Virology tidbits

Virology tidbits

Sunday, 29 December 2013

This is what the blog is going to be about....

This being the first entry I want to explain to the readers of what this blog is all about and how it came into existence.
It all started with an event which took place in the summer of 2009, late at night at a friends house after festivities ceased and the children were in bed. I should mention that those friends are conservative Catholics and that the hostess father is or was sending weekly newsletters detailing events from around the world where Catholic teaching or practice was threatened - or perceived as being “violated”.
Anyway, the hostess mentioned casually that one event -“discovered” by her father- that pharmaceutical companies were lacing vaccines against  tetanus with a drug rendering girls in Nicaragua, Mexico and the Philippines sterile. This was discovered by the Human Life International, a Catholic-conservative think tank, back in 1995 and reported to the WHO which after investigating the claims dismissed them. The hostess however believed in the truth of these events, reinforcing her distrust in vaccinations (have I mentioned Andrew Wakefield?) in particular in vaccines generated in cells derived from aborted fetuses. Another guest chimed in, thus leaving me defending vaccinations and casually mentioning that one should not believe everything which is published in the Internet. Also I tried to explain that some viruses only grow in those cell lines - even the Vatican allows these vaccines to be used for vaccinations. 
Ever since I haven’t been invited to her house…
Fast forward to 2013 and the wonderful world of Facebook and a comment posted by another friend, being worried that Influenza vaccine produced using genetic modified cells might contain remnants of the cells and being lethal (since during the trials three people died some weeks following the vaccination) or at least cause serious side effects. Luckily enough she was happy to receive some explanation and was actually grateful for the information (or so she said). 
So this blog will be about thoughts of mine regarding those tidbits of virology related myths spreading the realms of the internet and printed media. Furthermore - being a Virologist myself- I will present articles which caught my attention, trying to evaluate them and put them into context. The choice of those articles will be subjective and I apologize in advance if somebody feels neglected. Please feel free to send me any suggestions and I will try to accomodate them. Also, feel free to share anything you want to see to be published here and/or my opinion on.
So far I have three topics in the pipeline and two papers I want to comment on, but as time goes more topics will arise.

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