Posts Tagged ‘Health risks’
Garbage viruses and DNA in vaccines
Vaccines are currently produced using fertilized chicken eggs, cell culture or a combination of egg and cell culture. An ‘attenuated’ vaccine is created from a pathogen by reducing its virulence, but still keeping it viable, in contrast to those produced by ‘killing’ the virus (inactivated vaccine). Inactivation is done by selecting non-pathogenic strains of the pathogen after treatment such as heat or cold culture, or targeted deletion of virulence genes.
Many live attenuated vaccines are produced using cell culture. A number of such vaccines have been found to contain not only the live attenuated viral pathogen but also contaminating viruses or viral nucleic acid . These contaminants are garbage, and people administering such vaccines should inform patients of potential risks associated with the garbage. Recently, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) acknowledged the contamination of the live attenuated rotavirus vaccine (to prevent traveller’s diarrhoea) and suspended the vaccine, but later decided that the benefits of the vaccination outweigh potential contamination risks . The FDA opinion is premature because the circovirus contaminating the vaccine is active in replication, transcription and translation of viral genes and able to produce toxic products. Contaminated vaccines are not isolated cases, they are widespread.
BY CAREY GILLAM, Reuters
Are US regulators dropping the ball when it comes to biocrops?
COLUMBIA, MISSOURI — Robert Kremer, a US government microbiologist who studies Midwestern farm soil, has spent two decades analyzing the rich dirt that yields billions of bushels of food each year and helps the US retain its title as breadbasket of the world.
India’s environment minister, Jairam Ramesh, blocked the release of a genetically modified eggplant made by Monsanto. — Reuters
Mr. Kremer’s lab is housed at the University of Missouri and is literally in the shadow of Monsanto Auditorium, named after the $11.8-billion-a-year agricultural giant Monsanto Co. Based in Creve Coeur, Missouri, the company has accumulated vast wealth and power creating chemicals and genetically altered seeds for farmers worldwide.
But recent findings by Mr. Kremer and other agricultural scientists are raising fresh concerns about Monsanto’s products and the Washington agencies that oversee them. The same seeds and chemicals spread across millions of acres of US farmland could be creating unforeseen problems in the plants and soil, this body of research shows.
Mr. Kremer, who works for the US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Research Service (ARS), is among a group of scientists who are turning up potential problems with glyphosate, the key ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup and the most widely used weed-killer in the world.
“This could be something quite big. We might be setting up a huge problem,” said Mr. Kremer, who expressed alarm that regulators were not paying enough attention to the potential risks from biotechnology on the farm, including his own research.
Concerns range from worries about how nontraditional genetic traits in crops could affect human and animal health to the spread of herbicide-resistant weeds.