May 3, 2009
By Christina England
Around the world this week there was great excitement as headlines announced that scientists have discovered rogue genes that could unlock the riddle of Autism. Three studies have identified genetic links to Autism. Findings suggest that flaws in proteins are present in 15% of cases. These proteins play a huge part in shaping brain connections and the way cells communicate.
Common genetic variants on 5p14.1 associate with autism spectrum disorders
It appears that a genetic link, which could explain why so many children have Autism and could dispel the many myths surrounding the Autism/Vaccine argument has been found. This made front page news in some UK newspapers even above the ‘Swine Flu Pandemic’. Headlines like ‘Have We Found The Key To Autism’ and ‘Biggest autism study identifies gene variations behind condition’ appeared in newspapers. This could open the door to screening babies to find those at risk, which could lead to early interventions. The Autism Genetic Resource Exchange (AGRE) group from Autism Speaks and the Center of Applied Genomics at the Children´s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) were the organisations behind the studies and this is where suddenly excitement turns into alarm bells. AGRE are behind most gene studies so there is nothing unusual about them being involved but CHOP are the ones who are largely controlling the project. The MD of the Children´s Hospital of Philadelphia is Paul Offit and CHOP is where we find the The Vaccine Education Centre have this to say about themselves:-
About the Vaccine Education Center
“The Vaccine Education Center at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia was launched in October 2000 to provide accurate, comprehensive and up-to-date information about vaccines and the diseases they prevent to parents and healthcare professionals.
The Center, through its Web sites, videos, informational tear sheets and speakers programs, seeks to dispel some of the common misconceptions and misinformation surrounding vaccines. The goal is to communicate the facts about each vaccine as well as how vaccines are made, how and why vaccines work, who recommends them, whether they are safe, whether they are still necessary, and when they should be given.
The Vaccine Education Center is funded by endowed chairs from The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and foundation grants. The Center does not receive support from vaccine manufacturers.”
This is where we need to wind back and look again “The Center does not receive support from vaccine manufacturers, however other reports have differing views Dr. Offit shares the patent on the Rotavirus vaccine in development by Merck and lists a $350,000 grant from Merck for Rotavirus vaccine development. Also, he lists that he is a consultant to Merck.” Maybe the centre does not receive support from vaccine manfacturers but Dr Paul Offit does Voting Himself Rich: CDC Vaccine Adviser Made $29 Million Or More After Using Role to Create Market states “Dr. Paul Offit of the Children´s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) took home a fortune of at least $29 million as part of a $182 million sale by CHOP of its worldwide royalty interest in the Merck Rotateq vaccine to Royalty Pharma in April of last year, according to an investigation by Age of Autism. Based on an analysis of current CHOP administrative policies, the amount of income distributed to Offit could be as high as $46 million.”
Given the above and that Paul Offit is the MD of CHOP it is fairly reasonable to wonder how the Autism Gene work could be beneficial to Paul Offit. Well given that the vaccine industry is making Dr Paul Offit a very wealthy man it is certainly very beneficial for him to find another cause for Autism other than vaccine especially as Merck are the manufacturers of the MMR11 and maybe Dr Offit feels that he should not bite the hand that feeds so to speak.