Vaccine model of Cyberthreats.
There is no evidence to suggest that the Lyme disease vaccine ever caused Lyme arthritis, but it was taken off the market largely in response to lawsuits alleging exactly that. Why?
But it was too late. Already, there was “significant media coverage, sensationalism, the development of anti-Lyme vaccine groups … who urged withdrawal of the vaccine from the market,” Poland explained in his 2011 article. A class-action lawsuit targeted SmithKline Beecham, claiming the company did not do enough to warn people of potential autoimmune side effects.
The FDA continued to follow up with an additional drug safety trial to try to settle the matter for the public. The trial was supposed to last four years. But sales of LYMErix had plummeted “from about 1.5 million doses in 1999 to a projected 10,000 doses in 2002,” the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases explains on its website.
So the manufacturer pulled it from the market, despite the fact that early data from the additional safety trial found “no differences in any significant adverse reactions noted between control subjects and vaccinated persons,” Poland writes.
Yet in the late 1990s and early 2000s, a vaccine called LYMErix was sold to prevent between 76 and 92 percent of infections. Hundreds of thousands of people got it — until vaccine fear knocked it off the market.
The LYMErix story is worth retelling today. It’s a stark reminder of how anti-vaccine mania of the past few decades is leaving us all more susceptible to disease.
“Given the continual emergence of new pathogens, the increasing risk of a bioterror attack, and how connected our world is through air travel, there is a significant probability of a large and lethal modern-day pandemic occurring in our lifetimes,” Gates told audience members in April at the New England Journal of Medicine’s Shattuck Lecture in Boston.
Gates called for a coordinated global effort to combat this potential catastrophe, saying that the world needs an early detection system, better tools and a response system in place. He noted that several initiatives have already started to work on these challenges.