Tuesday, May 20, 2008

New Zealand's Meningococcal Gold Rush

Another "Orchestrated litany of lies". New Zealand is good at those. For some other recent examples of how official New Zealand works, see here and here and here. For an update on New Zealand's original "orchestrated litany of lies", see here. To use an expression that would be understood in New Zealand: Everyone in government in New Zealand is "pissing in one another's pocket"


New Zealand's meningococcal disease story, as unravelled through analysis of previously secret documents obtained under the Official Information Act, reveals that the New Zealand government, media and public have been misled and manipulated by officials, advisors and scientists alike.

As a result of this manipulation, the government has committed an unprecedented 200 million taxpayer dollars to a mass vaccination experiment of 1.15 million New Zealand children with an untested and experimental vaccine. Despite being reassured by a bevy of pro-vaccine and vaccine manufacturer sponsored experts and none-less than the Minister of Health herself that the MeNZB(tm) vaccine is thoroughly tested and proven to be safe and effective, we reveal that Chiron's MeNZB(tm) vaccine was never used in the trials used to approve its license. We reveal that despite assurances, there is no evidence that the MeNZB(tm) vaccine will actually work as promised.

We believe that the magnitude of policy, regulatory and scientific misconduct is such that not only should vaccination with this vaccine be halted forthwith, but that the meningococcal vaccination program should be independently audited and the circumstances surrounding the development and implementation of the program subjected to a full Royal Commission of Inquiry.

In January 2002 the Minister of Health Annette King announced that "$100 million-plus" had been set aside to fund development and implementation of a vaccine to combat New Zealand's unique strain-specific meningococcal group B bacterium [1]

By May that year, following Ministry of Health negotiations with the preferred contract supplier, Chiron Corporation, that figure had become "a commitment of up to $200 million." [2] By September 2004 the sum of $250 million was being mentioned in parliament. [3]

In a July 7 2004 press release Ms King described the development and approval of the MeNZBT vaccine as `fantastic news.' She went on to explain that the MeNZBT vaccine had been "specifically developed with scientists from biotechnology company Chiron Corporation." Cabinet was told in 2001, immediately prior to approving the signing of the Chiron contract, that the deal included the "development of a unique or 'orphan' vaccine." [4]

Chiron's own press release declared they [Chiron] had specifically developed the vaccine. [5] The company quoted Ms King congratulating them "for their effort and dedication to this project."

But documents received under the Official Information Act reveal that the MeNZBT vaccine was not developed by Chiron Corporation. It was developed by the Norwegian Institute of Public Health. Chiron had bought the rights to mass manufacture and market the Norwegian meningococcal B vaccines in November 1999, nearly two years before the New Zealand government signed the initial contract with the company. [27]

Last March, in replying to a question in the House from National MP Dr Lynda Scott, the Minister of Health declared that $10.7 million has been spent on the development of the group B meningococcal vaccine. [49] While Cabinet papers, released under the Official Information Act, had most financial details censored as being commercially sensitive, it would appear that of the total $200 million cost, Chiron will net around a cool $140 million for developing and supplying the already developed vaccine. [28]

From the Norwegian perspective, the off-loading of their Norwegian specific vaccine to Chiron must have been a godsend given it had likely invested over a hundred million $US in double blind, placebo controlled studies involving 170,000 people and over 2,000 doctors and nurses for a vaccine that was never licensed for use in mass vaccination. (New Zealand's preliminary trials involved about 1,500 people and cost at least $7.8 million). In parliament on 19 October 2004 Ms King stated "[the Norwegian Government decision not to approve their vaccine for use] was ... based on the evidence they had, that it did not stack up in terms of cost-benefit, so they did not continue with it."

However The Lancet medical journal reported in 1991 that the Norwegian Institute of Public Health found that the large and robust clinical trials proved the vaccine to have insufficient efficacy to justify its use in a mass vaccination program. [6] The Lancet paper also contained data showing that the epidemic was waning naturally by the completion of the trials. The incidence had declined from peak levels by about 50%, similar to the natural decline that had occurred in New Zealand when the vaccine was approved.

More here

Hot humid weather causes aggression

Darwin heat has to be experienced to be believed

A NEW study has confirmed what people in the Top End [Northwestern Australia] have long known - soaring temperatures and overcast skies make tempers fray. Surgeons at Royal Darwin Hospital who analysed fracture rates found that so-called "mango madness", - a period of extreme weather tension that triggers violence as the wet season hits - is not just a myth.

An analysis presented at a medical conference in Hong Kong today showed fracture hospitalisations were 40 per cent higher in October and November when the Northern Territory had high temperatures with constant cloud cover and no rain. "It's also when the mango is harvested, so now it's official," said surgeon Mahiban Thomas. "When there are mangos in the markets there is madness in the streets."

The Northern Territory has one of the highest rates of alcohol consumption and violence in Australia. Almost 90 per cent of facial fractures admissions in the NT are caused by violence, the second highest rate after Greenland, which has extended periods of darkness.

Dr Thomas and his colleagues mapped monthly hospitalisations over 12 years to 2006 and compared them with historic weather data on temperature, humidity, rainfall, and sunshine. Most months had 15 to 20 admissions but there were consistently more than 30 in October and November when daily minimum temperatures at night were highest, humidity peaked and the rainfall and sunshine hours were lowest. "Hot nights spell trouble when there's all that warmth but no rain to relieve it and bring the tension down," Dr Thomas said. "We can't do anything about the weather but now we've proven the trend we can at least be prepared for it when October rolls around."

Psychologist Mathew Brambling, of Queensland University of Technology, said the findings added to growing international proof that weather, particularly heat and lack of sunshine, affected mood. Suicide rates were known to rise in heat waves, while shorter, dark days could affect the secretion of certain neurochemicals involved in mood, giving rise to a condition called seasonal affective disorder (SAD). "In tropical climates, there's a combination of these heat tensions that affect the way the brain works and influences irritability and impulsiveness for violence," Dr Brambling said.


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