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Doctored video spreads falsehoods
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Published: 14 years ago
This is a reply to # 1,059,411

Doctored video spreads falsehoods

A slick piece of antivax hype, but totally unconvincing, even with the doctored audio (complete with scary echo-chamber effects) and grossly inaccurate subtitles.

What Dr. Hilleman was being interviewed about in this clip was a problem with early Sabin polio vaccine which contained SV40 virus. Manufacturing processes were changed to make sure that vaccines did not contain live SV40 due to health concerns; regardless, no link has been shown between this vaccine and any increased incidence of cancer in those who received it. What's clear is that the polio vaccine saved many thousands of lives and prevented many more from being crippled by the disease.

Despite the claims of the antivaxers who released this altered video, Dr. Hilleman did not say that a "cancer epidemic" was caused by this vaccine, or that AIDS was introduced via vaccine research (a comment he made about green monkeys and the AIDS virus was clearly a joke. You'd have to be completely humorless and conspiracy-obsessed to take it at face value).

What's especially vile is for antivaxers to solemnly pronounce Dr. Hilleman as "the world's leading vaccine expert" and then to use distortions and falsehoods to try to damage everything he stood for. Far from opposing vaccination, it was his life's work and he contributed enormously to human health. From his Washington Post obituary:

"Dr. Hilleman created eight of the 14 most commonly used vaccines, including those for mumps, measles, chicken pox, pneumonia, meningitis, rubella and many other infectious diseases. He developed more than three dozen vaccines, more than any other scientist. His measles vaccine alone is estimated to prevent 1 million deaths worldwide every year..."Among scientists, he is a legend. But to the general public, he is the world's best kept secret," said Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. "I think, without hyperbole, he as an individual has had a more positive impact on the health of the world than any other scientist, any other vaccinologist, in history."...Dr. Hilleman also pioneered the development of vaccines against hepatitis A and hepatitis B. In addition to his creation of nearly 40 vaccines, Dr. Hilleman discovered several viruses and discovered the genetic changes that occur when the influenza virus mutates, known as shift and drift.

That helped him in 1957, when he worked at Washington's Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, to recognize that an outbreak of flu in Hong Kong could become a huge pandemic. Working on a hunch for nine 14-hour days, he and a colleague found that it was a new strain of flu that could kill millions. He notified authorities. Forty million doses of vaccines were prepared and distributed and, although 69,000 Americans died, the United States dodged an even more deadly outbreak...

He told a videographer for Children's Hospital of Philadelphia that he was most proud of his work controlling infectious diseases in children, the combined MMR shot and the hepatitis vaccines.

"Well, looking back on one's lifetime, you say, 'Gee, what have I done -- have I done enough for the world to justify having been here?' That's a big worry -- to people from Montana, at least. And I would say I'm kind of pleased about all this," he said. "I would do it over again because there's great joy in being useful, and that's the satisfaction that you get out of it. Other than that, it's the quest of Science and winning a battle over these damn bugs."


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