that leaders of a private global biotechnology “trust” are behind the pandemic flu, including its origin, alleged prevention via vaccinations, the pandemic’s creation, media persuasions, and health official promotions.
Against these allegations, let us look into certain facts. The earliest documented case of swine flu was confirmed in a 5 years old child Edgar Hernandez early this year, in a small mountain village of La Gloria in the state of Veracruz in Mexico. Edgar survived the flu; just like the four solders at Fort Dix. This time, the health officials returned to Edgar’s sample only after cases of the new flu strain were spotted around the country. A few weeks later, thousands of miles away in Afghanistan, the medical reporter of CNN, Dr Gupta also contracted the swine flu (H1N1). He wrote, “It really didn’t matter if I got tested, as my doctor told me. It was the only flu strain circulating and I had it,.. In case you are curious, there wasn’t much the doctors could really do for me. Some Tylenol and a sinus decongestant (the same my wife would’ve given me). Within a couple days, I felt a lot better, and a few days after that – I was back to normal. It was a lot like… the flu – with a different name” Speaking in identical language, Peter Palese, the Chairman of the Department of Microbiology at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, commented that swine flu virus is likely not any more virulent than other seasonal flu strains because “it lacks an important molecular signature (the protein PB1-F2) which was present in the 1918 virus.”
So what is special about this flu which shook the academically orientated professionals and politically dominated administrators in WHO? I chose the terms from my personal experience working with them at the highest level for three years. According to reports, first WHO declared a Phase 6 alert level and the CDC followed suit declaring the H1N1 flu pandemic a public health emergency. This allowed the FDA to authorize drug companies to fast track experimental vaccines skipping over the usual required testing and clinical studies repeating the history of 1976. The irony is that it appears the drug manufacturers may have held patents on the mutated Swine H1N1 Flu vaccine before it ever began its trek across the world. For example, Novartis of Switzerland is expected to supply nearly half of the vaccines in the U.S. and applied for its Swine Flu vaccine patent 3 years ago on November 6, 2006. The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) accepted and granted the application in February 2009, just about the time the flu was beginning to spread. What a coincidence? Similarly, Baxter is producing all its H1N1 vaccine at facilities in Austria and the Czech Republic. They applied for a US Vaccine Patent Application in August, 2007 two years before the present outbreak!
What is more frightening are the reports stating that Baxter sent vaccines contaminated with deadly live H5N1 avian flu virus to 18 countries before someone caught the mistake and the vaccine got injected thousands of people. Baxter just missed creating its own pandemic then by mixing deadly H5N1 virus with a mix of H3N2 seasonal flu viruses, or did they? By possibly creating the pandemic, maybe Baxter already has the cure and that is why WHO has deemed them the appropriate pharmaceutical company to lead the way for a swine flu vaccine. And what about the ingredients in the approved Swine Flu vaccine-Celtura Novel H1N1, prepared by Novartis? It has the adjuvant MF59 in it and numerous tests show adjuvant cause significant side effects. MF59 has never been approved by the FDA. Some believe that the vaccine itself can help prompt the further mutation of Swine flu: as Novartis notes its flu vaccine has not been evaluated for mutagenic potential. For that matter it has not been evaluated for carcinogenic potential or impairment of fertility.
On the trade side, the sale of the two most common antiviral drugs, Tamiflu and Relenza – which are effective against swine flu – shot up in markets around the world due to increased demand. In the third world countries short supply means black marketing. To give it a political twist and make the situation more confusing, the Congressman Henry Waxman has introduced a bill that would limit the length of patent protection for vaccines to as little as 5 years. Similar, legislation is submitted by Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) in the Senate. According to, WTO regulations, the patent period for a drug is 20 years. Are they trying to help those ‘friendly’ pharmaceutical industries which cannot wait for such a long period to get a slice of the pie? Your guess is as good as mine