An Interview With Research Immunologist Tetyana Obukhanych PhD, part 2

Part 2 of 3

Catherine J Frompovich

Dr. Obukhanych’s passion is educating herself and others about immunity. One of Tetyana’s ways of doing that is teaching small one-on-one-type classes in Menlo Park, California to help parents make their own informed vaccination decisions (http://naturalimmunity.blogspot.com). Her classes cover the ‘waterfront’ on vaccine issues and include: if, and when do, vaccines prevent and not prevent disease—something probably disputed by many; dangers in vaccines, especially the effects of aluminum, a neurotoxin and adjuvant in many vaccines that might be sensitizing children to be allergy-prone; the principles and the flaw of the vaccine design; the lack of scientific knowledge of natural immunity (a very important topic for this interviewer) along with nutritional factors that lower susceptibility to disease—just to mention a few.

Catherine’s comments are in italics.
Dr Obukhanych’s comments are in normal font.

I’ve promised to address vaccine injuries. Let’s do it now.

The potential of a vaccine injury is a legitimate concern that people have when faced with vaccination. Databases of vaccine adverse effects (such as VAERS in the U.S. and similar databases in other countries) are replete with reports of complications that come in close temporal proximity to vaccine administration. These adverse effects range from numerous but seemingly small effects, such as inflammation at the side of injection or fever, to more rare but also more adverse or irreversible conditions, such as allergic reactions or Guillain-Barré syndrome to mention a few, to perhaps even more rare fatal cases.

How do public health officials approach the concerns of citizens about vaccine safety in general? They point to scientific publications that claim to have found no statistical associations between a certain vaccine and a suspected injury, despite case reports that have initially instigated such studies.

A typical statistical study that aims to look for an association between a certain vaccine and a certain adverse effect might answer the following question: can we find the association by looking at a limited and randomly selected pool of people from the general population? The answer quite predictably comes out as: no statistically significant association has been found that way. However, this is the right answer to the wrong question.

The question that should be sought instead: is the association likely to be found in a group of people who are similar (genetically, nutritionally, metabolically, immunologically, etc.) to the person who had suffered from an adverse effect?

Such studies are very expensive to execute, they are unlikely to be funded by governments / funding sources with biased vaccination agendas, despite the fortunes accumulated by vaccine sales. Therefore, such studies are simply not being performed.

What are the consequences for society of relying on the wrong type of study when addressing vaccine safety concerns?

The consequences are that important moderators (i.e. predisposing factors) to vaccine injuries are not being uncovered in time, a vulnerable segment of the population continues to be unnecessarily injured by vaccines, while references to the “lack of evidence” studies are being misused to silence the dissenters.

With our current state of research on vaccine injures, I will repeat this over and over again: lack of evidence does not constitute the evidence of lack.

Say the Establishment claims that the chance to develop a certain syndrome after a certain vaccine is one in a million, based on the frequency of previously reported cases.

If you understand the statistics, they say, then you understand that you have higher chances to get injured in a car accident, or get struck by lightning, or win a lottery, etc.

What they don’t tell you is that, if you understand the biology as opposed to mere statistics, then you understand that depending on particular predisposing factors which you might or might not have (and which you are not even made aware of due to the lack of research that would uncover such factors), your chances of getting a certain vaccine injury would be either close to nil or close to 100 percent.

As of now, we are totally in the dark regarding who will and who won’t suffer a severe vaccine injury and from which vaccine. No guarantees can be made. Basically, vaccinate yourself at your own risk.

Can you share information regarding the allegations that aluminum, which is in many infant vaccines, is toxic to the central nervous system, crossing the blood brain barrier?

I would refer you to the work of a neuroscientist Dr. Chris Shaw and his colleagues that will confirm your concerns about neurotoxic effects of aluminum (alum). This is not in my direct immunologic expertise to analyze.

I have to admit that Immunology is a very compartmentalized science. I personally belong to what we call “basic” immunology. Basic Immunology “supplies” the theory on how the immune system works when challenged with injected foreign antigens, based
on experiments in research animals. Our main interest and the scope of expertise are very restricted to understanding cellular and molecular mechanisms of artificial immune responses and antibody production. That’s it. As far as immunologists are concerned, aluminum salts are included into a number of vaccines as adjuvants that trick the immune system into antibody production. This is alum’s “desired” effect and this is all immunologists care about.

Immunologists do not “know” about alum’s neurotoxicity because they are not methodologically equipped to look at what happens in the animal (or human) overall, how other systems, especially the brain, are affected by immunization or by alum in particular. This is for another specialist to deal with. Sad, but this is the reality of science compartmentalization.

How do adjuvants in vaccines trick the immune system? What are the consequences of that ‘sleight of science’?

Alum’s adjuvant effect has been studied intensively only in the last 5-10 years, despite its use in humans since the 1920s. It appears that alum’s adjuvant effect depends on its ability to kill cells, its “cytotoxic” property. This cellular damage releases intracellular contents, such as DNA and uric acid into the extracellular space, which is now accessible to the cells of the immune system to act upon. This cellular damage is sensed by the immune system, which then initiates the immune response against a “foreign” protein that showed up in the context of such damage. Without alum and without damage that it creates, the immune system would simply disregard the injected foreign protein as innocuous and not make any antibodies against it. But since the whole point of vaccination is to induce antibody production, then whatever alum is doing to induce antibody production, is considered favorable.

Doctor, what a sham and shame!

I am not updated on the mechanisms of action of other adjuvants. Most of the oil-based adjuvants that we use in research animals are prohibited from the use in humans, because they induce very overt inflammatory reactions. But I am sure newer adjuvants destined for human use are in the pipeline and it will remain to be seen what side effects they induce for the sake of all-important antibody production.

Can you give us a quick ‘sound bite like’ tutorial on antibodies and why immunology places supposed efficacy in vaccines producing them?

The concept of antibodies evolved from the research on toxins, such as diphtheria or tetanus toxins. Initially, antibodies were referred to as ‘anti-toxins’—some mysterious entities that were appearing in the blood of toxin-injected research animals that could neutralize the pathological effects of those toxins.

I would like to mention that based on clinical research described in the book by Dr. Thomas Levy, Curing the Incurable, ascorbic acid would fall into the definition of an
“anti-toxin,” as it is known to effectively curb the symptoms of most toxin-mediated as well as infectious diseases when given intravenously at very large doses.

But immunologic research on anti-toxins went into a very narrow direction and led to the idea that anti-toxic ability is restricted to a certain class of immunoglobulins, which we now call antibodies.

Immunologists then realized that such “antibodies” could be raised not only against toxins, but also against practically any substance that is presented to the immune system in a certain way. Some of the requirements for such “immunogenicity” (i.e.—ability to induce antibody production) are: 1) a substance must be of non-self origin; and 2) it must be accompanied by a “danger” signal, usually provided by an irritating or cell-damaging substance called adjuvant or by pathogen-associated pattern molecules of bacterial or viral origin.

The science of Immunology then got caught up in uncovering excruciatingly minute details of antibody production process, none of which needs to be of interest to non-immunologists. Yet, most of the 20th century in basic immunologic research was devoted to this endeavor, encouraged and rewarded by numerous Nobel prizes. This only reinforced the notion of the importance of antibodies, creating the antibody-centered paradigm in immunology.

Needless to say, the sole purpose of vaccines is to raise antibodies that bind the microorganisms and toxins, based on the antibody-centered paradigm of protection. But seeing so many reports of disease outbreaks occurring in properly vaccinated individuals, as well as reports of the disease in vaccinated individuals with documented high titers of antibodies only reinforces my conviction that an antibody-centered paradigm needs to be re-examined with great scrutiny.

I agree totally with your assessment, Doctor, and the sooner the better.

If pertussis (whooping cough) is not a virus but a bacterium, how does that fit into the vaccine paradigm? Aren’t most vaccines formulated for viruses?

Oh don’t worry about such fine distinctions. I can make you a vaccine against anything you want, a vaccine against a peanut, if you want one.

Seriously speaking, the term “vaccine” is derived from a Latin word vaccinia (which stands for cowpox) and was originally referring only to the procedure of inoculation of a healthy individual with pus from a cowpox-infected individual. Later on this term was adopted to indicate injection of an attenuated virus or adjuvanted viral of bacterial proteins or toxoids in order to produce antibodies against the corresponding microorganisms or toxins. Pertussis vaccine fits into this definition, as it is composed of pertussis toxin and a few other bacterial proteins mixed with adjuvant.

In modern days, the word vaccine is used even more broadly. It is used to mean panacea. Immunologists are cooking up vaccination strategies against cancer, autoimmunity, or allergy. I wouldn’t be surprised if one day someone will be making an attempt to develop a vaccine against Alzheimer’s disease or even against autism.

To be continued in part 3.

Dr Obukhanych is currently in California, where she lives and teaches.
She offers classes on vaccines and natural immunity. Her classes are intended primarily for parents seeking to make more informed vaccination decisions for their children, but are open to anyone interested in vaccination issues. Her website is www.naturalimmunity.blogspot.com

Catherine J Frompovich is a retired natural nutritionist who earned advanced degrees in Nutrition and Holistic Health Sciences, Certification in Orthomolecular Theory and Practice plus Paralegal Studies.

Her work has been published in national and airline magazines since the early 1980s. Catherine authored numerous books on health issues along with co-authoring papers and monographs with physicians, nurses, and holistic healthcare professionals. She has been a consumer healthcare researcher 35 years and counting.

Catherine is an editor and writing consultant who helps authors get into publication. For numerous semesters she taught several writing courses for a suburban Philadelphia school district’s Adult Evening School. Her passion is assisting and guiding authors into print.

Catherine’s latest book, A Cancer Answer, Holistic BREAST Cancer Management, A Guide to Effective & Non-Toxic Treatments, will be available on Amazon.com and as a Kindle eBook sometime in July 2012.

Two of Catherine’s more recent books on Amazon.com are Our Chemical Lives And The Hijacking Of Our DNA, A Probe Into What’s Probably Making Us Sick (2009) and Lord, How Can I Make It Through Grieving My Loss, An Inspirational Guide Through the Grieving Process (2008).