Need help further debunking: IJVTPR (International Journal of Vaccine Theory, Practice, and Research) paper titled "Worse than the disease?"

Beaker

New Member
Immunologists and virologists complained on social media around 6 months ago about a recently-created sham scientific journal called "International Journal of Vaccine Theory, Practice, and Research" (IJVTPR) which was supposedly created by anti-vaxxers and intended to release anti-vax research papers. Since then I have noticed one specific IJVTPR paper, "Worse Than the Disease? Reviewing Some Possible Unintended Consequences of the mRNA Vaccines Against COVID-19" frequently cited in anti-vax forums all over the internet. More recently, a member of my family provided the following link to this same paper as proof that reputable peer-reviewed medical research shows the Covid-19 mRNA vaccines to be dangerous: https://dpbh.nv.gov/uploadedFiles/dpbhnvgov/content/Boards/BOH/Meetings/2021/SENEFF~1.PDF

My own mild debunking:
  1. The URL is misleading: The impressive .gov URL (from Nevada Division of Public and Behavioral Health), which lends credibility to the link and paper, is only possible because the creators of this paper submitted the paper, as all members of the general public were allowed to do without scientific or government review, to an 8/10/2021 zoom meeting about Covid-19 vaccination by the Nevada Board of Health, and the .gov website lists all formally submitted comments from the public as PDFs in their online meeting minutes/notes: https://dpbh.nv.gov/Boards/BOH/Meetings/2021/NVBOH2021/
  2. No reputable experts authored the paper: No professional immunologist, virologist, or vaccine specialist took part in the authoring of this paper. It turns out the paper's primary authors are:
    • Stephanie Seneff, a senior Computer Science and AI (no professional expertise in medicine, vaccines, immunology, or virology) researcher at MIT who, according to her Wikipedia entry, "...began publishing controversial papers in low-impact, open access journals on biology and medical topics; the articles have received 'heated objections from experts in almost every field she's delved into'..."
    • Greg Nigh, a naturopathic physician (not an MD, DO or PhD, degree from "National College of Natural Medicine"), licensed acupuncturist and founder of Immersion Health in Portland, Oregon.
  3. No reputable expert peer review found: Like most of the other papers created and posted by IJVTPR, I can find zero approving peer review by reputable experts in the subject matter of this paper. IJVTPR claims to be an open journal which allows the scientific community to potentially peer review each paper, but materials published by IJVTPR are not necessarily peer reviewed, and in practice, as far as I can tell, their papers are basically never approvingly peer reviewed by real medical and scientific experts.
  4. No new research or data: The paper does not contain any medical research or data of its own, and instead bills itself as a "review" of research and data created by other experts.
  5. Rehash of existing anti-vax misinformation gambits: The paper is a Gish gallop, a litany of many of the same anti-vax misinformation points refuted by professionals and experts in the subject. For example, it brings up the tired debunked argument that ADE is a unique problem with vaccines instead of the studied medical issue already well-known to professional immunologists and virologists. As another example, it refers to several embarrassingly disreputable sham papers, like the J Bart Classen paper which claimed without evidence that the vaccines can cause prions disease.
Any further antibunk you can provide would be greatly appreciated. As this paper grows in popularity I think a centralized thread debunking its claims is useful.
 

FatPhil

Senior Member.
Of course I'm absolutely not telling you to Sokal that so-called journal right up its hermeneutic wazoo, but maybe if it were to be right royally Boghossianed, it would have even lower credibility as a source.
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
IJVTPR claims to be an open journal which allows the scientific community to potentially peer review each paper
Proper peer review requires that articles be reviewed before publication - and even then, false claims sometimes get through. If a journal publishes anything, it's not peer-reviewed, it's just a fanzine.
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
If I wanted to debunk this, I might start looking at the claims on page 2:



SmartSelect_20220104-125820_Samsung Notes.jpg
I'm fairly sure that 2 (HIV), 4, 5, 6, 7 (old SARS should qualify as "attempt") are false.

1 is false, see "A Study of the Polyethylene Glycols as Vehicles for Intramuscular and Subcutaneous Injection" (1952).

3 is technically true, but misleading: Moderna has been operating since 2011, has trialled mRNA therapeutics before, and has cooperations with several pharma giants. The Moderna vaccine is about as safe as the Pfizer/BioNtech vaccine.

I wouldn't be surprised if 8 was false.
It's somewhat fearmongering, as the mRNA is engineered to mimic the virus, and non-human PNs are already injected as standard practice:
Article:
The modern trends in skin rejuvenation are changing, and “skin health,” “skin quality,” and “natural look” are the goals of most aesthetic treatments. Polynucleotides are natural, highly purified DNA molecules extracted from trout gonads.
 

FatPhil

Senior Member.
[*]No reputable experts authored the paper: No professional immunologist, virologist, or vaccine specialist took part in the authoring of this paper. It turns out the paper's primary authors are:
  • Stephanie Seneff, a senior Computer Science and AI (no professional expertise in medicine, vaccines, immunology, or virology) researcher at MIT who, according to her Wikipedia entry, "...began publishing controversial papers in low-impact, open access journals on biology and medical topics; the articles have received 'heated objections from experts in almost every field she's delved into'..."

She's the author and ...

-- https://ijvtpr.com/index.php/IJVTPR/about/editorialTeam

Ewww...
 

FatPhil

Senior Member.
SmartSelect_20220104-125820_Samsung Notes.jpg
I'm fairly sure that 2 (HIV), 4, 5, 6, 7 (old SARS should qualify as "attempt") are false.

Technically, the "in humans" in number 7 might get them a little off the hook. I can't find evidence SARS vaccine research ever got past mice or other non-humans. I can find protocols for tests to be performed on humans, but those trials were never actually initiated. Would be happy to be proved wrong, of course.

The objection they make, however, is a fallacy. One thing always has to be the first of its kind. That's not intrinsically a negative property at all - that other lines of research were halted before they got to testing on humans is a demonstration that we have a well-functioning system to reduce the associated risks.
 

Beaker

New Member
Thanks FatPhil. I went down a rabbit hole yesterday of further learning about the history and works of much of the editorial board. I mostly want to stick to debunking specific claims of fact in the paper though.

Thanks Mendel. Good idea to target the claims on page 2 (among others) since they are concise and fairly specific. I'll look into some of them after work today.
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
She's the author and ...

-- https://ijvtpr.com/index.php/IJVTPR/about/editorialTeam

Ewww...
It's common practice to list the editor as co-author in some journals. Greg Nigh would be the original "researcher", if this is what happened here.
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
Technically, the "in humans" in number 7 might get them a little off the hook.
I think their use of "attempt" puts them on the hook.
The first attempt to climb Mount Everest did not reach the summit. For an attempt, it's enough (in my reading) that some work had been undertaken that could be built upon for the 2020 vaccines.

They should have written "first developed" or maybe "first trialled". Edit: see next post
 
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Mendel

Senior Member.
Article:
Back in time, particularly following the outbreak of SARS-CoV in 2002, vaccines against the emerging virus were also developed, a few of which reached phase I clinical trials; yet, did not achieve the final stages and obtain the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval as the virus was eradicated from the human population in 2004 [16,19,20,21].

Article:
Methods: To evaluate the safety and immunogenicity of the inactivated SARS coronavirus (SARS-CoV) vaccine, 36 subjects received two doses of 16 SARS-CoV units (SU) or 32 SU inactivated SARS-CoV vaccine, or placebo control.
[...]
Conclusion: The inactivated vaccine was safe and well tolerated and can elicit SARS-CoV-specific neutralizing antibodies.

Article:
Phase I studies of a new drug are usually the first that involve people. Phase I studies are done to find the highest dose of the new treatment that can be given safely without causing severe side effects.

Definitely trialled on humans, looks like they had a working vaccine.
Claim 7 is bunk.
 
Last edited:

Beaker

New Member
I appreciate your efforts Mendel. Thank you. I am just finishing up work and starting to look at papers about previous coronavirus vaccine "attempts" :) (which definitely do exist and showed promise and seemed safe in several studies, one of which you point out above)
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
Claim 2: "First to use mRNA vaccine technology against an infectious agent"

Counterexample: Moderna trialled mRNA vaccines against the Zika virus in two 13-month clinical trials with 90 and 120 participants in 2016 and 2019.
Article:
Study Start Date :​
December 21, 2016
Actual Primary Completion Date :​
July 2019

Article:
Actual Study Start Date ICMJE
July 30, 2019
Actual Primary Completion Date
March 22, 2021 (Final data collection date for primary outcome measure)

The authors might argue that nobody in these trials was actually exposed to the Zika virus after vaccination; but here, we can use the loophole that they didn't restrict the claim to humans.
Article:
In immunocompetent mice and rhesus macaques, single intradermal injection of the nucleoside-modified mRNA-LNP induced a robust neutralizing antibody response and ZIKV-specific cellular responses that conferred complete protection form the virus challenge [71]. In a similar approach, another group also developed prM-E-expressing mRNA vaccines [108] that could protect mice from lethal ZIKV challenge and confer sterilizing immunity.
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
I found a good paper on the state of mRNA vaccine technology in the year 2018.
Article:
multiple mRNA vaccine platforms against infectious diseases and several types of cancer have demonstrated encouraging results in both animal models and humans. This Review provides a detailed overview of mRNA vaccines and considers future directions and challenges in advancing this promising vaccine platform to widespread therapeutic use.
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
I just got pointed at this from another direction and had done some background investigation before I realized it's the same paper. I think we haven't debunked any of the "scary" claims on Metabunk yet, but I expect there are good debunks out there. I'd be happy to look into any of these further if needed, but I'm also quite content not to. :p

The paper was published at the "International Journal of Vaccine Theory, Practice, and Research" ( https://ijvtpr.com/index.php/IJVTPR/article/view/23 ); the journal was founded only last year.
The abstract is a smorgasboard of fear-inducing speculation with, it looks like, zero evidence?

Article:
Is “The International Journal of Vaccine Theory, Practice, and Research” a serious, science-based publication or a mouthpiece for anti-vaxxers?
5 Answers
Profile photo for Franklin Veaux
Franklin Veaux

, part-time mad scientist
Answered 7 months ago · Author has 43.4K answers and 575.6M answer views

Well, let’s see. The first issue features an article about what the “elite plutocrats” (that’s an exact quote) don’t want you to know about Covid-19 and vaccination. The magazine carries articles by the antivax group Children’s Defense Team. An article in their premier issue came from antivax crackpot John Oller, champion of the now-discredited “vaccines cause autism!” nonsense.

The magazine and its associated site carries this disclaimer:

The information on the website and in the IJVTPR is not intended as a diagnosis, recommended treatment, prevention, or cure for any human condition or medical procedure that may be referred to in any way. Users and readers who may be parents, guardians, caregivers, clinicians, or relatives of persons impacted by any of the morbid conditions, procedures, or protocols that may be referred to, must use their own judgment concerning specific applications. The contributing authors, editors, and persons associated in any capacity with the website and/or with the journal disclaim any liability or responsibility to any person or entity for any harm, financial loss, physical injury, or other penalty that may stem from any use or application in any context of information, conclusions, research findings, opinions, errors, or any statements found on the website or in the IJVTPR.
If it quacks like a duck, it’s quack “medicine.” Quack, quack, quack.


More about "naturopathic oncology", the field of the co-author (the whole article is worth reading):
Article:
Hermes studied naturopathy, a type of alternative medicine focused on "natural" treatments like herbs and homeopathy, at Bastyr University in Kenmore, Washington. She then practiced for three years in Washington and Arizona — all while becoming increasingly disillusioned with her chosen profession.

"Naturopathic medicine is not what I was led to believe," she wrote on her blog. "I discovered that the profession functions as a system of indoctrination based on discredited ideas about health and medicine, full of anti-science rhetoric with many ineffective and dangerous practices."

[Interview excerpt:]

What was off-putting was watching the other naturopaths in my office practice, to be frank. One saw cancer patients. It was off-putting to watch the naturopathic care of cancer patients, to see the alternative and non-science-based therapies recommended for some very sick patients. The cancer patients — many got IV treatments with high-dose vitamin C and different herbs.

I was under the impression, when I was going through school, that these treatments were science-based and evidence-based and helpful for cancer patients. But one of the things I came to find out as I was doing more research was that these alternative therapies are not proven, and in some cases are harmful to patients. One study stands out: Researchers found that cancer patients who chose to use alternative therapies died sooner and had a lower quality of life.
 

Beaker

New Member
Yeah. I have a word doc I'm slowly adding debunk details into, but since the PDF is a gish gallop of at least 30 different significant claims (without much evidence) it is slow going. Once I have a few topics done thoroughly I will likely search metabunk for existing threads on them and post my rebuttals one topic per thread, then link to those threads from this one.

The PDF, especially the version of it that snuck into .gov meeting minutes, is shared a lot at this point.
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
since the PDF is a gish gallop of at least 30 different significant claims (without much evidence) it is slow going
that's how you know it's not a serious paper

actual research papers basically say, 1) this is what we did, 2) these were the results, 3) here's what they mean. I've been taught to structure my lab reports like this way back in 7th grade. And even meta papers that are just literature research follow this pattern, but there the "0) outline research question" which I omitted above becomes important, too.

This paper is, 1) here's what we'd like you to believe, 2) this is everything we could think of that might convince you. It's not about anything specific that the authors did, it's not even presenting a specific idea. It's obscuring truth, not illuminating it.
And we already showed that you can't trust its claims.

If you engage with it as if it was science, you've already lost.
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
The PDF, especially the version of it that snuck into .gov meeting minutes, is shared a lot at this point.
bear in mind that even if it is shared, very few people will actually read it through as it is so long and technical. so my suggestion is to concentrate on the abstract.
Also title it so it shows up in Google searches. and brevity is your friend, remember your target audience..which i assume is those who believe the bunk.


Stephanie Seneff was on Laura Ingrahm and basically said the spike proteins in the vaccines can cause prion disease like Parkinson's. (at least that is what i heard)

That might be a place to start. (in a new thread)
https://video.foxnews.com/v/6291706975001#sp=show-clips


but if coronavirus spike proteins cause prion disease (ie Parkinsons's etc) wouldn't getting Omicron, Delta, Alpha or a cold-cold coronavirus present the same risks?

Plus seneff admits timestamp 1:15 "i've done alot of research and i am beginning to understand how these processes work"

people should probably be listening to people who already FULLY understand how these processes work. not some Artificial Intelligence Phd with no medical background.

 

deirdre

Senior Member.
but if coronavirus spike proteins cause prion disease (ie Parkinsons's etc) wouldn't getting Omicron, Delta, Alpha or a cold-cold coronavirus present the same risks?

this paper sounds like a "yes"
Article:
These results are consistent with monkey toxicity studies showing infection with SARS-CoV-2 results in Lewy Body formation.
 
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