"House of Representatives I am grateful to this committee
for allowing me to address the issue of vaccine safety. I am Dr. Howard B.
Urnovitz. In 1979, I received my doctorate degree in Microbiology and Immunology
from the University of Michigan, where I studied vaccines. I am testifying
today as the Scientific Director of the Chronic Illness Research Foundation.
For the record, I am also the chief science officer of a biotechnology corporation.
My testimony will describe the insights of recent scientific studies into
the health consequences of exposing individuals to both toxic and foreign
biologic materials, particularly multiple bacterial and live virus vaccines.
The conventional wisdom concerning the use of vaccines needs to be reconsidered,
taking into account the adverse medical effects that vaccines can have on
the human body. Vaccine science must evaluate not only acute adverse side
effects, but also possible associated chronic illnesses such as learning
and behavior disorders, Autism Spectrum Disorders, intussusception, arthritis,
cancer, diabetes, chronic fatigue syndrome, multiple sclerosis, autoimmune
thyroiditis, and other chronic health problems. These chronic illnesses are
increasingly costly to society in both human and financial terms.
By year's end, the Chronic Illness Research Foundation and its research
colleagues will have published four peer-reviewed papers on the genetic
basis of four different chronic diseases: vaccine associated human cancers,
Gulf War Syndrome, multiple sclerosis, and AIDS. The implications of these
findings for vaccine safety are:
It is known that our genetic blueprints for life, received from our mother
and father, create new genetic material, allowing each individual to cope
with toxic environmental exposures. Research needs to focus more intensely
on precisely how the body handles the unprecedented level of gene-damaging
substances in our air, water, food and even some medicines. These substances
range from infectious agents, both natural and vaccine-related; pesticides,
herbicides, petroleum byproducts and other synthetic chemical hazards; and
physical hazards such as radiation. Regarding vaccine safety, I suggest
the initiation of serious inquiries into the following research areas:
- The human body retains a genetic memory of the foreign substances
to which it has been exposed, including viral and bacterial vaccines;
- Each individual responds to foreign substances differently,
based on his or her own unique genetic background;
- There appears to be a limit on how much foreign material to
which the human body can be exposed before some level of genetic damage occurs
and a chronic disease initiates.
- How do genes change in response to vaccines, and what are the
chronic consequences of these changes?
- What are the acceptable limits of dose, age, timing, and combinations
of vaccines that the body can handle? (Not only with respect to their ability
to create an immune response to the infectious agent, but also with respect
to their acute and chronic health effects.)
- How might we minimize vaccine adverse effects on our genome
through life style, diet, and pharmaceutical intervention?
- How can we repair or minimize the effects of genetic damage?
Today, we are beginning to understand the indirect mechanisms
that link toxic exposures and chronic disorders. Unfortunately, efforts by
scientists to explore fully the possible negative effects of vaccines mandated
by public policy has been met with stiff resistance by public health agencies.
Let me give you two examples of vaccine programs that are underway that lack
a solid scientific foundation. First, several of my colleagues and I currently
have a peer-reviewed paper in a major medical journal due out in September
that contains the medical profile of a woman who died from a mysterious case
of AIDS. Over several years, her laboratory tests showed a consistent pattern
of negative or indeterminate HIV-1 blood antibody tests.
However, when an alternative fluid test was used, she was HIV-1 antibody
positive in her urine. The virus was eventually isolated from this woman
and sequenced. This HIV-1 variant came to be known as HIV-1 Group O. Analyses
of the viral genetic material suggest that the virus originated, in part,
from genetic reshuffling of human chromosomal material. HIV-1 could have
serious consequences with respect to the initiation of autoimmune diseases.
To put it simply, are we embarking on a course that will vaccinate people
against their own genes?
The second example concerns the intensive effort to create a vaccine for
the hepatitis C virus. If you read the literature very carefully, you will
find that, while there is a strong marker for the disease, there is no hard
scientific evidence to support the existence of a hepatitis C virus. Clearly,
a non-A, non-B hepatitis disease exists, but the science behind an associated
virus is weak at best. As a scientist I am compelled to ask, how can we vaccinate
people against a disease-causing agent that has not been fully characterized?
Protecting the public against vaccine related chronic diseases is and will
be a difficult task. Not only must researchers meet the scientific challenges,
but increasingly they also must battle the politics of science. Research
is showing that our understanding of chronic diseases, as illustrated by
my two examples, often is seriously inadequate. Because the issue of vaccine
safety involves both policy and science, the public needs to be better represented
in the decisions made by public health agencies. In this realm, where science
and politics collide, Congress should take a more active role in representing
the public interest during the formulation of public health policies.
On the issue of informed consent: Had my mother and father known that the
poliovirus vaccines of the 1950s were heavily contaminated with more than
26 monkey viruses, including the cancer virus SV40, I can say with certainty
that they would not have allowed their children and themselves to take those
vaccines. Both of my parents might not have developed cancers suspected
of being vaccine-related, and might even be alive today. Government, industry,
and medicine should embrace the ethical principle of informed consent about
possible adverse reactions associated with vaccines.
I appreciate the opportunity to discuss with you my research findings that
span a quarter of a century. I will continue to work with my colleagues
to unravel the links between toxic exposures and chronic illnesses. While
others seek to map the human genome, our goal is to study the detours the
human body's genes must take to survive in an increasingly toxic environment.
I ask that the full text of my statement be submitted for inclusion in the
record of this hearing.