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Über-quack Joe Mercola falsely claims that “legally” the Moderna and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines are not vaccines

Antivaxxers have been falsely claiming that the Moderna and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines are “gene therapy,” not vaccines. Now über-quack Joe Mercola is falsely claiming that the vaccines are, from a legal standpoint, not vaccines.

Earlier this week, I discussed one of the latest bits of antivaccine propaganda about COVID-19 vaccines. It goes like this. Because the two COVID-19 vaccine being distributed under an emergency use authorization (EUA) from the FDA, the Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines, are based on messenger RNA (mRNA) enclosed in lipid nanoparticles, antivaxxers have taken to claiming that they are not “really” vaccines at all, but rather gene therapy. One particularly brain dead iteration of this conspiracy theory claims that Moderna and Pfizer had their products labeled as “vaccines” in order to escape the more rigorous regulatory requirement that a gene therapy would require. An even more brain dead version claimed that the COVID-19 vaccines are in reality “medical devices” and that they were classified as vaccines to avoid the supposedly more onerous regulatory hurdles that medical devices must clear. (Never mind that medical device regulation is much more lax than regulation of drugs, gene therapy, or biologics and that it’s a major problem.) Somehow, though, when I was discussing this “COVID-19 mRNA vaccines aren’t really vaccines” bit of antivaccine disinformation, I forgot one, and that’s the claim that these vaccines aren’t “legally” vaccines at all. I now aim to rectify that oversight by examining an article by über-quack Joe Mercola entitled, appropriately enough, COVID-19 mRNA Shots Are Legally Not Vaccines.

Joe Mercola pulls a Humpty Dumpty

I know I’ve done this before, but, every so often, before I discuss an article on Mercola’s website, I have to make fun of this:

Mercola's "fact checked" disinformation about the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines.
Mercola “fact checks” articles the way drunks rely on streetlamp, for support, not illumination.

Yes, Mercola claims that his article is “fact checked,” as though that means anything when the “facts” he lists to support his conspiracy theories are strung together in a misleading fashion. After all, eery good propagandist knows that a lie will sound more convincing if it’s backed up with random “facts,” regardless of whether those facts actually mean what he claims that they mean. This is a recurring theme with this particular quack. When that fails, then another effective technique is to redefine words. It reminds me of the famous quote by Humpty-Dumpty in Lewis Carroll‘s Through the Looking-Glass:

“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.”

“The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.”

“The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master—that’s all.”

Basically, Mercola’s pulling a Humpty-Dumpty and defining the word “vaccine” as he pleases in order to be able to argue that COVID-19 vaccines are not really vaccines, either from a legal or scientific standpoint. Again, all master propagandists and spreaders of disinformation know that being bound by actual accepted definitions of words is too inhibiting. It’s a tried and not-so-true technique by propagandists to rely on narrow, carefully cherry picked word definitions, particularly legalistic ones, and then applying them to situations for which they were not intended. (Anyone remember falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus?)

A crank named David Martin returns to demonize Moderna and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines

Mercola starts with a very specific claim made by someone named David Martin, PhD about the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). We’ve met Martin before, and—surprise! surprise!—he featured prominently in the second conspiracy-fest of a propaganda film disguised as a documentary, entitled, boringly enough, Plandemic 2. It was the sequel to Plandemic, the video featuring antivaccine “scientist” and conspiracy mongered Judy Mikovits that went viral last May promoting a conspiracy theory that the COVID-19 pandemic is really a “plandemic” being intentionally fomented by global elites for purposes of…well, that’s never really been clear to me. Before I delve into Martin’s and Mercola’s claims, I think it’s worth recounting how Martin describes himself.

Martin is the founder of M-CAM International and describes himself thusly:

Dr. David E. Martin is the Founder and Chairman of M·CAM Inc., the international leader in innovation finance, trade, and intangible asset finance. He is the developer of the first innovation-based quantitative index of public equities and is the Managing Partner of the Purple Bridge Funds. He is the creator of the world’s first quantitative public equity index – the CNBC IQ100 powered by M·CAM. Actively engaged in global ethical economic development, Dr. Martin’s work includes financial engineering and investment, public speaking, writing and providing financial advisory services to the majority of countries in the world. Dr. Martin is the architect and founder of the Global Innovation Commons and is the author of the international legal framework for the Heritable Knowledge Trust and Heritable Innovation Trust programs. He has pioneered global programs to bring corporate and stock market transparency to multi-national extractive industries and has been instrumental in repatriating value to countries which have been subject to corporate and financial abuses. His work on ethical engagement and stewardship of community and commons-based value interests is at the forefront of global financial innovation. Dr. Martin is a Batten Fellow at the University of Virginia’s Darden Graduate School of Business Administration. He served as Chair of Economic Innovation for the UN-affiliated Intergovernmental Renewable Energy Organization and has served as an advisor to numerous Central Banks, global economic forums, the World Bank and International Finance Corporation, and national governments.

As I said at the time, if his role in Plandemic 2 was any indication, the man is a total crank, a conspiracy loon of the highest order, and I’d be highly skeptical of anything his company does. In the video included with Mercola’s article, he does nothing to disabuse me of that characterization of him.

“The Moderna and Pfizer COVID vaccines are not vaccines.” Yawn.

Now, back to the specific claim by Martin that Mercola is amplifying is this:

Did you know that mRNA COVID-19 vaccines aren’t vaccines in the medical and legal definition of a vaccine? They do not prevent you from getting the infection, nor do they prevent its spread. They’re really experimental gene therapies.

I discussed this troubling fact in a recent interview with molecular biologist Judy Mikovits, Ph.D. While the Moderna and Pfizer mRNA shots are labeled as “vaccines,” and news agencies and health policy leaders call them that, the actual patents for Pfizer’s and Moderna’s injections more truthfully describe them as “gene therapy,” not vaccines.

I discussed that interview with Mikovits in depth, in particularly the nonsense she was peddling about these vaccines being “gene therapy.” However, there was nothing explicit about these claims in that interview:

  • “By referring to COVID-19 vaccines as “vaccines” rather than gene therapies, the U.S. government is violating its 15 U.S. Code Section 41, which regulates deceptive practices in medical claims.”
  • “The mRNA injections are gene therapies that do not fulfill a single criteria or definition of a vaccine.”

That second part I dealt with in detail just three days ago. It’s utter and complete nonsense, a lie based on an intentional misrepresentation of how the CDC and FDA define what a “vaccine” is. Again, this link has the details. The CliffsNotes version is that nothing in the definition of a “vaccine” precludes using mRNA to induce the recipient’s own cells to manufacture the protein or protein fragment being used as an antigen to provoke an immune response. By any reasonable definition the COVID-19 mRNA vaccines are, in fact, vaccines. I’ll go into that again a little bit, but what Martin is doing is trying to use legal definitions to say that these vaccines are not “legally” vaccines, and they do that by deceptively weaving a tale about the designs of the clinical trials to claim that the vaccines were not “designed” to induce immunity:

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,1 a vaccine is “a product that stimulates a person’s immune system to produce immunity to a specific disease, protecting the person from that disease.” Immunity, in turn, is defined as “Protection from an infectious disease,” meaning that “If you are immune to a disease, you can be exposed to it without becoming infected.”

Neither Moderna nor Pfizer claim this to be the case for their COVID-19 “vaccines.” In fact, in their clinical trials, they specify that they will not even test for immunity. 

Unlike real vaccines, which use an antigen of the disease you’re trying to prevent, the COVID-19 injections contain synthetic RNA fragments encapsulated in a nanolipid carrier compound, the sole purpose of which is to lessen clinical symptoms associated with the S-1 spike protein, not the actual virus. 

They do not actually impart immunity or inhibit transmissibility of the disease. In other words, they are not designed to keep you from getting sick with SARS-CoV-2; they only are supposed to lessen your infection symptoms if or when you do get infected.

What amused me about this passage is that Mercola quoted exactly the same passage from the CDC website that I did in my explanation of why the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines are, in fact, vaccines. Truly, up is down, down is up, and nothing means anything any more, at least in antivax-land. First, this distortion focuses solely on the phase 3 clinical trial. The phase 1 clinical trial for the Moderna vaccine, for example, confirmed that the vaccine did indeed stimulated the production of neutralizing antibodies against COVID-19 in healthy adults. If it hadn’t induced the production of those antibodies, Moderna would not have been allowed to proceed to its phase 2 and 3 clinical trials! That’s because they designed a vaccine! Ditto Pfizer/BioNtech!

Think of it this way. The mRNA molecule included in the lipid nanoparticles used in both vaccines was expressly designed to produce the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. The spike protein is the protein that binds to the cell so that the virus can enter it and hijack its cellular machinery to make more virus, making it a very important protein in the virus. The entire rationale for choosing the spike protein is because, not only could it provoke an immune response against the virus, but having antibody bind to the spike protein would at the very least make it harder for the virus to get into cells! The only way you can claim that these mRNA COVID-19 vaccines aren’t vaccines is by forgetting how they are designed and why the mRNA encoding the spike protein was chosen in the first place. Of course, most people without a biomedical background don’t know how and why vaccine targets are chosen, and Mercola knows that most people don’t know.

Even the publication of the results of the phase 3 trials for the Moderna vaccine and the Pfizer/BioNtech vaccine in the New England Journal of Medicine shows Mercola’s deception. What Mercola is relying on is that most people don’t know the difference between primary and secondary endpoints in clinical trials. The primary endpoint of the Moderna phase 3 trial was “efficacy of the mRNA-1273 vaccine in preventing a first occurrence of symptomatic Covid-19 with onset at least 14 days after the second injection in the per-protocol population, among participants who were seronegative at baseline,” while the primary endpoint for the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine was “efficacy of BNT162b2 against confirmed Covid-19 with onset at least 7 days after the second dose in participants who had been without serologic or virologic evidence of SARS-CoV-2 infection up to 7 days after the second dose.” These are, of course, an entirely appropriate end points for vaccines that had already been demonstrated in phase 1 studies to generate an immune response against the virus they target. In other words, this deception works only if you ignore how vaccines are developed and the results of the earlier phase clinical trials showing that both vaccines did, in fact, generate robust immune responses. Mercola is, as he often does, lying. Either that, or he’s ignorant. Take your pick.

Mercola and Martin misrepresent laws and clinical trials!

To bolster (if you can call it that) the claim that the COVID-19 vaccines are not “legally” vaccines, Mercola and Martin cite the specific statutes cherry picked from state laws:

Now, if the COVID-19 vaccine really isn’t a vaccine, why are they calling it that? While the CDC provides a definition of “vaccine,” the CDC is not the actual law. It’s an agency empowered by the law, but it does not create law itself. Interestingly enough, it’s more difficult to find a legal definition of “vaccine,” but there have been a few cases. Martin provides the following examples:
  • Iowa code — “Vaccine means a specially prepared antigen administered to a person for the purpose of providing immunity.” Again, the COVID-19 vaccines make no claim of providing immunity. They are only designed to lessen symptoms if and when you get infected.
  • Washington state code — “Vaccine means a preparation of a killed or attenuated living microorganism, or fraction thereof …” Since Moderna and Pfizer are using synthetic RNA, they clearly do not meet this definition. Being a manmade synthetic, the RNA used is not derived from anything that has at one point been alive, be it a whole microorganism or a fraction thereof. The statute continues to specify that a vaccine “upon immunization stimulates immunity that protects us against disease …”
So, in summary, “vaccine” and “immunity” are well-defined terms that do not match the end points specified in COVID-19 vaccine trials. The primary end point in these trials is: “Prevention of symptomatic COVID-19 disease.” Is that the same as “immunity”? No, it is not.

Wait, there’s more nonsense:

Unlike real vaccines, which use an antigen of the disease you’re trying to prevent, the COVID-19 injections contain synthetic RNA fragments encapsulated in a nanolipid carrier compound, the sole purpose of which is to lessen clinical symptoms associated with the S-1 spike protein, not the actual virus. 

They do not actually impart immunity or inhibit transmissibility of the disease. In other words, they are not designed to keep you from getting sick with SARS-CoV-2; they only are supposed to lessen your infection symptoms if or when you do get infected.

Perhaps “Dr.” Mercola can tell me how else mRNAs producing spike protein to stimulate an immune response as demonstrated in phase 1 clinical trials could possibly “prevent symptomatic COVID-19 disease” if they don’t result in immunity? What is the biological mechanism, particularly considering that, as I recounted before, the mRNAs only have a half-life of less than a day and are gone within days and the spike protein produced doesn’t hang around more than a few weeks, tops?

The point about preventing spread is similarly deceptive. Did you know that not all vaccines prevent infection or spread of disease? For purposes of stopping the spread of disease, there are two different kinds of immunity that a vaccine can provide: Sterilizing immunity and immunity that is not sterilizing. Sterilizing immunity refers to immunity that prevents infection entirely, as Tara Haelle explains:

Current Covid vaccine trials are measuring how well the vaccine prevents Covid-19 cases — the actual disease with symptoms — but it’s possible for a vaccine to prevent a disease without preventing infection. Infection occurs when a virus successfully begins to replicate in the body, regardless of whether it causes symptoms. Disease refers to actually developing symptoms and experiencing cell damage from the infection.

In a perfect world, vaccines would induce sterilizing immunity, which means preventing infection: If the real virus enters a person’s body, the immune system reacts so quickly that the virus never has a chance to replicate. In reality, most vaccines don’t provide sterilizing immunity, but they do prevent disease and, often, transmission of the disease from one person to another. It’s not yet possible to know whether the Covid vaccines being developed will cause sterilizing immunity or whether they’ll prevent transmission. That’s why it will still be necessary to wear masks and continue social distancing for a while after people begin receiving vaccines.

Some vaccines also reduce the severity of the disease if a vaccinated person develops an infection anyway. The flu shot is a good example of this. Based on data so far, Moderna’s vaccine appears to prevent severe disease even in those who did get sick after vaccination.

Some vaccines do produce sterilizing immunity, for example, the smallpox and measles vaccines. Other vaccines, such as the hepatitis A vaccine, do not. Indeed, the classic example of a vaccine that doesn’t produce sterilizing immunity is the pertussis vaccine, which prevents disease but might not prevent a vaccinated person from acquiring the bacteria causing the disease and passing it on to others. That doesn’t make vaccines that do not produce sterilizing immunity any less “vaccines.” After all, preventing disease is the single most important purpose of a vaccine. Everything else is gravy, as they say, and studies are ongoing to determine if the Moderna and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines produce sterilizing immunity to SARS-CoV-2. Even if they do not, preventing severe disease would be exceedingly useful in decreasing the death toll of the pandemic, and, even if they produced immunity that only decreased the ability of a vaccinated person from acquiring and spreading the coronavirus, that would go a long way in dramatically slowing the spread of COVID-19.

As for the two state laws, anyone want to bet that they were written long before the development of newer forms of vaccines. I’d be willing to bet that Martin scoured every state’s laws, desperately looking for examples of ones that he could use to argue that COVID-19 mRNA vaccines are not “legally” vaccines and found only these two. (Certainly, if there were more, he would have used them.) And who cares about state laws anyway on this score? It’s what the FDA and CDC consider to be vaccines that matters, and, as I discussed before, by the FDA and CDC definitions of “vaccine,” the Moderna and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines are vaccines.

None of this stops Mercola and Martin from using their highly selective and deceptive definition of “vaccine” based on misrepresenting what vaccines are and do to promote this disinformation that Moderna and Pfizer are engaged in false advertising by calling their products “vaccines”:

As explained by Martin, 15 U.S. Code Section 41 of the Federal Trade Commission Act is the law that governs advertising of medical practices. This law, which dictates what you may and may not do in terms of promotion, has for many years been routinely used to shut down alternative health practitioners and companies.
“If this law can be used to shut down people of good will, who are trying to help others,” Martin says, “it certainly should be equally applied when we know deceptive medical practices are being done in the name of public health.”
Per this law, it is unlawful to advertise:
“… that a product or service can prevent, treat, or cure human disease unless you possess competent and reliable scientific evidence, including, when appropriate, well-controlled human clinical studies, substantiating that the claims are true at the time they are made.”

Again, the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines are in fact, by any reasonable scientific, medical, and legal definition, vaccines. “When I use a word, it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less,” indeed, which brings us to this passage:

Moderna’s SEC filings, which Martin claims to have carefully reviewed, specifies and stresses that its technology is a “gene therapy technology.” Originally, its technology was set up to be a cancer treatment, so more specifically, it’s a chemotherapy gene therapy technology. 

As noted by Martin, who would raise their hand to receive prophylactic chemotherapy gene therapy for a cancer you do not have and may never be at risk for? In all likelihood, few would jump at such an offer, and for good reason. 

Moreover, states and employers would not be able to mandate individuals to receive chemotherapy gene therapy for a cancer they do not have. It simply would not be legal. Yet, they’re proposing that all of humanity be forced to get gene therapy for COVID-19.

One. More. Time. These vaccines are not “gene therapy,” as I described in detail the last time I dealt with this nonsense. Nor are they “chemotherapy,” not even in the oldest classical definition of the word, “a chemical that binds to and specifically kills microbes or tumor cells.” Mercola and Martin are just pulling these words out of their nether regions because they know that they are so much scarier than “vaccine.”

The conspiracy behind COVID-19 vaccines?

But why? you are no doubt asking. Why would the CDC, FDA, FTC, Moderna, Pfizer, BioNTech, and the public health apparatus of every state in the US and of every nation scrambling to use these vaccines do this? Obviously, conspiracy mongerers gonna conspiracy monger; so obviously it must be all a big conspiracy. In the previous version of this conspiracy theory, referring to these vaccines as “vaccines” instead of gene therapy was designed to allow manufacturers to be subject to weaker regulation. (It doesn’t.) In this version, the “renaming” is for the purpose of “circumventing liability for damages that would otherwise apply”:

Circling back to where we began, COVID-19 vaccines are not vaccines. They are experimental gene therapies that are falsely marketed as vaccines, likely to circumvent liability. World governments and global and national health organizations are all complicit in this illegal deception and must be held accountable.

This relies on a very US-centric view of things. While it is true that the liability is less for vaccines issued in an emergency under an EUA, with claims of liability going to a different program than the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (NVICP), namely the Countermeasures Injury Compensation Program (CICP). As Dorit Reiss described, this program is much less generous than NVICP. However, this is just in the US, which is why I describe this conspiracy theory as very US-centric. It ignores the rest of the world, particularly the European Union and elsewhere, which is rolling out these vaccines under their own laws. And, yes, I agree with Dorit that it would be better if the new vaccines were covered under the NVICP, as that would encourage more confidence in them. Also, once the vaccines gain full FDA approval, they should be covered under the NVICP. However, none of this conspiracy theory is why these vaccines were called “vaccines.” They are called vaccines because they are vaccines, the regulatory complexities of their rollout notwithstanding.

Unsurprisingly, mixed into the whole stew of pseudoscience, misinformation, disinformation, and conspiracy theory are a number of common COVID-19 denialist and crank false claims, such as the false claim that COVID-19 is not dangerous (i.e., the “casedemic” conspiracy theory), and the false claims that the spike protein encoded by the mRNA in these vaccines contains sequences encoding HIV peptide sequences in it that will cause immune dysregulation and syncytin peptide sequences that will cause infertility and brain inflammation.

Unfortunately, if you don’t know anything about how vaccines are designed, tested in the laboratory before being tested in humans, the various phases of clinical trials necessary to demonstrate a vaccine to be effective and safe, or the difference between sterilizing and non-sterilizing immunity, you might well find Mercola and Martin’s cornucopia of disinformation compelling. Again, there are only two explanations for how Mercola could spread so much disinformation. He is either ignorant of all these things, or he is intentionally spreading disinformation about mRNA COVID-19 vaccines. Again, take your pick. I know that my pick is that it’s the latter, plus a healthy dose of contempt for his readership, who, he knows, is ignorant of most, if not all, of those things and will therefore eat up the conspiracy theories he and Martin are laying down.

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]

47 replies on “Über-quack Joe Mercola falsely claims that “legally” the Moderna and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines are not vaccines”

Remember on Seinfeld, when George had this conversation with his shrink?
“I thought you didn’t believe in God.”
“I do for the bad things!”

God, the legal arguments here are painful, as are the scientific ones.

The CDC is an agency, as is the FDA, but agencies that interpret the laws they’re entrusted with get quite a bit of deference for their interpretations. And both agencies are clearly see these vaccines as vaccines. That would carry weight.

In contrast, state law definitions, even if they helped him, would not be determinative on how the federal agencies define vaccines. And I don’t think either version would directly exclude an mRNA fragment that the body uses to create a presenting antigen. That does seem to fit.

And really, most vaccine trials look at rate of infection and not just titers, and most of them ask about preventing the disease. This is not unusual. And further, the early trials certainly measured the immune response.

Wow, this is bad.

When was the last time you did a breast biopsy or axillary node sampling? Hard to imagine you have anytime for cancer surgery with your abundance of punditry on two separate websites .

. . . but agencies that interpret the laws they’re entrusted with get quite a bit of deference for their interpretations. And both agencies are clearly see these vaccines as vaccines. That would carry weight. . . .

Gorsuch’s bete noire is Chevron deference and its ilk, so let’s see how long that holds up with this Supreme Court.

True, but right now he does not have much support. Thomas and Kavanaugh might agree, but if Barrett is really a Scalia disciple, he did not agree on that. He did have issues with Auer, but if anything, he argued for expanding Chevron by removing the Mead Mess.

So we will see. At any rate, even without Chevron, agencies get some deference. I don’t think any Justice supported no deference at all.

Washington is RCW chapter 70.290, establishing… wait for it…. The Washington Vaccine Association.

It’s even worse, given that these definitions apply only within the scope of the corresponding statutes.

This must mean that Mercola et al don’t want reports of any potential Covid-19 vaccine problems to be sent to VAERS or other vaccine surveillance systems. After all, you can’t blame stuff on vaccines if they aren’t legally vaccines.

Iowa code — “Vaccine means a specially prepared antigen administered to a person for the purpose of providing immunity.”

Welllll….noooo. If he’s gonna use an example of a law he might have found one that isn’t badly written. The antigen provides no immunity. It elicits a response that provides immunity.

I ran across something awhile ago, don’t recall where, that suggested that even the measles vaccine may not produce long-term sterilizing immunity. Apparently antibody assays have found that some people (no idea how many) showed blips in their measles antibodies, suggesting that they had in fact been infected with the infection triggering a fresh round of antibody production. Because measles seems to be able to produce infection with a small number of virions, it seems unlikely the blip would be due just to those few virions as opposed to some virus being replicated.

As I understand it, the tetanus vaccine doesn’t touch the bacterium at all but neutralizes the toxin produced by it (nice to be able to use “toxin” in the good old biological way).

Yup, but I’m wracking my brains trying to remember where it does its work — gotta be before the axons, right? Cytosol?

Unlike real vaccines, which use an antigen of the disease you’re trying to prevent, the COVID-19 injections contain synthetic RNA fragments encapsulated in a nanolipid carrier compound, the sole purpose of which is to lessen clinical symptoms associated with the S-1 spike protein, not the actual virus.

Maybe that is just poorly worded but it rubs me wrong. My initial impression from it was that he is portraying the “nanolipid carrier compound” as some kind of impact-lessening airbag. 🤦🏻‍♂️

…The company doesn’t even have a sign on its building. Until last year, it outsourced production of only small volumes of lipid nanoparticles, fat droplets used to deliver RNA into cells, for research and a single approved treatment for a rare disease.

But now, one of Acuitas’s discoveries has become a precious commodity. A proprietary molecule called an ionizable cationic lipid
.
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Moderna did not respond to a request for comment. The company, which makes the only other mRNA vaccine authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, invented its own ionizable lipid and also has been racing to build production capacity.
.
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Companies have had to build equipment from scratch, including machines that shoot two streams of solution — one containing mRNA and one containing lipids — into a high-speed collision to fuse the nanoparticles and encapsulate the genetic payload.
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Of the four lipids that make up the protective droplet, the ionizable cationic lipid is the one needed in the highest volume and is subject to restrictive patents held by Acuitas and a few other companies. Its electrical charge changes when it enters a cell, causing the mRNA payload to break free and deliver its instructions.
.
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“The pharmaceutical companies should have known that this was going to be a problem, and they should have started last year talking to the lipid companies, talking to the mRNA raw material companies, that they needed to scale up,”
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The raw materials supply chain also has been shrouded in secrecy relating to proprietary licensing deals and contract manufacturing arrangements.

https://www.washingtonpost.com./business/2021/02/18/vaccine-fat-lipids-supply/

Proprietary. ugg. Cue up the industrial espionage and the turf wars between the OG inventors, lipid cartels, Big Lipid {big == nano}, lipid bootlegers, and the inevitably bad lipid intellectual property lawyers’ antipiracy PSAs chiding the bad actors that “you wouldn’t download a virus…” {wait}

@Tim

My initial impression from it was that he is portraying the “nanolipid carrier compound” as some kind of impact-lessening airbag.

You are correct. It’s that Mercola and others are saying.

It’s their angle. Denying that the mRNA vaccine is working like other vaccines by presenting an antigen to the immune system, but instead works in some nebulous, mysterious, and of course nefarious ways.
An explanation which antivaxers are the only ones to produce and propagate.

It’s like I was explaining that a chainsaw is not a saw at all, but was working by pointing it at a tree and making the tree explode from the inside.
While everybody with an inkling of what a saw is, would recognize the moving parts of the chainsaw for a saw, and seeing the chainsaw in action, agree that it is indeed sawing through wood.

While everybody with an inkling of what a saw is, would recognize the moving parts of the chainsaw for a saw, and seeing the chainsaw in action, agree that it is indeed sawing through wood.

Modulo Forthman Murff. (I kid I knew in high school claimed that he was related.)

My bad; sb ‘demonstrates’ ; I’m sure Narad will correct me on that because I once had a cat that liked to retrieve the little red rings off milk bottles and drop them, every time, into a wicker basket I was rolling up pennys out of. Every time. Ted {transient electromagetic device} would never knock them over but just reach out and lightly touch them.

When he went missing, my poster actually said “likes to play with milk rings”. It is a little dark what I think happened to him… I had an argument at a ‘party’ where I reluctantly played safe ride for a friend and a guy there in JTF6 was bragging about his role in the Waco raid is what set me off. He had this high-voltage thingy on his steering wheel and I showed him how anyone can grab that with a wet paper towel. He was most saddened and mad because, damn, he paid alot for it. I mentioned that one cat was worthless for home defense but three were quite effective. We had words, I spun out his lawn, drove my friend home and the cat was gone the next day.

2 years later, at another questionable party, he arrived in his semi truck and asked me if I ever found my cat. I had grill duty, and managed to put all the flames out by spritzing beer from my mouth onto the coals. Only a couple ate the hot dogs and burgers that they percieved me to be basically spitting on… Even though it was his house, he just up and left in his semi and I never saw nor heard from him again.

the sole purpose of which is to lessen clinical symptoms associated with the S-1 spike protein, not the actual virus.

That’s so utter bollocks.
There are other vaccines – e.g. the HepB vaccine – which work by exposing the receiver to a single viral protein, and they do protect against the whole “actual virus”.

But of course, if these biology dropouts start by “forgetting” that the purpose of the mRNA in the mRNA vaccine is to make in situ the viral protein, as it has been explained a thousand times…

You might well get the impression that he has absolutely no comprehension of how the immune system and its components work, or that matter how the virus itself works. It would seem he thinks the spike alone is capable of causing “clinical symptoms” of concern. Does he think the virus shoots the spikes like little projectiles into cells? Of course the spike protein does cause some reaction which can carry some noticeable symptoms as the immune system sits up and takes notice.

I’m convinced that the people who wail about the mRNA vaccines have no idea whatever of the fact that every single virus is or gets made mRNA that gets translated by host cell ribosomes to virus proteins. People like Bigtree who would say “catch this cold” and have SARS-CoV-2 introduce its big mRNA self into cells and force those hapless cells to make 29 proteins get all aeriated about a vaccine that asks for just one protein to be made.

Does he think the virus shoots the spikes like little projectiles into cells?

Well I’ve always imagined viral infection as taking the form of a medieval siege, but that’s just me trying to grab a few moments of enjoyment out of this entire tragic business.

New drinking game. Take a shot every time Orac types “quack” or “quackery” on his keyboard. What a tool. No nuanced thinking on alternative medicine and a liar about many health topics. I guess extreme statements and polarizing articles from a douche bag, haughty pseuodscience (Orac) usually get more views though than a more moderate approach. Orac’s such a dork. Lmao

Here’s the funny thing. How much does anyone want to bet that, even if I were to adopt a more “moderate approach, “Ian” would still react very negatively to my deconstructions of quackery, pseudoscience, disinformation, and conspiracy theories. Just a hunch.

I’d say that’s a hunch you can take to the bank.
Types like that always make me think of the little cartoon of the agitated old codger that PZ uses at Pharyngula.

One wonders if he considers this when he calls people a sheep for listening to the “expert$”

I think if Ian had any evidence he would’ve posted that, instead of… well, whatever that was meant to be? Some sort of dry bowel movement? Even Gerg troll’s piddly plop-plops are more impressive, and that’s not saying a lot.

Of course, Mercola is fear mongering about Covid vaccines ( they’re so bad, they’re not even vaccines!) because he is advertising his latest book *The Truth About Covid …” ( see Mercola and Amazon websites) which will inform his followers all about vaccines, lockdowns, vaccine passports and other nightmarish scenarios just on the horizon.
His co-authors are Ronnie Cummins ( Organic Consumers Association) and RFKjr. ( CHD) who will most likely proselytise about lifestyle purity and health freedom respectively.

If you eat the right foods, take supplements and think good thoughts, you only have to worry about Covid if you’ re dying already ( PRN)
Mercola is a DO, he should know better.

Guess who just loves Mercola’s book.

https://www.organicconsumers.org/bytes/defying-censorship?utm_medium=email&utm_source=engagingnetworks&utm_campaign=OB%20696&utm_content=OB%20696&fbclid=IwAR2bJpALJgjGA7HPGDMVoEnvzn5d-GeR7HzIr04eeLAIZjNLXdPGV7bDYsA

In other news, Rolling Stone has a fairly good article about the intersection of QAnon and antivax loons such as Larry Cook.*

*the article downplays Rolling Stone’s complicity in getting the antivax conspiracy ball rolling with publication of RFK Jr.’s “Deadly Immunity” in 2005.

Among others who should know better: Paul Thomas M.D. authored a book called “Covid-19: Life-Saving Strategies The News Media Will Never Tell You”, which both patients and their doctors are urged to follow. From the Amazon blurb:

“In this book, you will discover: – The best type of immune-boosting diet. – Why a ventilator should only be used as a last resort. – 6 essential dietary supplements that support immunity and lung health (Hint: It’s not just about vitamin C). – 1 possible way to get a conventional doctor to administer vitamin C while you’re in the hospital. – Many other easy-to-implement key action steps to strengthen your immune system. This book provides a way to take your destiny into your own hands and dramatically increase your chances of staying healthy. The many scientific references included in the book also make it an ideal resource for health care providers.”

I’m not sure when Paul Thomas became an intensive care expert, but my impression has been that Covid-19 patients are not put on ventilators on a whim, but only when their respiratory status has deteriorated to a serious extent. But that’s probably just what They want me to think. As to faking out a “conventional” doctor in order to get vitamin C administered fin the hospital, I’m intrigued by what strategy Thomas wants us to follow. But not enough to buy the book (only $18.98 in paperback – a steal).

Why a ventilator should only be used as a last resort.

It is amazing how hard it seems to be to get through to people that if oxygen saturation is falling to dangerously low levels with less invasive methods, there ain’t a whole lot of options other than mechanical ventilation or ECMO. One guy who comments on CBC articles and gets things wrong a lot kept asserting that mechanical ventilation leads to brain and other organ damage. Well, yeah … it you don’t get oxygen sats up pronto, that does tend to happen.
From what I’ve read, with improvements in treatments vents really are a last resort now and if you need one your prognosis really is not good. I’ve seem some reports that ECMO can be better, but I can’t imagine that a lot of machines and perfusionists are just sitting in supply cupboards, waiting to be taken out and put to use.

~-~-~
Vitamin C and zinc paper: https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamanetworkopen/fullarticle/2776305
Vitamin D paper: https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3771318
via Dr. Daniel Griffin at TWiV

I know this isn’t on topic, but has anyone here read this CNN article on phthalates?: https://www.cnn.com/2021/02/20/health/baby-brain-damage-plastic-phthalates-wellness/

Obviously the headline is overdramatic, but I’m not sure if this is just fearmongering (since even the article itself appears to waffle about the quality of the evidence suggesting phthalates are dangerous) or if there’s actually something to it (since most of the people they quoted disagreeing with the claim are plastics industry spokespeople).

I tried looking into the Project TENDR they mention in the article, and it gives some sketchy vibes but doesn’t immediately throw red flags for me at least. Anyone here have more knowledge on the subject?

I tried looking into the Project TENDR they mention in the article, and it gives some sketchy vibes but doesn’t immediately throw red flags for me at least.

Junior gave them a hat-tip quick hummer, but it doesn’t look prima facie off the rails.

[…] I must admit that my first reaction to Mr. Heckenlively’s “v-gasm” was laughter. It’s just so foolish, and he can’t seem to make up his mind what metaphor he wants to use. Moreover, he soon veers into antivax tropes about the COVID-19 vaccines, including the claim that RNA can cause long term problems (it can’t) and that the vaccine causes “pathogenic priming,” a term generally only used by antivaxxers (indeed, it was coined by James Lyons-Weiler) to describe a phenomenon called antibody-dependent enhancement (ADE). ADE describes a phenomenon observed with some vaccines in which vaccination can result in a second infection being much more serious than the first. It’s thought to result from the binding of suboptimal antibodies that result in the virus being able to get into cells easier. When COVID-19 vaccines were being developed, ADE was a concern, and a not unreasonable one, but large phase 3 trials did not report it, and it hasn’t been demonstrated after tens of millions of doses having been administered. Basically, it’s a non-issue. Then, of course, Heckenlively also invokes the bogus claim that mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccines are not really vaccines at all. (They most definitely are.) […]

[…] I must admit that my first reaction to Mr. Heckenlively’s “v-gasm” was laughter. It’s just so foolish, and he can’t seem to make up his mind what metaphor he wants to use. Moreover, he soon veers into antivax tropes about the COVID-19 vaccines, including the claim that RNA can cause long term problems (it can’t) and that the vaccine causes “pathogenic priming,” a term generally only used by antivaxxers (indeed, it was coined by James Lyons-Weiler) to describe a phenomenon called antibody-dependent enhancement (ADE). ADE describes a phenomenon observed with some vaccines in which vaccination can result in a second infection being much more serious than the first. It’s thought to result from the binding of suboptimal antibodies that result in the virus being able to get into cells easier. When COVID-19 vaccines were being developed, ADE was a concern, and a not unreasonable one, but large phase 3 trials did not report it, and it hasn’t been demonstrated after tens of millions of doses having been administered. Basically, it’s a non-issue. Then, of course, Heckenlively also invokes the bogus claim that mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccines are not really vaccines at all. (They most definitely are.) […]

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