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Ebola & African TB - An Interview With
Dr. Lawrence Broxmeyer, MD
Part 2

By Professor Doom

Pennsylvania internist/researcher Lawrence Broxmeyer, MD, was on staff at N.Y. affiliates of Downstate, Cornell, and NYU for 14 years. He was lead author and originator of a novel way to kill AIDS mycobacteria, including Mycobacterium tuberculosis and Mycobacterium avium. (Journal of Infectious Diseases, 186(8):1155-60211/2002} His ideas on the mechanism of a novel treatment called phagotherapy are still in use today. He appeared in Patho-Biotechnology, by Landes. His peer-reviewed articles are on Medline (PubMed).

RENSE: Many in our readership have indicated that they particularly liked the interaction in the Interview format between us. So I think we should continue.


RENSE: Recently we ran a piece directly from Investigative Reporter Jon Rappaport’s blog, entitled — Watch out: genetically engineered Ebola vaccine. In the article Jon mentions that previous member to a Presidential AIDS Advisory Panel, Dr. David Rasnick, PhD, found no convincing evidence, and “certainly no confirmatory evidence of human isolation”, of the Ebola ‘virus.’ This was mentioned after a thorough review of the literature, including existing electron microscope pictographs.

In my eyes, this sheds some doubt on its human pathogenicity, no less its aptness to be the subject of ongoing vaccination trials? What think you?

BROXMEYER: I think the implications are obvious. If Ebola has not been isolated in humans, then it is pure conjecture to say that it is causing Ebola. I also think that we should start directing our attentions towards — If the Ebola ‘virus’ didn’t cause the Ebola outbreak, then what caused that outbreak’s Ebola-like symptoms?

RENSE: I covered the TB story…especially in S Africa…several years ago. We had TB, MDR-TB, XDR-TB and then that incredibly deadly strain…no treatment and certain death within days. I can't recall the acronym for it, but it was (as you know) a frighteningly horrible version. (See: Funny how it completely dropped out of the news.

BROXMEYER: Yes, very…..only to reappear just weeks ago, at the insistence of the World Health Organization’s TB division. In West Africa, we are basically dealing with the bubbling over of a somewhat different situation — though also apparently deadly. We have a state in which indeed almost half of all TB cases in the West African Ebola zone are caused by tubercular Mycobacterium africanum — originating exclusively in West Africa, where the lion’s share of this last outbreak’s fatalities occurred. Yet the warnings of emerging resistant strains of M. tuberculosis and M. africanum have clearly been reported in West Africa as far back as 2009.

RENSE: During that particular time in my coverage, I remember stories of people with it running away from treatment…as did health care workers who were said to actually run away from their work in TB-infested hospitals.

BROXMEYER: Understandable. The morbidity and mortality rate among health care workers there was and is still quite high.

RENSE: Getting back to the conceptualization of an Ebola vaccine, do you have any problems with it? Certainly Rasnick’s input is on your mind. Without isolation, how can there be a vaccine? And a vaccine for what?

BROXMEYER: Yes, that is of paramount concern.

RENSE: Other things that make you uncomfortable with the proposed vaccines?

BROXMEYER: Whether the 2010 FDA Guidance for Industry in the Production of Viral Vaccines are being met.

RENSE: Meaning?

BROXMEYER: Of all non-human primates it is the African green monkey, Chlorocebus aethiops, which is most highly sensitive to human and cattle TB — and tuberculous africanum. That species, once infected, shows uniformly rapidly progressive disease. To this effect, the Marburg virus — which Ebola, since its discovery, has been constantly and consistently compared to — was referred to as “Green Monkey Disease”, because of Marburg’s deadly prevalence in such species. But aside from Marburg, M. africanum as well as other members of the Mycobacteria Tuberculosis Complex (or MTC) have been isolated from such African green monkeys — as well as African fruit bats for that matter. Yet it was through culture with African green monkey kidney or “Vero” cells that Ebola was not only first discovered — but these same African green monkey kidney cells are being incorporated into vaccine strategies. The implications are clear — and include both Ebola’s “discovery” and the proposed vaccination strategies for the disease. Tubercular or africanum elements could very well be present in such vaccines. That is, if they are being vigorously sought out — which I am not so sure is the case.

RENSE: I’m sure there are regulatory guidelines in place to deal with this.

BROXMEYER. Certainly. . I have the FDA’s 2010 viral vaccine guidelines here.

RENSE: You come prepared.

BROXMEYER: One should. For example: on page 11 of the 2010 FDA viral vaccination guidelines, we have: “If the species from which your cells were derived is susceptible to infection with Mycobacterium tuberculosis, an appropriate test should be performed for this agent as well.” On Page 18 : “If appropriate, a test for Mycobacterium tuberculosis should be performed.” And again on Page 15 Under 21 CFR Part 610, you must perform tests for safety, purity, and potency of a product, as required. This includes tests for identity, bacterial and fungal sterility, the presence of mycoplasmas, Mycobacterium tuberculosis (if appropriate), and adventitious viruses (in vitro and in vivo tests). You should also consider specific tests for agents that might be present in the seed [Vero cells] due to its passage history.”

However, the words “if appropriate” is interpretable. To some, for example, the use of pretreated specimens with formaldehyde or formalin is thought to eradicate TB — which it doesn’t.

RENSE: Interesting. But you also mention where these same Vero cells from African Green Monkeys were used to discover Ebola. Could they have influenced or skewed the original results?

BROXMEYER: Absolutely. 2010 FDA viral guidelines and advice are obviously aware of this, as mentioned above. African Ebola is a zoonosis, an infectious disease transmitted between species. Yet, how could 2010 FDA guidelines be enforced in the 1970’s when complete knowledge of the African green monkey susceptibility to TB and africanum were not yet uncovered?

RENSE: Any other specific examples?

BROXMEYER: For example, on page 21 of current guidelines, under “Contains Nonbinding Recommendations” and with regards to the guinea pigs that “This test detects Mycobacterium tuberculosis and adventitious viruses including paramyxoviruses (including Sendai virus), reoviruses, and filoviruses……….” And further down in those viral guidelines on Page 22…. “In vitro methods, such as culture and PCR, are also acceptable for identifying Mycobacterium tuberculosis when validated.”

RENSE: Filoviruses being the category to which Ebola belongs.

BROXMEYER: At this juncture yes. Originally, Ebola’s discoverers thought it was either a rhabdovirus or torovirus. The change of heart that goes on among virologists can at times be perplexing.

Anyway, getting back to Guinea pigs - they are extremely susceptible to TB and mycobacteria such as tuberculous M. africanum, yet in Pattyn’s and Piot’s original March, 1977 Ebola papers, we see guinea pigs and susceptible suckling mice being used with no attempt whatsoever to find or test for tubercular disease in either the specimens being introduced into these animals, or the Vero cells used in the experiment’s methodology. As mentioned, Vero cells are taken from the kidneys of African green monkeys, which are particularly vulnerable to African strains of TB. Were they infected or contaminated? No attempt to determine this is listed in these published 1977 experiments. We also see in these reports, a host of non-specific pathological findings which could just as well have been interpreted as being from a victim — human or animal, of acute disseminated TB. In addition, we see in these original papers filamentous forms, some branching — just as shown in the previous mycobacterial literature, including cell-wall-deficient worm-like or serpentine forms subjected to cold environments. Throughout all of this, again — no concrete attempt in materials and methods to rule out tubercular disease.

RENSE: Assuming that certain samples of the proposed Ebola Vaccine might be found, with proper scrutiny, to contain tubercular elements in say ‘a bad batch’, where does this leave the safety of the proposed Ebola vaccine? And would you take it?

BROXMEYER: As for your last question, I would not take any vaccination whose full ingredients were not known to me — or whose experimental methodology was in question. Also, since the Ebola virus has not yet been isolated in humans, I would like to know against which human pathogen I am being vaccinated.

RENSE: With respect to the vaccine itself though, could we possibly be witnessing a BCG phenomena, whereby one strain of TB (cow) is used, in this case, to vaccinate against the M. africanum and TB strains prevalent in West Africa?

BROXMEYER: Possibly. The Ebola virus has not been isolated in humans. Africanum and TB have been — and on an exponentially greater scale.

RENSE: This brings to mind your study in the JID (Journal of Infectious Diseases), where a less virulent tubercular strain, Mycobacterium smegmatis, pre-infected with a viral mycobacteriophage known to have activity in killing TB, was sent as a Trojan horse to do just that.

BROXMEYER: Yes, but that study was designed to kill the most virulent of AIDS strains of TB. Tuberculosis is a disease which according to WHO infects a third of the world. It was not designed to vaccinate against a putative virus that has not yet been isolated in humans.

RENSE: Getting back to Rappaports piece, he cites the Swine Flu fiasco of 1976 as a possible outcome to what governments and vaccine companies are now pushing with regard to Ebola. During that swine-flu vaccination, an attempt was made to vaccinate every American. 532 people were partially paralyzed and 32 died, and all for an epidemic that never materialized.


RENSE: Surely you will agree from that Swine Flu immunization mess that vaccinations are not without risk.

BROXMEYER: Who could not agree? Actually, bringing up the 1976 swine flu affair in an Ebola discussion is a valid analogy. Similar forces and thinking were at work then as they are now — this time for the creation and possible widespread use of an Ebola vaccination.

RENSE: How similar?

BROXMEYER: Let me explain. But it will take some history.

RENSE: Go ahead.

BROXMEYER: By early February, 1977 — then Health Education and Welfare (HEW) Secretary Joseph Califano — in office less than two weeks, faced a vexing situation. In the fall HEW’s attempt to vaccinate virtually the entire American population against swine flu — on the rational that the US government didn’t want another 1918 pandemic — smacked into the stone wall of the often paralyzing and sometimes fatal Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS). Off balance and bedeviled, Califano commissioned Harvard sparkplugs Richard Neustadt and Harvey V. Fineberg MD to write “as objective and clinical a report” regarding what had happened, and why it happened, during the 1976 Swine Flu debacle — as was possible.

Not everyone liked what they had to say.

In a 166-page smack down of health officials, big Pharma, big Government and virology in general Neustadt and Fineberg’s The Swine Flu Affair: Decision-Making on a Slippery Disease suggested that scientists, and in particular virologists, had too much confidence in their theories about the epidemiology of influenza and indeed the biology of the virus itself, based upon far too meager evidence. [Neustadt RE Fineberg HV The Swine Flu Affair: Decision-Making on a Slippery Disease Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare, 1978] The authors bluntly stated not only that not that much was known about pandemic spread of Influenza in general — but also that aside from the three years 1918, 1957, and 1968, that had already passed — that what was being said in so far as Influenza was concerned, was mostly conjecture.

RENSE: I wasn’t aware of that in that report, but it sounds interesting.

BROXMEYER: Neurstadt and Fineberg also mentioned that the recorded severity spread in those years besides the 3 mentioned varied quite enough to buttress contradictory arguments about what was being called “influenza”. Nevertheless a hierarchy of American virologists would see to it that mass vaccination was a reality in 1976 — in the swine flu epidemic which never was.

If the CDC came into 1976 with a sterling reputation, by that year’s end, its director’s actions — including the assertion that Legionnaire’s disease, a bacteria, was influenza — would cost the CDC its loss of “innocence” — leaving a situation, mentioned Neustadt, whereby future calls for preventative medicine would “almost surely would be tagged as crying ‘wolf’.”

RENSE: And in many cases since then it has done just that.

BROXMEYER: Neustadt and Fineberg implied a strong conviction that scientists, particularly government scientist health officials, seemed fueled by a variety of “personal agendas”. Time after time the authors/investigators hinted at disreputable motives on the part of the principal players, with Communicable Disease Center (CDC) head David Sencer squarely in their sights.

RENSE: Perhaps we should enter this discussion under the heading of the politics of medicine……or….. vaccinations.

BROXMEYER: You could. Nor was the entire concept of “Influenza” itself immune from their criticism: “…..the proportion of flu-like illness actually caused by the flu virus is unknown” the HEW committee said. But Neustadt and Fineberg weren’t through: “And all this on the words of experts,” they said, “overconfident in theories validated through but two or three pandemics, without any proper review of their logic by disinterested scientists.” They were referencing a familiar and timelessly repeated theme, whereby “flu experts” set out to squelch any and all dissent regarding Influenza by their peers. In other words: it had to be the “flu virus” — simply because it was the flu virus.

RENSE: Where were these viral flu ‘experts’ other criteria?

BROXMEYER: For the most part, absent. But there’s more. To both Neustadt and Fineberg, influenza’s very symptoms were widely misunderstood, not only by millions of Americans, but “perhaps half the doctors in the country”, with the word “influenza” used “for a variety of gastrointestinal troubles, “stomach flu” which, according to Fineberg, no flu virus causes and no flu vaccine cures. “Influenza is found in the respiratory tract and there alone”, both HEW reviewers reminded.

HEW’s Califano knew they had a point. Until 1933, influenza was thought to be caused by a bacteria, and before that a mycobacteria (Mycobacterium influenzae). And Laidlaw’s study, which “proved” flu to be “viral” — basically because it passed through a filter, was under fire from the day it was published. Besides, the last time “the flu” caused widespread death was the winter following World War I .

RENSE: Nevertheless, the CDC has zealously pushed annual vaccinations until the present, feeling that they do not want another 1918 again. But it was the repeated attempts by flu experts to invoke this very same 1918 alarm of crisis to gain emergency mass vaccination power in 1976 that most irked the vaccines critics that followed.

RENSE: You’re an interesting fellow, Dr. Broxmeyer. Thanks for coming.

BROXMEYER: My pleasure — as always.


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