A virus is an infectious agent that can replicate inside the cells of the host it infects. Did you read that? It is an infectious agent. It can replicate inside the cells of the host it infects. A virus is also made up of DNA or RNA (genetic material) encapsulated in an envelope made up of protein or lipid (fat) or both. If a jelly-filled doughnut is a virus, then the dough is the envelope. The jelly is the genetic material. This doughnut would need to be put inside an over (host cells) to replicate. It wouldn’t be able to do it without that over.
Not only that, but the over would have to be a specific type of oven. See, the viruses that cause hepatitis only infect liver cells. The viruses that cause common colds only infect the respiratory pathway. The virus that causes AIDS? It only infects immune cells called T cells. They really are that specific.
Not only that, but viruses are species-specific. Viruses that infect one species need to adapt in order to infect another species. There are viruses all over you right now, and you’re perfectly healthy because they’re not adapted to infect you. However, they might bring death to, say, a cat. Yes, there are viruses like the flu which cross from species to another, but that spillover is not easy. (“Spillover” is also a book you should read.)
So that’s your primer on viruses. Maybe I skipped a couple of things, but this is all you need to know for this post. Now, let’s look at what the anti-vaccine group NVIC has to say about viruses in pigs.
“China has reported a mysterious spike in the number of dead pigs, including baby pigs, turning up near Shanghai. This is prompting our revisit of the pig virus contamination issue with rotavirus vaccines that raised some eyebrows in 2010.”
You may be wondering what deaths of pigs have to do with the rotavirus vaccine. She will let you know in a second.
“Even though the Agriculture Ministry has stated there is “no major swine epidemic,” one suspected cause of death is pointing to porcine circovirus (PCV), as samples of the deceased pigs have tested positive for the common pig infection that has not yet been shown to be harmful to humans.”
“Porcine circovirus types 1 and 2 (PCV1 and PCV2) have been in the news before as a potential threat to public health. Although PCV1 infection is thought to be relatively harmless in pigs, PCV2 is associated with a lethal wasting disease in baby pigs.”
And then, the money shot…
“In May 2010, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) temporarily suspended use of GlaxoSmithKline’s (GSK) rotavirus vaccine, Rotarix, because DNA from PCV1 was found in the vaccine. Merck’s RotaTeq was found to contain PCV1 plus PCV2 DNA fragments, but its use was not suspended.
Shortly thereafter, the FDA said use of Rotarix could resume because the vaccine had “strong safety records” and there is “no evidence that either PCV1 or PCV2 poses a safety risk in humans.””
There you have it. Rotatrix was found to have DNA fragments (doughnut jelly, not the whole doughnut) but we should be afraid that the jelly will do what a doughnut does and that we are the oven in which the doughnut multiplies the best. All this according to the author.
She’s calling us pigs!
According to the science, there is nothing to worry about. The vaccine is oral, and, unless you’re a cyborg, chances are overwhelmingly good that you’ve eaten viruses and bacteria and fungi today. Many of those are pathogenic (capable of causing disease) to other species and not you. This is why you’re not sick, though you may eat the most questionable foods in the world.
But NVIC and its “authors” are not known to be well-versed in science. She further wrote:
“But the pig virus DNA is still present in the vaccines and strong evidence that it is safe for infants to swallow pig virus DNA in live rotavirus vaccines is still missing.”
You know what else is missing strong evidence of safety for infants? Spinach. We have not had a randomized clinical trial on spinach’s safety, and many of us think it’s time that we do. I mean, you’re eating plant DNA when you eat spinach.
Look, the reason the vaccine was suspended when the poricine (pig-derived) picovirus DNA was detected was because it could have meant that other, more dangerous, contaminants may have gotten into the vaccine from the manufacturing process. That wasn’t the case. In fact, it is reasonable to expect some very, very tiny amounts of the stuff you grew the vaccine in to make it in with the vaccine. That’s how vaccine manufacturing works.
But we shouldn’t be surprised that this kind of scaremongering goes on at NVIC. It seems to me that they’ll grab onto any news headline and mix it into why vaccines are horrible. They’ve been doing it for centuries…