You’re probably used to hearing stories about Americans being guinea pigs for dangerous new drugs that get “fast-tracked” before we really know exactly what dangers they pose.
I guess to shake things up a bit, though, this time it’s our Canadian neighbors to the north who will be rolling up their sleeves first for a “shot into the unknown.”
They won’t be on their own very long, however, since those of us in the U.S. will end up joining in on this big experiment.
I’m talking about a giant drug “trial” that will roll out a spanking-new shingles shot from GlaxoSmithKline, called Shingrix.
There’s no doubt that Shingrix will be a blockbuster — making billions for GSK right out of the gate. Doctors can’t wait to get their hands on it, and will be prescribing it in droves to people as young as 50!
But some of the things that have already leaked out about this vaccine aren’t very reassuring. In fact, they’re downright frightening.
Barking up the wrong tree?
Right now, thousands who have suffered injuries after receiving the other shingles jab, Zostavax, are holding drugmaker Merck to task over cases of eye injuries, dizziness, high blood pressure, terrible nerve pain, and… drumroll please… shingles!
Some people are even claiming that Zostavax was responsible for the deaths of loved ones.
So, any other choice would fast become the darling of your doctor’s office — but, in the case of Shingrix, that’s not because it has been proven to be any safer.
At least, not in widespread use.
Since Shingrix is so new, information about it isn’t easy to come by. However, after some digging, I did find some shocking details about this shot — especially about one of its ingredients, what’s called an “adjuvant.”
Simply put, an adjuvant is a chemical added to a vaccine to make it work better. But adjuvants can be extremely risky — and it’s possible that the one that’s in Shingrix is the most dangerous one of all.
But first, I want to tell you about some data GSK released from its clinical trials.
In the two groups Shingrix was tested on — one was comprised of people 50 to 69, while the other included seniors 70 and older — it appears that over half of the younger patients and over a third of the older ones came down with muscle pain and fatigue. A substantial number from both groups also reported headaches, “shivering,” and fever after the shot, as well as what’s described as “gastrointestinal” problems. Most all reported pain, redness, and swelling.
As for the other reports of “serious adverse events,” “new onset” immune diseases, and “deaths”… well, GSK swept those aside, saying there were other “plausible causes” for such reactions.
But what I’m going to tell you about next is what worries me the most.
As I said, Shingrix contains an adjuvant, one called “QS-21 Stimulon” that’s manufactured by a Massachusetts biotech company called Agenus.
Now, if you read that company’s promotional material for Stimulon, it sounds like they’re talking about milk and honey. QS-21 is simply “extracted” from the bark of an evergreen tree native to Chile. Nothing to worry about, right?
Well, not exactly.
Researchers have been fiddling around with QS-21 for decades now, attempting to come up with a safe way to use it. As recently as two years ago, scientists at the National Institutes of Health issued a full report on QS-21, telling how, although it functions as a very “potent” adjuvant, its “toxicity” was keeping it from “human use.”
The researchers go on to describe how, in one study on sheep, a low dose of QS-21 caused red blood cells to actually self-destruct. But get this — doses that are one-tenth what’s been put into Shingrix have been found to be toxic!
So, have the geniuses at GSK and Agenus finally cracked this toxic bark and figured out a way to make QS-21 safe?
We don’t know — and we really won’t until millions get jabbed with Shingrix.
Certainly no one wants to come down with shingles. But instead of taking part in this giant experiment, why not take the advice of HSI panel member Dr. Allan Spreen?
To protect your nervous system, he recommends going with a daily dose of 500 mcg of B12.
And, should shingles rear its ugly head, the only shot you should get is one of that very same B12, which has been shown to be effective in alleviating it.
“GlaxoSmithKline wins first-ever nod for blockbuster vaccine prospect Shingrix” Angus Liu, October 17, 2017, FiercePharma, fiercepharma.com