Wednesday, September 16, 2009

NANOPARTICLES IN H1N1 SWINE FLU VIRUS VACCINE????

The article that has been associated with the claim on nanoparticles in the H1N1 Swine Flu vaccine can be tracked to F. William Engdahl at Global Research. He claimed on September 14: “Vaccines which have been approved by government authorities for vaccination against the alleged H1N1 Influenza A Swine Flu have been found to contain nano particles. Vaccine makers have been experimenting with nanoparticles as a way to “turbo charge” vaccines for several years. Now it has come out that the vaccines approved for use in Germany and other European countries contain nanoparticles in a form that reportedly attacks healthy cells and can be deadly.”

FIRST, Engdahl's claim alleges this vaccine may have been approved for use in Europe. Its role, if any, in America is very unclear.

SECOND, the vast bulk of the reportage claiming that nanoparticles are in the new vaccine is directly traceable to this single individual. Engdahl is a well-known fear monger and author of Full Spectrum Dominance: Totalitarian Democracy in the New World Order. If you want to learn more about him visit his website.

THIRD, his evidence is drawn from the EPFL publication that describes research rather than production. Bioengineering researchers from the EPFL in Lausanne, Switzerland, have developed and patented a nanoparticle that can deliver vaccines more effectively, presumably with fewer side effects, and at a fraction of the cost of current vaccine technologies. This research is reported in a recent issue of Nature Biotechnology.

It is important to note that many research teams are engaged in research of this type. For example, researchers at Oregon State believe lecithin nanoparticles have wide potential applications and possibly a good safety profile. Their findings were just published in the Journal of Controlled Release in work supported by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. In addition, some companies have made claims associated with hypothetical applications of nanoparticles. According to a presentation by BioSante Pharma at the recent Immunotherapeutics & Vaccine Summit, the presenter claimed BioSante’s vaccine adjuvant, BioVant™, increased the protective effect of vaccines for multiple flu strains, including a potential new vaccine against H1N1 (swine flu). Allegedly, BioVant involves calcium nanoparticles.

As to the vaccine, even FOX News reported: "They’re pushing it as fast as they can, but they still have to meet good manufacturing standards," said Dr. Peter Gross, senior vice president and chief medical officer at Hackensack University Medical Center. "It will be tested to make sure it’s safe and contains the proper amounts of protective antibodies," said Gross, who tested flu vaccines for 20 years for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Monday, September 14, 2009

S.NET IN SEATTLE (SLEEPLESS?)

CENTER FOR WORKPLACE DEVELOPMENT

Last weekend (September 8-11) the folks at the Center for Workplace Development at the University of Washington held a one-day graduate student nano-ethics program. I spoke on uncertainty and how it is used strategically by NGOs and toxicologists to secure memberships, funds, and prestige at the expense of regulation. I believe all the presentations on that day were recorded and will be posted somewhere. I have copies of my powerpoint at our NIRT site at NCSU. You can download it.

THEN CAME S.NET


S.net is a new organization or not. Its mission while well written seems to open opportunities for international cooperation especially between Europe and the United State (who dominate the organization) to engage in scholarship on the philosophy and ethics of emerging technologies (read as nanotechnology at this time). Whether we need another organization seems unclear to me. Personally, I belong to AAAS, 4S, ACS, MRS.... and am loathe to join another. Of course as you are aware I am not a philosophy professor though I am an amateur ethicist. Though I probably won't participate actively in this group, they have every right to exist but I am not sure what they are going to offer the debate over nanotechnology.

So S.net [Society for the Study of Nanoscience and Emerging Technologies](which doesn't seem to have a dedicated web presence yet) got a $50,000 grant from the NSF to piggyback their first conference at the same site at the U Washington CWD project. There were three days of papers and some plenary presentations. I attended some. The papers were mixed as they always tend to be though the event showcases two schools more than any others: UCSB and ASU (both current CNS (Centers for Nanotechnology in Society) sites with both directors on the operating board of S.net. Hopefully, S.net will be more than a showcase for these two schools since they already have extensive press machines funded in part by the NSF. We will see. There is a call for papers for the second conference to be held in Germany (see Nanotech Now.

Presentations by Mowery, Vogt, Kysar, and Baird were accessible and informative. Mine was adequate as well. You should check out the CWD site at U Washington for more.

I am at the NISE.net meeting for three days before getting back to Raleigh on Friday.