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Cries the antivaxxer: “Vegans, don’t take a COVID-19 vaccine because it uses horseshoe crab blood!”

Antivaxxers are now urging vegans not to use a COVID-19 vaccine because blood from horseshoe crabs will be used in its manufacture. This is no different than their weaponization of beliefs against other vaccine ingredients.

When I was trying to decide what to write about today, the obvious choice was the new nonsense that popped up a couple of days ago, namely the pivot of Donald Trump’s sycophants, toadies, and lackeys from pushing the antimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine (a drug for which the randomized clinical trials being published over the last couple of months have been uniformly negative) to treat COVID-19 to pushing oleandrin, a potentially toxic extract from oleander, by founder and CEO Mike Lindell and—surprise! surprise!—former neurosurgeon and Presidential candidate and now Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson, whose propensity for quackery and pandering to antivaccine pseudoscience I’ve documented before. (Carson is a perfect example of why intelligent people are not necessarily skeptics and most physicians are not scientists.) Why? Because apparently there is a preprint (i.e., not peer-reviewed science) concluding that oleander extract can kill SARS-CoV-2 in Vero cells. (Never mind that there are no animal or human data.) However, I was too slow, as Steve Novella and Skeptical Raptor are all over this, and even Anderson Cooper gained many props for slicing and dicing Lindell as a “snake oil salesman” and for having a serious conflict of interest (Lindell is on the board of directors of the company that makes the extract) live on CNN, leaving little left for me. True, that’s never stopped me before (and I might still come back to this topic), but I tend to like to take on topics no one else notices, which brings me to antivaxxers and horseshoe crabs.

Yes, horseshoe crabs.

Over at that wretched hive of scum and antivaccine villainy, Age of Autism, I came across this remarkable post urging vegans to be wary of any potential COVID-19 vaccine because of horseshoe crabs in a post entitled Will Vegans Reject Covid Vaccine that Drains Horseshoe Crabs of Their Blood?:

Note: Can you be a Vegan, a true Vegan who does not consume animal products, and take a COVID vaccine that calls for the ex-sanguination of horseshoe crabs? What’s the difference between the cruel existence of veal, and hooking horsehoe crabs to a machine that drains their 30% of their blood, if when they are returned “home,” many die? Is taking any product that knowingly harms animals hypocritical? If you have never seen horseshoe crabs in the wild, you should. We used to see them often on Cape Cod. They are mesmerizing, ancient creatures.

At this point, a regular reader might be wondering: Why do pharmaceutical companies harvest the blood of horseshoe crabs to use for vaccines? In fact, I wondered that very thing and was rather amazed that I hadn’t known about this particular practice, even after having written about vaccine safety issues for over 20 years. So here’s why. There is a substance in the blood of horseshoe crabs, limulus amebocyte lysate, that can be used to detect endotoxin, a toxin that is a component of the bacterial wall of gram-negative bacteria. (Gram-negative or gram-positive refers to the ability of a species of bacteria to take up and thus be stained with Gram stain when prepared for viewing on a microscope slide.) Endotoxin is a lipopolysaccharide (LPS) consisting of lipid A and something called the O-polysaccharide, which allows bacteria to adhere to certain tissues and contributes to resistance to being engulfed by certain immune cells. The lipid A portion of LPS is the cause of the molecule’s endotoxin activity, as immune cells in humans and animals recognize it as an indicator of the presence of bacteria and activate an immune response to it, no previous exposure to endotoxin required. Thus, endotoxin can cause a robust inflammatory reaction and is the most potent contributor to septic shock in patients with gram-negative sepsis.

This brings us to the reason why this extract from horseshoe crab blood is so important:

Due to the severe consequences of an infection, an injectable healthcare product such as a vaccine or intravenous solution must be sterile or free of live bacteria, but the manufacturing process to kill any bacteria can result in release of LPS or endotoxin into the product. Just as with a bacterial infection or sepsis, if sufficient endotoxin gets into our blood stream or spinal fluid we can develop fever, shock, and organ failure. In extreme cases, it can even result in death.

Therefore, injectables or implantables, products that come in contact with the blood stream or spinal fluid, are tested for sterility (the absence of live bacteria) as well as endotoxin. Testing for endotoxin helps assure product quality and safety.

So you can see why testing to make sure that endotoxin is eliminated from a vaccine, a medical device, or any injectable product is so important. How is this product used? An article by Alexis Madrigal from 2014 published in The Atlantic describes how. After waxing poetic about how horseshoe crab blood is blue, not red, Madrigal goes on to describe how the blood is used to detect endotoxin:

The marvelous thing about horseshoe crab blood, though, isn’t the color. It’s a chemical found only in the amoebocytes of its blood cells that can detect mere traces of bacterial presence and trap them in inescapable clots.

To take advantage of this biological idiosyncrasy, pharmaceutical companies burst the cells that contain the chemical, called coagulogen. Then, they can use the coagulogen to detect contamination in any solution that might come into contact with blood. If there are dangerous bacterial endotoxins in the liquid—even at a concentration of one part per trillion—the horseshoe crab blood extract will go to work, turning the solution into what scientist Fred Bang, who co-discovered the substance, called a “gel.”

“This gel immobilized the bacteria but did not kill them,” Bang wrote in the 1956 paper announcing the substance. “The gel or clot was stable and tough and remained so for several weeks at room temperature.”

If there is no bacterial contamination, then the coagulation does not occur, and the solution can be considered free of bacteria. It’s a simple, nearly instantaneous test that goes by the name of the LAL, or Limulus amebocyte lysate, test (after the species name of the crab, Limulus polyphemus).

The reason the crabs’ blood is blue is because it uses copper in a protein called haemocyanin instead of iron in hemoglobin to bind oxygen. So there really is a precedent for calling Vulcans “blue-blooded”!

But why, you ask, did evolution endow the horseshoe crab with the ability to make coagulogen? The best guess is this. Horseshoe crabs live in a bacteria-rich environment near the shoreline, and their circulatory systems made the evolution of such a system advantageous. In 1956, the aforementioned Fred Bang noted that when horseshoe crab blood comes into contact with endotoxin, cells called amebocytes clot and form a solid mass. He later speculated:

And that bacteria-rich habitat is why, Bang speculated, the crabs evolved their marvelous chemical defense. Their circulatory systems work more like a spider’s than like ours. If we inhale something bad, that thing has to find its way through our bodies and into our bloodstreams, fighting its way through our white blood cells along the way. But if bacteria find their way under a horseshoe crab’s exoskeleton, they can roam free to do damage.

“Large sinuses exist that allow blood direct contact with tissues,” the Woods Hole Marine Biological Laboratory’s history of the crab explains. “There are many wide open spaces and bacteria entering a crack in the shell of a horseshoe crab have easy access to large internal areas of the crab, a potentially deadly scenario.”

The coagulogen changes the wide-open terrain of the horseshoe crab’s circulatory system. When the crab blood cells sense invaders, they release granules of the chemical, which becomes a gooey physical barrier to the movement of the bacteria, preventing the spread of infection. The best metaphor might be the superpower of the X-Men’s Iceman, but instead of using cold to encase enemies, the horseshoe crab instead uses its remarkable chemistry.

A description of how Bang discovered limulus can be found here. In brief:

Bang was studying the circulation of blood using horseshoe crabs when he found that one of his crabs died as a result of a Vibrio bacterial infection. The infection caused a strange disease in which almost the entire blood volume of the crab clotted into a semi-solid mass. Other bacteria had not produced this sort of reaction at all. Bang began to investigate further and found that only gram-negative bacteria produced this reaction. Furthermore, heat-treated bacteria (dead bacteria) continued to produce the reaction so it wasn’t a pathological disease but something different.

Isn’t science cool? Isn’t evolution awesome? Imagine a chemical made by an organism that can react with another molecule at such low concentrations and basically immobilize it. Evolution’s done that for the humble horseshoe crab! And scientists figured out what the chemical is and how to use it to keep injectable medications and implantable devices safe.

Horseshoe crabs being bled
Horseshoe crabs being bled.

Of course, like most antivaccine propaganda, there is a grain of of a reasonable point buried in the spin and exaggeration, the main question being: Why do we still use horseshoe crab blood to obtain the necessary molecule? Why haven’t we been able to come up with a substitute or figure out a way to synthesize the chemical without bleeding millions of horseshoe crabs, resulting in the deaths of a not-insignificant number of them? After all, aside from the ethical problems with bleeding a half a million crabs a year to isolate a useful compound, a very practical issue is that horseshoe crab blood is currently one of the most expensive resources in the world, costing around $60,000 per gallon (around $15,581 per liter, for the rest of the world). Worse, around 10-30% of the crabs don’t survive after bleeding, as the bleeding appears to render the bled animals more lethargic, slower, and less likely to follow the tides the way that their untouched counterparts do.

In fact, it turns out that there is a substitute. In 2016, a synthetic alternative to the use of horseshoe crab blood, recombinant factor C (rFC), was approved as an alternative in Europe, and a handful of US drug companies also began using it, as was described in National Geographic in July in an article about how horseshoe crab blood will be critical to making a COVID-19 vaccine. The article also noted:

But on June 1, 2020, the American Pharmacopeia, which sets the scientific standards for drugs and other products in the U.S., declined to place rFC on equal footing with crab lysate, claiming that its safety is still unproven.

This is, of course, a valid issue. If the recombinant rFC is good enough for Europe, whose drug and medical device regulation is as stringent as that in the US, why isn’t it good enough for the US? Certainly, it must be far less expensive and labor-intensive to manufacture the necessary component to detect endotoxin using recombinant methods than it is to bleed over a half million horseshoe crabs a year and then isolate the compound from the blood. Worse, as several articles noted, a combination of overharvesting and bleeding is resulting in a decline in horseshoe crab populations, which are a vital food source for migratory birds and critical to the ocean ecosystem. It is a legitimate question to ask why we’re still isolating this vital compound in such a barbaric manner, but that’s not really what antivaxxers are about here. What they’re about here is spreading fear, uncertainty, and doubt about any potential new COVID-19 vaccine that uses the LAL test to verify that it is free of bacteria and endotoxin. It’s about demonization, not education.

This co-optation of the story of how horseshoe crab blood is used to make a test that can detect minute traces of endotoxin in injectable drugs and using that story to try to convince vegans not to vaccinate is just a variation on a theme of a technique that antivaxxers have been using since long before I started paying attention to these issues. They take a belief system and then find an ingredient or something about vaccines that they can use to try to convince those with that belief system that vaccines are against what they believe. Examples abound, mostly with religious beliefs. For example, antivaxxers have long tried to convince Muslims and Jews that the gelatin derived from pigs that is used in some vaccines makes vaccines irredeemably against their religions, even though Rabbis and Islamic scholars have long pointed out that there is a reasonable exception for vaccines. Indeed, Rabbis and Jewish medical experts actively encourage Jews to be vaccinated, and Islamic legal scholars have rejected the claim that the use of gelatin from “impure animals” is against Islam. Another example of how antivaxxers try to weaponize beliefs against vaccines is their persistent drumbeat of attacks on the use of cell lines derived from human fetuses in the 1960s to grow up stocks of virus to be used in the manufacture of vaccines in order to turn those whose religious beliefs against abortion against vaccines, a phenomenon I’ve written about more times than I can remember. It doesn’t matter that vaccines made using these cell lines have saved millions of lives and prevented billions of cases of infectious disease or that the Catholic Church itself has stated that their use is morally acceptable because the proximate good that vaccines do far outweighs the distant evil of the derivation of the cell lines used to make certain vaccines. Every year, it seems, antivaxxers find new and more ridiculous ways to try to weaponize antiabortion beliefs against vaccines.

The bottom line is that most antivaxxers are not vegan and that these antivaxxers don’t give a rodent’s posterior about horseshoe crabs. One also wonders whether they know or care about the implications of what they are saying. After all, it’s not just a COVID-19 vaccine that would use the LAL test to check for endotoxin that vegans would have to eschew if they accepted the “logic” of this antivaccine post by the wandering band of scientifically illiterate cranks at AoA. They would have to eschew nearly all IV fluids, injectable medications, implantable devices, and, yes, vaccines, given how widely the LAL test is used. They would, in fact, have to give up a huge swath of modern medicine.

On second thought, maybe antivaxxers do realize the implication of their arguments.

By Orac

Orac is the nom de blog of a humble surgeon/scientist who has an ego just big enough to delude himself that someone, somewhere might actually give a rodent's posterior about his copious verbal meanderings, but just barely small enough to admit to himself that few probably will. That surgeon is otherwise known as David Gorski.

That this particular surgeon has chosen his nom de blog based on a rather cranky and arrogant computer shaped like a clear box of blinking lights that he originally encountered when he became a fan of a 35 year old British SF television show whose special effects were renowned for their BBC/Doctor Who-style low budget look, but whose stories nonetheless resulted in some of the best, most innovative science fiction ever televised, should tell you nearly all that you need to know about Orac. (That, and the length of the preceding sentence.)

DISCLAIMER:: The various written meanderings here are the opinions of Orac and Orac alone, written on his own time. They should never be construed as representing the opinions of any other person or entity, especially Orac's cancer center, department of surgery, medical school, or university. Also note that Orac is nonpartisan; he is more than willing to criticize the statements of anyone, regardless of of political leanings, if that anyone advocates pseudoscience or quackery. Finally, medical commentary is not to be construed in any way as medical advice.

To contact Orac: [email protected]

53 replies on “Cries the antivaxxer: “Vegans, don’t take a COVID-19 vaccine because it uses horseshoe crab blood!””

re evolution:
horseshoe crabs were used to study lateral inhibition which is extremely relevant to human visual perception.

@ Denice: I remember learning this while in neuroscience grad school and thinking how cool that was, and then seeing some limulus in the shallows near Cold Spring Harbor while attending a conference there. It’s pretty amazing the stuff we can learn from “simple” (no living creature or even single-celled organism is “simple”) invertebrates (I admit I could be biased since my dissertation was on neuro-cellular loci of associative learning in the California sea snail). Very sad that all anti-vaxxers look for is anything to exploit to push their crappy and dangerous agenda.

They spawn during the highest tides in May or June along Delaware Bay attracting thousands of shorebirds from the Atlantic flyways. see.Google/ Bing images

Anti-vaxxers say anything to get attention: Orac has catalogued their references to the Holocaust and racism. I am especially displeased with their appropriation of Me Too and feminist memes Their mis-information makes women look uneducated and backward, even though women are now more likely to finish university degrees, have high admission rates to medical and law school and achieve better positions in business.

I propose a law ( like Scopie’s): if someone tells you that vaccines cause autism, it’s enough to dismiss them. ( maybe Gorskon’s Law?) . .

They’re not even an example of carcinisation. I get the horseshoe part, due to the curved outline, but I now I want to know why they’re called crabs.

If I were to hazard a guess, I would say they were named at a time when biological categorisation wasn’t as developed as it is now, and an animal with a shell and legs living in the intertidal area was simply called a crab, regardless.

I know a lot of vegans, and hardly a one is THAT much of a purist. Most (many perhaps) make reasonable and occasional exceptions, especially for medical reasons or for things that don’t involve killing the animal, like the occasional egg/artisan cheese, or knitting with wool from humanely-raised sheep.

Still, I would like to see the US adopt the European stance. It IS a horrific practice and a terrible threat to the environment, so thanks for a comprehensive and rational explanation of al this.

Yes, it IS a terrible practice. But it was developed to replace a even more expensive and more error-prone test that was used to detect endotoxins before the LAL test came along.
Endotoxins are pyrogenic, they cause fever, and not just in humans, but in all mammals.
So before the LAL test, rabbits were held in lab conditions and injected with the injectable-to-be-tested. If they developed an increase in body temperature, as defined in the pharmacopeia, compared to a control group, the injectable would fail the endotoxin test.
Now, tell me, which of these methods causes less harm to animals?

As a relatively recent vegan, I have wrestled with the ethics of the use of animal products in drugs, vaccines and the like and the use of animal testing. I’d like to see this eliminated if possible but until such time, I’m going to go ahead and use these products. If that makes me a hypocrite and an insufficiently pure vegan then so be it.

@ Raghu Mani

“I’m going to go ahead and use these products. If that makes me a hypocrite and an insufficiently pure vegan then so be it.”

That does not make you a hypocrite. We all have limitations, and in this specific case, there are other issues than vegan orthodoxy at stake.

I’m no vegan. More like a rabid meat eater. I acknowledge my limitations: without incentive, I’ll have a hard time matching my “nature” with what I know to be moral: eating less meat, for one. So I endorse pushing for gradual adjustments, by legislation if necessary, to slowly push meat out of our dishes. I do not make it a personal issue, but a collective one. I’m no hypocrite: I know where I stand.

Making reasonable accommodations without sacrificing your ideas is no hypocrisy.

That’s the odd thing–people act as though there is a Vegan Law and a police force to enforce it. It’s a lifestyle/diet choice and each individual decides how far to take it–there is no Bible for it. Why is this so difficult and why do omnivores so relish mocking and attacking it at every turn?

The other day I had a few bites of some food a new neighbor generously shared at a small get-together (there is no Covid where I live and we were socially distanced and outdoors). The food contained a small amount of meat. Later I was called to task at length by another guest who knows I’m vegetarian for my “sin”. This is exactly why some vegans go all-in just to avoid such harrasment.

Actually, there’s plenty of blame to go around. There are many vegans who are hyper-rigid about their ethical decisions and very judgmental about people who they feel have fallen short. And there are omnivores who feel the mere statement of a vegan’s ethical principles amounts to a personal attack on them. Hence the desire of some people to snipe at vegans in various ways.

I generally take the opinion that animal exploitation (outside of being horribly cruel to the animals) is one of the biggest threats to human civilization due to its contribution to climate change and its potential to generate novel and deadly pathogens. The way I see it, any act by an individual to reduce their consumption of animal products should be applauded and encouraged rather than being viewed negatively because it does not go all the way. The way I see it, three people reducing their intake of animal products by one third each has exactly the same effect as one person going vegan – and is a lot more achievable in practice.

However, for most people, some rigid lines must be drawn. Otherwise, it is all too easy to backslide given all the temptations people are exposed to. For me, I will not consume any animal product unless not doing so impacts my health in some way. So, if a vaccine uses animal products in its manufacture or if a drug has been tested on animals, I will take it if it is necessary to safeguard my health. What I do not do is to insist that others draw the line in the exact same place that I do.

While there are sane vegans/ vegetarians like brainmatterz and Raghu Manu, there are, as Raghu Mani notes, some who are “hyper-rigid” and “very judgmental” about backsliders and omnivores. I hope that they are the extreme exception but I hear the worst from a well-known woo-meister – carnivores are “vampires’ who ingest blood and “ghouls” who eat dead bodies. Milk products cause “disgusting” reactions – phlegm, drool, smell etc ( PRN videos about diet).

Actually, I attempted being a vegetarian as a university student and it was hard to maintain but my friend – whose whole family, save her, were born in Italy- knew how to create better meals with vegetables ( probably because her aunt was a brilliant chef from Naples who taught her) and kept it up longer.

While I doubt I’ll ever go ‘whole hog’, I haven’t had red meat for decades, I eat poultry and fish/ seafood and one or two vegetarian dinners a week ( mostly ravioli, tortellini, falafel/ humus or dosa)

@ brainmatterz

“Why is this so difficult and why do omnivores so relish mocking and attacking it at every turn?”

I’ve seen it go both ways.

In recent french news: criminal lawyer turned minister of justice wrote a book while not (at the time) a politician lambasting animal activists. The guy is known to be outspoken to the point of excess, but the social media backlash from people that he did not specifically criticize indeed is way over the top.

There are politicization and hysteria on top of the legitimate vegetarian/vegan issues, as well as violent activists. Not everyone is as smart nor well-behaved as Peter Singer…

Which doesn’t stop me from endorsing most positions I’ve witnessed Peter Singer taking… as well as endorsing, occasionally, “violent” activists.

Just one other thing to add. There is so much poison in the vegan/omnivore debate that I generally avoid it altogether. The only times I have jumped in is when someone repeated a bad argument in an attempt to criticize vegans – like “vegans are responsible for so many insect deaths”, “plants are living beings too”, “fake meat is terrible for you”. On most of these occasions, it has not gone well.

@ Raghu Mani

““plants are living beings too””

This one is hilarious, indeed. In french, it is known as “Le Cri de la Carotte”. Which translates as “The Squeal of the Carrot”.

This expression has been used over and over in France to discredit vegans that it has become synonymous of the bad faith of anti-vegans.

It even has its own Wikipedia entry

After waxing poetic about how horseshoe crab blood is blue,

The short version is, crustaceans use copper instead of iron in their hemoglobin-analog.

It’s funny, I did had the occasion to do the LAL reaction as a young student at the university, but I forgot about it and couldn’t figure out the link with vaccines until I read Orac’s explanation.

But why, you ask, did evolution endow the horseshoe crab with the ability to make coagulogen?

To go a little deeper on this, as explained in the OP, arthropods don’t have a fully closed circulatory system – we have blood and lymph, each with their own vessels, with the lymph also bathing all of our organs, arthropods only have an all-purpose hemolymph in an open circulatory system . Also, arthropods didn’t develop the adaptative wing of the immune system (B/T-lymphocytes and antibodies) that we vertebrates are enjoying.
Since they manage to fend off bacterial infections, obviously evolution went a different way. It further developed the innate immune system, instead. Starting with other ways than antibodies to impede the progress of pathogens.
The ability to coagulate hemolymph is actually shared with other arthropods. Diptera like drosophiles and hemiptera like bees do it as well. Although in their case just nicking their cuticle is enough to start the reaction, it is not as LPS-specific as the Limule. As far as I know. There are some protein cascades more likely to be activated with some types of bacteria than others, or by the presence of viruses.
Plus, it would be really time-consuming to gather industrial levels of blood/hemolymph from drosophiles. You only get half a microliter per individual.

My daughter, yes, the one who is studying quackupuncture and traditional Chinese quackery, is a very strict vegan for ethical reasons, won’t eat almonds because they have to be pollinated by commercial beehives, nonetheless gives me a pass for the two bovine heart valves that I have had for over a decade. I haven’t discussed horseshoe crab blood with her, and I have no doubt that she would find it appalling, as I do, but I don’t think that would stop her from recommending or getting a COVID vaccine.
Meanwhile, I have asked my thoracic surgeon that when, not if, new valves become necessary, that if at all possible they should be printed ones.

Leonard Sugarman, of course she knows that. She is scientifically literate enough to understand that. What she doesn’t want is for those animals to be decomposing due to humans having killed or otherwise mistreated them.
Much of what I see and read gives me pause. In Japan, there are restaurants where live animals are dismembered right at the table, including frogs and squid (which are probably more intelligent than we know right now). The BBC website had a story about the egg farms that are not living up to their humane agreements with nonprofit monitors or the companies they supply. These are not isolated cruelties either, just a few among a multitude of mistreatments of animals.
Maybe the solution is Douglas Adam’s “main dish of the day” from “The Restaurant at the End of the Universe” which if you haven’t read the entire Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series, you must begin to do before sunset, or sunrise, depending on where and when you’re reading this.

Well done, Raghu Mani; I’ve been refraining from doing somewhat better myself.

It not only wants to be eaten but is also perfectly capable of telling you so:

The Ameglian Major Cow (also referred to as the Dish of the Day) was one example of a race of artificially created, sentient creatures which were bred to want to be eaten

He had some things to say about vegetables that did not want to be eaten… But, I digress.

r/MakeMeSuffer the poor things.

I wonder on the logistics and technique/required skill of such a large scale folding, strapping, sticking, dripping operation. {The two pairs of feet visible (on the left edge) look like patterened pajama stockings. “Mom, not now!!! If I’m late again, the buisness factory will spank me.}

Europe said Thalidomide was safe to use when the US (Thank you Frances Kelsey) did not. That said, I would certainly be happier with a substitute for crab blood, because losing 30% of them seems a high price to pay, not knowing how that will effect the environment in the long run. Wouldn’t stop me from getting a vaccine, though.

And some times EU regulations tie themselves in knots: they don’t want to use human-derived material (contamination risk and ethics problems) but they don’t want recombinate because “GMO scary” and it’s like, dude, these are the two options, pick one!

The linked Atlantic article laments that if their blood becomes not precious again then they’ll just go back to being conch bait. So there is that. But do they really have to be folded over with their noses in their butts for the process?? Could they not instead be anesthetized and given a light squeeze to speed things up?

do they really have to be folded over with their noses in their butts for the process?

Ah, that’s because in arthropods the main blood vessel and the heart are in the back, where we vertebrates keep our spine. Also, the torso of arthropods only has room for muscles and leg joints, all their internal organs are in their abdomen.
Our body plans are reversed that way, it’s quite fascinating.
Picture a blood tap in limule like a spinal tap in humans. Humans in full plate armor, with the helmet welded onto the torso.

For example, antivaxxers have long tried to convince Muslims and Jews that the gelatin derived from pigs that is used in some vaccines makes vaccines irredeemably against their religions, even though Rabbis and Islamic scholars have long pointed out that there is a reasonable exception for vaccines.

And, as been noted before, kashrut only applies to food in the first place.

Plus, many Jewish people believe refusing vaccines violates the principle of pikuach nefesh. Of course, understanding that would require antivaxxers to look past their own navel.

“Thank you Fred Bang, your research continues to amaze!”
As does your continuing unwillingness/inablitiy to do the same.

I await with bated breath the inevitable eventual melding of antivax CT and QAnon, which will claim that the COVID 19 vaccine is produced using byproducts from the cannibalization of infants by Satanist Democrats/Deep-Staters/Celebrities (oh right, that’s redundant) for the purpose of obtaining an immortality potion and/or pizza sauce. OK, I made up the pizza sauce part, but the real QAnon people are apparently serious about the Jupiter Ascending and/or Marvel’s Runaways-esque plot-line.

It’ll get more clicks than worrying about crabs (double entendre intended).

the real QAnon people are apparently serious about the Jupiter Ascending

Somebody should start feeding them Kenneth Anger films.

Somebody should start feeding them Kenneth Anger films.

That would be a very bad idea. Seriously, could you imagine the homophobia they could add to their already toxic stew?

I’ve never known exactly what to make of Anger myself – his association with Bobby Beausoliel kinds creeps me out – but then being unsettling is part of his schtick… I might have actually read that dissertation had I ran across it 15 years ago, but these days I don’t have the bandwidth.

Seriously, could you imagine the homophobia they could add to their already toxic stew?

Well, maybe a very carefully edited Fireworks could be be deployed somehow. Think about it: The Democratic convention ended with what? Exactly. So either they’re for fireworks or against them.

Pizza sauce starter* is resereved for the succumbed ones. They are first tortured and terrorized while drained (like a crab) for the production of adrenochrome which is purported to be a hell of a drug.

For conspiracy theorists, adrenochrome represents a mystical psychedelic favored by the global elites for drug-crazed satanic rites, derived from torturing children to harvest their oxidized hormonal fear—a kind of real-life staging of the Pixar movie Monsters, Inc. “QAnon also likes to say that Monsters, Inc. is Hollywood telling on itself,” says QAnon researcher Mike Rains, “because the plot of scaring kids to get energy is what they really do.”

*speaking of, “Well damn. Ma!! Thick crust or thin?? We’re out of pineapple.”

adrenochrome which is purported to be a hell of a drug

Mitzi, take the Fear and Loathing in Los Vegas stuff elsewhere.

I used to read/ listen early to discover what woo-meisters and anti-vaxxers were up to and then watch/ read reliable news sources to clear my head from the BS, CT but nowadays IT’S SPREAD . Nowhere is safe.
I recently asked my SO if he knew what Q was : he didn’t ( surprising because he follows so much news) so I enlightened him in detail and he thought that it was from outre sources like NN or PRN; .no, it was from MSN and NBC.

Apophenia “a tendency to mistakenly perceive connections and meaning between unrelated things”

Possibly illustrated by the overworked, densely string-connected white board flow charts as seen in A Beautiful Mind in which the protagonist saw connections that didn’t exist because he was delusional..

@ DB:

Actually, we could use that film’s chart as a model of what alties do:
they connect the dots because they perceive a serendipitous resemblance or affinity between disparate sets of events or conditions which are at most peripherally related**
As an illustration, anti-vaxxers, believe in a connection between the administration of vaccines and the “onset” of autistic characteristics – which is in reality merely TEMPORAL- despite the fact that many complex multinational studies show no relationship ***

Similarly, woo-meisters create collages of somewhat related experimental results to make their case which would never past muster in standard research. HOWEVER dodgy journals will publish nearly anything and they will be quoted by other partisans who are, creating their own assemblages or Rube Goldberg contraptions. If you ask most people what word first comes to mind if you say, “Dog”, average people will most likely say, “Cat” but people with SMI might say, “Horse’ or “Newspaper” because those seem related to them

BUT YOU KNOW THAT! ( Lurkers may not).. .

**Statisticians can, of course, draw Path flow charts to determine how strong correlations between multiple variables really are
*** Jain et al:( 2015) younger siblings whether vaccinated or not developed autism at a rate of 7% if their older brother was autistic AND younger siblings developed autism at a rate of 1% whether vaccinated or not if the older sibling was not autistic. The relevant variable is older brother’s dx NOT vaccination status. Over 80,000 Ss, all boys
Also Ozonoff’s research about regression, loss of skills, etc showing time lines. . ..

The worst thing about vaccines made with horseshoe crab blood is the concealed incidence of skin hardening and darkening in vaccine recipients. Some have even developed spines and a scuttling gait, due to DNA transfer!

Why is this being covered up by Fauci, Offit and Big Pharma???!?

Something about the name QAnon kept bothering me until I dug this out of my memory: Nothing new under the sun.
To my ear, Q-Anon sounds like some sort of Mike-Pence-y thing to 12 step, or maybe goose step, people into “converting” to straight.
Meantime, I think I will start looking for people to join me while I post as LGBTQ-Anon, as soon as I can find a good counter-conspiracy to promote. How about a sinister plot to turn us all not only straight, but broomstick-up-the-ass-Mike-Pence-sexy-as-housedust straight?
I still remember him declaring that he was a Christian first, a conservative second. and a Republican third, and he was not declaring a succession in his views.Christian, okay, lots of people are, and some of them are good people, I assume, but nowhere in his first three was “American”, a serious lack for someone who wanted to be the VP, or the number one on my list, “father and husband”.
And when will Q-Anon get around to denouncing the baby-eating Bishop of Bath and Wells?
Now it’s time to go watch the episodes of “P-Valley” that I’ve DVRed, and joyfully imagine the nightmares Mike Pence and “mother” would have if they watched it.

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