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Opinion

Vaccine Control Group – The Mind Renewed with Julian Charles

Julian Charles of The Mind Renewed podcast interviews Diny Fielder-van Kleeff from The Vaccine Control Group.

We are joined by the author Diny Fielder-van Kleeff, co-founder of the Vaccine Control Group—or, more fully, the SARS-CoV-2 Vaccine Control Group—for an in-depth interview on the aims and objectives of this intriguiging and potentially highly significant “community cooperative” study.

“The Vaccine Control Group is a worldwide independent long-term study that is seeking to provide a baseline of data from unvaccinated individuals for comparative analysis with the vaccinated population, to evaluate the success of the Covid-19 mass vaccination programme and assist future research projects. This study is not, and will never be, associated with any pharmaceutical enterprise as its impartiality is of paramount importance. The VaxControlGroup is a community cooperative, for the people. All monies raised will be re-invested into the project and its community.”—VaxControlGroup

https://www.themindrenewed.com/interviews/2021/1446-int-197

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Publications

“He who pays the piper calls the tune”: Researcher experiences of funder suppression of health behaviour intervention trial findings – PLOS ONE

Background
Governments commonly fund research with specific applications in mind. Such mechanisms may facilitate ‘research translation’ but funders may employ strategies that can also undermine the integrity of both science and government. We estimated the prevalence and investigated correlates of funder efforts to suppress health behaviour intervention trial findings.

Conclusions
One in five researchers in this global sample reported being pressured to delay, alter, or not publish the findings of health behaviour intervention trials. Regulation of funder and university practices, establishing study registries, and compulsory disclosure of funding conditions in scientific journals, are needed to protect the integrity of public-good research.

http://archive.today/2021.08.26-220224/https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0255704

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News

Health researchers report funder pressure to suppress results – Nature

Government agencies such as health departments might be more inclined to intervene if findings from a study they commissioned are not as expected or if they are heavily invested in the health intervention — such as an education or health programme — being trialled, she adds.

A 2016 inquiry into the delayed publication of research commissioned by UK government agencies identified cases in which publication was “manipulated to fit with political concerns”. More recently, the British Medical Journal reported four instances of politicization and suppression of science in the United Kingdom during the COVID-19 pandemic.

http://archive.today/2021.08.20-134039/https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-021-02242-x

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News

Genetically engineered ‘Magneto’ protein remotely controls brain and behaviour – The Guardian (2016)

Article from 24 Mar 2016

Researchers in the United States have developed a new method for controlling the brain circuits associated with complex animal behaviours, using genetic engineering to create a magnetised protein that activates specific groups of nerve cells from a distance.

https://www.theguardian.com/science/neurophilosophy/2016/mar/24/magneto-remotely-controls-brain-and-behaviour

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Publications

Time to assume that health research is fraudulent until proven otherwise? – BMJ

Stephen Lock, my predecessor as editor of The BMJ, became worried about research fraud in the 1980s, but people thought his concerns eccentric. Research authorities insisted that fraud was rare, didn’t matter because science was self-correcting, and that no patients had suffered because of scientific fraud. All those reasons for not taking research fraud seriously have proved to be false, and, 40 years on from Lock’s concerns, we are realising that the problem is huge, the system encourages fraud, and we have no adequate way to respond.

http://archive.today/2021.08.21-072242/https://blogs.bmj.com/bmj/2021/07/05/time-to-assume-that-health-research-is-fraudulent-until-proved-otherwise/

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Publications

Biosafety Level Guidance for COVID-19 Research – Consolidated Sterilizer Systems

A Biological Safety Level (BSL 1, 2, 3, or 4) is assigned to a biological lab as a safeguard to protect laboratory personnel, as well as the surrounding environment and community.

With research into potential treatments, therapies and vaccines for the SARS-CoV-2 virus (known widely as the COVID-19 Coronavirus) exploding across the globe, many institutions and laboratories are wondering whether their equipment and lab are considered safe to contain samples of the virus. As discussed in our previous blog on biosafety levels, airborne transmissible diseases like COVID-19 are typically categorized as Biosafety Level 3 (BSL-3).  BSL-3 laboratories are almost always purpose-constructed containment laboratories, outfitted with specialized equipment and HVAC systems designed to ensure no airborne particles can exit the contained space.

https://consteril.com/biosafety-level-guidance-covid-19-research/

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Publications

Interim Laboratory Biosafety Guidelines for Handling and Processing Specimens Associated with Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) – CDC

This guidance is intended for clinical laboratory and support staff who handle or process specimens associated with COVID-19. Guidance for Point-Of-Care Testing can be found here.

All laboratories should perform a site-specific and activity-specific risk assessment and follow Standard Precautions when handling clinical specimens. See Biological Risk Assessment: General Considerations for Laboratories

Refer to List Nexternal icon on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) website for EPA-registered disinfectants that have qualified under EPA’s emerging viral pathogens program for use against SARS-CoV-2.

Cultures of SARS-CoV-2 should be handled in a Biosafety Level 3 (BSL-3) laboratory using BSL-3 practices, and inoculation of animals with infectious wild-type SARS-CoV-2 should be conducted in an Animal Biosafety Level 3 (ABSL-3) facility using ABSL-3 practices and respiratory protection.

Suspected and confirmed SARS-CoV-2 positive clinical specimens, cultures, or isolates should be packed and shipped as UN 3373 Biological Substance, Category B.

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/lab/lab-biosafety-guidelines.html

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Opinion

The ex-Pfizer scientist who became an anti-vax hero – Reuters

Michael Yeadon was a scientific researcher and vice president at drugs giant Pfizer Inc. He co-founded a successful biotech. Then his career took an unexpected turn.

https://www.reuters.com/investigates/special-report/health-coronavirus-vaccines-s

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News

How the British Government subjected thousands of people to chemical and biological warfare trials during Cold War – The Independent (2015)

During the Cold War, the British Government used the general public as unwitting biological and chemical warfare guinea pigs on a much greater scale than previously thought, according to new historical research.

In more than 750 secret operations, hundreds of thousands of ordinary Britons were subjected to ‘mock’ biological and chemical warfare attacks launched from aircraft, ships and road vehicles.

Up until now historians had thought that such operations had been much less extensive. The new research, carried out by Ulf Schmidt, Professor of Modern History at the University of Kent, has revealed that British military aircraft dropped thousands of kilos of a chemical of ‘largely unknown toxic potential’ on British civilian populations in and around Salisbury in Wiltshire, Cardington in Bedfordshire and Norwich in Norfolk.

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/how-british-government-subjected-thousands-people-chemical-and-biological-warfare-trials-during-cold-war-10376411.html

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Publications

Why Most Clinical Research Is Not Useful – Prof. John Ioannidis

Many clinical research studies, even in the major general medical journals, do not satisfy the identifiable features that make them useful. These features include:

  • problem base;
  • context placement;
  • information gain;
  • pragmatism;
  • patient centeredness;
  • value for money;
  • feasibility;
  • transparency.

Most clinical research findings false. Further, most of the true findings do not result in huge human benefit. Reform and improvement in the clinical research are overdue.

See also: Peer review: a flawed process at the heart of science and journals by Richard Smith at the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine

Quoted summary points

Blue-sky research cannot be easily judged on the basis of practical impact, but clinical research is different and should be useful. It should make a difference for health and disease outcomes or should be undertaken with that as a realistic prospect.

Many of the features that make clinical research useful can be identified, including those relating to problem base, context placement, information gain, pragmatism, patient centeredness, value for money, feasibility, and transparency.

Many studies, even in the major general medical journals, do not satisfy these features, and very few studies satisfy most or all of them. Most clinical research therefore fails to be useful not because of its findings but because of its design.

The forces driving the production and dissemination of nonuseful clinical research are largely identifiable and modifiable.

Reform is needed. Altering our approach could easily produce more clinical research that is useful, at the same or even at a massively reduced cost.

https://journals.plos.org/plosmedicine/article?id=10.1371/journal.pmed.1002049

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News

Neil Ferguson, the scientist who convinced Boris Johnson of UK coronavirus lockdown, criticised in past for flawed research – The Telegraph

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/03/28/neil-ferguson-scientist-convinced-boris-johnson-uk-coronavirus-lockdown-criticised/