The claim that squalene in vaccines causes autoimmune diseases and Gulf War syndrome is not supported by evidence

COMPLAINT

Squalene in Vaccines Caused Gulf War Syndrome; the World Health Organization aims to depopulate the world with infertility-causing vaccines

DETAILS

Factually inaccurate: The claim that the World Health Organization has developed “vaccines to create permanent sterility”, with the implication that these vaccines are intended for depopulation, misrepresents the WHO’s efforts to develop methods of family planning. Family planning methods include both temporary and permanent methods of birth control. Birth control pills are an example of family planning, but they prevent pregnancy temporarily, not permanently. To date, there is no vaccine that causes infertility. Vaccines also do not cause autoimmune diseases.
Inadequate support: There is no evidence that squalene causes Gulf War Syndrome. Laibow offered no evidence to support his claim that “the World Health Organization has decided that we have 90% too many people.”

KEY TO GO

Squalene is a natural compound found in animals and plants, including the human body. Squalene is produced in our liver and is important for making hormones and other substances in the body. It is also an ingredient in some vaccines, such as the H5N1 flu vaccine, and acts as an adjuvant. Adjuvants boost the body’s immune response to a vaccine, making the vaccine more effective. There is no evidence that squalene in vaccines is harmful. Vaccines are not associated with infertility and are not among the recommended family planning methods.

COMPLETE CLAIM: Squalene causes “your immune system [to start] attacks all other parts of the body […] It sounds like Gulf War Syndrome”; “The World Health Organization has decided that we have 90% too many people. The World Health Organization has been working since 1974 on vaccines to create permanent sterility”

REVIEW

A video posted in late April 2022 by The Revolution Healer Facebook page, which offers an “alternative and holistic health service”, claimed that vaccines are dangerous because they contain squalene. The video also implied that the World Health Organization aims to sterilize people.

The video is an excerpt from a episode from the 2009 American television series “Conspiracy Theory with Jesse Ventura”, which aired on December 30, 2009. The episode synopsis stated“They are believed to be a group of the global elite who meet once a year in a luxury hotel and decide how they will run the world. It is believed that they plan to thin the population through diseases and vaccines. Jesse Ventura infiltrates the Bilderberg Group.

During the episode, former wrestler and former Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura interviewed psychiatrist Rima Laibow about it. Laibow, who runs a company called the “Natural Solutions Foundation,” has received warning letters from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for marketing an unproven (“nano silver”) treatment for conditions ranging from Ebola for COVID-19[feminine].

As we explain below, his claims are inaccurate.

Squalene is naturally present in living things, including humans; no evidence that it is harmful

In the video, Laibow claimed that squalene, which is an ingredient in some vaccines, causes “your immune system [to start] attacking every other part of the body” – likely a reference to autoimmune diseases – and that this is analogous to what happens in Gulf War Syndrome.

But Laibow has never produced any evidence to support his claim and the scientific evidence so far does not support his claim either. Studies have shown that vaccines are not associated with an increased risk of autoimmune diseases. An earlier review of health reviews also addressed the same claim made by another individual.

Squalene occurs naturally in the human body, as well as in animals and plants. It is also present in the foods we eat, such as eggs and vegetable oils. Squalene is produced in our liver and is important for making hormones and other substances in the body. It is also an ingredient in some vaccines, such as H5N1 flu vaccineas an adjuvant. Additives improve the body’s immune response to a vaccine, which makes the vaccine more effective.

Laibow’s claim echoed early theories that squalene was responsible for the disease commonly known as Gulf War syndrome, so named because it was observed in veterans of the 1991 Gulf War. American veterans, who describes the disease as “chronic multisymptomatic disease”explains that the condition involves “a cluster of medically unexplained chronic symptoms that can include fatigue, headaches, joint pain, indigestion, insomnia, dizziness, trouble breathing, and memory problems.”

There are several hypotheses as to the cause of Gulf War Syndrome. These include chemical warfare agents, other chemical agents, and psychological factors.

But the spotlight fell on squalene after two studies by the same research grouppublished in 2000 and 2002, reported that many of those with symptoms had antibodies to squalene in their blood[1,2]; some have alleged that this was due to squalene in the anthrax vaccine. The anthrax vaccine is not a routine vaccine, but was among the vaccines some service members deployed to the Gulf region received to protect themselves the case of a biological weapon attack. Indeed, according to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Gulf War saw the “first large-scale use of [anthrax] vaccine”.

However, subsequent analyzes reported that only traces of squalene – well below the level that occurs naturally in our blood – were detected in the anthrax vaccine. A 2009 study reported no association between anti-squalene antibody status and Gulf War Syndrome[3]. At the moment, the cause of the disease is still unknown, but research is still underway to understand the disease.

The use of squalene in vaccines is problematic, but a completely different reason: industrial supply is highly dependent on harvested shark liver species vulnerable to extinction. This is undesirable from a conservation and sustainability perspective. But the claim that squalene in vaccines is problematic because it is dangerous or causes Gulf War syndrome is so far not supported by clinical evidence. And studies have shown that vaccines are not associated with an increased risk of autoimmune diseases.

The video implicitly promoted a baseless conspiracy theory that vaccines are being developed to depopulate the planet

Laibow claimed that “the World Health Organization has decided that we have 90% too many people”, but offered no evidence to support his claim.

She also claimed that “the World Health Organization has been working since 1974 on vaccines to create permanent sterility.” This is a gross misrepresentation of the World Health Organization’s efforts to improve family planning methods, especially in developing countries. The WHO has set up a working group on “Vaccines for the regulation of fertility” in 1972 and “convened a meeting in 1974 to select criteria for tissues and molecules capable of mounting anti-fertility responses”. The WHO wanted to explore “the prospect that a completely new method of family planning will be available before the end of the current decade”, among which “a prototype anti-HCG vaccine”.

HCG or human chorionic gonadotropinis a hormone that is produced by the placenta and is elevated in pregnant women, making it a common target molecule in the home and laboratory pregnancy tests. HCG is involved in the continuous production of progesterone, which is necessary for the implantation of an embryo. By inducing antibodies against HCG, for example with a vaccine, one could block the production of progesterone and prevent the implantation of embryos and pregnancy.

Indeed, a small clinical trial of an anti-HCG vaccine candidate in India reported that the vaccine candidate could prevent pregnancy. But it is important to note that this effect is reversible and not permanent.[4]. This contradicts Laibow’s claim that such vaccines cause permanent sterility. In reality, family planning methods encompass both permanent and temporary means of preventing pregnancy. For example, birth control pills are one approach to family planning, but they do not make people permanently unable to have children; a woman can become pregnant again after stopping the pill. For the moment, the vaccines are not under the list of contraceptives recommended by the WHO.

Laibow’s claim is tied to wider conspiracy theories about vaccines as agents of depopulation, which have cropped up repeatedly during the pandemic. This is not the first time that such work on family planning has been misinterpreted. Kenya’s Catholic Bishops have discouraged women from taking the tetanus vaccine, saying the vaccine contains HCG and will cause infertility. These allegations were later found unsubstantiated.

REFERENCES

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