Friday, November 23, 2007

How Far Down Does The Rabbit Hole Go?


There are a lot of vaccines present in the world today. But how many are really beneficial to us and, how many really provide what they advertise? Overall, the general public consensus on receiving a vaccination is favorable. Most of the time getting vaccinated is a good idea because it slows the development of viruses. But would you change your mind if you knew a little more about certain types of vaccines, Gardasil in particular?

First of all, lets address what Gardasil “really” prevents? This is a generic vaccination for four strains of viral oncogenes, Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), which causes cervical cancer. The vaccination covers only two of the major strains or causative oncogenes, 16 and 18. It also incorporates two minor strains of genital warts that could lead to HPV, 6 and 11. But there are over 100’s of known forms of HPV present that the vaccine does not cover. Scientists decided to vaccinate against these two prominent strains because they are the cause of 70% of cervical cancer. So where did the other 30% go? What happens if 16 and 18 evolve their glycoprotein receptors as a resistance to the new drug because it is under pressure? The vaccine is then rendered useless. Who knows how long this morphology will take because, the oncogenes have never been under this type of stress before. Then what? We discover another vaccine and another until we form a superbug. (Refer to Rochelle’s Blog posting, “Ear Infections Caused by Superbug”) Why bother if our bodies rid HPV naturally? Some women can contracted HPV and, cleared it without even knowing it because our bodies naturally clear it within two years with no symptoms. Which leads me to my next point, Gardasil will not prevent against previously contracted a strain of HPV. Have you ladies had a pap smear recently to know? Another downer to this vaccine is that there is also a 5-2% chance that Gardasil is not effective depending on the cancer that could develop; this is a very small chance but a chance none the less. My final point is that there is an indefinite time line as to how long the vaccine will be effective for. So who really knows when the vaccine will stop working? What is known, repeated inoculations over the course of 5 years for women within a small select age range from 9-26 are needed to make it effective. These are all facts that your doctor might already be able to tell you but, here is something that he/she might not know. All of these tests and stats have been conducted by Gardasil, the FDA has approved it. But the government or other authorities have not preformed their own separate testing yet. I do not doubt that Gradasil’s scientist know what they are doing but, my question is has the data been altered in some way? The only reason why I question this is because Merck, scientist that made Gardasil, produced an earlier product called Vioxx. Vioxx was supposed to reduce pain and help arthritis; however, it was taken off selves five years later because it was the cause of severe heart attacks and strokes. Merck hid the high risk of Vioxx from patients and doctors until the time of recall despite the warning from the US FDA about the marketing of Vioxx. So let me ask you this… Are you really covered?

I am sure everyone has seen the commercial that wants to make you believe that you are covered against cervical cancer. The commercial makes me think that they are more after our money than anything because it withholds very critical information about Gardasil. Gardasil even hands out free bags that contain some chocolate, fisherman’s friend, door hanger, condoms and coupon for Homesense but, there were no pamphlets that give any information about their product. Does Gardasil have something to hide this time?

What does all this have to do with Microbiology? HPV contains double stranded, circular DNA that codes for 12 genes. Two of these genes encode for proteins that make up the capsule (protein shell of virion), L1 and L2. Two code for the proteins E6 and E7 which disrupt the normal host cell cycle. The rest of the HPV genes mechanisms are unknown. In fact most of the HPV cycle is unknown because it is hard to grow viable colonies in lab. Although, studies have shown that the E6 and E7 protein translated by the host cell binds and degrade the tumor suppressor genes p53 and retinoblastoma. These tumor suppressor genes are responsible for maintaining the degree of growth and responding to growth ligands. Thus if these tumor suppressor genes are not functional it could result in the cell mutation and over growth of cells which could lead to cancer.

References:

http://www.fda.gov/cder/Offices/OODP/whatsnew/gardasil.htm

http://iafn.org/assembly/KMorgan%20Merck%20The%20Early%20and%20Long-Term%20Benefits%20of%20Preventing%20Low-Risk.pdf

http://www.bccdc.org/content.php?item=425

http://www.stanford.edu/group/virus/papova/HPV.html

http://www.adrworks.com/

Image from:

http://www.cartoonistgroup.com/store/add.php?iid=8829

1 comment:

Dominic B. said...

I have miwed feeling about this post...it's a good one...do not get me wrong!

This vaccine was on trial, like any other vaccines and drugs, and was so effective that scientists decided it was a real benefit. Is this marketing...probably in a way. Can it help...cetainly. We should not prevent a treatment that is so effective. I agree with you that anything adapts amd viruses will do just that.

Concerning Vioxx, this drug was NOT designed for long term use and was NOT approved for long term use....but it was used for long durations of time! This is a doctors problem in a way because they decided (so of them) to prescribe it for long term use.

For every drug there is a risk benefit and every patient should know that. It's the patients decision to take the drug or not...there is a shared responsibility that is often ignored. I was vice-president of a committee at Health Canada that addressed those issues and believe me, the public has to know about the risks....