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Sunday, October 23 2016
The Flu Fighters
The Flu Season

We are coming up on flu season and with it we will be getting the requisite recommendations from various mass media sources to get the flu vaccine to prevent the flu this coming winter.  Presently about 40% of adults get the flu shot.  Worldwide about 1 million people die of the flu each year, and here in the U.S. there are 200,000 hospitalizations and death rates in the U.S. range from 3,000 to 49,000 annually.


Flu Facts

Ninety-five percent of the deaths attributed to the flu each year worldwide occur in people aged 65 or more. In April of this year a study from Yale University suggests that death from influenza in older people may be more related to our bodies damaging response to the flu and not the virus itself.  To understand why, the research observed differences in the way our immune cells react to the virus when we are older vs when we are younger.  The key difference was the secretion of key antiviral proteins called interferons and they were significantly decreased in an older population.  Therefore, this diminished response led to unchecked viral replication and led to an inflammatory response that increased mortality.  The conclusions from the study is that the immune system in older people was unable to activate a specific white blood cell called a neutrophil to further activate an anti-inflammatory enzyme known as inflammasome caspases. 


Every year in February the World Health Organization publish a consensus on what they think will be the predominant flu strains for the coming year.  Pharmaceutical companies inoculate these viruses into 11-12 day old embryonated eggs which are incubated for 48 hours, then opened and the virus laden allantoic fluid is extracted.  This fluid is treated with chemicals such as beta propiolactone or formaldehyde to inactivate the viruses.  This fluid of attenuated viruses is then combined with adjuvants like antibiotics and other additives.  Those additives could be mercury or aluminum.  It takes as many as three eggs to produce a single dose of a flu shot.  To make an annual stockpile of 150 million doses, drug makers go through as many as 500 million eggs.  Sanofi Adventis earns about 2 billion dollars per year from their Fluzone vaccine This chart by the CDC (Center of Disease Control) gives a breakdown of the standard flu shots ingredients:

The elimination of toxic chemicals and heavy metals in all vaccines including the flu shot is something that has been on radar of alternative doctors concerned about the side effects they may have.  Aluminum and Mercury are known neurotoxins. The National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program reports payout of more than $944 million dollars to 1,124 individuals with injuries caused by flu vaccines between 2006 and 2014.  In those years there were almost 1.08 billion doses of flu vaccine.  It is unclear whether it was the viral antigens or the adjuvants and contaminants that caused the problems however, it seems logical to me that the injury rate would be further reduced with vaccines without adjuvants and without the actual virus, even in an attenuated state. 



An Innovative Alternative

A less toxic alternative to the conventional flu shot is made by a biotech company in Connecticut called Protein Sciences.  Their flu vaccine called Flublok has no heavy metals, no adjuvants, no eggs, no gluten, no latex, no formaldehyde and no antibiotics in it.  And most amazing, it has no viruses in it!  Produced using a recombinant DNA method, it eliminates the risk of bacterial contamination, adjuvant exposure and egg allergens.  Their recombinant method involves inserting a gene for

viral hemagglutinin (HA), a key binding protein which the flu virus uses to attach to respiratory cells-into the genome of cell cultures derived from the caterpillar. The gene transfer is done with an insect baculovirus, and once seeded, the rapidly dividing caterpillar cells generate large volumes of HA with the viral protein in it. This HA saline solution when injected into humans triggers our immune system to recognize the viral protein rather than an attenuated virus.  Compared with egg based methods, there is far less resource input, and produces far more of the antigenic protein.  The other advantage is time.  The egg based system requires a six-month production schedule which might mean that in the event scientists were incorrect in predicting which flu strains to be problematic, it would be too late to reverse course.  This happened in the winter of 2014-2015.  With Flublok, as long as the DNA sequence for the targeted viral protein is known, scientists can reprogram the caterpillar cells to produce the required antigen within a two-month turnaround time.  This technological breakthrough by Protein Sciences got FDA approval in 2013. Kaiser Permanente, when comparing the two types of vaccines, found that the antigen content of Flublok was three times higher than the conventional shot. In another study Flublok had a higher HA antibody response of about 15-30% when measuring two out of the three viral strains tested and equal effectiveness in the third.       



The Yale study that found those who had adequate ability to generate interferon, had greater resistance to the flu, is more in line with what chiropractors and natural health practitioners have been saying for decades about flu prevention.  Taking anti-oxidants like vitamins C, E, and D, along with bioflavonoids, zinc etc., or getting adequate amounts in your diet can naturally bring up our bodies defenses including our production of interferon. 



The biotech company Protein Sciences has advanced the science of immunology and vaccines.  Even though I philosophically lean away from flu vaccinations, I hope their methods are licensed out to other pharmaceutical companies for other vaccinations. Flublok is approximately twice as expensive than a traditional flu shot, but in terms of safety it is worth it.  If someone absolutely had to have a flu vaccine, Flublok is the only one I could recommend with a clear conscience. 

Posted by: Dr. Paul Goldstein AT 08:54 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email

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